How Turkey’s Promise to Stop the Flow of Refugees Is Creating a New Crisis – The New York Times

Turkey is struggling to cope with the 2.7 million Syrians it hosts and honor its agreement to stop refugees from crossing into Europe. And renewed fighting in Syria last week pushed tens of thousands of Syrians closer to the border with Turkey, in a sign that the problem could still get worse.

Source: How Turkey’s Promise to Stop the Flow of Refugees Is Creating a New Crisis – The New York Times

This is the diplomatic equivalent of sweeping millions of people under the rug. How’s that going to end?

Stop Your Backsliding, Europe –

In exchange for concessions on visa requirements for Turks traveling to Europe, the European Union is asking Ankara to take back all migrants, including refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and others, who are currently crossing from Turkey into Greece by irregular means; the European Union proposes in turn to accept an equivalent number of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey.

Some union officials are portraying this deal as a good solution to the crisis. In reality, the automatic forced return that the deal allows is illegal and will be ineffective.

It is illegal because forced returns run contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits the collective expulsions of aliens. They also violate the right to seek asylum that was established in 1948 by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and contravene guarantees established by the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which recognizes that seeking asylum can require refugees to breach immigration rules.


Human Rights Watch Letter to EU Leaders on Refugees | Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch supports a dramatic increase in refugee resettlement from Turkey and other frontline states, and shares the hope that this possibility will convince Syrian refugees that they can reside in safety and dignity in Turkey and other countries of first asylum pending a durable solution to their plight. However, we caution against any suggestion of conditionality between refugee resettlement and the forced return of asylum seekers. Resettlement can be a very helpful supplement to asylum but can never be a substitute for the right to seek asylum.

We see three particularly harmful elements in the principles articulated on March 7: 1) fast-track mass returns to Turkey, 2) the proposal to resettle one Syrian refugee from Turkey for each irregularly arriving Syrian who is returned to Turkey; and 3) cooperation with Turkey on what appears to be the establishment of a “safe area” in Syria that would be used as a pretext to contain the flow of asylum seekers leaving that war-torn country.

-Kenneth Roth

Source: Human Rights Watch Letter to EU Leaders on Refugees | Human Rights Watch

Europe’s Refugee Opportunity

For starters, the EU should commit to absorbing at least 500,000 asylum-seekers a year, while working to convince the rest of the world to accept an equal number. A public commitment of this magnitude should help calm the disorderly scramble for Europe. Asylum-seekers provided with a clear status and promises of safety could be induced to wait in Turkey and other frontline countries, rather than risk a dangerous Mediterranean crossing.Second, formal gateways should be established, first in Turkey, and then in Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, and Morocco. Gateway countries would establish, in close cooperation with the United Nations Refugee Agency and the EU, processing centers to register asylum-seekers and assess their applications. Accepted asylum-seekers would then be placed in a queue and required to remain in the gateway country until an EU country accepts them. A safe, deliberate process of vetting refugees would quell security concerns in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

-Emma Bonino

Source: Europe’s Refugee Opportunity by Emma Bonino – Project Syndicate

Bashi’s journey may signal a bigger refugee crisis to come | UNDP

As Africa’s population continues to grow, the number of people crossing deserts and seas will continue to rise. Responses have focused primarily on enforcement, but it is clear barriers and barbed wire will not deter people who are prepared to risk their lives.There is no escaping the tough decisions required to absorb and integrate a significant number of the people who have already arrived in Europe and cannot be repatriated to countries in conflict. The Bashis of this world are not motivated by the European welfare state; they are attracted by peace, opportunities for development, employment and a legal system that promises equality and protection.
-Mohamed Yahya, Regional Programme Coordinator, UNDP Africa

Read the full post: Bashi’s journey may signal a bigger refugee crisis to come | UNDP

Repeat after me: “The ones who benefit from attempts to keep refugees out are the smugglers.”

Put yourself in the fleeing refugee’s well-worn shoes. What would you do to provide relative safety for your family? What would you do for an opportunity at a decent life?

Put otherwise, what could possibly keep you from seeking it?

(Answer: nothing)