Turkey-Greece migrants: 38 people found stranded on tiny, unnamed island

Source: BBC

A group of 38 migrants, including a heavily pregnant woman, have been found stranded on a tiny, unnamed island along the Turkish-Greek border.

The 22 men, nine women and seven children say they have been on the Evros river islet since mid-July.

After being located on Monday, they were taken to mainland Greece.

The country’s migration minister said the group were all in a “very good condition” and the pregnant woman had been taken to hospital as a precaution.

All members of the group identify themselves as Syrians, say Greek police.

There had been some uncertainty over the group’s location and therefore over whether Turkey or Greece should have stepped in to help.

Greek authorities initially said the people were in Turkish territory.

They were eventually found about 4km (2.4 miles) south of the coordinates outside the Greek territory that was initially reported some days ago. This is why, Greek police suggest, the migrants had not been found earlier.

At least one child died on the islet, say the group and human rights agencies, but Greek police have not yet confirmed this.

Greece’s treatment of migrants trying to reach Europe from Turkey has been highlighted for a number of years.

Human rights groups allege thousands of people seeking asylum have been pushed back before being given the change to apply for asylum. It’s also caused rows within the EU after a senior official claimed last year that the country was breaching European fundamental rights.

Some refugees say they have been forcibly returned to Turkish waters.

The Greek government has always denied these claims and insists it complies with European and international law.

This incident on the Evros river “highlights the brutality of pushbacks”, said Dimitra Kalogeropoulou, the Greece director of the International Rescue Committee.

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