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Doctors Without Borders (MSF) rejects EU Funds in protest at Refugee policies & EU-Turkey Deal

Humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced today that it will no longer take funds from the European Union and Member States, in opposition to what the MSF describes as EU’s “damaging deterrence policies and intensifying attempts to push people and their suffering away from European shores.” The decision is taking effect immediately and will apply to MSF’s projects worldwide.

In a long statement posted on MSF official website, the humanitarian organization sharply criticizes the EU-Turkey Deal and the EU humanitarian aid and notes among others:

“For months MSF has spoken out about a shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need. The EU-Turkey deal goes one step further and has placed the very concept of “refugee” and the protection it offers in danger.”

“Once again, Europe’s main focus is not on how well people will be protected, but on how efficiently they are kept away.”

Last week the European Commission unveiled a new proposal to replicate the EU-Turkey logic across more than 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East and these deals would impose trade and development aid cuts on countries that do not stem migration to Europe or facilitate forcible returns, rewarding those that do. Among these potential partners are Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan – four of the top ten* refugee generating countries.

Once again, Europe’s main focus is not on how well people will be protected, but on how efficiently they are kept away.

The EU-Turkey deal sets a dangerous precedent for other countries hosting refugees, sending a message that caring for people forced from their homes is optional and that they can buy their way out of providing asylum. 

MSF stresses that “Europe’s attempt to outsource migration control is having a domino effect, with closed borders stretching all the way back to Syria. People increasingly have nowhere to turn.”

It sharply criticizes the EU-Turkey deal’s financial package of one billion EUR  in humanitarian aid, and says that

“This aid has been negotiated as a reward for border control promises, rather than being based solely on needs. This instrumentation of humanitarian aid is unacceptable.”

“Deterrence policies sold to the public as humanitarian solutions have only exacerbated the suffering of people in need. There is nothing remotely humanitarian about these policies. It cannot become the norm and must be challenged.”

MSF stresses that it “will not receive funding from institutions and governments whose policies do so much harm” and calls on European governments “to shift priorities – rather than maximizing the number of people they can push back, they must maximize the number they welcome and protect.”

In the last 18 months alone MSF medics have treated an estimated 200,000 men, women and children in Europe and on the Mediterranean Sea. The organization is currently caring for refugees and migrants in Greece, Serbia, France, Italy and on the Mediterranean as well as in countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

MSF Funding Data

MSF’s activities are mainly (92%) privately funded.

The organization is also involved in some financial partnerships for specific programmes with institutional donors.

In 2015, funding from EU institutions represented 19 million euros, while funding from Member States represented 37 million euros.

MSF also used 6.8 millions euros received from the Norwegian Government.

In 2016, in addition to ECHO, MSF is involved in partnerships with nine European Member States:  Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Since the agreement between Europe and Turkey made on 18 March 2016, Greece has turned refugee camps into detention camps. Refugees are sorted and wait to be sent back to Turkey for those who came after 20 March.

According to latest reports there are more than 56,000 refugees and migrants trapped in Greece.

PS do you believe EU Commission President Juncker would care about it? Politicians are drilled to close deals and compromises among themselves only.

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2 comments

  1. Grandstanding for Soros. They don’t need the money.

    • MSF is a serious humanitarian organisation and is making a political point that is shared by all humanitarian and human rights organisations, and nearly all lawyers. It has nothing to do with Soros. The problem is with European goverments and their refusal to accept refugees, despite EU and international law requiring them to do so. Their behaviour is a threat to the rule of law, and a direct attack on humanitarian law. MSF makes this point very clearly, and have my agreement 100%.