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

  • Periodic updates / Series
    19
    May
    2022
    This bulletin looks at the fundamental rights situation of all persons fleeing the Russian war in Ukraine to the four EU Member States neighbouring Ukraine. This is primarily in terms of the application of the EU Temporary Protection Directive. It is based on findings of FRA’s field mission to Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia at the beginning of March 2022. It is also based on weekly country reports prepared by Franet, the contracted research network of FRA between 1 March and 27 April 2022.
  • Report / Paper / Summary
    20
    June
    2022
    The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) regularly collects data on the operations of NGO vessels involved in search and rescue in the Mediterranean. This includes any legal proceedings against them, as well as on any difficulties in disembarking migrants in safe ports. The International Organization for Migration estimates that from January to 15 June 2022 about 842 people died or went missing while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe to escape war or persecution, or to pursue a better life. This is an average of five people per day.
  • 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.
Products
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’.
The Agency’s Director, Michael O’Flaherty, took part in a meeting of the European Parliament Employment Committee on 8 November.
Report / Paper / Summary
25
October
2016
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. This month's focus section reviews persistent key issues since initial reporting began one year ago.
The Agency shared its view on protecting child rights in the Dublin Procedure, particularly for unaccompanied children at a hearing organised by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in Brussels on 10 October.
30
May
2016
The European Union (EU) and its Member States introduced and pursued numerous initiatives to safeguard and strengthen
fundamental rights in 2015. Some of these efforts produced important progress; others fell short of their aims. Meanwhile,
various global developments brought new – and exacerbated existing – challenges.
30
May
2016
The European Union (EU) and its Member States introduced and pursued
numerous initiatives to safeguard and strengthen fundamental rights in 2015.
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2016 summarises and analyses major
developments in the fundamental rights field, noting both progress made
and persisting obstacles. This publication presents FRA’s opinions on the
main developments in the thematic areas covered and a synopsis of the
evidence supporting these opinions. In so doing, it provides a compact but
informative overview of the main fundamental rights challenges confronting
the EU and its Member States.
29
May
2016
This Focus takes a closer look at asylum and migration issues in the European Union (EU) in 2015. It looks at the effectiveness of measures taken or proposed by the EU and its Member States to manage this situation, with particular reference to their fundamental rights compliance.
The Fundamental Rights Forum (FRF) is organised by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in cooperation with various partners. Refugee Protection is one of the three themes for the FRF which will take place in Vienna from 20-23 June 2016.
6
April
2016
FRA’s opinions highlight general fundamental rights implications to be considered when applying the safe countries of origin concept. They should be read together with the relevant safeguards the Asylum Procedures Directive establishes. These safeguards provide for minimum guarantees that must also fully apply to applicants originating from countries on the proposed EU common list of safe countries of origin.
17
March
2016
Worker exploitation is not an isolated or marginal phenomenon. But despite its pervasiveness
in everyday life, severe labour exploitation and its adverse effects on third-country nationals
and EU citizens - as workers, but also as consumers - have to date not received much
attention from researchers. This report identifies risk factors contributing to such exploitation and
discusses means of improving the situation and highlights the challenges EU institutions and
Member States face in making the right of workers who have moved within or into the EU
to decent working conditions a reality.
In Europe, thousands of exploited workers are forced to work endless hours with no or little pay and without adequate safety equipment. Many of those exploited workers are migrants. Their situation has become even worse during the Coronavirus pandemic, as their working conditions do not allow physical distancing or regular handwashing. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) calls on EU institutions and EU Member States to take all the necessary steps to stop the exploitation of migrant workers, ensure safe working conditions and fair pay.
The European Commission invited FRA to provide fundamental rights input to the 26th meeting of the European Migration Network (EMN) Return Expert Group.
Five people per day on average died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2019, estimates the International Organization for Migration. Ahead of World Refugee Day, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency points to ongoing difficulties facing civil society rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 11 June, FRA contributed to a Red Cross Europe webinar on assisting migrants at borders.
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.