EU policy on irregular migration is "fundamentally at odds with the human rights approach"
Last Thursday, the European Parliament's Human Rights Committee (DROI) heard from a number of speakers on the compliance of Frontex with its human rights responsibilities. A short video posted on the Parliament's website shows some of the key comments from the session, of which the most scathing came from a statement by François Crépeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
In a statement read by Paul d'Auchamp from the Brussels section of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the committee heard that "within the EU policy context, irregular migration remains largely viewed as a security concern that must be stopped. This is fundamentally at odds with the human rights approach concerning the conceptualisation of migrants as individuals and equal holders of human rights."
Other speakers before the committee discussed the introduction of more stringent human rights requirements for Frontex. Immaculada Arnaez Fernandez, the agency's recently-appointed Fundamental Rights Officer, noted that her work was "very focused on establishing procedures and systems that will allow to mainstream human rights in all activities from the beginning."
Stefan Kessler, a member of the Frontex Consultative Forum that was established last year and is made up of a number of NGOs and human rights organisations, said that the Forum is "not just looking to agree principles on paper, but rather develop concrete standards and mechanisms to guarantee the rights of migrants."
However, he noted that all members of the Forum are "aware of the fact that neither we nor the Fundamental Rights Officer can solve the more structural problems of Frontex" and that the Forum has little real power: it "is not a decision-making body but can only give recommendations."
Other comments can be seen in the video: Implementation of the new regulation of FRONTEX: extracts from the meeting
- Statewatch analysis: "If at first you don't succeed" European Commission proposes new rules on interception and disembarkation during Frontex sea operations by Marie Martin, April 2013
- European Ombudsman makes 13 recommendations to Frontex to strengthen its fundamental rights strategy, Statewatch News Online, April 2013
- Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly report, Frontex: Human rights responsibilities, April 2013
- Statewatch Analysis: "Trust in Frontex": The 2013 work programme by Marie Martin, March 2013
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