Statewatch News online: Archive for year 2004



December 2004

Statewatch's Timetable on progress of new measures resulting from the 25 March 2004 EU Anti-Terrorist Declaration: Updated 31 December 2004: Timetable (pdf) Statewatch's "Scoreboard" and analysis finding that 27 out of 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism – they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf)

EU: Low support for research to serve security demands

EU: Special Report: EU biometric visa policy unworkable

- insertion of chips would lead to "collisions" with visa chips from other countries
- ePassport chip would be "killed" by eVisa chip
- current deadline cannot be met, proposal unworkable

Vetoes, Opt-outs and EU Immigration and Asylum law - Statewatch briefing - revised 23 December

The British media in particular have focussed on the extent to which the ‘Hague Programme’, the multi-annual programme for Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) law and policy approved by the EU summit meeting (European Council) on 5 November 2004, will change the current system for vetoes and opt-outs from EU immigration and asylum law, particularly for the UK. The purpose of this briefing, by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex, is to outline:

a) the current extent of Member States’ national vetoes over EU immigration and asylum law;
b) the extent to which the UK (along with Ireland and Denmark) can ‘opt-out’ of EU immigration and asylum law;
c) the links between (a) and (b), especially for the UK, Ireland and Denmark;
d) the extent to which the ‘Hague Programme’ will affect the current position; and
e) the impact of the proposed EU Constitution on these issues.

An Annex to this briefing sets out the possible practical implications of the change in decision-making agreed as part of the Hague Programme for specific pieces of legislation.

See: EU: At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council today (22.12.04) in Brussels the Council adopted a Decision on the transition to qualified majority voting and codecision procedure for certain areas covered by Title IV of Part Three of the Treaty establishing the European Community. The Decision will take effect as from 1 January 2005: Full -text of the decision (15226/04).

EU: At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council today (22.12.04) in Brussels the Council adopted a Decision on the transition to qualified majority voting and codecision procedure for certain areas covered by Title IV of Part Three of the Treaty establishing the European Community. The Decision will take effect as from 1 January 2005: Full -text of the decision (15226/04).

Secretary General of the Council of Europe, calls for immediate repeal of UK anti-terror law: Strasbourg, 22.12.2004 - "The anti-terrorism legislation in the United Kingdom must be changed as a matter of urgency. We will not win the fight against terrorism if we undermine the foundations of our democratic societies," Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, stressed today following last week's judgment of the British House of Lords which found the country's anti-terrorism law to be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

"I welcome the judgment of the House of Lords of 16 December. However, it is not a new development. A year ago, the special committee of nine Privy Counsellors reported unanimously that the law should be urgently replaced. The committee had been specifically established by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, and had spent more than a year taking evidence from a wide range of people, including the Home Office experts, MI5, MI6 and Special Branch. If the government had not chosen to ignore this unanimous recommendation, they would not have the current embarrassment of having lost this case in the House of Lords," said Mr Davis.See House of Lords:
Full-text of judgement (pdf)

Green Paper from the European Commission on:
An EU approach to managing economic migration (link)

UK: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: Government responses to its reports. (pdf) This includes 5th Report: Fighting Illegal Immigration: Should Carriers Carry the Burden? 6th Report: Future role of the European Court of Justice (pdf), 11th Report: Handling EU Asylum Claims: New Approaches Examined (pdf)

UK: The appeal court in the House of Lords (the highest in the land) has ruled that the detention of people without trial breaks human rights laws - the House of Lords law lords ruled by an eight to one majority in favour of appeals by nine detainees. Most of the men are being held in Belmarsh prison, south London:

"The real threat to the life of the nation… comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these." and "It calls into question the very existence of an ancient liberty of which this country has, until now, been very proud - freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention" - Law Lord Hoffman, 16 December 2004

Full-text of judgement (pdf)
Guardian coverage (link)

EU Plan of Action on Combating Terrorism - New Update (doc no 16090/04, dated 14.12.04). For previous versions see Statewatch's Observatory in defence of freedom and democracy

UK: Joint Select Committee on Human Rights (14.12.04) : Report on deaths in custody (pdf) See: Independent (link)

EU: Biometric passports: General Affairs Council adopted Regulation on mandatory facial images and fingerprints in EU passports at its meeting in Brussels on 13 December 2004:
Full-text (pdf) After the Regulation is published in the Official Journal an "Article 6" Committee will be set up by the European Commission with representatives from 22 members states (excluding Ireland, the UK and Denmark). This committee will decide on the "details" such as how many fingerprints are to be taken, the equipment needed and the costs. After it has finished its work new (and replacement) passports issued will have to contain a "facial image" within 18 months, and fingerprints within three years.

The UK government put on record its anger at being excluded from taking part in the adoption of the Regulation. Under the Protocol the UK can ask to "opt-in" but on this occasion the Schengen states stood firm as the UK has not signed up to border controls aspects of the acquis: See: "Unilateral United Kingdom Statement": 15918/04 ADD 1 (pdf)

See for background:

European Parliament urged to reject biometric registration of all EU citizens and residents
EU governments blackmail European Parliament into quick adoption of its report on biometric passports
EU biometric passports and mandatory fingerprinting: Statewatch analysis questions legality of Regulation
Green/EFA press release

Search in Statewatch database for "biometric"
Search in
Statewatch database "Features Library" for in-depth articles on biometrics

Update: Italy: Prohibitionist drugs law reform comes under parliamentary scrutiny See also: Statewatch news online briefing paper on the proposed drugs law, February 2004: Italy: New drugs law heralds the mass criminalisation of drug users

UK: The appeal court in the House of Lords (the highest in the land) has ruled that the Home Office scheme started in July 2001 to put immigration officers in the Czech Republic to check all Roma people trying to board a flight to the UK was unlawful. The operation ended when the Czech Republic joined the EU in May 2004. One of the judges, Baroness Hale said that the "operation was inherently and systematically discriminatory and unlawful". Full-text of judgement (pdf) "Asylum operation racist, say law lords": Guardian (link)

EU: Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection proposes harmonised information standards to correct major divergencies in national laws (pdf) a. Appendix 1 (short notice) b. Appendix 2 (condensed notice) c. Appendix 3 (notice for air travellers) 1) First Commisssion report on the working of the 1995 Directive (pdf) and Technical Analysis (pdf) 2) European Parliament report

UK: Fairford coach: Protestors "virtually prisoners" rules Court of Appeal

Terrorism, anti-terrorism and people's response: The "war on terror" as a "war on freedom and democracy": speech by Ben Hayes (Statewatch) at the Asia-Europe People's Forum (ASEM V, 7.9.04), Hanoi, Vietnam

JHA Council, 2 December 2004: Conclusions of "best practices" for voluntary or forced "return of refugees (agreed but not in press release below)

UK:Freedom of information - Parliament's Consitutional Affairs Committee. Concerns about the public sector’s readiness to comply with the new freedom of information law are today (7.12.04) raised in a report by the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.The report, which provides a snapshot of public sector preparations, warns that with less than a month to go before some 100,000 public authorities are legally obliged to give the public a general right of access to information, preparedness for the new freedom of information (FoI) regime is patchy.

1.
Press release
2.
Full-text of report (pdf)
3.
Full-text of the UK Freedom of Information Act (link)
4.
Campaign for Freedom of Information (link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 2 December 2004: Press release (pdf)

1. Main agenda (pdf)
2.
"A" point agenda (adopted without discussion)
3.
Background Note

4. EU Plan of Action on Combating Terrorism - New Update (doc no 14330/1/04, 29.11.04). For previous versions see Statewatch's Observatory in defence of freedom and democracy

EU: Mandatory data retention national parliaments express concern and opposition

EU openness: The EU's Court of First Instance has decided that governments can veto access to documents originating from them and submitted to an EU institution (in this case the European Commission). Interestingly the applicant was supported by the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, while the Commission - in its refusal to give access - was supported by the UK. The Court's judgement said: "the Commission was not required to explain why the Federal Republic of Germany had made a request under Article 4(5) of the Regulation, since there is no obligation on the Member States to state the reasons for such a request under that provision". Case: T-168/02, 30.11.04: Judgement (link)

EU: The European Parliament today (2.12.04) voted through its report on biometric passports with 471 votes in favour to 118 against and 6 abstentions. The parliament had decided that the recent change to the proposed Regulation by the Council (the 25 governments) to make fingerprints mandatory as well as a facial image was not a substantial change requiring reconsultation. However, the parliament did say that the only mandatory biometric should be a facial scan. The changes to the draft Regulation put forward by the parliament will be ignored by the Council - which it does routinely under the "consultation" procedure. The Council intend to formally adopt the Regulation at the next available meeting of the Council of Ministers. The "details", such as the size of the "chip" holding the biometrics and the number of fingerprints to be taken will be decided in a Committee set up by the Commission of representatives of each member state.

Green/EFA press release

See background:

European Parliament urged to reject biometric registration of all EU citizens and residents

EU governments blackmail European Parliament into quick adoption of its report on biometric passports

EU biometric passports and mandatory fingerprinting: Statewatch legal analysis questions the legality of the proposed Regulation

Search in Statewatch database for "biometric"
Search in
Statewatch database "Features Library" for in-depth articles on biometrics

November 2004

EU: European Parliament urged to reject biometric registration of all EU citizens and residents: Open letter from Privacy International, Statewatch and EDRI (European Digital Rights Initiative), supported by NGOs, data protection commissioners and privacy experts

UK: Identity Card Bill published - full-text (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link) ID Cards: Regulatory Impact Assessment (pdf) No2id website: FAQ on ID cards (link)

EU governments blackmail European Parliament into quick adoption of its report on biometric passports

The Council of the European Union (the 25 governments) has told the parliament it can have full powers of "co-decision" after it adopts its report on biometric passports

- how many national parliaments were re-consulted after the decision to make fingerprinting mandatory?
- the costs are completely unknown and the "details" will be decided in a secret committee
- the EU has no legal powers to introduce such a Regulation

UK: Civil Contingencies Act 2004 passes into law (link) Statewatch critique of Bill: Analysis

EU biometric passports and mandatory fingerprinting: Statewatch legal analysis questions the legality of the proposed Regulation

- "no powers conferred upon the EC by the EC Treaty, taken separately or together, confer upon the EC the power to adopt the proposed Regulation"

UNITED: A call against the creation of camps at European borders: It has been signed by a lot of organisations from many countries.

Germany: Alleged police informant spies on social rights coalitions

UK: Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill (full-text, pdf) Explanatory Note (link)

Northern Ireland: Press release issued by a member of INQUEST's Advisory Group, Professor Phil Scraton on: The death of of Annie Kelly in Mourne House Women’s Unit, Maghaberry Prison, Northern Ireland

Statewatch Observatory on EU Freedom of Information - Case Law: Updated

EU governments demand that the European Parliament rushes through mandatory finger-printing and biometric passports

Is an "urgent" decision justified? Why does the European Parliament not question the legal basis of the measure? Why does the parliament's draft report accept the need for biometric passports?

EU Plan of Action on Combating Terrorism - Update (doc no 14330/04, 19.11.04). For previous version see Statewatch's Observatory in defence of freedom and democracy See also: Statewatch's "Scoreboard" finding that 27 out of 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism – they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf) Statewatch Timetable of measures updated: 29 October 2004 (pdf)

UN: Special Rapporteur produces damning report on how governments are using the "war on terrorism" to undermine and ignore fundamental rights. He speicifcally refers to the use of terrorism as a pretext for justifying torture and inhuman treatment, and on the erosion of the non-refoulement principle, whereby States should not “expel, return ‘refouler’, or extradite a person to another State“ if there are “substantial” grounds for suspecting that they may be in danger of being subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment after their return:
Statewatch Report: The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture criticises the undermining of the non-refoulement principle and the use of terrorism as a pretext to justify tortureplus full documentation (pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 19 November 2004, Brussels:

a. JHA Council press release (pdf)

b. Council agrees levels of security co-operation with third States and international organisations (14400/04)

c. Council agrees
"Amended Council Directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status" (pdf)

d. But Council puts off trying to agree a list of "safe countries of origin" in Africa until next year when it will be pushed through by "qualified majority voting" (QMV). A number of member states and the European Commission lodged strong objections to human rights records and democratic standards and even the country reports of those governments declaring countries "safe" were critical. The list, once agreed under QMV, will be binding on all 25 member states. The Decision to put off the vote:
14383/04 (pdf) See Statewatch's in-depth analysis: EU divided over list of "safe countries of origin"

1.
Press release (27 September 2004)
2.
Statewatch Analysis: EU divided over list of "safe countries of origin" - the list should be scrapped (pdf)
3.
Appendix to this report with full details of all the EU member state responses (pdf)
4. Sources/documents, including member state responses

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Our analysis showed how initial decisions were made, with too little time, too little information, and no public debate. To determine the fate of people fleeing from poverty and persecution on the basis of such a shallow process is an insult to any sense of humanity or moral responsibility, let alone legal obligations. To put off the decision so that a majority of governments can impose the list on all combines immoral decision-making with cynical political manoeuvring"

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 19 November 2004, Brussels: Agendas & background documents

Spain: Punishment without a sentence

On 29 November, the trial of Gabriele Kanze will begin before the Audiencia Nacional, the central Spanish criminal prosecution court. The 48 year old teacher from Berlin has been in prison for two years and eight months, first in extradition detention, then on remand

Target of Blair deportation intervention gets substantial compensation (18.11.04) Original Statewatch Special Report: UK: Egyptian national “unlawfully detained” after intervention by Prime Minister (16.11.04)

EU: New Commission confirmed - following the withdrawal of the proposed Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs - Mr Rocco Buttliglione as the Italian nominee - and his replacement by Franco Frattini, the Italian Foreign Minister, the European Parliament today (18 November 2002) voted by 449 in favour; 149 against with 82 abstentions - in favour of President Barroso and the 24-person team.

Statewatch Special Report:
UK: Egyptian national “unlawfully detained” after intervention by Prime Minister (16.11.04)

"We should use whatever assurances the Egyptians are willing to offer, to build a case to initiate the deportation procedure”, Tony Blair’s office

- when the Egyptian government rejects Foreign Office request for written assurances - on the death penalty, ill-treatment, a fair and public hearing and legal representation , Tony Blair writes: "Why do we need all these things?"    

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission calls UK government to account at the UN (16.11.04)

European Court of Justice - EU "terrorist" list: Professor Sison case on access to documents goes to court

Statewatch launches new searchable database With over 23,000 items it includes everything on the existing database including all news, features and sources from the Statewatch bulletin since 1991 PLUS all news, analyses and news in brief from Statewatch News Online - with all the links to documents (ie: pdf files) preserved. Bulletins will be added as they are published and News Online updated regularly. It has advanced search, data ranges, printer friendly pages PLUS a "Features Library" bringing together all the features on key subjects from the bulletin and analyses from News Online.

The Politics of CCTV in Europe and Beyond (link) Special issue of Surveillance and Society edited by Clive Norris, Mike McCahill and David Wood

Death on the Terraces: The Contexts and Injustices of the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster, by Phil Scraton (Professor of Criminology, Queen's University, Belfast)

Vetoes, Opt-outs and EU Immigration and Asylum law - Statewatch briefing - revised 8 November

The British media in particular have focussed on the extent to which the ‘Hague Programme’, the multi-annual programme for Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) law and policy approved by the EU summit meeting (European Council) on 5 November 2004, will change the current system for vetoes and opt-outs from EU immigration and asylum law, particularly for the UK. The purpose of this briefing, by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex, is to outline:

a) the current extent of Member States’ national vetoes over EU immigration and asylum law;
b) the extent to which the UK (along with Ireland and Denmark) can ‘opt-out’ of EU immigration and asylum law;
c) the links between (a) and (b), especially for the UK, Ireland and Denmark;
d) the extent to which the ‘Hague Programme’ will affect the current position; and
e) the impact of the proposed EU Constitution on these issues.

An Annex to this briefing sets out the possible practical implications of the change in decision-making agreed as part of the Hague Programme for specific pieces of legislation.

UK: Belmarsh prisoners: report on indefinite detention and mental health

EU: The "Hague Programme": (5.11.04)

1. Full-text: The "Hague Programme" on "freedom, security and justice" adopted at EU Summit in Brussels on 4-5 November 2004 (pdf)
2. Statewatch: Annotated text of the final "Hague Programme" (prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex, pdf)
3. Statewatch: Timetable derived from the adopted Programme (pdf)

UK: LIberty have submitted a response to the Home Office consultation document "Policing: Modernising Police Powers to Meet Community Needs" (link) Haldane Society response (pdf) Home Office consultation paper: Modernising police powers to meet community needs (pdf)

UK: Report from the parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee on the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (Specification of Particularly Serious Crimes Order) 2004 (pdf) The Order made under s.72(4)(a) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 states that it applies for the purpose of the construction and application of Article 33(2) of the Refugee Convention. Article 33(2) provides for exceptions to the principle that refugees cannot be returned to persecution (“the principle of non-refoulement”). The concern is that this would allow people convicted of serious offences to have their asylum claims dismissed unless they can prove they are "not a danger to the community".

The Order specifies a wide range of offences for this purpose and the Committee is concerned that the Order as drafted is ultra vires the order-making power because it includes within its scope a number of offences which do not amount to “particularly serious crimes” within the meaning of Article 33(2) of the Refugee Convention, properly interpreted.

EU: In the run-up to the EU Summit (25 Prime Ministers) meeting in Brussels on 4-5 November a number of background reports on justice and home affairs issues are appearing (in addition to the two Conclusions being adopted by the General Affairs Council, see below). These are:

1. Issue of moving Title VI of the TEC (immigration and asylum) to co-decision

2.
Council Recommendation on police cooperation across internal borders proposes the need for bilateral or regional agreements for cross-border cooperation. Earlier documents set out the problems for cross-border cooperation, 11048/04 and 8770/04 which include the fact that: "open borders are having a growing impact on the maintenance of public order and
safety. Examples are the problems arising from drug-related crime, international sporting contests, and ideologically motivated demonstrations at high-profile events."


3.
Strengthening EU operational police cooperation, this deals mainly with the role of the Police Chiefs Task Force (PCTF). Although set up in 1999 the PCTF has never been given a legal status with the EU which is of concern because it is concerned with operational decisions. This document deals with the "positioning of the PCTF" including "providing input from the operational police point of view into the policy-making of the EU". It suggests that Europol should host meetings of the PCTF and that the Council's Police Cooperation Working Party should convene one or two meetings per Presidency with the "Chief of Police", another ad hoc grouping with no legal status. These arrangements, the document tries to suggest: "will ensure the accountability of the European operational cooperation".

The Summit will be adopting the "Hague Programme":
Latest version of "The Hague programme" on justice and home affairs

EU: Today, 2 November, the General Affairs Council of the European Union (25 governments) is adopting
Council Conclusions on a common readmission policy (pdf) and Council Conclusions on improving access to durable solutions (pdf) - this includes so-called "Regional Protection Programmes" and the issue of EU-funded external camps (both sets of Conclusions are related to the "Hague Programme").

Draft report by rapporteur Jean Lambert MEP to the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights in the European Parliament on "access to durable solutions" (EU funded camps)

Third update: Latest version of "The Hague programme" on justice and home affairs, dated 27 October (1.11.04)

EU: European Commission Staff Working Paper (SEC(2004) 1349, 25.10.2004). Annual report on the development of a common policy on illegal immigration, smuggling and trafficking of human beings, external borders, and the return of illegal residents (pdf)

Statewatch's Timetable on progress of new measures resulting from the 25 March 2004 EU Anti-Terrorist Declaration: Updated 29 October 2004: Timetable (pdf) Statewatch's "Scoreboard" and analysis finding that 27 out of 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism – they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf)

October 2004

EU-USA PNR: The European Court of Justice has refused to apply the accelerated procedure to the European Parliament's complaint on the EU-USA PNR (passenger name record) agreement, so the case will not completed for two to three years - thus probably not until after the expiry of the current agreement with the US: Court judgement (in French) See for background: Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA

"Racism in the age of globalisation" speech at the Third Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture on 28 October 2004 organised by the National Union of Journalist's Black Members Council, Dr. A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations, called on journalists "to speak truth to power" (link)

EU: Useful summary page on which EU countries will have referenda on the Constitution (from doc no: 13748/04). Nine states will have referenda, six have yet to decide and ten will definitely not: Constitution referendums (pdf). See, Statewatch's Observatory on EU Constitution

EU: The Council of the European Union has issued a "Declaration" on behalf of the 25 governments "inviting" the current President of the Commission (Romano Prodi) and all the other Commissioners (eg: Mr Vittorino) to remain "temporarily" in place: Press release (link) The current President and Commissioners five year term ends on 31 October. The failure of the new President, Mr Barosso, to present the European Parliament with an acceptable slate of new Commissioners means that he and the others cannot take office.

UK: Government responds to report on ID cards from the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee. Government response (pdf) Report on government consultation (pdf) HAC report (link) One card or two cards - detailed commentary (link to John Lettice in the Register)

EU: Vote on the new European Commission delayed to save the embarrassment of the European Parliament voting to reject the whole Commission at its plenary session in Strasbourg today (27.10.04). Faced with defeat the President of the European Commission, Mr Barosso, asked for the vote to be postponed - this stems from the parliament's opposition to the appointment of Mr Buttiglione as Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs. Mr Buttiglione will either be moved to another post or replaced by another nominee from the Italian Berlusconi government (which would be a major climb-down).

Mr Buttliglione first came to attention in August for his extreme views on immigration. This was compounded his "hearing" before the parliamentary committee when Mr Buttiglione came out with extraordinary views on homosexuality, marriage and the role of women. At the same "hearing" on 5 October he said that "so far there was no encroachment on freedom" in EU justice and home affairs policies since 11 September 2001. See: 10 October: European Parliament's Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights vote to reject Buttiglione as the Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs: euobservereuractiv (links) New Commissioner for "Justice, Freedom and Security" talks of the EU being "swamped" by immigration "time-bomb" (Statewatch, 23.8.04) EU: New Commissioner supports setting up external refugee detention centres (Statewatch, 18.8.04)

Update: :Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg, 25-26 October: Press release - full version (pdf). As predicted by Statewatch the Council overturned the 8 June decision and agreed that fingerprints as well as a facial image will be mandatory for EU passports: See for analysis and documentation: EU: Compulsory fingerprinting for all passports This change in the draft Regulation will mean that it will have to be re-submitted to the European Parliament. (26.10.04)

UK: The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers have submitted a response to the Home Office consultation document "Policing: Modernising Police Powers to Meet Community Needs’" raising "serious implications for civil liberties and human rights": Haldane Society response (pdf) Home Office consultation paper: Modernising police powers to meet community needs (pdf)

Vetoes, Opt-outs and EU Immigration and Asylum law - Statewatch briefing

British media are focussing on how the planned "Hague Programme" would change the current system for vetoes and opt-outs from EU immigration and asylum law, particularly for the UK. This briefing by Professor Steve Peers concludes that the UK does not have a "veto", it has an "opt-out" which is not the same
(25.10.04)

Second update: Latest version of "The Hague programme" on justice and home affairs, dated 22 October ("Tampere II") being discussed today by the Justice and Home Affairs Council - and now updated Annotated text- Statewatch covering latest version of the programme:13302/2/04

EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, 25 October in Luxembourg:
Main agenda
"A" Points (adopted without debate)
Background Note
EU - "The Hague Programme" on justice and home affairs. Pogramme to be adopted on 5 November
EU: Compulsory fingerprinting for all passports
Draft proposal on exchange of information extracted from the criminal record (COM 238)
: this Commission proposal signals a retreat from the original idea which proposed direct access by all law enforcement agencies to each other information - see Statewatch Analysis of the previous COM 221

EU: Compulsory fingerprinting for all passports (24.10.04)

- EU to back demand by Italy, Germany, France, Greece, Spain, Malta, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia for mandatory fingerprinting
- only Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia oppose move
- UK and Germany want to have a third biometric - "iris scans" too in addition to facial scans and fingerprints
- EU Data Protection Commissioners are: "fundamentally" opposed to the creation of an EU-wide database

Update: Now includes Statewatch annotation of text (24.10.04) EU - "The Hague Programme" on justice and home affairs. Programme to be adopted on 5 November leaving no time for parliaments and civil society for react - Draft Programme and Timetable

Italy: Journalist sentenced for smuggling himself into reception centre

European Call: Against the creation of camps at European borders (link)

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission criticises conditions for women in prison. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission today (Tuesday 19 October) published detailed research into the care of women in prison in Northern Ireland. The report, entitled The Hurt Inside, presents stark findings regarding the lack of progress in areas such as adequate healthcare, which were identified for improvement by the Government’s own prisons watchdog in 2002. The authors of the report for the Commission were Professor Phil Scraton of Queen's University and Dr Linda Moore, an Investigations Worker with the Commission. Phil Scraton commented:

“Interviewing prisoners in Mourne House we found distressed women, some of whom were suffering from mental health problems, who should not have been in prison. We found systemic abuses of human rights including the holding of a 17-year-old girl in solitary confinement, locked alone in a bare cell for 23 hours a day. Deprived of a mattress or bed to sleep on she used a plastic potty for a toilet... The Northern Ireland Prison Service still has no policy or strategic plan for the imprisonment of women and has offered no explanation as to why the needs of women and girl prisoners have not been appropriately addressed.”

The report: The Hurt Inside - the imprisonment of women and girls in Northern Ireland (pdf)

European Court of Justice rules that Stern journalist request for an injunction is unfounded and the claim for costs is turned down. Hans-Martin Tillack obtained copies of "the Van Buitenen memorandum" and internal Commission notes relating to "irregularities". His home and office were searched and documents siezed on 19 March 2004 by Belgian police as part of an investigation by OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office): Decision of the court (link) Statement by the International Federation of Journalists (link)

Seizure of Indymedia's webservers in London: At 5pm on 13 October Rackspace (London-based service provider of a US company) informed Indymedia that the two servers they had handed over were now back in their office. Indymedia is now examining whether they have been "compromised". It is still not clear who Rackspace handed the two servers to - was it directly to the FBI in compliance with a US court order? This would be unlawful for a UK-based company. Or did the Home Office agree under the UK-USA Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty? See: The Register and UK-USA: Was the seizure of Indymedia's servers in London unlawful or did the UK government collude? and Indymedia seizures: a trawl for Genoa G8 trial cover-up? Injunction sought against export of evidence & see: Petition in support of Indymedia (14.10.04)

Statewatch's work recognised as "influential" in the EU

Statewatch editor, Tony Bunyan, has been selected by the European Voice newspaper as one of the fifty most influential people in the EU in 2004 for working "to protect civil liberties, put at risk by the package of anti-terrorism measures".

UK: Harm on Removal: Excessive Force against Failed Asylum Seekers - report by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (pdf)

Statewatch launches: ASBOwatch monitoring the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders throughout the UK Analysis, background documents and sections on:

- children
- protestors
- "CRASBO's"
- general public order
- extreme cases

European Parliament Committee votes to reject Mr Buttliglione as new Commissioner for justice and home affairs. The Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights voted by 27 vote to 26 against on Monday. This is the first time that a European Commission nominee has been rejected outright. In the final vote in the parliament's plenary session in two weeks time it can only vote to reject all the proposed Commissioners. However, the vote sets a problem for the European Commission President as Mr Buttliglione would have to wrok with this Committee for the next five years. See: euobservereuractiv (links)

Update: Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt

- second Swedish TV4 transcript with more details on the US abduction
- Shannon airport on west of Ireland used as stop-over for US plane (from Village magazine) (11.10.04)

UK-USA: Was the seizure of Indymedia's servers in London unlawful or did the UK government collude?

"A trail that started in Switzerland and Italy has now ended fairly and squarely in the lap of the UK Home Secretary to justify" (9.10.04)

UK: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) statement on FBI seizure of Indymedia servers in London: IFJ statement (pdf). Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary comments:

"We have witnessed an intolerable and intrusive international police operation against a network specialising in independent journalism. The way this has been done smacks more of intimidation of legitimate journalistic inquiry than crime-busting. The seizing of computers and the high profile nature of this incident suggests that someone wanted to stifle these independent voices in journalism. We need a full investigation into why this action took place, who took part and who authorised it."

UK & USA: The FBI has ordered the seizure of Indymedia's servers in USA and UK (link) Indymedia's hard disks sequestred by FBI (link)

"US authorities have issued a federal order to Rackspace's office in the US ordering them to hand over Indymedia's hardware (server) located in London. Rackspace is one of Indymed's web hosting providers with offices in the US and London. Rackspace complied, without first notifying Indymedia, and handed over Indymedia's server in the UK. This affects some 20+ Indymedia sites worldwide. As the subpoena was issued to Rackspace in the USA, and not to Indymedia, the reasons for this action are still unknown. Rackspace stated that "they cannot provide Indymedia with any information regarding the order". It is unclear to Indymedia how and why a server that is outside the US jurisdiction can be seized by US authorities." (8.10.04)

The list of affected local media collectives includes Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille (all France), Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, UK, part of the Germany site, and the global Indymedia Radio site.

Countering terrorism and protecting human rights - report by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (pdf)

Buttiglione "hearing" in the European Parliament on 5 October. Reports in euobserver (link) eupolitix (link) "Being gay is a sin" - Independent (link) Reuters (link) Socialist group expresses serious doubts on suitability (link) Mr Josep Borrell, President of the European Parliament, said:

"Quite frankly, as a Spanish citizen, I wouldn't want to have a justice minister who thinks that homosexuality is a sin and that women should stay at home and have children under the protection of their husbands. I don't think that at this moment in time we can have such people in charge of justice - especially justice... Perhaps if he were in charge of beetroots, it wouldn't be so serious.”

EU: Updated - On Tuesday 5 October the new Commissioner for "Freedom, justice and security" Mr Rocco Buttiglione will appear before the Committee for Citizens' Freedoms and Rights in the European Parliament to answer questions. His answers to the written questions from MEPs: Buttliglione's answers to questions: Part A and Part B (pdf)

See also: New Commissioner for "Justice, Freedom and Security" talks of the EU being "swamped" by immigration "time-bomb" (23.8.04) EU: New Commissioner supports setting up external refugee detention centres (18.8.04)

September 2004

USA-EU: From Thursday 30 September 2004, all visitors to the United States will be electronically face-scanned and fingerprinted at the US border and a "lifetime travel dossier" will be held for up to 100 years on the US-Visit programme. This includes all EU travellers who up to now have been exempt under the "Visa Waiver Scheme". See: Privacy International report on the US-VISIT programme (pdf) and US-VISIT - Flows of data to and from the system (pdf)

EU: Data retention proposal: Statement and press release from Forum Computer Professionals for Peace and Social Responsibility (FIfF) e.V. and German Organisation for Data Protection (DVD) e.V.and thirteen NGOs: "It is not to late to avert those plans which will not lead to more safety but rather to more surveillance. We urge all democratic forces to help us prevent another step into a state of surveillance." Statement and press release on EU data retention plans (pdf) See also EU surveillance of telecommunications: Statewatch analysis

Statewatch's Timetable on progress of new measures resulting from the 25 March 2004 EU Anti-Terrorist Declaration: Updated 30 September 2004: Timetable (pdf) Statewatch's "Scoreboard" and analysis finding that 27 out of 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism – they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf)

EU: Briefing and documentation on the Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, the Hague, Netherlands (30 September - 1October) - exchange of information, Europol, Eurojust, Internal Security Committee, common asylum system, "improved access to durable solutions" (external camps) and "minimum standards for return procedures".(28.9.04)

"Right to know day": Public Information Still Hard to Get, Five Country Survey Finds (28.9.04)

Exclusive: Statewatch Analysis of secret documents shows: EU divided over list of "safe countries of origin"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Our analysis provides an insight into how EU decisions are made, with too little time, too little information, and no public debate. To determine the fate of people fleeing from poverty and persecution on the basis of such a shallow process is an insult to any sense of humanity or moral responsibility, let alone legal obligations - the list should be scrapped."

1. Press release (27 September 2004)
2.
Statewatch Analysis: EU divided over list of "safe countries of origin" - the list should be scrapped (pdf)
3.
Appendix to this report with full details of all the EU member state responses (pdf)
4. Sources/documents, including member state responses

Czech Republic: The Chamber of Deputies voted by the narrowest of majorities to override the veto on the European arrest warrant by President Vaclav Klaus. The decision could still be challenged in the Constitutional Court: Czech parliament agrees to arrest warrant (link). See also: President vetoes European arrest warrant Bill: euobserver (link). Only Italy remains to agree the measure.

EU: "Is the EU becoming more open?" (pdf) Article on what happens to whistleblowers: "When people raise questions, even internally, they are quickly victimised and put on the margins", Aidan White (secretary General of the IFJ) - from EU Reporter (link)

USA-PNR: The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) says that the proposed "Secure Flight" passenger vetting project - which is to replace CAPPS II withdrawn because it failed to meet 7 out of 8 privacy and data protection standards - may pose similar problems: ACLU on Secure Flights (link). CAPPS II was intended to screen all passengers against state and commercial data and "intelligence". It was abandoned following a report from the General Accountability Office (GAO) which said it failed to meet basic standards: GAO report on CAPPS II (pdf)

EDRI (European Digital Rights) summary of the consultation by the European Commission on new EU plans for mandatory retention of telecom traffic data on 21 September: Summary See also: Over 90 non-governmental organizations - including Statewatch - and 80 companies have endorsed Privacy International's call: Invasive, illusory, illegal and illegitimate See also EU surveillance of telecommunications: Statewatch analysis, S.O.S.Europe and EU-FBI communications surveillance plan

Switzerland: Europol accord sparks data protection fears (link) Heinrich Busch, a political scientist and expert on policing issues, says: “I have no doubt about it: where data protection is concerned, Europol is a real danger,” he told swissinfo. “Europol’s record-keeping capacity is impressive, but in my opinion it openly contradicts the principle of people’s fundamental right to privacy” On paper, for instance, Europol guarantees a right of consultation, but in reality this is an impossibility. "A person wanting to consult his or her personal file must first approach the police in their country of origin, which in turn has to ask all the other Europol police forces for authorisation to access the information they hold."

EU: Five countries establish a European paramilitary police force - What will be its "rules of engagement"? What lines of accountability for its actions are there to be? (21.8.04)

EU-UK: Government publishes White Paper on the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" (Cm 6309): White Paper (pdf) (16.9.04)

Whistle-blowing and institutional accountability: Conference, Thursday 30 September, 10 am. International Press Centre (IPC), Résidence Palace, Rue de la Loi, Brussels. Following Dougal Watt’s presentation to the NUJ earlier this year, the NUJ and IFJ are organising a conference and presentation on the theme of whistle-blowing and its importance to democracy and institutional accountability: Press release (pdf)

(15.9.04) EU-PNR Directive published in Official Journal: Text (pdf). Published on 6 August 2004 and came into force on 5 September. All Member States has to implement by 5 September 2006. See also: Justice and Home Affairs Council agrees on the surveillance of all airline passengers: PNR Directive, adopted text (pdf) & JHA Council to agree the surveillance of all airline passengers: Report and documents - data can be kept indefinitely by law enforcement agencies and dubious legal basis: European Commission wanted the Council to delay decision so as not to deal "piecemeal with law enforcement issues"

EU Over 90 non-governmental organizations - including Statewatch - and 80 companies have endorsed Privacy International's call on the European Commission to abandon on a proposed retention regime across Europe of between 1 and 3 years for all communications traffic data. In this response, PI argues that data retention is invasive, illusory in its gains, illegal in its goals, and that the policy process surrounding retention is: Invasive, illusory, illegal and illegitimate

Genetic Information & Crime Investigation: Social, Ethical and Public Policy Aspects of the Establishment, Expansion and Police Use of the National DNA Database

Beyond September 11: Essay by by Phil Scraton in "Beyond September 11 - an anthology of dissent" (Pluto Press) (pdf)

Statewatch Timetable: March 2004 EU Anti-Terrorist Declaration: Updated 7 September 2004: Timetable (pdf) Statewatch's "Scoreboard" and analysis finding that 27 out of 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism – they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf)

UK: Police can keep DNA of innocent people indefinitely - the law lords have set a dangerous precedent by backing the demands of the state over individual privacy (5.9.04)

UK: Children bear the brunt of "anti-social behaviour" measures - Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO's) target children and protestors (5.9.04)

Scotland: Dossier on Dungavel Removal Centre - concerning systematic human rights abuses in the detention system (pdf, link) (3.9.04)

UK: New study highlights discrimination in use of anti-terror laws: IRR News Service (link) (3.9.04)

EU: Head of Liberal and Democrat group comes out against transit camps for refugees (2.9.04)

August 2004

McLibel case in Strasbourg court on 7 September (31.8.04)

Italy & Spain: Iraq torture sparks political controversy (31.8.04)

Italy: Justice minister blames MPs who visit prisoners for prison revolt in Rome's Regina Coeli prison (30.8.04)

EU: Study on "The transfer of protection status in the EU, against the background of the common European asylum system and the goal of a uniform status, valid throughout the Union, for those granted asylum" for the European Commission: Full-text of study (pdf) (27.8.04)

USA: 9/11 and Terrorist Travel: Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States - the full-text is 241 pages and 7.7 MB and take 4-5 minutes to download on a fast connection: Staff Report (pdf) (25.8.04)

EU: New Commissioner for "Justice, Freedom and Security" talks of the EU being "swamped" by immigration "time-bomb" (23.8.04)

European Commission Staff Working Paper, 17.08.2004, SEC(2004)1046 Annex to the Green Paper on mutual recognition of non-custodial pre-trial supervision measures. Deadline from responses is 30 November 2004: Working Paper (pdf) Green Paper (pdf) (21.8.04)

A matter of fear or death by Emma Ginn & Harmit Athwal. David Blunkett has blamed campaigners for encouraging an Iraqi asylum seeker to sew up his lips: IRR News Service (20.8.04)

EU: European activist network publishes map of centres to detain foreigners  (20.8.04)

UK: Stop and search continues to target black and Asian people. An analysis by Statewatch of the latest official figures show that under PACE 1984 (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) black people are six times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people and Asians twice as likely. While under the Terrorism Act 2000: the total number of stop and searches is up 150% - the number of stop and searches of Asian people is up 285% and those of black people by 229%. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"After a dip in the use of stop and search powers against black and Asian people in the aftermath of the Macpherson inquiry into the killing of Stephen Lawrence the use of all powers is on the increase. The disproportionate use of stop and search against black and Asian people is inevitably building up resentment. No lessons appear to have been learnt from the past"

Statewatch analysis of stop and search figures (pdf) Press statement (pdf) (19.8.04)

UK: Court rules that evidence gathered using torture can be used and Full-text of judgement (pdf) (19.8.04)

UK/Spain/Gibraltar: Early 20th century communications interception in Spain (18.8.04)

EU: New Commissioner supports setting up external refugee detention centres (18.8.04)

Statewatch analyses on post 11 September effects on civil liberties - updated: Analyses: no 1 - 37 (17.8.04)

UK: "Sleepwalking into a surveillance society?" - Information Commissioner (16.8.04)

EU: The new Commissioner taking over - from Mr Vittorino - Justice and Home Affairs in the European Commission is new Commissioner Rocco Buttiglione. Directorate General Justice and Home Affairs is to be renamed: "Justice, Freedom and Security", so Mr Buttiglione is Commissioner for ""Justice, Freedom and Security". Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"This simply scrambles the "Area of freedom, security and justice" into a new EU acronym which changes the wrapping and leaves the same policies in place, where security triumphs over freedom and justice every time"

A full list of the new Commissioners

Special: Composite statement: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay by three British citizens: Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed. This statement jointly made by them constitutes an attempt to set out details of their treatment at the hands of UK and US military personnel and civilian authorities during the time of their detention in Kandahar in Afghanistan in late December 2001 and throughout their time in American custody in Guantanamo Bay Cuba: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay (pdf) with thanks to: Cageprisoners (link)

UK: Home Office consultation paper on: "Modernising police powers to meet community needs". Includes dropping restriction on arrest to "serious offences", extending use of search warrants, allowing fingerprinting outside of police stations to establish "identity" (no requirement of an offence being suspected), "covert DNA and fingerprints", protests outside homes and powers to impose conditions on demonstrations "in the vicinity of Parliament Square" (ie: including Whitehall and No 10): Modernising police powers to meet community needs (pdf)

EU-USA PNR DEAL: Council of the European Union (the 25 governments) get notice of case in Court of Justice brought by the European Parliament over the agreement with the USA on PNR (passenger name record): Note from Legal Service (pdf). The parliament is also asking the court to annul the Commission's finding that adequate data protection is provided in the USA "Undertakings".

EU Constitution: The official finally numbered version of the EU Constitution plus final text of the declarations and of the protocols - please note that the unofficial renumbered version produced by Statewatch six weeks ago got the numbers correct. The final size of the Constitution is 852 pages:

a. EU Constitution (renumbered, 349 pages) as agreed by EU governments: Constitution (pdf)
b. Protocols (382 pages) attached to the Constitution:
Protocols (pdf)
c. b. Declarations (121 pages) attached to Constitution:
Declarations (pdf)

UK: The controversial asylum law has come into effect: Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004 (link to Act)

Italy: Seven migrants escape from the detention centre in Bologna

European Citizens Action Service (ECAS) launch "hotline" with: "the aim of helping EU citizens (particularly those from the new Member States) to defend their fundamental rights": Hotline Background ot the initiative: Background

EU: European Commission DG Information Society and DG Justice and Home Affairs have launched a public consultation on the issue of traffic data retention. A public workshop is planned on 21 September 2004, in Brussels. See:

i. Consultation document (pdf)
ii. Proposal from UK, France, Ireland and Sweden (pdf)
iii. Statewatch analysis of the proposal

UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes report on: "Review of counter-terrorism powers" (HL Paper 158): Report (link) Report (as pdf) responding to: Counter-terrorism powers: Reconciling Security and Liberty in an Open Society: A Discussion Paper: Home Office discussion paper (pdf) and Privy Counsellor Review Committee: Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 Review: Report (pdf)

Belgium: Amnesty International - Prompt action needed to address human rights concerns

US: ACLU: Summer Surveillance Campaign Serves up Details of Government Intrusions

Greece: The Greek Ministry of Public Order and Ombudsman have published a: "Practical Guide for interaction between police officers and civilians during the period of the Olympic Games" (pdf)

Statewatch: Timetable - March 2004 EU Anti-Terrorist Declaration. Updated 2 August 2004: Timetable (pdf). This can be read in conjunction with Statewatch's "Scoreboard" and analysis finding that 27 out of 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism – they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf)

Statewatch European Monitor published, volume 4 no 6: Contents:

* Dutch Presidency & the EU institutions
* Draft EU Constitution agreed
* "Tampere II"
* Policing & criminal law
* Counter-terrorism, security and civil liberties
* PNR & the surveillance of air travel
* Immigration & asylum
* Civil law
* Resources on JHA issues

July 2004

UK: Government publishes proposals on "Animal welfare - human rights: protecting people from animal rights extremists": Paper (pdf) Guardian article by George Monbiot: Guardian (lnk)

UK: Home Affairs Committee report on: Identity Cards (full-text - pdf). See also Submission to the Committee from the Information Commissioner which is more critical than the report: Information Commissioner (pdf) Backgound:

a.
Full-text of consultation paper and draft ID Cards Bill (pdf)
b.
Briefing sent to Labour MPs (pdf)
c.
Prime Minister there is "no longer a civil liberties" objection to ID cards
d. "The Government intends to introduce, a national compulsory ID cards scheme using an individual biometric identifier linked to a new national database" - to fight "terrorism" and give "the freedom to do easily things like travel to Florida on holiday" - David Blunkett, Home Secretary:
Statewatch article
e.
Identity cards in the UK - a lesson from history
f. No to ID cards website:
no2id (link)

UK: An alternative view of the Government's "Preparing for emergencies": HM Department of Vague Paranoia (link)

UK: Changes in telephone-tapping warrant procedures disguises true figures. Since 1997 the surveillance of telecommunications has risen more than two and a half times - the report from the Commissioner for the year 2003 shows a 20% rise. See:

a. Telephone tapping and mail-opening figures 1937-2003 (updated 26 July 2004)
b.
Changes in telephone-tapping warrant procedures

Radio Nizkor (Spain): Audio Documents - HR & civil liberties in the European Union: Nizkor (link)

USA: Total Information Awareness & Beyond: Threats to Privacy in a Post 9-11 America - press release from Bill of Rights Defence Committee: Press release

French NGOs press release on Cap Anamur asylum-seekers: Press release

European Democratic Lawyers (EDL) statement on Guantanamo Bay and other detention centres: Statement

UK: Government publishes "Preparing for emergencies" leaflet (online and to be delivered to every household):

a. Main page (link)

b. The leaflet as large pdf files:
England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (links)

c.
How to spot a "terrorist" page (link) - which includes: "Are you suspicious about any tenants or guests? Have you seen anyone pay an unusual amount of attention to security measures at any location? [and] If you are a retailer, do you have any cause to be suspicious about anything being bought?

d.
MI5 advice to businesses, which includes:"Consider random searching on entry and exit of staff in particularly sensitive areas, making allowance for the fact that this is intrusive and that staff need to appreciate the reasons for it."

EU: UK House of Commons' European Scrutiny Committee report on: "The EU's Justice and Home Affairs work programme for the next five years: Full-text of the Report (pdf) The Committee's concerns include: "i. The omission from the Communication of an evaluation of the practical benefits achieved so far as a result of the Tampere programme. and ii. The omission of a statement of the practical benefits expected from the Commission’s proposals for the next five years."

EU: UK Select Committee on the European Union report on: Judicial Cooperation in the EU: the role of Eurojust: Eurojust report (pdf). The report also comes out against the creation of a European Criminal Record, see: Analysis

UK: 6th annual Big Brother Awards 2004, 28 July 2004, LSE, London: Big Brother awards

European Commission proposes "free market" for law enforcement database access: Analysis and documentation

Political composition of the new European Parliament 2004-2009: Political groups

UK: Home Office "Strategic plan" covering everything from drinking, to graffiti to terrorism: Strategic Plan (pdf)

EU: European Commission Communication on: A single asylum procedure (pdf) and a further SEC document containing Annexes to the Communication (pdf) and also Single aslyum procedure study (link, note pdf is 4MB)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 19 July 2004: Press release (pdf) For background see below

US: Statement on "RFID tags" by Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to House of Representatives Committee: Statement on RFID tags (pdf) RFID tags are tiny computer chips connected to miniature antennae that can be placed on or in physical objects

UK: Police misusing and selling personal data says John Wadham, Deputy Chair of the Police Complaints Commission: Police 'misuse' data (link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 19 July 2004 - Brussels:
i)
Background Note (pdf)
ii) The Netherlands Presidency has also released an annotated agenda:
Presidency Note (pdf)
iii)
Main agenda (pdf) and "A" Points: Agenda (pdf)
iv)
Multiannual programme for justice and home affairs (pdf)

EU: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party - Opinion on the EU-US PNR agreement: WP 95 (pdf)

UK: Butler Inquiry Report on: Review of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction: Butler report (pdf)

EU: Council Conclusions on joint flights for removals: Report and documentation

Ireland: Government "considers introducing a Public Service Card": eGovernment News (link). Full-text: Irish Government Code of Practice for using unique identifier in public services (pdf)

USA: General Accounting Office (GAO) report on "data-mining" by state agencies which mix data from commercial sources with official data and "intelligence": GAO report on data-mining (pdf) American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) press statement: ACLU Statement (link)

PNR - EU-US deal on access to passenger name records: The "Undertakings of the Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP)" were published in the US Federal Register on 6 July. Federal Register announcement (pdf) The agreement will not come in force until (a) enacted by Congress, (b) properly promulgated as a regulation, under authority of Congress, by a Federal agency, or (c) ratified by the Senate as a treaty.

On the same day, 6 July 2004, the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJ) published the Commission's Decision on "adequacy of protection" in the US "Undertakings": EU-OJ (pdf). On 28 June 2004 the President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, formally initiated court action to annul the Decision of the Commission: Letter from President of the EP (pdf). Full background and documentation is given on Statewatch's Observatory on PNR

UK: Civil Contingencies Bill - debate in the House of Lords: Second reading debate in Lords (link). Lord McNally quotes Richard Shepherd MP who said in the House of Commons: "The fact is that we have not had a proper discussion of the most important part of the Bill, which affects our civil and political liberties" [Official Report, Commons, 24/5/04; col. 1406]:

1. Only a few amendments were made in the Commons: Bill as amended (24.5.04)
2. Amendments made (link)
3. Statewatch critique of Bill:
UK: Britain's Patriot Act: Analysis

Analysis: the war on terror leads to racial profiling: IRR News Service (link)

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission takes Minister to court: Press release

Race and Class: new issue on the theme: "The politics of fear - civil society and the security state": Contents and order details (pdf)

UK - London: Mon 12 July, 7pm: LIBERTY AND TERROR: New York, Bali, Madrid - have the events for which these places are a shorthand transformed politics so radically that our traditional defences of civil liberties now need to overhaul themselves? That's the question at the heart of the 'in conversation' between Conor Gearty, one of the UK's major thinkers on civil liberties, who nevertheless feels that traditional defences don't all survive the new political environment, and Shami Chakrabarti, chair of Liberty, an organisation dedicated to the maintenance and elaboration of civil liberties. £8, £7 Concs. £6 ICA Members. At: Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH. Tickets: 020 7930 3647

EU: Statewatch analysis: "Dismantling refugee protection in the EU": Refugees and protection in the EU (pdf). The European Commission has developed the controversial UK plan to keep refugees outside the EU by giving so-called protection in the region and resettlement. There is no clear legal basis for scheme. It has been set out in a form that allows officials to simply proceed without any consultation of national or European parliaments. Full-text of Commission Communication (pdf) The analysis concludes:

"The EU has already exported its responsibility for countless refugees through the development of buffer-states and readmission agreements. By funding "protection in the region", border controls and "migration management" in developing countries it will export responsibility for countless more."

Background

1. EU buffer states and UNHCR "processing" centres and "safe havens"
2.
UK asylum plan for "safe havens": full text and reactions
3.
Asylum in the EU: the beginning of the end?
4.
Legal opinion on removing aylum-seekers from the EU
5. Report from the European Union Committee, House of Lords: "Handling EU asylum claims: new approaches examined":
Report with evidence, full-text (pdf)

UK: Asylum & Immigration (Treatment of claimants etc) Bill: New Clauses. Report from the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Committee report, HL 130, HC 828 (pdf)

"The Committee repeats its previously stated view that it regards it as unacceptable that amendments having obvious implications for human rights should be introduced at such a late stage in a Bill’s passage through Parliament, without adequate warning and without a clear explanation of the Government’s view of the human rights implications. Such a practice undermines proper democratic scrutiny of the human rights implications oflegislation."

UK: Annual report of the Office of Surveillance Commissioners: Annual report (pdf). This includes the following figures for surveillance (excluding telephone-tapping): Directed surveillance (external to property) by public authorities - 6,398 cases. Directed surveillance by law enforcement agencies - 26,986 cases. "Property interference" (entry into property) by all agencies - 2,483 cases and "Intrusive surveillance" (eg: placing of bugs and video in property) by all agencies - 447 cases (which seems a very low figure).

UK: Intelligence and Security Committee, Annual Report 2003–2004: Full-text (pdf)

June 2004

EU Constitution: Consolidated agreed texts prepared by by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex:

a. New: 28.6.04: Renumbered text of the EU Constitution:
Renumbered text of EU Constitution (pdf)
b. Consolidated agreed text:
Part I (pdf)
c. Consolidated agreed text:
Parts II and IV (pdf)
d. "Justice and Home Affairs":
Constitution: JHA (pdf)
e.
Judicial Provisions (pdf)
f. Summary of the the abolition/retention of vetoes under the Constitution:
Vetoes summary (pdf)

1. The Council have now produced a full consolidated text:
CIG 86 (pdf, 325 pages, 930k)
2. The Council has produced 88 pages of "Declarations" to be attached to the Constitution:
CIG 86 ADD 2 (pdf)
3. New: 29.06.04: The Council has produced a full list of Protocols - another 351 pages - to be attached to the Constitution:
CIG 86 ADD 1 (pdf). This makes the full Constitution 764 pages - a bit of summer reading.

EU: Candidate countries and potential candidates sign up to the EU updated list of "terrorist organisations and persons": Declaration (pdf) and (updated 3.6.04): Updated list

Italy: Update: MSF accused of 'disloyalty' over CPT report: Report

EU-US Summit: Declaration on combating terrorism: Declaration (pdf). The "Declaration" contains a number of new proposals: i) that people and groups can be put on the list of those who finances are to be frozen/seized ("designation") can be based on "serious and credible evidence, providing a reasonable basis to indicate that such entities" are supporting terrorist activity and ii) "outlawing support to designated names"

25.6.04: European Parliament to go to court over Council and Commission decisions on PNR data agreement with USA: Press statement from EP President, Pat Cox

EU-US PNR deal: MEP calls on the President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, to act on the clearly expressed will of the parliament and initiative court action: Cappato letter (pdf)

Portugal/Spain: Governments set to hold referenda on the EU Constitution: Report

Spain: Terror suspects expelled using immigration legislation: Report

EU Constitution: Summary of the the abolition/retention of vetoes under the Constitution by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex: Vetoes summary (pdf)

PNR: Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue's Resolution on Passenger Name Records: civil society coalition to send resolution to EU-US Summit meeting in Dublin on 25 June: Resolution, background and signatories

European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) have produced a critique of the EU's asylum policies. Peer Baneke, ECRE General Secretary said:"At the EU Tampere Summit in 1999, Governments made promises to refugees for better protection. Many of those promises have been broken and the worst practices of some states have now found their way into EU legislation": ECRE report (pdf) See also: Statewatch analysis: Implementing the Amsterdam Treaty: Cementing Fortress Europe: Analysis

Special Statewatch Report: Consolidated text of amendments to the EU Constitution agreed by the EU “Intergovernmental Conference": Consolidated text (76 pages, pdf) to be read with: The legally corrected base text (25.11.03) is: CIG 50 (pdf)

London: Justice denied: No to detention without trial. Public meeting against internment: Leaflet (pdf)

EU Constitution agreed by Summit: The three cited documents are: CIG 83 (pdf) CIG 84 (pdf) and CIG 85 (pdf). The latter is the agreed text, but cannot be understood without reading CIG 81(pdf) and CIG 82 (pdf)

The legally corrected base text (25.11.03) is: CIG 50 (pdf), add CIG 81(pdf) and CIG 85 (pdf) and you have the complete text of the EU Constitution

Italy: Carabinieri keep tabs on carabinieri association that opposes the war in Iraq: Report

Northern Ireland: NI Human Rights Commission calls on Prison Service to reconsider plans to transfer women prisoners: Press release (pdf) This is backed by a report: "Report on the tranfer of women from Mourne House Unit, Maghaberry Prison to Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Unit" written by Professor Phil Scraton, Queen's University of Belfast and Dr Linda Moore, NI Human Rights Commission: Report on transfer of women (pdf)

updated: 18.6.04: When the EU adopts anti-terrorism measures is it trying to combat terrorism or crime? Analysis - UK parliamentary committee says the supposed link between terrorism and organised crime in the Commission Communication is based: "more on assertion than on evidence"

* Commission proposal on exchange of information on terrorism could lead to hundreds of innocent people being put on "watch-lists" for each anti-terrorist investigation * Companies, charities and all bank accounts to be targeted * European Criminal Registry to be set up including data on all those charged - whether found guilty or not

Norway: All charges dropped against Krekar: Report and analysis

EU Constitution: Two new documents for the EU Summit: CIG 81 (pdf) and CIG 82 (pdf)

update: 16 June 2004: European Parliament: Majority in "Conference of Presidents" (party group leaders) backed the decision earlier in the day by a special meeting of the Legal Affairs Committee to take court action against the Commission over the EU-US PNR deal. Without putting the question to a vote, President Cox registered that there was a majority in favour of bringing actions before Court. He asked to have some days time to think about what to do, saying that if he decides not to follow the Legal Affairs Committee recommendation, he will ask, once again, for the opinion of the plenary. This is the second time that EP President Cox has used his powers to delay a decision to go to the court.

Legal Affairs Committee votes by large majority to take out new court case: EU-US PNR deal: European Parliament discussing new court case: Report and documents

EU: Action Plan on terrorism - final version dated 15 June:10586/04 (pdf). This and the documents just below are to be discussed at the EU Summit (a meeting of the 25 Prime Ministers) in Brussels on 17-18 June 2004. And unusually: Summit Conclusions (pdf)

US: Congress has voted to put back the deadline for biometric passports by one year - the government had asked for two years because the EU said could not meet deadlie of 26 October 2004. It is very unlikely that EU states can meet new deadline of 26 October 2005 - EU citizens can enter the USA under a visa waiver scheme. See: Cryptome (link) See also earlier coverage: Report

UK: Vountary iris scanning scheme for selected air travellers: Report and press release

EU: Action Plan on terrorism - updated version dated 11 June:10010/3/04 (pdf). This and the documents below are to be discussed at the EU Summit (a meeting of the 25 Prime Ministers) in Brussels on 17-18 June 2004.

updated 15.6.04: European Commission evaluation of the implementation by member states of the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on combating terrorism:
Evaluation report (pdf)  See also detailed Appendix to European Commission report on the controversial Framework Decision on combating terrorism: SEC (2004) 688 (pdf)

Background: New EU Action Plan on terrorism adopted 8 June by the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg: The Plan is an update of the Action Plan dated 14 November 2002: 13909/1/02. A fuller list of measures is set out in the Commission's "Compendium". Both the Plan of Action and the Compendium should be assessed against the Statewatch "Scoreboard" which analysed the measures agreed at the EU Summit on 25 March 2004 and found that a number had little or nothing to do with combating terrorism.

a. EU Plan of Action on combating terrorism (dated 1 June):
Full-text (pdf)
b. European Commission Compendium: Counter-terrorism Actions:
Full-text (pdf)
c. Report on implementation:
Full-text (pdf)
d. Report from EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: two "peer" evaluations:
9876/04 (pdf)
e. Role of the Working Party on Terrorism:
8673/1/04 (pdf)
f. Working structures on terrorism - Options paper:
9791/04 (pdf)
g.
Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf) Statewatch Timetable updated: 2 June 2004 (pdf)

EU Constitution: New report (12.6.04) containing revised text including judicial cooperation in criminal matters, European Prosecutors' Office and the Charter on Fundamental Rights: CIG80 (pdf) See also: Observatory on EU Constitution

European Parliament: Legal Affairs Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on 16 June to decide whether to recommends bringing a case to the European Court of Justice to challenge the EU-US agreement on transfer of air passenger data: Agenda of meeting (link) Note: European Parliament members retain their status as MEPs until the Parliament formally reconvenes in Strasbourg on Tuesday 20 July.

EU: Biometric documents take another step forward: Report on EU and G8

EU Constitution: New report (10 June) containing revised text ahead of the General Affairs Council on Monday 14 June: CIG79 (pdf) See also: Observatory on EU Constitution

List of 4,591 documented refugee deaths through Fortress Europe UNITED (pdf, link)

National (in)security politics in Australia: fear and the federal election, article by Jude McCulloch: Article (pdf)

Spain: Migrant lock-in evicted by police: Report

updated 9.6.04: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8 June 2004 in Luxembourg:

1. Press release (pdf).

2. Statement by Mr Solana to the Council meeting: Statement (pdf) This gives the "EU Sitcen" (Joint Situation Centre) based in the emerging EU military capacity, a role in gathering intelligence on terrorism inside the EU. The press release says: "the Secretary General / High Representative to make proposals in relation to integrating, within the Council Secretariat, an intelligence capacity on all aspects of the terrorist threat"

3. EU: New EU Action Plan on terrorism adopted 8 June by the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg: The Plan is an update of the Action Plan dated 14 November 2002: 13909/1/02. A fuller list of measures is set out in the Commission's "Compendium". Both the Plan of Action and the Compendium should be assessed against the Statewatch "Scoreboard" which analysed the measures agreed at the EU Summit on 25 March 2004 and found that a number had little or nothing to do with combating terrorism.

a. EU Plan of Action on combating terrorism (dated 1 June):
Full-text (pdf)
b. European Commission Compendium: Counter-terrorism Actions:
Full-text (pdf)
c. Report on implementation:
Full-text (pdf)
d. Report from EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: two "peer" evaluations:
9876/04 (pdf)
e. Role of the Working Party on Terrorism:
8673/1/04 (pdf)
f. Working structures on terrorism - Options paper:
9791/04 (pdf)
g.
Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf) Statewatch Timetable updated: 2 June 2004 (pdf)

Statewatch analysis: Implementing the Amsterdam Treaty: Cementing Fortress Europe: Analysis

The five year deadline for agreement on the common EU immigration and asylum policy expired on 1 May 2004. This article examines the key decisions, how they were taken and what they will mean for asylum-seekers

"Circuits of surveillance", article from "Surveillance and Society" looking at the use of DNA and databases: Article

EU: Justice and home affairs: SEMDOC (Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre) website has been updated, 4 June 2004. SEMDOC Legislative Observatory tracks all new measures since May 1999 as they go through the legislative process. Site includes key texts, justice and home affairs "acquis" and Maastrict and Trevi archives. To get access see: SEMDOC and Statewatch European Monitor

EU issues updated list of "terrorist organisations and persons" (updated 3.6.04): Updated list

Slovakia: Protests against separation call for Roma children: IRR News Service (link)

Italy: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denied access to identification centres for asylum seekers: Report

EU: European Commission publishes Green Paper on: Equality and non-discrimination in an enlarged European Union COM(2004) 379 final: Full-text (pdf)

Statewatch "Timetable" on the anti-terrorism Declaration agreed on 25 March 2004 updated: Statewatch Timetable updated: 2 June 2004 (pdf) Statewatch's "Scoreboard" and analysis finding that 27 out of 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf) Analysis in Spanish (link)

Statewatch European Monitor vol 4 no 5 (May 2004) published: monthly round-up of developments in EU justice and home affairs policy, essential reading to keep up-to-date. Fifty-three issues (with full-text documentation) covered including a review of immigration and asylum policy in the five year "transition period" under the Amsterdam Treaty and review of the Europol Work Programme 2005: Monitor

EU: The Commission has put forward a Communication and draft Regulation on EU border controls - internal and external - which will "consolidate all existing laws including the Schengen "acquis" on this issue. It is intended to "compliment" the planned EU Border Management Agency. The proposal says that "people may cross borders at all times without being checked" except where member states invoke threats to public order, public health or internal security. It is based on Article 62 of the EC Treaty: Communication and proposed Council Regulation establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (pdf, 832 MB)

UK: Civil Contingencies Bill has been agreed by the House of Commons and now moves to the House of Lords:
1. Only a few amendments were made in the Commons: Bill as amended (24.5.04)
2. Amendments made (link)
3. Statewatch critique of Bill:
UK: Britain's Patriot Act: Analysis

EU-US PNR deal: Signed by USA but Leaders of the groups in the European Parliament to discuss new court case on 16 June:

1. Agreed text: EU-US agreement on access to passenger data (pdf)
2. Commission's finding of adequacy and the final text of the US "Undertakings" (pdf)
3. US signs agreement (link)
4. MEPs seek challenge to EU-US air data deal (link)
5. Full history and documentation: Statewatch's: "Observatory" on EU-US PNR deal

May 2004

Europe: First human rights internet radio station launched: Radio Nizkor (link). Nizkor is well known for its human rights work in Latin America and launched Radio Nizkor on March 1 2004. Statewatch's report on "EU-US PNR deal" is among the features: Audio files

Spain: The question of impunity in Spain and crimes under Franco: Report from Equipo Nizkor (pdf)

UK: "Forgotten Prisoners - The Plight of Foreign National Prisoners in England and Wales": Report from the Prison Reform Trust and press release (link). There are a record 9,000 foreign national prisoners in jails in England and Wales, one in eight of the overall prison population, following an almost threefold increase in numbers over the past decade.

Spain: Meeting on the defence of civil rights and liberties in Vigo (Galicia): Report

Italy: Data protection ombudsman issues guidelines for video-surveillance: Report

Spain: NGO criticises local call for pardon in racist attack case: Report

EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights - Annual Report for 2003. These excellent reports cover all 25 Member States of the European Union:

1. Full report for 2003 (pdf)
2.
Synthesis report (pdf)
3.
Thematic report (pdf)
4. Full national reports from each of the 25 countries:
National reports

Netherlands: Press statement: "Uriye Kesbir must not be extradited to Turkey": Statement (pdf)

Netherlands: Ill treatment in a deportation prison - testimony of a former inmate: Report

Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt: Report and documentation

Slovakia: Commission representative advocates forceful assimilation of Roma: Report

EU: PSE (Socialist group) leader in EP calls for action on EU-US PNR deal: Letter and press release

- "the Commission and Council have blatantly ignored the will of the Parliament" Enrique Barón Crespo MEP
- Privacy International: "These personal data transfers and future plans are inadequately protected, dangerous, and hypocritical"

Statewatch bulletin published: Contents: vol 14 no 2 (March-April 2004)

UK: IRR News Service: Another asylum-seeker takes own life: IRR (link)

 EU Constitution: There is a new IGC paper (dated 19 May) on the issue of Council voting and EP seats: see Observatory on EU Constitution

EU agrees US PNR deal: Report

- European Parliament by-passed in shoddy deal that undermines privacy and EU data protection rights
- leading MEPs call for the "Conference of Presidents" to discuss on 15 June

EU: Advocate-General in the European Court of Justice says that a third country national who had a child in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has the right to reside in the UK: Press statement (pdf) See also: Ireland: Irish Council for Civil Liberties: "The proposed referendum is an insult to the citizens of Ireland": ICCL (link)

EU: Amnesty International: "EU arms exports threatening global security": AI Report (pdf) and press release (link). See also appendix on Ireland: "Claws of the Celtic Tiger: Irish manufacture of military and security equipment and 'dual-use' security components": appendix (pdf)

"EU arms, security equipment and services are contributing to grave human rights abuses and the scale of potential abuse is now enormous. The major EU arms exporting countries - France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom - account for one third of the world's arms deals. With ten new Member States, the EU now has over 400 small arms companies in 23 countries, almost as many as the USA"

EU: Draft Constitution - revised articles: Observatory on EU Constitution

ICLMG/Canada: "Anti-Terrorism and the Security Agenda: Impacts on Rights, Freedoms and Democracy": Report (pdf) from International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group public forum, Ottawa, 17 February 2004. Participants included Focus on the Global South, Statewatch, the American Civil Liberties Union, SUARAM and the Asian Peoples Security Network and the Center for Constitutional Rights

G8: Meeting of Justice and Interior Ministers in USA, 11 May: Communique (pdf) and press conference (link)

EU: Draft agenda for European Council summit, 17-18 June: Summit agenda. Justice and home affairs and terrorism are high on the agenda

Europe: First human rights internet radio station launched: Radio Nizkor (link). Nizkor is well known for its human rights work in Latin America and launched Radio Nizkor on March 1 2004. Statewatch's report "Data retention comes to roost - telephone and internet privacy to be abolished" is among the features: Audio files

Irish Council for Civil Liberties welcomes court decision on protestors arrested on 1 May: ICCL (link)

EU-US PNR "deal" discussions in USA: Vitorino-Ridge press conference (link)

International Red Cross report on Iraq prisoners: Report (link) Iraq: Killings of civilians in Basra and al-'Amara - Amnesty International report (11 May 2004): AI report

Italy: Journalist who revealed abuses against migrants sentenced: Report

EU: European Commission publishes draft Framework Decision on defendants' rights in criminal proceedings: Full-text: COM 328 (pdf) plus Impact Assessment: SEC 491 (pdf)

EU: Johanna Boogerd-Quaak MEP, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights and rappporteur, calls on the European Parliament President, Pat Cox, to take steps to ensure the parliament's position on EU-US PNR "deal" is maintained: Letter to Mr Gargani, 4.5.04 and response, 5.5.04 (pdf) Letter to Pat Cox, 7.5.04 (pdf)

Spain: "2003 Annual report on racism in the Spanish state", by SOS Racismo: Report

EU: European Commission publishes Green Paper on mutual recognition and enforcement of criminal sanctions. Deadline for consultation is 31 July 2004:Full-text: COM 344 (pdf)

EU-US PNR: Council to ignore parliament and go ahead with "deal": Report

UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights report on: "Commission for Equality and Human Rights: Structure, Functions and Powers: Report HL 78 (pdf)

EP rejects EU-US PNR deal by an even bigger majority - new "enlargement" MEPs back stand against the transfer of personal data to the USA: Report   Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The Commission, the EU governments and the US Mission in Brussels were counting on the MEPs from the ten new Member States to reverse the two previous votes in the parliament - instead the majority against the "deal" increased. This is good news for civil liberties and for democracy."

European Arrest Warrant implemented by 17 EU states: Report

EU: At the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 29 April a "general approach" was agreed on the proposed Council Directive on minimum standards on procedures for granting and withdrawing refugee status" subject to national parliamentary scrutiny reservations from Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Due to the number of changes the European Parliament is to be re-consulted (which cannot take place until the new session in the autumn).

a) The full-text as agreed by the JHA Council (29.4.04): Minimum standards on procedures: 8771/04 (pdf)
b) Full-text at 27.4.04:
8415/1/04 REV 1 (pdf)
c) Full-text at 23.4.04:
8415/04 (pdf)

EU Declaration on combating terrorism (25 March 2004): Statewatch Timetable updated: 30 April 2004 (pdf)

Key documents: EU Summit:
Declaration on combating terrorism (pdf) Statewatch's analysis finding 27 out of 57 proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf) Statewatch coverage of the conclusions: Summit nods through "EU Homeland Security" package

EU: Revised list of proposed changes to the draft EU Constitution from the Presidency in: CIG 73 dated 29.4.04

UK: Report from the European Union Committee, House of Lords: "Handling EU asylum claims: new approaches examined": Report with evidence, full-text (pdf)

April 2004

EU-US PNR treaty: European Parliament bounced into third vote - what place democracy in the EU? The Parliament has already passed a resolution opposing the agreement on the exchange of passenger data with the US (31.3.04) and voted to go to the European Court of Justice for an opinion on the legality of the Treaty (21.4.04). Fearing an ECJ ruling against the Treaty, the Council (member states) has simply demanded the that EP vote again this time on the international agreement with the USA, invoking an "urgency procedure" in an attempt to overturn a majority of just 16 in favour of legal action. MEPs will now come under tremendous pressure in advance of the vote on Tuesday morning (4 May 2004). "How many times will we vote? Until we give the right answer?", they ask. Tuesday's vote will also include unelected MEPs from new EU countries raising fears that inexperienced and unaccountable parliamentarians will bow to government pressure. See report from eupolitix.com. For full-background, see Statewatch Obervatory.

EU/Surveillance of telecommunications: Data retention comes to roost - telephone and internet privacy to be abolished: see Statewatch analysis of proposed EU Framework Decision:

- proposal broader in scope than 2002 version; grave gaps in civil liberties protection remain;
- data to be held for between 12 and 36 months, though member states can opt for longer if they choose;
- data to be retained extended from "traffic data" to traffic and "location data";
- scope extended from 32 specific offences to any crime;
- scope extended from specific investigations and prosecutions to "prevention and detection" of crime;
- "This is a proposal so intrusive that Ashcroft, Ridge and company can only dream about it, exceeding even the US Patriot Act"

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 29 April 2004: JHA Press release (pdf) - EU Council agrees on the surveillance of all airline passengers: PNR Directive, adopted text (pdf) - Controversial Directive on asylum procedures also agreed (see next item)

EU: Amended proposed Directive on minimum standards on procedure for granting and withdrawing refugee status: Full-text (23.4.04, pdf). See also ECRE, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch: NGO press release "expressing deep concern at the expected agreement in breach of international law" (28.4.04, link). This follows an earlier call for the draft Directive on asylum procedures to be scrapped. The EU is expected to adopt the proposal at the JHA Council on 29-30 April.

Another text prepared for the JHA Council is a draft "Minimum common list of safe countries of origin" Full-text (21.4.04, pdf). The countries named are: Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Senegal, Uruguay in addition to Bulgaria and Romania - though there are suggestions that the list may be dropped as there is not agreement on it.

UK: "Mistaken Identity" - public meeting on ID cards, 19 May 2004, LSE, London: Details of meeting

EU-PNR: UK parliament committee still has proposal under scrutiny -- Government has not even sent the latest draft Directive to parliament, how many other national parliaments has this happened to? Report and Letter

EU-PNR: JHA Council to agree the surveillance of all airline passengers: Report and documents

- "This is a classic case of sacrificing democratic standards in the name of the "war on terrorism" which is meant to be defending democracy"

- data can be kept indefinitely by law enforcement agencies and dubious legal basis: European Commission wanted the Council to delay decision so as not to deal "piecemeal with law enforcement issues"

Statewatch European Monitor vol 4 no 4 (April 2004) published: monthly round-up of developments in EU justice and home affairs policy: Monitor

UK: "The Government intends to introduce, a national compulsory ID cards scheme using an individual biometric identifier linked to a new national database" to fight "terrorism" and give "the freedom to do easily things like travel to Florida on holiday" - David Blunkett, Home Secretary: Report

UK: Identity Card Bill published: White Paper with Identity Card Bill (pdf, 554k) Identity Card Bill (pdf, 300k)

EU-PNR: JHA Council to agree the surveillance of all airline passengers? Report

EU-US container security agreement signed: Press release Full-text of EU Decision Background: 1) Member States by-pass Commission 2) EU-US negotiations start

USA forced to put off demand for biometric passports for EU visitors for two years: Report

EU-US passenger name record (PNR) deal - where now? Report

Olympics: Athens Olympics under the shadow of anti-Muslim racism IRR News Service

European Parliament votes to go to court: 12.00 Wednesday. Plenary just voted 276 in favour, 260 against, 13 abstentions to refer the PNR agreement to the ECJ for opinion under Article 300(6): Report

European Parliament debate taking the Commission to court on EU-US PNR deal: Report

Ireland: Irish Council for Civil Liberties: "The proposed referendum is an insult to the citizens of Ireland": ICCL (link)

EU-US PNR (passenger name record) "deal" to go for a second vote in European Parliament: Report

EU-PNR: The European Parliament's Committee on Citizens' Right and Freedoms has adopted a Second Report on the proposal for an EU-PNR (passenger name record) scheme which unanimously rejects the proposal (the first Report was agreed by 20 votes to 4 with 9 abstentions and referred by to the Committee by the plenary session). At their meeting on 5 April the Committee heard about the significant changes agreed by the Council on 30 March. Second Report (pdf) agreed by the Committee. The first report: Report on EU-PNR scheme (pdf).

The proposed Directive was put forward by the Spanish government last year and was radically altered by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 30 March, see: Report and draft Directive  As the much-changed draft Directive is a member state initiative, by Spain, it has to be formally adopted by 1 May or it falls under the Amsterdam Treaty provisions.

UN Commission on Human Rights to be told of UK government's lack of response on Northern Ireland: Speech to Commission

EU: Full-text of EC Directive on definition of a refugee and content of status, agreed by Justice and Home Affairs Council, 30 March 2004: Directive (pdf file)

UK: Children Bill to introduce surveillance of every child and record "concerns" about their parents: Report

UK: New Special Branch guidelines published: Report and documentation

UK: Compulsory ID cards planned: Report

Europol analysis files - 146,183 personal records and counting: Report and analysis

"If a file reaches the size of a small or medium-sized city, it will hardly prove useful for efficient crime investigation" - Heiner Busch, CILIP

ACLU launches case to challenge US "No-Fly" watch-list: Report

European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee: Vote to go to the European Court of Justice to challenge Commission finding of "adequacy" on the proposed EU-US deal on transferring passenger data to the USA. The Committee voted in favour by 16 votes to 12 with no abstentions. The PSE (Socialist), Green/EFA, GUE (United Left), ELDR (Liberals) and Radical groups voted in favour. The PPE (Conservatives) voted against.Mme Boogerd Quaak (ELDR), Mme Paciotti (PSE) and Mr Cappato (Radicals) intervened strongly in favour of asking for the opinion of the court. See: Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA

EU biometric passports: European Parliament's Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights meeting in Brussels today (6.4.04) decided to delay its report on the European Commission's proposal for EU biometric passports until the autumn. The rapporteur, Ole Sørensen MEP (ELDR) said that: "The European Parliament is not in a position to endorse the proposals& as long as the commission does not put its cards on the table and fully inform us of its strategy. We need proper democratic scrutiny of this far-reaching legislation, which in the worst case scenario could represent a step towards systematic registration of EU citizens' personal data."

The decision postpones consideration of legislative proposals on biometrics in visas and passports until after the European elections. Under the EU's 'consultation' procedure COM/2004/116 cannot be adopted without parliament's non-binding opinion. See: eupolitix.com (link). See also: Statewatch legal analysis: Legal analysis and Statewatch report on "The road to "1984" Part 2: Report including full-text of proposal.

The European Parliament's Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights today (6.4.04) rejected the proposed formal agreement, proposed by the European Commission, for the passing of passenger data (PNR) to the USA. The report by rapporteur, Mme Boogerd-Quaak was adopted: Full-text of report The Commission proposal, draft agreement with the USA: Full-text (pdf). The PSE (Socialist), Green/EFA, GUE (United Left), ELDR (Liberal) and Radical groups voted in favour - the PPE (Conservative group) voted against.

The parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee today voted narrowly to reject an opinion drafted by its President, Mr Brok, proposing acceptance of the international agreement with the USA on PNR.

The European Parliament's Transport Committee: 6.4.04: The Committee decided not to adopt a report on the Commission's proposals on EU driving licences - including plastic card licences with a microchip. The two biggest groups in the parliament the PPE (Conservatives) and PSE (Socialist) joined forces to put the measure on hold. This was the last chance for the parliament to give its opinion before the June European elections. See: EU driving licences to be renewed every 10 years and new security features added each time: Report

Eurojust: 1st report from Eurojust's Joint Supervisory Body (JSB): Eurojust JSB report (pdf)

EU's Security Regulations amended: Amendment (pdf) see also: FOI in the EU

EU issues updated list of "terrorist organisations and persons" (updated 2.4.04): Updated lists

5.4.04: EU Summit on combating terrorism (25 March 2004): Timetable (pdf)

Key documents: EU Summit:
Declaration on combating terrorism (pdf) Statewatch's analysis finding 27 out of 57 proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf) Statewatch coverage of the conclusions: Summit nods through "EU Homeland Security" package

UK: "Many of those that will be questioned will be Muslims": Report

UK: Prime Minister says there is "no longer a civil liberties objection" to ID cards: Report and background

Northern Ireland: Cory report into the murders of Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill, Rosemary Nelson and Billy Wright published, public inquiries to follow: Cory report

EU-PNR scheme: The European Parliament referred back to the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights a report on the draft Directive on "the obligation of carriers to communicate passenger data" and calling for it to be withdrawn. The report: EP Report on EU-PNR scheme (pdf). The Directive was put forward by the Spanish government last year and was radically altered by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 30 March, see: Report and draft Directive  As the much-changed draft Directive is a member state initiative, by Spain, it has to be formally adopted by 1 May or it falls under the Amsterdam Treaty provisions.

March 2004

EU: Full-text of the Resolution adopted by the European Parliament at its plenary session on 31 March 2004 opposing the transfer of passenger data (PNR) to the USA and reserving the right to take the issue to the European Court of Justice: EP Resolution (pdf) Following yesterday's vote on the latter the Chair of the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights has written to the European Commission informing them formally of the parliament's views: Letter (French - pdf)

EU to adopt Spanish proposal on passenger name record scheme (PNR) - UK demands that data can be kept indefinitely and accessible by all law enforcement agencies agreed: Report and draft Directive

31.3.04: European Parliament voted 229 votes to 202, with 19 abstentions to back a Resolution opposing the transfer of passenger name records (PNR, personal data) to the USA. The parliament refers back the Commission's finding that the "Undertakings" given by the USA are "adequate" and reserves the right to take the matter to the European Court of Justice. The PPE (Conservative group) opposed the Resolution. The PSE (Socialist group) backed the Resolution - but some PSE national delegations, including that from the UK Labour Party - joined the PPE in opposing the Resolution. The key points adopted are:

a. the Commission has exceeded its executive powers
b. Calls upon the Commission to withdraw the draft decision
c. reserves the right to appeal to the Court of Justice should the draft decision be adopted by the Commission; reminds the Commission of the requirement for cooperation between institutions which is laid down in Article 10 of the Treaty

1.
Resolution adopted by the European Parliment on 31.3.04 on transfer of data to USA (pdf)
2
. The draft agreement with the USA: Full-text (pdf)
3. Commission finding of "adequacy" plus US "Undertakings" (pdf)
4. For the full background see Statewatch's Observatory on PNR

EU: Commission publishes Communication on measures to combat terrorism and other forms of serious crime through exchanges of information plus proposal for Council Decision on the exchange of information and cooperation concerning terrorist offences: COM 221 (full-text, pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 30 March 2004: Press release (pdf)

EU Summit, 25 March 2004: Key documents:

- Adopted:
Declaration on combating terrorism (pdf)
- Statewatch's analysis finding 27 out of 57 proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism they deal with crime in general and surveillance:
Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf)
- Statewatch coverage of the conclusions:
Summit nods through "EU Homeland Security" package

EU Data Protection Article 29 Working Party adopted working document on "Genetic Data": WP 91 full-text (pdf)

"No One is Illegal" (NOII), which campaigns for the total abolition of immigration controls, have published their Manifesto in: English, French and German (links)

EU: Mr Solana to meet the new Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Mr Gijs de Vries, on 30 March: Press release and short biography of Mr Vries Two-page Solana-Vries summary of: Press briefing (30.3.04)

EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, 30 March 2004 in Brussels: Background document (pdf). In "Brussels-speak" the "orientation debate" on minimum standards on procedures for granting and withdrawing refugee status means there are still disagreements between the EU governments on its final form - see: Leading EU NGOs calls for the withdrawal of the Directive on minimum standards on prcoedures for granting and withdrawing refugee status: Letter (pdf)

Civil rights groups warn of grave dangers in international biometric passport system - Files & Biometric Identifiers on More Than a Billion Passengers to be Computerised and Shared Globally by 2015: Letter to the ICAO and documentation

Leading EU NGOs calls for the withdrawal of the Directive on minimum standards on prcoedures for granting and withdrawing refugee status: Letter (pdf)

UK: Muslims new victims of stop and search: Guardian and "They showed disrespect" (links). See also: Statewatch study: UK: Anti-terrorist stop & searches target Muslim communities: Report and analysis

Brussels: Meeting on the protection of journalists' sources: Report

EU Summit (25-26 March) agrees that EU Constitution to be agreed by June 2004:

Report on the InterGovernmental Conference from the Irish Presidency:
CIG 70 (pdf)
See also Statewatch's
Observatory on the EU Constitution

Summit nods through "EU Homeland Security" package, 25 March 2004: Report and documentation

"the two most intrusive measures in the pipeline - mandatory retention of communications data and the compulsory fingerprinting of nearly everyone in Europe for biometric documents - did not even get into the draconian US Homeland Security package, their citizens were up in arms when these ideas were floated"

Statewatch sends critical briefing on the European Evidence Warrant to the European Parliament: Analysis and proposed amendments

Exclusive: Statewatch's "Scoreboard" and analysis on the threats to civil liberties and privacy in EU terrorism plans shows that 27 of the 57 proposals on the table have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism - they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Scoreboard and analysis

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Under the guise of tackling terrorism the EU is planning to bring in a swathe of measures to do with crime and the surveillance of the whole population. After the dreadful loss of life and injuries in Madrid we need a response that unites Europe rather than divides it"

UK: Government response to Home Affairs Committee report on Asylum Applications: Cm 6166 (pdf)

UK: House of Commons Select Committee on European Scrutiny issues a critical report on the European Security Research Plan: 12th report (link)

European Parliament vote on PNR (passenger name record) EU-US deal: A US diplomat is quoted as saying: "We would have no problem with US airlines handing information over to the EU" - does this mean US airlines will hand over personal data on everyone, including US citizens flying to the EU? See: eu.politix.com (link) and another story saying that the parliament has "mispresented" the US case: eu.politix.com (link). At the same time COREPER (the committee of permanent representatives of the 15 EU governments in Brussels) is set to agree the draft agreement with the USA: Full-text (pdf). For the full background see Statewatch's Observatory on PNR

Statewatch European Monitor vol 4 no 3 (March 2004) published: monthly round-up of developments in EU justice and home affairs policy: Monitor

European Parliament: EU-US PNR agreement: Rapporteur, Johanna Boogerd-Quaak (Vice Chair of the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights) responds to Elmar Brok's letter (below), see: Full-text of letter (pdf)

European Parliament: pro-US pressure put on MEPs prior to plenary vote on 30 March on EU-US passenger name record (PNR) agreement. The chair of the parliament's "Delegation for relations with the USA" has circulated a note from the European Commission pointing out the consequences of passing a critical Resolution: Text of letter (pdf). Elmar Brok, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee has written to the chair of the Citizens' Freedoms and Rights Committee backing the "deal" and saying - contrary to the report on the table and every report from the Article 29 Data Protection working party - that there is the right "balance" between security and the protection of civil liberties: Brok letter (pdf) See: European Parliament committee adopts highly critical report on EU-US passenger name record data (PNR): Report and documentation

"Security blankets", editorial in the Guardian newspaper on responses to terrorism: Guardian (link)

EU: Irish Presidency statement on JHA Council 19 March 2003: Report

EU: Emergency Justice and Home Affairs Council - press release, 19.3.04: Report and press release

European Parliament committee adopts highly critical report on EU-US passenger name record data (PNR): Report and documentation

UK: Belmarsh internee to be freed at last as Blunkett loses appeal: Report

Homeland Security comes to the EU: European Commission publishes Action Plan on terrorism (and crime): Report and documentation

- plans cover terrorism but also include measures which have nothing to do with combating terrorism
- fingerprinting for EU passports and ID cards to be mandatory
- European Registry on convictions to be created on all crimes
- European Registry of all travel documents to be created
- EU passenger name records (PNR) to be collected and put on database
- UK demanding EU-wide mandatory data retention of communications

Spain misled Germany over Madrid bombings - "Spanish authorities intentionally withheld information and misled German officials into believing the Basque separatists ETA were responsible for the Madrid bombings, according to Germany's federal criminal bureau": DW-World DE (link)

EU: Call for a new intelligence centre to be set up - Spanish intelligence knew that the government's "support of the military intervention in Iraq by the United States and its Allies constitutes without doubt a further risk factor for Spain": Report and documentation

UK:Ministers face new action over Camp Delta Britons - solicitor for two detainees gives government seven days to respond to threat of judicial review proceedings over interrogations: British citizens still held in Guantanamo (link)

EU: Irish Presidency announces plans to combat terrorism: Press statement (15.3.04)

updated: 15.3.04: An emergency meeting of the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Ministers Council will be held on Friday 19 March in Brussels (the last emergency meeting was held on 20 September 2001). It will precede the EU Summit (meeting of Prime Ministers) in Brussels on 25-26 March.

It is being suggested that new anti-terrorist measures may include a stricter EU-wide definition of terrorism: Full-text Framework Decision on combating terrorism (adopted 13 June 2002). Commission sources also suggest that pressure will be brought to bear on the five EU states (out of 15) who have yet to implement the European Arrest Warrant. This applies to crime in general rather than being a targeted anti-terrorist measure though it would affect a number of instances concerning alleged terrorist suspects where, under the old rules, the UK refused to extradite people for lack of evidence.

The Belgian Prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, has written to the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, calling for four new measures at the EU level: 1. The creation of an EU intelligence agency bringing together member states' police, intelligence and security agencies together with Europol. 2. Changing the law so that security agencies can cooperate across borders. 3. A new focus on arms trafficking and the "finance of extremist groups". 4. Better use of existing resources such as using the Schengen Information System to exchange intelligence.

Also on the table is the idea put forward by Javier Solana, the EU's security and defence chief, that a "special envoy" dedicated to counter-terrorism should be appointed.

14.3.04: The German Interior Minister has called for an emergency meeting of the EU Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers to discuss the implications of the Madrid bombings. "We are convinced that we have to take this possible development very seriously, as it would certainly lead to a new security assessment for all of Europe," said Otto Schily. (Note: i) under the Council's rules of procedure a meeting has to be called if one Member State asks for it; ii) after 11 September 2001 a special meeting of the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Ministers was convened on 20 September 2001).

EU: Irish Presidency writes to European governments about proposed action on terrorism, 12 March 2004 (Irish Presidency website). The Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, as President in Office of the European Council, has today written to all his colleagues in the aftermath of the horrific bombings in Madrid. In addition to arranging three minutes' silence to commemorate the victims at midday Madrid time on Monday 15 March, the Taoiseach has proposed that work on the review of the EU Action Plan on Terrorism be speeded up, and that the Presidency will make proposals for further concrete actions in the coming days. The aim is to adopt the Action Plan at the European Council meeting on 25 - 26 March.

There were nine revisions up to the last published version of the EU Action Plan on Terrorism is dated 14 November 2002: Full-text - 13909/1/02 (pdf), in addition a "Comprehensive plan to combat illegal immigration" was adopted on 27 February 2002: 6621/1/02 (pdf)

EU: UK Select Committee on the European Union has produced a report on the: Future role of the European Court of Justice (pdf)

The Daily Mirror newspaper publishes an exclusive interview with one of the young British citizens held in Guantanoma bay and now released: My hell in Camp X-ray (link) and Terror of torture in Cuba camp (link) and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time (link) Observer newspaper interviews: the full story of the Guantanamo Britons. The Observer's David Rose hears the Tipton Three give a harrowing account of their captivity in Cuba: Observer (link) and in detail: Observer (link)

Northern Ireland: 11 March: The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission today expressed its disappointment that the Law Lords have unanimously decided that standards required by the European Convention on Human Rights are not to be applied to investigations into killings occurring before October 2000. The Commission was reacting to the decision announced today by the House of Lords in a case brought by the son of Gervaise McKerr, who was shot dead by RUC officers at Tullygally Road in Lurgan on 11 November 1982: Press statement (pdf)

European Parliament slams EU data protection enforcement and opposes data transfer to USA: Report and Resolution

Video surveillance - data protection report: Article 29 Working Party

Northern Ireland: New book by investigative journalist Paul Larkin: "A very British Jihad - Collusion, conspiracy and cover-up in Northern Ireland": Press release and Contents (pdf) Beyond the Pale Publications (link)

Spain: Amnesty International condemns party platforms on human rights for the 14 March election: Report

Update, 5.3.04: EU plan for the USA to get access to personal details of airline passengers (PNR):

1. Full-text of the draft Commission Decision on the "adequacy" of the EU-US agreement on PNR plus amended US "Undertakings" - the latter should be read in conjunction with the "Undertakings" dated 12.1.04: 12 Jan "Undertakings" (pdf)

2. European Parliament "Resolution" highly critical of above Decision by the Commission and Council on access to passenger data (PNR), reserving the right to take the issue to the European Court of Justice: Draft Resolution (pdf)

Note: the "Motion for a Resolution" was presented to the Citizens' Freedoms and Rights Committee on 18 February 2004. It will be discussed in Strasbourg on 9 March and voted on 18 March. The motion will then go before the plenary session of the European Parliament on 30 March.

UK: Full-text of speech by the Lord Chief Justice in which Lord Woolf attacks the asylum and immigration Bill, the proposed "Supreme Court", Home Office interference with the independence of the judiciary and the government's constitutional reform proposals: Speech by Lord Woolf

UK: £1 million terrorism case collapses: "Were this prosecution to continue, it would bring the administration of justice into disrepute" - Judge Richard Haworth: Report

February 2004

Draft European Parliament Resolution highly critical of EU-US plan for access to passenger data (PNR), reserving the right to take the issue to the European Court of Justice: draft Resolution (pdf)

Latest on EU plan for the USA to get access to personal details of airline passengers (PNR):

- European Parliament rapporteur writes to national parliaments:
Text of letter (pdf)
- Speech by Stafano Rodota, chair of the EU's Article 29 Data Protection Working Party to the European Parliament's Committee of Citizens' Freedoms and rights:
Text of speech (pdf)
- text of the draft
Commission Decision on the "adequacy" of the EU-US agreement on PNR as agreed at the General Affairs Council on 16.2.04 plus amended pages 7-10 of the US "Undertakings" - the latter should be read in conjunction with the "Undertakings" dated 12 January: 12 Jan version of "Undertakings" (pdf)

"Our common values are brought about by a clash of cultures", A Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations: Guardian (link)

UK GCHQ spied on Kofi Annan says ex-Cabinet Minister: Transcript of Clare Short's interview on BBC Radio 4 (link)

- Guardian newspaper coverage of government's decision to withdraw its prosecution of Katherine Gun (who was employed at GCHQ): Spy case casts fresh doubt on war legality (link), interview with Katherine Gun (link) and background on: US bugging operation run by GCHQ

- original memo from the NSA in the USA asking for GCHQ's interception of communications from Angola, Cameroon, Chile Bulgaria and Guinea prior to the second UN vote on Iraq (which failed):
Memo (pdf)

Note: GCHQ is the Government Communications Headquarters which, in conjunction with the National Security Agency (NSA) in the USA, has conducted global communications interceptions since the UKUSA agreement of 1947.

MI5 staff to rise from 2,000 to 3,000 and extra money for Special Branch: Report

UK: Constitutional Affairs all-party parliamentary committee heavily criticises government plans to change the asylum and immigration appeals system: Commmittee report (full-text, pdf)

EU security research agenda: List of "personalities" but how much power should they have? Did the Commission simply reproduce the recommendations of the "Group of Personalities" in its Communication? Report and list

Canada: Public inquiry into Maher Arar case - how about al-Rawi and al-Banna? Lessons for Britain in Canadian outcry over ordeal of Maher Arar: Report

UK: Government publishes a discussion paper on: "Counter-terrorism powers: reconciling security and liberty in an open society" (Cm 6147): Full-text (pdf). This is a response to the report by a Committee of senior parliamentarians who called for for Britain's Guantanamo Bay to be scrapped as "a matter of urgency": Story and full-text of their report

Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights published an intervention too: "Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001: Statutory Review and Continuance of Part 4: Report - Paper 38 (pdf)

updated 25.2.04: Sweden: Gothenburg police chief acquitted over events of June 2001- but prosecutor has appealed the decision: Report

Germany's refugee politics and its deadly consequences: 1993 to 2003: Anti Racist Initiative Berlin publishes its annual report documenting deaths and injuries of refugees, in more than 3,400 individual cases, that resulted directly and indirectly from Germany's refugee policy: Report

Public Hearing in European Parliament on "Biometrics, privacy and security: Striking the right balance", Tuesday 2 March 9.00 - 12.30: Details and agenda (pdf)

EU planning joint expulsion flights - even though decision not yet adopted. Commissioner Vittorino calls on member states "to educate their citizens that joint flights have nothing to do with collective expulsion": Report

EU driving licences: UK calls for multi-use, interoperable, licences: Report

Italy: Demonstration in Rome against new drug law: Report

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 19 February: Press release

Commissions EU biometric passport proposal exceeds the ECs powers, Statewatch legal analysis concludes:

"no powers conferred upon the EC by the EC Treaty, taken separately or together, confer upon the EC the power to adopt the proposed Regulation": Legal analysis

The road to "1984" Part 2: EU: Everyone will have to have a facial scan taken and give their fingerprints ("biometrics") to get a passport: Report including full-text of proposal

Statewatch European Monitor vol 4 no 2 (February 2004) published: monthly round-up of developments in EU justice and home affairs policy: Monitor This issue contains a Statewatch report on: "From the Schengen Information System to SIS II and the Visa Information System (VIS): the proposals explained" by Ben Hayes (44 pages, 16,000 words). Here is the Executive Summary of the Report

Malta: Ombudsman criticises police use of handcuffs on immigrants: Report

EU: UK parliamentary committee strongly criticises Commission report on PNR: Report and letter

EU: Security research programme to look at creating "smart" biometric documents which will "locate,identify and follow the movement of persons" through "automatic chips with positioning": Report and documentation

EU leads call for global agreement on the exchange of passenger data (PNR): Report

EU draft Decision on the "adequacy" of the US "Undertakings" on access to PNR: Full-text and analysis

"Privacy is one of the basic values of human life and personal data is the main gateway enabling entry into it. The citizens of countries that experienced a period of totalitarian regimes have that a hard experience - when privacy was not considered of value and was sacrificed to the interest of the state" (Hana Stepankova, Czech Office for Personal Data Protection, on handing over personal passenger data to the USA, Prague Post, 11.12.03)

UK parliament committee criticises EU plan for collection of PNR data: Full-text of report

UK: Asylum Bill: Lord Chief Justice condemns asylum proposals (Guardian link) and Joint Human Rights Committee issues report on Bill (HL Paper 35): Report (pdf)

EU: Asylum procedures package - latest proposals from the Irish Presidency:

Orientation debate on safe countries of origin (doc no: 5712/04) (pdf)
Minimum standards for people needing international protection (doc no: 5926/04) (pdf)
Orientation debate on appeals (doc no: 5970/04, 9.2.04) (pdf)
see also: Statewatch analysis: EU law on asylum procedures: An assault on human rights?
Analysis

Netherlands: Asylum - parliament agrees that 2,300 asylum-seekers to stay, 26,000 to be deported: Report

Italy: New drugs law heralds the mass criminalisation of drug users: Briefing paper (4,000 words) Briefing paper (pdf)

Italy: Medici Senza Frontiere (MSF) publishes a damning report on conditions in Italy's detention centres for foreigners: Report

Statewatch special: EU planning to nod through use of PNR data for use by CAPPS II: Report and documentation

UK: Gareth Peirce, lawyer, article on Home Secretary's proposal to introduce secret trials for "suspected" terrorists: Gareth Pierce

Comments from USA: "Undertakings" by the USA on use of reservation data: The Practical Nomad

Germany: Police on trial over death of Sudanese asylum-seeker: Report

American Civil Liberties Union says EU passenger data will get little or no privacy protection: Memorandum

"European passenger data that is shared with the United States will receive little or no protection. Individuals targeted for scrutiny by U.S. officials will have no recourse as their most personal medical and financial is examined and processed in ways they never imagined and never contemplated when they purchased an airline ticket"

EU's data protection working party produces damning report on EU-US exchange of passenger data: Report and documentation

Statewatch exclusive: Full-text of EU-US agreement on the transfer of personal data: EU-US agreement

Privacy International report on transfer of PNR data to USA: Press release and report
Report on Transfers of Air Passenger Data to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Report discloses covert EU strategy to establish regime of global travel surveillance
Negotiations by the European Commission described as "systematic deception and subterfuge".

January 2004

UK: Public meeting on the ouster "clause" in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill: An end to the rule of law? (pdf) Wednesday 11 February 2004

Clause 10 of the Bill creates a precedent. The clause prevents any judicial scrutiny of decisions of the new Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and allows only reference by the President of the new single tier tribunal to the Court of Appeal for an "opinion". The clause also prevents judicial scrutiny of removal, deportation and associated decisions of the Home Secretary and Home Office officials. This meeting is convened by the BIHR and ILPA to ensure that judges, lawyers, academics and all committed to the rule of law are made aware of these proposals to deny access to the courts in asylum and immigration cases.

EU PNR scheme: Irish Presidency seeking to push through plan for the surveillance of travel: Report and background

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council in Dublin, 22-23 January 2003 - documentation:

-
European Returns Policy (pdf)
Reports say that most Ministers agreed that the "returns policy" should be run by the planned EU Border Management Agency
-
Procedures Directive - Safe Third Countries (pdf)
-
Organised crime (pdf)
- 30 million euro fund for joint charter flight to expel refugees:
Financial Times (Link)

Italy: Data retention not only a privacy issue: Civil rights and ambiguity of crime prevention. A statement by ALCEI January 24, 2004: Statement

USA vetting French pilots and cabin crew from Muslim countries: Report

EU: Belgian Privacy Committee supports MEP's complaint on illegal transfer of personal data to USA: Finding

UK to require biometric data for visas from five African countries: visa applicants and those with 1951 Convention travel documents to be fingerprinted before departure: Report

Five million people on US suspected terrorist list in April 2002: Toronto Sun (link)

UK: Anti-terrorist stop & searches target Muslim communities: Report and analysis

UK: Civil Contingencies Bill: Britain's Patriot Act - revised, and just as dangerous as before: Analysis

- some clauses dropped but overall powers remain a great danger to democracy
- government, not head of state, to declare "state of emergency"
- powers to ban protests and travel unchanged
- powers to control or withdraw e-mails and websites services added

Spain: A land of asylum? article by Delia Blanco president of the Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR): Article

Commission did agree that PNR data can be used for CAPPS II testing, but the question is why? Report and analysis

- contrary to Mr Bolkestein's claim a whole host of US agencies will have access to the data
- lifetime travel dossiers to be created and held for 100 years on every traveller

Statewatch European Monitor vol 4 no 1 published: monthly round-up of developments in EU justice and
home affairs policy: Monitor

UK applies new simplified extradition procedures to USA and over a hundred other countries: Analysis

- controversial UK-US treaty ratified
- use of Statutory Instrument "an abuse of democracy"- shadow Home Secretary
- UK Extradition Act 2003 given full effect
- UK citizens and non-nationals may now be extradited on the basis of "information" rather than actual "evidence" to 108 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe

USA to use EU PNR data for CAPPS II testing despite assurances the agreement would not cover it: Report

Italy to retain communications data for five years: Report

Flights from France cancelled due to "mistaken identity" by US security agencies using PNR: Report

European Arrest Warrant limps into force: Report and documentation

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