Statewatch Observatory
EU asylum and immigration policy

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UK-EU: UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation - Refugees and human rights organisations react with anger as minister says saving people encourages others to risk voyage (Guardian, link): Government Minister's answer to a question in the House of Lords:

"To ask Her Majesty's Government what naval or air-sea rescue contribution they will make to prevent refugees and migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. [HL1977]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. We believe that they create an unintended "pull factor", encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths. The Government believes the most effective way to prevent refugees and migrants attempting this dangerous crossing is to focus our attention on countries of origin and transit, as well as taking steps to fight the people smugglers who wilfully put lives at risk by packing migrants into unseaworthy boats."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, commented:

“The government’s justification for not participating in Triton is cynical and an abdication of responsibility by saying that not helping to rescue people fleeing from war, persecution and poverty who are likely to perish is an acceptable way to discourage immigration.”

See also: Illegal migration: Frontex chief says he 'didn't know Italy is scrapping Mare Nostrum' (Independent.mt, link)

UK: Campsfield expansion wrong, abusive and unnessary - who benefits? (Press release, pdf): "An application to expand Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre is expected to be submitted to Cherwell District Council imminently. The plans would more than double the number of people imprisoned at the Centre from 276 to 556. Bill MacKeith, of the Campaign to Close Campsfield, has described the plans as “wrong, inhumane and unnecessary”."

SEARCH, RESCUE & RIGHTS: OHCHR Releases Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders (Migrants at sea, link): "The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday issued Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders. OHCHR, along with multiple stakeholders, has been working on the principles and guidelines since 2012"

See: OHCHR: Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders (pdf):

"International borders are not zones of exclusion or exception for human rights obligations. States are entitled to exercise jurisdiction at their international borders, but they must do so in light of their human rights obligations. This means that the human rights of all persons at international borders must be respected in the pursuit of border control, law enforcement and other State objectives, regardless of which authorities perform border governance measures and where such measures take place. "

Spain/Melilla: "Urine with ebola, fire and stones against the fence", or the most brutal media manipulation possible (Peio M. Aierbe, 16 October 2014)

"Today, El Faro de Melilla [newspaper] offered us an example of the media manipulation that we have been complaining about for years. The headline could not have expressed this intention any better: presenting the migrants who want to cross the fence not just as violent, but as a threat to our society. And what could be more effective at the moment, than associating them to ebola?

The newspaper's account of the violent expulsion carried out yesterday by the Guardia Civil consists in showing the Guardia Civil officers as victims, and the migrants as violent and dangerous. Precisely the opposite of what happened, as can be seen from the videos recorded and circulated by Prodein."

EU: Fundamental rights and forced returns of migrants: Ombudsman opens investigation: Press release: Fundamental rights and forced returns of migrants: Ombudsman opens investigation (pdf) and Letter to Frontex: Own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the means through which Frontex ensures respect for fundamental rights in joint return operations (JRO) (pdf)

NB: For news on this Operation please see News Online:

Joint Operation "Mos Maiorum": Demonstration in Stockholm: Thursday (link) and Demonstration in Brussels: Wednesday (link).

See also European Parliament: Resolutions on topical subject: Joint police operation "Mos Maiorum" (link): Debate today: afternoon/evening in plenary on Mos Maiorum (formally called "Council statement") but without resolution. You can follow the debate here:(link) An indicative timetable will be displayed from 15:00 on on the same page. See also: EU-wide "Mos Maiorum" police operation (Green/EFA Group, link)

EU: SMART BORDERS report: Technical Study on Smart Borders: Executive Summary (Summary, pdf) and Full-report (443 pages, 5MB, pdf):

"The “Smart Borders Package” was proposed by the Commission in February 2013. It follows the European Commission (EC) Communication of February 2008 suggesting the establishment of an Entry/Exit System (EES) and a Registered Traveller Programme (RTP). The Smart Borders Package is constituted of three legislative proposals. It aims to improve the management of the external borders of the Schengen Member States (MS), fight against irregular immigration and provide information on overstayers, as well as facilitate border crossings for pre-vetted frequent third country national (TCN) travellers."

EU: NEW OPERATIONAL STRATEGY TO STOP & CONTROL MIGRANTS FLEEING FROM, WAR, POVERTY & PERSECUTION: Council of the European Union: Taking action to better manage migratory flows (LIMITE, 13747-14, pdf) Note: Operational strategies like this one are not subject to agreement or scrutiny by national and European parliaments.

"I. Action in cooperation with third countries
II. Reinforced management of external borders and FRONTEX
III. Action at Member States' level – Reception and fingerprinting"

"the main hotspot of migratory flows is currently in the Mediterranean, affecting Europe as a whole, the detailed activities to be implemented in the short term should be primarily focused on that operational area."

Future EU countries could face new migration curbs (euobserver, link): " The European Commission has said future EU members could face extra controls on movement of workers in a concession to the UK."

See: European Commission: Report on Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2014-15 (COM-700-14, pdf)

EU: The “Lampedusa Tragedy”, one year after: Terre des Hommes: "Channels for regular arrivals of migrants, now ! The sole priority is to save lives. The rest is just words." (Press release, pdf): "Milano/Brussels, 03 October 2014 - A year after the tragic sinking of Lampedusa, which highlighted the danger of leaving migration flows in the hands of smugglers, Terre des Hommes continues asking the Italian government and the European Union to establish regular and legal entry channels into Europe for people fleeing from war, disasters and poverty."

EU: Posting third-country workers within the EU: the ECJ squares the circle (EU Law Analysis, link) and CJEU judgment (pdf):

"The ECJ has repeatedly held that, unlike workers from EU Member States, Turkish nationals are not entitled to freedom of movement within the European Union but can rely only on certain rights in the territory of the host Member State alone (Savas, para 59; Derin, para 66). The Essent judgment provides a recent and clear illustration of how, under certain circumstances, the EU internal market freedoms can be relied upon to overcome those limitations and, indirectly, to broaden the freedom of movement of Turkish and other third-country nationals."

CoE: Europe, wake up! (Commissioner for Human Rights, link): "Frontex, the EU border control agency, had been active in reinforcing fortress Europe and the police of some EU member states have been engaged, inter alia, in collective expulsion (“push-back”) operations in violation of international norms....Today, the EU pressures third countries, in particular in the Balkans, to reduce the number of their citizens applying for asylum in the EU under the penalty of restoring mandatory visa requirements. This has led to the adoption of unlawful measures such as ethnic profiling at border crossing points, sanctions on carriers which do not carry out police work, confiscation of travel documents, and push-backs."

EU: Council of the European Union: "Researchers" Directive, Council developing its negotiating position on: Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast]  (LIMITE doc no: 13600-14,163 pages, pdf) With 271 footnotes and Member State interventions.

EU: Frontex: Concept of reinforced joint operation tackling the migratory flows towards Italy: JO EPN-Triton to better control irregular migration and
contribute to SAR in the Mediterranean Sea
(pdf)

EU: Amnesty International: Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean (pdf):

"In this report Amnesty International argues that until safe and regular routes into Europe are in place for refugees and migrants, the priority for the EU and its member states must be to protect their lives and ensure access to asylum for those who need it, as they attempt the sea crossing."

See also: Migrant deaths crossing Mediterranean top 3,000 in 2014 (BBC News, link): "In a report published on Monday, the IOM said the 3,072 deaths made Europe the most dangerous destination for "irregular" migrants. The organisation said that some experts placed the toll three times as high."

UK-EU: Criminal law opt-out proposals: the Prüm Decisions will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from 1 December 2014. "as a consequence that the United Kingdom cannot access for law enforcement purposes fingerprints contained in the Eurodac database." (Eurodac is a fingerprint database for identifying asylum seekers and undocumented border-crossers). The UK is to review the consequences of this by 30 September 2015.

See: Transitional re Prum Decision (COM 396-14, pdf) and UK obligation to repay (COM 395-14, pdf)

EU: 10,000 "irregular" migrants were "checked" in mass "organised crime" sweep organised by Europol in joint operation with Frontex, Eurojust and Interpol: Organised crime networks targeted in huge law enforcement operation in Europe (Press release, pdf) No information is given as to what happened to the people who were "checked".

"Between 15 and 23 September, law enforcement authorities from 34 countries, coordinated and supported by Europol from its headquarters in The Hague, joined forces in Operation Archimedes. The operation targeted organised crime groups and their infrastructures across the European Union (EU) in a series of actions in hundreds of locations, with the cooperation of Eurojust, Frontex and Interpol." and

"In cooperation with Frontex and EU Member States, around 10 000 irregular migrants were checked which also led to the arrest of criminals facilitating illegal immigration. In total in the overall operation, 170 facilitators were arrested and important intelligence was gathered."

See also: Europol infographics (link)

CALAIS: UK-FRANCE: UK pledges £12m to help Calais tackle illegal migrants (BBC News, link) and UK, France strike €15 million deal over Calais migrant crisis (France 24, link)

Background: France/UK/migration – Joint declaration by M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, and Mrs Theresa May, Home Secretary of the United Kingdom (pdf) and Déclaration conjointe de Mme Theresa MAY et de M. Bernard CAZENEUVE, Ministres de l’intérieur britannique et français – 20 septembre 2014 (pdf)

EU: European Commission: 5th Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2013) (COM 288-14, pdf) and Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council 5th Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2013) (141 pages, SWD 165-14, pdf)

EU-CJEU: European Court of Justice: Member States are obliged to admit to their territory third-country nationals who wish to stay for more than three months for study purposes, where they meet the conditions for admission exhaustively listed by EU law - They are therefore prohibited from introducing additional conditions for admission (Press release, pdf) and Advocate-General Opinion: Full-text (pdf)

UK: Deprivation of British citizenship and withdrawal of passport facilities (pdf) A handy starting point for analysis: House of Commons Library note:

"In recent years there has been an increasing use of powers to deprive people of their British citizenship and withdraw British passport facilities, particularly in respect of those who may be involved in fighting, extremist activity or terrorist training overseas."

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast] (Doc no: 11439-14, Limite, 165 pages, pdf) The Council developing its negotiating position with over 300 Member State reservations.

Mytilene, Greece, 28.08.14: W2EU: Press release: 73 refugees transferred from Moria to unknown destination on vessel of the Hellenic Navy

"On Wednesday night (27th August 2014) a group of 73 refugees most of which were Afghan was transferred from Moria first reception detention centre in Lesvos to the port of Mytilene. When the last load of people reached the port it was already dark. They were then brought on board discretely and in the shadow of one Greek officer at a time. During this seemingly secretive operation the port was full of civil police and coast guards."

See also: LESVOS DETENTION CENTRE: Welcome to the European Union: Visit to Moria First Reception Centre, Moria, nr. Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece 11th May 2014 (pdf): Report by Ann Singleton (University of Bristol), John Moore (University of the West of England) and Tony Bunyan (Statewatch) - (all Members of the European group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Smart borders: fait accompli? (pdf) by Chris Jones:

"Critique of the smart borders proposals has been – and still is – extensive, but none of the arguments raised have so far been dealt with seriously by those in favour of the systems. It seems that the ‘freedom’ in the EU’s ‘area of freedom, security and justice’ is little more than a buzzword when it comes to border control and policing. When it comes to dealing with increasing levels of human migration, the only proposals on the table involve increasing monitoring and control."

MOROCCO: Migreurop: Dirty war against immigrants in Morocco - The worsening dirty war against immigrants by the Moroccan government with cooperation by Spain (Statewatch translation, pdf) and Guerra sucia contra migrantes en Marruecos Recrudecimiento de la guerra sucia contra migrantes a cargo del gobierno de Marruecos con la colaboración de España (pdf)

EU: Frontex presses on with aerial surveillance projects

EU border agency Frontex has made progress in its attempts to acquire and deploy aerial surveillance technology, with the completion of a pilot project at the Bulgaria-Turkey border in early July. According to the agency, the project has outlined "new approaches in Frontex policy for future acquisition of operational assets and services."

Italy-Tunisia: Tunisian authorities undertake border control for Italy

The Tunisian National Guard has 'rescued' many boats carrying migrants and refugees in the past few months. However, these vessels were not all in distress when they were 'rescued'. A colonel in the National Guard's maritime section explained in an interview with the authors of this article that the current bilateral agreement with Italy foresees that the Tunisian Navy and the Tunisian National Guard should block boats carrying migrants, even if they are not in distress.

UK: Predictive policing in London: commercial interests trump accountability

London's Metropolitan Police (Met) have adopted a "neither confirm nor deny" policy on their use of "predictive policing" technology, citing the need to protect the commercial interests of both the police and companies. This is despite the fact that the force admits that releasing relevant information "could potentially further the debate around the efficacy and ethics of using such technologies," and could improve "the accountability of decisions taken in relation to the research and development of such technologies."

EU: The Missed Opportunity of the “Ypres Guidelines” of the European Council Regarding Immigration and Asylum (link) by Philippe De Bruycker

EU: 267 migrants rescued from 29 boats in Strait of Gibraltar (El Pais, link): "The Spanish coastguard rescued 267 people from 29 small boats in the Strait of Gibraltar on Monday. All the men, women and children onboard were found to be in apparent good health and taken to Tarifa, in Cádiz province, to be treated."

EU: MIGRATION & ASYLUM: European Parliament: For a European Strategy in the field of migration and asylum: Appeal to the European Parliament on occasion of the Italian Presidency Semester (pdf): Barbara Spinelli (MEP, GUE):

"Nowadays, refugees are the product, on an industrial scale, of that great war, immaterial and undeclared as it is, which is the war against the poor, with a stark border separating people who have a right to move from those who are denied that right. But a worldwide war, which sets apart subjects of the law from marginal bodies whose fate is at the mercy of events that are decided elsewhere, cannot turn Europe into a barbed wire fence. The Europe we want must be a place of welcome, of respect and of dignity."

Germany's deportees cannot be held in prisons, ECJ rules (euractiv, link) and see: CJEU ruling Press Release: A Member State cannot rely on the fact that there are no specialised facilities in a part of its territory to justify detaining third-country nationals in prison pending their removal - The same applies even if the third-country national concerned has given his consent to being accommodated in prison (pdf)

EU: Data protection rights and administrative proceedings (EU Law Analysis, link): "in the specific context of asylum proceedings, and more generally in many other areas of EU law, it is useful that the Court confirmed that applicants can still enforce (by a different means) the right to good administration against national authorities."

GREECE: LESVOS DETENTION CENTRE: Welcome to the European Union: Visit to Moria First Reception Centre, Moria, nr. Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece 11th May 2014 (pdf): Report by Ann Singleton (University of Bristol), John Moore (University of the West of England) and Tony Bunyan (Statewatch) - (all Members of the European group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control):

"The site is still under construction, but presents a chilling taste of what is to come and the claustrophobic conditions for migrants to be held there. For people who have committed no criminal offence, nor been charged with any, it is impossible to see why barred windows, prison-style lighting and surveillance towers and barbed wire are necessary on this island camp. One can only wonder at the horror they will feel and experience on being taken to this place after their arduous journeys."

EU: CJEU: Penalising Refugees: when should the CJEU have jurisdiction to interpret Article 31 of the Refugee Convention? (EU Law Analysis, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: NO MENTION OF SEARCH & RESCUE: Draft European Union Maritime Security Strategy (EU doc no: 10914-14, pdf): The operational strategy of the Council is at odds with EU policy:

"Based on the EU’s founding values of human rights, freedom and democracy, the purpose of this Strategy is to secure the maritime security interests of the EU and its Member States against a plethora of risks and threats in the global maritime domain."

Earlier version of proposal: Draft EU Maritime Security Strategy (9382/14, pdf) and see: New EU rules on maritime surveillance: will they stop the deaths and push-backs in the Mediterranean? (EU Law Analysis, link)

This is contrary to the recently adopted: Regulation establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the management of operational cooperation at the external borders of Member States of the EU (pdf)

BULGARIA: Trapped in Europe’s Quagmire: The situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Bulgaria (Bordermonitoring, pdf): "rapped in Europe’s Quagmire: The situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Bulgaria is Bordermonitoring’s report on Bulgaria. The making of the report was undertaken by four independent researchers and follows structural conditions in the country which place asylum-seekers and refugees in an extremely vulnerable position as well as their current precarious situation."

FRANCE: Police evict migrants from main Calais camp (The Local, link): "Just a month after riot police cleared out several makeshift migrant camps in Calais, officers moved in early on Wednesday to shut down the main squat. Officials' tough stance on the migrants, most of whom hope to get to the UK, has drawn criticism from humanitarian groups."

and see: Activists and campaigners present in Calais (French, link):

""A political solution is necessary: since the closure of Sangatte in 2002, the only response of national and local authorities was police repression and to deny people the basics of life in order to discourage them from staying in Calais. Obviously, it does not work and produces a situation of suffering and violation of rights."

They have urged people to provide money and material support for the migrants: "They only get one meal a day, everyone is hungry all the time. There are no tents to give, no blankets, not enough clothes and shoes. The associations who supported the migrants for so many years were already in crisis and are unable to provide sufficiently. Please make a donation, it is an emergency. People who arrive are often sleeping with nothing."

EU: European Commission: Commission Staff Working Document: Implementation of the Communication on the Work of the Task Force Mediterranean (pdf) and Part 2 (pdf)

UK: ‘No one is listening to us’: Britain’s Migrant Rebellion (Ceasefire, link):

"This month, Britain’s immigrant ‘detention estate’ has been rocked by one of the largest protests to date, yet another consequence of the climate of hatred, fear and racism so deeply embedded in Britain’s squalid current ‘debate’ about immigration, argues Matt Carr in his latest column."

Calais: Riot police expel migrants from camps (The Local, link):

"Police cleared out improvised camps in the port city of Calais on Wednesday morning, which migrants use as a base in their effort to reach the UK. It’s the latest chapter in a long-running humanitarian and political struggle."

Spain: Human Rights at the southern border - the events in Ceuta and Melilla are not an isolated event

On 22 April 2014, the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (APDHA) presented its annual "Report on Human Rights at the southern border" for 2014, which focuses on the situation at the borders in the Spanish north African enclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla, where at least 15 people died in controversial circumstances, including the firing of rubber bullets and teargas as they swam, on 6 February 2014.

EU: European Commission: Report: Fifth bi-annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area 1 November 2013 - 30 April 2014 (COM-292-14, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council Conclusions on EU Return Policy - Adoption (20 May 2014, pdf): "the Council recognises that voluntary return is not always a viable solution and that a potential resort to forced return is an equally important element of a credible return policy. In that respect the Council acknowledges that national forced-return monitoring systems can contribute to correctly executed returns and transparency."

Earlier version of the: Draft Council Conclusions on EU Return Policy (14 May 2014, pdf) and Draft Council Conclusions on EU Return Policy (7 May 2014, pdf)

See also: A highly inappropriately titled Council document: "An effective EU return policy": Presidency's food for thought paper for the lunch discussion (pdf):

"The term 'voluntary return' includes different types of programmes, from those that are genuinely voluntary to those that are options of last resort, meaning that illegally resident migrants facing the possibility of forced removal prefer the 'voluntary' return instead... only few third country nationals in an illegal situation accept to return voluntarily to their country of origin or transit. Voluntary return programmes, including the pay-to-go return programmes implemented since the 1970's, have persistently failed to attract a substantive number of participants."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "When I was in the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament on 1 April 2014 a Commission official was reporting on its "Returns Policy" report. He told the Committee that the problem was that "most people do not want to voluntary return to the countries they have come from". It was not raised that the fundamental flaw with the EU's returns policy is that that people fleeing from persecution or hunger do not want to go back to the countries they have fled from."

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Border guards, planes, “thermal vision vans” and heartbeat detectors – who is equipping Frontex? (pdf) by Chris Jones

Total number of national border guards available to Frontex increases by over 30% from 1,885 in 2013 to 2,484 in 2014
Amount of technical equipment Member States make available - including boats, planes, "thermal vision vans", heartbeat detectors and dogs - also grows
Frontex's "response capacity will be strengthened"¨ in 2014 through "further development" of European Border Guard Teams and the Technical Equipment Pool

EU-LIBYA BUDGET: Council of the European Union: Draft Council Decision amending Decision 2013/233/CFSP on the European Union Integrated Border Management Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM Libya) - Adoption (22 pages, pdf)

EU-eu-LISA: Report on the technical functioning of the Visa Information System (VIS) (33 pages, pdf)

Report from the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) on the "technical functioning of the Visa Information System (VIS)".

"For the time being, Poland has proven to be the major user of the VIS together with France, executing about 20% of all VIS operations in each case. Spain is the third highest user of the system with 13% of the operations, closely followed by Lithuania (10%), Finland (10%) and Germany (8%)."

"By 31 August 2013, VIS has been used to process a 4,380,582 visa application, of which 3,681,377 culminated in the issue of a visa while 535, 261 applications were eventually refused."

And: "approximately 25.4% of the all [sic] applications do not have fingerprints attached. Nevertheless, there has been an increase in the proportion of registered applications with fingerprints compared to the total amount of registered applications over the reporting period. In 2011, registered applications with fingerprints represented 62% of the total amount of registered applications. In 2012 the amount increased to 69% whereas in 2013, registered applications with fingerprints represented 77% of all registered applications."

EU: IMIGRATION & ASYLUM: European Commission: Commission Staff  Working Document: Accompanying the document Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council 5th Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum (2013) (SWD 165-14, 141 pages, pdf)

EU: EUROSUR WILL NOT HELP RESCUES AT SEA:   EU border surveillance system not helping to save lives (euobserver, link):

"Launched in December to help prevent boat migrants from drowning, the EU’s border surveillance system, Eurosur, has yet to deliver amid a sharp increase in the number of sea-crossing attempts.... Eurosur is also set to accept satellite images in the near future, but will not offer any additional help when it comes to rescue missions, said Fernandez. “This would not be even useful for preventing tragedies because the satellite images will be available to the border authorities hours or even days after,” he said."

EU: FRONTEX: New rules on Frontex operations at sea (pdf) from Ska Keller (Green Group, pdf):

"The regulation on Frontex operations at sea sets new rules for intercepting and pushing back migrants at sea as well as for rescuing them. It replaces the current Council decision of 2010, which was struck down by the European Court of Justice because the European Parliament was unlawfully excluded from co-decision-making."

and see: Regulation on the maritime surveillance by Frontex: lives in danger at the external borders of Europe (Frontexexit, link)

UNHCR: Mediterranean crossings rise in first months of 2014 – many fleeing war and persecution (link):

"UNHCR estimates some 6,000 people have been rescued by the Italian Navy from over forty overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean off the shores of Sicily and Calabria in the past four days. They have disembarked in the ports of Augusta, Catania, Porto Empedocle, Messina and Pozzallo in Sicily and Roccella Jonica in Calabria.

Large numbers of women and children, including newborns and unaccompanied children, were amongst those rescued. They had set off from Zwara in Libya, and many were fleeing violence, conflict and persecution. Main countries of origin include Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Gambia, Mali and Senegal."

AFRICA: Migreurop: 4th EU-Africa summit – EU-Africa Migration policies: the deadly obliviousness of heads of state (link) and in French (link)

"On both shores of the Mediterranean, a securitarian view of migrations is shared. The externalisation of border management, the strengthening of surveillance systems through Frontex and Eurosur, as well as the instrumental use of public development aid to try to keep populations in their home countries, remain the key means for its implementation."

Background, official press release: Fourth EU-Africa Summit, 2-3 April 2014, Brussels: EU-Africa Declaration on migration and mobility (pdf)

EU: Claiming asylum after interception is "abuse" of procedure, claims joint police operation report

A formal report produced by the Lithuanian Council Presidency argues that migrants who submit applications for international protection after they have been "intercepted" (apprehended) by national authorities are abusing the asylum procedure.

A large-scale joint police operation, codenamed PERKUNAS , was organised by the Lithuanian Presidency and carried out in September 2013. It aimed at "identifying the link between illegal EU external border crossings and secondary movements of irregular migrants within the EU and the Schengen Area," and the final report said that:

"Considering that the largest proportion (72.94%) of irregular migrants submitted applications for international protection after interception, this could be assessed as a definite quantitative indication of abuse of asylum procedure."

EU-AFRICA: Fourth EU-Africa Summit, 2-3 April 2014, Brussels: EU-Africa Declaration on migration and mobility (pdf) and see: EU-African migration action plan (New Europe, link)

EU: FRONTEX: Work Programme for 2014 (pdf)

EU: Frontex: Code of Conduct for joint return operations coordinated by Frontex (pdf) and see: Annual Information on the Commitments of the Member States to the European Border Guard Teams (EBGT) and the Technical Equipment Pool (pdf):

"The EBGT consists of border guards from the national border authorities of the Member States.....At the end of 2013, the overall number of border guards in the EBGT stood at almost 2,500 and is still growing as Member States make their contributions. With this number of border guards in the EBGT, Frontex is in the comfortable position of having more officers available for possible deployment on operational activities.

Equipment for border control: - mobile laboratories, i.e. vehicles equipped with communications systems, computers, printers or other equipment for document checks; -.heart-beat detectors -.carbon dioxide (CO2) detectors - Hand-held surveillance equipment: night vision goggles (NVG); -.hand-held thermal cameras.- Dogs (95)"

STATEWATCH: New issue of Journal: Borders, deaths and resistance and Link for free download

"So detached has the official rhetoric about migrants' rights and saving lives become from the realities of the detention centres, the razor wire, the intensive surveillance, the military patrols, the forced expulsions and the 20,000 documented deaths, that people bearing the brunt of the economic crisis and austerity measures may be forgiven for thinking that over-generous migration policies are indeed the source of all their woe - a message that is rammed home by opportunist politicians and xenophobic media at every opportunity.

This new edition of the Statewatch Journal examines the latest European policy and practice vis-a-vis border control, immigration and asylum."

NETHERLANDS: SCHENGEN Border Controls: The Netherlands: European Commission: DG Home: Temporary reintroduction of border controls: At the occasion of the Nuclear Security Summit, the Netherlands temporarily reintroduces border controls at its internal borders during the period from 14 to 28 March 2014.

Safety measures for Nuclear Security Summit: The Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) will take place in the World Forum in The Hague on 24 and 25 March. To ensure that this conference proceeds safely and smoothly, a number of measures are being taken. One of these measures is a temporary reintroduction of controls at the Netherlands’ borders with other Schengen countries under articles 23 (1) and 24 of the Schengen Borders Code (Regulation (EC) No. 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council). Nuclear Security Summit (link)

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Europe lags behind in its efforts to resettle refugees (link): "Europe is lagging behind in its efforts to resettle refugees – with only 20 Council of Europe member states resettling only 5,500 people in 2013 – and should do a great deal more, according to PACE’s Migration Committee." And see report: Resettlement of refugees, towards greater solidarity (pdf)

Spain admits use of rubber bullets on migrants was wrong (BBC News, link) and see: Sea Swallows the Stories of Africans Drowned at Ceuta (IPS, link): "“Who will speak for them now? Who will tell their stories to their families in Cameroon or Ivory Coast?” asked Edmund Okeke, a Nigerian, about the 16 migrants who died while trying to swim to the shore of the Spanish city of Ceuta from Morocco. The victims were driven back with rubber bullets fired by the Spanish Guardia Civil (militarised police) from the beach of this Spanish enclave in north Africa, on Feb. 6."

Italy Closes Its Eyes to Sealed Mouths (IPS, link): "“We walk inside an area that is 128 steps long and seven-and-a-half steps wide. This is the path they made for us: two metres of bars over our heads, and upon the bars, two metres of plexiglas. We are like canaries in a cage, like birds of different races all in one cage."

UNHCR: UKRAINE: International Protection Considerations related to developments in Ukraine (Press release, pdf): "In the current circumstances, UNHCR considers a designation of Ukraine as a "safe country of origin" not appropriate, and recommends States to remove Ukraine from "safe country of origin" lists."

NORWAY: Detention of Asylum Seekers (pdf): Analysis of Norway’s international obligations, domestic law and practice.(Norsk Organisasjon for Asylsøkere)

UK: Sun, sand...and indefinite detention (Open Democracy, link): "The UK’s second largest immigration detention centre is about to open in Weymouth. Jennifer Allsopp reports on local responses to the imminent presence of hundreds of foreigners, locked up off the coast of this small and friendly town."

EU and Tunisia sign Mobility Partnership - Italy among the 10 Partnership member States (AnsaMed, link) and: EU and Tunisia establish their Mobility Partnership (Commission press release, pdf)

See also: Extension of Mobility Partnerships with Euro-Mediterranean Partners (link) by Marie Martin

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 3-4 March 2014, Brussels: "B" Points Agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points non-legislative (adopted without discussion). See: Background Note (pdf)

Documents: A highly inappropriate title: "An effective EU return policy": Presidency's food for thought paper for the lunch discussion (pdf) and Preparation for the accession of the UK to the SIS II (pdf) Detailed discussion of UK access in the light of its proposed JHA opt-out with Member States reactions.

EU: Council of the European Union: COSI, ITCs and Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for cross-border information exchange

- Future role of COSI (pdf) from the following delegations: AT, BG, CZ, ES, FI, FR, HU, HR (Croatia), IT, PL, RO, SE, SI, SK

- ITC: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer [First reading] - Analysis of the final draft compromise text with a view to agreement

- Working Group on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Draft SPOC Guidelines for cross-border law enforcement information exchange (pdf) Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for cross-border information exchange.

EU: European Commission: Smart Borders, GAMM & Free movement

- Smart Borders: The scope of the study on the Smart Borders Package (pdf)

- GAMM: Report on the implementation of the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility 2012-2013 (pdf)

- Free movement: Addressing the consequences of disenfranchisement of Union citizens exercising their rights to free movement (pdf)

Belgium temporarily suspends Dublin transfers to Bulgaria (Asylum Information Database, link). See: UNHCR: Bulgaria As a Country of Asylum (pdf)

TURKEY: European Parliament: do not vote in favour of a EU/Turkey readmission agreement! (Migreurop, link): "On 26 February, the European Parliament will vote on the “EU-Turkey agreement on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation”. The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and Migreurop call upon the European Parliament to vote against this agreement until the full respect of rights of migrants and refugees can be guaranteed at all stages of the readmission procedure." and French (link)

GREECE: Refugees describe dire conditions in migrant detention centres (EnetEnglish, link): "Granted political asylum in December, Farhad, detained for 14 months at the detention centre in Corinth, said detainees were packed scores to a room and often beaten by police. In protest at the appalling conditions, he and others sowed their mouths together and went on hunger strike

See also: GlobalPost documentary shows footage recorded inside Corinth camp

EU: ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles), CEAR and Accem: Death and Summary Returns at Europe’s Doorstep: European Commission Must Investigate Border Practices in Ceuta and Melilla (pdf): "The EU cannot turn a blind eye to these allegations of serious human rights violations and has to do everything in its power to ensure the respect of fundamental rights at its external borders" See also: Death of at least 12 people (link)

EU: Migreurop: A Critical Chronology of European Migration Policies (link) and Chronology pdf (link)

"This chronology seeks to make it easier to understand European migration and asylum policies through a time-framed comparison of the evolution of the legal framework (columns A1 to A3), the public discourse (B1) and the facts (B2). The table is updated twice a year.

The aim is to picture the way in which the EU policy of closing the borders, apart from the sequence of tragedies that it causes, leads to human rights violations and to absurd situations that are sometimes impossible to manage by the very people who implement them, in an escalation whose effects sometimes appear to escape the grasp of its protagonists, and bargaining among states in which migrants, refugees and displaced people represent a form of exchange currency."

EU-SWITZERLAND: Switzerland gets first penalty for immigration vote (euractiv, link): "The European Union said yesterday (16 February) it had postponed negotiations with Switzerland on its participation in multibillion-dollar research and educational schemes, after Berne said it could not sign in its present form an agreement to extend the free movement of people to Croatia, the newest EU member." And see: EU suspends research talks with Switzerland (European Voice, link)

EU: SEASONAL WORKERS: Council of the European Union: Council adopts directive on third-country seasonal workers (Press release, pdf) and see: Full-text (pdf)

EU: SEARCH & RESCUE AT SEA: Council of the European Union: Final "compromise" proposal agreed between the Council and the European Parliament: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union - Approval of the final compromise text with a view to an agreement at first reading (pdf) See: Safety at sea p12, Interception p16 and Search and Rescue p21.

UPDATED: EU: FRONTEX REJECTS OMBUDSMAN RECOMMENDATION: European Ombudsman: Full Summary on Frontex Inquiry (pdf)

Short Summary of the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex (pdf):

"Frontex has rejected a recommendation made by the European Ombudsman following an investigation of its compliance with human rights standards and, in particular, with the requirements of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, is sending this special report to the European Parliament seeking its support on the matter....

The Ombudsman recommended to Frontex that it should set up a mechanism whereby it could deal directly with complaints from people claiming to have had their fundamental rights breached by Frontex. Regrettably, Frontex decided not to accept this recommendation....

The Ombudsman does not accept that Frontex does not carry responsibility for the actions of staff operating under the Frontex banner. That responsibility may sometimes be shared with the individual Member State, but it is not tenable that Frontex has no responsibility and that, thus, it should not deal with complaints arising from actions in which it is involved."

UK: Statement by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, Roj Women, MAF-DAD & Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC): Outrage as Kurds held up for hours at Dover crossing (pdf): Kurdish families bound for Paris protest on anniversary of killings were stopped and searched under Schedule 7 of Terrorism Act 2000.

EU: Statewatch Analysis: Amending the EU’s visa list legislation - February 2014 version (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

The EU’s legislation defining the countries and territories whose nationals are (and are not) subject to a visa requirement to enter the EU is a crucial part of the EU’s immigration policy, and has a further significant impact on the EU’s external relations.

A new amendment to the visa list rules was adopted in December 2013, and the European Parliament and the Council have also agreed on two further amendments to the rules, which will be officially adopted early in 2014. This analysis examines all of these recent changes, and presents an informally codified version of the text of what the Regulation will look like after they all take effect.

EU: Council of the European Union: ITC, Search & Rescue & Researchers

- Intra-corporate transferees: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer [First reading] (pdf) Nearly agreed "compromise" between the Council and the European Parliament. This contains Council's response to the sixth trilogue. Multi-column document.

- Sea surveillance: Search & Rescue: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (74 pages, (pdf) Multi-column document showing proposal by Commission, the Council and European Parliament positions and draft "compromises"

- Researchers: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast] (172 pages, pdf) Council discussion on its position with over 300 Member State positions.

Spain: Case into Martine Samba's detention centre death to be reopened

On 14 January 2014, the Madrid provincial court ruled in favour of the appeals submitted by Ferrocarril Clandestino and her mother Clementine Samba [assisted by SOS Racismo Madrid], and the Asociación de Letrados por un Turno de Oficio Digno [ALTODO] to overturn the decision to shelve investigations into the death of Martine Samba. The Congolese woman was detained in Madrid's detention centre foreigners in the Aluche neighbourhood for 38 days, until she died in the 12 de Octubre hospital on 19 December 2011. The key focus of the case is whether inadequate medical care provided to Martine Samba in the detention centre [CIE, centro de internamiento para extranjeros] had a role in her death and may result in charges of manslaughter being brought against the centre's medical staff.

EU: Council of the European Union: Coreper confirms agreement on list of non-EU countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement (Press release, pdf) and Regulation (EU) No 1289/2013 of 11 December 2013 amending Council 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)

EU/Italy: A breath of fresh air, the "Lampedusa Charter"

On the weekend from 31 January to 2 February 2014, a process that began with the shipwrecks that cost 600 people their lives in early October 2013 was completed in an assembly to discuss the final details of a document produced from below, by civil society, migrant support associations and interested individuals from around Europe and beyond, including migrants themselves and citizens of Lampedusa, that calls for a radical overhaul of the EU's migration policies.

POLAND: The Invisible: Stateless persons in Poland, summary (link):

""Anna Strama and Anna Pilaszek authored this piece. This report concludes an 11-month long research project by the Halina Niec Legal Aid Center carried out within the framework of ‘The Invisible – Stateless Persons in Poland’ project funded by the Stefan Batory Foundation. The full report is available in Polish."

EU gives US six months to come clean on visa policy (euractiv, link):

"EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission has told the United States to lift visa requirements on Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Croatia, whose citizens still need an entry permit to travel to the country.

A regulation which entered into force on 20 December requires EU countries to "react in common" on visa matters, especially in cases where foreign countries "subjects [EU] citizens to differing treatment”."

See: Regulation of 11 December 2013 amending Council 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)

EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: AT THE LIMEN: The implementation of the return directive in Italy, Cyprus and Spain (pdf)

"Over the last few years, the use of two different forms of immigration control has increased: there are more centres (detention centres, or “reception” centres) and there has been a proliferation of different forms of temporary legal status. In both cases, these new immigration management and control measures are both characterised by their seemingly temporary nature and by the fact that both present immigration as an entirely temporary phenomenon."

UK: Amendment to Immigration Bill allows Home Secretary to make people stateless (Free Movement, link) see: Bill's progress (link). And see: ILPA briefing to Government New Clause 18 Deprivation of citizenship: conduct seriously prejudicial to vital interests of the UK (link)

ITALY: ASGI clarifies the issues involved in repealing the criminal offence of illegal entry and residence

A recent development in Italy has been the response to the tragic shipwreck in Lampedusa in October 2013 that cost over 360 people their lives and other scandals concerning the treatment of migrants, which have resulted in parliamentary scrutiny of a proposal to abrogate [repeal] the criminal offence of illegal entry and residence, turning it into an administrative offence, approved by the Senate in its first reading vote on 21 January 2014.

GREECE: Migrants saved in Greek boat accident mourn relatives – and dispute claims - Survivors say coastguards refused to help them as vessel sank and stamped on hands of those clinging to Greek boat (Guardian, link)

GREECE: 16 SURVIVORS FROM 28 PASSENGERS: Inquiry calls after migrants die under tow in Greece (BBC News, link) and see: UNHCR - Statement on boat incident off Greece coast (link):

"UNHCR is dismayed to have learned of a boat cap-sizing off the coast of Greece in the early hours of this morning, which has left a woman and a child dead and 10 other people missing, among them infants and children.

According to accounts from some of the 16 survivors and Greek Coast Guard, the vessel was carrying 26 Afghans and two Syrians. It was intercepted in the southern Aegean Sea shortly after midnight following a mechanical breakdown and while apparently en route from Turkey to Greece. The boat, with all 28 passengers still aboard, was being towed by a Coast Guard vessel when it capsized. The survivors, now on the island of Leros, told UNHCR they were being towed in the direction of Turkey at the time of the accident."

EU: Council of the European Union: Multi-column documents: Search & rescue and TCN visas

- Sea Surveillance: search and rescue: Proposal for a Regulation establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (17 January 2014, pdf) Multi-column document, part of the 1st reading trilogue process, with the Commission proposal, European Parliament position, Council position, "Compromise" text

 - TCN visas: Draft Regulation amending Council 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 (amendment to Annexes) (17 January 2014, pdf) Multi-column document, part of the 1st reading trilogue process, with the Commission proposal, European Parliament position, Council position, "Compromise" text

Spain/France: NGOs demand inquiries into immigration deaths in Barcelona and Marseilles

Two statements, one by the Catalan section of SOS Racismo and the other one jointly issued by French association Anafé alongside the international networks Migreurop and Boats 4 People, demanded official inquiries into the deaths of an Armenian man in the Catalan detention centre (Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros, CIE) in Zona Franca on 3 December 2013 and of a young Guinean man who drowned on 10 January 2014 near to the port of Marseilles. The French authorities attempted to return him to his point of departure by putting him back on board of the ship that carried him and a fellow Guinean man to Marseilles from Dakar, after their request to lodge an asylum application was refused.

EU: New "concept" drafted for EU border missions abroad

The European Union's guidelines for "border management" missions abroad are being updated "in view of the increasing demand for CSDP [Common Security and Defence Policy] to tackle border management tasks" and in order to "integrate the know-how acquired since 2006, and to translate the principles of Integrated Border Management (IBM) into the strategic and operational processes for the planning and conduct of CSDP missions."

An evaluation report published in April 2013 that examined the EU's "support to Integrated Border Management and the fight against Organised Crime" across the globe found it: "[H]ighly influential in the comprehension and implementation of IBM principles in partner countries, although the levels of ‘take up’ became less noticeable the further geographically from the EU the intervention was."

EU-LIBYA: Libya is boycotting an EU project relating to asylum, while the development of the police and the military continues apace (Andrej Hunko, link):

"The European Union’s activities relating to the restructuring of the Libyan security apparatus must be halted without delay. This applies to training projects for the military and for the police,” said Andrej Hunko, Member of the German Bundestag, in response to the Federal Government’s answer to a Minor Interpellation about the EUROSUR border surveillance system."

Andrej Hunko went on: “Italy is establishing facilities to monitor Libya’s sea and land borders. These facilities are connected to Italian command and control centres. The aim is to prevent refugees from making the crossing to Europe. If they are detected while still in Libyan waters, the EU Member States can avoid having to deal with asylum applications. However, the protection of refugees is not guaranteed in Libya. There are reports of serious abuses by the police and militias."

and Answer to the Minor Interpellation entitled “The launch of the EUROSUR border surveillance network” (pdf)

See also: 340 Libyan military personnel coming to be trained in italy, and the press release also talks of training that is being carried out by italians in Libya, "to support the transition": Libia, 340 militari in Italia per addestramento (link)

CoE-GREECE: Investigation into alleged Greek coastguard abuse of migrants - Probe follows letter from Europe's top human rights watchdog (EnetEnglish, link): "Ministers tell Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, that investigations have been launched into claims that Greek coastguard officials ill-treated migrants last year " See also: Letter from Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights to Greek Ministers (pdf):

UK: Detention centre castigated over death of elderly man - Terminally ill Canadian man, 84, was kept in handcuffs by staff at Harmondsworth removal centre until after his heart stopped (Guardian, link)

EU: Statewatch Analysis: 11 years of Eurodac (pdf) by Chris Jones:

"On 15 January 2003 Eurodac, the EU-wide database of asylum-seekers’ and irregular migrants’ fingerprints, came into use. Eleven years on, it holds the personal data of nearly 2.3 million individuals and has been transformed into a policing as well as migration database."

CoE: GREECE: COLLECTIVE EXPULSIONS: Letter from Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights to Greek Ministers (pdf):

""I am worried by a number of reports that I have received from expert refugee organisations that provide consistent and substantiated information about a large number of collective expulsions from Greece to Turkey of irregular migrants, including a large number of Syrians who are fleeing the armed conflict in their country and are, at least prima facie, in need of international protection...

Collective expulsions of migrants are not only incompatible with international human rights and refugee law but also ineffective, since many of these migrants, including asylum seekers, face such a desperate situation in their country of origin that they usually re-enter after their first expulsion."

EU: EPIM report: Point of no return - The futile detention of unreturnable migrants (pdf)

""Unreturnable migrants cannot go back to their country of origin for reasons beyond their control. At the same time, they cannot obtain a residence permit in the country where they live. Without documents or status, they can be detained for a forced return that never becomes possible."

"With this report and the related campaign, we hope to increase momentum amongst policy-makers at national and EU levels to reduce detention and find solutions for unreturnable migrants. Besides informing decision-makers, this report is also intended to stimulate civil societies to give special attention to this group of migrants, who are often living under the radar."

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