EU: Independent Monitoring Mechanism on EU borders must ensure fundamental rights and accountability  

Effective human rights oversight and accountability must be central to the monitoring mechanism proposed under the new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, leading human rights organizations said today in a statement, ahead of the EU’s meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council.

For too long, Europe's leaders have looked the other way while serious violations have been committed at European borders in plain sight and with complete impunity
Eve Geddes, Amnesty International

In September, the European Commission launched the new Pact on Migration and Asylum with new legislative measures on the way in which Member States are expected to handle the arrival of asylum-seekers and migrants at the EU’s external borders.

To ensure Member States’ compliance with fundamental rights and EU laws as well as investigations of all allegations of violations at the borders, the Pact envisages the establishment of an Independent Monitoring Mechanism. If it is to become a credible and effective means of promoting rights and accountability, however, the Monitoring Mechanism must be significantly expanded in scope and strengthened during the forthcoming negotiations on the proposal.

"For too long, Europe's leaders have looked the other way while serious violations have been committed at European borders in plain sight and with complete impunity," said Eve Geddie, Amnesty International’s Europe Institutions Office Director.

“While the proposal reflects the European Commission’s aspirations to address persistent violations on EU’s borders, including summary returns and violence, the Monitoring Mechanism needs to be significantly expanded in scope and must be truly independent of national authorities. This must be done by involving NGOs and National Ombudsman Offices.

The negotiations on the Pact offer a crucial opportunity for the to address illegal practices and create a robust mechanism to ensure accountability. We urge Europe's leaders to take it
Eve Geddes, Amnesty International

"This mechanism must ensure accountability by informing the Commission’s findings as to whether Member States comply with EU laws.

“The negotiations on the Pact offer a crucial opportunity for the European Parliament and the Council to address illegal practices and create a robust mechanism to ensure accountability. We urge them to take it.”

Background

The joint statement urges Members of the European Parliament and EU Member States to adopt changes to the current legal proposal under the Pact on Migration and Asylum. These changes would ensure that the Independent Monitoring Mechanism becomes an effective means of ensuring compliance with EU’s fundamental rights and laws and full accountability for violations.

Following the launch of the Pact in September, the Members of European Parliament and Member States are now preparing for lengthy negotiations on the text of the proposals included in the Pact.

In the light of the ongoing serious violations on EU borders, including the most recent reports of brutal beating, ill treatment and sexual assault by Croatian police, there is an urgent need to agree to a credible and robust system of monitoring and accountability for unlawful migration-enforcement activities at borders. 

The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council will meet on 13 November.  

For more information or an interview contact Stefan Simanowitz - press@amnesty.org stefan.simanowitz@amnesty.org  +44 2030365599