UN: EU-Turkey Migrant Deal May Be Illegal

UN: EU-Turkey Migrant Deal May Be Illegal

The United Nations and human rights groups warned on Tuesday that a tentative European Union deal to send back all irregular migrants to Turkey in exchange for political and financial rewards could be illegal.
“I am deeply concerned about any arrangement that would involve the blanket return of anyone from one country to another without spelling out the refugee protection safeguards under international law,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Reuters reported.
He was speaking hours after the 28 EU leaders sketched an accord with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels that would grant Ankara more money to keep refugees in Turkey, faster visa-free travel for Turks and a speeding up of Ankara’s long-stalled membership talks.
Rights group Amnesty International called the proposed mass return of migrants a “death blow to the right to seek asylum”. Relief charity Doctors without Borders said it was cynical and inhumane.
But Davutoglu insisted the preliminary deal would not stop Syrian refugees from  legitimately seeking shelter in Europe.
“The aim here is to discourage irregular migration and ... to recognize those Syrians in our camps who the EU will accept - though we will not force anyone to go against their will - on legal routes,” he said at a meeting with his Greek counterpart in the Turkish coastal city of Izmir.
The executive European Commission also said the deal to put an end to a mass influx of more than a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, due to be finalized next week, was legally sound.

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