Frontex is not doing enough to ensure that human rights are respected at European borders. Moreover, Frontex, according to the report of the European Parliament working group presented this Thursday, looks the other way before actions by countries such as Hungary, Croatia or Greece contrary to fundamental rights in relation to migrants. Furthermore, Frontex, according to MEPs, falls so far short of its obligations that it continues to have a score of jobs for human rights supervisors vacant. And that the report has been prepared without summoning victims of human rights violations denounced by journalistic investigations and humanitarian organizations to the Brussels sessions: even the internal evaluation of the agency showed that there were cases in which Frontex had participated in those who could not rule out violations of fundamental rights.
And, despite that, the report, which has had the general support of the groups in the Civil Liberties commission, except The Left, does not name the director of the agency, whose resignation also does not ask.
“The group found no conclusive evidence on the direct conduct of hot returns and / or collective expulsions by Frontex in cases of serious incidents,” the report’s conclusions read: “However, the Agency found evidence to support the allegations violations of fundamental rights in member states with which it had a joint operation, but did not address or follow up on these violations promptly, vigilantly and effectively. As a result, Frontex did not prevent these violations or reduce the risk of future violations of fundamental rights “.
The Spanish socialist Javier Moreno has affirmed that “the director of Frontex feels the pressure”, as a result of the presented report. “These investigations seek to correct past failures and to put Frontex on track. Saving lives at sea must always be one of our top priorities, but disorderly and uncoordinated search and rescue efforts have put people’s lives at risk. That is why , the monitoring group recommends that Frontex, the Commission and the Member States coordinate better and work hand in hand to respond to search and rescue needs. ”
“The report finds huge deficiencies in Frontex’s ability to comply with its obligations to respect fundamental rights,” says Moreno: “The delay in hiring fundamental rights observers is clearly a major obstacle to the agency’s work to ensure Compliance. Frontex mismanagement in this area is a considerable concern for our group, especially when Director Leggeri has his eye on expanding staff elsewhere in the organization. ”
The United Left spokeswoman in the European Parliament, Sira Rego, also a member of the Frontex scrutiny group, has been more critical of the report’s conclusions, which she considers insufficient. “It is not surprising that the report says that no evidence has been found of Frontex involvement in hot returns: PPE, Renew and the far right have not allowed the appearance of victims of Frontex actions at the borders and NGOs working on the ground. The testimonies from the Greek detention camps we visited last week leave no doubt that Frontex makes hot returns and violates human rights. ”
“The report is critical of Leggeri, but does not even name him,” Rego points out: “Leggeri must resign today. It is the only possible recommendation at the moment. But Leggeri’s resignation is not enough. There is an implicit recognition that Frontex violates human rights at our borders and an EU Agency that does that cannot continue to function like this. In any case, it is not a question of asking Frontex to behave better. Frontex is a tool of EU migration policies. It is This must change, because our borders have become a zone of suspension of human rights and the right to asylum. The only common position on asylum that the EU has is the blockade. The blockade of hundreds of thousands of people in detention camps where they are mistreated daily. ”
The chair of the working group, the popular Roberta Metsola, Maltese, has acknowledged: “It is not a perfect report, we have not been able to examine all aspects, which have to do with sensitive aspects of complaints of violations of fundamental rights. The group has not found concrete evidence that it has participated in returns, but that Frontex should have acted on complaints of rights violations. There must be a guarantee of border protection with respect for fundamental rights. You have to be very scrupulous with these people. ”
The report’s rapporteur, the German green Tineke Stirk, has stated that for years there have been “complaints of human rights violations, which are on the rise, and the regulation establishes Frontex’s obligation in relation to the respect of human rights. one of the conclusions of the working group is that it has not protected fundamental rights, it has not prevented this type of irregularity. ”
Stirk has acknowledged that “it has not been possible to investigate the allegations, but how Frontex has reacted to specific cases. There has been no evidence of what Frontex has done directly in the cases of hot returns, but indications of violations have been found in Member States where it did nothing about it. It relied on Greek refusals, for example. It is far from enough. The situation of fundamental rights has not been sufficiently taken into account. ”
Patryk Tomasz Jaki, a Pole from ECR, the Vox group, has defended the role of Frontex in the room: “Many pretexts are used to denigrate and abolish the organization. There is no evidence that Frontex or its director participated in dubious actions. There is little talk about Frontex working and working better every time. They work for EU security. Frontex is a necessary organization and the director needs more support. ”