Aegean Boat Report: Groundbreaking decision in our first pushback case before the European Court of Human Rights

Last week, we asked the European Court of Human Rights to intervene with an urgent measure under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court to prevent the pushback of four asylum-seekers from Greek territory (Aegean islands).

Initially, the Court issued a provisional decision, asking to the Greek Government information about the steps that had been taken on the allegation of pushback. The decision also imposed that first-aid assistance be provided to the asylum-seekers, who had been forced to live for three days without access to food, water, shelter, nor medical assistance.

Sadly, by the time the Court reached such a decision, three out of four asylum-seekers had been already subjected to a violent and life-threatening pushback. However, the proceedings continued in respect of the fourth asylum-seekers, and the results so achieved are important.

After having received further information on the case by us and by the Greek Government, the European Court has concluded that the asylum-seeker who is still in Greek territory cannot be subjected to a removal.

In our knowledge, this is the first time that the European Court of Human Rights issues a decision ordering that a pushback from the Greek islands should not take place.

Such decision reminds of those issued against Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in the context of the Belarusian crisis, thus representing a key element in the widening of the protection afforded by the European Court of Human Rights to asylum seekers throughout Europe.

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Aegean Boat Report