NGOs file a lawsuit against the EU border agency

On Tuesday, human rights lawyers representing NGOs said they had filed a lawsuit against the European Union Border Guard and Coast Guard in the EU’s Supreme Court, accusing Frontex of violating the rights of asylum seekers and other violations of international law.

The case is filed with the European Court of Justice by Front-Lex, a legal center challenging EU migration policy. This is a Burundian woman and an unaccompanied minor from Congo who tried to apply for international protection on the Greek island of Lesbos last year.

The lawyers said that this is the first time that Frontex has appeared before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in 17 years of work, and that they plan to bring the agency to justice and “restore the rule of law at the EU borders.”

They claim that the two migrants “were robbed, abducted, detained, sent back to sea forcibly, collectively expelled and ultimately abandoned on rafts without vehicles, food or water.” The lawyers did not explain how the abduction and detention is combined with the forcible sending directly to the sea (editor’s note).

According to them, the two “became victims of other scare-off operations while trying to find protection in the EU.” According to EU and international refugee law, people fearing for their lives or fleeing persecution can apply for asylum, and they cannot be pushed back, that is, sent back to where they may face further danger (this is in Turkey- is it dangerous? author’s note).

The lawsuit details how a 15-year-old minor was among a group of migrants whose phones, bags and money were allegedly confiscated by masked members of the Greek coast guard in the Aegean Sea, between Turkey and Greece, in May 2020. The migrants were loaded onto a rubber raft in Turkish waters.

The incident was one of several involving the boy. Witness testimonies, media reports and other evidence suggest that he and the woman were allegedly subjected to further violence in late November. As of February, both remained in Turkey and still hoped to get to Greece to apply for asylum.

Frontex coordinates search and rescue and border protection operations on behalf of the 27 EU member states. However, the country on whose territory the operation is being carried out – in this case Greece – has control over what is happening.

“We trust the court to hear victims, see what everyone sees, hold EU border officials accountable and restore the rule of law on EU lands and seas,” lawyers Omer Shatz and Iftah Cohen of Front-LEX said in a statement.

Frontex got hit heavy fire, accused of involvement or complicity in the opposition, often in the Aegean, but the agency denies these allegations. An internal investigation this year found no evidence that Frontex was involved in the events. published in the media last October.

But the European Parliament has launched its own investigation and is expected to publish its findings in the coming months. The EU anti-fraud agency is also investigating allegations of mismanagement of Frontex.

In a letter to lawyers that was reviewed by the Associated Press, Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri denied any wrongdoing complaints. “I am confident that the agency carried out its activities in strict accordance with the current legal framework, including obligations regarding fundamental rights,” he wrote.

It is worth noting that this lawsuit is far from the first attempt by NGOs to disrupt Frontex’s work and open the gates for the arrival of illegal immigrants to Europe. NGOs and the “sponsors” behind them, who have lost a lot of money from the recession in the flow of illegal immigrants across the EU border, hope that the flow of refugees from Afghanistan will resume and, accordingly, the flow of funds will resume.

Nothing personal just business…

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