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    ISSN 1756-851X
    27 July 2016
 

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Observatory : Refugee crisis in the Med and in the EU


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7.16)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UK: Delayed "counter-extremism" plans denounced again

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

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

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

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

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

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.7.16)

Council of the European Union: From: Greek Delegation: Temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory (LIMITE doc no: 10008-26, pdf):

"We kindly ask you to take note of the Joint Ministerial Decision dated 12.05.2016 and published on issue 1373/17.05.2016 of the Official Journal... on the temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory via the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos and the airports of Karpathos and Chios accordingly by the date of its entry into force (17.05.2016) until the 31st of October 2016.

We therefore wish to inform you that according to the aforementioned Decision, the relevant checks at the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos will be conducted under the full responsibility of the Police Departments of Kalymnos, Kalloni, Leros and Karlovasi/Samos. With reference now to the airports of Karpathos and Chios, the relevant Police Department of Karpathos and the Security Subdivision of Chios aretasked to carry out those checks."
[emphasis added]

UK: Post-Brexit racism update (IRR News Service, link): "Below we present an update of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive."

Council of Europe: Secretary General receives notification from Turkey of its intention to temporarily suspend the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf):

"The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, hasbeen informed by the Turkish authorities that Turkey will notify its derogation from the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights under the Convention’s Article 15....

There can be no derogation from the following articles: Article 2 (Right to life), Article 3(Prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment), Article 4 para. 1(prohibition of slavery), Article 7 (No punishment without law).It is important to note that the European Convention on Human Rights will continue to apply inTurkey.

Where the Government seeks to invoke Article 15 in order to derogate from theConvention in individual cases, the European Court of Human Rights will decide whether theapplication meets the criteria set out in the Convention, notably the criteria of proportionality ofthe measure taken.

The Turkish Government will inform the Secretary General about measures taken."

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments: "Emergency derogation *can* be used to extend pre-trial detention and limit fair trials. Turkey has invoked it before."

And: Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the declaration of the State of Emergency in Turkey (link): "The declaration of State of Emergency gives the executive far reaching powers to govern by decree. Under the terms of the Turkish Constitution, core fundamental rights shall be inviolable even in the State of Emergency. "

Also: ECHR Factsheet: Derogation in time of emergency (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.7.16) including No visa waiver for Turkey this year and Greece Prepares For Long Term Accommodation Of Migrants.

Bulk data collection only lawful in serious crime cases, ECJ indicates - Initial finding from top EU court backs David Davis and Tom Watson and could have serious impact on snooper’s charter (Guardian, link):

"Retaining data from telephone calls and emails is legal only if law enforcement agencies use it to tackle serious crime, the EU’s highest court has indicated.

The preliminary finding by the advocate general of the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg came in response to a legal challenge that was brought initially by David Davis, when he was a backbench Conservative, and Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, over the legality of GCHQ’s bulk interception of call records and online messages.

Davis, one of the most vociferous critics of the state’s powers to collect data on its citizens, quietly withdrew from the case after his appointment to the cabinet. Many had commented on his involvement in the case at the EU’s highest court after he was appointed secretary of state for leaving the EU."

See: According to Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe, a general obligation to retain data imposed by a Member State on providers of electronic communication services may be compatible with EU law- However, it is imperative that that obligation be circumscribed by strict safeguards (Press release,pdf)

Advocate General: Opinion (pdf) and: Human Rights and National Data Retention Law: the Opinion in Tele 2 and Watson (EU Law Analysis, link): "he Advocate General goes beyond endorsing the principles in Digital Rights Ireland: even regimes which satisfy the safeguards set out in Digital Rights Ireland may still be found to be disproportionate."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.7.16)

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Data protection and Whistleblowing in the EU Institutions (Press release):

"Confidentiality is the most effective incentive to encourage staff to report wrongdoing at work said the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) today as he published his Guidelines on Whistleblowing Procedures. Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Assistant EDPS, said:

"Whistleblowing procedures are meant to provide safe channels for staff or other informants to report fraud, corruption or other serious wrongdoing in organisations. Given that the information processed in whistleblowing procedures is sensitive and that leaks or unauthorised disclosure may have adverse consequences both for the whistleblowers and the accused, special care must be taken over that information. The EDPS Guidelines can help the EU institutions and bodiesto mitigate the risks."

See: EDPS Guidelines (pdf)

Turkey: Erdogan says coup was ‘gift from God’ to reshape country, punish enemies (euractiv, link):

"President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Friday’s failed coup (15 July) was a “gift from God”, giving him the chance to re-shape the country, and purge the country’s elite from enemies, who accuse him of creeping Islamisation in the traditionally secular state....

Erdogan promised “a new Turkey” after Friday’s failed coup. He has made clear that the country he plans would be different in two fundamental ways: power would be concentrated in the hands of the president, and the old secular elites would have a lesser political role."

and: Turkey- Turkey's Erdogan vows talks on death penalty for coup plotters (DW, link): "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he'll discuss the possibility of capital punishment for those involved in an attempted coup against his government."

See also: Council conclusions on Turkey (18.7.16, pdf): there is a striking omission of asylum or visa issues.


Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan


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