Charity won't take money from EU member states over 'dangerous' Turkey deal
Medecins Sans Frontieres has rejected future funding from EU member states over Europe’s ‘shameful’ and ‘dangerous’ policy on refugees.
The medical charity, which treated 200,000 people in the Mediterranean region over the past 18 months, said today it would no longer take money from EU states to protest the continent’s ‘deterrence’ approach to the humanitarian crisis.
Jerome Oberreit, MSF International Secretary General, said:
‘For months MSF has spoken out about a shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need.
The EU-Turkey deal goes one step further and has placed the very concept of ‘refugee’ and the protection it offers in danger.
Once again, Europe’s main focus is not on how well people will be protected, but on how efficiently they are kept away.’
The recent EU-Turkey deal saw the authoritarian Turkish government receive one billion euros of humanitarian aid in exchange for policing Turkey’s border with Europe.
MSF said this deal has been a failure:
‘On the Greek Islands, more than 8,000 people, including hundreds of unaccompanied minors, have been stranded as a direct consequence of the EU-Turkey deal.
They have been living in dire conditions, in overcrowded camps, sometimes for months.
They fear a forced return to Turkey yet are deprived of essential legal aid, their one defense against collective expulsion.
The majority of these families, whom Europe has legislated out of sight, have fled conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.’
Last week the European Commission said it hoped to xerox this deal for 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East, including Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan – countries many refugees are fleeing.
‘These deals would impose trade and development aid cuts on countries that do not stem migration to Europe or facilitate forcible returns, rewarding those that do’, said MSF. Oberreit added:
‘Is Europe’s only offer to refugees that they stay in countries they are desperate to flee? Once again, Europe’s main focus is not on how well people will be protected, but on how efficiently they are kept away.’
MSF is 92 per cent privately funded, but received 19 million euros from EU institutions and 37 million from EU member states in 2015, along with an additional 6.8 million from Norway.
The charity works with several EU countries, including Britain, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Sweden.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.