Based on its findings and research FRA provides practical guidance to support the implementation of fundamental rights in the EU Member States.
FRA provides practical guidance in the following areas:
- Guidance on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in external border management when working in or together with third countries
- Checklist to act in compliance with fundamental rights when obtaining fingerprints for Eurodac
- Apprehension of irregular migrants
- Fundamental rights considerations for law enforcement when processing Passenger Name Record (PNR) data
Guidance on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in external border management when working in or together with third countries
European Union and international law clearly prohibits returning people to places where they risk serious harm. EU Member States also have to respect these laws when they cooperate with non-EU countries when controlling the EU’s external borders. To uphold the rights and principles of these laws, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has developed practical guidance.
The guidance has been published together with the report ‘Scope of the principle of non-refoulement in contemporary border management: evolving areas of law’. It was developed based on consultations with experts at a meeting at the Agency on 14 March 2016. It will enable Member States take effective action to manage external borders in line with the non-refoulement principle of not returning people to places where they risk persecution or other serious harm. The report contains suggestions that will help Member States meet fundamental rights obligations when carrying out border management beyond their territorial borders.
Download: Guidance on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in external border management when working in or together with third countries
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Asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation apprehended in connection with their unauthorised border crossing have a duty to provide fingerprints for Eurodac. Member States are obliged to take their fingerprints, but there are limitations on how to enforce such obligation so as not to violate fundamental rights. FRA compiled this checklist to assist authorities and officers who have been assigned the task of taking fingerprints for Eurodac to act in compliance with fundamental rights, parts of which are also useful for individual officers.
FRA has compiled a document providing practical guidance on the fundamental rights considerations of apprehending migrants in an irregular situation, drawing on input from stakeholders.
It includes do’s and don’ts for law enforcement officials. The findings were drawn up following two meetings with Member State experts, the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) as well as the European Commission. It is part of FRA’s larger work on the fundamental rights of migrants in an irregular situation and follows suggestions made during the Fundamental Rights Conference 2011. The conference showcased FRA’s work on the rights of irregular migrants which revealed that certain practices to detect irregular migrants may disproportionately discourage them from accessing essential services, such as health, education and legal services.
This latest document, providing operational guidance on fundamental rights, has been handed over to relevant EU institutions for further consideration. It was presented to the Council Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion on 26 September 2012 and on 28 September 2012 to the Contact Committee of EU Member State representatives, which is convened by the European Commission under the Return Directive. The Contact Committee meeting, which took place on 15 March 2013, decided to include the guidance document in the minutes of the meeting. The aim of the minutes is to develop joint views on how the requirements set out in the Return Directive might be met.
The obligation under Article 6(1) of the Return Directive to issue a return decision to any third-country national staying illegally on their territory is subject to the principle of proportionality expressly recognised by the Return Directive. The minutes state that the legitimate aim of fighting illegal migration may be balanced against other legitimate State interests, such as general public health considerations, the interest of the State to fight crime, the interest to have comprehensive birth registration, respect for the best interest of the child as well as other relevant fundamental rights recognised by the EU Charter.