Greek govt under pressure over ‘migrant pushback’ video

ATHENS: The Greek government is receiving heavy criticism for its immigration policies following the release of a video allegedly showing Greek coastguards forcing migrants to leave the country by leaving them in the Aegean Sea. The New York Times published the footage which has prompted calls for an independent investigation by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The release of the video comes shortly before a general election, which sees conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis running against leftist former premier Alexis Tsipras.

Mitsotakis’s campaign has built on his tough stance regarding immigration. During the campaign, he visited the land border with Turkey, where he pledged to extend the steel fence by five metres to control the inflow of immigrants.

The video, shot by a human rights activist on Lesbos, shows a group of asylum seekers, including a baby, being taken to a small cove with a wooden dock located at the southern tip of the island in a white van. They are then taken out to the Aegean Sea on a speedboat and left with a black inflatable life raft.

The New York Times reports that Turkish coastguard boats rescued the migrants approximately an hour later.