This week, the Frontex Fundamental Rights Office hosted members of the agency’s pool of forced return monitors and representatives of monitoring institutions from Member States and Schengen Associated Countries, as well as European Union’s and key international stakeholders.
It was an opportunity to exchange on the latest developments of forced return monitoring activities of the agency and explore ways on how to strengthen the work in this domain. Their main message is clear: returns are challenging, but they must always be respectful and humane.
The participants were welcomed by Frontex Deputy Executive Management Director Aija Kalnaja, who thanked them for their work and stressed the importance of the return monitors in the chain of migration management.
“Return monitors are very much needed. They are there to safeguard the legitimate right of people who are subject to returns,” Kalnaja said.
Her welcome was followed by an introduction from Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer, Jonas Grimheden, whose team of fundamental rights monitors is also represented in the Frontex Pool of forced return monitors with six members trained to participate in return operations.
Mr Grimheden stressed the independent character of both forced return and fundamental rights monitors. This quality allows them to report freely and openly on all cases of misuse or abuse of fundamental rights of returnees.