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Monday, July 23, 2012

European Ombudsman Opens Public Consultation on Frontex and EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; NGOs and Public Invited to Submit Comments

From: Migrants at Sea blog / European Ombudsman:

Text of 19 July 2012 press release from the European Ombudsman: “The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has invited individuals, NGOs, and other organisations active in the area of fundamental rights protection to submit comments in his ongoing inquiry concerning the EU Borders Agency, Frontex. Frontex coordinates the operational cooperation between Member States in the field of border security.

In March 2012, the Ombudsman asked Frontex a number of questions about the implementation of its fundamental rights obligations. Frontex replied in May 2012. Comments on Frontex’s response can be submitted to the Ombudsman until 30 September 2012.

Fundamental rights organisations and NGOs invited to submit comments

In 2009, the Charter of Fundamental Rights became legally binding on Frontex, which is based in Warsaw. Since then, a number of civil society organisations have questioned whether Frontex is doing enough to comply with the Charter, for example, in its deployment of EU border guards to Greece where migrant detainees were kept in detention centres under conditions which have been criticised by the European Court of Human Rights.

In October 2011, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Regulation setting out additional specific fundamental rights obligations for Frontex. In March 2012, the Ombudsman asked Frontex a number of questions about how it is fulfilling these obligations, including the obligation to draw up a fundamental rights strategy, as well as codes of conduct applicable to its operations.

Frontex submitted its opinion in May 2012. It explained that, since 2010, it has developed a fundamental rights strategy, as well as a binding code of conduct for those participating in its activities. Frontex also listed other measures it is currently taking to ensure full respect for fundamental rights.

The Ombudsman considers that, before proceeding further, it would be useful to seek information and views from NGOs and other organisations active in the area of fundamental rights protection. He therefore invites interested parties to make observations on Frontex’s opinion. The Ombudsman has also invited the EU Fundamental Rights Agency to give its views.

All documents related to the inquiry, including Frontex’s opinion, are available at: http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/cases/correspondence.faces/en/11757/html.bookmark"

From the Ombudsman’s website:

What the Ombudsman is looking for

The present inquiry concerns the implementation by Frontex of its fundamental rights obligations. The Ombudsman would, therefore, be highly interested in receiving feedback from interested parties, such as NGOs and other organisations specialised in the areas covered by his inquiry, on Frontex’s answers to the questions he put to it.

The present inquiry is not intended to examine and solve individual cases involving Frontex’s fundamental rights obligations. Such cases can of course be submitted to the Ombudsman through individual complaints. A complaint form that can be used for this purpose is available on this website.

How to contribute

Comments should be sent to the Ombudsman by 30 September 2012.

By letter: European Ombudsman, 1 avenue du Président Robert Schuman, CS 30403, F – 67001 Strasbourg Cedex, France;
By fax: +33 (0)3 88 17 90 62;
By e-mail: http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/shortcuts/contacts.faces

Click here for press release by the European Ombudsman.

Click here for all documents related to the inquiry.

Click here on the Migrants at Sea link for the PDF of Frontex’s 17 May 2012 response.

European borders: controls, detention and deportations

European borders: controls, detention and deportations
Migreurop, « European borders : controls, detention, deportations », 2009-2010 report (PDF)

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