Sunday, January 16

EU “has blood on its hands,” say activists calling for the abolition of the border agency | Human rights

Activists, captains of rescue ships and some 40 human rights organizations around the world have launched an international campaign calling for the European border agency to be eliminated and dismantled.

In an open letter sent last week to the European Commission, the EU Council and the European Parliament, the campaign coalition highlighted the “illegal and inhumane practices” of the EU border agency Frontex, which is accused of having promoted and applied violent political measures against migrants.

“More than 740 people have died so far this year trying to cross the Mediterranean, looking for a safe place,” the letter reads. “The EU border regime forced them to take dangerous migration routes, often in ships unfit to navigate; recruited neighboring countries to stop them on their way; I faced them with violence and rejection; or he refused to rescue them, abandoning them to drown in the sea. “

“These are lives lost due to the European Union’s obsession with enforcing borders rather than protecting people,” said the campaign coalition, what includes Sea-Watch, Mediterranea Saving Humans, Iuventa10, Baobab Experience and Alarm Phone. “At what cost? Fortress Europe policies have killed more than 40,555 people since 1993. Left to die in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the desert, shot at borders, killed by suicide in detention centers, tortured and murdered after being deported – The EU has blood on its hands “.

The launch of the campaign to abolish Frontex coincides with plans to expand the agency. Frontex has secured a budget of 5.6 billion euros (4.8 billion pounds) through 2027, with plans to increase its armed border patrols. Your budget has grown by more than 7.500% since 2005and the new resources will help buy equipment like boats, helicopters and drones.

The coalition has published a list of demands, including the abolition of the agency and an end to the detention of migrants by EU forces, and is planning protests across the EU, accusing Frontex of being “an avid promoter and a key executor of Europe’s violent policies against people in the movement. “

It comes after the EU anti-fraud office, Olaf, thrown out an investigation on Frontex in January over allegations of harassment, misconduct and illegal operations aimed at preventing asylum seekers from reaching EU shores.

Europe has built more than 1,000 km of border walls and fences.

Carola Rackete, a German ship captain who is one of the organizers of the campaign, said: “If we really believe that all humans are equal, then we have to dismantle the systems that keep inequality in place. Frontex, as part of the border industrial complex, has no place in our vision of a European society that fights for justice and is committed to repairing the damages inflicted in the global south with a white supremacy mentality. “

Stéphanie Demblon, from Agir pour la Paix, said: “We are not asking for a better European migration policy: we are demanding the abolition of Frontex and the demilitarization of borders. And we are taking steps to achieve it. “

Frontex did not respond to The Guardian’s request for comment.

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