A soldier patrols near a steel fence built along the Evros River in the area of Feres, at the Greek-Turkish border, Greece, 1 September 2021 | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/DIMITRIS ALEXOUDIS
A soldier patrols near a steel fence built along the Evros River in the area of Feres, at the Greek-Turkish border, Greece, 1 September 2021 | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/DIMITRIS ALEXOUDIS

The Greek government has announced that it will launch a campaign to prevent what it calls "illegal migration flows" from entering the country.

Greece has announced plans to launch an international campaign to prevent what it calls "illegal migration flows" from entering the country, according to the Ministry for Migration and Asylum.

The ministry announced the initiative via a press release, stating that the campaign's core message will be to make it clear that "Greece guards its borders in an organized way and does not allow illegal migration flows," adding that it is "implementing a strict but fair migration policy, always respecting European and international law."

This campaign will reportedly include the promotion and dissemination of the message in both international and national mass media and social media, which are the main channels used by the intended target audiences.

Raising awareness to 'future illegal migrants'

The initiative is also of particular importance, according to the Greek government, given the recent geopolitical developments happening in Afghanistan, as it is the country where the majority of migrants who come to Greece are from.

In an effort to deter migrants from attempting to get into Greece, the second major part of the message will be focused on raising awareness to "future illegal migrants, so that they do not become victims to traffickers and do not endanger their lives."

The initiative will be co-financed by the government and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union, with the latter covering the major share of 75%.

Focus on national security

Since it came to power in the summer of 2019 the ruling New Democracy party in its migration stance has focused on national security, more strict legislation on asylum and related issues, as well as reducing the number of people trying to get into the country.

Indeed, Greece's government continues to draw heavy criticism from human rights groups, media observers, and opposition party SYRIZA for their perceived "containment" policies and hardline approach on security and legislation.

Europe's top human rights watchdog the Council of Europe has already heavily criticised Greece's new proposed bill on migration aiming to regulate the deportations and returns of migrants, saying it poses serious restrictions on the activities of NGOs trying to save lives in the Aegean.

Following that, the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) submitted a set of "Ten Points" to the Greek government to guide the creation of an Independent National Border Monitoring Mechanism in Greece.

The move comes in response to the Greek government's decision to set up such a system, but also comes at a time when the government's policies are coming under criticism because of perceived "border militarization" following developments in Afghanistan.

 

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