Médecins Sans Frontières – One year after the EU-Turkey Deal, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) released a report to expose the human costs of European policy failures in Greece and the Balkans. MSF calls on the EU and member state leaders to radically change their approach to migration and ensure a swift end to the unnecessary suffering of the thousands caught in the consequences of the EU-Turkey deal.
Amnesty Internationalpublished a new report on the consequences of the infamous EU-Turkey deal, dealing in particular with arbitrary detentions, the humanitarian and legal situation for refugees stranded on the Greek islands as well as with the deportations back to Turkey.
Human Rights Watch published their annual report on the worldwide human rights situation. The chapter on Turkey contains a paragraph on refugees and migrants:
“Turkey continued to host large numbers of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, primarily from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. The number of asylum seekers transiting to Greece fell after the March EU-Turkey migration deal (see European Union chapter). Despite increased aid and some efforts by authorities, most refugees and asylum seekers lack effective protection, education, or formal employment, with high rates of child labor and a particularly precarious situation for non-Syrians. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian children are still not attending school. A January decree allowing some Syrians to apply for work permits has had little effect to date.
Turkey’s border gates and entire land border with Syria remain closed although people seriously injured in fighting are admitted to Turkey for medical treatment. Syrian refugees attempting to cross into Turkey at unofficial crossing points are summarily pushed back into Syria and some asylum seekers and smugglers attempting the crossing have been shot dead or beaten by Turkish border guards.”
Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione – Between June 15th and 19th 2016, a team of around forty people (lawyers, legal advisors and mediators), coordinated by A.S.G.I. , visited six different areas in Greece 3 , aiming at carrying out a juridical observation of what is happening in the country, following the Declaration signed March 17th and 18th , 2016 5 by the heads of state and the Government of the European Union and Turkey, and known as the “EU-Turkey statement”.
The legal position of the asylum seekers on the land is different from that of the ones “stuck” on the islands. The two geographical positions imply the application of different norms and practices.
Basically, those who arrived in Greece after March 20th , 2016, are the ones that are mainly affected by the agreement dated March 18th , 2016 (inadmissibility procedures and risk of re-admittance to
Turkey) and live on the islands (some in custody) by virtue of a government expulsion ban. The other ones, who reached Greece before March 20th , 2016, live on the remaining part of the Greek territory.
Human Rights Watch – The EU-Turkey deal commits Turkey to accept the return of all asylum seekers who travelled through Turkey in exchange for billions of Euros in aid, visa liberalization for Turkish citizens, and revived negotiations for Turkish accession to the EU. The €3 billion funding is designated for projects to improve the lives of refugees as well as of host communities in Turkey. The deal also provides for the resettlement of one other Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian returned to Turkey under the deal.
In a progress report on the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement, published on September 28, the European Commission claimed that the deal is delivering results: arrivals from Turkey to Greece across the Aegean are down, millions of Euros have been disbursed to improve access to education and healthcare in Turkey, and returns and resettlement have been undertaken. Indeed, the commission and leaders of some member states cite the EU-Turkey deal as a model for agreements with other major transit countries.