ECHR says Turkey violated rights of Syrian migrant forced to return home

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Turkey was guilty of violating the rights of a Syria forced to return to the war-torn country despite holding a residence permit.

Muhammad Fawzi Akkad arrived in Turkey in 2014 and received a residence permit and “temporary protection status” in the country four years later. The Syrian national was detained in June 2018 while attempting to cross over into neighbouring Greece, Euronews Turkish reported. Akkad was forcibly relocated to Syria days after his detention.

Akkad’s forced repatriation to Syria was a “violation of the Turkish law,” Euronews cited the ECHR as saying.

Moreover, Turkey violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to liberty and security, it reported.

The European court ordered Turkey to pay Akkad 9,750 euros ($10,294) in damages and 2,500 euros ($2,639) for costs and expenses he incurred during the ordeal.

Turkey is home to some 3.7 Syrian migrants, the largest in the world, which arrived following the civil war in Syria in 2011. The demographic has been faced with a wave of xenophobia in the country, with anti-refugee sentiment being bolstered by the country’s high unemployment rate and ailing economy. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month announced that his  government was working on a new project to facilitate the voluntary return home of some 1 million Syrian refugees in the country. The announcement arrived amid a heated political debate over Ankara’s migrant policy, which opposition figures have vowed to alter if elected at the polls scheduled for the summer of 2023.

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