Hungarian Helsinki Committee Accuses Frontex of Complicity in Hungarian Border Pushbacks of Migrants

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has once again been accused of turning a blind eye on the violations of human rights identified at Hungary’s Schengen borders for more than four years now.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) accusations towards Frontex’s stakeholders and its executive director came during its recent report which stressed that “these violations had continued even after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in December 2020 that pushing migrants back over the Hungarian-Serbian border into Serbia amounted to extra-judicial pushbacks,” which violated EU law.

According to the HHC, the information published by them contained some unrevealed documents that showed the border agency Frontex has ineffective human rights compliance mechanisms and did not correctly investigate human rights violations, reports.

The HHC highlighted that over the years they “have lodged 17 formal complaints with Frontex, pertaining to 17 individuals.”

In December the European Court of Justice ruled that Hungary had violated European Union laws on protecting migrants by forcibly deporting them and denying them asylum. Hungary is part of the European Union but not Serbia.

Since then, police data revealed that 2,346 immigrants without legal documents had been escorted back by Hungary’s authorities. Based on the same source, only 120 persons were detained, and proceedings against them were initiated.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee called on Hungary’s police chief to put an end to this practice and urged the European Union’s border guard agency to terminate cooperation with Budapest.

“Neither the government nor Frontex replied to our letters,” Helsinki lawyer Andras Lederer pointed out.

According to a government spokesperson, the European Union ruling was “devoid of purpose as the circumstances at issue in the present proceedings no longer exist. Transit zones have been closed. However, strict border control is maintained.”

A report published on October 23 by some media organizations stressed that the European Border and Coast Agency revealed that the agency was involved in several cases of immigrant pushbacks, in Greece waters.

The report claimed that the agency vessels were complicit in maritime ‘pushback’ operations to send back migrants refugees who attempted to enter the European Union through Greek waters.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) is a non-governmental organization which aims to monitor and protect human rights. The organization, founded in 1989 is a member of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).

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Mayor of Helsinki elected new President of Finnish Olympic Committee

Mayor of Helsinki elected new President of Finnish Olympic Committee

Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori has been elected as the new President of the Finnish Olympic Committee.

The 55-year-old defeated Susanna Rahkamo 79-54 after the second round of voting at the organisation’s General Assembly.

He will now replace Timo Ritakallio, who was elected for his first four-year term in 2016 but opted against running again.

Vapaavuori became Helsinki Mayor in 2017 but has announced he will not stand for another term at elections due to take place in April.

He has served a long political career with the National Coalition Party, and was as a Member of Parliament between 2003 and 2015.

From 2012 to 2015 he was Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs.

The Finnish Olympic Committee has also elected a new Executive Board ©SOK

Rahkamo, a former figure skater who won ice dance gold at the 1995 European Championships and two world medals, will now serve as vice-president, alongside Sari Multala, a double world champion in laser radial sailing.

A new Executive Board has also been elected, with five men and five women as members.

Marco Casagrande, Markku Haapasalmi, Hanna Hartikainen, Tapio Korjus, Katja Mjøsund and Esa Niemi will all take roles, representing the sports of football, skiing, golf, fitness sport, biathlon and judo respectively.

They will be joined by athlete representatives Mika Poutala, a speed skater, and weightlifter Anni Vuohijoki.

Finnish International Olympic Committee (IOC) members Sari Essayah and Emma Terho will also take Executive Board seats, representing the IOC.

Helsinki hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1952.