human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

EU–Turkey agreement jeopardises EU’s credibility

Ahead of the Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA Council) on 21 April, Caritas Europa reiterates its opposition to the EU-Turkey Agreement reached on 18 March 2016, because it is in breach of the right to international protection.

From the first day I arrived in Greece, I ended up in the Amegdaleza detention camp. Although it is called a ‘camp’, it was worse than a prison. Police told me that I had to be in the camp for 18 months or else I would be deported back to my country. If I go to my country, I will be in danger. I don’t want to die. I am a human, I want to live; I want to create a family. I have lots of wishes in my mind like anybody else.

 N., a refugee from Afghanistan to Caritas Hellas

Caritas Europa believes that the aim of the agreement to push people back will create a dangerous precedent for the future and will undermine Member States’ obligation to guarantee the international right to seek asylum. In particular, the plan to close borders for people in need of international protection is a flagrant violation of this right.

Europe cannot close its borders and heart to the suffering of people in urgent need of solidarity and compassion. Thus, Caritas Europa calls on the members of the JHA Council to:

  • Open safe and legal channels of entry into the EU;
  • Introduce a humanitarian visa, which is affordable and easily accessible via any EU embassy in countries of origin and transit;
  • Facilitate family reunification for refugees and migrants, hence fostering integration in receiving countries;
  • Avoid systematic detention of migrants in hotspots;
  • Stop pushing back migrants to non EU-countries and invest instead in integration policies.