Guy Verhofstadt on the EU-Turkey summit : “This Turkish deal is illegal and betrays Europe’s values”
Our increasingly divided and desperate European leaders are failing to deliver an effective collective response to the escalating refugee crisis. Instead of devising a strategy to protect those fleeing the barbarity of Assad, Islamic State (Isis) and the Russian air force, EU leaders are obsessed with devising a system to “stem the flow” – in other words to push desperate refugees back into the Aegean sea.
At the EU-Turkey summit on Monday, the Turkish prime minister, Ahmed Davutoğlu, offered European leaders the illusory “quick fix’’ they sought, in return for a number of concessions. The basic principle of the “one in, one out” deal on offer is that any economic migrant or Syrian refugee trafficked to a Greek island will be forcibly returned to Turkey. For every Syrian sent back to Turkey from Greece, another Syrian would be accepted by EU countries and distributed under a quota scheme. It seems that both the EU and Ankara are willing to take the bait and a deal may be concluded next week, but Europe’s leaders should be careful what they wish for.
There are a number of reasons why this approach is not just immoral, but fundamentally flawed. First, compulsory mass expulsions are, quite rightly, outlawed by the 1951 UN convention on refugees. This treaty has been signed and promoted by the EU. Article 19 of the EU’s own charter of fundamental rights specifically states that “collective expulsions are forbidden”. The UN has already made it clear that mass returns would not be consistent with international law. We know Turkey has an appalling human rights record and a non-functioning asylum system. There is even evidence that Turkey has been forcibly expelling Syrian refugees back into Syria. Does Europe really want to be responsible for an expansion of this?
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"Il devient absolument urgent de mettre un terme à cette injustice. Il y a un manque de connaissances et de recherches. Il faut donc promouvoir le recueil de témoignages, mais aussi construire des mémoriaux, organiser des expositions..." - @BenjaminAbtan