On March 25, 2016 NewEurope reported: The EU-Turkey readmission deal most probably involves “collective expulsion”, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Thursday.
The top United Nations human rights official said that “the declared aim (of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement) to return all refugees and migrants contrasts with the assurances about individual assessments.” Zeid stressed that this controversy makes the deal vulnerable to collective expulsion since the “contradiction (lies) at the heart of the agreement.”
“If the safeguards are to be considered real, then the individual assessments must allow for the possibility that the persons in question will not in fact be returned (to Turkey). Otherwise it could still qualify as a collective expulsion,” he concluded.
The provisions agreed by the EU and Turkey call for cases to be processed under the EU’s Asylum Procedures Directive, and goes on to state that “migrants not applying for asylum or whose application has been found unfounded or inadmissible in accordance with the said directive will be returned to Turkey.”
Zeid expressed concern that this language presents a real risk of overlooking human rights law obligations, which require States to examine arguments against return beyond those found in refugee law.
He said that such needs could arise, for example, in the case of children; victims of violence, rape, trauma and torture; individuals with specific sexual orientation; persons with disabilities; and a range of others with legitimate individual protection needs.
He urged Greece to handle all individual cases with genuine attention to all protection grounds required under international human rights law, including at the appeals stage.