UNHCR expresses deep sorrow over the new tragedy off Lesvos involving Syrian refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expresses deep sorrow over the recent shipwreck off the coast of Lesvos in which six persons have lost their lives: one mother with two very young children, one 17-year-old pregnant girl, one minor boy and one man. Search and Rescue operations for the location of 3 more missing persons continue. According to statements made by relatives of the victims to the police authorities of the island, the Syrians had left the Turkish coasts on 6th March heading towards Lesvos. There is information that among the victims there is a five-member family and a 14-year-old boy who used to live in Greece but were obliged to return to Syria due to the Greek economic situation and subsequently forced to flee again because of the conflict.
This tragedy comes only three months after 21 Afghan refugees lost their lives in the Aegean Sea. Since August 2012, when the crossing of the Evros has been made more difficult, refugees and migrants are increasingly turning to the Aegean and taking greater risks in the attempt to reach Europe. Among the persons attempting the crossing there are an increasing number of Syrian refugees fleeing from the conflict. UNHCR highlights once again that border control measures should be combined with safeguards for the protection of persons fleeing from war and persecutions in line with State’s international obligations.
The UNHCR office in Greece furthermore has stressed that Syrian refugees should not be detained on the grounds of lack of legal documents or be served with deportation or return orders. On the contrary the Greek State should take all necessary measures for their protection, including processing of their asylum claims through fair and efficient procedures.
UNHCR applauds, once more, the solidarity initiatives undertaken by the Lesvos community in relation to the humanitarian needs of hundreds of refugees and migrants reaching the island during the last months.
For more information, please contact:
Ketty Kehayioylou, Public Information Officer, e-mail: kehayioy@unhcr.org


One thought on “UNHCR expresses deep sorrow over the new tragedy off Lesvos involving Syrian refugees

  1. UNHCR…but nothing is done to prevent such tragedies…
    my husband saw the crows of the system …..police, port police, frontex obserivng the ocean ………………
    ….Bloody n’ abnormal hypocrites everywhere….
    I was informed by a doctor friend in Athens Saturday the 9th that a Syrian farther asylum seeker lost contact with his son on the boat from Turkey to Mytiline island…. his son body is still not found….the man is in Mytiline….

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