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Barcelona mayor urges UN to find 'alternative' solution to migrant crisis on Greek-Turkish border

As Special Envoy for UCLG world cities organization, Ada Colau sends letter to United Nations calling for "international agreements to be met"

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05 March 2020 08:18 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau offered the United Nations "an alternative way of resolving the management of immigration" on Thursday, in reference to the current migrant crisis on the border between Greece and Turkey.

Speaking in her role as the Special Envoy to the UN for the United Cities and Local Governments organization, or UCLG, Colau said she had sent a letter to António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations.

The UCLG is an international organization made up of cities and local, regional and municipal governments and associations around the world, which since its founding in 2004 has been headquartered in Barcelona.

In the letter signed by Colau and UCLG president, Mohamed Boudra, the organization expresses concern about the "lack of respect for the fundamental principles included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the Geneva Convention."

After Turkey lifted controls on migrants trying to get into the EU last week, thousands of migrants have clashed with Greek security forces, leading Greece to suspend asylum applications, a measure that contravenes the Geneva Convention.

"We call for the international agreements to be met," says the letter, which adds that the "members of UCLG are at the full service of the UN, and we convey our willingness to find a way out of this tragedy that is claiming the lives of innocent people."

"This is a problem for Europe," says mayor

"This is not a problem for Greece and Turkey, it's a problem for Europe," said Colau when informing the press about the letter on Thursday, and the Barcelona mayor added that "the appropriate response on behalf of Europe can never be the violation of human rights."

Since thousands of migrants began trying to cross into the EU, Greek security forces have used tear gas to stop them entering the country, with one video showing a Greek coast guard firing warning shots next to a dinghy carrying migrants.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Turkey said it intends to deploy a thousand police officers on its land border with Greece to prevent migrants pushing back into Turkey, while it also accused Greek forces of wounding 164 people at the border.

Condemning the treatment of the migrants, and especially the children, which she said was "unacceptable," Colau called for "mediation, the defense of peace, and the strict compliance with human rights and international treaties."

On Tuesday, 200 people, say local police, turned out in Barcelona to protest the "violent actions" on the border between Greece and Turkey. Organized by the Stop Mare Mortum platform, the protest took place outside the European Commission in the Catalan capital.

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  • Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau shares her plan to the press at the Barcelona City Council on March 3rd, 2020. (By: Guifré Jordan)

  • Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau shares her plan to the press at the Barcelona City Council on March 3rd, 2020. (By: Guifré Jordan)

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