Migration deal will block people at Europe’s doorstep: charity

The Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) charity warned on Friday that the new EU deal on migration is likely to block people at the doorstep of Europe regardless of how vulnerable they are or what horrors they are escaping from, AFP reports.

MSF’s emergencies chief, Karline Kleijer, said under the deal, the possibility of migrants being sent back to chaos-wracked Libya cannot be ruled out.

Without showing any concern for migrants, EU states have formalised the use of Libyan Coast Guard to intercept people and return them to Libya. They did this knowing fully that these people will be sent to arbitrary detention and subject to extreme abuse.

Such actions will obstruct MSF from doing the work EU governments are failing to do, all the while dehumanising people in need. They will be responsible for any deaths caused by this deal, Kleijer said.

Her comments came hours after 28 EU leaders agreed to consider setting up “disembarkation platforms” outside the bloc, most likely in North Africa, to discourage migrants boarding EU-bound smuggler boats.

No third country has so far offered to host these reception centres, where authorities would distinguish between irregular migrants and asylum seekers admissible into the EU.

According to the deal, migrants found and held in the EU can be moved to voluntary “controlled centres” on EU territory from where they will be relocated throughout the bloc if eligible for asylum or returned to their country if they are not.

Italy, where most migrants from North Africa land, did not say anything on setting up such centres on its soil.

The deal also sought cooperation among EU states to stop movement of migrants between them.