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The World War on Asylum

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the escalating violence and human rights abuses against migrants and asylum-seekers by European and other wealthy countries, using Greece as a case study. It examines how these countries are systematically denying asylum rights through coordinated efforts to push back and expel migrants, often through violent and illegal means.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Hellenic Coast Guard's Violent Pushbacks

1. What evidence does the article provide about the Hellenic Coast Guard's pushback tactics against migrants?

  • The article cites a video recorded by aid worker Fayad Mulla showing Greek guards on the island of Lesbos marching migrant families onto a speedboat, including a uniformed man in a balaclava carrying a child.
  • Forensic Architecture has tracked and mapped over 2,000 instances of "drift-backs" from Greek territorial waters between 2020 and 2023, where migrants are put onto motorless rubber boats and literally pushed back towards Turkish waters.
  • The article states that the Hellenic Coast Guard's actions have resulted in at least 24 deaths and 17 disappearances over the 3-year period.

2. How does the article characterize the Hellenic Coast Guard's actions?

  • The article states that the Hellenic Coast Guard has "turned the internationally recognized right of refugees to apply for asylum into a sick game, chasing down every man, woman, and child who lands unbidden in the country's archipelago as part of a coordinated effort to deny them asylum rights."
  • It describes the Coast Guard's tactics as a "logical progression of escalating violence against migrants" and part of a "global war on asylum-seekers."

[02] The EU's Role in Funding and Enabling the Pushbacks

1. What is the EU's involvement in the Hellenic Coast Guard's pushback tactics?

  • The article states that the EU has funneled billions of euros to Greece to support its border work, and has also deployed Frontex assets like aerial surveillance, ships, and personnel who have collaborated with Greek police in the drift-back scheme.
  • The EU has also sent over $10 billion worth of assistance to Turkey, a non-member state, to help guard the border and reduce the number of asylum-seekers reaching the EU.

2. How does the article characterize the EU's position on the Hellenic Coast Guard's actions?

  • The article states that "the inverse is closer to the truth: As the southeastern corner of the EU, Greece is responsible for deflecting as many migrants as possible from Europe."
  • It notes that the EU appears to be defending the Hellenic Coast Guard's actions, with the European Commission head praising Greece for being the "European aspida (shield)" against migrants.
  • The article suggests the EU is complicit in the Hellenic Coast Guard's human rights abuses, stating that "the EU's position is clear โ€” and clearly lawless."

[03] The Global Trend of Eroding Asylum Rights

1. How does the article describe the global trend of eroding asylum rights?

  • The article states that the Greek strategy of denying asylum rights has "become a signature model in the global war on asylum-seekers," with similar tactics being employed in countries like Venezuela, Mexico, Libya, Hungary, and Japan.
  • It characterizes this as a "semi-coordinated effort among wealthy countries to abolish one of the few legal responsibilities the world's rich and comfortable have toward the poor and afflicted."

2. What examples does the article provide of other countries restricting asylum rights?

  • The article mentions that Japan tightened its asylum policy in June 2024, making it easier to deport asylum-seekers, despite only granting refugee status to 303 people that year.
  • It also discusses how under pressure from the U.S., Mexico has adopted the practice of pushing migrants back to its own southern border, relying on the difficult journey to dissuade people from traveling to the U.S.
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