UN refugee agency calls European border closures 'inhumane'

May 23, 2016 16:38


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ISTANBUL - The UN's refugee agency said on Monday border closures in Europe to stop migrants were "inhumane", and government efforts to stem the flow had averted the crisis only temporarily.

The border closures across the Balkans and a controversial deal between Turkey and the EU have sharply reduced the number of people crossing into Europe this year, after a million made the often perilous journey in 2015.

"There are a lot of people patting themselves on the shoulder and saying the deal worked, the people have stopped coming: but there's more to it than that," Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the UNHCR, said on the sidelines of the world's first humanitarian summit. "It has pushed the problem backwards and the problem is not yet solved."

On the moves to seal borders, she added: "The sudden closure and the action by unilateral states was inhumane vis-à-vis many vulnerable people."

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