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UN expert urges safeguards in EU-Turkey migrant deal

[JURIST] The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website] addressed the agreement between the European Union (EU) [official website] and Turkey on Friday, stating [press release] that it is important to ensure safeguards in executing the agreement and to respect international and European law in the process. EU leaders agreed to a deal [JURIST report] with Turkey on Friday, effectively turning the country into the region's "migrant holding center" while receiving €3 billion assistance from the EU and an additional €3 billion by 2018. The agency is also reminding all parties of the importance of committing to this agreement and that resettlement of Syrian refugees should not disregard resettlement of refugees from other areas of the world.

The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world. Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Executive Director Kenneth Roth urged EU leaders to reject [JURIST report] a proposed EU Joint Action Plan with Turkey to handle the influx of migrants due to the "disregard for international law covering the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants." The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, expressed concerns [JURIST report] over a proposed migrant exchange program between the EU and Turkey, arguing it may violate international law. The Joint Action Plan [text, PDF], was proposed to decrease human smuggling along the shores of southern Europe and to help alleviate the massive influx of refugees hosted by Turkey.

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