Greek Ministers Disagree Over Refugee Arrivals, Rescue Numbers

ΑΤΗΕΝS – How many refugees and migrants arrived in Greece – or were rescued at sea trying to get there from Italy – is uncertain after two key ministers gave conficting numbers.

In a report, the site InfoMigrants said that the Swiss newspaper Neue Züricher Zeitung said there there appeared to be a discrepancy between the number of migrants registered as arriving in 2021 by both the Greek government and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and what the Greek Ministry for Maritime Affairs said had been rescued by the Coast Guard.

Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis and the UNHCR said 8,000 people came from Turkey in 2021, where they had first gone fleeing war, strife and economic hardship in their homelands, half by sea and half by land.

Mitarakis tweeted how pleased he was to have achieved the “lowest migration flows since the beginning of the (migrant) crisis” that began in 2016 and is continuing under an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal between Turkey and the European Union.

The minister said the low figures had been achieved “with hard work.” Mitarakis added that this work had allowed the Greek government to “regain control,” under the New Democracy harder line against arrivals.

But the paper said that  Maritime Affairs Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis on Dec. 24, 2021 released a statement on his website that more than 29,000 refugees and migrants had been rescued although human rights groups and activists claimed constant pushbacks, which the government denied.

Plakiotakis spoke out after three separate drowning incidents killed at least 30 people just before Christmas and said he wanted  to express his “deepest sorrow for the loss of those who lost their lives.” He called these migrants “victims of ruthless murderers who are left to act uncontrollably in Turkey.”

InfoMigrant said the left the question of whether there were 25,000 migrants really rescued and where they were, the Swiss paper wondering if they were pushed back in violation of international law.

Turkey though, which also claimed pushbacks, hasn’t been sanctioned for letting human traffickers continue to keep sending them and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused of using them as political weapons to pressure the EU for more concessions.

The site said it asked the Greek Migration Ministry for a comment about alleged pusbacks and that the Swiss paper also asked questions about the discrepancy in numbers but that neither got any answers.

The paper said it asked the UNHCR what could have happened to these migrants and was told that since March 2020 there had been no formal returns from Greece to Turkey as required under the EU deal.




ATHENS - Greece confirmed 3,190 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said on Saturday, bringing all confirmed infections since the pandemic began to 3,442,963 (daily change: +0.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.


Mission…To The Holy Land – A TNH Documentary by Clelia Charissis

This past Easter season, this great feast, Pascha for Greek Orthodox Christianity and Passover for Judaism, found us during Holy Week in the Holy Land, at the Gate of Worship.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.