On 18 April 2015, a vessel capsized off the Libyan coast with up to 850 migrants aboard, only 28 are known to have survived. If this shipwreck is the deadliest the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) has recorded in the Mediterranean, it was only one in a long series. Instead of primarily focusing on saving lives, increasing its resettlement capacity and addressing the root causes of violence leading people to flee their home country, the European Union’s (EU) response has been to enhance its external border protection at all costs and outsource its migration management to countries, which cannot provide adequate human rights safeguards.
On March 18 2016, European Union leaders and Turkey struck a shameful deal providing for fast-track procedures aimed at returning ‘all new irregular migrants’ reaching the Greek islands after March 20 who do not have a legitimate asylum claim back to Turkey and an infamous ‘migrant swap’. For each Syrian sent back to Turkey, the EU will resettle a Syrian refugee from Turkey. Deportations started on April 4. European leaders argue that only those who failed to claim asylum in Greece or whose claims were rejected will be deported.
One year on, FIDH denounces the ugly truth behind a cynical deal and exposes the reality of the situation of migrants and asylum seekers in Greece, Turkey and the Aegean See, using the popular concept of ’What it really is’. A reality that starkly contrasts with the European Union and its member states wishful thinking and hypocritical sugar-coated discourses on the promotion and protection of human rights.
Read ‘What Turkey really is’ by Yusuf Alataş, FIDH Vice President
Read ‘What the Aegean sea really is’ by Dan Van Raemdonck, FIDH Secretary General
Read ‘What Greece really is’ by Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH Vice President
Read ‘What the EU really is’ by Karim Lahidji, FIDH President