UN rebukes Turkey over return of Syrian refugees

By REUTERS
March 29, 2013 11:54

 
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GENEVA - The UN refugee agency criticized Turkey on Friday for sending home at least 130 Syrians without its scrutiny and urged it to investigate the riot which sparked the departures that some witnesses said were forced.

Turkey denied on Thursday it had rounded up and deported hundreds of Syrian refugees following unrest at the Suleymansah border camp, highlighting the strain the exodus from Syria's civil war is placing on neighboring states.

The Geneva-based United Nations agency reiterated the principle that forced returns violate international law and said they could not be used as a "punishment or deterrent".

"UNHCR was not invited by authorities during the return process to monitor the procedures. Persons under international protection who have violated the law of the host country are subject to the relevant national laws and judicial procedures," Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said in remarks emailed to Reuters overnight.

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