The European Union’s ongoing struggles to somehow contain, or reverse, the massive flow of refugees fleeing war-torn Middle-Eastern countries is heightening concerns about the bloc’s commitment to both EU and international law.
In the last week or so agreements to deploy NATO warships to the Aegean Sea and a tentative deal with Turkey to send back would-be refugees en masse are raising concerns among rights activists and legal experts.
“At a minimum, the EU is looking the other way,” Bill Frelick of Human Rights Watch in Washington told DW.
More than a million migrants landed on European shores last year – the vast majority originally coming from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – three countries plagued by civil unrest, or outright civil war in the case of Syria.
The flow has only accelerated in the opening months of 2016. The preferred route has been to cross Turkey, then make the short but perilous sea journey to one of a trio of Greek islands.
It’s no more than 10km, but most of the 400 migrants who have perished this year trying to reach Europe have drowned in this narrow band of water.
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