The EU's Dirty Hands

The EU's Dirty Hands


Date of publication:  21 Sep 2011 Publisher:  Human Rights Watch Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

Between November 2, 2010 and March 2, 2011, nearly 12,000 migrants entering Greece at its land border with Turkey were arrested and detained. The detention facilities where they were held did not meet minimal human rights standards. Though their treatment varied from place to place, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has held that migrant detention in Greece generally constitutes “inhuman and degrading treatment.” During this same period, the European Union’s (EU) agency for the management of operational cooperation at external borders, Frontex, provided Greece with both manpower and material support, made available by participating states, which facilitated the detention of those migrants in sub-human conditions in Greece’s overcrowded migrant detention centers. This report addresses this disturbing contradiction. Although the ECtHR categorically ruled that the transfer of migrants to detention in Greece would expose them to prohibited abuse, an executive agency of the EU and border guards from EU member states knowingly facilitates such transfers.

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