European Union lawmakers say they will keep a close eye on any EU deal to send thousands of migrants in Greece back to Turkey to ensure that people fleeing conflict are not denied asylum.
The head of the EU parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee said in a statement Tuesday that members will meet with Greek and EU officials “to ensure that basic conditions for asylum claims are met.”
Chairman Claude Moraes says “it is important that the EU does not ignore its values in the face of people fleeing war and persecution by simply creating push-backs.”
Under the in-principle deal hammered out overnight, the EU would accept one Syrian refugee in need of asylum for every one irregular migrant that Turkey takes back from Greece.
Amnesty International, meanwhile, is warning that the scheme is legally flawed.
The human rights group said in a statement Tuesday that EU plans to designate Turkey as a safe country for migrants are “alarmingly short-sighted and inhumane” because Ankara does not properly care for them.
The head of the group's European office, Iverna McGowan, said that “Turkey has forcibly returned refugees to Syria and many refugees in the country live in desperate conditions without adequate housing.”
She said that “by no stretch of imagination can Turkey be considered a ‘safe third country’ that the EU can cozily outsource its obligations to.”