HIAS Responds to Proposed E.U. Migrant Deal
Mar 17, 2016
NEW YORK— In response to the E.U. proposal to limit the flow of migrants and refugees coming into Europe through Turkey, Mark Hetfield, the CEO and President of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit protecting refugees, issued the following statement:
“At this time of the most overwhelming refugee crisis since the Second World War, refugees need more countries that do more to protect refugees. Unfortunately, while some states are paying more, they are actually doing less, trying to outsource refugee protection to buffer countries like Turkey.
“Since 1951, the refugee convention has been a lifesaver because it protects refugees from being returned to danger. At the same time, the Refugee Convention is flawed, because it does nothing to require the international community to pitch in to share responsibility with countries of first asylum. As a result, countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan host millions of refugees, while more distant countries take advantage of geography by turning their backs and closing their doors. Some governments may write big checks, but they still slip that check under a closed door. This is exactly what the European Union is doing now.
“The EU was supposed to lead the way as a community of nations that shares responsibility with one another. They have failed. Germany and Sweden have been generous in welcoming refugees, but most other countries in Europe have not risen to the occasion. This has created an unsustainable scenario. As a community of nations the EU is proving to be a total failure, and the agreement with Turkey underscores that failure. The United States, however, is not in a position to criticize as we too are writing checks but not maintaining our great tradition of welcoming refugees to our own shores. At least Canada remains true to honoring its heritage as a nation of refugees. Thank you Canada.”