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Plan to send refugees back to Africa considered by EU

EUROPEAN Union leaders cooked up a “desperate” plot yesterday to slash the number of refugees in the bloc by giving them EU travel papers and shipping them off to Africa.

An appalled African Union official said the idea was “unheard of” and migration experts were dismayed at its callousness.

The EU-Africa migration summit in Valletta, Malta, began yesterday and ends today.

The shocking scheme would see EU officials decide whether refugees who lack travel papers and whose asylum claims have been rejected have come from Africa.

Where the decision is that they have, the migrants will then be given EU papers just so that they can be quickly booted out of Europe.

Amnesty International acting EU director Iverna McGowan said it was yet more corner-cutting by the EU.

“People returned to countries of transit risk being faced with arbitrary detention and having their rights to asylum and to work violated,” she warned.

EU states are pressing African leaders to take in thousands of refugees whose asylum applications they have rejected.

Particularly under pressure are countries near Libya, which was torn apart with the help of a bombing campaign by Nato — made up mostly of EU states.

Many refugees, fleeing conflicts stirred up by or directly involving the West, set off on their perilous Mediterranean journey to Europe from the wrecked country’s coast.

Meanwhile, Slovenia has copied nearby states by building its own 400-mile razor-wire border fence, which it claims is only intended to funnel refugees, not close off the country entirely.

• Turkish coastguards said yesterday that 14 refugees, including seven children, had drowned when their boat sank off the country’s coast. Sailors rescued 27.

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