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    ISSN 1756-851X
    04 June 2020
 

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A statement of solidarity: Black lives matter

As an organisation that has sought to report on, analyse and expose state and street racism for almost 30 years, we wish to add our voice to the chorus of anger and disgust at the murder of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis, USA.

This is the latest in a long line of brutal police killings and nobody should be surprised that it has provoked such widespread anger. It is an atrocity in itself and representative of a social order that systematically excludes, demeans and denigrates people because of the colour of their skin.

We express our full support for all those protesting against the ongoing blight of institutional racism and structural discrimination in the USA, the UK and elsewhere.

EU-UK: Commission not happy with UK's 'action plan' to fix unlawful use of Schengen database

The European Commission has condemned a UK action plan to remedy its mismanagement and misuse of the Schengen Information System as "not adequate... mainly because the implementation timelines of at least 10 of the recommendations are very lengthy and cannot be considered acceptable."

HUNGARY: No more transit zones, now asylum seekers will have to apply abroad (Hungarian Spectrum, link):

"...from here on, those seeking asylum from the Hungarian government will have to present their requests at one of the Hungarian diplomatic missions abroad."

EU: New analysis: reinforcement of Frontex runs into legal problems

An internal Frontex report published today by Statewatch highlights a series of issues in implementing the agency’s new legislation, including uncertain legal terminology and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Right, old racism – the battlefield of Covid-19 (IRR News Service, link):

"As Public Health England conducts its controversial rapid review into Covid-19 disparities, lurking in the background is a new school of ‘race realists’ whose retrogressive biological arguments must be tackled head-on.(...)

Whether we be community activists or health care professionals, NHS managers or trades unionists, we need to harness that capacity for change to ensure that investigation into Covid-19 disparities does not compromise with the race realists and explicitly addresses the role of racism in the course of the pandemic. If it does this, it will be likely to expose the extent to which racism today is the hidden public health crisis."

EU: Ban biometric mass surveillance! (EDRi, link):

"Across Europe, highly intrusive and rights-violating facial recognition and biometric processing technologies are quietly becoming ubiquitous in our public spaces. As the European Commission consults the public on what to do, EDRi calls on the Commission and EU Member States to ensure that such technologies are comprehensively banned in both law and practice."

EU-TURKEY: 369 Syrians deported to Turkey through EU fund for refugees

At the end of April the European Commission slipped out the 'Fourth Annual Report on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey', which summarises how the €6 billion committed by the EU and the member states to projects in Turkey, as part of the March 2016 EU-Turkey deal, has been used. Amongst other things, the funds have paid for the deportation of 369 Syrians from the EU to Turkey.

UK: Policing the virus: all 44 prosecutions under Coronavirus Act unlawful; "postcode lottery" for fines

New powers given to UK police forces as part of the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic are being unlawfully and unevenly applied.

Brexit will mean checks on goods crossing Irish Sea, government admits - Ministers’ letter confirms border control posts at ports of Belfast, Warrenpoint and Larne (Guardian, link):

"The government has privately conceded there will be post-Brexit checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea, months after Boris Johnson insisted there would be no such trade barriers.

In a letter to the executive office in Stormont the government confirmed there would be border control posts in three ports, Belfast, Warrenpoint and Larne.

Declan Kearney, one of the two junior ministers in the executive office, the regional equivalent of the Cabinet Office in London, confirmed the details at a select committee session in Belfast on Wednesday."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.4-11.5.20) including:

  • Council considers action on "non-removable" irregular migrants
  • Analysis: Rights denied during Greek asylum procedure suspension
  • Refugees and European human rights law: Expelled from Humanity
  • Analysis: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe
  • Leaving people behind - Proposals for the reorganisation of the Common European Asylum System

EU: Council considers action on "non-removable" irregular migrants

The Croatian Presidency of the Council has raised the prospect of EU measures to deal with "non-removable" irregular migrants - people who for a variety of reasons "end up in a situation of prolonged illegal stay, which can last for a number of years."

Press briefing note on Migrant rescues in the Mediterranean (UNHCR, link):

"We are deeply concerned about recent reports of failure to assist and coordinated pushbacks of migrant boats in the central Mediterranean, which continues to be one of the deadliest migration routes in the world. Reports that Maltese authorities requested commercial ships to push boats with migrants in distress back to the high seas are of particular concern."

UK to blame hard Brexit on COVID-19, warns EU trade chief (euractiv, link):

"The United Kingdom is preparing to walk away from trade talks with the EU and blame the impasse on the coronavirus pandemic, EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said on Thursday (7 May)."

EU: Mejiers Committee report: Note on steps to take towards the improvement of the transparency of Council decision making during the upcoming EU Presidency of the Federal Republic of Germany (pdf): Report calls for:

"1. Continue the experiment with wider proactive disclosure of legislative documents initiated by the 2019 Finnish Presidency
2. ‘Lisbonise"’ Regulation 1049/2001
3. Finalise the ‘one-stop shop’ legislative observatory
4. Further develop the Council’s standing practice on the proactive publication of contacts with lobbyists
5. Promote greater coherence of drafting, registration, and disclosure of Council documents
6. Prepare the internal debate in the Council on the legal definition of a ‘document’ adapted to new modes of communication."

Statewatch Analysis: Mediterranean: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe (pdf):

Events in the last fortnight provide further confirmation of the dishonesty and opportunism with which EU immigration policy is being advanced at both the national and EU levels, raising the need to pay close attention to state efforts to use a public health emergency to assert pre-existing strategies to subordinate human rights and the rule of law to strategic policy goals.

GREECE: Documented Pushbacks from Centres on the Greek Mainland

In response to the recent spike in pushbacks from Greece to Turkey, the Border Violence Monitoring Network, with members Mobile Info Team and Wave Thessaloniki , are releasing first hand testimony and photographic evidence indicating the existence of violent collective expulsions. In the space of six weeks, the teams received reports of 194 people removed and pushed back into Turkey from the refugee camp in Diavata and the Drama Paranesti Pre-removal Detention Centre.

Refugees and European human rights law: Expelled from Humanity (Verfassungsblog, link):

"The decision of the European Court of Human Rights in M.N. and Others v. Belgium will undoubtedly further propel the debate on the scope of extraterritorial state jurisdiction. More importantly, however, it reveals the necessity of addressing the systemic exclusion of refugees from the international legal order."

SPECTRE Project: EU finances technology for undercover investigations (link):

"Police forces from 34 countries have been investigating criminal networks in South Eastern Europe since 2017, money comes from the Internal Security Fund of the European Union. In addition to all kinds of espionage and wiretapping technology, they also pay informers."

EU financial complicity in Libyan migrant abuses (GLAN, link):

"The EU is financially supporting Libyan and Italian authorities, who are responsible for grave violations of migrant rights, with some 90 million euros."

EU: Seven member states call for mandatory relocation in revamped asylum system

Seven EU member states are in favour of a mandatory relocation procedure as part of a revamped 'Common European Asylum System', according to two recent documents obtained by Statewatch - the first, a letter to the European Commission from the Italian, Spanish, French and German governments and the second, a 'non-paper' drafted by Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta.

New Lockdown Restrictions – Clarification or Confusion? (Blackstone Chambers, link);

"At 11am today, new Regulations came into force that amend the “lockdown” law in England: the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/447).

These Amending Regulations make various changes to SI. 2020/350, the law giving effect to the lockdown in England. Some of the amendments are of a technical nature and seek to clarify ambiguity in the wording of the Regulations (for example, Amending Regulation 2(5)(a)).

However, without much fanfare and with no Parliamentary scrutiny, Amending Regulation 2(4)(a) has introduced a potentially significant change to Regulation 6, which now reads:

6. – Restrictions on movement

(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse…” [Emphasis added]"


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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