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EU border agency denies violating refugee rights

British, German media claim European Border and Coast Guard Agency tolerates mistreatment of refugees

Fatih Hafiz Mehmet   | 06.08.2019
EU border agency denies violating refugee rights

ANKARA

EU border agency late Monday has denied violating rights of refugees, after British and German media have claimed so in their reports.

"#Frontex categorically denies any involvement of its officers in violations of fundamental rights. We condemn any form of inhumane treatment, unprocessed returns and any other form of violence which are illegal under the European Charter for Fundamental Rights," European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) said on Twitter.

 While Frontex has the authority over its officers, "investigation and disciplinary procedure towards national officers is the exclusive responsibility of the individual countries hosting the operation," said Frontex.

The EU on Monday said it will investigate the alleged human rights violations against migrants and refugees under the eyes of EU's border agency.

Chief Spokeswoman of the EU Commission Mina Andreeva said they will follow up the allegations to determine if they are true and act accordingly.

British and German media on Monday have accused Frontex of turning a blind eye on the mistreatment of migrants and thus violating the refugees' human rights.

German opposition lawmakers on Tuesday called for a full-fledged inquiry into the allegations, and a rethink on the role of Frontex. 

“Protection of Europe’s external borders must not lead to a situation where the most serious human nights violations are tolerated, or maybe committed by the EU authorities,” Green Party lawmaker Margarete Bause said in a statement. 

Left Party lawmaker Ulla Jelpke accused Frontex of backing human rights violations by national counterparts in Hungary, Bulgaria and Greece. 

She criticized EU member states for investing millions of euros in quasi-military capabilities for Frontex, and argued that this money should be used for sea rescue activities in the Mediterranean.

“Instead of sealing off its external borders, the EU should should create legal and secure pathways for migration and combat the causes of migration, such as wars and neo-colonial exploitation,” she said. 

* Ayhan Simsek contributed to this report from Berlin.

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