19 October 2015

Statement in light of the killing of Ziahullah Vafa, a 19 year old Afghan refugee on the Turkish-Bulgarian border

As EU leaders were striking a deal with Turkey in order to stop refugees from entering the EU, an Afghan refugee, 19 year old Ziahullah Vafa, who was trying to cross the Turkish-Bulgarian border was shot by Bulgarian border guards.  ECRE, an alliance of 90 refugee-assisting NGOs working together to protect the rights of refugees, is shocked and demands a full and independent investigation.

This incident shows the results of a policy that is predominantly focused on sealing borders. Instead of concentrating on the “protection of [EU’s] external borders” as President Tusk stated, EU leaders should be concerned with how to protect the rights of refugees and migrants arriving at our borders, and how to ensure access to the territory and protection within the EU.

Michael Diedring, ECRE’s Secretary General:

“It is shameful that people fleeing to the EU to access the international protection they need are met by violence at our borders. This incident demands a full and independent investigation so that the necessary safeguards or changes in procedures can be put into place.”

 Read PDF version here: EU preoccupied with border protection instead of the protection of refugees’ rights

For further information, contact:
Thorfinnur Omarsson
Head of Communications

Tel: +32 4 74340525