Frontex has been accused of illegally deporting refugees and migrants in Greece.
According to an investigation conducted by Deutsche Welle, migrants in Greece that are trying to reach Western Europe accused the EU’s border guards of “pushback”.
Several individuals spoke to the media and said they had experienced such behaviour. One man said he walked from Ioannina to the Albanian border, not encountering any Greek police. He claimed that Frontex staff stopped in Albania and handed him over to the authorities in Kakavia. He then asked the Albanian authorities for asylum but were told they couldn’t apply due to COVID and were sent back to Greece without the Greek authorities being notified. The man in question attempted once again and made it to Tirana before heading through Kosovo to Serbia.
Refugee aid organisations have confirmed that pushback happens at the border between North Macedonia and Albania as well. They claim it happens daily.
A Frontex spokesperson told DW that they hadn’t found any credible evidence to support the allegations.
In October, Exit interviewed an individual involved in transporting migrant from Greece to Tirana and then onwards to an EU Member State. They told Exit that those that are caught in Albania are interviewed by the police, then taken back and dropped over the border with Greece. They added that those that are pushed back, try again and are often back in Albania 24 hours later.
The State Police, the Border Police and the Ministry of the Interior failed to respond to a freedom of information request on the number of migrants caught in the last year, what happens to them, and how many tried to apply for asylum.