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Migrants behind a fence at the Nizip refugee camp, Gaziantep province, southeastern Turkey, April 23, 2016 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

From Australia to the EU, Can International Law Actually Protect Refugees?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

There has been no shortage of criticism of Europe’s response to the worsening refugee crisis that first escalated in 2015. In January, Denmark passed a law authorizing the government to seize assets from asylum-seekers. Poland and Slovakia announced they would only accept Christian refugees from Syria. And a recent deal between the European Union and Turkey has come under fire over questions about its legality. The deal allows Greece to return “all new irregular migrants” to Turkey; in exchange, for every migrant settled in Turkey, one Syrian already in Turkey will be resettled in the EU.

Immediately after the deal’s passage, human rights organizations denounced the EU-Turkey deal, notably for violating the 1951 Refugee Convention, which requires individual protection of refugees rather than the mass returns of refugees from Greece to Turkey that the agreement calls for. ...

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