Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

HRC 45 - EU Intervention: Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on mercenaries

Geneva, 17/09/2020 - 15:57, UNIQUE ID: 200917_10
Statements on behalf of the EU

Madame President,

The European Union thanks to the Working Group for its report.

As we have already highlighted in the previous sessions, the Working Group’s work would prove to be more effective if its scope were to focus more clearly on mercenaries and mercenaries-related activities, which has a very clear definition under the international humanitarian law.

Regarding the report, we would like to note the following:

Aiming to improve migration management, the European Commission introduced the ‘hotspot’ approach, which focuses on better coordination of EU agencies’ and national authorities’, and includes systematic security checks at the external borders of the EU. We found that this approach has helped in several ways, including through, increasing reception capacities and registration procedures, and by strengthening the coordination of support efforts.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and Member States’ border and coast guard authorities are using aerial assets to perform border surveillance in the framework of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR), the purpose of which is “detecting, preventing and combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime and contributing to ensuring the protection and saving the lives of migrants.” When evaluating EUROSUR, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency did not detect any non-compliance with regard to non-refoulement. In this respect, we do not support the report’s conclusion that the use of drones and air surveillance leads to the return of migrants to places where they are at risk.

Finally, we support the modernisation of civil registries, and particularly the use of biometric technology, because it is considered to be an important step in the modernisation of a state and a key element of good governance, helping to increase security and enhance citizen’s civic and human rights. This is also at the core of the UN commitment. 

I thank you

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