Statewatch Observatory
Archive 2009: EU asylum and immigration policy


LIBYA: Jesuit Refugee Service report: Do they know? Asylum-seekers testify to life in Libya (pdf)

GREECE: Border crackdown on migrants (Kathimerini, link): "Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis yesterday heralded a major border crackdown aimed at significantly curbing the influx of undocumented immigrants into the country, noting that the majority of would-be migrants are trying to access the European Union from Turkey via Greece."

UKRAINE: BORDER MONITORING PROJECT UKRAINE (UZHGOROD, ZAKARPATTYA): Monitoring the implementation of social and human rights of refugees and other vulnerable migrants in the Border region of the European Union and Ukraine (pdf)

ITALY: Italian security package documents:

-
Law 94/2009 of 15 July 2009 (published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale -Official Journal- on 24 July 2009) on "Measures in the field of public security" as it was approved
-
Non-EU minors and the right to education after law 94/2009 came into force, ASGI, 28 September 2009
-
Report by lawyer Guido Savio, The discipline of expulsion and detention in CIEs, Florence, 18-19 September 2009,
-
The marriage of foreigners in Italy after law 94/2009 came into force, Walter Citti, ASGI, 10 August 2009,

The website of the Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI) has a page on the
"Legal situation of foreigners after the entry into force of law 94/2009 on public security". It includes court decisions in which issues are raised as to whether the law is constitutional, circulars from the interior ministry as to how the law must be interpreted, and legal analysis of the implications of the new law, as well as some campaign documents.

The European Commission has published: The technical study and country analysis on the implementation of the free movement directive This includes: "Conformity studies of Member States’ national implementation measures transposing Community instruments in the area of citizenship of the Union" and Country reports.

GREECE: Press release from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, NOAS and AITIMA: Out the Back Door: illegal deportations of refugees from Greece (Press release, pdf) and Full report: Out the Back Door: The Dublin II Regulation and illegal deportations from Greece (pdf)

EU: Migration policy is all at sea and needs to change by Judith Crosbie (European Voice, link). "While only a few countries may be pushing back boats of migrants, the whole of the EU is pushing away commitments to asylum-seekers."

EU: Commission: Minimum standards on granting and withdrawing international protection:

- Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection- (COM 554/4, 2009, pdf)
-
Annex (COM 554, pdf)

-
Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (COM 551, pdf)
-
Impact assessment (pdf) and - SEC 1373 (pdf
-
Detailed Explanation of the Proposal

EU/Africa: Fortress Europe records 33 border deaths in September 2009

ITALY: Cap Anamur crew acquitted (sueddeutsche.de, link)

On 7 October 2009, a Sicilian court acquitted the former chair of the human rights organisation Cap Anamur, Elias Bierdel, his former captain, Stefan Schmidt, and the first officer of the ship, Wladimir Dschkewitsch. In 2004, the three had rescued 37 refugees off the Italian coast from distress at sea and helped them to land in Sicily. They were then accused of and prosecuted for assisting in illegal entry. They faced the possibility of four years imprisonment and a fine of 400.000 EUR. The organisation Cap Anamur and the German asylum rights organisation Pro Asyl had started an international campaign for justice to acquit the three and have reacted positively to the decision.

From Statewatch News Online April 2007: The trial of Elias Bierdel, Vladimir Dachkevitce and Stefan Schmidt, respectively president of the German NGO Cap Anamur, and captain and first officer on the ship bearing the same name that saved 37 African shipwreck victims between Libya and Lampedusa in June 2004, began on 27 November 2006 in Agrigento (Sicily), in whose province the ship docked on 12 July 2004. The three accused were arrested on arrival and face charges of committing serious offences to favour illegal immigration by rescuing migrants who were at the sea's mercy in a dinghy before transporting them into Italian territorial waters and landing after over two weeks spent at sea awaiting permission to land, amid a shortage of supplies and threats from the migrants that they would jump into the sea, and worsening physical and psychological conditions experienced by both migrants and crew members.

EU: French proposal on asylum cooperation with Turkey and Libya

"France is calling for the EU to step EU cooperation with Libya and Turkey on asylum issues. But Libya has a dreadful record on human rights, and is itself a source of refugees fleeing persecution. It has not signed the UN Refugee Convention (the Geneva Convention) ... Turkey is a long-standing major source of refugees fleeing persecution. It is often found in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by the European Court of Human Rights, in particular on issues of removal of asylum-seekers who face a threat of torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment in their countries of origin. Turkey also does not apply the Geneva Convention to refugees from countries outside Europe - it is almost alone in maintaining this limitation."

Council document from the: French Delegation: Migration situation in the Mediterranean: establishing a partnership with migrants' countries of origin and of transit, enhancing Member States' joint maritime operations and finding innovative solutions for access to asylum procedures (pdf)

EU: European Commission:

-
Annual report to the Council and the European Parliament on the activities of the EURODAC Central Unit in 2008 (COM 494, pdf)
Report on progress made in developing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (SEC 1625, pdf)

EU: Exit-entry: Results of the data collection exercise (EU doc no: 13267/09, pdf). Three-quarters of those travellers recorded were: "EU citizen/persons enjoying the Community right of free movement"

Previous coverage: EU: Exit-entry data collection at the external borders across the Schengen states between 31 August and 6 September 2009: Data collection exercise on entries and exits at the external borders for a short period of time (pdf) The stated aim is the creation of: "a system of electronic recording of entry and exit data". Data is to be collected at all entry points by land, sea and air on third country nationals with and without a visa (as covered by the Commission proposal, see below) and on "EU citizens and persons enjoying the right of free movement". Professor Steve Peers: "It is assumed that the system would not apply to EU citizens, since the Commission’s communication does not address that issue expressly and it is highly doubtful whether including EU citizens within the scope of the system would be compatible with EU free movement law." See: Steve Peers: Report for the European Parliament: Proposed new EU border control systems (pdf) and the Commission's proposal: On an entry/exit system at the external borders of the European Union, facilitation of border crossings for bona fide travellers, and an electronic travel authorisation system (pdf)

EU: FRONTEX report written in cooperation with the EU Joint Situation Centre (SITCEN): The impact of the global economic crisis on illegal migration to the EU (link, 9 MB, pdf) and from the Council of the European Union: Strengthening the operations of the FRONTEX Agency, particularly in the Mediterranean (pdf)

EU: Médecins du Monde: European Observatory on Access to Healthcare: Access to healthcare for undocumented migrants in 11 European countries (link): "nearly 70% face obstacles getting health care: administrative difficulties as well as the cost of consultations and treatments, fear of being denounced or arrested and fear of discrimination. Some 14% of those polled said they had been refused care for their latest illness, notably for relatively serious symptoms."

EU: Council: Implementing the Strategy for the External Dimension of Justice and Home Affairs: Global Freedom, Security and Justice
- Action Oriented Paper on strengthening the EU external dimension on action against trafficking in human beings; Towards Global EU Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
(pdf)

Italy-Libya: EU turns blind eye to 'inhuman' Italy-Libya pact, watchdog says (euobserver, link). See: Human Rights Watch report: Pushed Back, Pushed Around Italy's Forced Return of Boat Migrants and Asylum Seekers, Libya's Mistreatment of Migrants and Asylum Seekers. See also: Migrants Returned To Face Abuse (Inter Press Service, link) and Submission on May refoulements to Libya to the European Commission and UN Human Rights Commissioner and EU/Libya: Full steam ahead, without pausing to think

France: Calais camp: Come to Calais to protest against the destruction of camps and squats of migrants! (pdf), French (pdf) and see - Police clear French migrant camp (BBC News, link)

EU: European Commission:

- Commission Staff Working Document - Mobility partnerships as a tool of the Global Approach to Migration (SEC 1240, pdf)

-
Report on the operation of the provisions on stamping of the travel documents of third-country nationals in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (COM 489, pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 21 September 2009: Press release (pdf); Background Note (pdf), Provisional Agenda - "B" Points (pdf) and "A" Points Agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf) See also: Unaccompanied Minors (pdf) and EU ministers seek to forge joint solution to refugee problem (DW-World DE, link)

EU: European Council on Refugees and Exiles: ECRE’s recommendations for the Stockholm Programme (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Report on on the development of the Visa Information System in 2008 (COM 473, pdf)

EU: EURODAC AND ACCESS TO ITS DATA BY LEAs: Regulation: concerning the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EC) No […/…] [establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person] (COM 342, pdf) French version (COM 342, pdf), Proposed Council Decision on requesting comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (COM 344, pdf) and DÉCISION DU CONSEIL relative aux demandes de comparaison avec les données EURODAC présentées par les services répressifs des États membres et Europol à des fins répressiveszz (COM 344, pdf)

EU: Summary of Impact Assessment: Commission staff working document accompanying the Communication of the Commission on the establishment of a Joint EU Resettlement Programme (SEC 1128, pdf) and Impact Assessment (SEC 1127, pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 21 September 2009: Provisional Agenda (pdf)

EU-AFRICA: Fortress Europe records “at least” 104 victims in August 2009 (pdf)

Italy-Tunisia: Italy repeatedly ignores ECtHR orders to suspend expulsions to Tunisia (pdf) and "Ordinary rendition" in Tunisia and relations with Libya: the Italian government heaps shame and ridicule onto itself (pdf)

Previous Statewatch coverage: Allowing someone to live or letting them die Italy contravenes European Court of Human Rights instructions by deporting Tunisian (pdf)

EU/Africa: Fortress Europe bulletin for July 2009: Fourteen victims in July in Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Spain. The Egyptian police shoots again at the border with Israel: three killed, including two Somali refugees

GREECE: Migrant children marginalized: Reforms aimed at social integration have not helped thousands born and raised in Greece, experts say (link)

Greece:Fourteen NGOs and other groups: Public intervention of NGOs and other groups for refugees and migrants (pdf)

"Within the public debate on migration, we have noticed many inaccuracies, a large amount of misinformation and a general approach which is not only one-sided but also exaggerates the seriousness of the issue , presenting it as a major national problem. Such an atmosphere allows no space for a calm and analytical approach to the entire issue, which would aim at shedding light on all aspects and focusing on substantial measures that could be taken to solve the problems.

As a result, the discussion transforms refugees and migrants into targets rather than what they are: victims of armed conflicts, persecution, poverty and strict migration policies. Since we perceive the existing "dialogue" more as a monologue, and since no opportunity to speak has yet been given to
the representatives of organisations that deal with migrants and refugees, we see it as our duty to intervene in the debate in order to inform Greek society about our position on this topic."


and see also: Amnesty International:
Amnesty International condemns forced evictions in Patras (link)

Forced labour and tortures for Eritreans deported from Libya (Fortess Europe, link) and Italian (link)

Greece: UNHCR will not participate in the new asylum procedure in Greece unless structural changes are made (pdf)

"UNHCR will not participate in the new asylum procedure in Greece unless structural changes are made The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees notes with great concern that the structural changes introduced by the new Presidential Decree 81/2009 do not sufficiently guarantee efficiency and fairness of the refugee status determination procedure in Greece as required by International and European legislation."

European Commission: Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (pdf): The European Commission presents plans recommending that Serbian, Montenegrin and Macedonian citizens be allowed to travel into the EU without visas from January 2010. People holding passports from Bosnia, Albania and Kosova will still have to buy visas.

Italy/Libya: Submission on May refoulements to Libya to the European Commission and UN Human Rights Commissioner

On 16 June 2009, sixteen NGOs submitted a document to the European Commission and the UN's Human Rights Commissioner that details the breaches of Italian, EU and international law that were committed by Italian authorities when migrants on boats that were intercepted by the Italian navy during patrol operations in international waters beyond the limits of Libyan territorial waters were returned to the north African country.

EU: Statewatch Analysis: The EU’s JHA agenda under the Swedish Presidency (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.

EU: European Commission: Communication on guidance for better transposition and application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (COM 313/4, pdf)

First Frontex Forced Repatriation Operation: Malta Today (link) reported (21 June) that the forced repatriation operation involving 74 migrants that took place on 18 June was the first time that Frontex ever coordinated a forced repatriation operation at sea.

"Even though the migrants were intercepted by an Italian coast guard boat, the same migrants, that included women and children, were identified by a
Frontex asset that followed the operation through.” The operation, part of Nautilus IV, used a German helicopter, the Italian coast guard, and a Libyan patrol boat.

EU: Directive providing for minimum standards on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (Final text in the Official Journal, pdf)

SPAIN: The National Network for Immigrant Rights (REDI) has requested a hearing today "immediately " with the Interior Minister Alfredo Rubalcaba, after the "brutal" attack and deportation of Senegalese immigrants in Madrid Barajas Airport. The video can be watched here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV0Cuexukmk

The immigrant organization believes the video, showing these acts broadcasted on the website of Mali, is an example of the inhumane conditions under which Spain carried out the deportations. In an attempt to end these practices, REDI calls for urgent action against what they describe as "violation of human rights." "The video, recorded by a passenger at the airport Barajas, showing how three police officers beat, bound and tied a Senegalese immigrant before being deported has been a great outrage among the organizations defending the rights of immigrants and the Internet community, "he adds.

Spokesperson for the immigration office said these images are "an institutional embarrassment and take us back to the darkest moments of history." "which promoted a society of first, second and third grade citizens, and that violates systematic fundamental rights, "says Sguiglia. REDI announced it is organizing rallies and demonstrations in the coming days to report these events and the injustice, it feels, of Spain'’s treatment of deportees.

France: Criminalising solidarity: FIDH report The observatory for the protection of human rights defenders (FIDH -OMCT) has published a research report on the obstacles faced by defenders of the rights of migrants in France entitled "Crime of solidarity": stigmatisation, repression and intimidation of defenders of the rights of migrants.

Is a State that enjoys solid democratic and proven institutions a guarantee of security and tranquility for human rights defenders working there? Alerted by the Ligue française des droits de l'Homme (LDH), the observatory gave a mandate to an international research mission responsible for examining the conditions of the exercise of the defence of the rights of migrants in France. The delegation visited France from 17 to 25 March 2009.

The research report's conclusions are worrying: excesses connected to the "culture" of results, targets that include figures for the questioning of "aiders", a permanent pressure on people who are in contact with foreigners, which is enabled by a legislation that is not precise and stygmatising. The cases gathered of arrests, or charges brought, of people who have lent assistance to migrants make it possible to conclude that, in France, there is a climate that is unfavourable for the defence of the rights of foreigners that can only be part of a strong dissuasive pressure. This flagrantly contravenes the UN Declaration on human rights defenders, and the Observatory deems it necessary to seize, apart from the French institutions concerned, the authorities and mechanisms for the protection of human rights at an international and European level. [Statewatch translation of the introduction to the report by FIDH]

European Council (18-19 June 2009: EU Prime Ministers): Draft Council Conclusions (pdf) including on: "Illegal immigration

20. Recent events underline the urgency of strengthening efforts to prevent and combat illegal immigration in an efficient manner at the EU Southern maritime borders and thus prevent future human tragedies. A genuine European response guided by both firmness and solidarity in line with the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum and the Global Approach to Migration is essential. Their implementation must be stepped up. All activities in the Western Mediterranean region and at the Eastern and South-Eastern borders need to continue.

21. The European Council calls for significant strengthening of concrete cooperation with the main countries of origin and transit in managing migration, border control, return and readmission, the reception of asylum seekers and protection of those in need of international protection, including cooperation with relevant international organizations active in those countries. The European Council urges the Council to take this fully into account when preparing the new multi-annual framework programme in the area of Freedom, Justice and Security.

European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE): Statement to the European Council: Respect the right to seek asylum in Europe (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Tracking method for monitoring the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum (COM 266 2009, pdf)

EU: Council discussions: "State of play": Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child-pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA - State of play and: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA - State of play (EU doc no: 9892/09, pdf)

EU: Major report on the: Criminalisation and victimisation of migrants in Europe (255 pages, pdf) directed by Salvatore Palidda.

EU: European Commission: Proposals for the "Stockholm Programme" (French, pdf). See: Statewatch's Observatory on The Stockholm Proramme - The Shape of Things to Come

EU: European Commission: The Hague Programme:

- Communication: An evaluation of the Hague Programme and Action Plan (COM 263, pdf)
-
An evaluation of the Hague Programme and Action Plan (SEC 765, pdf)
-
An extended report on the evaluation of the Hague Programme (SEC 766, pdf)
-
General overview of instruments and deadlines provided in the Hague Programme and Action Plan in the fields of justice, freedom and security :Institutional Scoreboard (SEC 767,pdf)

GREECE: Greece Cannot Take Very Much More, Analysis by Apostolis Fotiadis (Inter Press Service, link): ATHENS, Jun 1 (IPS) - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has asked the European Commission to call a meeting between the agency and countries around the Mediterranean to work out a joint strategy to deal with irregular migration.

But while Italy is being internationally chastised for the refoulement of refugees that effectively annuls the country's responsibilities arising from international treaties, most notably the Geneva convention, neighbouring Greece is building up state-sponsored persecution of irregular migration that has gone largely unnoticed.

Statewatch publication: Border wars and asylum crimes by Frances Webber (38 pages, pdf)

"When the pamphlet ‘Crimes of Arrival’ was written, in 1995, the title was a metaphor for the way the British government, in common with other European governments, treated migrants and especially, asylum seekers. Now, a decade on, that title describes a literal truth....

There is a frightening continuity between the treatment of asylum claimants and that of terrorist suspects. In the name of the defence of our way of life and our enlightenment values from attack by terrorists or by poor migrants, that way of life is being destroyed by creeping authoritarianism, and those values – amongst which the most important is the universality of human rights – betrayed."

See also: Crimes of arrival: immigrants and asylum-seekers in the new Europe (12 pages, 1995, pdf)

To order hard-copy see: Statewatch Publications

UK: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Vol I: The Trade in Human Beings: Human Trafficking in the UK (pdf) and Oral and written evidence Volume II (pdf)

EU: Frontex and the US Department of Homeland Security (Frontex press release, link): "In the margins of the EU-US Troika on Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting held in Prague on 28 April, Frontex and the US Department of Homeland Security signed a Working Arrangement on the establishment of operational cooperation.

The arrangement which was signed by Frontex Executive Director Ilkka Laitinen and Mrs. Jane Holl Lute, Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, will lead to transatlantic cooperation in areas related to border security management including exchange of strategic information, training, capacity building and collaboration on relevant technologies."

and: Frontex: External evaluation of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (pdf)

ITALY-LIBYA: Euro Mediteranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and Migreurop: Press release: Illegal refoulement of 500 migrants to Libya : the EU must condemn Italian authorities (link), French (link) and Italian (link)

ITALY-LIBYA: Jesuit Refugee Service: Removal of 227 migrants to Libya directly contravenes international laws (Press release, pdf):

"The forced removal of 227 men and women to Libya by Italian authorities is absolutely unacceptable. With no opportunity to make an asylum claim these migrants now risk ill-\treatment or being pushed back into the arms of their persecutors."

UK: Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre: Independent Monitoring Boards: Annual Report (pdf)

EU: Asylum applications and decisions: Asylum in the EU in 2008 (Eurostat, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council Conclusions on establishing an informal EU Network of National Rapporteurs or Equivalent Mechanisms on Trafficking in Human Beings (pdf and “Joint Analysis, Joint Action“ Conference of EU National Rapporteurs on Trafficking in Human Beings Prague, 30 and 31 March, 2009 - Outcomes of the conference (pdf)

EU: Report on the practical operation of the methodology for a systematic and rigorous monitoring of compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights (COM 205, 2009, pdf) - includes assessment of asylum and immigration policies.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission report: Our Hidden Borders: The UK Border Agency’s Powers of Detention (pdf)

"The Human Rights Commission will today (20 April 2009) at its annual conference launch a new investigation report on the work of the UK Border Agency in Northern Ireland. The report entitled ‘Our Hidden Borders: The UK Border Agency’s Powers of Detention’ examines the extent to which human rights are protected in the decision to detain individuals who are not nationals of the UK and how those detained can have their rights better protected. The findings of the report highlight a range of human rights concerns and as a result the Commission has made a number of recommendations to government that will make the experience of those coming into contact with UKBA officials compliant with international human rights standards."

UK: Academics plan to boycott new student immigration rules (Guardian, link):

"A group of academics are threatening to boycott the government's new immigration rules for students, saying orders that they monitor international students'
movements are discriminatory.

The 35 academics, who describe themselves as being involved in researching the "uses and abuses of state power" say that they are increasingly being drawn
into the role of "policing students" by the immigration authorities."

EU: European Commission: Directorate-General for Research: Moving Europe: EU research on migration and policy needs (pdf) Report written by Ann Singleton, Head of the Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol.

"This report presents a brief description of the projects in the area of migration and integration of migrants funded in the last five years, their main findings and
relevance for policy-making.. The projects address a wide range of issues and demonstrate that migration is inextricably linked to core social, political and economic concerns such as climate change, economic growth, economic instability, working life, welfare, health, youth, aging, gender, education, political participation, social inclusion and social cohesion."

The report contains links to all web pages on the projects covered.

EU: Open letter about readmission agreements - sent to the Union Council and European Commission (migreurop, link), French (link), Spanish (link): Signed by 76 NGOs including Statewatch and groups from West Sahara, Uruguary, Mauritania, Morocco, Mali, Guinea and Cameroon.

MEDITERRANEAN: Two migrant boats sink off Libya, hundreds missing (Times of Malta, link): "Two boats carrying migrants to Europe sank off Libya in separate incidents over the past two days, killing at least 21 people and leaving hundreds missing, Libyan officials said." and Shipwreck in the high sea off Libya: an announced tragedy. Until when? (migreurop, link):

"It is to be feared that the authorities’ reaction to this new tragedy will, once again, be to exploit these dramatic events without regard for the real causes that push migrants to take on deadly risks to reach Europe, in order to justify a hardening of controls."

The situation of exiles on the English Channel and North Sea coast (Migreurop, link) and CIMADE report: La loi des « jungles »La situation des exilés sur le littoral de la Manche et de la Mer du Nord (French, link)

EU: Creation of a: Black Sea Cooperation Platform (pdf): "for the prevention of future migration-born insecurity at the Eastern EU border"

The countries expected to participate are: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom plus "all Black Sea riparian states, including Armenia and Azerbaijan".

EU: Meijers Committee: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law: The proposals to amend the Dublin Regulation, COM(2008) 820 final of 3.12.2008 and the Reception Conditions Directive, COM(2008) 815 final (pdf)

EU-UNHCR: UNHCR Comments on the European Commission’s Proposal for a recast of the Directive laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum-seekers (pdf)

UK: London Detainee Support Group: Detained lives: the real cost of indefinite immigration detention (pdf): "Detained Lives reveals the ineffectiveness and the human impact of the UK’s hidden practice of indefinite immigration detention without time limits."

EU: European Commission: Third annual report on the development of a common policy on illegal immigration, smuggling and trafficking of human beings, external borders, and the return of illegal residents (SEC 320, 2009, pdf)

  European Parliament: More in-depth discussion needed on new measures for border management (Press release, pdf). The parliament's report says that: "Every year, 160 million EU citizens, 60 million third country nationals (TCNs) who do not require a visa, and 80 million requiring a visa, cross the EU's external border.... [and] "does not believe that the proposed system will put an end to the 'overstay' phenomenon as such". According to an expert report for the Commission the total number of "illegal" immigrants in the EU 25 in 2006 was estimated to be over 8 million.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The intriguing category is the 60 million visitors a year from countries not requiring visas to enter the EU - from countries on the EU "white list" including people from Canada, Australia, Japan and the USA. How many of these have overstayed over the years? Are they to be subjected to the EU's Returns Directive which would see them hunted down, put in detention, deported and banned from re-entry for five years?"

See 2009: Commission: "white list" and "black" list (pdf)

  ITALY-LAMPEDUSA: EP: GUE (United Left Group): Five GUE/NGL MEPs question the European Commission on detention centres in Lampedusa (Press release, pdf) and European Parliament: GUE-NGL Group Report of the visit to Lampedusa - Italy 13th-14th February 2009 (pdf)

  EU: Commission proposal: Council Decision concerning the signing of the Agreement between the European Community and Pakistan on readmission (pdf)

  AFGHANISTAN: UK Borders Agency: Country of origin information report: AFGHANISTAN (pdf)

EU: Highly detailed "Catalogue" (Manual): Drafting Group for updating of Schengen catalogue on External borders control, Return and readmission: Updated Schengen catalogue on External borders control, Return and readmission - 3rd draft (EU doc no:15250/08, 62 pages, pdf)

ECJ: European Court of Justice: An applicant for subsidiary protection does not necessarily have to prove that he is specifically targeted in his country of origin by reason of factors particular to his circumstances (Press release, pdf)

"The degree of indiscriminate violence in the applicant’s country of origin can exceptionally suffice for the competent authorities to decide that a civilian, if returned to his country of origin, would face a real risk of being subject to serious and individual threat"

EU: Council Presidency: Draft Conclusions: Ministerial Conference "Building Migration Partnerships" (Prague, 27-28.4.09) (pdf)

Sex, slaves and citizens: the politics of anti-trafficking (pdf) by Bridget Anderson and Rutvica Andrijasevic: "A focus on the evils of traffi cking is a way of depoliticising the debate on migration." from Soundings (link)

EU: Report to the European Parliament: Application of Directive 2004/38/EC of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members on the right of citizens to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (pdf)

European Court of Human Rights: Iordachi and Others v. Moldova (Press release, pdf) and Judgment (pdf)

"The Court held unanimously that there had been: a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, on account of Moldovan law not providing adequate protection against abuse of state power in the field of interception of telephone communications"

The Court found that between 98-99% of requests for interception warrants were granted and that there were no clear time limits on how long they last - a not unfamiliar situation in some EU states.

EU/Africa: Fortress Europe documents 62 deaths in January 2009

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Detention centres for asylum seekers are "intolerable" (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of the Resolution (pdf)

ITALY: "Illegals" to be reported by doctors - the criticised norm approved by the Senate

Update: Italy: Senate ratifies treaty with Libya: On 3 February 2009, the Italian Senate ratified draft law 1333 for the ratification and execution of the Italian-Libyan treaty on friendship, partnership and co-operation signed in Bengasi (Libya) on 30 August 2008. The treaty had been opposed by some civil society groups on human rights grounds. Foreign Affairs ministry press release (link)

Italy-Libya: Urgent appeal for the Senate to reject treaty: On 3 February 2009, the Senate is due to start discussing the adoption of the Italy-Libya treaty that was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 23 January 2009. The producers and authors of the documentary "Come un uomo sulla terra", which describes the ordeals suffered by immigrants in Libya, have issued an urgent appeal against the treaty. After learning of and documenting the situation in Libya, they argue that the treaty is a "serious violation of international and European human rights instruments". They will broadcast the documentary by streaming it through their website at 14:30 and 21:00 today (Italian time).

Come un uomo sulla terra website (documentary shown on 3.2.2009 at 14:30 and 21:00).

Background material:
http://comeunuomosullaterra.blogspot.com/2008/01/trattato-italia-libia.html
The appeal (in Italian)
The appeal (in English)

Previous Statewatch coverage: Italy/Libya: "Special and privileged" bilateral relationship treaty

EU: Highly detailed "Catalogue" (Manual): Updated Schengen catalogue on External borders control, Return and readmission (62 pages, pdf) and accompanying Policy statement: Catalogue of recommendations and best practices for external borders, return and readmission (27.1.09,.pdf)

EU: European Commission: Annual report to the Council and the European Parliament on the activities of the EURODAC Central Unit in 2007 (pdf)

Italy: Appeal warns about the imminent risk of widespread human rights violations in Lampedusa

Open letter about readmission agreements: To European Council and European Commission (Migreurop network, link). Signed by 76 NGOs including Statewatch

UK-IRELAND: Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill (pdf), Explanatory Notes (pdf) and Strengthening the Common Travel Area (pdf). See: UK-Irish travellers to face passport checks - Tighter border controls on air and sea routes to end 80 years' free movement (Guardian, link)

EU: European Parliament-Council (27 governments) agreed text on the Directive providing for minimum standards on sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (pdf)

EU: UN calls on EU to treat asylum seekers fairly (euobserver, liink)

UK: Remote controls: how UK border controls are endangering the lives of refugees: Refugee Council (link, pdf)

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