Migration: Fundamental rights issues at land borders

This report looks at fundamental rights compliance at the European Union (EU)’s external land borders, including rivers and lakes. On 30 January 2020, the European Parliament requested the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to prepare a report on these borders. It noted that the report should focus on the correct application of the safeguards in the European asylum acquis and the provisions of the Schengen Borders Code (Regulation (EU) 2016/399).

The European Parliament also requested FRA to give specific attention to push-backs and to fundamental rights violations in connection with these practices. It noted that the report should cover compliance with procedural safeguards, respect for the dignity of the person, attention to the specific needs of vulnerable persons, access to the asylum procedure, respect for children’s rights in border checks, fundamental rights concerns linked to detention, as well as the capacity of EU Member States to deal with large-scale arrivals.

Key points

To respect and protect fundamental rights in border management and ensure full implementation of fundamental rights safeguards in the EU border management acquis, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights considers necessary a combination of different actions. These include:

  • enhancing the fundamental rights component of existing oversight mechanisms, in particular the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism;
  • supporting border guards in their daily work through practical guidance, tools and training;
  • fully embracing a victim-focused approach, and mainstreaming child and gender aspects, when combating organised crime at external land borders;
  • increasing the transparency and effectiveness of investigations into push-backs and ill-treatment allegations at external land borders; and
  • establishing independent and effective fundamental rights monitoring mechanisms at borders.