In October 2020, a group of media outlets published evidence about Frontex vessels involved in human rights violations in the Aegean Sea. This raised serious questions about the EU agency’s denial of knowledge of or active contribution to pushbacks. The evidence shows how Frontex witnessed the Hellenic Coast Guard conducting pushbacks but also how the EU agency’s was actively involved in these activities. The situation at the Croatian-Bosnian border, where pushbacks and violence by the Croatian authorities are reported constantly, also raises questions on the involvement of Frontex in these breaches of human rights. In theory, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2019/1896) foresees Frontex’s obligation to terminate activities in case of violations of fundamental rights, as well as several mechanisms to prevent such breaches.
The panelists were:Prof. Nora Markard, Professor for International Public Law and International Human Rights, University of Münster Matthias Oel, Director - Borders, Interoperability and Innovation, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission Andreas I. Pottakis, Greek Ombudsman Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA, rapporteur of the new European Parliament Frontex Scrutiny Working Group
Moderation: Neda Noraie-Kia, Head of Migration Policy Europe, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Thessaloniki Office
Front-LEX and the Legal Centre Lesvos submitted this request for action on the part of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX or the Agency), pursuant to Article 265 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Front-LEX and the Legal Centre Lesvos invite the Agency to consider its position vis-à-vis its activities in the host Member State Greece and to immediately suspend or terminate all its activities in the Aegean Sea Region, in compliance with The Agency’s obligations under Article 46 (4) of European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) Regulation.
In this letter forty MEPs request full information on the status and interim results of the preparation of the legal basis for the arming of Frontex.
In this letter, eight MEPs urge the European Commission to address the issue of pushbacks in the European Union as a matter of priority and to do everything possible to prevent these incidents and take appropriate action.
Written Question submitted by MEP Tineke Strik regarding Fundamental rights compliance by Frontex staff and the current absence of the Fundamental Rights Officer.
Pushback policies and practice are an increasing phenomenon at Europe’s borders, in clear violation of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, including the right to seek asylum and the protection against refoulement, which are at the core of international refugee and human rights law. There are persistent reports and evidence of inhuman and degrading treatment by member States and their agencies in the framework of those pushbacks, through intimidation, taking or destroying migrants’ belongings, and even through the use of violence and depriving migrants of food and basic services.
This report, requested by Tineke Strik, looks at fundamental rights compliance at the European Union (EU)’s external land borders, including rivers and lakes. On 30 January 2020, the European Parliament requested the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to prepare a report on these borders. It noted that the report should focus on the correct application of the safeguards in the European asylum acquis and the provisions of the Schengen Borders Code (Regulation (EU) 2016/399).
In these documents (a letter and an information note) the Hungarian Helsinki Committee raises the issue of fundamental rights violations at the Hungarian- Serbian border and summarises the HHC’s experiences with Frontex and its human rights compliance mechanisms in the last years.
Pushbacks at our external borders have become a widespread practice. Why are these violations so persistent, and what can be done to stop them? We need a wider scope of the newly proposed monitoring mechanism, stricter enforcement of the rules and stronger scrutiny from the European Parliament and Commission.
In this letter, forty-eight MEPs call on Bosnian authorities as well as on the European Commission, the European Council and EEAS to take immediate action and humanitarian measures to protect migrants in Bosnia Herzegovina.