UNHCR Says Parts of E.U.-Turkey Deal ‘De Facto Suspended’
Some elements of the E.U.-Turkey migrant deal have been suspended after the departure of Turkish liaison officers from Greek islands, the director of UNHCR in Europe, Vincent Cochetel, told the Guardian.
Turkish police withdrew from Greece after the failed coup in Ankara in mid-July.
“De facto some aspects of the deal are suspended,” Cochetel said.
According to government protocol, deportations cannot take place because there are no police to oversee procedures.
“They are not back,” he said. “We understand that the Greek police and Frontex [the E.U.’s border agency] are re-establishing contact with their Turkish counterparts, but the dates keep changing, so we don’t know when cooperation will restart.”
Cochetel added that the migrant deal has not yet collapsed. “Some elements of the deal will be maintained,” he said.
Over 10,000 Migrants Rescued in the Mediterranean in Two Days
More than 10,000 migrants were rescued from the central Mediterranean in 30 separate missions.
Close to 7,000 migrants were rescued on Monday as well as an additional 3,000 on Tuesday by the Italian coast guard with the help of the E.U.’s border agency Frontex and humanitarian organizations.
“Nearly 7,000 people in a day is really quite a lot. If it’s not a record, then it’s close to it,” said International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo.
Favorable weather conditions are the likely cause for the spike in migrant arrivals.
The IOM told NPR “it might be the largest concentration of people to arrive in Italy since the beginning of the European migrant crisis.” However the total number of migrants rescued from the western Mediterranean during the same period last year is about equal – 115,000 this year compared to 116,000 in 2015.
Poland Denies Entry to Chechen Refugees
Poland has blocked 200 Chechen refugees from entering because the country wants to seal its borders to protect the nation and the E.U. from terrorism, interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak said Wednesday.
The group of Chechen refugees was trying to cross the E.U.’s external border from Belarus.
Blaszczak told a Polish news channel that as long as he is the interior minister and the conservative Law and Justice party is in power, “we will not expose Poland to the threat of terrorism.”
“The point is to ensure security for Europe,” he added.
Blaszczak did not clarify why he linked Chechen refugees to terrorism.
A spokesman for Poland’s local Border Guard, Dariusz Sienicki, told the Associated Press that the country has already admitted 6,000 Russian citizens, mostly Chechens, this year. However, nearly 30,000 people have been denied entry.
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