Refugees at risk in Turkey and Calais

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Refugees at risk in Turkey and Calais

Amid reports of human rights abuses in Turkey (Report, theguardian.com, 25 July), I fear that the ill-fated EU migrant deal is doomed. Academics from Middlesex University have been studying the flow of refugees fleeing to Greece and Italy for over a year as part of an Economic and Social Research Council funded programme. We were sceptical about the EU-Turkey deal from the very start and questioned both its legality and design.

When the deal was agreed, I challenged the idea that Turkey was a safe country to return refugees. Today I find it hard to see how anyone could claim Turkey is safe. With thousands of people being arrested and allegations of torture, the situation is too unstable to treat Turkey as a credible partner. As a result of the purge and collective persecution, we may well witness new flows of refugees trying to reach our shores in the form of Turkish journalists and academics.

The unrest in Turkey and the growing number of migrants fleeing across the Aegean will put even more pressure on Greece. At a time of huge challenges facing the global community in terms of political change and terrorist attacks, I fear that vulnerable families fleeing war and persecution will pay the price.

Brad Blitz
Professor of international politics, Middlesex University

Healthcare in the Calais “jungle” remains lamentable. As a medical team providing humanitarian assistance in the unofficial refugee camp, we have witnessed an appalling state of affairs.

Despite the army of volunteers in the camp, public health and child safeguarding remain woefully inadequate. The lack of infrastructure, organisation and coordination precludes effective healthcare delivery. As a result, contagious diseases such as tuberculosis and syphilis are becoming more prevalent. Small unaccompanied children in the camp are at risk of sexual exploitation and injury on a nightly basis. Approximately 600 children are in this category. The tangible lack of governance risks forcing the refugees into increasingly desperate actions and represents a missed opportunity to win hearts and minds.

The emotive debates in the House of Commons appear to have produced little concrete change. Public discussion today seems to focus more on the numbers of migrants than on the need for humanitarian assistance for the desperately needy people caught up in this ongoing tragedy. We call upon the French and British governments to augment their coordinated response to the public health, medical and humanitarian challenges that the Calais jungle poses, and to do so before the imminent evictions.

Source: The Guardian

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