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