New Frontex chief Hans Leijtens must focus on human rights

The new Executive Director of the EU's border management agency Frontex, Hans Leitjens, will take up his post on 1 March. He was appointed in December for a five-year term. Here you can also find a chronology of the allegations against Frontex. In my press release of 28.02 I sent the following statement to journalists:

"After the resignation of Fabrice Leggeri, too little has changed at Frontex. The former Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri covered up serious crimes, lied to parliaments and documents were falsified. In recent years, the border protection agency has acted more as if it were part of organized crime than as an agency protecting the law. Even after the resignation of the old executive director, Frontex has continued to for serious human rights violations in Greece watched and shared responsibility. 

Hans Leijtens must address the systematic problems at Frontex and bring the rule of law into focus. Human rights do not hinder the work of border guards, they are the basis of their work. Frontex and the national authorities must finally understand this so that the chaos at the external borders stops and border controls are finally organized according to the rule of law. Just last week, a boat carrying more than 200 people left Turkey, bypassed Greece because refugees were being illegally turned back and mistreated there, and headed for Italy hundreds of kilometers away. Long before the accident, Frontex apparently knew about the boat, but no coordinated rescue was launched. The people could have been saved, they are our dead. 

In many cases, distress calls are no longer responded to seriously. When Frontex aircraft find boats in distress, the border protection agency no longer informs the surrounding ships that could quickly rescue people, but instead has Libyan militias bring them to the camp. 

Our demands

There must be an independent investigation into the cases from the OLAF report take place and about what else Leggeri has covered up. In addition, further reports of the Frontex Fundamental Rights Office and contracts with the agency with companies should be published. 

Leijtens should apply Article 46 of the Frontex Regulation and end operations in Greece due to systematic human rights violations. The Commission should initiate infringement proceedings against Greece. The EU Parliament must be given a permanent place on the Frontex Management Board, so that the agency will be more controllable in the future.

Frontex must More staff for human rights monitoring Set. Frontex must become an agency that protects human rights instead of violating them. This also means participating in sea rescue operations and monitoring member states' compliance with human rights. Hans Leijtens has no shoes to fill. He must lead Frontex on a new, rule-of-law path.