Geneva – In an oral statement before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called for further support of refugees in Turkey through providing the country with the adequate means to absorb more refugees and integrate them properly.
In a joint statement with the International Institute for Rights and Development (IRDG) during the 45th session of UNHRC, Euro-Med Monitor stated that between 2015-2019, the EU received around four million asylum seekers and refugees. At the same time, Turkey received as many refugees as the EU’s 27 member states did, mainly from Syria.
The statement highlighted Turkey’s decision in March 2020 to open its borders with Greece in front of refugees who want to cross into Europe, noting that the decision came after nearly one million civilians in Syria's city of Idlib were displaced by renewed scourges of violence. While this crisis was eventually contained, the unsustainable and unequal distribution of refugees in the Euro-Mediterranean region portends of more crises to follow.
Michela Pugliese, Asylum and Migration Researcher at Euro-Med Monitor, noted in the statement that the huge migratory pressure on Turkey has left it increasingly in need for support and overwhelmed its capacity to provide refugees with adequate services, care or integration programs.
That makes them vulnerable to various forms of exploitation, such as low wages. Most of them are paid less than 2,324 Turkish Liras ($300), which is the legal minimum wage in Turkey for 2020.
The statement warned that as refugee flows to Turkey coincide with rising unemployment and declining economic growth, the climate for Syrian refugees has reached a critical juncture, where they’ve been increasingly rendered prone to growing anti-migrant rhetoric.
Euro-Med Monitor regularly participates in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s events, which holds three sessions annually. Through oral statements and special seminars on the sidelines of the Council, Euro-Med Monitor highlights pressing human rights issues in the Middle East and North Africa, in order to amplify the victims’ voices and expose violations and their perpetrators. Euro-Med Monitor repeatedly calls upon the Council and member states to take appropriate actions to protect human rights and stop violations.