International medical NGO Doctors without Borders, or MSF, has made a bold statement against the European Union by refusing any new funding from the bloc.
The move was in protest at the EU’s recent deal with Ankara, which seeks to return asylum seekers arriving by sea to Greece to Turkey. In May, the MSF penned a letter to the EU urging against the deal, which it called a “historic abdication of your moral and legal responsibilities” and “a political bargaining chip to keep refugees as far away from European borders and the eyes of the European voting public as possible.”
The EU has argued that the deal seeks to dissuade migrants from making the dangerous sea crossing and overland journey to Europe. But this isn’t the only eyebrow-raising deal it’s made with regard to the refugee crisis. Leaders also came under criticism for a deal which required Sudan – a state responsible for the potentially genocidal slaughter of its own citizens – to stem the flow of migrants in exchange for security equipment, surveillance tools and funding.
The EU donated $17.6 million to MSF projects across South Asia and Africa last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper also reported that the charity has decided not to accept new funding from MSF, but that it is considering whether or not to pull out of existing contracts.
Whether other organisations might follow suit is unclear. In recent months, MSF has appeared to take a more political approach in protesting international and state policies on migration: last month, it pulled out of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, calling the gathering a “fig leaf” for the failure of nation states to act in support of refugees.
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