Frontex, the border and coast guard agency of the European Union issued a response to media allegations on Thursday that illegal pushbacks of refugees had been taking place on the land and sea border between Greece and Turkey.
This came as a result of the preliminary findings of an internal investigation launched in October.
”…all operations of Frontex have to be carried out in full compliance with the applicable legal requirements, and in particular with fundamental rights, notably the principle of non-refoulement,” the European border agency noted.
FRONTEX operates alongside the Greek Border Patrol and the Greek Coast Guard in an attempt to secure Greece’s and therefore the European Union’s border with Turkey.
It is noted that both Turkey and several Non-Governmental Organizations have been accusing the Greek authorities of pushing back refugees and migrants in the Aegean Sea, something that is illegal under international law.
Greece has denied these allegations.
FRONTEX began an internal inquiry earlier this year, following accusations that the agency was complicit in illegal pushbacks conducted in the Aegean Sea.
In its announcement, the EU’s border agency also noted that ”urgent action is needed in order to investigate all aspects related to the matter,” in an attempt to shed light on this issue.