On 20 March 2016 the European Union and the Turkish Government went ahead with a ‘refugee deal’ that has since come under heavy fire from political and humanitarian representatives. Critics, including key humanitarian organisations, have been quick to condemn the deal as being ‘illegal’ and ‘inhumane’. At its core, the deal is a one-for-one settlement, where for every Syrian asylum seeker sent back from Greece to Turkey, Europe will resettle one Syrian already in Turkey.
Many of the organisations whose work is directly impacted by the deal have now decided to cease activities on the Greek island of Lesbos, a major entry point of asylum seekers, as a consequence. For these organisations to take such drastic measures demonstrates a strong rejection of an agreement made at the highest political level. Continue reading