An Ineffective Response To A Humanitarian Catastrophe

Nasc is profoundly concerned at the focus on punitive measures as opposed to positive and proactive responses in the EU-Turkey Deal, which was agreed by the European Council on 17th-18th March 2016 and presented to much criticism to TDs in the Dáil this morning.


“This agreement is – at best – an ineffective response to what is fast becoming a humanitarian catastrophe,” comments Nasc CEO Fiona Finn.  “At its worst, it is a largely punitive measure aimed at punishing those fleeing violence and persecution for the method by which they arrive in Europe to seek protection.”


“EU leaders had an opportunity in these discussions to step up their response to this escalating catastrophe, for example by agreeing to accept additional numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, and by offering safe and legal channels of migration for people fleeing violence and conflict.”


“Instead, Europe has effectively shut the door, by not committing to take additional numbers beyond the 120,000 previously agreed, and by targeting one of the primary methods people have to flee violence and persecution without opening alternative safe migration routes.  They have essentially subcontracted Europe’s moral and legal obligations to Turkey, an arguably unsafe third country who has not fully signed up to the Refugee Convention.”


“The focus cannot be on punishing people for coming to Europe by boat  – this measure will not work to stem the flow. Primarily because the act of fleeing violence is already inherently ‘irregular’ and people should not be punished for trying to survive by whatever means necessary.”


“The scale of suffering currently existing in parts of Europe because of the EU’s inaction to date obligates us to focus on the human face of this crisis.  Ireland must take a lead now in calling for an increase in the numbers Europe will accept under relocation and resettlement, and in ensuring safe and legal migration channels into Europe, including immediately introducing humanitarian visa and admissions programmes and private resettlement and sponsorship schemes.”


“If the EU does not want people to enter Europe by boat then we must in all urgency provide alternative safe pathways for people fleeing violence and persecution. If EU leaders think that by shutting Europe’s door on people that their need to flee will end, they are demonstrating a profound and deliberate misunderstanding of the level of human suffering and terror felt by men, women and children fleeing war and conflict.” Ms. Finn finishes.

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