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Urgency for Actions, says the @UNHCR, while #EU barters humans to #TurkishBlackmail

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URGENT! Situation escalates warns the UNHCR

With increasing border restrictions across the Balkans, the UNHCR agency has early warned for the escalation of the situation into a humanitarian crisis similar to that on the Greek islands last autumn, and especially Lesvos .

Solving Europe’s refugees and migrants’ situation and preventing a new crisis in Greece (which has meanwhile occured, thoug, just in a few hours,  as soon as borders closed, after the 7th of March), requires a number of clear actions, Adrian Edwards,UNHCR spokesperson told a press briefing in Geneva.

 

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Emergency  Actions required

Among the most urgent of these actions when it comes to Greece is the need for

  • better contingency planning,
  • with increased accommodation capacity
  • and other support.

“The authorities are trying to respond now to prevent a further deterioration of conditions throughout Greece.

But, more resources and better coordination are critical for averting wider suffering and chaos,” Edwards stressed.

UNHCR is continuing to support the response operation and has set up field offices in eight locations and deployed additional staff including mobile emergency teams who quickly move to wherever the changing situation demands.

registration and asylum

UNHCR is urging the Greek authorities with the support of the European Asylum Support Office and EU Member States to strongly reinforce its capacity to register and process asylum seekers through the national asylum procedure, as well as through the European relocation scheme.

 safe pathways

In the overall management of the situation will also help, the UNHR has said,

  • Increased regular pathways for admission of refugees from countries neighbouring Syria
  • More resettlement and humanitarian admission,
  • family reunification,
  • private sponsorship, and
  • humanitarian and refugee student and work visas

UNHCR will convene an important conference on this topic in Geneva on 30 March and hopes for concrete offers in this regard.

All the above measures serve to reduce demand for people smuggling, onward movements, and dangerous boat journeys. They thus save lives.

UNHCR spokesman underlined.

relocation in question

” It should concern everyone that despite commitments to relocate 66,400 refugees from Greece, states have so far only pledged 1,539 spaces, and only 325 actual relocations have occurred,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards underlined.

Not a “Safe country ” is Turkey …

 

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The FIDH Worldwide Movement for Human Rights strongly condemned by an official Organization Press Release, the EU States’ and Governments’ decesion of March 7, along with the Trurkish Government, and called on the EU and its member States to stop trying to push migrants away at all costs, stop bartering migrants as goods, but create instead legal and safe channels including through increasing their unconditional resettlement capacities.

the cynical ‘migrant swap’

With the help of NATO, the EU will ‘return all new irregular migrants’ crossing the Aegean Sea to Turkey. Given that migrants reaching Europe are mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis in need of international protection, FIDH is worried that these people will not have access to a fair and effective asylum process

According to the plan, the EU would resettle a Syrian from Turkey for every Syrian returned to Turkey

The mere idea that the EU could condition resettlement of Syrians on Turkish willingness to readmit other Syrians is repulsive., codemns FIDH President, Karim Lahidji

‘The announced ‘migrant swap’ shows once again the EU complete lack of consideration for migrants’ dignity and rights. Do we have to remind the EU and Turkish leaders that they are not bartering goods but dealing with human beings, some of them in urgent need of protection? The mere idea that the EU could condition resettlement of Syrians on Turkish willingness to readmit other Syrians is repulsive.’

Karim Lahidji, FIDH president

According to EU Heads of State and Government, for this plan to be ‘legal’, Europe must grant a ‘safe country’ status to Turkey.

‘Under no circumstances can Turkey be considered a ‘safe country’ for migrants. The EU’s decision to turn a blind eye to the deteriorating human rights situation and the lack of an adequate asylum system does not mean it is a safe country. Refugees may be at risk of deportation, in violation of the principle of non-refoulement. This decision only sadly shows that in order to outsource its responsibilities, the EU is caving in to Turkish blackmail using migrants as bargaining chips.’’

Geneviève Jacques, FIDH chargée de mission on migrants’ rights

Out of question the Greece-out-of-Schengen scenario, said @NikosKotzias

Greece Migrants Border Patrol

Bilateral relations, the refugee issue, the various crisis areas, and Cyprus, were among the issues discussed at the working dinner on January 23 evening in Berlin to the Greek  Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias by his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In his statements to the Greek and international press  after the meeting, the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Niko Kotzias, excluded once again the possibility of joint patrols of Greek and Turkish coastguard, and proposed Fronex to readmit those migrants that are not entitled to asylum, to Turkey, after their identification in Greece .

Foreign Minister Kotzias openly condemned, taliking to the press, the proposals for exclusion of Greece from Schengen.

Asked to comment on the recent Financial Times article , according to which Brussels and Berlin consider a proposal of Slovenia to strengthen care at the border between Greece and FYROM, which would result in trapping thousands of people in Greece, Mr. Kotzias noted that such a question had never been put from the German side and stressed that

“the Greek Foregn Ministry’s policy is to prevent any wrong thoughts to be translated into policy recommendations.”.

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He added that
“these plans ( proposed by some new in the EE countries)  have not understood how the Schengen works and what is its significance”

and underlined that

“sometimes the new members of the EU have yet to consolidate the Europeanism which is something they should do.”

The Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias after his meeting with his counterpart  in Berlin presented the Greek proposal for Frontex aid in the Aegean waters that Greece is asking for, in accordance with the fact that Greece requested by the European agency 100 vessels to be send to Greece, to carry back to the hotspot islands in Turkey, immigrants will be rejected for asylum.

According to the Greek Minister of Foreign affairs

  • The audit of the refugees flows should be done in Turkey,
  • Frontex  must strengthen its fleet
  • while all newcomers, refugeees and migrants should be identified in the Hotspots in Greece that have to be completed as soon as possible , and also
  • there should soon be an agreement with Ankara refugees to be repatriated should board the vessels of  Frontex and be transported back to Turkey.

In this way, the Greek Foreign Minister estimates, the number of those attempting to cross to Europe will be limited .

As regards to the discussion on  the joint patrols of Greek and Turkish coast guard, Mr. Kotzias explained that this

“would put us automatically to the problems which we already have to solve with Turkey, but not to the refugees problem solving, while the is no reason to confuse the refugee crisis problems with more general Greek-Turkish relations problems “

The role of Frontex Foreign Minister Kotzias underlined,

«has nothing to do neither with the joint patrols or with the Greek-Turkish issues. It is a third, neutral factor for the Turks and could help to the readmission of those who are not entitled to asylum.

This is our proposal, ” the minister said, adding that such action would require about 100 additional ships. The search and the rescue, minister Kotzias clarified , are under the sovereignty of the Greek state.

“The Frontex may facilitate to the readmission of those who are not entitled to asylum.”

The minister said Frontex should deploy about 100 boats in the narrow stretch of water separating Greece from Turkey, the main launching pad for 850,000 refugees and migrants who reached Greece’s shores last year.

Greece has repeatedly called on Frontex to help send back people deemed ineligible for asylum in Europe, such as migrants from Morocco and Pakistan.