A pregnant migrant who was on a boat trying to cross the Maritsa (Meriç) River from Edirne province had to give birth on board after Greek elements pushed the boat back.

Süheyla Rizai of Afghan origin gave birth on the boat in the middle of the river before the migrants were rescued by Turkish border units, Ihlas News Agency (IHA) reported. The mother and baby were sent to the hospital and are reportedly in good health.

Turkey and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back irregular migrants, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands have made the short but perilous journey across the Aegean to reach Northern and Western Europe in search of a better life. Hundreds of people have died at sea as many boats carrying refugees sank or capsized. The Turkish Coast Guard Command has rescued thousands of others.

Turkey and Greece have been key transit points for migrants looking to cross into Europe, fleeing war and persecution to start new lives. Turkey has accused Greece of large-scale pushbacks, summary deportations and denying migrants access to asylum procedures, violating international law. Ankara also accuses the European Union of turning a blind eye to this blatant human rights abuse.

Pushbacks are contrary to international refugee protection agreements, which dictate that people should not be expelled or returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or membership in a social or political group.