“Push-backs and prevention of entry can put asylum-seekers at further risk and expose them to additional trauma,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters on Friday.
Edwards said the agency was particularly worried about a group of 150 Syrians, including families with children, barred Tuesday from entering Greece at Evros, on the border with Turkey.
“UNHCR received information from villagers of the group being detained and transported in police vehicles to an unknown location, although they have not been transferred to a reception centre.
“Their current whereabouts is unknown to us,” he said, adding that there were fears they had been sent back to Turkey.
In Bulgaria, UNHCR was seeking more information from the authorities about 100 people reportedly denied entry last weekend amid bolstered border security.
“Introducing barriers, like fences or other deterrents, may lead people to undertake more dangerous crossings and further place refugees at the mercy of smugglers,” Edwards said.