UN agencies urge Greece to shed light on migrant shipwreck that killed hundreds a year ago


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The United Nations refugee and migration agencies criticized Friday Greece’s failure to shed light on one of the worst migrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. which left hundreds dead.

UNHCR and IOM stressed the “critical” importance of a “comprehensive and conclusive” investigation in a joint statement on the first anniversary of the June 14, 2023 tragedy off the coast of southern Greece.

“Investigations have been launched in Greece, but so far no result has been announced that confirms the facts about the incident,” they said.

Left-wing groups planned protest marches later Friday in Athens and other cities, as well as outside Greek embassies and consulates in other European countries.

Charities and migrant rights groups have widely criticized the Greek coast guard’s handling of the shipwreck in international waters 75 kilometers outside the town of Pylos.

Only 104 people survived the sinking of the Adriana, a rusty metal fishing boat that smuggles up to 750 migrants from Libya to Italy. Although the ship was clearly in poor condition, Greek officials were unable to evacuate the passengers before it sank. Survivors have said The Adriana sank during a failed coast guard attempt to tow it, which Greek officials strongly deny.

“A thorough investigation is essential to ensure justice for survivors and the families of victims and to help prevent similar tragedies in the future,” the two UN agencies said.

On Thursday, rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said “a credible accountability process” is needed.

“It is unconscionable that a year after this horrific tragedy, the investigation into the possible liability of the (Greek) coast guard has made little progress,” HRW official Judith Sunderland said in a joint statement from the groups.

A naval court launched a preliminary investigation several days after the accident, but has not released information on its progress. The Greek State Ombudsman took office in November 2023 a separate probe.

Greek officials had not issued a statement by early Friday afternoon to mark the anniversary of the shipwreck, and did not respond to earlier requests for comment.

Greece is an important entry point for people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia looking for a better life in the European Union.

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