New Tragedy in Pharmakonisi

 Together with numerous other national and international organisations, the Greek Council for Refugees expresses its grief and concern regarding the most recent tragedy that happened on Monday 20th January 2014 in the Aegean Sea, close to the islet of Pharmakonisi.



Notwithstanding the fact that identifying and holding the perpetrators accountable of the tragic death of 12 people - including women and young children- is imperative, GCR would also like to underline the obligation to provide psycho-social and legal support to the survivors, following their lengthy tragedy in the Greek and Turkish waters. 

Today, Thursday 23rd January 2014, the 16 survivors – Afghan and Syrian nationals- amongst which a young woman, her one year old child and four more minors, were taken to GCR offices, in order to ensure that they receive the protection they deserve, with the support of the organisation’s Legal and Social Services. Many of the survivors have lost their family at sea, and their direct and practical protection is a major priority, in parallel to the legal actions that need to be taken in order to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.

It is clear that no matter how strengthened border control measures are applied, they will not prevent refugees from trying to reach Europe to seek a safe haven. Once again, we mourn victims that are the direct consequence of the policies followed. The recent victims, added to the list of people who have lost their lives in the Aegean Sea, confirm this in the worst possible way. 

Instead of offering its assistance and protection to the refugees that reach the country's territory, the Greek authorities treat them in a way that is unacceptable for human beings, and all the more so for those who flee their country in order to save their lives and the lives of their families.The means and ways of guarding the external borders of the EU must not, in any case, overrule the value of human life and the protection of human rights.

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