In response to an agreement announced today between the European Union and Turkey on refugees and migration, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) released the following statement from Aurelie Ponthieu, MSF humanitarian affairs advisor on displacement:
"European leaders have completely lost track of reality, and the deal currently being negotiated between the EU and Turkey is one of the clearest examples of their cynicism. For each refugee that will risk their life at sea and will be summarily sent back to Turkey, another one may have the chance to reach Europe from Turkey under a proposed resettlement scheme. This crude calculation reduces people to mere numbers, denying them humane treatment and discarding their right to seek protection.
"In Idomeni, Greece, where our teams have been substituting for European responsibilities for almost one year, we see the consequences of these unrealistic and inhumane calculations on people’s lives and health. These people are not numbers but women, children, and families, 88 percent of whom are fleeing refugee-producing countries. They should be treated humanely and with full respect for their rights and dignity.
"Clearly, Europe is willing to do anything, including compromising essential human rights and refugee law principles, to stem the flow of refugees and migrants to Europe. It is time European leaders stop fueling the policy-created European migration crisis and provide the only realistic and humane response: safe and legal passage and humanitarian assistance and protection to those in need."