European agency turns blind eye to border abuses: HRW
Researcher says internal probe conducted by Frontex’s management board has given no details on incidents investigated
Questions are being raised about the willingness of the EU’s border patrol agency Frontex to hold its self liable for numerous violations and pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers at Greece’s borders with Turkey, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report Wednesday.
In an internal investigation conducted by Frontex's management board into these allegations of pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers, eight of 13 incidents were examined, the watchdog said.
The inquiry found that no “third country nationals were turned back in contravention of the principle of non-refoulement," an act of forcing migrants to return to a country or territory where they might face persecution. However, the investigation gave no details on the incidents while it left five more unresolved, the report said.
In the meantime, a German pro-transparency group, FragDenStaat, gave detailed information on the five incidents that were left unresolved, offering insights into possible illegal pushbacks.
According to Human Rights Watch, the information about these five incidents along with the internal probe conducted by Frontex raises concerns about the agency’s involvement in these abuses as well as the way it has investigated these allegations.
“They looked at the five incidents, but there was no conclusion on them, Human Rights Watch researcher Eva Cosse told Anadolu Agency.
“About the eight other incidents, it says they examined them and that they concluded they were not pushbacks, but they do not provide further details in the report,” she added.
The incidents that were analyzed in the probe were the few that were reported internally at Frontex, HRW said in its report.
In addition, it failed to look into serious incidents of violations where people were picked up after reaching Greek shores and then taken by the Greek Coast Guard to inflatable rafts at sea, it said.
Frontex's management board stated its concern over the effectiveness of its reporting and monitoring mechanisms, but it should examine at large the reported abuses and press the agency to reconsider operations when abuses are committed, Human Rights Watch said.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.