Greece transferred 450 migrants to Athens ahead of deportation

Greek authorities have sent more than 450 irregular migrants from Lesbos island to a facility centre in the north of Athens. The move is a first step to deport them back to their countries of origin.

These irregular migrants arrived on the Greek islands after Turkey opened its borders. They were all detained on a navy ship since 1 March 2020.

According to the Associated Press, the relocation of irregular migrants took place in secrecy. Officials had refused to comment on the ship’s destination even after it left Lesbos early Saturday afternoon.

On 11 March, German magazine Der Spiegel published a video in which hundreds of migrants and refugees are jailed in a Greek Navy ship in the main port of the island of Lesvos.

The footage shows migrants living in a dire condition laying closely together on the floor of the vessel. 

Greece has tightened its migration policy and suspended all new asylum applications for a month, vowing to deport new arrivals on its islands from Turkey. Aid groups have criticised the move describing it as unlawful and against human rights.

The latest data from Greek government shows that a total of 1,700 migrants have arrived on Greek islands since the beginning of March 2020.


TMP _ 19/3/2020

Photo credit: Ververidis Vasilis

Photo caption: Thessaloniki, Greece – Sept 2, 2019: Refugees and migrants disembark to the port of Thessaloniki after being transferred from the refugee camp of Moria, Lesvos island.