Category: Pushback and Human Rights Violations
Number of people: 28 (7 women, 1 children)
On Tuesday, 24 November 2020 at 07.15h CET, the Alarm Phone is called by a group of travellers, who reached Samos by themselves in the night. They are 28 people, including seven women and a baby. The travellers tell us that they are stranded in the mountains, cold and without food and water, but that they are afraid of contacting the authorities out of fear of being pushed back. We later learned that this fear was based on the fact that several of the travellers had previously experienced being pushed back after reaching Samos.

People on land on the Greek island of Samos before being pushed back by the Hellenic Coast Guard

We inform the Greek authorities about the stranded travellers and that they wish to seek asylum in Greece. We also reach out to UNHCR, urging them to intervene to make sure that the refugees’ right to seek asylum is respected. At the same time, we inform the public about the group over twitter.
Throughout the day, we stay in regular contact with the travellers. We receive a list of names and birth dates of the stranded travellers and forward this to the Greek authorities and to UNHCR, again emphasising that the travellers wish to seek asylum.
At 14:49h CET, the travellers inform us that the police is arriving at their location. We tweet about the group again and try to call the police on Samos. After a few failed attempts, we finally manage to speak to the port police, who inform us that they have no information about the case. When we try to reach the travellers again at 15:21h CET, we are no longer able to reach them.
At 22:22h CET, a relative of the travellers calls us, telling us that he spoke to the group two hours ago, and that they were at sea at the time of the call, being pushed back to Turkey. According to the relative, the travellers reported that they were beaten by the police and had their possessions stolen, when he spoke to them from the police station. A few minutes later, the relative sends us a new position of the travellers that indicates that they are back in Turkey.
The next day, we receive confirmation from one of the travellers that they are back in Turkey.
One of the travellers told us the following after the push back:
This not first time this has happened to me. This month it is the second time that I have been on this island. I have clear documents to prove what happened, but I have no help, because we are refugees.”