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JUNE 2016: STATEWATCHING
EUROPE: European conference marking Statewatch's 25th anniversary
Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside
the EU - a humanitarian emergency: Daily news and document updates
"ANOTHER DODGY DEAL" LITTLKE OR NO PROTECTION FOR EU
CITIZENS: EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION: "UMBRELLA AGREEMENT":
for a COUNCIL DECISION on the signing, on behalf of the European
Union, of an Agreement between the United States of America and
the European Union on the protection of personal information
relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution
of criminal offenses (pdf) and Annex (pdf)
And see: Statewatch
general agreement on data protection and the exchange of personal
crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.4.16)
OMCT: World Organisation Against Torture: Greece:
Ongoing crackdown on civil society providing humanitarian assistance
to migrants and asylum seekers (pdf):
Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing
crackdown on civil society actors providing humanitarian assistance
to migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the Greek islands,
even including judicial harassment against several groups and
NGOs acting to protect migrants' rights, of Team Humanity Denmark....
21, 2016 a last minute amendment was made to a Law voted by the
Greek Parliament, in violation of several provisions of the Parliaments
Rules of Procedures. The new provision assigns the supervision
and coordination of services provided to migrants and asylum
seekers to the Greek Army and Minister of Defence, in newly established
army-run facilities. This provision has led to a coordinated
effort to stop civil society activities in camps that are not
run by the army, through extensive threats of arrest and prosecution].
Moreover, several journalists and NGOs, including the Hellenic
Action for Human Rights Pleiades, are often
not allowed access to army-run facilities....
strongly condemns this crackdown on civil society actors in Greece,
calls on the Greek authorities to put an end to the ongoing attempts
to criminalise NGOs and volunteers working in the country in
the field of humanitarian assistance to migrants and asylum-seekers
or otherwise prevent them from carrying out their work and urges
them to lift the ban on civil society activists and journalists
to enter army-run camps."
See also: Council
proposals on migrant smuggling would criminalise humanitarian
assistance by civil society, local people and volunteers - Greece:
NGOs and volunteers have to "register" with the police
and be vetted
(Statewatch) and NGOs
and volunteers helping refugees in Greece to be placed under
After the 18 March EU-Turkey "Statement", the "Letter"
of assurances from Turkey, yet another set of "letters":
What is the legal basis on "non-binding" documents?
Council of the
European Union: Standard
Operating Procedures implementing the mechanism for resettlement
from Turkey to the EU as set out in the EU-Turkey Statement of
18 March 2016 - Endorsement (LIMITE doc no: 8366-16, pdf)
endorsed by the Representatives of the Governments of the Member
States and Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein meeting
in the margins of COREPER, the Standard Operating Procedures
will be formalised by way of an exchange of letters between the
Commission and the Turkish authorities."
are excluded or NOT eligible:
person does not constitute a threat to public policy, internal
security and public health;
A candidate who has refused admission to a particular Member
State is no longer eligible;
Priority will be given to eligible persons who have not previously
entered or tried to enter the EU irregularly"
and the far right in Europe: country by country guide
(dream deferred, link)::
is witnessing a dangerous revival of fascist and racist populist
parties and organisations. Over the next few weeks we are going
to publish a series of articles analysing the scale of this threat.
We will focus
on the countries where fascist and racist parties have made significant
electoral and/or organisational breakthroughs. There are small
fascist groups operating in several other countries, but with
very small numbers and little impact. We intend to look separately
at the situation in Russia at a later date and have not included
nostalgia flourishes under new Croatia government (euractiv, link):
for a pro-Nazi past, spurning of ethnic minorities and pressure
on the press: Croatian activists say an alarming climate of intolerance
is taking hold under a new conservative government.
ruling coalition took power in the European Union country in
January, critics say authorities have turned a blind eye
and even contributed to concerns over a far-right right
surge. Last week, in response, angry Jewish, ethnic Serb and
anti-fascist groups refused to attend a ceremony remembering
tens of thousands who died at Jasenovac, the most notorious concentration
camp under Croatias pro-Nazi Ustasha regime during World
was a brave and correct decision in the face of the wave
of neo-fascist Ustasha nostalgia which is sweeping Croatia,
said Efraim Zuroff at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international
Jewish rights organisation".
UNHCR Daily report (28.4.16):
Alternate Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas has agreed to the
permanent presence of lawyers in two accommodation centers
(Elaionas in Athens, and Moria on Lesvos island), following
a meeting with the head of the Athens Bar Association.
said the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) has
also expressed an interest in offering legal aid to refugees
Does not the Ministry know that under the Asylum Procedures Directive
refugees have the right to legal aid? Why is it not ensuring
that it is available to all?
crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.4.16) inc: EU-Turkey a balanced partnership
"without renouncing our
"Dodgy deal": Legal concerns met?
letter to the European Commission sent on Tuesday, 26 April, the Turkish government
pledged to bolster legal protection to non-Syrians upon return
to Turkey as part of the EU-Turkey Agreement. This follows previous
assurances concerning Syrians and the fact that all returned
Syrians could be granted or re-avail themselves from temporary
protection. These pledges aim to support the implementation of
the EU-Turkey agreement by addressing the remaining legal
concerns hampering its full implementation." [emphasis
Statewatch Director, comments:
"letter" addressees legal concerns about the EU-Turkey
"dodgy deal" why has it not been published? Does it
commit Turkey to fully signing up to the Geneva Convention? If
not it is worthless.
First we had
the EU-Turkey deal in a "Statement" (18 March) and
now an unpublished "letter" - neither of which are
legally binding. In their desperate haste to shut the borders
the EU is neglecting the basic tenets of lawful decision-making"
European Commission: Remarks
by Commissioner Avramopoulos to the Committee on Federal and
European Affairs of the Bavarian Parliament on 26 April (pdf)
an old saying information is security. We will respond to the
terrorist threat effectively when we make our information systems
interconnected, interoperable, and searchable..."
argues for a "Single Search Interface" where: "all
data is searchable with just one click" - this requires
major changes to laws on the book where acess is limited or prescribed.
And see: Statewatch Analysis: Commission
proposals on migration and internal security databases: a new
list of old needs (pdf)
the EU and Turkey need each other, as equal partners. This is
a balanced partnership, one where we aim for each side to deliver
on its commitments, but without renouncing our principles or
Many would argue
that the EU wanted a deal at any price - even if it means
tearing up all human rights and asylum law adopted since 1945.
remember an element of political context: while we are working
on these issues, we are witnessing the worrying rise in left
and right wing violent extremism."
In context "right
wing violent extremism" is carried out by extreme nationalists,
racists and fascists. While what is characterised as "left
wing violent extremism" is anti-racist and anti-fascist
responses to the former - which is a piece of perverse logic.
of Europe: Thorbjorn
Jagland: Europe's human rights and security are at risk through
populist nationalism (Press release, pdf) and Annual Report: State
of democracy, human rights and the rule of law: A security imperative
is currently struggling with many serious challenges, including
terrorism, migration andconflict. This is being successfully
exploited by nationalists and populists in many places, and trustin
national and European institutions is dwindling, said the
same time, we still see many important gaps in the laws and practices
that our memberstates have in place, and basic human rights including
free speech, freedom of assembly and theright to privacy are
increasingly being restricted."
chief Ban Ki-moon hit out 'increasingly restrictive' EU refugee
am concerned that European countries are now adopting increasingly
restrictive immigration and refugee policies," Ban said
in a speech to the Austrian parliament.
policies negatively affect the obligation of member states under
international humanitarian law and European law." His comments
came a day after the Austrian parliament adopted one of Europe's
toughest asylum laws, as the country's political leaders struggle
to halt the surging far-right which is leading in presidential
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Ensuring
justice for hate crime victims: professional perspectives (pdf)
2012 Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights,
support and protection of victims of crime acknowledges that
hate crime victims are particularly vulnerable and stresses their
right to protection in accordance with their particular needs.
EU Member States should strive to improve access to justice for
such victims, both by supporting victims in reporting their experiences
to the police and by improving the police and judiciarys
responses. This report aims to encourage such efforts."
Drastic, Unjustified Measures against Asylum Seekers (HRW, link):
key feature of the package of special measures is a fast-track
admissibility procedure for asylum seekers at Austrian land borders.
Austrian police officers will examine applications solely for
the purposes of determining whether individuals can be returned
to the neighboring country from which they came. Only people
who argue successfully that their lives would be in danger or
that they face a real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading
treatment in a neighboring country, or who have a nuclear family
member already in Austria, will be allowed to formally apply
for asylum. Appeals against returns will only be possible after
the return has taken place. The law increases the amount of time
people can be detained pending return from five to 14 days."
crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.4.16)
to blockade Libyan coast this summer to stop central Mediterranean
is planning a naval blockade of the Libyan coat this summer to
close off the central Mediterranean migration route, as the numbers
of migrants using the route, which features Malta as a central
point, are expected to surge.
alliance is reportedly just three months away from launching
the mission, according to Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti,
who revealed the plans as the leaders of the US, Britain, France,
Germany and Italy met in Hanover, Germany yesterday..
The plan will
also incorporate parts of a broader Italian strategy to repatriate
migrants found to have no claim for asylum, in other words, purely
economic migrants, back to their home countries.... The repatriation
plans have been heavily criticised by human rights groups and
even Pope Francis, since they make an arbitrary distinction between
genuine asylum seekers and economic migrants."
says NATO three months from Libya coast mission (France 24, link): "NATO
is already operating a naval force in the Aegean Sea to stop
migrant boats reaching the Greek islands from Turkey.But an operation
off Libya would be more complicated and potentially dangerous
given the country's instability and the presence in some coastal
regions of militants allied to the Islamic State group. Turning
migrant boats back to Libya would also be hugely controversial
given the unstable situation there."
information for refugees in Greece and volunteers to inform them:
The new asylum procedure is to have an interview about the admissibility
of their claim for asylum in Greece first, before the substantive
interview. Most people having their asylum claims rejected now
are being rejected on inadmissibility by the government claiming
that Turkey is a Safe Third Country for them.
Three of the absolutely key legal criteria for a Safe Third Country
1) that there is no risk of refoulement (forcible repatriation
to their country of origin or any country or area where they
have a well-founded fear of return to) and
2) that they have fully legal access to have their substantive
claims for asylum examined in that third country, and
3) that they can get recognition of Refugee Status and effective
protection in accordance with the Geneva Refugee Convention 1951
in that third country.
The Turkish governor of Izmir has explicitly said that non-Syrians
will be detained for immediate deportation if returned from Greece,
i.e. no access to asylum procedures and no chance to have their
substantive claim examined or to receive effective protection.and
this is in fact what has happened to all non-Syrian returnees
Lords try again to overturn Tory refusal to help child refugees
hope to win over Conservative MPs after voting to set a quota
on total unaccompanied children allowed into UK.. The plight
of child refugees stranded in Europe has become the centre of
a battle between the House of Commons and the Lords, after peers
voted in support of a second proposal urging the government to
by 279 to 172, a majority of 107, for an amendment to the immigration
bill calling on ministers to relocate and support a specified
number of children in the UK. MPs, who narrowly rejected an earlier
call by Lord Dubs for 3,000 unaccompanied children to be given
homes in the UK, will now be asked to consider this softer
proposal, which some Tories say they will back."
crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.4.16): Riot police out in Moria camp, refugee
to be re-labeled as "displaced people"
EU Commission: Refugees to become "displaced people"
- out of sight, out of mind: Communication: Lives
in Dignity: from Aid-dependence to Self-reliance (COM 234-16, pdf)
aim of this Communication is to put forward a policy framework
to prevent forced displacement from becoming protracted and to
gradually end dependence on humanitarian assistance in existing
displacement situations by fostering self-reliance and enabling
the displaced to live in dignity as contributors to their
host societies, until voluntary return or resettlement." [emphasis added]
Displacement and Development (SWD-142-16, pdf):
an overview and assessment of the existing EU policies, instruments
and practice in assisting refugees, internally displaced persons
(IDPs) and asylum seekers (together referred to as "forcibly
displaced people") in third partner countries. It focuses
on protracted forced displacement and its context, drivers and
consequences for the displaced and their host communities and
countries and presents findings and recommendations resulting
from the review of past and ongoing stand-alone EU projects and
interventions." [emphasis added]
UK: Sheffield: Hillsborough
inquests jury says 96 victims were unlawfully killed - Jurors
also rule Liverpool fans behaviour at 1989 FA Cup semi-final
did not contribute to disaster as verdict vindicates families (Guardian, link):
96 people who died at Hillsborough in 1989 were unlawfully killed
due to gross negligence manslaughter, the jury at the new inquests
into the disaster has determined.
represents a vindication for the bereaved families who have fought
for 27 years against South Yorkshire police claims that misbehaving
supporters caused the disaster, as well as against the 1991 verdict
of accidental death.
The jury decided
that the behaviour of Liverpool supporters at Hillsborough did
not contribute to the dangerous situation that developed outside
the football ground, rejecting a claim by South Yorkshire police
which the families and survivors of the disaster have relentlessly
denounced as a cover-up."
disaster: Fans unlawfully killed (BBC News, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Developing its negotiating
positions on: Weapons Directive and Discrimination
Directive amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of
the acquisition and possession of weapons = Revised text (LIMITE doc no: 5622-rev-2-116,
pdf) With 116 footnotes - Member State positions.
- State of Play:
for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal
treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief,
disability, age or sexual orientation (LIMITE doc no: 7957-16, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Operational C-T cooperation
& "Youth sector" and radicalisation
of a structured approach for operational cooperation on countering
terrorist threats (LIMITE doc no: 7796-16, pdf):
the Paris attacks on 13 November 2015, the Council on 20 November
2015 in its conclusions on Counter-Terrorism (CT) called for
COSI to liaise with competent Working Parties of the Council
and with the Commission and EU agencies to ensure effective implementation
of the operational measures agreed. In this context, COSI was
asked by the Council to examine the possibility to develop
a methodology for a structured and multilateral approach for
operational cooperation on countering terrorist threats"
in original]. It seems extraordinary that the EU is still at
the stage of "developing a methodology" for operational
cooperation to counter terrorist attacks.
And see: Counter-terrorism:
Proposals on information sharing and operational cooperation (Statewatch) including:
The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator's report: Systematic feeding
and consistent use of European and international Databases -
information sharing in the counter-terrorism context (LIMITE doc no: 7726/16,
conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the
Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council,
on the role of [...] the youth sector in an integrated and cross-sectoral
approach to preventing and combating [...] radicalisation leading
to violent extremism of young people (LIMITE doc no: 7784-16, pdf):
process of identity development towards violent extremism can
be influenced by many factors such as a multi-problem family
background, peers, internet and social media and the position
of groups of young people in society often confronted with
discrimination, humiliation, exclusion, injustice and a
lack of prospects, leading to feelings of frustration...
must have awareness about democracy, equality, democratic principles,
and respect for human dignity and human rights, as well as about
media and information literacy...." [emphasis in original]
charity MSF restarts Mediterranean migrant rescues (Reuters, link):
medical relief charity Medecins sans Frontieres has relaunched
rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, accusing European
governments of failing to act to save migrants in peril at sea,
it said on Monday....
absence of a global solution to the current refugee crisis, and
the European states' policies of deterrence, as well their refusal
to provide alternatives to the deadly sea crossing, continue
to kill thousands," said Joanne Liu, president of MSF International
in a statement." (emphasis added]
EU: European Parliament: Liberal
and democratic MEPs make last-minute attempt for more Europol
ALDE Group in the European Parliament has today tabled legislative
amendments to the regulation on the European Union Agency for
Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) aimed at strengthening
Europol's mandate and providing it with a genuine European investigation
capacity. Given the transnational nature of the threats Europe
is facing, especially in the wake of the Paris and Brussels terrorist
attacks in France and Belgium, ALDE proposes concrete measures
to give Europol a genuine investigation capacity"
crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.4.16)
sacked over Mark Duggan gun enquiry (BBC News, link): "A detective has been
sacked over his failed investigation into an associate of Mark
Duggan, whose shooting by police sparked riots in August 2011."
The report by
the IPCC: Alleged
MPS failure to investigate an allegation of serious assault on
29 July 2011
databases keep growing
A document published
in March by the Council of the EU contains statistics for DNA,
fingerprint and vehicle registration data exchanged between Member
States as part of the "Prüm"
framework, set up in 2008.
The DNA database of every EU
Member State increased in size over the course of 2015, except
right on the rise
government was licking its wounds Monday after a historic debacle
that saw the opposition anti-immigrant far-right triumph in a
presidential ballot two years before the next scheduled general
to preliminary results, Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe)
came a clear first with 36 percent of the vote, while candidates
from the two governing parties failed to even make it into a
runoff on May 22.
means that for the first time since 1945, Austria will not have
a president backed by either Chancellor Werner Faymann's Social
Democrats (SPOe) or their centre-right coalition partners the
People's Party (OeVP).
is the beginning of a new political era," FPOe leader Heinz-Christian
Strache said after what constituted the best-ever result at federal
level for the former party of the late Joerg Haider, calling
it a "historic result"."
for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing
Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives:
Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR
and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the
Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias
Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem,
the member states are upgrading the Unions external borders.
Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens
some of the EUs fundamental values - under the pretence
that ones own interests are at stake. Such an approach
borders on the inhumane."
How the EU works and justice and home
affairs decision-making (pdf)
20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch
'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the
(pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex,
with additional material by Tony Bunyan
Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
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