Bringing Greek pushbacks to justice

Woman refugee files complaint exposing secret state policy

Greece – Pushbacks – Parvin A

Severely beaten, secretly detained and forcibly returned from Greece six times, Parvin A filed a complaint at the UN Human Rights Committee for multiple violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in February 2022. Her case exposes the systematic Greek practice of pushbacks owing to digital evidence she was able to preserve from inside detention and at the border which was analyzed as part of a Forensic Architecture investigation


Parvin A fled Iran due to gender-based persecution in 2017. She was recognized as a refugee in Turkey by UNHCR, but this was not acknowledged by Turkish authorities, who denied her asylum. During her quest for a safe place, she was unlawfully detained and violently pushed back six times by Greek officers across the Evros river and the Aegean Sea from February to June 2020.

Greek officers subjected her to multiple human rights violations, intentionally denying her any rights or legal safeguards. She was unlawfully detained in incommunicado detention in filthy conditions, subjected to gratuitous physical violence, and summarily expelled without a chance to challenge her expulsion. Her complaint claims violations of the ICCPR in relation to her summary arbitrary expulsion, and ill-treatment under Articles 7, 16 and 2(3) as well as 9 and 10 for her detention. She filed it against Greece to the UN Human Rights Committee with the support of ECCHR and Forensic Architecture.


Human rights institutions and the media have gathered consistent and credible evidence that Greek pushbacks are coordinated, systematic and widespread, and that they form part of a secret state policy. However, Greece responds with outright denial and inaction, intentionally fostering impunity. Read more in our analysis.

This case is part of a series of legal steps to address systematic human rights violations at the EU’s external borders and to insist on refugees’ and migrants’ fundamental right to have rights. Due to the failure of EU institutions to hold Greece to account, this complaint seeks to develop protective UN human rights jurisprudence. ECCHR is submitting some of the first pushback cases to the committee which has yet to publish its views on the issue.


Pushbacks Across the Evros/Meriç: Film still of the analysis of Parvin’s case © Forensic Architecture
Pushbacks Across the Evros/Meriç: Film still of the analysis of Parvin’s case © Forensic Architecture

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Documents (3)


Glossary (2)



Pushbacks entail a variety of state measures aimed at forcing refugees and migrants from their territory while obstructing access to applicable legal frameworks and procedural safeguards.

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Topics (1)


Sexual and gender-based violence

Rape, sexual assault, forced pregnancy and sexual slavery: these are all sexual violence. In repressive regimes and armed conflict, the military, secret services and police often use these and similar methods as part of their strategy to oppress the civilian population.

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