Experts from national human rights institutions and representatives from selected European Union (EU) entities and international organisations met in Vienna to discuss issues around the operationalisation of FRA’s 2022 guidance. The discussions built on the long-standing experience of bodies and agencies engaged in relevant monitoring and protection work. FRA developed this guidance at European Commission’s request, following the proposed screening regulation of 23 September 2020 and consultations with a range of stakeholders.
Monitoring compliance with fundamental rights is particularly important for activities which take place in locations where the public has limited or no access, such as EU land and sea borders. It is also important to bear in mind the increasing number of actors involved. An effective and independent fundamental rights border-monitoring system reduces the risk of fundamental rights violations.
Participants welcomed FRA’s guidance as a useful tool to guide the setting up, strengthening and functioning of effective and independent national border monitoring systems. At the meeting there was consent that the guidance strikes a good balance between covering relevant aspects of border monitoring and remaining concise.
The discussions with experts highlighted a series of issues. These need to be considered when operationalising the FRA guidelines, including the following:
The expert meeting also highlighted the importance of ensuring that border management staff at operational level receive clear guidance on how to carry out their daily tasks in compliance with fundamental rights. Moreover, it reiterated the need for prompt, effective and independent investigations of alleged rights violations.