Turkey as a safe third country - RLS co-signs joint press release denouncing this policy.
RLS and 39 other civil society organisations co-signed the joint press release below urging Greece to revoke the Joint Ministerial Decision designating Turkey as a safe third country for people coming from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
This decision reinforces the policy established by the March 2016 EU-Turkey Statement that shifts the responsibility to protect refugees, including unaccompanied children, arriving in Europe to third countries.
For years, the effect of this externalisation policy has been to turn the Greek islands into a place of confinement for thousands of displaced and persecuted people, as authorities prioritised “containing” them on the islands to facilitate their return to third countries. This created places like Moria that became shameful symbols of Europe’s failure to protect refugees.[...]The decision to designate Turkey as a “safe third country”, should be revoked for the aforementioned reasons. Furthermore, the unworkability of this new law is highlighted, since as far back as March 2020, Turkey is not accepting the return of refugees and asylum seekers from Greece. This has been pointed out by Greece’s Ministry of Migration and Asylum as well as the European Commission.[...]Our organisations stress that “externalization simply shifts asylum responsibilities elsewhere and evades international obligations”. We once again call on the Greek and European authorities to honour their responsibility to protect refugees and to avoid further undermining the European asylum acquis and the fundamental principles and values for protecting human rights. To this end, we call on Greece to revoke the JMD issued on 7 June.
Access the press release in pdf format here: