Target: President of the European Council Donald Tusk
Goal: Ensure that refugees deported to Turkey have access to education and legal counsel, and that detention centers provide a good quality of life.
Refugees deported from Greece to Turkey under the controversial deal between EU and Turkey are being detained indefinitely under poor conditions and without access to legal counsel. Twelve Syrian refugees sent back to Turkey under the agreement between the EU and Turkey are being held in a detention center in the town of Duzici, in southern Turkey, and the whereabouts of two other Syrian Refugees and the forty other refugees from other origins are unknown. While many of those held in southern Turkey have family still in Turkey, they have not been permitted to reunite with their families.
Furthermore, the conditions of the detention center are such that one of those held there has stated that remaining in Syria under the constant threat of violence would be preferable to remaining at the detention center. There are currently hundreds of Syrian refugees in the Duzici detention camp.
Contained in the deal between the European Union and Turkey was the promise of billions of euros to support Turkey’s continued ‘hosting’ over 2.5 million refugees. However, this promise does not seem to have translated into better conditions, or greater opportunity for refugees in Turkey. In the isolation of refugee camps many children do not have access to education, or proper nutrition.
Considering the fact that most refugees return to their countries once the threat to them has passed, the continued abuse and neglect of refugees is liable to have a huge effect past the present harming their countries in the future. This is particularly true if children remain out of school– the Syrian conflict has been ongoing for five years, longer than a high school education. Sign our petition and demand that the EU ensure that refugee detention centers in Turkey provide a decent quality of life, and access to education, before deporting people to Turkey.
Dear President Tusk,
I was alarmed to hear the reports concerning the conditions in the detention centers housing refugees deported from Greece to Turkey under the agreement between the EU and Turkey. While I recognize the political pressures that have caused the agreement to be implemented rapidly, ensuring the safety and quality of life of refugees must be a priority. Therefore, it is simply unacceptable that refugees continue to be deported and sent to horrific conditions that have been described as worse than the conditions that caused them to flee their homes. Continuing the deportations amounts to sending people into danger, and that is against international law, and contravenes EU obligations to protect refugees.
The EU has committed billions of euros to Turkey in exchange for Turkey readmitting refugees and for the express purpose of helping Turkey deal with the 2.5 million refugees it is hosting. However, it is clear that that money is not being spent to materially improve the conditions that refugees in Turkey endure. I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that the money is directed towards improving the material circumstances of refugees including access to education, access to healthcare, and suitable housing. If that is not possible, then I urge you to reconsider the policy of sending refugees back to Turkey.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Oguzhan Ali