European commissioner says EU-Turkey deal contrary to human rights
Migrants and refugees take part in a protest asking for the re-opening of the border on March 12, 2016, in a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni, where thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded by the Balkan border blockade. AFP PhotoThe deal that the European Council is discussing with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees runs contrary to human rights standards, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks has warned.
“The automatic forced return that the deal allows is illegal and will be ineffective,” Muižnieks wrote in an opinion editorial published in the International New York Times on March 14.
“Instead of racking their brains to find a legal fig leaf for measures like collective expulsions, the European Council’s members should have the courage to scrap the deal. They should adopt bold measures at the summit meeting this week that will radically shift the union’s approach to migration,” he added.
In exchange for concessions on visa requirements for Turks traveling to Europe, the European Union is asking Ankara to take back all migrants, including refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and others, who are currently crossing from Turkey into Greece by irregular means. The European Union proposes in turn to accept an equivalent number of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey.
Among the measures Muižnieks’ recommends are a more prominent EU role in finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria, a ramped-up relocation of asylum seekers from Greece and Italy and more legal avenues available to refugees to seek protection in Europe.