A readmission agreement in the works between the European Union and Turkey risks failing to respect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, according to a policy brief by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN).

EMHRN says that the agreement, which allows EU Member States to return to Turkey foreign nationals irregularly entering or residing on their territories, lacks a number of safeguards to protect against abuses by both parties.

According to standards required under all EU readmission agreements, Turkey must fulfil its obligations under a number of human rights conventions. Turkey’s domestic framework, however, contains provisions that allow third country nationals to be subject to arbitrary detention or deportation due to a “geographical limitation” that Turkey maintains under the Refugee Convention. Under this exception, non-European asylum seekers can be granted a domestic status of “temporary asylum” which only allows them to remain temporarily in Turkey until they can find a long-term resettlement solution elsewhere. Despite improvements in Turkey’s laws regarding international protection, the brief notes that they have yet to be fully implemented.

There are also concerns because of the inconsistent approach of EU Member State authorities when examining protection claims. EMHRN points out that this concern is further exacerbated by the fact that Greece, whose treatment of migrants and asylum seekers is considered in violation of EU standards, is the main Member state that would take advantage of the future EU readmission agreement with Turkey.

Another problematic area identified by the brief is the absence of any independent monitoring of the implementation of the agreement.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 28 June 2013
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