PRO ASYL and Refu­gee Sup­port Aege­an urge EASO to release cru­cial report on asyl­um sys­tem in Tur­key for the inte­rest of transparency

Refu­gee Sup­port Aege­an (RSA) and PRO ASYL urge the Euro­pean Asyl­um Sup­port Office (EASO) to release a docu­ment with a title »Coun­try infor­ma­ti­on Pack, the Asyl­um Sys­tem in Tur­key« (full ver­si­on dated 15 June 2016). The docu­ment repor­ted­ly includes signi­fi­cant infor­ma­ti­on show­ing that Tur­key can­not be con­side­red as a safe third country.

In March 2019, media reports in Greece have men­tio­ned the exis­tence of the abo­ve­men­tio­ned docu­ment inclu­ding alle­ga­ti­ons that the docu­ment had been down­gra­ded and never published as it brought to light facts about Tur­key against poli­ti­cal impe­ra­ti­ves dic­ta­ted by EASO’s manage­ment, the Euro­pean Com­mis­si­on and spe­ci­fic Mem­ber Sta­tes pro­mo­ting the EU-Tur­key »deal«. More spe­ci­fi­cal­ly it is alle­ged that the docu­ment has been down­gra­ded becau­se it docu­men­ted that Tur­key can­not be con­side­red as a safe third coun­try. Some traces indi­ca­ting that Tur­key does not ful­fil the cri­te­ria of a safe coun­try are exis­tent alre­a­dy in the redac­ted ver­si­on of the document.

Fol­lo­wing the recent media publi­ca­ti­on, RSA sub­mit­ted a request to access the docu­ments inclu­ding the afo­re­men­tio­ned 2016 report. EASO respon­ded by trans­fe­ring a hea­vi­ly redac­ted ver­si­on of the report.

Accor­ding to the agency’s assess­ment- based on Regu­la­ti­on 1049/2001 – a dis­clo­sure of the non-redac­ted report »could serious­ly under­mi­ne the pro­tec­tion of pri­va­cy and inte­gri­ty of indi­vi­du­als (in par­ti­cu­lar it could lead to iden­ti­fy­ing of the non-public sources), and inter­na­tio­nal rela­ti­ons with a third coun­try; as well as the pro­tec­tion of the agency’s decis­i­on making process«.

RSA and PRO ASYL would like to draw atten­ti­on to the fact that the same Regu­la­ti­on is expli­cit on the agency’s obli­ga­ti­on to release a docu­ment when the­re is an over­ri­ding public inte­rest in dis­clo­sure. In par­ti­cu­lar, fol­lo­wing serious public alle­ga­ti­ons that remain unans­we­red by EASO and the Euro­pean Com­mis­si­on, the­re is very strong public inte­rest in cla­ri­fy­ing the con­tent of the report and at the same time pro­tec­ting cle­ar­ly the iden­ti­ty of sources and not cen­so­ring the con­tent of their testimonies.

During the past three years, the EU-Tur­key »deal« has crea­ted a situa­ti­on whe­re thou­sands of refu­gees on Greek islands live in deplo­rable con­di­ti­ons, vul­nerable indi­vi­du­als have faced gra­ve harm and lives have been lost in cir­cum­s­tances lin­ked with the­se con­di­ti­ons. Greece has been sever­ely cri­ti­ci­zed many times for sub­stan­dard recep­ti­on con­di­ti­ons, even by the aut­ho­ri­ties that appear to have »down­gra­ded« the docu­ment, inclu­ding the Euro­pean Commission.

RSA and PRO ASYL remain firm in their belief that every sin­gle human life counts and should not be unde­re­sti­ma­ted by the bene­fit of poli­ti­cal prio­ri­ties of any enti­ty or bureau­cra­cy, regard­less how powerful this might be.

EASO and the Euro­pean Com­mis­si­on are accoun­ta­ble for the con­se­quen­ces of the EU-Tur­key »deal« and the­r­e­fo­re obli­ged for the inte­rests of trans­pa­ren­cy, to release this cru­cial report.

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