The Refugee Agreement between the EU and Turkey have made it virtually impossible to seek protection in Europe for asylum seekers and refugees, according to a recent study, NTB-reports.
The report by Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and NRC criticized the agreement which was initiated on March 20th last year, galore.
The agreement has made Greece a testing ground for EU policies that undermines refugees and asylum seekers’ rights and exposes people to danger and abuse, according to the aid agencies.
– The EU-Turkey Agreement is playing roulette with the future of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. For those who need it most, it has become a “mission impossible” to seek protection in Europe, says IRCs country director in Greece, Panos Navrozidis.
The organizations believe that the agreement is causing great human suffering and under no circumstances should be entered into with other countries.
Meanwhile the agreement is regarded as perhaps the main reason why the violent flow of refugees to Europe in autumn 2015, almost has stopped completely.
The agreement from last year opens the way for Europe to send asylum seekers back from Greece to Turkey. It thus implies that Europe disclaims responsibility for protecting people who come to the continent for protection, according to the aid agencies.
In the report, they point out that the refugees are forced to live under degrading conditions, and that asylum seekers in many ways do not get the opportunity to avail themselves of their right to a fair asylum process.
– Europe has introduced a dangerous practice, and we fear it will be too easy for other countries now work to avoid their responsibility to provide international protection, says Oxfam’s country director in Greece, Nicola Bay.
The NRC (Flyktningehjelpen) reminds that the EU has justified Turkey Agreement as an “interim response” to the refugee influx.
– People fleeing war and persecution; have been faced with insecurity and lack of necessary legal support to prepare for interviews that will determine their fate, said Greece-country director Gian Maria Pinto of the NRC.
Aid agencies argue that refugees under the Refugee Conventions are entitled to individual treatment of their applications. It is crucial to protect people who may be returned to an area where they may be in danger.
But in Greece the main focus is on whether they can be sent back, not to consider their cases individually, the report said.
It also underlines the major shortcomings in the legal aid refugees are offered when they try to understand a confusing asylum process in constant change.
The result is that asylum seekers are forced to navigate through the lengthy process with little or no assistance, it says. In addition, the organizations are concerned with the quality of the interviews of asylum applicants through out.
Refugees in Greece the last year lived in tents, even in freezing winter weather. Children, women and men are still victims of great physical and mental trials and have only limited access to basic health care, psychological support and help to process trauma, according to the report.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today