Humanitarian fury: Doctors Without Borders bans aid from EU over refugee deal with Turkey

by WorldTribune Staff, June 17, 2016

The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders “effective immediately” will no longer accept funding from the European Union or any of its member states.

The group said in a statement released on June 17 that the move was precipitated by the EU–Turkey refugee deal and urged European nations to rethink their “dangerous” attitudes towards refugees.

A man with a child looks at the border fence at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece. /Marko Djurica/Reuters
A man and child at a makeshift camp for refugees at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece. /Reuters

Doctors Without Borders strongly opposes the March EU–Turkey deal in which Turkey agreed to take in thousands of refugees arriving in Greece in exchange for continuing talks that would allow it to become part of the EU.

“Europe’s main focus is not on how well people will be protected, but on how efficiently they are kept away,” said Jerome Oberreit, international secretary general of Doctors Without Borders. “There is nothing remotely humanitarian about these policies. It cannot become the norm and must be challenged.”

The group said as many as 8,000 people — many of them unaccompanied children — were stranded in Greek refugee camps as a “direct result” of the EU–Turkey deal.

“Rather than maximizing the number of people they [EU nations] can push back, they must maximize the number they welcome and protect,” Oberreit said.

About 90 percent of the organization’s funding is from private sources and 10 percent from countries it deems “neutral” such as Switzerland or Sweden. It does not accept any funding from the United States. EU members donated about $63 million to Doctors Without Borders last year.

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