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Cosmetic improvements fail to hide fig-leaf nature of EU-Turkey migration deal

    March 16, 2016

    Improvements to last week’s EU-Turkey migration deal do little to hide Europe’s shameful planned mass return of refugees to Turkey, said Amnesty International today after the European Commission published a Communication on how it believes the plan should be taken forward.

    “While the emphasis on access to individual asylum assessments for refugees is an improvement on last week’s woeful EU-Turkey migration deal, this must be genuinely meaningful rather than a cosmetic change,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia. “It will not be if Turkey is declared by the same stroke of the pen a safe country of return, because it simply isn’t safe for anyone – including Syrian refugees."

    “In reality, the essence of the deal has not changed. These fig-leaf procedures won't hide Europe's guilty conscience if large scale returns of refugees start happening now."

    “Making refugee resettlement offers dependent on the number of people prepared to risk their lives is simply wrong. The EU should be organizing large-scale resettlement of refugees from Turkey up front, not waiting for Turkey to meet international protection standards or cynically declaring that they have already done so.”

    For further media enquiries please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca