Frontexit Press Release – 27 April 2016
By August 2016, the European institutions aim to replace Frontex by a new coast guards and border-guards agency which will further jeopardise the rights of migrants and refugees. This new mandate reinforces the serious concerns expressed by the FRONTEXIT campaign since its establishment: deter, control and keep away men, women and children deemed undesirable while they are exerting their right to leave any country and the right to seek asylum.
Almost exactly one year after the terrible tragedy that had claimed the lives of 800 persons and deeply moved European leaders and citizens on 18 April 2015, another 500 people from the Horn of Africa are reported to have drown on 12 April 2016.
These fatalities are unbearable and could have been avoided. It demonstrates – if this was still needed – that the European Union (EU) does not have the will to stop deaths at sea. The deployment of the naval force EUNAVFOR MED off Libya in June 2015, and the creation of a new agency to better “protect Schengen” in 2016 show that policies are not geared towards the protection of human lives but aim to keep at a distance migrants and refugees in the name of the “fight against smugglers”.
De facto, the European agency Frontex is useless and dangerous: it does not prevent the use of smugglers since both trends have grown in scale since the agency’s inception; it does not stop deaths at sea as it considers that search and rescue is not its priority and that SAR operations might even act as a “pull factor”. On the contrary, the reinforcement of Frontex’s presence leads people to take increasingly dangerous routes.
The member organisations of the Frontexit campaign warn against the upcoming creation of this new agency and its dangers which, in the wake of the EU-Turkey deal, is yet another cynical response to the exodus and the drowning of thousands seeking reception in Europe.
It is urgent to stop the agency’s activities rather than reinforcing it, to welcome refugees, and to radically revisit European migration policies.
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