Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, announced on Friday that it will stop accepting funds from the member states of the European Union to mark their protest against the EU's stance towards refugees fleeing conflict-ridden countries. The decision comes into immediate effect and applies to all of MSF’s global projects, the doctors’ body said in a statement.
According to the statement, the EU’s controversial agreement with Turkey, which came into force on April 4, has left more than 8,000 people, including hundreds of minors travelling alone, stranded on the Greek Islands in abysmal conditions. The deal envisioned that Ankara would take in the refugees who were crossing the Aegean Sea to enter Greece illegally in return for one billion Euros in humanitarian aid, visa-free travel and progress in negotiations for Turkey to join the EU.
“For months MSF has spoken out about a shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need,” MSF International Secretary General Jerome Oberreit said. “The EU-Turkey deal goes one step further and has placed the very concept of ‘refugee’ and the protection it offers in danger,” he said.
MSF receives donations from 5.7 million individual donors from around the world, which accounts for some 92% of its funding. This helps the doctors’ body respond to crises and provide medical assistance without the need to take political, economic, or religious interests into consideration, the statement added. The decision includes agencies such as the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department as well as Norway, which supports the EU-Turkey deal.
Moreover, the European Commission introduced a new proposal similar to the EU-Turkey deal on June 7, which will bring 16 African and West Asian countries under the ambit of the agreement, according to the statement. It proposes the imposition of trade and development aid cuts on nations that do not curb migration to Europe or help facilitate forcible returns. Countries that help with the same will be rewarded, according to the deal. Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan are among the potential partners. A majority of families seeking refuge in European nations are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, which are ridden with severe violence and conflict.