[from NoFrontex] 4 March 2022 – The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is driving hundreds of thousands of people to escape. The current situation clearly shows: we need open and safe migration routes – and anti-racist solidarity.
Thousands of people are fleeing the Russian aggression against Ukraine. In many European countries, this has caused immense solidarity within society – the demand to quickly and jointly organize the reception of Ukrainian war refugees can be heard throughout Europe. More than 20,000 people took to the streets in Bern, Switzerland, on Saturday to protest against the war and demanded not only an end to the Russian attack but also solidarity with all those affected by the war. An important statement. In the face of an escalating war in Europe, suddenly the impossible seems possible: the EU Commission offered the neighbouring countries (Poland and other regional states) financial support and the competence of Frontex to help them organizing support for refugees fleeing Ukraine. The Polish government reacted positively to the offer and said that it possibly wants Frontex’s help with accommodation and care. This shows where the money Frontex invests in militarisation could actually go: into solidarity-based infrastructure that guarantees a dignified life for all those who (have to) decide to leave their place of residence.
For NoFrontex it is clear: we need open and safe migration routes, not only in times of crisis, but always. As NoFrontex, we fully support the call to quickly and jointly ensure the admission of Ukrainian war refugees. Together with numerous individuals, networks and organisations we demand this in an open letter to minister Karin Keller-Sutter. We need corridors of solidarity! Continue reading “Safe migration routes for all – not only in times of crisis, but always!”
This is a repost of a statement by the inhabitants of the building in Rue d’Ajaccio in Calais. Abolish Frontex stands in solidarity with the inhabitants and supports their demands.
[by Pat Rubio Bertran, Refugee Rescue] 4 February 2022 – In 2015, after the drownings of 700 people in the Central Mediterranean route, the European Commission promised measures to prevent such tragedies, including strengthening its search and rescue capacity. Less than a year after announcing the plans to ramp up search and rescue support, the EU decided to expand the tasks of Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, to include providing ‘technical and operational assistance in the support of search and rescue operations for persons in distress at sea’. Besides being an obligation in International law, search and rescue is also a specific objective in Frontex’s operational plan. However, five years after that statement and regulation, the deaths and disappearances of people attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean continues to increase. In addition, past investigations, particularly in the Central Mediterranean route, have uncovered how Frontex assets repeatedly fail to respond to emergency distress calls at sea and deliberately patrol in the wrong areas, even in total awareness of how these practices lead to an increase in fatalities at sea. Continue reading “Abolish Frontex: On the duty to rescue and the loss of life in the Mediterranean”
[by Radical Solidarity and Stop the War on Migrants] 1 February 2022 – Last week, Poland started the construction of a wall at its border with Belarus. This is to prevent people on the move to enter its territory (and, by corrolary, the EU) and seek asylum. After sending armed soldiers to harass migrants and refugees, Poland, blessed by EU’s ‘blindness’, is now erecting the closure of Fortress Europe. This all comes to life in the height of winter with freezing temperatures further endangering the lives of migrants. So far, official numbers say that 10 people have died at this border, but activists and NGOs assure that the real number must be much higher. For the ones who make it into Poland, they are detained in detention centres and many are repatriated to their home countries – especially to Iraq. This is yet another proof that the EU will always prefer the freedom of movement of capital to the one of people. Continue reading “Insurance companies Nationale Nederlanden and Aegon profit from Polish border wall”
19 January – Despite pandemic-related social distance, wintry cold and political headwinds, the campaign has succeeded: Well over 55,000 signatures were collected for the “Referendum against the financing of the border protection agency Frontex”. It is a success of solidarity, made possible by the efforts of grassroots organizations and individuals. Many people no longer want to accept the violent migration policy. On Thursday, the signatures will be handed over to the Bundeskanzlei in Bern.
“Anyone who is serious about protection for refugees must stop the Frontex expansion. When refugees drown in the closely monitored Mediterranean, it is not an accident, but murder” says Malek Ossi from Watch the Med Alarmphone Switzerland.
It is also a very fertile ground for hatred of the other, of foreigners, in Poland and of course in all of Europe. The way people are treated by the government justifies the thoughts and actions of right-wing extremist groups and fuels the growth of a fascist European Border system. The fear and impotence that are brought by the tragic images relayed by the mainstream media are not new. It anguishes, immobilizes, demonstrating in black and white the authority of all-powerful militarized states, equipped with weapons and barbed wire. It makes people believe than this is the only option, that this is an efficient “solution” to a “dangerous crisis”. Who is here in danger? In the meantime, attention is being diverted from a necessary reflection on possible solidarity structures and inclusion strategies that would not have cost more. Increasing this fear in any way is one of the most openly used tactics of the last century, to justify the more and more hermetic closing of borders. It is also a way to paralyze people, to make them feel unable to react to inhumane measures, unable to resist them.
However, many people and groups have taken action, despite the ever-increasing difficulties, danger and lack of means. These people are partly locals who didn’t accept the situation and got to be active, some joined more or less institutionalized associations, or formed autonomous groups. Directly, autonomous anarchist groups have joined them and organized in their own way a system of first aid. Beyond the physical help, their goal is also to spread honest and effective information about what is happening there, for the rest of Europe.
Link to the NoBorderTeam Telegram info-chanel: t.me/no_borders_team.
In December 2021, the No Border Team Poland invited groups from several European countries to discuss the situation. The goals of this meeting were to get a better understanding of the situation in Poland, what has been done so far and which are the current needs. Also, to connect more autonomous groups around the cause in order to strengthen the European network of anti-border activists and to think about common strategies.
On International Migrants Day, 18 December 2021, the call to Abolish Frontex and end the devastating EU border regime resounded in over 40 actions in 13 countries in Europe and Africa. With a variety of actions, from information sharing to demonstrations to blockades, groups and organisations, working together in the international Abolish Frontex network, showed their resistance against the deadly EU border and migration policies.
At several locations a voice message from the Refugees in Libya, struggling in Tripoli for their lives and a safer future, was played. Actions also called attention to other urgent situations: the horrific play with migrant lives at the Polish-Belarussian border, the drownings of people on the move in the Mediterranean and other deaths caused by Fortress Europe’s racist and violent policies, pushbacks, the role of the arms industry and the expansion of Frontex.
Below you’ll find an overview of the actions, that show that the movement against Frontex is growing and more and more people demand freedom of movement for all and an end to EU border policies. Any additions or corrections? Let us know via info[at]abolishfrontex.org Continue reading “Over 40 actions to Abolish Frontex and end the EU border regime on International Migrants Day”
On Saturday 18 December, International Migrants Day, across Europe and beyond there will be actions to #AbolishFrontex and the EU border regime.
Join one of the actions on the list of below or organise your own!
[by Lena Karamanidou, researcher] 13 December 2021 – Since 2011, Frontex has established several accountability mechanisms to address the widespread concerns about the Agency’s human rights record. The collective function of the six accountability mechanisms – the Serious Incident Reporting system, Forced Return Monitors, the Fundamental Rights Officer (FRO) and the Consultative Forum, all established in 2011, the Individual Complaints mechanism introduced in 2016, and Fundamental Rights Monitors (FRMs) in 2019 – is to monitor and report fundamental rights violations in the context of Frontex’s operations and strengthen compliance with fundamental rights obligations. In addition to these internal administrative mechanisms Frontex is accountable to other institutions, such as the European Parliament, the Council and courts.
The effectiveness of the Frontex human rights record and accountability regime has always been questioned, but in the course of the investigations into Frontex that have taken place in the last year, it has become clearer than ever that the accountability regime acts as a fig leaf. Rather than documenting violations and violence at the borders of the European Union, it conceals them. Rather than preventing violence – assuming this is possible since the institution of the border is inherently violent and racist – they have been used to exonerate Frontex from any wrongdoing and to legitimatize the violence and violations perpetrated by the EU and its member states. Continue reading “A Fig Leaf: the Frontex accountability regime”