Frontex Should Protect People at EU External Borders

(Brussels, June 23, 2021) – The European Union border guard agency’s oversight mechanisms have failed to safeguard people against serious human rights violations at the EU’s external borders, Human Rights Watch said today.


An analysis of the actions of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, known as Frontex, shows a pattern of failure to credibly investigate or take steps to mitigate abuses against migrants at EU external borders, even in the face of clear evidence of rights violations.



Frontex, the European Union’s border and coast guard agency is failing to protect people seeking safety at Europe’s borders.

It is obliged to abide by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in its operations.

Yet Frontex has repeatedly failed to take action after allegations of human rights abuses have been reported in areas where it is operating. 

Amongst these incidents: Human Rights Watch documented evidence that Frontex concealed Greek officials’ involvement in illegal pushbacks of migrants at sea.

In Croatia, Frontex continues to operate despite mounting evidence from Human Rights Watch and others of Croatian officials violently expelling migrants into Bosnia.

In Hungary, the agency took no action to halt the abusive treatment of asylum seekers for four years, even though violations were brought to its attention by several international organizations. It only suspended operations after an EU Court ruling.

Frontex should take. concrete action to prevent its own complicity in abuses in the places where it operates or abuses at EU borders will multiply.

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A Portuguese vessel in a Frontex operation in Lesbos, Greece, 2016.