Lampedusa: no to Frontex, no to migration cooperation with Tunisia

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 European Commission president von 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 and 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”

Shielding Frontex – On the EU General Court’s “WS and others v Frontex”

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.

Read more at Verfassungsblog

Saturday 2 September: Demonstration to the Hellenic Coast Guard and Frontex offices in Athens

Piraeus Metro Station – 6 pm

1 September 2023 – On Wednesday 14/6/2023, off the coast of Pylos, a fishing boat capsized, resulting in the death of more than 600 people. Testimonies of survivors revealed that hundreds of women and children were trapped in the hold of the fishing boat. The involvement of the Hellenic Coast Guard in the sinking of the vessel was immediate. Not only did they fail to rescue the passengers when their boat was already in distress, but based on the testimonies of the survivors, the capsizing of the boat occurred when the coastguards towed the boat with a rope. With no regard for human life, the coast guard watched hundreds of people drown from a distance and only began the rescue after two hours. After 104 survivors were brought ashore in Kalamata, the Greek police confiscated the mobile phones of 40 of the survivors in the Kalamata hospital and replaced them so that the evidence of the Hellenic Coast Guard’s responsibility for the sinking of the boat would disappear. According to the survivors, the phones were working and several of them contained a recording of the entire trip, including the Coast Guard’s fatal intervention. Continue reading “Saturday 2 September: Demonstration to the Hellenic Coast Guard and Frontex offices in Athens”

21-27 August: International No Border Camp in Groningen (The Netherlands)

18 August 2023 – From Monday 21st to Sunday 27th of August, the No Border Camp will take place in Groningen. Hundreds of international activists come together for a week for actions, meetings, workshops, discussion and culture as part of the struggle for a world without borders and freedom of movement for all. The No Border Camp draws attention to the repressive and militarized border and migration policy of the Netherlands and the EU. Continue reading “21-27 August: International No Border Camp in Groningen (The Netherlands)”

Open letter regarding migration cooperation with Tunisia

2 August 2023 – Letter addressed to
– Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission
– 27 Member States governments

Dear Mrs. Von der Leyen,

We are writing to you to express our indignation and deep opposition to the Memorandum of Understanding with Tunisia, further expanding Fortress Europe, and to denounce the lack of formal condemnation of the racist treatment of and human rights violations against people on the move by Tunisia’s government. A situation that has been described by the UN as illegal under international law.

In a statement from the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) of 18 July, UN experts condemned Tunisia’s racist treatment of Sub-Saharan migrants, emphasizing that “collective expulsions are prohibited under international law” and that “racial hate speech that constitutes incitement to discrimination has real consequences, including violence”.

While the abuses, including collective expulsions, have been going on for years, they intensified this year after racist hate speech by Tunisian president Kaïs Saïed. At the beginning of July, more than 1200 migrants were expelled from the city of Sfax. They were sent to the borders with Libya and Algeria and left there to die. While some hundreds have been rescued, groups of people still remain at the borders today in life-threatening situations. Continue reading “Open letter regarding migration cooperation with Tunisia”

Free Homayoun – Campaign for the release of Homayoun Sabetara

On 25.08.2021, Homayoun Sabetara, a migrant fleeing Iran, was arrested by Greek authorities in Thessaloniki after having driven a vehicle across the Turkish-Greek border. Following an unfair trial in a language foreign to his own, on 26.09.2022, Mr. Sabetara was then sentenced to an 18-year prison sentence for alleged smuggling. Mr. Sabetara was reportedly coerced into piloting the vehicle from their departing point near the Turkish-Greek border, having to transport seven additional persons. Since his arrest in August 2021 he has been held in prison in Korydallos, Greece.

At the time of his escape from Iran, Homayoun Sabetara had no legal and safe passage available to travel to Germany, where his daughters currently reside.

With many others we demand the acquittal of Homayoun Sabetara, as well as all migrants who are criminalized for ‘smuggling’. See the campaign website ‘Free Homayoun‘.

Up to 600 people drown off Pylos, Greece – only days after EU leaders agreed to further erode the right to asylum

Open letter by over 180 human rights organizations and initiatives together with Tima Kurdi, aunt of Alan Kurdi.

Today on World Refugee Day, we jointly demand full and independent investigations into the events, clear consequences for those responsible, an end to the systematic pushback practices at the European borders, and justice for the victims.

10 years after the two shipwrecks off Lampedusa, Italy, killing around 600 people and causing an immense public outcry, up to 600 people drowned off Pylos, Greece, in the Mediterranean Sea. On June 14, 2023, once again, the European border regime killed people exercising their right to seek protection. We are shaken! And we stand in solidarity with all survivors and with the families and friends of the deceased. We express our deep condolences and grief. Continue reading “Up to 600 people drown off Pylos, Greece – only days after EU leaders agreed to further erode the right to asylum”

20 June: Actions in more than eight countries on World Refugee Day: Stop the war on migrants!

15 June 2023 – On World Refugee Day, Tuesday 20 June, and the days around it, activists in more than eight countries in Europe and Africa will come together for an international action day to Abolish Frontex and end the EU border regime. Less than two weeks after the latest attempt by EU policy makers to bolster Fortress Europe through the EU Council’s adoption of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and by enlisting non-EU countries, such as Libya and Tunisia, as outpost border guards, the organisations and groups united in the Abolish Frontex network will take to the streets and call upon decision makers to ‘Stop the war on migrants!’

Continue reading “20 June: Actions in more than eight countries on World Refugee Day: Stop the war on migrants!”

How Frontex expanded in the wake of the Ukraine war

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, more than 13 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes in what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called ‘the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II’. Breaking with a policy of deterring and containing asylum seekers outside its borders, the EU and its member states rightly responded to the flow of people by creating legal pathways that granted Ukrainian nationals protection and legal status within the Union. While these laudable efforts have undoubtedly saved lives, over a year later it is clear that the measures are the exception and not the rule. The EU has used the war in Ukraine to expand its deadly border regime in Eastern Europe, in particular the role of Frontex, doubling its efforts to keep out those fleeing other wars and conflicts. Moreover, Ukraine, which has acted as the EU’s border guard for nearly two decades, has continued to play this role even as the war rages on.

Continue reading “How Frontex expanded in the wake of the Ukraine war”

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