Frontex RABIT to remain at Greek-Turkish border until March 2011
(7 December 2010)
On December 3, 2010, the Executive Director of Frontex signed a decision that will see the Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABITs) remain at the Greek-Turkish land border until at least March 3, 2011. The teams have been situated at the border with Turkey since November 2, 2010. The initial deployment of 175 agents was planned for two months, with the teams consisting of persons from 26 Member States. The Executive Director, Ilkka Laitinen, stated that when the RABIT teams are recalled from the Greek-Turkish border, Frontex will continue to maintain a presence in the region.
It has been reported by Frontex that migrant crossings in to Greece via this corridor had fallen by 44 percent at the close of November 2010. Since June, 33 000 persons were intercepted crossing the Greek-Turkish border. In October the highest numbers for persons intercepted crossing in this region were recorded at 7586, while at the end of November the number was reported to be 4270. Frontex also noted that they had arrested 13 smugglers. Meanwhile the U.N. has recorded 44 deaths of migrants crossing the Evros river between the two countries this year. Of the 33 000 migrants, Frontex has stated that the majority have come from Afghanistan (47%), Algeria (17%), Pakistan (8%), Somalia (7%) and Iraq (5%).
Source: ‘Conditions Deplored for Migrants Being Held in Greece at Turkish Border’, Caroline Brothers, New York Times, 7 December, 2010; ‘Frontex RABIT deployment to Greece extended until March 2011’, Frontex, December 7, 2010; ‘Frontex estimates illegal border crossings on the Greek Turkish border have diminished by 44% by the end of November’, Frontex, November 30, 2010