Human rights violations found in Turkish refugee camps

Research by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, commissioned by the Dutch Council for Refugees, has exposed a range of human rights violations in Turkish refugee camps. Access to any form of international protection for refugees in Turkey proved to be extremely rare. Investigators found instances of refugees being illegally detained without access to legal representation. They also concluded that most detained refugees face clear violations of their rights.

10/03/2017 | 4:54 PM

Prior to this research, little was known about the conditions of refugees transferred from Greece to Turkey as part of the EU-Turkey deal. This prompted the Dutch Refugee Council to commission Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to conduct field research into the human rights situation in various refugee camps in Turkey.

Human rightsviolations
Based on various independent reports, investigators have concluded that the Düziçi refugee camp is in fact a detention centre. Not only are refugees not allowed to leave the camp, they are also locked in cells with little to no opportunity to contact the outside world. The groundwork further indicates that refugees transferred from Greece to Turkey are faced with arbitrary and unlawful arrests. As a result of recent changes in Turkish asylum legislation, asylum seekers in Turkey now run the risk of being deported back to their country of origin without due process.

EU-Turkey refugee deal
In 2015, over 1 million immigrants and refugees found their way to Europe from neighbouring countries by sea routes. This led to an agreement between the European Union and Turkey in 2016, which resulted in greater cooperation to curb irregular migration to Europe. The terms of the agreement stipulated that, starting in March of 2016, Turkey would take in all irregular migrants from Greece.

The full investigation report can be downloaded (PDF) on the Migration Law Section’s web page.