In Deep Water: Towards a Greater Commitment for Human Rights in Sea Operations Coordinated by Frontex?

In: European Journal of Migration and Law
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  • 1 Faculty of Law, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
  • 2 Faculty of Law, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain

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Frontex and the eu Member States have been criticised for not carrying out sea surveillance operations coordinated by the Agency in full compliance with human rights obligations. While Frontex and the Member States are clearly obliged to respect human rights when carrying out maritime surveillance operations within their territorial waters and contiguous zone, the question is much more complex on the high seas and especially in the territorial waters of a third country. Therefore, the most problematic question in Frontex operations is the extraterritorial application of human rights obligations of the eu and its Member States. The aim of this paper is to determine to what extent Regulation 656/2014 has introduced a clear regulation of the interception and rescue operations coordinated by Frontex while at the same time fully respecting fundamental rights and, in particular, the principle of non-refoulement.

  • 2

    Judgment of 5 September 2012, European Parliament v. Council, C-355/10.

  • 4

    C-355/10, supra note 2, paras 84 and 90.

  • 6

    See A. Baldaccini (2007), ‘The External Dimension of the eu’s Asylum and Immigration Policies: Old Concerns and New Approaches’, in: A. Baldaccini, E. Guild and H. Toner (eds), Whose Freedom, Security and Justice?, eu Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, Oxford: Hart, p. 277.

  • 7

    See T. Strik (2014), The ‘left-to-die boat’: actions and reactions, Doc. 13532, Strasbourg: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 9 June 2014; T. Strik (2012), Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?, Doc. 12895, Strasbourg: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 29 March 2012.

  • 12

    Recital 1 of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 16

    Recital 4 of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 17

    European Commission (2014), ‘ “Frontex Joint Operation Triton” – concerted efforts to manage migration in the Central Mediterranean’, 7 October 2014.

  • 18

    S. Carrera & L. Den Hertog (2015), Whose Mare? Rule of law challenges in the field of European border surveillance in the Mediterranean, ceps Paper No. 79, Brussels: ceps, p. 12.

  • 19

    C-355/10, supra note 2, para. 50.

  • 25

    Article 6 of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 29

    Article 8 of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 30

    Article 7(1) of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 31

    Article 7(2) of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 33

    European Commission, supra note 8.

  • 39

    S. Carrera and L. Den Hertog (2015), Whose Mare? Rule of law challenges in the field of European border surveillance in the Mediterranean, ceps Paper No. 79, Brussels: ceps, p. 12.

  • 40

    Recital 15 of Regulation 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 41

    Article 9 of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 44

    T. Strik (2014), The ‘left-to-die boat’: actions and reactions, Doc. 13532, 9 June 2014, Strasbourg: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, p. 14.

  • 46

    Article 10 of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 65

    See Papastavridis, supra note 35, p. 105.

  • 66

    Article 4(2) of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 67

    Article 4(3) of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 69

    See S. Peers (2014), ‘New eu rules on maritime surveillance: will they stop the deaths and push-backs in the Mediterranean?’, Statewatch.

  • 73

    See Carrera and Den Hertog, supra note 18, pp. 11–12.

  • 75

    Article 13(2) of Regulation No. 656/2014, supra note 1.

  • 79

    Peers, supra note 69.

  • 81

    M. Cederbratt (2013), Frontex: human rights responsibilities, Doc. 13161, 8 April 2013, Strasbourg: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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