18 May 2021
A new factsheet by Sea-Watch documents Frontex's "ongoing and unpunished aerial complicity in human rights violations".
The factsheet documents six search and rescue (SAR) cases, in the Maltese and Libyan SAR zones, in which people in distress should have been rescued but instead were pulled back to Libya, with the Libyan Coast Guard assisted by Frontex's aerial surveillance operations.
"For almost 4 years, the crews of the aircraft Moonbird and Seabird** have witnessed this practice as well as the refusal of Frontex aircraft to cooperate with NGOs at sea, with the intended consequence that people in distress are not rescued in a fast and safe manner and then taken to a place of safety in Europe (as is required by international maritime law). Instead, the agency relies on the so-called Libyan Coast Guard to illegally return people to Libya.
This factsheet outlines a selection of representative distress cases in the Central Mediterranean involving Frontex aircraft which were witnessed by Airborne’s crews. In addition to Airborne’s observations from the air, open radio communications and the retrospective matching of Frontex aircraft flight tracks (which can be partly viewed on open online portals) also serve as a basis for the reconstruction of these distress cases. The combination of this data allows conclusions to be drawn about the involvement of Frontex in pullbacks to Libya."
See: Crimes of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex in the Central Mediterranean Sea (Sea-Watch, link)
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