A 'Death Blow': Critics Decry EU-Turkey Deal on Asylum Seekers

October 5, 2020 0 By PENTICTONLAWYERS

European and Turkish leaders are moving ahead with a plan to cope with the refugee crisis that critics have characterized as “obscene,” in which European countries will pay Turkey billions to take asylum seekers off their hands.

On Tuesday the prime minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoğlu, president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and president of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, jointly shared an outline of the agreement ahead of the European Council meeting on March 17 and 18.

The outline includes a proposal “that for every Syrian refugee returned to Turkey from Greece, a Syrian will be settled within the EU,” an arrangement the human rights group Amnesty International characterized as “wrought with moral and legal flaws.”

“EU and Turkish leaders have today sunk to a new low, effectively horse trading away the rights and dignity of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The idea of bartering refugees for refugees is not only dangerously dehumanizing, but also offers no sustainable long term solution to the ongoing humanitarian crisis,” said Iverna McGowan, head of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, in a press statement.

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“A fundamental contradiction lies at the heart of the EU-Turkey deal taking shape,” argued Bill Frelick, refugee rights director at Human Rights Watch. “The parties failed to say how individual needs for international protection would be fairly assessed during the rapid-fire mass expulsions they agreed would take place.”

United Nations high commissioner for refugees William Spindler joined the widespread critique on Tuesday, noting that he is “concerned about any arrangement that involves the blanket return of all individuals from one country to another without sufficiently spelt out refugee protection safeguards in keeping with international obligations.”

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