The international and renowned Non-Governmental Agency(NGO) and humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Border - Medecins Sans Frontieres(MSF), announced earlier today that it will no longer accept funds from the European Union(EU) and its member states, in opposition to the bloc's damaging migration deterrence policies.
The humanitarian organization with a mostly privately funded yearly budget of about $750 million that has treated over 200,000 desperate people in the last 18 months in conflict zones, said it will not take any funding from the EU in opposition to the union's intensifying attempts to push people and their suffering away from European shores. Doctors Without Borders has always been an opponent of the European heralded migration deal with Turkey that forcibly returns migrants to Turkey who have crossed into Greece and elsewhere.
As a result of the EU-Turkey deal, MSF contends that "people in need of protection are left counting its true human cost" like on the Greek Islands where "8,000 people, including unaccompanied minors, have been stranded as a direct consequence of the EU-Turkey deal" where they have been surviving in dire conditions, in overcrowded camps and in fear of forced return to Turkey.
Founded by French doctors in response to another humanitarian tragedy back in 1971, Doctors Without Borders, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, has been at the fore of conflicts and humanitarian events from the Middle East to Africa. Today, the NGO operates facilities for migrants in Greece, Serbia, France and elsewhere.
In announcing its split with the EU, MSF's International Secretary General Jerome Oberreit, said in a press release that the EU-Turkey migrant deal "has placed the very concept of "refugee" and the protection it offers in danger." The humanitarian group described Europe's response to migrants as shameful focusing "on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need."
While MSF had opposed the EU-Turkey migrant deal from its inception, it appears that the 'straw which broke the camel's back' arose when last week the European Commission revealed a new proposal to replicate the EU-Turkey migration policy to more than 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East. These deals would impose trade and development aid cuts on countries that do not stem migration to Europe or facilitate forcible returns, while rewarding those that do, the humanitarian group stated.
MSF has reasoned that among these new potential partners joining the EU like Turkey to deter migration, are "Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan - four of the top ten refugee generating countries." Yet, the international charity has determined: "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."
Therefore, "MSF will not receive funding from the institutions and governments whose policies do such harm. We are calling 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," the charity has declared.