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Turkey-Greece Border: Refugees

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:32 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 12:32 pm, 10th March 2020

I thank the hon. and learned Lady for bringing this question to the House this morning. Clearly, we are extremely concerned about the pressure that the changes at the border have caused. This has put the Greeks in particular under great pressure. We are encouraged by the words of President Erdoğan yesterday, and we hope that the EU-Turkey migration plan can be put back on track. She is absolutely right to say that that has been brought under pressure. We remain absolutely committed to supporting Greece’s efforts to manage the migration effectively, but it is imperative that we urge all sides to avoid any actions that may endanger human life. We fully support the rights of states to control their borders, but we expect them to fulfil their international obligations under the 1951 refugee convention. It is also imperative that the human rights of migrants are protected and promoted.

On resettlement, as the hon. and learned Lady will know, we work closely alongside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Our resettlement programmes resettle more refugees than those of any other EU member state. In 2018, almost one quarter of all resettlement to the EU was to the UK. We also aim to resettle in the region of 5,000 of the world’s most vulnerable refugees in the first year of our new UK resettlement scheme.