Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has called on the acting Irish Government to ensure that there is a humanitarian response to the refugee crisis and to use its seat at the European Council to block a deal with Turkey which could violate international law.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The European Council will meet this Thursday and Friday, and the main item on the agenda will be the ongoing refugee crisis and migration issues. There is clearly an urgent need for a progressive and humanitarian response to this crisis as up to 35,000 people have now become trapped in Greece in recent weeks.  The EU’s Western Balkan borders are effectively closed and this crisis has been exacerbated with approximately 2,000 people arriving on Greece’s shores from Turkey every day.

“The EU is still attempting to push ahead with a deal which would directly lead to the mass deportations of refugees who have arrived in Greece to seek asylum in Europe. Under this proposed plan they would be sent back to Turkey, which the EU has defined as a Safe Country of Origin, regardless of the mass human and civil rights violations that are being committed by the authorities there.

“According to many human rights groups and the UN High Commissioner on Refugees such mass deportations would violate international and European law.  Anyone arriving on European territory must have the right to individualised attention, to complete an asylum request, and to have the basic right of appeal if their request is somehow denied.

“The EU had originally agreed to relocate 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy, but so far only 885 people have been relocated to other EU States. EU countries need to wake up to this growing humanitarian crisis and agree to legalise asylum routes so that refugees can legally travel and safely secure asylum.

“I am calling on the acting Irish Government to oppose any deal with Turkey which involves mass deportations and which would inevitably put people at a huge risk of human rights violations.”