The legal justification for the EU-Turkey refugee deal has been challenged in the European Court of Justice by three asylum seekers. Their argument, that Turkey is not a safe place for refugees, is backed by human rights groups.
According to the complaint filed with the Luxembourg-based court last week, the EU is violating international law and its own statutes by sending asylum seekers back to Turkey, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday, citing a legal memo sent to member states by the European Council’s legal service. The memo was obtained by the civil liberties website Statewatch.
The three complainants, two of whom are Pakistani and the third Afghan, are currently in refugee camps in Greece, a country from which irregular asylum seekers, who arrived in Europe from Turkey, are being sent back under the challenged deal.
They argue that the arrangement between Brussels and Ankara breaches their right to asylum and their right to be protected from being forced to go to a country where they may be treated inhumanely or even expelled onward into a war zone.
The latter is the most serious part of the complaint. Turkey was reported by rights groups to deport refugees to countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
if so, this violates the so-called principle of non-refoulement, which was introduced into international refugee law in the aftermath of World War II in response to the failure of some European nations to shelter people fleeing Nazi Germany’s extermination policies.
EU-Turkey refugee deal illegal, court challenge claims
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