UN rebukes Ankara over Syrian refugees

UN rebukes Ankara over Syrian refugees

GENEVA - Reuters
UN rebukes Ankara over Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees at Al Zaatri refugee camp in Jordan are seen in this photo. REUTERS photo

The U.N. refugee agency criticized March 29 Turkey for sending home at least 130 Syrians without its scrutiny and urged it to investigate the riot which sparked the departures that some witnesses said were forced.

Turkey denied on March 28 it had rounded up and deported hundreds of Syrian refugees following unrest at the Süleymanşah border camp, highlighting the strain exodus from Syria’s civil war is placing on neighboring states.

The Geneva-based U.N. agency reiterated the principle that forced returns violate international law and said they could not be used as a “punishment or deterrent.”

“UNHCR was not invited by authorities during the return process to monitor the procedures. Persons under international protection who have violated the law of the host country are subject to the relevant national laws and judicial procedures,” Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said.

“Return to the country of origin, even voluntarily, is also subject to standards and procedures where individuals may be placed at risk on return,” she said.