Migrants crossing the Aegean face double the risk

Not only are migrants subject to the dangers of fleeing across the ocean in unsafe vessels, they also face the risk of being pushed back into the open waters by Greek authorities.
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A police officer in riot gear walks past a concrete wall. On the wall is written "No one is illegal" and "Solidarity with migrants."
A riot policeman walks past an outer wall of Moria camp in 2017 where solidarity people have written "no one is illegal" and "solidarity with migrants.

This month our thoughts and prayers go to the migrants who are trying to cross to Europe on boats across the Aegean Sea. As they move, they face the inhumanity of the border guards and the brutality of Greek and European practices of pushbacks and criminalization of migrants, which can often be deadly. We ask you to pray for freedom of movement and safe passage for every person in the world.

This past year, we have witnessed a crime taking place on the Aegean Sea. Every day, countless boats with dozens to hundreds of people on board are trying to reach the shores of the eastern Greek Islands. One can only hope that everyone will continue their journey and reach safety. 

But the opposite is happening. The vast majority of the boats are forcibly stopped and pushed back to the Turkish coast. The few people who manage to reach the Greek coast face unsafe and inhumane conditions, and they are often arrested by the police and pushed back secretly and illegally in rubber boats by the coast guard. 

At the same time, we are witnessing constant attempts to criminalize solidarity by the Greek authorities. If anyone tries to help the newly arrived migrants, they will be accused of smuggling or human trafficking. 

We pray for an end to the cycle of violence against migrants perpetuated by Europe and Greece’s deadly illegal push-back practices. We also pray for solidarity and freedom of movement for everybody.

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