Migreurop has released a 48 page report (EN and FR) entitled “Frontex Agency: Which Guarantees for Human Rights.” The Report was prepared with a view to the revision of the Frontex mandate. Here are the Report’s conclusion and recommendations:
“It is not enough to decree that fundamental rights must be respected: it is also necessary to provide the legal means and democratic safeguards needed to achieve this. The proposal for a Regulation amending the Regulation establishing the FRONTEX Agency does neither of these things. Over the five years in which the Agency has been operating, many questions have been asked about the compatibility of its functioning with respect for the rights of individuals. The Commission’s proposed Regulation only addresses a very few of these questions, and raises many more. Until the Agency’s objectives are fundamentally reviewed and seen in the context of the threats the Agency poses to respect for rights, it is questionable whether FRONTEX itself is compatible with human rights. In the meantime, a number of measures should be introduced into the amended Regulation to bring the rules governing the functioning of FRONTEX more closely into line with standards on fundamental rights:
— There should be a clear division of responsibilities between Member States and FRONTEX in line with the Agency’s expanded role, ensuring that FRONTEX has full legal responsibility for acts committed during the operations that it coordinates, wherever they take place.
— It should be explicitly stated that all operations coordinated by FRONTEX must comply with EU directives on asylum, in particular Directive 2003/9 (on reception) and Directive 2005/85 (on procedures), as well as the principle of non-refoulement, including during interventions at sea wherever they take place, and during interventions involving officials acting under the authority of FRONTEX and liaison officers deployed by the Agency.
— It should be explicitly stated that operations coordinated by and/or involving officers placed under the authority of FRONTEX outside EU territory must be consistent with respect for the right to leave any country, including one’s own (Article 12.2 ICCPR).
— Independent monitoring mechanisms should be implemented during operations coordinated by FRONTEX (joint operations, joint return operations, deployment of liaison officers), and the conclusions and follow-up of monitoring operations should be communicated regularly to the European Parliament and made public.
— For monitoring of joint return operations, enough personnel should be made available to ensure that monitoring can take place at every stage, including inside the places of detention where deportees are held, onboard aircraft, and when deportees are handed over to the authorities of the country of return.
— The Code of Conduct for return operations should be made binding.
— Decisions taken by FRONTEX in relation to joint operations and pilot projects that it coordinates should be made available to the European Parliament.
— There should be mandatory consultation of the European Parliament whenever negotiations are opened between FRONTEX and a third country or the authorities of that country, and any agreement reached by FRONTEX during the negotiations should be submitted to the Parliament before being concluded.”
(While the Report was just added to the Migreurop web site, it may be that the French version of the report was released late last year.)