GREECE HAS AGREED TO ALLOW 39 MIGRANTS TO ENTER ITS TERRITORY AS A RESULT OF OUR ENTRY AND PUBLIC PRESSURE!
In response to reports we received on August 9, 2022, after communication with people on the ground and our attempts, we found that 39 asylum seekers were trapped on an islet in Evros River. The details of the developments after our findings and the initiatives taken by our association are as follows:
1. As a result of our multilateral discussions, we have learned that 39 refugees arrived in Greece as of August 15, 2022. Afterwards we have started to follow closely the process
2. As International Refugee Rights Association, we have gotten in to contact with Turkish Ministry of Interior, Directorate General of Migration Management, United Nations (UNHCR) Turkey Office, General Secretary of Greek Republic Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, Edirne Provincial Gendarmerie Commandership, Association for the Social Support of Youth [ARSİS], Home for All and Greek Council for Refugees and obtained detailed information about the situation of refugees stranded on the islet.
3. At the direction of our board of directors, the delegation consisting of our secretary general, members of the board of directors and commission members went to city of Edirne and examined the process in situ.
4. We have determined that Meryem, a 5-year-old girl, lost her life as a result of a scorpion sting on the islet over which Greece and Turkey have had long-standing rival claims, and she had to be buried in the disputed island by the refugees. Afterwards, we were informed that the parents, who had to immigrate to Greece, did not want that their daughters' tomb remain on the islet in Evros River and they wanted their daughter's remains to be transported to Adana.
5. Greek Minister of of Migration and Asylum, Mr. Notis Mitarachi said in his statement on 16 August 2022 that the Greek security forces transferred the asylum seekers to a nearby border police station and a joint action will be coordinated with the Red Cross and the Turkish Red Crescent to transport the grave of 5-year-old Meryem, who was buried in the islet.
6. We find the statement made by the Greek goverment inadequate. We are also concerned about the safety of the asylum seekers due to the asylum policies implemented by Greece and the fact that they have been found to violate internation law in this matter. Since we have not been able to contact asylum seekers, we remind the Greek authorities of their responsibility to inform the international community on this issue.
7. We expect the Greek government to provide a satisfactory explanation regarding the place of detention and health conditions of the asylum seekers.
8. As International Refugee Rights Association,we are deeply disturbed by the fact that the grave of 5-year-old little girl, Meryem, who lost her life as a result of a scorpion sting on the islet, is left on an disputed island in spite of the request of her parents. Every parent has the right to visit their child's grave, and Meryem's body should be buried in a Muslim cemetery in Turkey, in line with the request of her family members. Our association will continue to facilitate the transfer of the corpse with all our means.
9. On August 16, 2022, AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) contacted the Edirne Governorate and the Provincial Gendarmerie Commandership in order to locate and transfer the corpse and received information about the legal process.
10. We hope that Meryem's relatives living in Adana will contact us.
11. As International Refugee Rights Association, we would like to appeal to the public opinion and reiterate our commitment to stand by the oppressed people and refugees, as always. We will follow the process until a transparent and satisfactory explanation is given by the Greek authorities regarding the current situation of 39 refugees stranded in Greece.