Fundamental Rights: 2023 Annual Report


The Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer has just released its 2023 Annual Report outlining the main observations and recommendations addressed to Frontex, its Executive Director and the Management Board. The recommendations stem from extensive field monitoring, complaints, and serious incident reporting, as well as desk research.

‘Over the last three years the Fundamental Rights Office has conducted some 3,000 field monitoring days across almost 30 countries, finalised approximately 300 complaints and serious incident investigations and directly monitored well over 100 return flights. This is in addition to extensive involvement in headquarter processes, aerial surveillance and training activities. In 2023 alone, the Fundamental Rights Office conducted more than 1,600 days in the field,’ summarised Jonas Grimheden, Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer.

The Fundamental Rights Office is an integral, albeit independent, part of Frontex, responsible for monitoring and advising on all activities carried out by the Agency to ensure compliance with EU's fundamental rights and international human rights obligations. The Fundamental Rights Officer publishes the Annual Report in line with his mandate to monitor Frontex's implementation of its fundamental rights obligations under EU and international law.

The scope of the Annual Report

The report presents the main findings of the monitoring of fundamental rights, structured by thematic areas (with a special focus on aerial surveillance and return operations, among others), and the main recommendations made by the Fundamental Rights Officer to the Agency in 2023. Reporting and accountability mechanisms are presented with statistical overviews of the number and types of serious incident reports and complaints received. Finally, the Report gives an overview of monitoring activities in 2023 and offers a look at actions and priorities planned for 2024.

The five chapters of the report focus on:

  1. the main findings from fundamental rights monitoring in the different thematic areas, also expanding to other topics;
  2. the reporting and accountability mechanisms and the fundamental rights safeguards which guide the work of the Fundamental Rights Office;
  3. the Agency’s internal processes strengthened during the year, the policy and strategy and the cooperation of the Fundamental Rights Office with internal and external stakeholders for the purpose of enhancing the fundamental rights compliance of the European Border and Coast Guard community;
  4. the Fundamental Rights Office recommendations on rights-based border management to the European Border and Coast Guard community;
  5. the Fundamental Rights Officer’s actions and priorities for 2024

Traditionally, the report includes a comprehensive section on policy, strategy and capacity building. It provides an overview of the opinions given to the Executive Director, and the advice provided on operational plans, standard operating procedures, risk analysis and Frontex' engagement with third countries.

In addition to the usual update on the implementation of the Fundamental Rights Strategy and its Action Plan, the Fundamental Rights Office also presents activities under the Technical and Operational Strategy for European Integrated Border Management.

The Frontex Fundamental Rights Office is constantly following on all developments, both in the Agency and globally, to assess, monitor and advise on fundamental rights in the most accurate and topical way and context. The 2023 report has already taken into account the global trends affecting migratory pressure towards Europe and EU’s response included in the recently adopted new Pact on Migration and Asylum with its impact of Frontex operations.

Read more: Fundamental rights at Frontex