Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin, has made the following statement on the forced return of refugees to Turkey:
“Under the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution’. This principle has been repeatedly endorsed in the social teaching of the Catholic Church.
“Under international law, a person is entitled to make an application for asylum and to have the application individually assessed. It is difficult to believe that, without the proper structures in place, those who, from today, are being returned to Turkey by the shipload, can have had their applications processed in accordance with international law. Nor is it clear what arrangements have been made in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU, to welcome their proposed ‘replacements’, who are currently in camps in Turkey.
“The arrival of so many refugees in Europe in the past year, many of them undocumented, poses a serious challenge and calls for a coherent response and humane response. The recent arrangement with Turkey seems to be a direct result of the failure of the EU to act as a community, sharing the responsibilities that go with the privileges.
“Given that direct provision has been largely discredited as an appropriate response to unregulated immigration, the decision by the European Union to use Turkey as a massive extra-territorial direct provision centre seems to be neither constructive nor humane.”