STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION AT THE EU-TURKISH BORDER
Brussels, 5 March 2020
We, the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW), are alerted by the ongoing situation in the Greek-Turkish border, following Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to open its borders and by the subsequent steps taken by the Greek government to prevent displaced people from entering its territory, accompanied by the use of military force to fortify its borders.
We call on the Greek government to respect European asylum law and international humanitarian law and put an end to the push-backs of displaced people to their countries and regions of origin, which violates the core principle of the 1951 Refugee Convention and International Human Rights Law, as well as to uphold legal access and procedures to new arrivals. Additionally, we call on the Greek authorities to refrain from the use of excessive and disproportionate force against the displaced persons, many of whom are women and children, stranded at the Greek-Turkish border.
We urge the European Union to produce an urgent response, based on equal sharing of burden and responsibilities among the EU Member States, in line with the Refugee Convention and international obligations. We call on the European Union to sustain a human-rights based migration policy and to safeguard both international protection and solidarity between the Member States.
We are extremely concerned with the Commission’s pledge to provide additional support to the Member States through protection of European external borders, as we believe that a human-rights based approach should be undertaken to resolve the situation without further harming the livelihoods of displaced persons. The European Commission has the legal and moral obligation to uphold Directive 2013/32/EU, commonly known as the Asylum Procedures Directive.
ENoMW also calls on the European Commission, the Member States involved and international organisations to act and address the humanitarian needs of displaced women and girls trapped at the Greek-Turkish border. The overcrowding in the latter has amounted to dangerous conditions in which women and girls find themselves without access to assistance, essential resources including shelter, food, water, sanitation and medical care, in an environment without protection from men’s sexual and physical violence.