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Greece: Proposed 'floating wall' will put refugee lives at risk

Refugees arriving by boat to Lesvos from Turkey, pictured in January 2016. © Amnesty International

Responding to a proposal by the Greek government to install a 1.7 mile-long system of floating dams off the coast of Lesvos to deter new arrivals of people seeking asylum from Turkey, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Europe, said:

“This proposal marks an alarming escalation in the Greek government’s ongoing efforts to make it as difficult as possible for asylum-seekers and refugees to arrive on its shores, and will lead to more danger for those desperately seeking safety.

“The plan raises serious issues about rescuers’ ability to continue providing life-saving assistance to people attempting the dangerous sea crossing to Lesvos. The Government must urgently clarify the operational details and necessary safeguards to ensure that this system does not cost further lives.” 

Last year, Greece received almost 60,000 people who arrived by sea, nearly double the previous year’s total. Between January and October, the International Organisation for Migration recorded 66 deaths of migrants at sea in this area.

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