efe_epaBrussels

A prominent human rights group on Tuesday denounced human rights violations against thousands of migrants since the implementation of the refugee deal between the European Union and Turkey and demanded that the accord not be replicated elsewhere.

In a report published on the one-year anniversary of the EU-Turkey agreement, Amnesty International said that the deal had left thousands of refugees and migrants in "squalid and dangerous living conditions."

"The EU-Turkey deal has been a disaster for the thousands who have been left stranded in a dangerous, desperate and seemingly endless limbo on the Greek islands," said AI's Deputy Director for Europe Gauri van Gulik in a statement.

"It is disingenuous in the extreme that European leaders are touting the EU-Turkey deal as a success, while closing their eyes to the unbearably high cost to those suffering the consequences," Van Gulik added.

The statement said that the migrants and refugees _ who had been automatically held in detention centers upon their arrival and then were prevented from leaving the Greek islands _ were living for months on end in "overcrowded camps, with a lack of hot water, poor hygiene, bad nutrition, and inadequate medical care."

EU spokesman Alexander Winterstein said Tuesday during the European Commission's daily press briefing that he did not see any parallels between the EU's migration policies and the ones being pushed by the new United States administration.

"I don't see any similarity between the two," Winterstein said, stressing that the EU-Turkey pact sought to destroy the "business model of human traffickers" and to avoid deaths at sea.

He added that the number of irregular immigrants had fallen "drastically" since the deal came into force.

AI, on the other hand, said in its statement that the "hardships imposed by the poor reception conditions on the islands are compounded by residents' fears for their own security."

"The poor conditions in the camps, the uncertainty refugees and migrants face about their futures, and the uneasy relations with local populations, all contribute to the significant tensions that have on occasion flared into violence," AI said.

The human rights organization went on to mention instances of hate-motivated attacks in camps such as Souda, on the Aegean island of Chios.

It also questioned the deal's central premise to return every irregular arrival on Greek islands back to Turkey, saying it incorrectly relied on the "assumption that Turkey is safe for asylum-seekers."

"For as long as Turkey is still not a safe country, the EU should work with the Greek authorities to urgently transfer asylum-seekers to mainland Greece and European governments should give them access to relocation to other countries," Van Gulik said.

"Nobody should die in the cold on Europe's doorstep," she added.