Join statewatch e-mail list   
SEARCH Statewatch database   
 
    www.statewatch.org
    ISSN 1756-851X
    01 September 2015
 

Statewatch: News home page

News online - current lead stories      Follow us on and  Bookmark and Share
Top 20 stories - for full contents see: Statewatch News online or What's New: lists all items on the website.
Civil liberties are continually under threat: Support our vital work

Hungary Fence Closure Causes Refugee Influx (AJ+, link) Moving video capturing the moment

EU: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)

EU: he EU has just become a member of three private-sector anti-terrorism bodies: Joint Decision of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the participation of the European Union in various organisations for cooperation to prevent and counter terrorism (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 14 September 2015 (Press release, pdf): There is no mention of the need to provide humanitarian aid and civil protection: "After a presentation of migration flows by the European agencies Frontex and EASO (European Asylum Support Office), the meeting should discuss the programming of future work, in particular the return policy, international cooperation, and investigation and measures to prevent trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]

Greece, Lesvos: The writing was on the wall: A compilation of key articles and documents setting out the history of the migrant crisis in Lesvos, Greece which is not new - it dates from at least 2002. They show the development of reception centres, detention centres and "open camps" and the deadly role of the Greek Coastguards (which continues this summer). and include:

- Migration and state crimes: A critical criminological approach and case study of Greece (pdf) by Stratos Georgoulas (University of the Aegean). Examines the history of the Pagani detention centre and see p101 on the activities of the Coast Guard. - Map "Pagani" in the middle of nowhere (link) and "Images" (link)

Migreurop report 2013: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants (link)

- Pro Asyl and Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants: »The truth may be bitter, but it must be told«: The practices of the Greek coast guard (2007, pdf): "We were able to glean the following patterns of serious human rights violations committed by the Greek coast guard from our interviews with refugees from a wide variety of countries of origin in and outside the detention centres in Chios, Samos and Lesbos."

- Statewatch coverage: Statewatch visit to the Pikpa Centre for asylum-seekers in Mytilene (April 2013) and GREECE: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up - FRONTEX claim that families were not expelled from their rooms refuted (September 2013) and Welcome to the European Union Visit to Moria First Reception Centre , Moria, nr. Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece 11th May 2014 (pdf). Also Search for "Lesvos" in the Statewatch database.

EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation and Directive on LEAs personal data exchange

- New DP Regulation: RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Chapter III, preparation of trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 11802-15, 102 pages, pdf): Council's negotiating position. Multicolumn document giving the Commission proposal and the positions of the European Parliament and the Council plus "Compromise" position.

- New DP Regulation: Comments from the UK delegation on Chapters II, III and IV (LIMITE doc no: 11428-15, pdf) including: "It is essential that the processing of sensitive data can take place where strictly necessary for the purposes outlined in Article 1(1) of the Directive" and "The ability for law enforcement agencies to “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” (NCND) in response to access requests by the data subject is an important operational requirement that needs to be safeguarded" and "The ability for law enforcement agencies to “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” (NCND) in response to access requests by the data subject is an important operational requirement that needs to be safeguarded."

- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters V, VI and VII (LIMITE doc no; 11251-15, pdf) Chapter V covers the : TRANSFER OF PERSONAL DATA TO THIRD COUNTRIES OR INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS. Includes 40 Member State positions.

- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters IX and X (LIMITE doc no: 11252-15, pdf): With 16 Member State positions. "In view of the Friends of Presidency meeting on 9 September 2015 delegations will find attached Chapters IX and X of the above Directive, as aligned to the text of the General Data Protection Regulation as agreed in the General Approach reached on 15 June 2015." and "DE, ES, HU, IT, NL, LV, PT, SI, UK scrutiny reservation on the whole text."

- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters II, III and IV: On page 6 of document ST 10964/15 INIT recital 13 should read as follows (LIMITE doc no: 10964-COR-1-15, pdf): "Under the Regulation XXX personal data in official documents held by a public authority or a public body or a private body for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest may be disclosed by the authority or body in accordance with Union law or Member State law to which the public authority or body is subject in order to reconcile public access to official documents with the right to the protection of personal data."

EU:Med-CRISIS: (Sunday) Migration crisis: Germany, France and Britain demand urgent EU meeting - Call for action comes as UK home secretary Theresa May says only Europeans with a job lined up should be allowed to come to Britain (Guardian, link): "Germany, France and Britain have issued a joint call for an urgent meeting of EU ministers to find concrete measures to cope with the escalating migration crisis. A statement from the home affairs ministers of the three countries said they had “asked the Luxembourg presidency to organise a special meeting of justice and interior ministers within the next two weeks, so as to find concrete steps” to deal with the situation. The three “underlined the necessity to take immediate action to deal with the challenge from the migrant influx”. The French, British and German statement specifically called for reception centres to be set up urgently in Italy and Greece to register new arrivals, and for a common EU list of “safe countries of origin” to be established." [emphasis added] and Paris, Berlin, London call for urgent meeting on EU refugee policy (DW, link) "The EU needs immediate action to deal with the influx of immigrants, the interior ministers of Germany, France and Britain have said in a statement. The three countries urged new "hot spots" for registration of refugees." [emphasis added]

EU: UK House of Commons Library: Briefing Paper: Migration pressures in Europe: (22 pages, pdf): Good summary: "While there are some involuntary migrants, subject to people trafficking rather than smuggling, this is the exception...."

EU: MED-CRISIS: La photo poignante qui symbolise la tragédie des migrants (mais qui n'est pas de Banksy) (SLATE, link) [Photo poignantly symbolizes the tragedy of migrants (but not Banksy)]

EU: MED-CRISIS: Let them board the trains! (MIGZOL Hungary, link): "Thursday, 27th August, 20-50 people were found dead in a lorry that was parked in Austria, near the Hungarian border. It is highly likely that these people were not allowed to board the trains to Austria after diligent ethnic profiling by the Hungarian police. The profiling, of course, focuses on who looks like a “migrant”, or a “refugee”."

GREECE: We're raising £1,000 to give food, water & shelter to refugees in Lesvos because everyone should be entitled to basic human rights (link) "I’m Natasha. I’ve worked for refugee organisations in the UK and overseas for the past 9 years. I’m now living in Greece and am heartbroken to see that refugees who have escaped war arrive in Europe and do not even have their basic human rights met."

EU: MED-CRISIS: AFRICANS TO BE ON "SAFE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN" LIST? The European Commissioner says list of "safe countries of origin" likely to include African countries, which means people cannot claim asylum and will be returned. This despite reports that migrants arriving in Lesvis, Greece have come from, for example, Eritrea and Somalia: "On the idea of a safe list, Timmermans was confident of convincing Balkan countries to accept the return of their citizens, but said that it would be “much more difficult” with African countries." (politico, link) and as to putting countries on a "save country of origin" list

"A list of ‘safe countries’ to which their citizens can be fast-tracked home following rejected asylum applications is being drawn up by the European Commission. The step is being taken in order to deal with the migrant crisis currently threatening to overwhelm government authorities in several EU countries. [First Vice-President] Timmermans explained that for countries to be added to the list the EU will “need agreement” from those countries, adding “with those in the Balkans it is not difficult, but with African countries it is.” (plus link to video interview: breitbart.com, link)

EU: When solidarity fails (IRR, link); In observations made at a side-meeting of the 87th session of the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the IRR’s director warned that Europe’s mishandling of the refugee crisis is fuelling racism: "hough there has been a huge drive by ordinary European citizens to welcome refugees, to take a stand for human dignity, another trend is undermining it. The truth is that we face the possibility of a perfect storm unless those in power take cognisance of their positive duty to combat racism, rather than fuel it."

EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Chair of the Conference of the Data Protection Commissioners of the Federation and of the States [Lande]: The General Data Protection Regulation requires substantial improvement in crucial points! (pdf) "it is of outmost importance that in comparison with the existing legal status, the General Data Protection Regulation guarantees an improved, at least, however, a standard of the protection of fundamental rights which is equivalent to the current one..... Data transfers to authorities and courts in third countries require stronger control! In the wake of the recent data protection scandals, better protection of the European citizens’ personal data vis-à-vis third-country institutions is urgently required."

GERMANY-NSA: A Dubious Deal with the NSA (Zeit Online, link): "Internal documents show that Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, received the coveted software program XKeyscore from the NSA – and promised data from Germany in return." and XKeyscore - the document: Document pertaining to the agreement between the NSA and Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV (link)

EU: MED-CRISIS: GREECE & ITALY: Commission close to disbursing 30 mln euros to Greece as refugee aid (Athens News Agency, link):

"The European Commission is very close to disbursing financial aid totaling 30 million euros to Greece to help the country deal with the refugee and migrant influx of recent months, Natasha Bertaud, spokesperson for the European Commission, said on Tuesday.... The spokeswoman also noted that the European Commission has identified two “hotspots” of migration one in Sicily and one in Piraeus. In the coming days, visiting staff from Europol, Frontex and the European Support Office (EASO) are expected to travel to these two towns to help authorities’ fast track actions which record, fingerprint and authenticate incoming migrants.

Asylum seekers will immediately go through an asylum procedure with support groups from EASO helping in the processing of asylum cases as fast as possible, she added. " [emphasis added]

Note: All the boats from the Greek islands bring migrants to Pireaus, the designated "hotspot".

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "In Greece for at least six months this year what has been needed is humanitarian aid and the EU has been conspicuously absent and, until very recently, so to have been the international agencies. Help for those arriving has been dependent on NGOs, local and visiting volunteers. Now when 30 million euros of "aid" does arrive it is to be used for creating "hotspots", Europol and Frontex, fingerprinting and the "immediate processing of asylum cases as fast as possible."

EU: MED-CRISIS: (26.8.15): Italy hits back at Merkel in migrants row (The Local.it, link): "Italy's Foreign Minister has scathingly dismissed criticism from France and Germany over its handling of the tens of thousands of migrants arriving on its southern shores. "Italy is doing what it has to do ... and even much more by saving thousands of lives and by taking in refugees," Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in an interview published in Wednesday's Corriere della Sera, describing his country as a "a positive model on the international stage." and see: Italy saves lives even if it costs votes says Renzi (ANSA, link): "Commenting on the migrant emergency in the Mediterranean, where Italy is in the front line along with Greece, the premier said: "First we'll save human lives even at the cost of losing votes. "It's a question of civilisation." "

Czech finance minister: NATO should be engaged in guarding EU against migrants (FOX News, link): "The Czech Republic's finance minister has called for NATO to get involved in helping protect the European Union's external border against the influx of migrants. Andrej Babis says "we have to defend the Schengen (borderless) zone. We have to engage NATO." Talking on Czech public television on Tuesday, Babis called the migrants, most of whom are fleeing bloody conflicts, "the biggest threat to Europe.""

EU: MED-CRISIS: First step in coercive response to migrants crisis: Italy, Greece must act now on migrants says Merkel 'Set up registration centres by year's end' (ANSA, link):

" Italy and Greece must act as soon as possible to open migrant registration centres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday. "We have established with the heads of government that there should be registration centres in the countries particularly hit by the first arrivals, like Greece and Italy," she said after a summit with French President Francois Hollande. "This must happen quickly, by the end of the year, we cannot accept delays," she said."

This will almost certainly involve: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)

LESVOS/Mytilene: A Good Samaritan in Greece: Papa Stratis needs oxygen pumped to his lungs but that's not stopping him from joining the ranks of Greeks helping refugees arriving in Europe (UNHCR Tracks, link): "Papa Stratis, along with other local volunteers in the village of Kalloni, has been helping refugees since 2007 through the NGO ‘Agkalia‘. In all these years he reckons that he has helped some ten thousand people, including a few locals fallen on hard times. But never before has he seen so many refugees looking for help.... With local authorities overwhelmed by the 64,000 refugee arrivals to Greece since the beginning of the year, local activists like Papa Stratis and the network of volunteers “Village All Together”, are often taking on the sole responsibility of caring for the refugees on the Greek islands. “We have no external funding,” he explains with a smile. “We depend completely on the generosity of the local people.”"

Migrant crisis: “Let’s not pretend Europe’s response is working” – UN rights expert warns (UNHR, link): "United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, today called on the European Union to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy* which makes mobility its central asset. “It is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants,” he said. “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe.” "


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


The Statewatch website

Since its launch this website has had 15,386,891 user sessions and 117,308,045 "hits" [July 2015]
In the year 2014 there were: 817,219 users sessions and 10,088,230 hits

Join Statewatch regular e-mail list for new stories: Join Statewatch news e-mail list

The Statewatch database now holds more than 32,000 records (news, features, analyses and documentation).

If you use this site regularly, you are encouraged to make a donation to Statewatch to support future research.

Statewatch is a non-profitmaking voluntary group founded in 1991, see: About Statewatch

Contributions to News online and bulletin are welcomed, please get in touch.

The Statewatch website is hosted by the Phone Co-op:

Statewatch is funded by

        Friends of Statewatch

Statewatch does not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement.

Statewatch is registered under the Data Protection Act. Information supplied will be not be passed to third parties. Registered UK charity number: 1154784. Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered company name: The Libertarian Research & Education Trust. Registered office: 10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BE.

© Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.