The European Union’s top border protection official has resigned after allegations of years of rights abuses during his tenure, including the alleged mistreatment of migrants arriving in the bloc’s territory.
Fabrice Leggeri, a French citizen who headed the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, commonly known as ‘Frontex’, confirmed his departure in a statement obtained by various media outlets on Friday.
“I return my mandate to the Board of Directors since it seems that [the] The Frontex mandate for which I have been elected and renewed at the end of June 2019 has quietly but effectively changed,” he said.
Today, after more than 2 years of research by @LHReports, resigned the head of the EU border agency, Frontex. Small teams working in the public interest in Europe can make a big difference. Explainer in short 🧵 pic.twitter.com/4mkMHfiwue
— Lighthouse Reports (@LHreports) April 29, 2022
While a European anti-fraud agency launched an investigation into the abuse allegations last year, its findings have yet to be made public. Nevertheless, research by a consortium of regional media outlets have indicated that Frontex was aware of at least 22 cases of migrant ‘pushbacks’, when immigration authorities simply forced asylum seekers, arriving by boat, back into the sea.
The 22 ‘pushbacks’ were carried out by both Frontex and Greek officials and involved more than 950 migrants, all occurring between March 2020 and September 2021, media outlets including Germany’s Der Spiegel, France’s Le Monde reported. , SRF et Republik of Switzerland and investigations. NGO Lighthouse Reports.
Frontex called an emergency meeting on both Thursday and Friday to address the allegations against Leggeri and two other agency employees. The former Frontex chief has denied the charges in the past, and the European Parliament issued a report on the matter last year.
“The board of directors took note of his intentions and concluded that the employment has therefore come to an end.” Frontex said in a statement, adding that Leggeri formally resigned on Thursday.
It is defined as any government policy in which “Migrants are forced to cross a border… without taking into account their individual circumstances and without any possibility of applying for asylum”, Pushbacks are prohibited by EU law for fear they put human lives at risk, as many migrants arrive on boats and rafts that are unseaworthy after long journeys. International law also generally prohibits “return”, or the forced return of refugees to a country where they may be at risk of persecution.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.