Anne Main condemns Turkey for using refugees as a bargaining chip against the EU

15th October 2019

Following the Foreign Secretary’s statement on Turkey’s military operation in north-east Syria, Anne Main calls for a strong, united statement across Europe that refugees can never be used as a bargaining chip to put pressure on the EU.

Anne Main MP speaking in the House of Commons, October 2019

My good friend, my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman), makes exactly the right point. I wish to restate that it is totally unacceptable that any refugee could be used as a bargaining chip. Can we have a strong, united statement across Europe, if needs be, to say that that is the case? There are other refugee camps, such those with the Rohingya, where, if sheer volume of numbers gives any country the right to use them as a bargaining chip, we will go down a very slippery slope. I understand the sensitivities over Turkey and the sheer volume of numbers, but it is important that internationally, we say that refugees have rights and no country has the right to have some control over their destiny in that way.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. If she looks at the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions from Monday, she will see that the EU gave a very clear message on that. It is a violation of international law to treat refugees in that way. It is totally unacceptable, particularly among allies and friends.




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