Muslims WorldWide

EU-Turkey deal on refugees ‘would contravene international law’

UN leads chorus of protest at EU plans to deport migrants en masse to Turkey. 

UNHCR's Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Refugee Crisis in Europe Vincent Cochetel
UNHCR’s Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Refugee Crisis in Europe Vincent Cochetel. Photo: REUTERS

By Matthew Holehouse, Brussels
12:52PM GMT 08 Mar 2016

The European Union proposal to return tens of thousands of migrants en masse from Greece to Turkey is likely to violate international law, the UN said on Tuesday, as the grand bargain appeared to unravel.

Angela Merkel’s deal with Ankara to end the migrant flow across the Aegean faced serious criticism from her allies, who protested the offer of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens.

There are also grave doubts about how migrants determined to reach Western Europe could be forcibly removed in large numbers.

Under a deal provisionally agreed on Monday night, Turkey will accept the rapid return of any migrants who travel by boat to the Greek islands.

Syrian refugees onboard an overcrowded dinghy react as they arrive on a beach on the Greek island of Kos
Syrian refugees onboard an overcrowded dinghy react as they arrive on a beach on the Greek island of Kos.   Photo: REUTERS

In addition, for every Syrian removed from Greece to a Turkish refugee camp, one will be sent from Turkey directly to an EU state, in order to discourage illegal migration.

“Whoever comes illegally won’t then be among those who can come to Europe,” said Mrs Merkel. “At least not among the first, but rather they’ll have to join the end of the queue.”

David Cameron said the deal was a “breakthrough” in “ending the link between getting in a boat and getting settlement in Europe”.

Syrian refugees carry their children as they jump off an overcrowded dinghy upon arriving on a beach on the Greek island of Kos
Syrian refugees carry their children as they jump off an overcrowded dinghy upon arriving on a beach on the Greek island of Kos
  Photo: REUTERS

But the plan was met with a chorus of protests from legal experts who warned it falls foul of a number of pieces of EU and international law, including that asylum seekers must have their cases assessed as individuals.

Another problem is that Turkey has signed deportation agreements with countries including Afghanistan, which have poor human rights records. That could breach laws that forbid refugees being sent back to war zones.

“The collective expulsion of foreigners is prohibited under the European Convention of Human Rights,” said Vincent Cochetel, a senior UNHCR official.

“An agreement that would be tantamount to a blanket return of any foreigners to a third country is not consistent with European law, is not consistent with international law.”

EU officials believe a clause in Turkish law that says it only grants refugee status to people fleeing trouble in Europe is highly problematic, with one source saying its lawyers divided 50-50 on whether it renders the deal permissible.

Turkey also has over five times the number of breaches of the EU Convention on Human Rights as other Balkan states, further raised questions as to its designation as a “safe” third country, said Professor Steve Peers, an expert in EU law at Essex University.

He said it was highly likely the scheme would be challenged by a migrant in the European courts in Strasbourg and Luxembourg.

Last night Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, said that Turkish and Greek law would need to be amended to make it compliant with the Geneva Convention on refugees. “But this is a matter of detail. The decision is legal.”

Doctors Without Borders said the European leaders had “completely lost track of reality”, while Human Rights Watch accused the summit of “using refugees as bargaining chips”.

But there are tentative signs of what officials are calling the “Australian” approach may be working. Just 728 people landed in Greece on Monday, compared to 2,500 a day in late February and 6,000 at the peak of the crisis in the Autumn. Some 153 were let into Austria .

The German interior ministry said that 61,000 people arrived in February, down from 91,000 in January.

Under the deal, Turkey will get €6 billion in aid and have five new chapters of its long-running membership talks with the EU opened.

If a series of qualifications are met, from June 70 million Turks will be able to travel to the Schengen zone for 90 days on holiday or six months on business without a visa.

But Markus Soeder, the Bavarian finance minister and a member of the CSU, allied to Mrs Merkel’s CDU, said he was “very sceptical” as visas and EU membership “will lead only to more immigration.”

The route north from Greece to Germany – all but sealed off at Macedonia – was tightened further as Slovenia announced it would only admit migrants carrying EU visas.

Greece has said it can shelter 70,000 people, double the number trapped in the country at the moment.


7 thoughts on “EU-Turkey deal on refugees ‘would contravene international law’

  1. I see this whole influx of Islamic men as part of a Hijra dating back from the Russo/Afghani war followed by the Yanks/Europeans/Scandinavians. I cannot help feeling this whole muslim male influx has been in the planning for years. Iran wants to rule theill world Assad is just a nobody who never wanted to be president. Saudi would like SHaria law along with Erdogan established world wide. Both Saudi & Turkey are Wahhabi just in different dilutions. Why has Erdogan built himself a palace consisting of 1,000 rooms? No wonder he wants $600 billion, and the right for 77 million Turks to become part of the EU. How long does the EU believe they will still remain in office? Erdogan will offer of them seats on his despotic Ottoman Empire so long as they tow the line. In the meantime women will be reduced to sex slaves for the entire Islamic world and there won’t be a damn thing we can do about it. Action needs to be taken and the only man I see who can deal with this is Putin.


    • Ironic, isn’t it? “The West” allegedly “won” the Cold War and yet its best hope in the struggle against Nazislam is a former KGB stalwart! WTF?!😉


    • I totally agree with everything you said. This entire United Nations Ploy to rule the world by allowing Islam to take over all Western Countries, then troops under a U.N. Flag will be used to keep the peace. It’s all about the move for a ‘One World Government’, One World Religion – is that religion Islam?


  2. The TWAT Justin has and is allowing these Scum Refugee Terrorist into CANADA …The Dirty Twat better hope his Scum he’s letting in doesn’t destroy GODS COUNTRY , because the Canadian people , will not just sit and watch the scum ruin our COUNTRY ….


    • Now, now, we’ll have none of this Canadian hyper-nationalism, thank you very much.
      Don’t you know that Australia is God’sOwnCountry (commonly abbreviated to Godzone)?!
      Nyeh, Nyeh, Nyeh … Nyeh, Nyehhhhhh, Nyeh! ;D


  3. Everywhere that has had these scum Refugee muslim terrorists forced in their Country , Should send them ALL back , and or get’m the fuk out of their Country at once .


  4. So what. I know what doesn’t seem to breach international law, or even national law in a lot of European countries and that is the mass sexual assaults being carried out by muslims throughout Europe and if someone dared to look the US and Canada as well but who will be bothered to look.


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