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Doctors Without Borders Rejects EU Funds Over Migrant Deal

FILE-A masked Turkish police officer escorts a migrant after the first vessel transporting migrants from Greek island of Lesbos was docked in Dikili port, Turkey, putting into practice a European Union plan to stem migration to Europe, April 4, 2016.

The medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF) announced Friday it will no longer accept funds from the European Union and its member states.

In a statement on its website, MSF said the move comes in opposition to an EU deal with Turkey that strictly limits the number of refugees admitted to Europe.

The EU-Turkey deal is “placing the very concept of 'refugee' and the protection it offers in danger," said MSF international secretary general Jerome Oberreit.

"Deterrence policies sold to the public as humanitarian solutions have only exacerbated the suffering of people in need," he said. "There is nothing remotely humanitarian about these policies, which cannot become the norm and must be challenged.”

MSF is calling on European governments to shift priorities by maximizing the number of people they “welcome and protect,” rather than maximizing the number of people they “push back.”

MSF’s funding from EU totaled about $52 million in 2015, about eight percent of the organization's total budget. Ninety-two percent of its funding is obtained from private donations.

Under the EU-Turkey agreement that was effective on March 20, migrants traveling from Turkey to Greece will be sent back unless they apply and are considered qualified for asylum in Greece.

For every Syrian migrant Turkey takes back, the EU has offered to directly resettle a Syrian refugee in Turkey.

Europe has offered up to $7 billion in funds for Syrian refugees in Turkey, visa-free travel for Turkish citizens and fast-track EU membership talks.

Other non-governmental organizations and even United Nations agencies have expressed concern about the legal and moral implications of the deal.