Agreement European Union with Turkey might violate human rights law

The agreement on migrants between the European Union and Turkey can add fuel to the problems and can violate human rights law. This statement made the South-African human rights advocate Navi Pillay in the Mandeville Lecture 2016. The former High Commissioner of Human Rights is concerned about the situation in Turkey and calls for the EU to act in accordance with its own respected laws and principles.  Non-conformity with International obligations sets a bad example. Pillay was rewarded an honorary doctorate at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

An alarming tendency of what has been called the “ migration crisis” in Europe is the  xenophobia, inhuman rejection, suspicion and aggressive  push-back, says Navi Pillay in her lecture Current Migration Challenges: A Human Rights Perspective.. Migration is not a problem to be solved. Rather it is a normal and inevitable feature of the human experience. Human beings have always and will always move in search of opportunities for a better life. It is important to  counter the negative misconceptions spread about migration; that it poses a threat rather than a benefit to existing communities. Migrants bring value. Europe has historically benefited from migration.


International agreements
We must challenge assumptions underlying rejection of migrants, by upholding human rights values, codified in International Human Rights law, International Humanitarian Law, Refugee law and the Law of the Sea. These have been around for some time, proudly embraced by societies. They are as relevant during crises as they are in peacetime; in fact more so. We are all appalled at  television footage of the use of violence against refugees,  the use of high-powered water hoses against them and the barbed wire fencing imprisoning them.
Criminalisation of irregular migrants leads to unnecessary detention and  exposes them to the risk of a wide range of human rights violations.

More information

Press Office, +31 10 408 1216 E

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes