The ongoing debate on pushbacks and rights violations at external EU borders neglects an important aspect: the EU and its states betray their claimed goal to promote human rights, the rule of law and civil society development worldwide by helping authoritarian regimes oppress their citizens, and also to stop them from leaving.
Pushbacks to Turkey by Greece affect people treated as unlawful entrants who should often be dealt with as applicants for asylum or international protection. In extreme cases, people are mistreated, stripped, put back into the water and sent on their way to Turkey despite arriving in Greece, in a case of states putting people in harm’s way using migration policy as a pretext. Authorities can then claim low numbers of irregular entrants by not recording these people’s arrival. From Frontex and the EU’s viewpoint, this amounts to effectively achieving a strategic migration policy goal. However, achieving this “positive” outcome requires that state bodies act unlawfully. Continue