Greece has no legal right to stop accepting asylum seeker applications, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency.
Greece clashed with 10,000 asylum seekers coming through Turkey over the weekend after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened its borders for migrants to get into the European Union. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakisresponded byannouncing that his country would not accept asylum applications for a month, but the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that’s a problem.
“Neither the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees nor E.U. refugee law provides any legal basis for the suspension of the reception of asylum applications,” the U.N.’s refugee agency said in astatement on Monday.
The agency added in the statement, “All states have a right to control their borders and manage irregular movements, but at the same time should refrain from the use of excessive or disproportionate force and maintain systems for handling asylum requests in an orderly manner.”
Greek riot policeclashed withthe migrants Saturday, firing off tear gas and confronting the large crowds with batons to keep them behind the Greece-Turkey border in the region of Evros.
“Once more, do not attempt to enter Greece illegally — you will be turned back,” Mitsotakis said Sunday.
Greece allowed more than 1 million migrants to enter the country during the height of the crisis in 2015 and 2016. Many of the asylum seekers were Syrian but also included people from Afghanistan and other nations.