FRONT-EXPORT

It is people what I’d like to write about, it is about object we end up talking. Treated as goods, or either as-through the uncountable services they provide us, immigrants seeking a better life see their dream, or ‘Game’ as they call it in the Balkan rout, blocked by the Frontex agents. ‘Our’ European Border and Coast Guard Agency. No matter the perspective through which we touch upon the topic, it is paramount to keep in mind the fact that we are talking about people. And it is often people like us, with a normal everyday job, or laureates’ young minds, who try to cross multiple foreign state borders to get to Europe. From their home country, and throughout the ‘journey’, they aim to Europe as the land of freedoms. Where eventually, and after some ordinary sacrifices (usual difficulties encountered by a person/family moving to a different country), no more coldhearted affliction will threat their humble life. No oppression for the political side on which they are on, the freedom to practice their own religion or the possibility to send their children to school. All dreams. Expectations wrecked once they pass the European borders.


Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, is an agency of the European Union whose duty, in coordination with the border and coast guard of the Schengen Area member states, is to ‘ensure safe and well-functioning external borders providing security’, as we can read from their official website. Their agents are both present on land and in the sea, and their main concerns for the past years have been migration waves. Born as a European border-management agency in 2004, Frontex’s mandate was later extended and transformed into a full-fledged European agency by the European Commission to react to the European migrant crisis of 2015-2016. It is now this causal link that raises the higher number of doubts. Are we (both EU citizens and EU administrative bodies) keeping the agency, employer of the single agents present on the ground, accountable for its employees’ behavior? How do they treat immigrants once they cross the European borders? Do the agents act in full respect of those European core objectives and values well-written on the various EU treaties? Finally, without even considering these European standpoints, to make the claim fair and simple, are human rights respected by the Frontex and MSs border control agents?


The ‘land’ hotspots on the Frontex agenda are now two, the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the border between Greece/Bulgaria and Turkey. In the latter thousands of immigrants are kept at the gate, ready to ‘invade’ Europe. Because this is the way in which these people get treated by both the EU and Turkey, the former paying to keep the immigrants within Turkish borders, the latter using these people living in abominable conditions, as a bullet in a loaded chamber, ready to be banged. Again, objects, it is what our leaders are dealing with, when humans are standing in the cold, dirty and malodourous refugee camps waiting for the higher verdict: “you can, you cannot enter”. Giorgia Linardi, spokesperson in Italy for the NGO Sea-Watch, interviewed by Ilaria Bonaccorsi for the quarterly journal Ossigeno, compares the system envisaged by the new Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by the EU Commission to ‘Migrazon’, to emphasize the way in which immigrants are treated by the European decision-making bodies.


According to Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), an independent Network of NGOs and associations predominantly monitoring the Balkan regions and Greece, the number of push-back testimonies has dramatically increased in the last couple of years. In September 2020 alone, BVMN gathered 1,250 testimonies of people getting pushed back to either Turkey or Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2020, considering even higher figures for the previous years, 37% of the people trying to enter the EU clearly exposed their intention to ask for asylum. Yet, they were pushed back, against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 14), which states that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries. On top of this infringement, we could mention the 54% of pushbacks in which minors were involved, here breaching (as one of many) the Communication on the protection of children in migration adopted in 2017 by the Commission. “It is fundamental to ensure that any child needing protection receives it and that, regardless of their immigration status, citizenship or background, all children are treated as children first and foremost.” I read on the official website of the European Union. Signing treaties or agreements, ‘constitutionalizing’ the protection of certain rights seems to me a brilliant costume for a rotten and corrupted body. Europe has some respectful progressive targets, through which (EU citizens) envisage a healthier and more sustainable future; yet, we forget to pursue them nor act accordingly.


"Represion Refugee Camp" by Libertinus is licensed under