The deployment of the Rapid Intervention Border Teams, assembled from the border guard forces of other European countries, will be the first time Brussels has deployed multinational armed units on the EU’s external land border.
The teams are to arrive in Greece within days, the European commission announced today , although the precise numbers and makeup are yet to be decided.
A commission official said: “This is a new front. The teams are armed, but they can only use their arms in self-defence.”
There has to be a solution for the appalling and inhuman way that Greece has treated asylum seekers, refugees and migrants but I am very concerned about this latest development. On the one hand, I am glad that the EU are intervening to prevent the misery that is a daily reality for those who end up here. On the other hand, what does this mean for the people who are captured by this armed force? What happens to them? There is no information about reception centres or offices for processing claims of asylum or refugee status. I assume that they will simply be deported back to the country they left. A convenient solution for those who have been unwilling to deal with the situation properly. In Europe, we are already treating immigrants as criminals and this is another step towards this Fortress Europe that people seem so willing to embrace. I assume also, that we won’t hear about the abuses and mistreatment that might be perpetrated by these forces. Another way of turning a blind eye to the desperate people fleeing places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. This move will be popular here and mostly unquestioned. It takes the pressure off Greece which is what the country wanted. The rest of Europe must be happy too. Borders being closed and guarded is exactly what the vast majority of people want. That way we don’t have to take any responsibility, do we ? We don’t even have to see the results of injustice and conflict in the world arriving on our doorsteps.
Greece ‘shamed’ by migrant internment centres
Conditions in the centres are so harsh that last week the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, described them as inhuman.
On islands such as Samos and Lesbos, which border the Turkish coast, it is not uncommon for as many as 30 men to be kept in a room sharing a single toilet and filthy mattresses. Basic commodities such as soap and razor blades are rare. Without interpreters, bewildered refugees, mostly from Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in Asia, are unable to communicate with officials.
Concerned locals do their best, handing out food and clothes, but despite the election of a socialist government which has taken a more sympathetic approach to migrants, observers say the conditions have brought shame on Greece.
Last year, amid chaotic scenes, hundreds of migrants in a detention centre on Lesbos demonstrated against their treatment. Children on hunger strike protested by setting fire to mattresses and attacking guards.
I am just worried about where this will lead. I will say it now, even though I know what the reaction to this statement will be… there will be casualties from this move. There will be abuses and mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers. The more we have demonised them, the easier it has been to treat them as less than human.
This is my opinion. What do you think ?