In advance of the upcoming action day, we talked to the Civil Fleet podcast about Frontex’s wrongdoings on the African continent, the problems with border externalisation, and why the EU border regime needs to be abolished.
Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or directly here.
19 November 2023 – The European Commission wants to agree “new anti-smuggling operational partnerships” with Tunisia and Egypt before the end of the year, despite longstanding reports of abuse against migrants and refugees in Egypt and recent racist violence endorsed by the Tunisian state. Material and financial support is already being stepped up to the two North African countries, along with support for Libya.
The plan for new “partnerships” is referred to in a newly-revealed annex of a letter from European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, that was sent to the European Council prior to its meeting in October and published by Statewatch.
The European architecture for border surveillance has been continuously expanding in an attempt to detect, deter and repel refugees and migrants. For those who manage to enter, they are biometrically registered and screened against large-scale databases, raising serious concerns on privacy violations, data protection breaches and questions of proportionality.
Recently Euromed Rights launched a new fact sheet with infographics on the use of Artificial Intelligence for border control and surveillance. The fact sheet is based on the report ‘Europe’s Techno Borders‘ which Euromed Rights and Statewatch published earlier this year.
In 2006 Frontex deployed Hera, its first joint operation outside Europe, in an attempt to intercept migrants travelling by boat from Senegal to the Spanish Canary Islands. This made an already dangerous journey even more difficult and included the involvement in illegal pushbacks. Since then, the EU has intensified its efforts of turning African countries into EU border outposts and stopping migrants on the way to Europe before they even have a chance to claim asylum. In advance of the Abolish Frontex International Action Day on 18 December, this article provides an overview of Frontex’s activities on the African continent that are public knowledge. Continue reading “Frontex in Africa”
[Taken from the Instagram of the Frachcollective] 20 October 2023 – Yesterday, 45 detained people on the move entered into a hunger strike protesting their detention at the Slovakian-Hungarian border town Medved’ov. Mostly Kurdish people from Iraq and Turkey, as well as people from Afghanistan, are detained since weeks, some for months, without any information on the reasons why or for how long.
The night before 30 riot police with dogs entered the detention center to intimidate people on the move who are demanding their freedom. Continue reading “Solidarity with uprising in Medved’ov migrant detention center (Slovakia)”
The European Union’s border agency, Frontex, facilitated the deportation of nearly 18,000 individuals from EU territory during the first half of 2023, marking an unprecedented peak. This surge in removals, executed through both scheduled flights and “voluntary” return procedures, demonstrates a 60% upswing in deportations compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
2 October 2023 – On 5 September Frontex awarded new framework contracts for manned aerial surveillance flights on land and coastline to the companies CAE Aviation (Luxembourg) and European SAO (Malta). Under this contract they will fly scheduled and unscheduled flights from a base airport on request, “to report objects and events of interest to a Coordination Centre designated by Frontex” in support of its operations.
The contracts have a duration of 24 months, with a (in principal automatic) renewal for the same period. The maximum value is €14 million, which can be increased with up to 50% – something that regularly happened with previous similar contracts. Frontex guarantees at least 400 flight hours. A representative for each company has to be present in its headquarters in Warsaw to plan flight activities and receive feedback. Continue reading “New Frontex contracts for aerial surveillance flights”
18 September 2023 – Abolish Frontex, a grassroots network of over 130 organisations and groups, strongly condemns the reaction of the European Union to the current migration situation on Lampedusa. The 10Point Plan presented by Commission president on der Leyen during her visit to the island on Sunday 17 September, at the invitation of Italy’s far right government, is merely another addition to Europe’s repressive violent border and migration policies and will do nothing to help people on the move. Continue reading “Lampedusa: no to Frontex, no to migration cooperation with Tunisia”
While a number of complaints have been lodged against Frontex before the EU’s courts in different procedures (e.g., annulment, transparency, failure to act), the action for damages in casu, was the first of its kind concerning human rights responsibility of Frontex and had all the ingredients to prompt the General Court to finally clarify a number of pervasive and urgent questions concerning Frontex responsibility for complicity in unlawful human rights conduct. Instead, by conflating the wrongful conduct under scrutiny, the Court prevents a critical examination of Frontex’s conduct altogether. The significance of the case thus lies in the adopted approach by the Court, which, in effect, contributes to the systematic shielding of Frontex from any responsibility for contributions to human rights harms.