As we head towards the first anniversary of the EU-Turkey agreement on refugees, Amnesty International (“Amnesty”) has issued a communiqué today (Tuesday). Its message: “The agreement upon refugees between the EU and Turkey has made living conditions dangerous and sordid. It cannot be replicated in other countries.”
Amnesty considers this agreement, dating back to March 2016, and which anticipates the return to Turkey of irregular migrants so as to reduce migration to the EU, is disadvantageous. It has led to “an excessive cost for those who have had to suffer its consequences.”
The organisation notes the “dangerous and sordid conditions” in which migrants are living on the Greek Islands. Amnesty mentions “cases of the illegal return of asylum seekers to Turkey, in flagrant violation of their rights under international law.”
Amnesty also states, “At the point when the agreement entered into force, all refugees and migrants were automatically placed in detention centres.”
It goes on, “Even if the detention regime is not as strict, individuals in the camps are still not allowed to leave the islands. They are forced to live in misery, for months, in overpopulated camps. There is no hot water, the diet is poor, sanitation is insufficient and medical care is inadequate.”
The organisation goes on to detail somewhat insecure safety conditions.
Deputy Europe Director at Amnesty International, Gauri van Gulik, says, “As long as Turkey continues to be an unsafe country, the EU should cooperate with the Greek authorities to urgently transfer all asylum seekers to continental Greece. European governments should allow such individuals to relocate to other EU member states.”