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European Union’s Supreme Court Rejects Compensation Claim by Syrian Family Against Frontex for Unlawful Deportation

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The European Union’s Supreme Court Rejects Compensation Claim by Syrian Family against Frontex

Today, the European Union’s supreme court ruled against a Syrian family who filed a compensation claim against the European Union’s border agency, Frontex, over their deportation from Greece. The EU General Court determined that Frontex was not responsible for the primary decision to relocate the family, but rather Greece held the responsibility. Frontex only provided “technical and operational support” in the deportation process.

The Court Dismisses Claim of Unlawful Deportation

The court further stated that the family was mistaken in claiming that Frontex’s involvement led to their unlawful deportation, resulting in a demand for 136,000 euros ($146,000) in damages. In 2016, Frontex conducted the deportation from the Greek island of Leros to Turkey in collaboration with Greek authorities, despite the family’s ongoing asylum application.

Violation of International Law

The deportation of asylum seekers in such circumstances is prohibited by international law. During 2015-2016, the European Union experienced a significant influx of over 2.5 million asylum seekers, primarily Syrians fleeing the war in their country. However, the numbers drastically decreased after the European Union made a deal with Turkey to curb irregular border crossings.

Greece’s Hardline Approach and Accusations

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Greece has adopted a strict stance against the arrival of refugees and has faced accusations of causing deaths by turning back arrivals through border and coast guards. Athens denies these allegations.

Criticism Against Frontex

Human rights groups and EU lawmakers have criticized Frontex for their use of forceful measures and inadequate deployment of resources to detect incidents and conduct maritime rescues.

Lawyers Express Disappointment

The lawyers representing the Syrian family expressed their dissatisfaction with the verdict, stating that Frontex refused to accept responsibility for their role in the unlawful deportations and the manner in which the family was removed from Greece. The family had previously taken Greece to the European Court of Human Rights and reached an “amicable settlement” with Athens. They currently reside in Iraq.

Frontex’s Response and Commitment to Protect Migrant Rights

Frontex, in a statement on the social networking site X, emphasized that the court deemed them unable to assess the legitimacy of the return decisions. The agency declared its intention to implement further safeguards to ensure the protection of migrant rights and expects EU governments to carry out deportations in accordance with international law.

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