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Amnesty International: EU 'sugar-coating the cyanide pill' in Turkey migrant plan

By Daniel Uria   |   March 19, 2016 at 11:17 AM
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BRUSSELS, March 19 (UPI) -- Amnesty International accused European leaders of "double-speak", saying the deal between the European Union and Turkey on the refugee crisis contains a "myriad of contradictions."

EU and Turkish leaders reached the the landmark agreement Friday to stop the flow of migrants and send thousands back to Turkey.

Amnesty International's Director for Europe and Central Asia John Dalhuisen argued the deal represents a conscious effort by the EU to ignore the crisis.

"The 'double-speak' this deal is cloaked in fails to hide the European Union's dogged determination to turn its back on a global refugee crisis, and wilfully ignore its international obligations," he said.

Under the deal, Greek authorities will continue to process asylum requests individually. All migrants who do not apply for asylum in Greece or have their claim rejected will be sent back to Turkey. The EU would also resettle Syrian migrants already Turkey for every one sent back.

One of the more controversial aspects of the deal involves whether it can effectively return all irregular migrants in Greece to Turkey.

"Guarantees to scrupulously respect international law are incompatible with the touted return to Turkey of all irregular migrants arriving on the Greek islands as of Sunday," Dalhuisen.

Although European Council President Donald Tusk emphasized that the process will exclude, "any kind of collective expulsions," Dalhuisen continued to question whether European leaders will comply with the law.

"Promises to respect international and European law appear suspiciously like sugar-coating the cyanide pill that refugee protection in Europe has just been forced to swallow," he said.

Officials said one of the goals in the new deal is to protect migrants from the dangerous trip across the sea from Turkey to Greece, but Dalhuisen believes placing refugees in Turkey is also unsafe.

"Turkey is not a safe country for refugees and migrants, and any return process predicated on its being so will be flawed, illegal and immoral, whatever phantom guarantees precede this pre-declared outcome," he said.

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