Gregorio Borgia / AP
A refugee camp near the Turkish border in Syria in 2013. Photo: Gregorio Borgia / AP.

Lawyer questions legality of EU-Turkey deal

0:54 min

Swedish group Lawyers Without Borders has expressed concern over the legailty of the deal reached between the EU and Turkey designed to curb migration to the 28-member bloc.

"Asylum seekers have a fundamental right to have their individual asylum claims reviewed in a safe country. [Under this agreement] there is a genuine risk that people will be denied the right to an individual assessment because it treats all refugees under a mass agreement," Louise Gunvén, lawyer and board member of Lawyers Without Borders told Swedish news Agency TT.

Asylum law prohibits return to a country that is unsafe, where people risk being subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment or torture.

"Our extensive experience of Turkey is that people risk being exposed to such treatment. Considerable failings exist in the [Turkish] legal system, as well as the risk of not getting a fair trial," Gunvén said.

EU leaders unanimously approved the deal with Turkey to curb migration into the bloc earlier on Friday, with the agreement due to enter force as early as Sunday this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, Turkey would take back refugees and immigrants who arrive in Greece, while the EU will accept refugees from Syria, and provide financial support to Turkey.

As part of the deal, Turkish citizens would also enjoy visa-free travel in the EU as early as the summer, and Turkey’s EU membership talks would be given fresh momentum.

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