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    ISSN 1756-851X
    31 July 2016
 

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Observatory : Refugee crisis in the Med and in the EU


EU: Over 3,000 migrants dead or missing in 2016

The latest figures from the IOM show that 3,034 migrants have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe in 2016. The organisation has recorded 251,557 arrivals by sea this year so far. May was the deadliest month so far, with 1,138 people dying.

See: IOM: Mediterranean Update: Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities (29 July 2016, pdf)

EU: Policy cycle on serious and organised crime: "illegal immigration" report and other documentation

The EU's policy cycle on serious and organised crime is supposed to coordinate the actions of Europol and Member States' law enforcement priorities in order to deal with a series of cross-border "threats", identified by Europol and subsequently approved by the Council of the EU. Amongst the current priorities is "facilitated illegal immigration". A leaked Europol report gives an overview of work undertaken during 2016.

And see: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.7.16): including Turkish coup increases migration to Greece and analysis of EU relocation and resettlement schemes.

UK: Annual figures released on deaths following police contact and police use of firearms

There were 200 deaths during or following police contact in England and Wales between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, according to the latest figures released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. There were 21 road traffic fatalities; three fatal police shootings; 14 deaths in or following police custody; 60 apparent suicides following police custody; and "102 other deaths following police contact that were independently investigated by the IPCC."

UK: Burger chain holds fake training day to shop immigrant workers to the Home Office (The Canary, link):

"Burger restaurant chain Byron has come under fire after it has been reported that in early July its London managers held a training exercise that served as a front for immigration control to interview and arrest a number of its migrant staff members."

And see: Protests taking place across London over Byron Burgers treatment of migrant employees (Migrants' Rights Network, link)

Statewatch News Online, 28.7.16 (pdf): Collection of recent coverage. Fifty stories and refugee crisis news (daily list).

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.7.16)

Council of the European Union: Exit-Entry, Discrimination, Equal treatment, Maritime Security and Banned exports,capital punishment, torture etc: LIMITE documents.

UK: Parliament: Justice Committee: Prison reform inquiry (link)

"Inquiry status: open - accepting written submissions - Accepting written submissions; the deadline is Friday 30 September 2016.. As details of the reforms are still emerging, we pose high-level questions in our inquiry's terms of reference. In doing so we wish to seek overall views initially which will be followed up in greater detail with a series of sub-inquiries following the publication of the White Paper expected in October 2016."Terms of reference (link) and Send a written submission (link)

Dispatches: Italy Illegally Returning Migrant Children to Greece - Children Held Arbitrarily in Degrading Conditions (HRW, link):

"“Akram,” a 17-year-old Kurdish boy from Iraq, hid under a truck on the ferry from Greece to Italy for 18 hours without food or water. When he arrived in Italy, the police locked him in a small room on the ferry and sent him right back to Greece.

“I showed my passport and that I’m under 18 but the Italian police told me to ‘go back, go back.’”

This unlawful practice is not new. In 2013, Human Rights Watch documented the failure of Italian border police to screen adequately for people in need of protection, including unaccompanied children, who stow away on ferries from Greece to Italy’s Adriatic ports. Placed in the custody of the captains of commercial ferries for the return journey to Greece, adults and children were sometimes subjected to abusive confinement and treatment. Back in Greece, unaccompanied children faced police abuse, degrading detention conditions, and xenophobic violence."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7.16)

EU: UK House of Lords, European Union Committee: Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU (94 pages, pdf):

"The current refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian challenge to have faced the European Union since its foundation. Although the outcome of the referendum on 23 June 2016 was that the UK should leave the EU, the UK remains a full member of the EU, with all the responsibilities that entails, until the final withdrawal agreement is ratified. It is vital, both on moral grounds and in order to help maintain good relations with the other 27 Member States, that the UK Government should participate fully in EU action to resolve this humanitarian crisis.

It has become increasingly clear that children, many of them unaccompanied by a parent, relative or guardian, are in the forefront of the crisis. In 2015 88,245 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU, including 3,045 in the UK. In May 2016 alone, 3,133 unaccompanied migrant children arrived in Italy. Many children do not even reach the EU’s shores: at least 137 children have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of 2016."

See: Migrant children are being failed by UK, says Lords committee report - Government accused of dismissing its responsibility to care for unaccompanied minors as ‘somebody else’s problem’ (Guardian, link)

Greece: GISTI report on Greek hotspots in Lesbos and Chios after the EU/Turkey deal

"On 25 July 2016, GISTI published a report on its fact-finding mission to the hotspots set up on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios and on the effects the EU/Turkey deal, entitled "Accord UE-Turquie: la grande imposture. Rapport de mission dans les hotspots grecs de Lesbos et Chios, juillet 2016....

The facts speak for themselves: in order to put an end to the serious violations of the rights of migrants detained in the Greek "hotspots" under threat of an expulsion to Turkey, it is indispensable for the EU and its member states to, at the very least:

Give up on the idea of implementing the 18 March 2016 Statement;

Conduct an in-depth review of the system for allocating responsibility to an EU member state (the "Dublin III" regulation) to evaluate an asylum application in order for the asylum application to be examined in the applicant's country of choice."

UK: CONTEST: Annual report for 2015 on the UK's counter-terrorism strategy

The annual report of the UK government on its counter-terrorism strategy, covering the year 2015, was published on 21 July. Amongst other things, the report includes statistics on the "effective use of proportionate counter-terrorism powers," noting that the power to cancel or refuse to issue passports to British passport holders was used 23 times; powers to seize and temporarily retain travel documents at ports have been used 24 times; and that two Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (essentially a form of internal exile) were in force "in the last quarter of 2015".

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.7.16): migrants march to Serbia-Hungary border, Council wants EU migration budget increase, new detention centre to open in Spain.

UK: Growing calls to extend undercover policing inquiry remit beyond England and Wales

One of the targets of exposed British undercover police officer Mark Kennedy has taken the first steps towards legal action in an attempt to have the remit of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing expanded to cover officers' activities outside England and Wales.

UK-GREECE: European Arrest Warrant: judgments recognise that "certain Greek prisons are failing to protect prisoners' fundamental rights"

"With this decision the Court has recognised that certain Greek prisons are failing to protect prisoners’ fundamental rights and that the Greek Government appears to be unable to bring about the improvements that are needed to make these institutions safe."

Council of the European Union: New EU "returns" document & Turkey visa "benchmarks"

EU-ITALY: Refugee relocation scheme "has clearly failed", says Italy's immigration chief

The European Union's relocation scheme for refugees in Greece and Italy "has clearly failed", the Italian interior ministry's head of immigration, Mario Morcone, told a recent press conference hosted by the Italian Council of Refugees. The most recent European Commission report on the relocation scheme, published on 13 July, records a total of 843 people being relocated from Italy to other Member States since the scheme was put in place in September 2015. The Commission's aim is to relocate 6,000 people from Greece and Italy per month.

See also: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.7.16)

UK: Delayed "counter-extremism" plans denounced again

The UK government's plans for countering "non-violent extremism" have again been denounced, this time in a "pre-legislative scrutiny" report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. Despite announcing on a number of occassions that it will introduce a Counter-Extremism Bill, the government is yet to do so - but given the numerous problems with defining "extremism", and the harsh criticism that has been directed at the Prevent programme, it may be better for any such bill not to be published at all.

EU: Implementation of the European Agenda on Security: Questions & Answers (European Commission, pdf)

A useful summary: "The European Commission adopted the European Agenda on Security on 28 April 2015, setting out the main actions envisaged to ensure an effective EU response to security threats over the period 2015-2020. Since its adoption, significant progress has been made in its implementation...

This Memo highlights the actions already completed as well as the steps that still need to be taken as a matter of urgency in view of the current challenges, to pave the way towards a genuine and effective Security Union as proposed by the European Commission on 20 April 2016."

Background: Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones, May 2015


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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