BRUSSELS, 17 March 2017 – The EU-Turkey deal, which was adopted one year ago this week, aims to return all migrants and refugees who crossed the sea to the Greek islands and did not apply for asylum in Greece or whose claim was refused back to Turkey. However, since the deal was agreed, over 60,000 people have been left in deplorable conditions in Greece and thousands remain stranded in other EU member states. Record numbers of migrants are still dying at sea. More than 520 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far in 2017.
PICUM Director, Michele LeVoy, highlighted:
“The Commission and member states are understandably afraid of tough rhetoric from the far-right. But instead of defending EU values and the rights of migrants, policy makers end up catering to voters who fear migration and hold views frequently based on misconceptions. The recent EU Action Plan on Return urges member states to detain migrants for as long as possible, to lock up children and to forcibly deport more and more people. Yet evidence shows that detention and forced removal do not prevent irregular migration. Such policies are not only ineffective, they are inhumane.”
Notes to editors
- The EU-Turkey agreement was made on 18 March 2016.
- Mediterranean migrant arrivals reach 19,653, Deaths: 525, Missing Migrants Prioject, 14 March 2017.
- Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) report “One Year on from the EU-Turkey Deal: Challenging the EU’s Alternative Facts” of March 2017 describes the direct negative impact the deal has on the mental and physical health of migrants and refugees.
- Access Info has formally questioned the legality of the EU-Turkey deal.
- The EU’s renewed EU Action Plan on Return was published on 2 March 2017. See here a response of over 100 civil society organisations.
PICUM Communications Officer
+32 2 210 1780