Athens: The Greek parliament has passed a crucial bill to send back refugees to Turkey. The legislation is essential for the an agreement with Ankara to end the uncontrolled mass movement of people into Europe.
Turkey is due to receive its first migrants returned from Greece on Monday. But there are of a lack of preparation on both sides, while aid agencies are concerned migrants may be mistreated in Turkey.
Tassos Kourakis, who presided over the session, said on Friday that. “The law was adopted by a majority of 169 of the 276 MPs present.”
The government said it would ensure that the rights of asylum-seekers would be protected under international law.
Greece’s Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas said the parliament before the vote that. “A blame game against our country is starting, that based on the new agreement, we will encroach on human rights.”
He added. “I assure you and I believe this will relieve everyone that we will strictly adhere to human rights procedures as stipulated by international law and the Geneva Convention.”
Last year, more than one million migrants and refugees have migrated in the EU by boat from Turkey to Greece where Athens has to struggle to cope with the situation.
Tens of thousands have been stranded in Greece after northern counties closed their borders.
The migrants who arrived Greece illegally are expected to be sent back to Turkey from 4 April, under the EU-Turkey deal. If the migrants do not apply for asylum or if their claim is rejected. In return, Turkey will receive aid and political concessions.
Amnesty International report says Turkey has been illegally forcing thousands of refugees back to Syria. John Dalhuisen of the group said. “In their desperation to seal their borders, EU leaders have wilfully ignored the simplest of facts: Turkey is not a safe country for Syrian refugees and is getting less safe by the day.”
Turkey did not respond to the Amnesty report but has denied sending back any refugees against their will.