Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU guarantees the right to asylum. For the past years, EU member states have increasingly used illegal operations to push back large numbers of asylum seekers from Europe’s borders. Violating their human rights, putting their lives at risk and preventing effective access to the asylum procedure for the assessment of their application for international protection.
The rule of law applies to everyone within and at our borders. Protecting fundamental rights and providing a safe environment in accordance with the law is our shared responsibility. Vulnerable individuals should be protected instead of pushed away. Asylum seekers have been recognised as a particular vulnerable group in our society.
Pushbacks are systematically used by EU Member States. Different EU Member States as well as EU agencies are participating in these human rights violations. Frontex, the border agency of the European Union plays a key role in perpetuating push-back operations. Instead of protecting basic human rights and upholding the rule of law, they remain inactive and even participate in these push back activities. As such an Agency funded by the European Union, and thus EU citizens, is systematically violating the fundamental principles upon which the Union is built.
Different NGO’s from across the EU have therefore joined forces to help put an end to these violations. All NGO’s support asylum seekers and refugees during their asylum procedure and advocate for their fair treatment. Some of the participating organisations frequently encounter victims of pushbacks. Other organisations feel a shared responsibility as the push backs are the result of EU policy created by their respective governments. EU Member States and Frontex should be held to account for push back activities.