Refugees evacuated from Lesvos camps hours after EU-Turkey deal

EU Turkey deal is bargaining with the rights of refugees 

Reacting to this evening’s news that refugees are being evacuated from Lesvos camps less than a day after an EU-Turkey deal was reached, Adriano Campolina, ActionAid international Chief Executive, said:


“The events of this evening are extremely concerning.  The EU-Turkey deal represents a shameful political bargaining of the human rights of refugees, and risks contravening both EU law and the UN refugee convention. This sets a dangerous precedent that human rights don’t matter anymore, and risks throwing long held and cherished values out of the window. It ignores the growing desperation of so many refugees for a safe haven.


“The EU states have to move beyond the approach of simply trying to contain the refugee crisis - this has just led to more loss of life and uses human beings as bargaining chips. Instead the EU has to ensure that there are safe, legal routes for traumatised and terrified refugees in need of international protection. Otherwise history has shown that as soon as the EU tries to block one route, another one will open - since refugees will continue to seek sanctuary and safe haven.


“We need a fundamentally different approach, where the starting point is how can we protect the human rights of refugees and then find a safe and fair way for all EU states to play their part. If this approach is taken, the EU will be providing true global leadership to the refugee crisis on their doorstep.”



Editors' notes

Adriano Campolina returned from the island of Lesvos yesterday after having met some of the affected refugees.

For more interviews and more information, please contact:

Grace Cahill, ActionAid International Media Officer, / +44 (0) 7734 131 626