Greece commits to take ‘all steps’ to retrieve refugee girl’s body from Turkish border

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Greece will try to retrieve the body of a five-year-old girl who died on a river islet on the Greece-Turkey border where she had been among a group of 38 refugees stranded there for several days, Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Tuesday.

The refugees said the little girl had died of a scorpion sting whilst they were stranded on the islet on the Evros river.

Minister Mitarachi said in a tweet the girl’s body was on Turkish territory before committing to be part of the retreival process.

“In collaboration with the International Red Cross & Red Crescent all steps will be taken to ensure the body is properly buried with dignity by its family,” he said.

Speaking from northeastern Greece on Tuesday, Mitarachi said the group told Greek authorities they had been taken to the river by Turkish authorities, who had forced them to attempt the crossing to Greece.

Greek police announced on Monday that they had found the 22 men, 9 women and 7 children on the Greek-Turkish border, saying: “Greek police forces and other government services have rushed to their aid, to provide healthcare, food and water and to transfer them to an area of temporary accommodation.”

The Evros land border is a frequent crossing point for those wishing to claim asylum in Europe, but many reports have documented violent Greek pushbacks in recent months, as well as incidents where people have been made to cross by Turkish authorities.

According to Greek police statistics released on Tuesday, of the 7,484 total migrants arrested for illegal entry to Greece this year, 3,554 were from the Evros border.

During his visit to the migrant reception center in northeastern Greece, Mitarachi said that the 35 Syrians and three Palestinians were in good health, and that one pregnant woman among them had been taken to hospital for precautionary reasons.

READ MORE: Greece reacts to calls to rescue refugees stranded on Evros islet

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