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EU - Turkey agreement
 

UN says returning asylum seekers to Turkey could be illegal

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

FUENTES BBC ISTANBUL 08 DE MARZO DE 2016 13:53 h
Asylum seekers in Turkey. / UNHCR

The United Nations warned that the agreement through which Greece could return all migrants arriving to their coast to Turkey could not be legal.



Vincent Cochetel, the UN's regional co-ordinator for the refugee crisis in Europe, said on Wednesday: "An agreement that would be tantamount to a blanket return of any foreigners to a third country is not consistent with European law."



Amnesty International also reacted to the deal signed by the EU and Turkey. The plan was "wrought with moral and legal flaws". Iverna McGowan, head of Amnesty's International's European Institutions Office, said: “EU and Turkish leaders have sunk to a new low, effectively horse trading away the rights and dignity of some of the world's most vulnerable people.”



The European Union believes the legal questions will be covered by declaring Turkey a “safe third country” for return. Only one member of the EU (Bulgaria) has done this so far.



Turkey is also not a full member of the Geneva Convention, which could raise more legal questions.



 



Source: BBC, UNHCR



According to BBC, the agreement between the European Union and Turkey includes these:



1- All new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands will be returned to Turkey, with the EU meeting the costs. Irregular migrants means all those outside normal transit procedures, ie without documentation. The term "illegal migration" usually refers to people smuggling



2- In exchange for every returned Syrian, one Syrian from Turkey will be resettled in the EU



3- Plans to ease access to the EU for Turkish citizens will be speeded up, with a view to allowing visa-free travel by June 2016



4- EU payment of €3bn ($3.3bn; £2.2bn) promised in October will be speeded up, and a decision will be made on additional funding to help Turkey deal with the crisis. Turkey reportedly asked for EU aid to be increased to €6bn



5- Preparations will be made for a decision on the opening of new chapters in talks on EU membership for Turkey


 


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