Migrants: NGOs say Frontex 'didn't report potential abuse'

'EU Parliament must investigate, Samos activities must be halted'

10 October, 18:22

    Migrants in a camp in Samos island, Greece Migrants in a camp in Samos island, Greece

    BRUSSELS - European border agency Frontex is not using its internal monitoring mechanism to investigate potential violations of fundamental rights or obligations of international protection, seven NGOs have denounced. The NGOs operate on Samos, Greece, and include 'Still I Rise'. They are asking for the suspension of the EU agency's operations in the area.

    In July, through a request of the General Civic Access (FOI), the group of NGOs obtained reports on serious incidents (SIR) compiled by Frontex from 2016 in the operational area of Samos, noting that the last event registered dates back to October 2019, or "1,181 days ago". "However - stressed the coordinator of Advocacy for the Aegean of Europe Must Act - we have to identify at least 34 incidents, including violent pushbacks and fires in the hosting facility, which are clearly part" of the category of 'grave incidents'.

    The organizations that signed it are asking for the working group on the control of Frontex of the Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) of the European Parliament to investigate a list of events that could be considered SIR, according to the definition provided by Frontex itself, and for an official request to be presented to activate article 46 which provides for the interruption of any activity of the Agency if "violations of fundamental rights of a serious nature" which "could persist" are reported in an area. The NGOs denounced that "for years this condition was clearly satisfied on Samos, however Frontex remained. The time has come for Frontex to obey the law and its regulation and for article 46 to be activated", they said. The NGOs are also asking to suspend the release of the agency's annual budget until a complete and independent examination of the facts is carried out and the participation of the interim executive director in a session of parliamentary question times.

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