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European Council: Rushing asylum appeals process would not be fair or legal

European Council: Rushing asylum appeals process would not be fair or legal

19 October 2016

• Spokespeople available on the ground in Greece

Draft European Council conclusions calling for asylum appeals in Greece to be sped up in order to increase returns from the Greek islands to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal show disregard for people’s lives and threaten the asylum process, says Amnesty International.

“While we would commend any efforts to reduce the long uncertainty faced by many asylum-seekers, doing so simply in order to fill more boats to Turkey shows an absence of compassion. This is a situation for quality over quantity and we need to be sure that no one whose life or rights are at risk will be sent back to Turkey,” said Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International European Institutions Office.

“In focusing on hurrying to deport more people, more quickly, European leaders neglected to mention the appalling conditions that asylum-seekers are forced to live in, as I saw myself this week on Greece’s hotspot islands. Winter is coming, and given overcrowding and poor hygiene, conditions will surely quickly deteriorate unless things change. Rather than focusing on sending refugees to Turkey, they should channel their energies into sharing the responsibility refugees  fairly and relocating them to countries in the European Union.”

Please contact Alison Abrahams on +32 486 042 047 or +32 2 548 27 73 or via aabrahams@amnesty.eu to arrange an interview.