Wednesday, 19/2/2020 | 3:09 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Written question – Collaboration between NGOs and smugglers – smuggling of asylum-seekers to the EU – P-000126/2017

Frontex has made serious accusations about NGOs active in and around the Mediterranean Sea. According to the European Border Agency, aid organisations are conspiring with people smugglers to bring asylum-seekers from North Africa to Europe. In this way, for example, criminal organisations are bringing migrants directly to an NGO’s boat which then takes them to a European port, despite the fact that, for instance, the port of Zarzis in Tunisia is much closer.

In the case of Hirsi Jamaa and others v. Italy (27765/09), the European Court of Human Rights held that sending back to Libya from Italy asylum-seekers who had been rescued, without individual consideration of their asylum applications, was not, or was no longer, possible, because of the prohibition on collective deportation. That is the case even if the country to which they are to be returned can be classified as safe.

This judgment was based on the finding that the migrants were under the control, de facto and de jure, of the state, notably in the form of a military fleet sailing under the Italian flag, and that therefore the European Convention on Human Rights (and more particularly Article 1 thereof) was applicable.

1. Does the Commission agree that non-governmental organisations, unlike states, are legally permitted to bring people rescued at sea directly back to a suitable safe port in North Africa? 2. If not, what legal provisions prevent this? 3. How does the Commission help the Libyan coastguard to prevent migrants from setting out from there?