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    28 May 2017
 

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The irregular border (ciutatrefugi.barcelona, link): "Human rights. A report by Irídia, Novact and Fotomovimiento, subsidised by Barcelona City Council, details and denounces the racism, violence and illegality of migration control policies at the border areas between Ceuta and Melilla and Morocco." See also: Frontera Sur (link)

ITALY: Milan like Barcelona. Together, without walls, against the racist criminalisation of migrants and the poor. For an international network of antiracist cities (by S. Palidda): "Following the example of Barcelona, where between 160,000 and 300,000 people mobilised on the past 18 February in support of rights for migrants and to promote an international network of cities against racism where immigrants will be welcomed, around 100,000 people participated in a demonstration in Milan on 20 May.

The appeal for the demonstration (https://www.20maggiosenzamuri.it/ in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Arabic) was launched by the Milan mayor's office, several personalities from all walks of life, 600 associations, NGOs and institutions as well as 70 Italian city councils."

EU: Challenge mounted to Court judgment on opposing access to the documents concerning the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016 - the General Court made several errors of law and that it was wrong to decline jurisdiction"

On 28 February 2017 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rejected three applicants' cases requesting access to the documents held by the Council of the European Union concerning the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016. The Court argued that:

"the three actions as inadmissible on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction. In particular, the General Court held that the EU-Turkey Statement did not relate to an act of the European Council nor of any other body, office or agency of the Union and hence that the actions fell outside the Court's jurisdiction." [LIMITE doc no: 9148-17, pdf) [emphasis added]

Court of Appeal finds Theresa May acted unlawfully in denying refugees access to UK (leighday.co.uk, link):

"Court of Appeal rules that Theresa May acted unlawfully when Home Secretary in denying refugees access to the UK who have been living on a British Sovereign Base since 1998... In a unanimous decision the Court of Appeal has today (25 May 2017) found that Theresa May acted unlawfully by refusing to consider allowing entry to the UK to a group of refugee families stranded on the British Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus. The unlawful decision was made in November 2014 when Mrs May was Home Secretary. "

See: Full judgment (pdf)

Statewatch Analysis: Counter-terrorism and the inflation of EU databases (pdf) by Heiner Busch and Matthias Monroy

The topic of counter-terrorism in Europe remains closely linked to the development and expansion of police (and secret service) databases. This was the case in the 1970s, after 11 September 2001 and has also been the case since 2014, when the EU Member States started working on their action plans against 'foreign terrorist fighters'.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18-22.5.17) including: Greece: cynical numbers game on refugee relocation

Council of the EU considers "introducing a legal link" between visa and returns policy

"The Council... Considers that stronger coordination could be established between the two areas of return and visa policy to improve return cooperation of third countries on return and readmission..."

See: Draft Council Conclusions on enhancing return and readmission of illegally staying persons (9082/1/17 REV 1, LIMITE, 19 May 2017, pdf)

Book review: Refuge: Transforming a broken refugee system. Alexander Betts and Paul Collier, Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, March 2017 by Frances Webber:

"when you dig beneath the benevolent surface, the book's message is profoundly objectionable, and dangerous. For the authors' take on the crisis of displacement wilfully ignores the role of the global economy, and their vision of autonomy for refugees is working for multinational corporations in special economic zones coupled with a ban on travelling outside their region of origin - a sort of captive reserve army of labour. It is hard to see the autonomy in that."

Sweden: And now, under-the-skin RFID tags replace train tickets in Europe (Privacy News Online, link):

"The Swedish State Railways has decided to accept under-the-skin RFID tag implants for ticket purchases, arguing it enhances ticketless travel better than having your ticket in your mobile. Actually, they didn’t argue that at all. They just said “we’re digital” and “it works” as if that would justify the rest."

EU: Council of the European Union: Qualifications Directive: Proposal for a Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection.. Period of Validity of Residence Permits issued to Refugees and Beneficiaries of Subsidiary Protection = Preparation for a general approach (LIMITE doc no: 9001-17,pdf):

"The Presidency proposed that both permits would thereafter be renewed in accordance with national legislation, including for an unlimited period. Although there was some support for this Proposal, it was opposed by those Member States which grant residence permits with a validity period of more than five (5) years to beneficiaries of refugee status, as well as by those Member States which grant residence permits with the same validity period of more than three (3) years to both beneficiaries of refugee status and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status."

European Parliament Study: European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS): Border management, fundamental rights and data protection (pdf): "It provides an assessment of the necessity, implications in relation to interoperability, and impact in terms of fundamental rights, including the right to personal data protection and the right to privacy. It finds that the necessity of ETIAS has not been made, that the proposal is likely to introduce interoperability through the backdoor, and that it constitutes a significant interference with fundamental rights."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 18 May 2017: Press release (pdf) Includes: Common European asylum system reform, Fight against serious and organised crime, Aviation security, Counter-terrorism and Migration: "During a joint dinner, home affairs and development ministers addressed the external dimension of migration, to ensure full coherence between migration and development policies."

"B" points Agenda for discussion (pdf) and "A" points -adopted without discussion - non-legislative (pdf)

EU: European Parliament calls for action on rights and democracy in Hungary

The European Parliament yesterday (17 May) adopted a resolution condemning "a serious deterioration of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights over the past few years" in Hungary, and calling for the start of the Article 7(1) procedure, which can end in the suspension of the EU voting rights of a state in breach of the EU's fundamental values.

UK: How the Anthony Grainger inquiry shone a light on policing the murky world of serious organised crime (Manchester Evening News, link):

"Mistakes were made, some of them serious ones. The force is braced for severe criticism about the way it handled the operation and its aftermath, particularly how armed police could be given such wildly inaccurate intelligence overstating their targets’ potential for armed violence."

Italian commission says more controls needed on aid groups rescuing migrants (Reuters, link):

"An Italian parliamentary commission said on Tuesday more controls needed to be imposed on humanitarian organisations that are taking an increasingly significant role in rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean."

See also: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17.5.17) including: Commission takes first steps against Hungary asylum law - for the second time

UK: Cage director charged under Terrorism Act after failing to hand over passwords (The Guardian, link):

"The international director of Cage, Muhammad Rabbani, has been charged under the Terrorism Act after refusing to hand over passwords to his laptop at Heathrow airport."

EU: European Arrest Warrant: reports on Eurojust casework 2014-16 and Member States' prison conditions

EU judicial cooperation agency Eurojust recently issued two reports: one examining its casework in relation to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) between 2014 and 2016, and the other summarising a recent debate held by Member States' representatives at Eurojust on the topic of EAWs and prison conditions.

EU wastes no time welcoming prospect of Big Brother databases

  • Justice and Home Affairs database could cover terrorism, organised crime and crime in general
  • Centralised database will cover "new and existing" databases with proposals for biometric matching including facial images ("the biometric of the future") and a "common repository" of personal data on millions of people
  • USA expresses "interest" in EU plan for a single law enforcement database

UK: Deputy police and crime commissioner resigns following spycop reports

A deputy police and crime commissioner has resigned following reports that he worked as an undercover police officer in the early 1990s, infilitrating political groups and deceiving a 19-year-old woman into a sexual relationship.

SPAIN: 388 people die on the Spanish coasts in one year including 122 children

Between September 2015 and December 2016, 388 people died in their attempt to arrive in Spain by boat. 31.4% of them were children and 7.9% of them women, according to an extensive report by the NGO Caminando Fronteras. The organisation documents that, behind these deaths, beyond the risk implicit in the sea crossing, are deficiencies in the rescue efforts at the southern border that "give precedence to migration control over saving lives."

And see: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.5.17)

Statewatch Analysis: Who drives EU counter-terrorism? On the legislation of the European Union (pdf) by Heiner Busch and Matthias Monroy:

The formal process of developing and implementing EU counter-terrorism law and policy begins with the heads of government, in the European Council, setting out strategic guidelines. Thereafter, the Commission produces proposals for laws and policies that are discussed by the Council of the EU (made up of government officials) and the Parliament. However, this formal task-sharing between the institutions of the EU does not say much about the power relations and impulses surrounding counter-terrorism policy.

EU: Council pushes to "increase the feed and use of biometric data" in draft conclusions on security checks and irregular migration

"The effectiveness of cross-checking both regular and irregular migrants against security databases depends to a large extent on the availability of biometrics. Illegal border-crossings are often undocumented, which means that it is impossible to run a check against any security database unless biometrics are utilised."

BULGARIA: No access to a lawyer for first three days under arrest: no problem, says European Court of Human Rights

"The Court found in particular that Mr Simeonov’s conditions of detention, in combination with the strict regime under which he was serving his sentence and the length of his period of imprisonment since 1999, had subjected him to an ordeal exceeding the suffering inherent in serving a prison sentence, which had amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment...

The Court also found that Mr Simeonov’s right to legal assistance had been restricted for the first three days of his police custody, but that that restriction had not irremediably infringed the criminal proceedings as a whole."

See: press release (pdf) and the judgment: Case of Simeonovi v Bulgaria (application no. 21980/14, pdf)

EU: Council in a twist over data retention judgment

The Council of the European Union is really struggling to finds ways around the Court of European Justice judgment in "Tele 2 and Watson".


Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan


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