• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swedish lawyers condemn EU-Turkey migrants deal
The move is meant to discourage refugees from risking their lives in often rickety and overcrowded boats. Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP/TT

Swedish lawyers condemn EU-Turkey migrants deal

TT/AFP/The Local · 20 Mar 2016, 09:36

Published: 20 Mar 2016 09:36 GMT+01:00

"Asylum seekers have a fundamental right to have their individual asylum claims reviewed in a safe country. Under this agreement there is a genuine risk that people will be denied the right to an individual assessment because it treats all refugees under a mass agreement," Louise Gunvén, lawyer and board member of Lawyers Without Borders told Swedish news agency, TT.

Asylum law prohibits return to a country that is unsafe, where people risk being subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment or torture.

"Our extensive experience of Turkey is that people risk being exposed to such treatment. Considerable failings exist in the Turkish legal system, as well as the risk of not getting a fair trial," Gunvén said.

The deal also drew criticism from John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Director for Europe and Central Asia, who said promises by the EU to respect international and European law "appear suspiciously like sugar-coating the cyanide pill that refugee protection in Europe has just been forced to swallow".

EU leaders approved a controversial deal with Turkey on Friday to curb the huge flow of asylum seekers to Europe, with all migrants arriving in Greece from Sunday to be sent back. 

The 28 EU leaders approved the deal which was negotiated with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a bid to end an unprecedented crisis dividing the continent.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka confirmed that the expulsion of migrants arriving on the Greek islands would begin on Sunday.

"Deal with Turkey approved. All illegal migrants who reach Greece from Turkey as of March 20 will be returned!" Sobotka wrote on Twitter.

But the deal comes at a heavy cost for Europe, with many members of the bloc expressing misgivings about the legality of the deal and Turkey's human rights record.

Turkey has demanded an acceleration of its long-stalled bid for EU membership, the doubling of refugee aid to six billion euros ($6.8 billion) and visa-free travel in return for taking back all new irregular migrants coming to Greece, the main entry point to Europe.

Davutoglu is now set to formally sign off on the accord at a final meeting with EU leaders.

However, in a sign of the tensions that remain between Ankara and Brussels, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted several EU states for taking only a "handful of refugees" in contrast to the nearly three million Turkey has admitted, most of them fleeing the Syrian war.

Erdogan also accused the Europeans of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) days after a bombing in Ankara claimed by Kurdish rebels allegedly linked to the group.

"European countries are paying no attention, as if they are dancing in a minefield," he said.

Critics have said the mass expulsion planned under the EU-Turkey deal could infringe international law on the treatment of asylum seekers.

Under the terms of the plan, the EU would take in one Syrian refugee from Turkish soil in exchange for every Syrian readmitted to Turkey from Greece.

Story continues below…

The move is meant to discourage them from risking their lives in often rickety and overcrowded boats operated by smugglers.

EU officials insisted the deal would be stressed repeatedly each application would be treated individually, with full rights of appeal and proper oversight.

EU sources said last-minute sticking points were cleared up over the deal's legality, Turkey's membership bid, the date for launching the agreement and a plan to double the amount of aid to Turkey to six billion euros ($6.8 billion).

Another major hurdle that was overcome was opposition from Cyprus, rooted in long-standing tensions with Turkey over Ankara's refusal to recognise its government on the divided island.

More than 1.2 million migrants have come to Europe since January 2015 in the continent's biggest migration crisis since World War II, and around 4,000 have drowned while trying to cross the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Woman told she's not Swedish enough for a job
A sun bather wears a Swedish flag hat to celebrate National Day. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's discrimination watchdog is on the case.

Really hungry elk wreak havoc in Swedish forests
Om-nom-nom. Photo: AP Photo/Becky Bohrer

"It's an emergency situation."

Swedish hotels cash in on business travellers
Visitors are flocking to Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Business travellers have been flocking to city hotels in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm this summer.

Opinion
'More men must stand up against abuse in Sweden'
Equality Minister Åsa Regnér. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Sweden's equality minister Åsa Regnér on why the government is introducing a new strategy on male violence against women.

Swedes discover secret 150-metre-long cave
Per Bäckström on his way into the cave. Photo: Alexander Bennerstål/TT

They are believed to be the first people to venture into this hidden cave on the Baltic island of Gotland.

No arrests after boy's death in Gothenburg grenade attack
The scene at the apartment in Biskopsgården two days after the attack.Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

UPDATED: Almost 200 people paid their respects at the funeral of an eight-year-old boy killed in a Gothenburg grenade attack. But police told The Local they have yet to make any arrests in the case.

Swedish couple banned from owning animals kept 100 cats
Not the cats mentioned in the article. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Animal protection officers seized around 100 cats from the couple in Halland.

'Unfriendly' Swedes give expats the cold shoulder
Is it difficult to make friends with Scandinavians? Photo: Berit Roald/NTB scanpix/TT

Sweden is among the most difficult countries for foreigners to feel at home in, according to a new survey.

Is this the most Swedish wedding cake ever?
A chocolate ball enters a mouth. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

That's a lot of balls!

Sweden's most beautiful places revealed
West-coast serenity in Onsala, Halland. Photo: Mikael Tigerström

Is the west coast the best coast?

Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th-28th
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,376
jobs available