Abolish Frontex: On the duty to rescue and the loss of life in the Mediterranean

[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”

Insurance companies Nationale Nederlanden and Aegon profit from Polish border wall

[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”

It’s done: Over 55,000 signatures collected against Frontex for Swiss referendum

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.

Read further on the No Frontex Referendum website.

Support people on the move at the border between Poland and Belarus

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.

Read further at Kontrapolis

Over 40 actions to Abolish Frontex and end the EU border regime on International Migrants Day

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”

A Fig Leaf: the Frontex accountability regime

[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”

Frontex builds its own armed border police force

[by Stop the War on Migrants & Stop Wapenhandel] 7 December 2021 – On 13 November 2019, the European Parliament voted in favor of a major expansion of Frontex, the EU’s border guard agency. This expansion is part of a process started during the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015 and is, as Frontex itself likes to proclaim, unprecedented in the history of the EU. It’s unprecedented because previously Frontex had a largely coordinating and intermediary function within the European border security system. Frontex essentially ‘borrowed’ its personnel and equipment from the EU member states, a kind of secondment of national border guards. However, this was seen as inefficient and inadequate by both the European Commission and Frontex itself, mainly because EU Member States didn’t commit as much as expected and then subsequently also failed to deliver. This led to the birth of the new mandate. Frontex had to become more independent and “Regulation (EU) 2019/1986” would achieve that. Continue reading “Frontex builds its own armed border police force”

Fact sheet: Frontex and the military and security industry

22 November 2021 – Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has increasingly close relations with the European military and security industry. Since it started operating in 2005 it has primarily functioned as an intermediary between industry and border authorities of EU member states. With its expanded budget for the next seven years (2021-2027) it is bound to become a big
buyer of its own.

Read the fact sheet ‘Frontex and the military and security industry‘ [pdf] by the Abolish Frontex Research Group.

Take action on 18 December – International Migrants Day – to Abolish Frontex!

On 18 December – International Migrants Day, take action to #AbolishFrontex and end the EU border regime.


Over 44.764 people have died trying to reach Fortress Europe. In Tripoli, nearly 3000 refugees are protesting outside the UNHCR headquarters following the mass detention of 5000 people and the death of six people in early October. Thousands of people are currently stuck and facing violence at the Polish-Belarus border and are being pushed back into Belarus. Journalists and human rights workers are being kept out of the border are which has become a militarised zone under a state of emergency.

The response from EU member states and its institutions?

Continue reading “Take action on 18 December – International Migrants Day – to Abolish Frontex!”

Scroll down to content