A Palestinian refugee from Syria who has been stranded in the transit zone of Istanbul Airport for more than six weeks is at risk of imminent deportation and must be granted access to the Turkish territory, said Amnesty International.
As thousands of passengers stream through Istanbul’s new airport terminal, all Mohamed Ajlani Younes can do is watch and wait
Mohamed Ajlani Younes has been living in the airport with no access to adequate food, natural light or fresh air since 26 May.
“As thousands of passengers stream through Istanbul’s new airport terminal, all Mohamed Ajlani Younes can do is watch and wait. He is at risk of imminent deportation to Lebanon which would put him in danger of being sent to Syria, where he would be at risk of serious human rights violations,” said Adriana Tidona, Migration Researcher at Amnesty International.
“Mohamed has nowhere to sleep or bathe and has been surviving on cheese sandwiches, water and fruit juice, and the situation is adversely affecting his health. Turkish authorities should immediately allow him to enter Turkey and access the support to which he is entitled as an asylum seeker.”
Mohamed is at risk of imminent deportation to Lebanon which would put him in danger of being sent to Syria, where he would be at risk of serious human rights violations
While Mohamed’s asylum application in Turkey has not been decided and there is no formal deportation decision against him, there have been two attempts to deport him to Lebanon. From there he could be deported to Syria.
Mohamed Ajlani Younes fled Syria in 2012 and moved to Lebanon, where he lived in the Shatila refugee camp with his wife and two children, who continue to reside in the camp. After leaving Lebanon, on 26 May 2019 he was stopped in Istanbul airport, allegedly for travelling with a fake passport, and denied entry into Turkey.
On 28 May he made an application for asylum in Turkey expressing his fears about being returned to Lebanon. Asylum seekers should not be penalised for illegal entry in a country where they seek protection, as long as they present themselves without delay to the authorities showing good cause for it.
Amnesty recently reported on the deteriorating conditions and mounting hostility in Lebanon against refugees from Syria and believes that the coercive environment created by the Lebanese authorities is forcing them to return to Syria, in breach of Lebanon’s obligations under the non-refoulement principle, which forbids the transfer of individuals to a country where they would face serious human rights violations.