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JUNE 2016: STATEWATCHING
EUROPE: European conference marking Statewatch's 25th anniversary
Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside
the EU - a humanitarian emergency: Daily news and document updates
latest news from across Europe (30 April to 2 May 2016)
Refugee Crisis Is Humanitys Crisis (INYT, link):
is the third in a series of dialogues with philosophers and critical
theorists on the question of violence. This conversation is
with Zygmunt Bauman, emeritus professor of sociology at the
University of Leeds, Britain. His latest book, Strangers
at the Door is published with Polity Press....
believe there is a shortcut solution to the current refugee problem.
Humanity is in crisis - and there is no exit from that
crisis other than the solidarity of humans. The first obstacle
on the road to the exit from mutual alienation is the refusal
of dialogue: that silence that accompanies self-alienation, aloofness,
inattention, disregard and indifference. Instead of the duo of
love and hate, the dialectical process of border-drawing needs
to be thought therefore in terms of the triad of love, hate and
indifference or neglect that the refugee, in particular, continues
(links): "Greenpeace Netherlands has released secret
TTIP negotiation documents. We have done so to provide much needed
transparency and trigger an informed debate on the treaty. This
treaty is threatening to have far reaching implications for the
environment and the lives of more than 800 million citizens in
the EU and US." Download All (RESTRICTED documents,
"ANOTHER DODGY DEAL" LITTLE OR NO PROTECTION FOR EU
CITIZENS: EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION: "UMBRELLA AGREEMENT":
for a COUNCIL DECISION on the signing, on behalf of the European
Union, of an Agreement between the United States of America and
the European Union on the protection of personal information
relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution
of criminal offenses (pdf) and Annex (pdf)
And see: Statewatch
general agreement on data protection and the exchange of personal
EU: Legal Aid proposal: From Justicia Network: To:
Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee of the European
Parliament Council of the European Union, and the Presidency
European Commission, DG Justice (pdf):
European Rights Network, which brings together 19 civil society
organizations from 18 EU member states, believes that an effective
system of legal aid is vital to ensure that everyone, regardless
of economic status, is treated fairly by the law.
The Directive on Legal Aid is the last in a series of groundbreaking
directives that collectively have the potential to bring about
significant improvements on defence rights across the EU. We
are encouraged by the progress made on this file under the Dutch
Presidency. As you enter the final stages of the trilogue negotiations
we urge you to continue to work towards a strong and comprehensive
crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.4.16)
OMCT: World Organisation Against Torture: Greece:
Ongoing crackdown on civil society providing humanitarian assistance
to migrants and asylum seekers (pdf):
Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing
crackdown on civil society actors providing humanitarian assistance
to migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the Greek islands,
even including judicial harassment against several groups and
NGOs acting to protect migrants' rights, of Team Humanity Denmark....
21, 2016 a last minute amendment was made to a Law voted by the
Greek Parliament, in violation of several provisions of the Parliaments
Rules of Procedures. The new provision assigns the supervision
and coordination of services provided to migrants and asylum
seekers to the Greek Army and Minister of Defence, in newly established
army-run facilities. This provision has led to a coordinated
effort to stop civil society activities in camps that are not
run by the army, through extensive threats of arrest and prosecution].
Moreover, several journalists and NGOs, including the Hellenic
Action for Human Rights Pleiades, are often
not allowed access to army-run facilities....
strongly condemns this crackdown on civil society actors in Greece,
calls on the Greek authorities to put an end to the ongoing attempts
to criminalise NGOs and volunteers working in the country in
the field of humanitarian assistance to migrants and asylum-seekers
or otherwise prevent them from carrying out their work and urges
them to lift the ban on civil society activists and journalists
to enter army-run camps."
See also: Council
proposals on migrant smuggling would criminalise humanitarian
assistance by civil society, local people and volunteers - Greece:
NGOs and volunteers have to "register" with the police
and be vetted
(Statewatch) and NGOs
and volunteers helping refugees in Greece to be placed under
After the 18 March EU-Turkey "Statement", the "Letter"
of assurances from Turkey, yet another set of "letters":
What is the legal basis on "non-binding" documents?
Council of the
European Union: Standard
Operating Procedures implementing the mechanism for resettlement
from Turkey to the EU as set out in the EU-Turkey Statement of
18 March 2016 - Endorsement (LIMITE doc no: 8366-16, pdf)
endorsed by the Representatives of the Governments of the Member
States and Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein meeting
in the margins of COREPER, the Standard Operating Procedures
will be formalised by way of an exchange of letters between the
Commission and the Turkish authorities."
are excluded or NOT eligible:
person does not constitute a threat to public policy, internal
security and public health;
A candidate who has refused admission to a particular Member
State is no longer eligible;
Priority will be given to eligible persons who have not previously
entered or tried to enter the EU irregularly"
and the far right in Europe: country by country guide
(dream deferred, link)::
is witnessing a dangerous revival of fascist and racist populist
parties and organisations. Over the next few weeks we are going
to publish a series of articles analysing the scale of this threat.
We will focus
on the countries where fascist and racist parties have made significant
electoral and/or organisational breakthroughs. There are small
fascist groups operating in several other countries, but with
very small numbers and little impact. We intend to look separately
at the situation in Russia at a later date and have not included
nostalgia flourishes under new Croatia government (euractiv, link):
for a pro-Nazi past, spurning of ethnic minorities and pressure
on the press: Croatian activists say an alarming climate of intolerance
is taking hold under a new conservative government.
ruling coalition took power in the European Union country in
January, critics say authorities have turned a blind eye
and even contributed to concerns over a far-right right
surge. Last week, in response, angry Jewish, ethnic Serb and
anti-fascist groups refused to attend a ceremony remembering
tens of thousands who died at Jasenovac, the most notorious concentration
camp under Croatias pro-Nazi Ustasha regime during World
was a brave and correct decision in the face of the wave
of neo-fascist Ustasha nostalgia which is sweeping Croatia,
said Efraim Zuroff at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international
Jewish rights organisation".
UNHCR Daily report (28.4.16):
Alternate Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas has agreed to the
permanent presence of lawyers in two accommodation centers
(Elaionas in Athens, and Moria on Lesvos island), following
a meeting with the head of the Athens Bar Association.
said the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) has
also expressed an interest in offering legal aid to refugees
Does not the Ministry know that under the Asylum Procedures Directive
refugees have the right to legal aid? Why is it not ensuring
that it is available to all?
crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.4.16) inc: EU-Turkey a balanced partnership
"without renouncing our
"Dodgy deal": Legal concerns met?
letter to the European Commission sent on Tuesday, 26 April, the Turkish government
pledged to bolster legal protection to non-Syrians upon return
to Turkey as part of the EU-Turkey Agreement. This follows previous
assurances concerning Syrians and the fact that all returned
Syrians could be granted or re-avail themselves from temporary
protection. These pledges aim to support the implementation of
the EU-Turkey agreement by addressing the remaining legal
concerns hampering its full implementation." [emphasis
Statewatch Director, comments:
"letter" addressees legal concerns about the EU-Turkey
"dodgy deal" why has it not been published? Does it
commit Turkey to fully signing up to the Geneva Convention? If
not it is worthless.
First we had
the EU-Turkey deal in a "Statement" (18 March) and
now an unpublished "letter" - neither of which are
legally binding. In their desperate haste to shut the borders
the EU is neglecting the basic tenets of lawful decision-making"
European Commission: Remarks
by Commissioner Avramopoulos to the Committee on Federal and
European Affairs of the Bavarian Parliament on 26 April (pdf)
an old saying information is security. We will respond to the
terrorist threat effectively when we make our information systems
interconnected, interoperable, and searchable..."
argues for a "Single Search Interface" where: "all
data is searchable with just one click" - this requires
major changes to laws on the book where acess is limited or prescribed.
And see: Statewatch Analysis: Commission
proposals on migration and internal security databases: a new
list of old needs (pdf)
the EU and Turkey need each other, as equal partners. This is
a balanced partnership, one where we aim for each side to deliver
on its commitments, but without renouncing our principles or
Many would argue
that the EU wanted a deal at any price - even if it means
tearing up all human rights and asylum law adopted since 1945.
remember an element of political context: while we are working
on these issues, we are witnessing the worrying rise in left
and right wing violent extremism."
In context "right
wing violent extremism" is carried out by extreme nationalists,
racists and fascists. While what is characterised as "left
wing violent extremism" is anti-racist and anti-fascist
responses to the former - which is a piece of perverse logic.
of Europe: Thorbjorn
Jagland: Europe's human rights and security are at risk through
populist nationalism (Press release, pdf) and Annual Report: State
of democracy, human rights and the rule of law: A security imperative
is currently struggling with many serious challenges, including
terrorism, migration andconflict. This is being successfully
exploited by nationalists and populists in many places, and trustin
national and European institutions is dwindling, said the
same time, we still see many important gaps in the laws and practices
that our memberstates have in place, and basic human rights including
free speech, freedom of assembly and theright to privacy are
increasingly being restricted."
chief Ban Ki-moon hit out 'increasingly restrictive' EU refugee
am concerned that European countries are now adopting increasingly
restrictive immigration and refugee policies," Ban said
in a speech to the Austrian parliament.
policies negatively affect the obligation of member states under
international humanitarian law and European law." His comments
came a day after the Austrian parliament adopted one of Europe's
toughest asylum laws, as the country's political leaders struggle
to halt the surging far-right which is leading in presidential
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Ensuring
justice for hate crime victims: professional perspectives (pdf)
2012 Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights,
support and protection of victims of crime acknowledges that
hate crime victims are particularly vulnerable and stresses their
right to protection in accordance with their particular needs.
EU Member States should strive to improve access to justice for
such victims, both by supporting victims in reporting their experiences
to the police and by improving the police and judiciarys
responses. This report aims to encourage such efforts."
Drastic, Unjustified Measures against Asylum Seekers (HRW, link):
key feature of the package of special measures is a fast-track
admissibility procedure for asylum seekers at Austrian land borders.
Austrian police officers will examine applications solely for
the purposes of determining whether individuals can be returned
to the neighboring country from which they came. Only people
who argue successfully that their lives would be in danger or
that they face a real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading
treatment in a neighboring country, or who have a nuclear family
member already in Austria, will be allowed to formally apply
for asylum. Appeals against returns will only be possible after
the return has taken place. The law increases the amount of time
people can be detained pending return from five to 14 days."
crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.4.16)
to blockade Libyan coast this summer to stop central Mediterranean
is planning a naval blockade of the Libyan coat this summer to
close off the central Mediterranean migration route, as the numbers
of migrants using the route, which features Malta as a central
point, are expected to surge.
alliance is reportedly just three months away from launching
the mission, according to Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti,
who revealed the plans as the leaders of the US, Britain, France,
Germany and Italy met in Hanover, Germany yesterday..
The plan will
also incorporate parts of a broader Italian strategy to repatriate
migrants found to have no claim for asylum, in other words, purely
economic migrants, back to their home countries.... The repatriation
plans have been heavily criticised by human rights groups and
even Pope Francis, since they make an arbitrary distinction between
genuine asylum seekers and economic migrants."
says NATO three months from Libya coast mission (France 24, link): "NATO
is already operating a naval force in the Aegean Sea to stop
migrant boats reaching the Greek islands from Turkey.But an operation
off Libya would be more complicated and potentially dangerous
given the country's instability and the presence in some coastal
regions of militants allied to the Islamic State group. Turning
migrant boats back to Libya would also be hugely controversial
given the unstable situation there."
information for refugees in Greece and volunteers to inform them:
The new asylum procedure is to have an interview about the admissibility
of their claim for asylum in Greece first, before the substantive
interview. Most people having their asylum claims rejected now
are being rejected on inadmissibility by the government claiming
that Turkey is a Safe Third Country for them.
Three of the absolutely key legal criteria for a Safe Third Country
1) that there is no risk of refoulement (forcible repatriation
to their country of origin or any country or area where they
have a well-founded fear of return to) and
2) that they have fully legal access to have their substantive
claims for asylum examined in that third country, and
3) that they can get recognition of Refugee Status and effective
protection in accordance with the Geneva Refugee Convention 1951
in that third country.
The Turkish governor of Izmir has explicitly said that non-Syrians
will be detained for immediate deportation if returned from Greece,
i.e. no access to asylum procedures and no chance to have their
substantive claim examined or to receive effective protection.and
this is in fact what has happened to all non-Syrian returnees
Lords try again to overturn Tory refusal to help child refugees
hope to win over Conservative MPs after voting to set a quota
on total unaccompanied children allowed into UK.. The plight
of child refugees stranded in Europe has become the centre of
a battle between the House of Commons and the Lords, after peers
voted in support of a second proposal urging the government to
by 279 to 172, a majority of 107, for an amendment to the immigration
bill calling on ministers to relocate and support a specified
number of children in the UK. MPs, who narrowly rejected an earlier
call by Lord Dubs for 3,000 unaccompanied children to be given
homes in the UK, will now be asked to consider this softer
proposal, which some Tories say they will back."
for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing
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 Unions external borders.
Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens
some of the EUs fundamental values - under the pretence
that ones own interests are at stake. Such an approach
borders on the inhumane."
How the EU works and justice and home
affairs decision-making (pdf)
20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch
'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the
(pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex,
with additional material by Tony Bunyan
Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
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