Pray for an end to crimes against humanity in the Aegean Sea.
Over the course of 2021, the number of migrants living on the Greek island of Lesvos has dropped from 9,170 people in January to around 3,000 people by the end of the year. The Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum celebrated a 78% drop in the number of asylum seekers on the Greek islands, claiming ‘Greece achieved the goals it has set, but it cannot do it alone. Immigration concerns the whole of Europe.’
How has Greece achieved its goals? By increasing its policy of pushbacks: a procedure where migrant dinghies are dragged from Greek territorial waters into the Turkish zone, the boat’s engine is destroyed, and the migrants are abandoned and left for the Turkish coastguard to return them to the other side of the sea. In many cases, migrants who have already landed on the islands are taken back out to sea. Some people have attempted to prevent this by being present at the arrival of migrant boats, but they have been threatened and subjected to lengthy interrogations on suspicion of “facilitating illegal entry.” The Greek state denies its hand in this policy, condemning the mounting evidence as fake news.
Pray for an end to the deadly pushback policies. Pray for an end to the harassment and intimidation of those in solidarity with migrant struggles.