NGOs Criticize Refugee Protection Under The Turkey-Greece Deal

NGOs are honing in on the refugee crisis taking place as a result of the Greece-Turkey migrant deal. Last year, an accord between Turkey and Greece was signed in an effort to limit the overflow of refugees into the EU. Although an attempt at a long term solution, the deal seems to have abandoned attention to human rights claim NGOs such as Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee, and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Spikes in deaths, abuse, violence, self-harm and suicide are rampant in the refugee communities.

“Greece has become a testing ground for policies that are eroding international protection standards,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee and Oxfam, in a joint report. The instability of the deal and its side effects are also criticized by Doctor’s Without Borders and Save the Children, stating that refugee children are being influenced the most, resorting to cutting themselves, attempting suicide and using drugs to cope with the “endless misery”. These NGOs claim that these physical reactions are the result of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression as a result of the deal.

Although the deal has curbed the number of refugees entering the EU, the lack of attention to basic human rights makes the deal unsustainable. The migration situation in Europe is a constantly changing entity; making it difficult to have a long term plan. Aid and attention need to be modified on a rolling basis in response to the needs of the refugees as they come up. If the policies on the crisis are malleable, like the needs of the refugees, a lasting peace may be more rapidly approached.

The agreement’s purpose was to send aid to Greece to limit refugees who were trying to enter illegally to accelerate visa liberalization. The migrant deal attempts to limit the stream of Syrian refugees from Turkey to Europe; the number of migrants entering the EU has drastically declined since last year. Europe has a long standing commitment to human rights, shaping the policies of the EU for many years.

The disregard for the mental and physical states of the refugees in Greece will pose a challenge to promoting and maintaining peace in the area, as well as helping establish safe and secure lives for the refugees. With current criticism from NGOs and international organizations, the deal faces many challenges that it will need to tackle in the coming years to protect the well-being of refugees.

Eva McLafferty

Eva McLafferty

Undergraduate student studying International Relations and Antrhopology. Passionate about human rights and politics.
Eva McLafferty