UNHCR slams EU-Turkey migrant deal, places refugees at risk'

Another step to inhumanity which violates int'l law, says Oxfam

18 March, 21:23

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, MARCH 18 - The UNHCR refugee agency said Friday today's EU-Turkey deal on migrants and asylum seekers places them at risk and fails to protect their right. "This a humanitarian refugee crisis," Carlotta Sami from UNHCR Italy told RAI News 24 public broadcaster. "This accord must set up a series of guarantees on the specific rights of refugees both in Greece and in Turkey, and it does not. The refugees need protection, not to be sent back. We fear the agreement on relocations will only affect a small number of people and could place non-Syrian nationals at risk". She added that right now in Greece and Turkey, refugee rights are not being protected. "Greece still lacks adequate reception (facilities)...and rapid processing of asylum requests," Sami said.

    Doctors Without Borders humanitarian organization on Friday called "shameful" the deal. "Once more, the accord with Turkey demonstrates how European leaders have completely lost touch with reality," said Doctors Without Borders Italy President Loris De Filippi. "Its cynicism is clear: for every Syrian who, after risking his or her life at sea, will be rejected by Greece, another Syrian will get the chance to reach Europe from Turkey. Applying this revolving doors principle reduces people to numbers, denying them humanitarian treatment and the right to seek protection in Europe. It's high time European governments began facing reality, and by opening safe and legal ways, offered a responsible, unified, humane and dignified response to the unstoppable claim for protection and assistance on the part of people fleeing desperate situations". Oxfam human rights organization on Friday also slammed the deal. "The accord... violates international and European Union law, trading human beings for political concessions," said Oxfam Italy Director Elisa Bacciotti. "(It) is another step towards the abyss of inhumanity - moreover one disguised with withering hypocrisy, as a tool to combat human trafficking. European border control cannot be paid with human lives". "We call on the EU to (set up) safe and legal humanitarian corridors" for asylum seekers, Bacciotti said. "Member States must take refugees in, according to their quota. One cannot put a cap on this fundamental responsibility. You cannot stop migration, only manage it as well as possible, and the Europe that comes out of this umpteenth summit is dramatically far from this approach".

    "We are extremely disappointed," Valerio Neri from Save the Children said. "We must protect people, not borders. This accord will only create more uncertainties for the thousands of refugees stuck in the mud, the cold and the damp, and who are waiting for news from today's summit in Brussels summit... EU leaders should concentrate on their commitments on relocations, and create safe and legal channels for entry into the European Union". (ANSAmed).

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