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EU report: Frontex turns a blind eye to illegal pushbacks

EU report: Frontex turns a blind eye to illegal pushbacks

A confidential EU report accuses European border protection agency Frontex of deliberately turning a blind eye when the Greek coast guard returns refugees at sea.

In one case, the Frontex plane was specifically towed from the Aegean “so as not to become a witness,” according to a report by the anti-fraud agency Olaf, from which the news magazine is issued.MirrorAnd the newspaperLe MondeThursday quote.

In 129 pages, the report documents “how the European border protection agency Frontex participated in the illegal machinations of the Greek Coast Guard,” Spiegel wrote. According to the report, border guards in the Aegean are “systematically throwing asylum seekers into the sea without any leadership – whether in jiggling boats or on inflatable lifeboats,” Spiegel continues.

Referring to Olaf’s report, Frontex was said to have known about Greek human rights abuses early on and had covered them up. Frontex also hid the fact that European taxpayer money was implicated in at least six cases, in which the European Union participated in financing the Coast Guard ships involved.

The European Union wants to prevent accidents

The European Union Commission confirmed that it has deployed 31 human rights monitors to prevent such incidents in the future. “We are also working closely with the Greek authorities,” UNHCR spokeswoman Anita Heber said Thursday. Heber stressed the need to protect the external borders of the European Union while respecting human rights.

During a visit to the office of the European Border Protection Agency Frontex in Piraeus on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Annalina Barbock (the Greens) called for a systematic investigation into cases of refusals of people seeking protection. It is now known that there have been several instances where pushbacks occurred.

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Barbock argued that European values ​​should also apply to the external borders of the European Union and that these borders should also have doors. “If we look the other way, our values ​​will vanish in the Mediterranean,” she said. Barbock. “It’s often about the weakest.”

According to Spiegel, Olaf’s report, which was not intended for publication, is one of the reasons for the resignation of former Frontex chief Fabrice Legere in April. The investigation confirms numerous media reports about the so-called push-backs at the EU’s external borders.

What is meant is the removal of migrants and refugees at sea or rendition. These practices are illegal because they prevent these people from applying for asylum. Frontex was founded in 2004 with the expansion of the European Union eastward. Since 2015, the agency’s resources have increased significantly. By 2027, the number of employees is expected to increase to 10,000 border guards.