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ACTION • Push Back Frontex!


The Senegalese association Boza Fii organized a three day long action called PUSH BACK FRONTEX, to educate and protest against Frontex and EU’s deadly border externalization policy.

Frontex - Senegal - war on migrants

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The Senegalese association Boza Fii organized a three day long action called PUSH BACK FRONTEX, to educate and protest against Frontex and EU’s deadly border externalization policy.


Frontex’s air surveillance

Frontex is the most infamous agency in the EU responsible for the externalisation of border controls, as it plays a key role in the criminalization and repression of migration. The EU invests heavily in the agency: in 2020 Frontex’s annual budget was 364 million euros. In 2023, the budget more than doubled: 845 million euros. With this money, Frontex was able to develop a fleet of planes and drones that monitor and control the central Mediterranean from above.  

Last year, Frontex claimed that by the end of the year they would be able to fully monitor the central Mediterranean 24 hours a day using satellite imagery and drone operations, which are already partly operational. According to Frontex, these satellites and drones are used to save lives in the Mediterranean, because they can detect boats in distress and warn the relevant authorities in due time to rescue migrants. However, migrants and activists believe that Frontex collaborates with the Libyan coast guard to smuggle migrants heading for Europe back to Libya. Far from helping to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea, Frontex’s surveillance has the primary and sole goal of intercepting people at sea so that they never reach EU shores. When migrants hear a drone buzzing around their ship, they can count on the Libyan coast guard intercepting them and dragging them back within a few hours.

Human rights violations

Frontex knows all too well what fate awaits these people once they return to Libya: systematic and widespread abuse in detention by Libyan authorities and smugglers. At least that’s what Human Rights Watch concludes after extensive research on Frontex’s aerial patrol. No surprise then that Senegalese activists have not welcomed the negotiations between Senegal and the EU on the expansion of Frontex activities in Senegalese waters. They understand that the European border security agency will not save lives and will only increase the number of forced deaths in the Atlantic, and serve the perpetuation of Europe’s racist mobility regime.

Boza Fii monitors the EU

For this reason, the association Boza Fii has decided to organize a yearly 72h event called ‘PUSH BACK FRONTEX’, until Frontex will be abolished. Boza Fii supports voluntary remigrants and deported migrants in their land of origin, where they often lack any official assistance. Boza Fii is very critical of the possibility of Frontex activities in their country. The European commissioner of internal affairs Yiva Johansson has claimed that the deployment of Frontex in Dakar will help to control “human trafficking activities” from the Sahel to the Canary Islands. It is not the first time a European power has taken away the sovereignty of an African country under the guise of combating human rights violations.

A European commission document on Senegal, published on June 7, 2022 and in the hands of Boza Fii, does little to dispel any qualms. It reportedly states that increasing cooperation between Senegal and Frontex should include allowing Frontex officers to carry and use weapons, with full immunity from Senegalese law. “It is clearly the colonial police returning to Africa” Boza Fii concluded during a speech at PUSH BACK FRONTEX, which took place from the 10th to the 12th of August 2023.

Push Back Frontex

On the first day, they opened the event with a press conference with local Senegalese journalists on the deployment of Frontex in their country (Afrique-Frontex-AFIC). Afterwards, they  held a “CommemorAction” for those who died at sea, to remember each and every one of the victims of Europe’s border regime and fight against the borders that killed them, but also to promote the right to identity and dignity for all deaths, and the right of their families to know. The also screened a video on migrants’ rights violation by Frontex. The second day was characterized by workshops and roundtable discussions on deportations and forced returns, visa policies and border externalization (Frontex deployment in West Africa). The last day, Boza Fii organized a 3h march in Dakar to demand freedom of movement for all.

Het Actiefonds is proud to support Boza Fii! The EU does everything it can to render migrant deaths in the Mediterranean and Atlantic invisible, or at the very least not their responsibility. Het Actiefonds has already written extensively on Europe’s anti-migration policy, of which the EU-Turkey deal (2016) and the Tunisia deal (2023) are two of the most famous examples. The work of organizations such as Boza Fii is essential to understand how European border security spills over into new imperial fantasies.