The founder of HumanRights360, Epaminondas Farmakis, admitted in a statement on Thursday that he wrongly estimated that the territory on which 38 refugees were found last month in the Greek-Turkish border region was Greek.
Greece had been accused of not moving fast enough to rescue the migrants, who remained helpless for days, resulting in the death of a 5-year-old girl from a scorpion sting, according to refugee testimonies.
The Hellenic Police Headquarters had issued a statement on August 11 stating that the migrants were in Turkish territory and the Turkish authorities had therefore been asked to intervene. However, HumanRights360, as well as other organizations, said that based on the evidence available to them, the migrants were on Greek territory and had been left helpless by the Greek government.
In his statement, Farmakis said, “From the publicly available data available to us and taking into account that the area presents a particularly complex territorial regime as, depending on the flow of the river, sections of land emerge from time to time along the river, we formed the erroneous belief the above were on Greek territory.”
The incident also triggered the critical response of opposition parties against the government and provoked critical reports in the European press about human rights violations. Greek police insisted the migrants had not been detected on Greek territory and therefore Greece had no right to intervene without creating a diplomatic incident with Turkey.