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Refugee struggle: secret document could prove Turkey is not a safe third country

Germany’s largest pro immigration advocacy organization PRO ASYL, together with Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) have urged the European Asylum Support Office  (EASO) to release a potentially crucial report on the Turkish asylum system.

The document, dated 15th June 2016,  is believed to include information that would show that Turkey is not a safe third country and cannot be considered as such. This would have implications on rejected asylum claims that are made based on inadmissibility grounds.

The full document was never published due to the reason that it brought to light many facts about Turkey that went against the political agenda of the EU Commission and other key players such as EASO and EU member states. All of these actors have promoted the EU-Turkey deal and considered it to be a “big success.”

RSA reported that they have requested the access to the document from EASO, but the agency responded by providing a heavily redacted version of it:

“It is alleged that the document has been downgraded because it documented that Turkey cannot be considered as a safe third country. Some traces indicating that Turkey does not fulfil the criteria of a safe country are existent already in the redacted version of the document.

According to the agency’s assessment — based on Regulation 1049/2001 — a disclosure of the non-redacted report “could seriously undermine the protection of privacy and integrity of individuals (in particular it could lead to identifying of the non-public sources), and international relations with a third country; as well as the protection of the agency’s decision making process”.

However, RSA and PRO ASYL point out that the same regulation mentioned by EASO is “explicit on the agency’s obligation to release a document when there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.”

They argue that in this case, there is a very strong public interest in clarifying the content of the report, and therefore it should be released in the interest of transparency.

The EU-Turkey Deal , which sealed the EU borders, was implemented over 3 years ago, and since then there were many reports that the it had dire consequences and put peoples’ lives in extreme danger.

Nobody has benefited from the deal, apart from smugglers and criminal networks that were constructed in the wake of the deal, making lucrative profits out of games played with human lives.

For the locals on the Aegean Islands, life has also been difficult to manage because of the deal. The Greek government disregards their concerns and protests, and continues to support internal borders that keep thousands of people stranded on the small tourist islands, prevented from reaching the mainland.

For the people that are stuck on Samos, Lesvos, Chios, and Leros because of the deal, life is unbearable. It has been unbearable for months and even years.

At the 3 year anniversary of the deal that occurred in March 2016, MSF’S Head of Mission in Greece, Emmanuel Goué stated  that “The EU and Greek authorities continue to rob vulnerable people of their dignity and health, seemingly in an effort to deter others from coming. This policy is cruel, inhumane and cynical, and it needs to end.”

Contrary to what the EU Commission claims, the deal has not been successful. You can read about its failings in the Are You Syrious Special on the EU-Turkey deal.

via Are You Syrious

Photo: Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive from Turkey to Lesbos, Greece, by Ggia, CC BY-SA 4.0

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