Forced return monitoring systems - 2019 update

The EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC) in Article 8 (6) introduced an important fundamental rights safeguard for third-country nationals ordered to leave the EU because they do not or no longer fulfil the conditions for entry and/or stay. According to the directive, Member States must provide for an effective forced-return monitoring system.

The table below compares developments in EU Member States over the past five years. The overview does not cover the pool of forced return monitors under the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.

Two aspects warrant highlighting. First, in 2014, ten EU Member States lacked operational return monitoring systems that FRA considered sufficiently independent to qualify as “effective”. By 2018, that number dropped to three – and two of these were taking steps to have effective monitoring systems by 2019. Second, developments have not been linear: in at least two EU Member States – Croatia and Lithuania – monitoring was project-based and was suspended when funding came to an end. In France, the independent authority tasked with forced return monitoring did not carry out any such mission in 2016, resuming them in February 2017.

Forced return monitoring systems – State of play in 28 EU Member States - 2019 update
Organisation responsible for the monitoring Operational?
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
AT Human Rights Association Austria (Verein Menschenrechte Österreich)
BE General Inspectorate of the General Federal Police and the Local Police (AIG) (Inspection générale de la police fédérale et de la police locale, Algemene inspectie van de federale politie en van de lokale politie)
BG Ombudsman (О̀мбудсманът), Centre for the Study of Democracy
CY Office of the Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman)
CZ Ombudsman, Public Defender of Rights (PDR) (Veřejný ochránce práv, VOP)
DE** Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge); Fora at various airports (Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin), Airport Forum in North Rhine-Westfalia (✘) (✘) (✘) (✘) (✘)
DK Parliamentary Ombudsman (Folketingets Ombudsmand)
EE Estonian Red Cross (Eesti Punane Rist)
EL Greek Ombudsman (Συνήγορος του Πολίτη)
ES Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo)
FI Non-Discrimination Ombudsman (Yhdenvertaisuusvaltuutettu)
FR General Inspector of All Places of Deprivation of Liberty (Contrôleur général des lieux de privation de liberté) ✘***
HR Croatian Law Centre (Hrvatski pravni centar)
HU Prosecution Service of Hungary (Magyarország ügyészsége)
IE* No monitoring system in law
IT National authority for the rights of person deprived of liberty (Garante nazionale dei diritti delle persone detenute o private della liberta' personale)
LT Lithuanian Red Cross Society (Lietuvos Raudonojo Kryžiaus draugija)
LU Luxembourg Red Cross (Croix-Rouge luxembourgeoise)
LV Ombudsman’s Office (Tiesībsarga birojs)
MT Monitoring Board for Detained Persons
NL Inspectorate of Justice and Security (Inspectie Veiligheid en Justitie)
PL Various NGOs, e.g. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Rule of Law Institute Foundation, Halina Nieć Legal Aid Centre, MultiOcalenie Foundation
PT General Inspectorate of Internal Affairs (Inspecção-geral da Administração Interna, IGAI)
RO Romanian National Council for Refugees (Consiliul Național Român pentru Refugiați, CNRR) (NGO)
SE** Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket)
SI Caritas Slovenia
SK** Ministry of the Interior – Bureau of Border and Foreign Police of the Presidium of the Police Force
UK* Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons (HMIP), Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs)

Operational means that a monitoring entity, which is separate from the authority in charge of returns, has been appointed and has carried out some monitoring activities during the year.
* Ireland and the United Kingdom are not bound by the Return Directive (2008/115/EC).

** In Germany, Slovakia and Sweden, the monitoring body appointed by law is an agency/entity belonging to the branch of government responsible for returns. Thus, FRA considers that it is not sufficiently independent to qualify as ‘effective’ under Article 8 (6) of the Return Directive. In Germany, the effective forced return monitoring system, operated by NGOs at certain airports, covers only parts of the country.

***  In France, the “Contrôleur général des lieux de privation de liberté” did not monitor any forced return operations during 2016.

(✘) Partially operational
Not operational
Information not applicable

Source: FRA, 2019

Find additional data on forced return monitoring systems in our interactive data explorer.

The information on this page is up to date as of 26 June 2019.