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Head of Frontex: The agency will not turn its back on human rights violations again


The new CEO of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Hans Leytens, vowed in an interview with Politico to eliminate the “toxic atmosphere” at the agency that has contributed to illegal operations for migrants trying to reach Europe.

Hans Leytens, who took office last March after the resignation of Fabrice Leggeri, said in April 2022 following accusations against the agency regarding the forced return it carried out against migrants in the Aegean Sea on the Greek border with Turkey, in an interview with Politico, “The agency will not manage It has again exposed itself to human rights violations, especially in light of the increase in the number of immigrants by 26 percent in recent months.

Letins expressed his concern over the increase in the number of migrants in Europe, explaining that one of the reasons for this increase is the continuous development of human smugglers’ methods, in addition to the factors of climate change, wars and conflicts in the Middle East.

In order to confront the forced returns used by countries in the European Union such as Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria as a first strategy, Littens explained that Frontex recently increased the number of observers to 42 people, which is more than the number required and recommended in internal reports. “We have people deployed in Lithuania, working at the main border points there,” he said.

The Lithuanian Parliament had recently adopted a law legalizing the forcible return of illegal immigrants at its borders.

Cover up illegal returns of immigrants

In a report published last October, the European Union’s anti-fraud agency OLAF revealed that a number of Frontex officials had been involved in legal wrongdoing, such as covering up illegal returns of migrants.

The agency accused the Syrian Cham Wings of its role in smuggling migrants from Bangladesh to Libya via Damascus.

Lietens described the investigation as “a message to wake up the entire European community and especially to the coast guard”. He added that “the real change to the situation is that we are more transparent and there should be no secrets about what we do.” He added that “transparency should apply not only to the agency, but also to the European Parliament.” Who supervises, accompanied by the European Commission, Frontex.

Addressing a ‘toxic’ environment

Littens acknowledged that Frontex needed a hard look and an internal critique, describing the atmosphere as “extremely toxic”.

“People within the organization need to feel free to report any misbehavior or lawbreakers to the agency,” he added.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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