Doctors Without Borders rejects funding in protest of EU refugee policies

Doctors-Without-Borders-rejects-funding-in-protest-of-EU-refugee-policies.  GENEVA, Switzerland,  Doctors Without Borders announced Friday it will decline donations from the European Union to protest its treatment of refugees.

A refugee camp in Greece in April, 2016. More than 12,000 refugees are stranded in a makeshift camp in Idomeni, Greece, along the border with Macedonia after the border was closed. Photo by UPI | License Photo

In a statement, the organization cited what it called “damaging deterrence policies” and “intensifying attempts to push people and their suffering away from European shores.”

Doctors without Borders, known in Europe as Medecins Sans Frontieres, relies heavily on private donations for funding. It received $43 million from the EU and its member states in 2015.

The organization complained specifically about the three-month-old EU arrangement with Turkey, which is not a member state, under which refugees stranded in Greece after leaving Turkey could be expelled and returned to Turkey. Critics have said refugees will attempt to reach Europe using longer and more dangerous routes.

“On the Greek Islands, more than 8,000 people, including hundreds of unaccompanied minors, have been stranded as a direct consequence of the EU-Turkey deal. They have been living in dire conditions, in overcrowded camps, sometimes for months. They fear a forced return to Turkey yet are deprived of essential legal aid, their one defense against collective expulsion,” MSF said in a statement Friday.

Migrants arriving in Greece from the Middle East and North Africa are now returned to Turkey if they do not apply for asylum or if their claims for asylum are declined. MSF said the EU’s relocation policy, which promised a fair distribution of refugees across the continent, is not working.

By Ed Adamczyk