Several politicians, including Federal State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Sammy Mahdi have criticised Greece’s use of modern technology against the arrival of migrants, and have asked both the country and the European Commission and Greece to give an explanation.
According to media reports, Greek authorities are using”sonic weapons” or “sound cannons”, which use high-pitched noises to injure people and can reportedly “match the volume of a jet engine”, to stop migrants from crossing into the EU, on the border between Turkey and Greece.
“I am totally in favour of guarding European borders, but even more so of guarding European values,” said Mahdi.
“The aim is not to deter all migrants, but to have better control over migration. This can and must be done humanely,” he added.
Mahdi explained that he believes migrants should receive individual treatment and be able to seek asylum at organised border crossings, and said he planned to send a letter to the Commission to “launch a broader debate” on external border control and human values.
Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt also condemned the tactic on Twitter, and accused the bloc of being “weak against the strong and strong against the weak.”
“Is this our ‘hard power’? Is this the geopolitical revival of Europe? A ‘sound cannon’ to drown out the cries of desperate refugees… and I thought Europe was the champion of human rights,” he said on Twitter.
We’re weak against the strong (Putin, Erdogan, China) and strong against the weak ! Is this our ‘hard power’? Is this the geopolitical revival of Europe ?…
A ‘sound cannon’ to drown out the cries of desperate refugees…
and I thought Europe was the champion of human rights ! https://t.co/UAvMAvYvWT
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) June 2, 2021
The cannons are part of a large-scale deployment of physical and experimental new digital barriers being installed and tested on the 200-kilometre long border.
Greece started using two “noise cannons” at the border with Turkey to help prevent the illegal crossing of migrants and refugees into the country in October 2020.