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European Court of Justice absolves Frontex of responsibility for human rights violations

A recent European Court of Justice adjudication indicates that Frontex is not responsible for border human rights violations. The European agency Frontex was sued by a family from Syria who was pushed back to Turkey by Frontex officers after having reached Greece in 2016. Sea Watch and the Syrians who sued Frontex reported that in addition to the prohibition of degrading treatment, the agency violated the principle of non-refoulement, the right to asylum, and children’s rights.

The European Court of Justice rejected the lawsuit, ruling that Frontex was not involved in the decisions of the Greek authorities regarding the repatriation choice: the agency’s role was only one of operational and technical support.

In synthesis, the Court argues that the European Border Agency is not responsible regarding return measures.

“The ruling demonstrates the sanctity of a European institution structurally set up in a legal space that allows human rights violations and covers up for perpetrators by diffusing responsibility”
~ Sea Watch

This is a worrying precedent, as it absolves Frontex of its responsibility for human rights violations at the borders.

This article first appeared in Are You Syrious?

Image: Markus Winkler / CC BY-SA 2.0

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