01 November 2016
A letter signed by 56 MEPs addressed to numerous officials from the European Commission, the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration highlights the abysmal educational and living standards for children in Turkey and calls for "the cessation of readmissions and returns of migrants to Turkey, especially of vulnerable categories such as children." Of particular concern is the fact that many Syrian children are employed in Turkish textile factories where they "work in painful conditions, in very close contact with a wide range of toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances such as hydrochloric acid."
The letter concludes by calling (emphasis added):
"- on the Commission and Member States to explicitly include the aforementioned principle of coherence in all treaties signed by them, keeping by this way with international commitments on the respect of human rights. We note that this will require intensive cooperation between different directorates-general, within the Commission and the European External Action Service;
- on all States, and in particular EU Member States, to prioritise for immediate action the establishment of mandatory human rights due diligence for business enterprises which are owned or controlled by the State, and/or receive substantial support and services from State agencies or European institutions as well as for businesses that provide goods or services through public procurement contracts;
- we recall the different but complementary roles of States and private companies with regard to human rights protection; we recall that States, acting within their jurisdiction, have a duty to protect human rights, including against abuses committed by companies, even if they operate in third countries; we strongly recall that, where human rights abuses occur, the States must grant access for the victims to an effective remedy; we recall in this context that respect for human rights by third countries, including guaranteeing effective remedy for people under their jurisdiction, should constitute an essential element of EU’s external relations with these countries."
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