Joint Statement: Systemic unaccountability at the EU’s external border

Missed opportunities of the European Ombudsperson’s decision on Frontex’s SAR role and obligations in the Aegean region

Today, I Have Rights, Legal Centre Lesvos and de:border // migration justice publish a joint statement highlighting systemic unaccountability at the EU’s external border. The statement is in response to the European Ombudsperson’s decision, published on 28 February 2024, following its own-initiative strategic inquiry concerning the role of Frontex in the context of search and rescue operations. The statement draws on the Joint Contribution the organisations made during this inquiry. 

The organisations welcome the inquiry and the finding that “despite Frontex having search and rescue obligations it is clear that it primarily provides a search or surveillance function and not a rescue function”. Yet, the organisations also emphasise missed opportunities in the Ombudsperson’s decision. In particular, the organisations regret that the European Ombudsperson does not hold Frontex accountable for violating SAR obligations and fundamental rights. 

In particular, the statement outlines the European Ombudsperson’s failure to address Frontex’s involvement in systemic pushbacks and calls for robust enforcement measures against Member States. Moreover, it highlights Frontex’s deficient fundamental rights monitoring and the lack of accountability mechanisms, leading to the normalisation of violence against migrants. 

The statement concludes by urging the European Ombudsperson to take further action to hold relevant EU agencies accountable for maladministration amidst prevailing systemic unaccountability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *