Greek authorities said Tuesday the bodies of six people believed to be possible migrants have been found off the island of Lesbos, at a time when Athens stands accused of rights abuses against irregular arrivals.
The Greek coast guard said four bodies were found on the coast near the port of Mytilene and two others were taken from the water.
The bodies of three men and three women were transferred to a Lesbos hospital for an autopsy, the coast guard added, after three police patrol boats and a helicopter took part in the search.
The deceased were “foreigners,” the coast guard said, and a search was still ongoing for other possible victims and their vessel.
Lesbos, an Aegean Sea island near Turkey’s west coast, is a frequent transit zone for migrants traveling to western Europe from Asia and the Middle East.
Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum-seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
Greece’s pushbacks of irregular migrants have increased by 97% in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to a report by the Norwegian nongovernmental organization (NGO) Aegean Boat Report, which monitors the movement of migrants in the area.
Also, hundreds of people protested in central Athens Sunday against Greece’s illegal pushbacks of migrants and refugees after migrants froze to death last week as a result of the practices of Greek border units. -Agencies