MEPs call for further action to prevent the misuse of INTERPOL

Article by Fair Trials
  • The European Parliament Recommendation, approved today, states that “transparency and accountability remain a challenge” in INTERPOL, despite recent reforms designed to prevent the misuse of Red Notices and diffusions.
  • Authoritarian regimes are known to use INTERPOL’s Red Notice alerts to persecute refugees and political dissidents abroad. 
  • The Parliament urges the Commission to require INTERPOL to improve transparency and safeguards to prevent Red Notice abuse as part of the EU’s cooperation agreement with the agency.
  • Fair Trials welcomes these proposals and urges the Commission to support further improvements to INTERPOL and its systems.

Today, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved a Recommendation to strengthen INTERPOL’s ability to stop authoritarian regimes abusing its tools. The Recommendation, which sets out the Parliament’s positions on the EU’s cooperation agreement with INTERPOL, received overwhelming support from MEPs with 607 voting in favour. It highlights the need for more transparency and effective procedures to prevent Red Notice abuse. Fair Trials welcomes this Recommendation, having consistently called out this abuse and urged INTERPOL to improve transparency and due diligence.

INTERPOL’s ‘wanted person’ alerts – Red Notices – and diffusions are being abused by countries around the world to persecute refugees, journalists, and political dissidents. The recent arrest of Pussy Riot’s Aysoltan Niyazova demonstrates INTERPOL’s inability to prevent abuse even against the most high profile activists. The European Parliament Recommendation calls on the European Commission to push INTERPOL to improve its capacity to identify and eliminate abusive Red Notices.

Bruno Min, Legal Director at Fair Trials stated: 

“Oppressive regimes have long been manipulating INTERPOL’s tools to target refugees and political opponents abroad. INTERPOL has a duty to protect people from this abuse, but we know very little about how it intends to do so. All we really know is that this abuse keeps happening and keeps putting people’s lives at risk.” 

There is currently very little information about how INTERPOL reviews Red Notices, its administrative ability to do so and the outcome of these reviews. The Recommendation recognises that this makes it “impossible to evaluate the quality of (…) INTERPOL’s vetting process” and calls on the Commission to negotiate more transparency. It highlights the need to publish statistical data, including details of the countries which issue denied Red Notices and the reasons for these denials. It also recommends that the Commission creates a data-sharing mechanism to allow EU Member States to exchange information on politically motivated Red Notices and better flag alerts which threaten fundamental rights.

Min stated: 
“Today, the European Parliament has recognised the very real threat that Red Notice abuse poses to people across the globe. MEPs have made a strong statement that INTERPOL simply isn’t doing enough to protect people. We join them in urging the Commission to take action to ensure that INTERPOL improves its transparency and safeguarding processes.” 

Skip to toolbar