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  • Ill-Conceived EU-Turkey Deal is Especially Dangerous for Refugee Women

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    Statement by Sarah Costa, Executive Director

    The European Council has agreed to work with Turkey on six principles to decrease the irregular flow of migrants from Turkey to the EU. While we agree that there must be a safer way to get to Europe that does not require the dangerous route across the Aegean, we object to any proposal that sends refugees back to Turkey, denying them the ability to make asylum claims. Refoulement is ill-conceived and will not solve the crisis nor protect the rights of refugees.

    The European Council’s arrangement with Turkey is especially dangerous for women and girls – currently 55 percent of the refugees – seeking protection and safe passage to Northern Europe. On a recent assessment, women told the WRC that they attempted the journey from Turkey to Greece only when they felt they had no other option, meaning they are likely to try again if returned. Many are attempting to reunite with husbands and fathers who went ahead.

    A humanitarian and political solution must be found. First and foremost, refugees in Greece need protection and services. To this end, the Greek Government requires greater support to meet the humanitarian needs of the displaced persons on its territory.

    Closing borders along the route and forcibly returning refugees to Turkey will not stem the flow, but only force refugee women and girls to attempt even more perilous routes. We urge the countries of Europe to reconsider the arrangement with Turkey, which violates humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law.