MSF G7 comment: Policies of 'refoulement should be viewed by G7 countries as a humanitarian failure on their watch'



Ahead of the G7 summit this weekend in Taormina, Italy, the international medical-humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) urges G7 leaders to make a bold commitment to humane and long-term migration policies.


Dr Joanne Liu, International President of MSF says:


“We witness the impact of these short-sighted policies of repression, detention and push back first-hand through our work in a wide range of situations, such as survivors of Syria’s devastating conflict, detention centres in Libya and the extreme level of violence on the Central American migration and refugee route.


“The rising deaths at sea, the physical and administrative border walls, the abysmal reception or detention conditions and eventual refoulement should be viewed by G7 countries as a humanitarian failure on their watch.”


MSF is particularly concerned by the growing number of deals outsourcing migration management to – often unsafe – third countries that place the very concepts of refugee and protection in danger.


Among the latest examples are the deal between the European Union and Turkey and the cynical Italy-Libya deal that supports the interception of migrants at sea by Libyan coastguards. Those migrants are prevented from seeking protection and pushed back to widely known and accepted violence, torture and inhumane detention conditions in Libya.


On 23 May, during a migrant rescue on the Mediterranean managed by a number of NGOs, Libyan coastguards intimidated passengers of the distressed boats and fired gunshots into the air, threatening people’s lives.


Loris De Filippi, President of MSF Italy says:


“This is just one example that shows Libyan coastguards cannot be part of the solution. Europe’s strategy to externalise the management of migration entry points across the sea to Libya is nothing short of complicity with torture, abuses of human rights and condemning people to suffering or death.”


Access to Medicines and Antimicrobial Resistance

Several global health issues will also be on the G7 agenda, and MSF calls on the summit to address the issues of unaffordable medicine prices and the lack of research and development undertaken to combat drug-resistant infections and other patient needs.


Dr Els Torreele, Executive Director of MSF’s Access Campaign


“Every day MSF doctors are confronted with a lack of effective treatments to cure diseases such as drug-resistant tuberculosis. The need for medical innovation is urgent, but products need to be affordable and easy to use in the health systems where people are cared for.


“Today's system of pharmaceutical research – based on patent monopolies and high prices – is failing all of us. It does not effectively address drug-resistant infections, global epidemics such as hepatitis C or epidemic outbreaks like Ebola, as well as a range of non-communicable diseases.


“Today, even across the G7, countries are struggling to pay for new medicines to treat hepatitis C. Drug-resistant infections are a serious and growing health problem, with drug-resistant tuberculosis claiming one third of all lives lost to such infections globally in 2015.


“The G7 should take urgent steps in their own countries and beyond to address the epidemic of high prices that is negatively impacting patients around the world.”




Charlotte Morris
Press Officer, MSF UK

Tel: +44 207 067 4219 / +44 7587 553539

E: [email protected]




About MSF UK

This is the press room for MSF UK - the UK office of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

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