IOM urges restraint, calls for humane response on EU-Turkey border

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Geneva - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is urging all States to exercise restraint and adopt a balanced, humane approach to population movements across the EU-Turkey border.  Over the past five days, IOM teams and their partners have mobilized resources to offer support and assistance to groups of migrants moving from various locations in Turkey towards the country’s borders with the European Union.
Early assessments indicate that many of those migrants, of various nationalities, are very vulnerable, with a high proportion of women, children and families amongst them. Migrants at the Turkey-EU land border and near the Aegean Sea are without food, water, and other basic needs and many are sleeping outside in harsh winter conditions. Since their arrival at the border, IOM mobile teams have provided direct assistance to more than 2,000 migrants, distributing essential items and offering interpretation services in partnership with UNHCR, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants.
IOM stands ready to support all concerned governments with any actions which may help achieve effective migration management, that can reduce vulnerabilities and ensure that the immediate needs of migrants are met. The Organization welcomes commitments made by the EU and its Member States to address the situation from the humanitarian and political perspectives. 
IOM recognizes that irregular migration and displacement have placed some countries, including Turkey and Greece, under great strain, and that more efforts are required to share responsibility towards emergency support and durable solutions for migrants and refugees. At the same time, international legal obligations must be upheld, in particular with respect to those who may be in need of international protection.
In this regard, IOM also calls on the international community to sustain its support to Greece, which has faced considerable pressure in the past few years on behalf of the EU, and to Turkey, which has long hosted millions of refugees seeking protection from the conflict in Syria. The situation in Idlib, in particular, has now reached catastrophic levels, as the number of internally displaced persons is nearing one million, creating enormous humanitarian needs for the civilian population at large.
IOM once again urges all parties to the Syria conflict to respect international humanitarian law, protect civilian populations, and allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to populations who have suffered some of the worst atrocities we have witnessed this century.

For more information please contact

Leonard Doyle IOM Spokesperson, Email  Tel +41 79 285 7123 or (in Vienna) Joe Lowry Email Tel +43660 3776404