Doctors Without Borders slams EU’s attempts to deter refugees

Doctors Without Borders denounces EU member countries over their response to refugee crisis which states it 'creates business for smugglers'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Syrian refugees children at the convoy of United Nations

The European Union’s response to the refugee crisis is not only a "catastrophic failure" but, it has created more business for people smugglers, the international medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) stated.

In a report titled “Obstacle Course to Europe” MSF detailed the humanitarian consequences of Europe’s actions and explained “how Europe’s wall forced MSF and other humanitarian organisations to radically scale up activities at the entry points of Europe.”

“Not only did the European Union and European governments collectively fail to address the crisis, but their focus on policies of deterrence along with their  chaotic response to the humanitarian needs of those who flee actively worsened the conditions of thousands of vulnerable men, women and children,” said Brice de le Vingne, the organisation’s Director of Operations.

According to the report, MSF decided to mobilise search and rescue ships to save lives at sea in 2015.

MSF claims that European policies worsened the “so-called refugee crisis.”

The search for “safety and [a] better life in Europe is not a new phenomenon. On the contrary, it is one which we have been familiar with for many years,” de le Vine said and called on European countries to “take stock of the human cost of their decisions, assume their responsibilities and learn from their mistakes.”

Aurelie Ponthieu, MSF’s Humanitarian Advisor on Displacement also criticised Europe’s refugee policy, saying that MSF knows that people will continue to risk their lives to seek a better future and restrictive policies won’t stop them to do so.

Ponthieu also stated that MSF would be calling for safe passages and urging Europe to stop playing with people’s lives and their dignity in the new year.

“During 2015, European states tried to find policies to protect their borders from vulnerable people. We hope that in 2016 there will be no more need to protect these people from European policies” she said.

More than one million refugees arrived in Europe last year; however, they were not always welcome, as many EU countries took extra measures to control the refugee influx coming through Mediterranean.

In early January, the EU called for an emergency meeting between Denmark, Sweden and Germany after new border checks aimed to control refugee intake sparked concerns about Europe’s Schengen passport-free zone.

TRTWorld and agencies