Asylum

Asylum, migration and borders

The migrant crisis has triggered challenges across Europe. FRA encourages rights-compliant responses.

We provide practical expertise on this complex issue. This includes regular updates, focus papers and toolkits. We outline policy alternatives and best practices.

Highlights

  • Handbook / Guide / Manual
    17
    December
    2020
    The European Convention on Human Rights and European Union law provide an increasingly important framework for the protection of the rights of foreigners. European Union legislation relating to asylum, borders and immigration is developing fast. There is an impressive body of case law by the European Court of Human Rights relating in particular to Articles 3, 5, 8 and 13 of the ECHR. The Court of Justice of the European Union is increasingly asked to pronounce on the interpretation of European Union law provisions in this field. The third edition of this handbook, updated up to July 2020, presents this European Union legislation and the body of case law by the two European courts in an accessible way.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    27
    March
    2020
    Council of Europe (CoE) and European Union (EU) Member States have an undeniable sovereign right to control the entry of non-nationals into their territory. While exercising border control, states have a duty to protect the fundamental rights of all people under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality and/or legal status. Under EU law, this includes providing access to asylum procedures.
  • Page
    ‘Hotspots’ are facilities set up at the EU’s external border in Greece and Italy for the initial reception, identification and registration of asylum seekers and other migrants coming to the EU by sea. They also serve to channel newly-arrived people into international protection, return or other procedures.
  • Periodic updates / Series
    18
    February
    2013
    Based on its findings and research FRA provides practical guidance to support the implementation of fundamental rights in the EU Member States. This series contains practical guidance on: Initial-reception facilities at external borders; Apprehension of migrants in an irregular situation; Guidance on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in external border management when working in or together with third countries; Fundamental rights implications of the obligation to provide fingerprints for Eurodac; Twelve operational fundamental rights considerations for law enforcement when processing Passenger Name Record (PNR) data and Border controls and fundamental rights at external land borders.
Products
30
May
2017
Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection.
30
May
2017
Diverse efforts at both EU and national levels sought to bolster fundamental rights protection in 2016, while some measures threatened to undermine such protection.
29
May
2017
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. Such a milestone offers an opportunity for reflection – both on the progress that provides cause for celebration and on the lingering shortcomings that must be addressed.
19
May
2017
This report assesses asylum seekers’ and refugees’ opportunities to access early
childhood education and primary, secondary and tertiary education and training.
It identifies measures available for their support, as well as possible areas for
improvement.
Report / Paper / Summary
7
April
2017
This note draws on past FRA materials on the fundamental rights of migrants in an irregular situation who cannot be removed. It draws attention to the obligation of EU Member States to provide them with a certification of postponement of removal and to grant them access to core fundamental rights.
24
March
2017
This report reviews how asylum claims based on sexual
orientation and gender identity are assessed and analyses the existence of
specific reception measures for LGBTI persons.
Miltos Pavlou, Senior Programme Manager at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, talks about the participation of migrants and their descendants in the EU.
15
March
2017
Integrating migrants, refugees and their descendants is of critical importance for the future of the European Union. This report examines Member States’ integration policies and action plans for promoting their participation in society, focusing on non-discrimination, education, employment, language learning and political engagement.
This infographic illustrates some of the main issues when it comes to integrating migrants and their descendants in the EU.
Report / Paper / Summary
24
February
2017
This report looks at the prevalence of torture
and trauma among arrivals, as well as its impact in terms of drug use. It also
discusses the support available to victims.
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, took part in a meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on 9 February.
25
January
2017
The European Parliament asked the Agency to provide its Opinion on the fundamental rights impact of the proposed revision of the Eurodac Regulation on children.
Periodic updates / Series
19
January
2017
In view of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU, the European Commission asked FRA to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in those Member States that have been particularly affected by large migration movements. The countries covered are Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
20
December
2016
This focus section outlines the specific protection needs of separated children, and highlights current responses and promising practices among EU Member States.
8
December
2016
This opinion analyses the effects on children of the proposed recast Dublin Regulation. It covers child-specific rules as well as provisions relating to all asylum applicants that significantly affect children.
‘Hotspots’ are facilities set up at the EU’s external border in Greece and Italy for the initial reception, identification and registration of asylum seekers and other migrants coming to the EU by sea. They also serve to channel newly-arrived people into international protection, return or other procedures.
5
December
2016
EU Member States are increasingly involved in border management activities on the high seas, within – or i cooperation with – third countries, and at the EU’s borders. Such activities entail risks of violating the principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of the international legal regime for the protection of refugees, which prohibits returning individuals to a risk of persecution. This report aims to encourage fundamental-rights compliant approaches to border management, including by highlighting potential grey areas.
5
December
2016
EU Member States are increasingly involved in border management activities on the high seas, within – or in cooperation with – third countries, and at the EU’s borders. Such activities entail risks of violating the principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of the international legal regime for the protection of refugees, which prohibits returning individuals to a risk of persecution. This guidance outlines specific suggestions on how to reduce the risk of refoulement in these situations – a practical tool developed with the input of experts during a meeting held in Vienna in March of 2016.
29
November
2016
Without being exhaustive, this opinion discusses selected topics which touch certain Charter rights, identifying the challenges and describing measures that could be taken to mitigate the risk of actions, which are not compliant with the Charter. It does not focus exclusively on risks arising in direct relation to the involvement of EU actors on the ground, but also takes into account that the hotspot approach entails a certain share of responsibility of the EU for the situation in the hotspots overall.
Report / Paper / Summary
22
November
2016
Asylum seekers and migrants face various forms of violence and harassment across the European Union (EU). As this month’s report on the migration situation underscores, such acts are both perpetrated and condoned by state authorities, private individuals, as well as vigilante groups. They increasingly also target activists and politicians perceived as ‘pro-refugee’.
FRA presented practical steps on how to effectively protect children at borders during a Save the Children webinar on 9 June.
On 4 and 8 June, FRA presented the findings of its good practices report on relocating unaccompanied children to Greek and Maltese authorities.
Growing intolerance and attacks on people’s fundamental rights continue to erode the considerable progress achieved over the years, finds FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2020. As Europe begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic we see a worsening of existing inequalities and threats to societal cohesion.
Today, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) signed an agreement on developing Frontex's fundamental rights monitors. Under this agreement, FRA will provide advice and expertise to help set up effective fundamental rights monitoring during Frontex's operations at EU borders.
FRA is producing practical guidance (’dos’ and ‘don’ts’) for border guards on how to fully comply with fundamental rights when controlling the EU’s external land borders.
FRA discussed the main findings of its relocating unaccompanied children report with its civil society cooperation network, the Fundamental Rights Platform, in a targeted online meeting on 28 May.
Many governments are looking to technology to help monitor and track the spread of COVID-19, as a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report shows. Governments’ using technology to protect public health and overcome the pandemic need to respect everyone’s fundamental rights.
Overcrowded reception centres with no possibility to practice physical distancing or follow hygienic measures are some of the main concerns the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) identifies in its latest migration quarterly bulletin. At the same time, closed borders make it difficult for refugees to reach safety in the EU and leave some people stranded at sea. Suspended asylum procedures leave many in limbo.
Since 2015, thousands of boys and girls arrived to the EU without their parents. Almost 1,400 of these unaccompanied children have already been relocated from France, Greece, Italy and Malta to other EU Member States through relocation schemes. As a number of EU Member States have recently started relocating some children from Greece again, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) publishes a report highlighting the challenges and good practices of past relocation programmes. This report will help national authorities to take measures that fully comply with the rights of children and are practically feasible at the same time.
Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, hosted an online panel discussion on 21 April on the fundamental rights monitoring of the EU external border controls.
On 28 April, FRA contributed to the Biometric Institute’s online discussion on responsible use of biometrics in COVID 19 times.
FRA took part in a webinar on the relocation of unaccompanied children from the Greek Islands.
On 24 March, FRA delivered an online seminar organised by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) on returning unaccompanied children and fundamental rights considerations.
In a year that marked 30 years of the United Nation’s child rights convention, 2019 saw many migrant children in the EU with their rights under threat. The latest report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights draws attention to the plight of migrant children as they enter and stay in the EU or return to their home countries.
In recent weeks, states in Europe have taken measures to protect their borders to address public order, public health, or national security challenges. States also took these measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Europe. All these measures can have an impact on people’s rights, say FRA and the Council of Europe Special Representative on Migration and Refugees in a joint statement.
Thousands of unaccompanied children in Greece are living in conditions that are completely unsuitable – without adequate housing, exposed to the cold weather, facing insecurity and even violence. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) welcomes the initiative of the European Commission and some Member States to relocate these unaccompanied children.
FRA attended a workshop of representatives of migrant detention centres in Luxembourg on 28 February.
FRA provided training for Croatian border guards as part of its cooperation with the Croatian Presidency of the EU Council.
On 26 February in Athens, FRA took part in the launch event of the EEA and Norway Grants Programme on capacity building of national asylum and migration management systems.