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UNHCR agreement with FRONTEX
Briefing Notes, 17 June 2008
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 17 June 2008, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
In Warsaw today, Tuesday, UNHCR and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at External Borders (FRONTEX) are exchanging letters to strengthen their partnership. The agreement between the two agencies includes a number of areas of cooperation such as regular consultations, exchanges of information, expertise and experience, inputs into training (particularly on international human rights and refugee law), and other activities. A UNHCR liaison officer has been assigned to FRONTEX in Warsaw for the past year, and will be working closely with FRONTEX with the aim of ensuring that border management is fully compliant with Member States' international obligations. The formal signing ceremony will take place today during the first joint UNHCR – FRONTEX workshop attended by staff from both agencies.
The UN refugee agency has long been advocating for Europe to maintain its status as a continent of asylum, and for European asylum and law enforcement institutions to incorporate specific safeguards to guarantee that persons seeking international protection are identified and given access to EU territory, as well as to fair and effective asylum procedures. The agreement with FRONTEX is a positive step in that direction.