Frontex: Why is the EU funding human rights abuses?
This Fair Trials documentary examines fundamental rights abuses by the EU’s border agency, including their involvement in illegal pushbacks in the Aegean Sea.
It features interviews with journalists and activists who have been investigating Frontex’s activities and exposing the criminalisation of migration in Europe. After multiple revelations about human rights abuses, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) began an investigation into Frontex’s practices in December 2020, which ultimately led the agency’s Executive Director, Fabrice Leggeri, to resign. Frontex is yet to appoint a permanent replacement and Fair Trials’ documentary asks the people who have been investigating Frontex what they would like to say to the agency’s Executive Director when they are appointed.
Marta Gionco is Advocacy Officer at the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), a network of organisations working to ensure social justice and human rights for undocumented migrants. PICUM has raised concerns about the expansion of Frontex, its involvement in illegal pushbacks, and a lack of accountability for its actions. PICUM has been member of Frontex’s Consultative Forum from 2012 to 2019, when they left due to concerns on the working methods of the Forum as well as the increasing reports of Frontex’s involvement in illegal pushbacks.
Klaas van Dijken is a Director of Lighthouse Reports, a non profit newsroom, who exposed Frontex’s involvement in illegal pushbacks in the Aegean Sea. Their analysis of Frontex’s Joint Operations Reporting Application (JORA) database revealed that the agency was involved in hundreds of refugee pushbacks. Following Lighthouse Reports’ publications about Frontex, OLAF began their investigation into the agency.
Lorenzo D’Agostino is a freelance journalist who writes about the war on migration in the EU. Working with the French NGO, Disclose, together with journalist Zach Campbell, Lorenzo has exposed how the EU is funding the development of artificial intelligence software that could be used to control and harass migrants.
The documentary also features interviews with Laure Baudrihaye-Gérard who leads Fair Trials’ legal and policy work in Europe and Ioana Bărbulescu who works on racial justice issues. Fair Trials has raised serious concerns about the increased mandate of Frontex and its role in the criminalisation of migrants in the EU.