Frontex must comply with its human rights responsibilities says the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE).

In a resolution adopted on the 25th of April, Frontex, the EU’s border agency, was called to order regarding failures to comply with human rights standards. Approving a report by Mikael Cederbratt (Sweden, EPP), the Assembly “called upon the EU member States to ... ensure that in their own participation in the Agency’s activities they comply fully with all their human rights responsibilities”.

FIDH welcomes this latest resolution adopted by PACE which sets out in detail the standards that must be upheld by the EU’s border agency and calls for more transparency and accountability, including through increased supervision by the European Parliament, the establishment of an independent monitoring system and an effective complaints mechanism.

FIDH notes in particular reference to the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirsi. The Assembly underlined that,: “when intercepting boats, both in and outside EU territorial waters, Member States and Frontex must “ensure, inter alia, that those intercepted do not face collective expulsion or ill-treatment, that they have the right to an effective remedy and the possibility of claiming asylum, and that they are disembarked to a safe harbour”.

The landmark Hirsi v. Italy case was filed before the European Court of Human Rights by lawyers from Unione Forense per la Tutela dei Diritti Umani, FIDH’s member organisation in Italy. The AIRE Centre, Amnesty International and FIDH jointly submitted legal arguments in support of the complaint. The European Court of Human Rights condemned Italy for intercepting migrants in the high seas and returning them to Libya, finding violations of several key provisions of European human rights law.

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