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18th year reporting on civil liberties and the state in the European Union (updated 10.12.16) Editor: Tony Bunyan
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Council of Europe: Turkey had good reasons to declare the state of emergency but went too far with the emergency measures: Venice Commission (link):
"Venice, 09.12.2016 An opinion adopted today by the Council of Europes constitutional law experts the Venice Commission concludes that Turkish authorities had been confronted with a dangerous armed conspiracy and had good reasons to declare the state of emergency, but that measures taken by the Government went beyond what is permitted by the Turkish Constitution and by international law. ...
Even though provisions of the Turkish Constitution on the declaration of the state of emergency appear to be in line with common European standards, the Government implemented its emergency powers through ad hominem legislation. Thus, tens of thousands of public servants were dismissed on the basis of lists appended to emergency decree laws. Those collective dismissals did not refer to verifiable evidence, related to each individual case. According to the opinion, the speed with which those lists appeared implies that the collective dismissals were not accompanied even by a minimum of procedural safeguards. Those dismissals apparently are not subject to judicial review by the ordinary courts, or, at least, the accessibility of the judicial review remains a matter of controversy. Such method of purging the State apparatus creates a strong appearance of arbitrariness. "
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (7-9-12-16)
Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Concern about the situation of the media and journalists in many European countries (link):
"The PACE Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media today highlighted the large number of cases of threats and attacks against journalists and media outlets reported to the Council of Europe through the Platform it set up in 2015 to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists.
The report prepared by Volodymyr Ariev (Ukraine, EPP/CD) and adopted by the committee indicates that from April 2015 to November 2016, the Platform recorded 230 alerts in 31 member states 95 of those alerts had received an official reply by the State concerned and 23 cases had been resolved, while a total of 16 journalists had been killed over the period."
See Report: Attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe (pdf)
Job vacancy at the Institute of Race Relations (link):
"Are you passionate about racial justice?
Do you have good organisational and administrative skills? Would you relish the opportunity of working in a small team to help develop one of the UKs leading educational charities creating and disseminating analyses and information? If so, we might have just the job for you. The IRR is looking for a dynamic person to help in the day-to-day running of its office and the promotion of its research and educational materials. Academic qualifications are not as important to us as initiative, organisational skills, administrative know-how, and a collective approach to working."
UPDATED: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council,8-9 December, Brussels, 2016: Final press release (pdf)
- Main "B" Points Agenda (for discussion, pdf)
- "A" Points: legislative Agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf)
- "A" Points: non-legislative Agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf) and Additional matters (pdf)
- Background Note (pdf)
Human rights under unprecedented pressure world-wide (Scoop,link):
"In some parts of Europe, and in the United States, anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred, is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged. The rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists, meeting in ill-lit clubs or on the Deep Net. It is becoming part of normal daily discourse. "
NSA-GCHQ: American and British Spy Agencies Targeted In-Flight Mobile Phone Use (The Intercept, link):
"the emergence of a new field of espionage that had not yet been explored: the interception of data from phone calls made on board civil aircraft. In a separate internal document from a year earlier, the NSA reported that 50,000 people had already used their mobile phones in flight as of December 2008, a figure that rose to 100,000 by February 2009. The NSA attributed the increase to more planes equipped with in-flight GSM capability, less fear that a plane will crash due to making/receiving a call, not as expensive as people thought. The sky seemed to belong to the agency."
See: Five Eyes: In-flight GSM (pdf)
Netherlands: Wilders convicted for insulting Moroccans (euobserver, link):
"Dutch anti-EU politician Geert Wilders has been convicted by a Dutch court on Friday (9 December) for insulting a group and inciting discrimination, for remarks he made about Moroccans in 2014.
The court said it was legally and convincingly proven that Wilders had insulted Moroccans as a group when he rhetorically asked a crowd if there should be fewer Moroccans in the country.
However, the court did not impose a fine or jail sentence. Wilders was acquitted from the charge of inciting to hatred."
EU: Agreement between Council and European Parliament on the :
- Regulation amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders (pdf) including:
"verification that a person enjoying the right of free movement under Union law is not considered to be a threat to the internal security, public policy, international relations of any of the Member States or to public health, including by consulting the [ ] Schengen Information System and other relevant Union [ ] databases. [ ] This is without prejudice to the consultation of national and Interpol databases.."
- Letter from Council to parliament (pdf) The Civil Liberties Committee in the parliament is expected to adopt today (8 December)
The EU needs to make itself battle-ready (euobserver,link):
"A week before Christmas, EU heads of state and government are set to discuss security and defence at their regular European Council meeting in Brussels. It may not be a typical pre-holiday topic, but its urgency makes us focus on it even in the time of family gatherings and last-minute Christmas shopping.
After all, this should be a time of peace, which is exactly the objective of the upcoming discussion."
EU: DNA profiles to be included in the Schengen Information System?
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels this year and last, EU and national officials began another round of discussions on how to increase information-sharing amongst law enforcement authorities across the continent. Amongst a flurry of proposals included in a new "roadmap" on information exchange is a suggestion to include DNA profiles in the Schengen Information System, the EU-wide policing and migration database.
The roadmap was drawn up in May 2015 within the Council and received political approval from national justice and interior ministers at the JHA Council meeting in June 2016 (pdf): 'Theme 3' is "optimal use of European information systems", under which can be found item 11: "enhance the effectiveness of using the Schengen Information System (SIS)."
See: Roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management including interoperability solutions in the Justice and Home Affairs area (LIMITE doc no: 13554-REV-1-16, pdf)
Council of the European Union: From: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Subject: Foreign terrorist fighter returnees: Policy options (LIMITED doc no: 14799-16, pdf)
"Threat and risk analysis: Latest figures suggests that of the total number of European FTFs, around 15-20 % have died in theatre, 30-35 % have already returned and 50 % are still in Syria and Iraq (ie between 2.000 and 2.500 Europeans).... There are largely two categories of returnees: those in the majority that will drift back, and those who will be sent back on specific missions, which are of most concern.....
Given the changed Daesh communication focus in the West (no longer on building the Caliphate, territory, call not to travel to Syria or Iraq but instead staying home and committing attacks in the West), using returnees in our communication strategy to discourage future jihadi travellers from going to Daesh held territories may be less effective."
See also: Islamic State changing terror tactics to maintain threat in Europe (Europol press release, link) and Report (pdf)
Europol joins forces with counter-terrorism experts to undermine online terrorist propaganda (link):
"1814 pieces of terrorist and violent extremist online content have been assessed for the purpose of referral to online platforms during a two-day concerted action coordinated by Europol, in collaboration with representatives from dedicated units in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Romania. The processed content was in nine different languages and hosted by 35 online platforms. The final removal of the referred material is a voluntary activity by the concerned service providers, taken in reference to their own terms and conditions. ":
See also: Analysis: Policing the internet: from terrorism and extremism to content used by traffickers to attract migrants and refugees (Statewtch, pdf)
UK to double armed drone fleet in deal with US Predator manufacturer - General Atomics to provide 10 drones to Royal Air Force in $100m deal - fallon heralds addition of firepower, imaging and intelligence gathering (Guardian, link):
"Defense secretary Michael Fallon on Saturday announced a $125m (£100m) development deal with US arms manufacturer General Atomics under which the UK fleet of armed drones will double."
EU-USA: Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting of 5 December 2016 (Press release, pdf) Including:
"Both sides confirmed the completion of their internal approval procedures for the EU-U.S. Data Protection "Umbrella" Agreement, and welcomed this important step for strengthening data protection in law enforcement cooperation across the Atlantic. On that basis, the U.S Attorney General will now make the necessary designations under the Judicial Redress Act to allow the swift entry into force of the Agreement....[and]
The European Union stressed the importance of achieving full visa reciprocity with the United States as soon as possible." [emphasis added]
Council of Europe, OSCE voice serious concerns over changes to Polish laws on freedom of assembly (New Europe, link):
"European human rights officials have expressed serious concern over legal amendments passed last week in the Polish Sejm that could undermine the right to freedom of assembly if they become law.
Even inside Poland, the countrys ombudsman and human rights campaigners have criticised the bill, saying it will undermine Poles right to freedom of assembly by making it much harder to stage counter-demonstrations to rallies sponsored by the state or the church.
Lawmakers of Polands ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) approved the bill on its first reading, part of a wave of legislation the government says aims to strengthen traditional Catholic and national values.
The bill, which still has to clear a few hurdles before becoming law, would also transfer to government officials many powers now enjoyed by local governments on deciding whether to allow a public assembly to go ahead."
Commission 'shockingly passive' on Lithuania gay rights (euobserver, link):
"A group of MEPs has accused the European Commission of ignoring clear discrimination against gay people in Lithuania.
The commission told Lithuanian activists last month that it would take no action over a 2013 law that claims to protect children from propaganda, but has been used to ban all kinds of material and crack down on LGBT groups.
The response angered a group of MEPs, who wrote to commissioners Guenther Oettinger and Frans Timmermans, in charge of audiovisual policy and fundamental rights respectively, to deplore that they shied away from acting on "a clear case of discrimination". "
EU offers Denmark partial access to Europol database - sources (Reuters, link):
"The European Commission has offered Denmark partial access to Europol's database, following the Nordic country's vote to leave the cross-border police organization, government sources said on Tuesday.
In a precursor to the much more dramatic vote by the British in June to leave the European Union entirely, Danes last December rejected a government proposal for new laws needed to keep the country inside the European police agency."
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly:Join forces against cyberdiscrimination and online hate (link) and see Report: Ending cyberdiscrimination and online hate (pdf):
"The PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination today called on Council of Europe member states to take action to combat cyberdiscrimination and online hate through the adoption of effective legislation and awareness-raising and education programmes, as well as greater co-operation on the part of internet intermediaries. "
ID and police checks await all who enter and leave the EU (euobserver, link):
"Everyone, including EU nationals, will have their IDs checked against police databases under new draft rules every time they enter or exit the EU.
Backed by MEP negotiators and their EU state counterparts on Monday (5 December), the move is the latest in a series of security measures aimed at catching people who fought alongside the Islamic State militant group.
But the plan, which amends the Schengen Borders Code, is also designed to provide the police much greater insight into people suspected of other crimes. " [emphasis added]
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-12-16)
EU: Council of the European Union: Policies in the making: Exit-Entry System, EU Agency for Asylum & EURODAC and LEA access
- EES: Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) No 2016/399 as regards the use of the Entry/Exit System - Preparation of further steps (LIMITE-14700-16, 157 pages, pdf): Council developing its position prior to trilogue meeting with the European Parliament:
"a number of issues remains outstanding at this stage, including in particular:
- the calculation of the duration of stay in Member States not yet fully applying the Schengen acquis in full (Art. 3a);
- the conditions to grant access to the EES to law enforcement authorities (Chapter IV);
- the interaction between the EES and bilateral agreements (Art. 54) and
- the obligation/possibility of stamping travel documents in case of technical failure of the EES (Art. 19)"
"the new addition are highlighted in bold/underline. The changes already included in the previous version of the documents are highlighted in underline. Deletions of parts of the Commission proposals are marked as [ ].
- EU Agency for Asylum: Proposal for a Regulation on the European Union Agency for Asylum and repealing Regulation (EU) No 439/2010 (LIMITE doc no 14855-16, 93 pages, pdf): 136 Footnotes and a number of Member State positions:
"The objective of the Union's policy on asylum is to develop and establish a Common European Asylum System (CEAS), consistent with the values and humanitarian tradition of the European Union and governed by the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility."
"Presidency compromise suggestions to be discussed at the meeting of JHA Counsellors on 1 December 2016 are indicated with bold and [ ] as compared to the most recent version of the relevant provisions."
- EURODAC and LEA access: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of fingerprints... and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (LIMITE doc no 14710, 94 pages, pdf): Including Member States' positions: And includes: It's OK to use coercion on vulnerable persons and minors "if permitted under national law":
"Third-country nationals or stateless persons who are deemed to be vulnerable persons and minors should not be coerced into giving their fingerprints or facial image, except in duly justified circumstances that are permitted under national law.... [emphasis added]
Member States shall [ ] introduce administrative sanctions including the possibility to use means of coercion, in accordance with their national law, for non-compliance with providing biometric data...""
"The changes in the text of the draft Regulation as compared to the Commission proposal are indicated in bold and deleted text is marked in [ ], while amendments with regard to the latest text examined by the JHA Counsellors4 is indicated by underlining the insertion."
CoE: National human rights structures: protecting human rights while countering terrorism (Press release, link):
"states duty to prevent and combat terrorism should in no way be fulfilled at the expense of human rights standards and the common values in which European societies are grounded. This would be a mistake, since laws and policies that are human rights compliant preserve the values the terrorists are trying to destroy, weaken the pull of radicalisation, and strengthen the publics confidence in the rule of law and democratic institutions.
In this context, national human rights structures (NHRSs) have a vital role to play."
And see: Counter-terrorism operations in the South East of Turkey caused widespread human rights violations (Press release, link):
"Numerous human rights of a very large civilian population in South-Eastern Turkey have been violated as a result of curfews imposed and anti-terrorism operations conducted there since August 2015. I call on Turkey to stop using curfews in such a manner, investigate all allegations of human rights violations by state agents in an effective manner and put in place comprehensive schemes for redress and compensation. Failure to do so will further aggravate the initial violations said Nils Muinieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in a Memorandum published today. The Memorandum presents the findings of a visit that he conducted to Turkey (Istanbul, Diyarbakir and Ankara) from 6 to 14 April 2016, and a subsequent visit to Ankara from 27 to 29 September 2016."
See: Memorandum on the Human Rights Implications of Anti-Terrorism Operations in South-Eastern Turkey (pdf)
UK: 'Prevent' counter-extremism strategy faces legal challenge (BBC News, link):
"A key part of the government's counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, is to face a legal challenge in the High Court on Tuesday.
Salman Butt, a British Muslim activist, has launched legal action, saying he was named as a "non-violent extremist" by the government.
He says aspects of Prevent breach free speech rights. The Home Office has accused Dr Butt of expressing views that violate British values, something Mr Butt denies. "
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2-5-12-16)
EU: European Parliament: civil liberties committee approves Europol-Georgia cooperation agreement
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has given its consent to an agreement that would allow the exchange of information, including personal data, between EU policing agency Europol and Georgia. The Parliament has previously called on the Council not to authorise negotiations with Georgia and a number of other countries, but in any case parliamentary consent is not required for the approval of the agreement, an issue raised in the committee's report.
EU: Military might: Commission proposes 5.5 billion per year for defence research and equipment
The European Commission proposed on Wednesday (30 November) a 5.5 billion 'European Defence Fund' that would provide EU funds of 500 million per year for military research and development and 5 billion per year "from national contributions" for "Member States to develop certain assets together to reduce their costs." The Commission wants the EU to "demonstrate that it can act as a provider of hard as well as soft security".
UK: PSPO Watch: Hometown Zeros (Liberty, link):
"Enfield Council intends to implement a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) those clumsy and dangerous tools that have let local authorities ban any activity they reckon has a detrimental effect on others quality of life.
This power is so vague it can turn pretty much any innocent activity into a crime overnight.
In Hillingdon its a criminal act to gather in groups of just two or more unless youre waiting for a bus or going to or from a parked vehicle.
Salford City and Kettering Borough Councils have banned swearing while its now a crime in both Bassetlaw and Lancaster to do anything annoying. Anyone who breaches a PSPO faces an on-the-spot fine of up to £100 or a criminal record and a £1,000 penalty if they don't pay.
So you get an idea of how you might find yourself a whole lot less free if your council is the latest to catch the PSPO bug.
Enfield Council has consulted the public on plans to ban 18 separate activities or has it? Depends how you define public. And consultation."
EU: New centralised sources of data on migration launched
"On 2 December 2016, the European Commission's Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography (KCMD) launched two new tools: the Migration Data Catalogue and the Dynamic Data Hub. These tools centralise migration related data, to better understand migration flows, trends and their impact on societies across the EU."
Press release: Migration Data Catalogue and Dynamic Data Hub EU migration data at a glance (EU Science Hub, link)
See: the Migration Data Catalogue (link), which "will classify and organise datasets in a series of predefined domains, including legal migration and integration, asylum-seekers and refugees, irregular migration and returns, as well as unaccompanied minors"; and the Dynamic Data Hub (link), which "will validate information, highlight limitations and put migration data into context."
EU: The free space for data monopolies in Europe is shrinking (OpenDemocracy, link):
"[The] conditions created by a clash of jurisdictions, legal enforcements, and in particular slow political adaption to the fast-paced evolution of the Internet and new technologies, meant that the new primarily US-based tech companies grew on the European market. To an extend that they today not only hold the biggest troves of data on European citizens, but also occupy the seats as some of the biggest data business monopolies not only in Europe, but worldwide. This is a problem. Because in a time where data 'makes the world go round', sitting on too much of it with too much control, is a great risk to not only citizen rights but also equal market conditions."
"The previously free space in the EU for US tech giants is shrinking by the hour. In addition to the discussions revolving around the new EU data protection regulation, several significant lawsuits prompting large-scale media debate and political discourse have in particular focused on US tech companies' treatment of European law and European legislators' enforcement of it (or lack thereof). The Max Schrems cases against Facebook, the EU Court of Justice infamous Right to Be Forgotten ruling - just to mention a few. Key questions have been raised as to the legal jurisdiction of these tech companies' practices. Which rules and laws should they follow, particularly in relation to the collection and processing of data?"
UK: The seeds of post-Brexit racial violence lie in government policy (OpenDemocracy, link):
"Almost every utterance shouted alongside a specific racist attack was already a dominant ideological policy position. The hostile environment that Theresa May promised the country in 2012 has certainly become one on the ground.
Now, five months after the referendum, many organisations are in the business of explaining the horrific level of post-Brexit racial violence witnessed in the UK. That there was such a rise in violence is agreed on by everyone from newly created online forums like #postrefracism to police chiefs and home secretary Amber Rudd. What there is less agreement on is how to analyse and therefore combat such racism.
Individuals may have wielded the stick, politicians may have added during the Brexit debate to the toxic brew. Both have to be seen in a larger and historical context according to the radical think tank, the Institute of Race Relations. First, the IRR, which has collated a database of racial attacks in the UK since 2010, points out that though such violence indeed spiked during the summer, it should not be seen as something new. Second, it warns against treating such violence as merely a law and order problem. Such a view in fact depoliticises the issue and lets the government off the hook."
See: RACIAL VIOLENCE and the BREXIT STATE (pdf) by Jon Burnett (Institute of Race Relations)
UK: Remove first, appeal later provisions in force from today: new guidance published (Free Movement, link):
"The power under the Immigration Act 2016 to certify any human rights appeal, not just deportation appeals, for remove first, appeal later treatment came into force today, 1 December 2016...
Guidance has today been updated on how the power should be exercised by immigration officials: Section 94B of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Amongst the general updating, a new part has been added on the phased implementation for non deport cases."
Under-representation of women in political life undermines democratic processes in the Eastern Partnership countries: new study (Council of Europe, link):
"Democracy should apply to all women and men equally, concluded participants at an international conference that took place in Kyiv on 1 December, where a new regional study on the situation in Eastern Partnership countries was presented.
The event focused on womens political representation in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus).. The new study reveals that in all the countries surveyed women are less likely to run for political office and to be elected both to national parliaments and to local government bodies. The study shows that women hold fewer than 20% of seats in parliament in all the countries with the exception of Belarus, where 30% of parliamentary seats are held by women. Stereotypical views and assumptions about the role of women in society are among major barriers to womens political representation in all the countries examined. The study contains country-specific and general recommendations to politicians, parliamentarians and governments."
See the report: Council of Europe regional study: Women's political representation in the Eastern Partnership countries (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 December 2016: background briefing
Thursday: National justice ministers to discuss progress with European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), fight against fraud regarding EU finance, "criminal justice in cyberspace" (which concerns encryption, evidence held in the "cloud", international police and judicial cooperation).
Friday: Home affairs ministers will examine Entry/Exit System progress, migration ("focusing on the situation on the ground and the implementation of measures already agreed"), terrorism and organised crime (including foreign fighters and the French-German proposal on "cooperation between law enforcement agencies and electronic communications service providers"), common European asylum system.
See: Council of the European Union, JUSTICE and HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL Thursday 8 and Friday 9 December in Brussels (pdf)
ISRAEL: All Israelis Must Join Biometric Database, Minister Says (Hareetz, link):
"All residents of Israel are going to have to join the biometric database, which will include high-resolution facial photos and the fingerprints from both index fingers, Interior Minister Arye Dery announced on Thursday.
Individuals will be able to choose whether to save their fingerprints in the database or only on their identity cards and passports. If they refuse to save their prints in the database, however, identifying documents currently valid for 10 years will be valid only for five.
To date, biometric passports or IDs have been issued to approximately one million Israelis, who agreed to join the database on a volunteer basis.
The Knesset will have to pass legislation to make the database permanent. A memorandum with an amendment was distributed by the Interior Ministry and the public has 10 days to comment. The ministry expects the legislation to be passed by March."
EU-USA: Transatlantic law enforcement data deal gets go-ahead from European Parliament
The European Parliament has voted strongly in favour of the EU-US 'Umbrella Agreement' that, in theory, provides for the protection of personal data exchanged for law enforcement purposes. Attempts left and liberal MEPs to have the text rejected and to seek the European Court of Justice's opinion on its compatibility with the Charter of Fundamental Rights were rejected. The agreement is unlikely to provide what it promises.
EU: Major transnational operation against "mobile organised crime groups"
"Between 20 and 26 November 2016, law enforcement agencies from 10 European countries (the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Romania, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Ireland, Germany and Greece), coordinated by the National Police of the Netherlands and with the support of Europol, conducted the operation TRIVIUM 7 targeting Mobile Organised Crime Groups (MOCGs) and their infrastructure across the EU."
UK: Snoopers Charter: why journalists (and the rest of us) should be afraid (The Conversation, link):
"The Snoopers Charter mark two or Investigatory Powers Act which has recently passed into law demonstrates again how successful Islamist terrorism has been in changing British society into a secret state.
With the passing of the Act we have taken a step into a new world of permanent surveillance that was not deemed necessary in 30 years of The Troubles, four decades of the Cold War or during two world wars. Home secretary Amber Rudds comment that it is world-leading legislation is worthy of Orwells doublethink. One might ask, what part of the world are we leading exactly: North Korea, Cuba, China and Saudi Arabia?"
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30-11-16 and 1-12-16)
RACIAL VIOLENCE and the BREXIT STATE (pdf) by Jon Burnett (Institute of Race Relations)
In a pioneering study published today, the IRR takes a fresh look at the nature of racial hate crimes since the referendum. Through a detailed examination of cases on the IRRs unique database it establishes a link between the language and behaviour of perpetrators of such violence, the rhetoric and policy pronouncements of politicians over recent years and the stigmatising frameworks of the media.
It is convenient to condemn the spike in violence this summer, in which at least one person lost their life, as the acts of a thuggish minority. But an examination of over one hundred cases shows a link between the language and behaviour of perpetrators and the rhetoric and policy pronouncement of politicians, said IRR researcher, Dr. Jon Burnett.
EU: European Council: 15-16 December 2016: Draft guidelines for conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13936-16, pdf) :
On Migration: "assess and reaffirm its commitment to the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and assess progress on the compacts with the five selected African countries in terms of arrivals and returns," and
"assess progress on the reform of the Common European Asylum System, including on how to apply the principles of responsibility and solidarity in the future, on the basis of a report from the Presidency."
Regarding Members States the Council has to try and appease those against "responsibility and solidarity in the future", while hoping the European Parliament will unblock discussions on the Qualifications Regulation, the Reception Conditions Directive and the Procedures Regulation and the Resettlement file.
On Internal Security: Review progress on:
"systematic checks against the relevant databases, that must be interconnected, of all persons crossing the Union's external borders, including nationals from EU Member States; the entry/exit system; the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS); combatting terrorism; firearms; anti-money laundering; Passenger Name Record (PNR); and enhancing effective cooperation with electronic service providers." [emphasis added]
EU-USA "UMBRELLA" Agreement Two votes added on seeking ECJ opinion on EU-US data protection deal (Press release, pdf)
"President Schulz announced that two motions for resolutions, seeking a European Court of Justice opinion on the compatibility with the Treaties of the EU-US deal on protecting personal data exchanged for law enforcement purposes, will be put to the vote on Thursday, immediately before the vote on the recommendation drafted by Jan Philipp Albrecht.".
EU: ALDE on Europol report leak (New Europe, link):
"The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament has called on Europol director, Rob Wainwright, and Sir Julian King, the Security Union Commissioner, to clarify the facts related to a leaked report.
According to an ALDE press release, the leak relates to a breach in Europols security rules. The Dutch investigative television show Zembla reported that a Europol staffer took dossiers home and copied them to a backup drive that was linked to the internet.
This is extremely shocking. Europol was aware of this security incident since September, yet its director decided not to inform the parliament during a joint meeting of the European parliament and the national parliaments on Europol scrutiny just two days ago, Sophie int Veld, ALDE spokesperson for data protection, said."
See: ALDE press release (link) and also: Secret Europol terror data found online (BBC News, link)
EU: Frontex takes first step towards creating European coast guard (pdf):
"Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has called on EU member states and Schengen Associated Countries to provide officers for the newly adopted European Coast Guard Functions Officer profile, paving the way for the deployment of multi-national crews in the agencys maritime operations."
Germany: New German bill to massively limit privacy rights (New Europe, link):
"Data protection groups in Germany have criticised the governments new draft law that will no longer give citizens the right to know what data about them is being collected.
The draft law, which was released by the German union for data protection (DVD), revealed that the interior ministry was proposing to drastically limit the powers of Germanys data protection authorities, banning them from investigating suspected breaches of peoples medical and legal records, according to Deutsche Welle (DW), Germanys international broadcaster.
Thilo Weichert, former data protection commissioner for the state of Schleswig-Holstein and now DVD board member, condemned the interior ministrys plans as a massive erosion of privacy in Germany. The limitation of data protection controls in the medical field, which was a focal point of the [data protection] authorities up until now, is simply a disaster, Weichert said in a statement, adding that the ministrys bill was further proof that data protection is not currently seen as relevant by the government."
EU: Rights groups expose flaws in EU counterterrorism directive (euractiv, link)
"The European institutions reached an agreement yesterday (30 November) on a directive that is aimed at better equipping the EU with instruments to counter terrorism. But civil rights groups warned that it risks undermining fundamental freedoms.
A political agreement on the directive was reached by EU government representatives in the European Council (COREPER) yesterday, following negotiations with the European Parliament. Both the Council and Parliament are expected to sign off on the 37-page text without changes later this month."
Also: EU terror law risks making protest a crime (euobserver, link); "A new anti-terror law backed by EU states contains rules that could be used to crack down on civil dissent. Endorsed at the political level on Tuesday (30 November) by most EU states, the directive on combating terrorism has riled human rights activists for its vague notions of terrorism. The bill borrows heavily from recent laws in France that allow the authorities to tell internet firms, without any judicial oversight, to block sites that "glorify" terrorism. "
And see background: Directive on combating terrorism (Statewatch, SEMDOC)
EU-Turkey-Syria: Border between Syria and Turkey the death zone
"The truth is that the crisis has shifted. The wall, the German chancellor Angela Merkel under no circumstances wanted to see at the German border, was erected at the border to Syria by the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A concrete wall, several hundred kilometers long, three meters high is keeping migrants away. People are not dying in the Aegean sea anymore, as the number of boat crossings to Greece declined after the deal. Now, they die at the Turkish-Syrian border."
EU-Turkey: European Parliament: EU-Turkey relations: We are entering a new phase (Press release, pdf):
"More than 10 years after EU-Turkey accession talks started, MEPs adopted a resolution on 24 November calling for the negotiations to be suspended until the Turkish government ended its disproportionate and repressive response to July's failed coup. Ankara replied by threatening to let thousands of migrants pass through to Europe. Greek EPP member Manolis Kefalogiannis, head of Parliaments delegation to Turkey, commented: We are entering a new phase in EU-Turkey relations."
After Trump and Brexit, EU to launch defence research plan (euractiv, link):
"The European Union will unveil its biggest defence research plan in more than a decade on Wednesday (30 November) to reverse billions of euros in cuts and send a message to US President-elect Donald Trump that Europe wants to pay for its own security.
Part of a broader push to revitalise defence cooperation, the European Commission will propose a defence fund and seek to lift a ban on the EUs common budget and its development bank investing in military research."
80% of Roma are at risk of poverty, new survey finds (euobserver, link):
"Widespread deprivation is destroying Roma lives. Families are living excluded from society in shocking conditions, while children with little education face bleak prospects for the future, a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. The report analyses the gaps in Roma inclusion around the EU to guide Member States seeking to improve their integration policies."
See: Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey - Roma Selected findings (lnk)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.11.16)
Turkey's death penalty plans are blueprint for future (DW, link):
"Turkey's government is pressing on with its plans to bring back the death penalty despite the risk of dashing EU accession hopes. Tom Stevenson reports from Istanbul...
When Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) abolished capital punishment in 2004, the move was widely praised as evidence of the pragmatism and political maturity of the country's religious conservatives.
Turkey had not carried out a death penalty since 1984 but its legal abolition was hailed as a symbol of a break from the days of military rule under which figures such as former Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was hanged in 1960, and prominent left-wing activist Deniz Gezmis in 1971.
Just 12 years later, the same ruling party is in the final stages of preparing to reinstate capital punishment as part of a radical set of changes to Turkey's constitution that supporters and critics alike say will be a blueprint for the country's future."
European Parliament: In Parliament this week: EU budget, EU-US data flows, access to online content across borders (pdf):
"With both committee meetings and a plenary session taking place, members have a busy week in store for them in Brussels. In plenary, MEPs are expected to seal the deal with member states on the EU budget for 2017, as well as vote on an agreement with the United States about protecting personal data transferred for law enforcement purposes. Rules on ensuring access to online content for people travelling abroad and a cap on wholesale roaming charges are to be put to a vote in committees."
EU-UK: House of Commons: European Scrutiny Committee: Europol: opt-in Debate (pdf):
"Given this wider context, would opting into the new Europol Regulation be an anomaly at a time when the UK is seeking to loosen rather than strengthen its ties with EU institutions and agencies and to develop alternative methods of cooperation on policing and security matters? Conversely, would opting in help to bridge the gap between the UKs existing security arrangements with EU partners and agencies and the equally strong ties which the Government intends to develop once the UK has left the EU?"
UK: Home Office To Integrate Surveillance Cams With Police Database (link):
"The Law Enforcement Data Service is to include two existing police databases as well as the nationwide Automatic Number Plate Recognition system
The Home Office has been accused of operating a burgeoning surveillance capability outside of parliamentary oversight as it continues to expand the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)."
See: Surveillance Camera Commissioner - Annual report (pdf)
Data reform more complex than I thought, says EU commissioner (euobserver, link):
"The EU's ambition to allow data to freely cross borders could be more difficult to realise than it seemed, the EU commissioner for the digital single market has conceded.
It seems it is more complicated than I thought, Andrus Ansip told journalists on Friday."
EU pushes to finalise security laws (euobserver, link):
"The European commission is hoping to push through three bills on security before the end of the year, amid intensive lobbying and criticism from experts.
Julian King, the commissioner for security union, told MEPs on Monday (29 November) that the EU must respond to terrorism, cyber-crime and serious and organised crime.
"Neither terrorism nor organised crime respects national borders," he said.
A directive on combating terrorism, a directive on firearms, and an amendment to systematic ID checks for every EU national are on track to be finalised in the next few weeks."
UK: Investigatory Powers Act is UK's most extreme surveillance law (link)
"Digital rights campaigners, Open Rights Group has responded to the announcement that the Investigatory Powers Bill has received royal assent. Executive Director Jim Killock said:
Amber Rudd says the Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation. She is right, it is one of the most extreme surveillance laws ever passed in a democracy. Its impact will be felt beyond the UK as other countries, including authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records, will use this law to justify their own intrusive surveillance regimes."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.11.16)
EU: TRANSPARENCY: Access to information in Europe needs to be strengthened
"The surge in transparency laws over the last few decades does not mean it is a modern fad - it is important to remember it is a fundamental human right recognised by the European Court of Human Rights and other international bodies and courts such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee.
Access to information is also an instrumental right because it helps to facilitate citizen participation in decision making, hold public officials accountable, as well as to fight against corruption, defend civil liberties and guarantee freedom of expression. At the same time as being a right for everyone, it is an essential tool that enables journalists and civil society organisations to carry out their public watchdog functions as part of a democratic society.
Governments across Europe need to take seriously the duty to document information around decision-making processes; they should narrow application of exceptions to access and always taking into account any overriding public interest in full (or partial) disclosure of information. The proactive publication of information related to the decision-making process remains crucial, as the need to reduce the time taken to make information available to the public."
See: Europe: access to information in practice, not just on paper (Osservatorio balcani e caucaso transeuropa, link)
GREECE-TURKEY-FRONTEX: E.U. Border Agency Still Unaccountable on Refugees Rights (Refugees Deeply, link): "Last month, 10 Syrians boarded a flight organized and staffed by the European Unions border agency, Frontex, on the Greek island of Kos, believing their destination was Athens. Instead, they landed in the Turkish city of Adana.
The Syrians had wanted to seek international protection in Greece, and carried documents indicating their intention to initiate asylum procedures. They were never given deportation orders or offered an opportunity to mount a legal challenge to their deportation."
EU: Encryption: five Member States want Europe-wide laws, access to documents request shows
"Five EU countries said they want the European Commission to propose legislation that would make it easier for police to crack through encryption technology.
Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Hungary all want an EU law to be created to help their law enforcement authorities access encrypted information and share data with investigators in other countries.
Poland and Latvia want EU legislation to focus on making it easier to access data stored remotely in clouds, which are often operated by companies based in other EU countries or outside the 28-member bloc.
One of the most crucial aspects will be adopting new legislation that allows for acquisition of data stored in EU countries in the cloud, without forcing police to request data through official exchange agreements, Polish officials wrote."
See: Five member states want EU-wide laws on encryption (EurActiv, link)
And see: the documentation provided in response to an access to documents request: Input provided by MS on questionnaire on encryption in criminal cases (askthe EU.org, link). The request was made by Bits of Freedom (link).
UK: Project Servator: police expand scheme calling on public to act as "extra eyes and ears"
"Project Servator sees officers specially trained to deter, disrupt and detect crime using tactics developed and tested by security experts in partnership with the City of London Police. The scheme is now set to be rolled out across the country.
Project Servator deploys both highly visible and covert police officers alongside other resources such as dogs, horses, firearms, ANPR and CCTV in busy areas such as shopping centres and transport hubs. These deployments are unpredictable and intelligence-led and include officers trained to spot and resolve suspicious activity.
However, key to the success of Project Servator is the support of workers and visitors in and around crowded places, acting as extra eyes and ears to help make it even harder for criminals to succeed."
See: New police plan to mobilise communities and disrupt terrorists (National Police Chiefs' Council, link) and: Anti-terrorism patrols launch in London boroughs (BBC News, link)
UK: Growing recruitment of child soldiers, MoD statistics show
"New figures out this week show that 24 percent of British Army recruits are child soldiers. This is despite public opposition from the Quakers and other Christian and lay organisations campaigning to raise the age of enlistment. The Ministry of Defence released the UK armed forces biannual diversity statistics 2016. They show that the proportion of the Army's intake aged under 18 increased from 22.5 percent to 24.1 percent. The armed forces as a whole recruited 1,140 16 year olds and 1,250 17 year olds, from a total of 12,300 new recruits."
See: Peace groups voice concern as British Army increases recruitment of under-age soldiers (ICN, link). The relevant statistics are available in Table 8a of the spreadsheet hosted here: UK armed forces biannual diversity statistics: 2016 (gov.uk, link)
UK: Over 100,000 sign petition against Investigatory Powers Bill
"A petition demanding that the UKs new sweeping surveillance powers are repealed has garnered more than 100,000 signatures, the level at which Parliament can debate it.
Theresa Mays controversial Investigatory Powers Bill, which have been described as the most extreme snooping laws in a Western democracy, were approved by the House of Lords earlier this month and are set to pass into law in the coming weeks.
They require internet providers to store customers web histories for 12 months and make those records available to police, and write computer hacking by spy agencies into law."
See: Petition to repeal new surveillance powers reaches 100,000 signatures (The Telegraph, link) and: Snoopers Charter and Section 40 costs threat set to push UK yet further down Reporters Without Borders press freedom index (Reporters Without Borders, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26-27.11.16)
UK: Human rights watchdog asks UK to dampen divisive Brexit rhetoric - EHRC urges UK government to take a firm position against racist and homophobic attacks following the EU referendum (The Observer, link):
"The Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to the UK political parties asking them to tone down their Brexit rhetoric.
The EHRC suggests there needs to be a discussion about British values as the government looks to formalise the nations divorce from Brussels following the leave vote on 23 June. The commission states in the letter that racist, antisemitic and homophobic attacks that have taken place in the aftermath of the referendum are all stains on our society. We are concerned that attacks on supporters of both sides of the Brexit debate have polarised many parts of the country, the letter reads."
See: A letter to all political parties in Westminster (link)
UK: Pawel Legomina was on his way to work when arrested in Hove accused of rough sleeping (The Argos, link):
"A POLISH man threatened with deportation for sleeping rough claims he has lived and worked in the UK for three years and never spent a night on the streets.
Pawel Legomina was one of ten Europeans arrested in Brighton and Hove by immigration officers last Tuesday.
The operation, which was supported by Sussex Police, resulted in them being detained for breaching their legal right to be in the UK by sleeping rough under rules introduced in May, a Home Office spokeswoman said. "
EU: Ansip: No black and white fix to help police crack encryption (euractiv, link):
"Andrus Ansip, the EUs tech policy chief, insisted today that he is against laws that weaken encryption technology, but also that there is no black and white solution to help law enforcement authorities access secured data in investigations.
Ansip, a former Estonian prime minister who is now in charge of the European Commissions flagship digital single market policies, has previously argued against weakening encryption. He rebuffed calls from Europes capitals to require so-called backdoors to bypass secured technology following Apples drawn-out fight with American investigators over an encrypted iPhone earlier this year."
EU: Kick-off meeting for the European Judicial Cybercrime Network (link)
"Mr. Branislav Bohácik, Prosecutor, General Prosecutors Office of the Slovak Republic stated: "The establishment of the EJCN is the fulfilment of a long-standing wish of practitioners. In this network, they will be able to share their experiences and expertise and work closely together with their colleagues from the EU Member States to deal with the many challenges that they face during investigations and prosecution of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crimes, such as encryption."
See also: Cybercrime, encryption, obtaining evidence from the "cloud": report on Eurojust seminar "Keys to Cyberspace" (Statewatch)
BOOK REVIEW: Against Elections by David Van Reybrouck (Bodley Head)
Press release from the publisher
'Choosing our rulers by popular vote has failed to deliver true democratic government: that seems to be the verdict of history unfolding before our eyes. Cogently and persuasively, David Van Reybrouck pleads for a return to selection by lot, and outlines a range of well thought out plans for how sortitive democracy might be implemented.' [ J M Coetzee]
'In compelling us to subject all our received ideas and deeply-held convictions to rigorous scrutiny, this fine iconoclastic work could not be more timely.' [Karen Armstrong]
Democracy is in bad health. Against Elections offers a new diagnosis - and an ancient remedy.
UK immigration centres record 218 hunger strikers in three months - Figures obtained through FoI requests lay bare scale of desperation among asylum seekers in UK, with 649 on suicide watch (Guardian, link):
"According to figures released following a Freedom of Information request, 218 people refused to eat in July, August and September this year. It is thought to be the first time data revealing hunger strikes in detention centres has been made public.
Human rights campaigners said some of those striking wanted to die from starvation, while others were refusing food to protest their incarceration or urge reconsideration of their immigration application.
The data was obtained by No Deportations, an organisation that provides signposting information to people who are subject to immigration controls, after a lengthy battle with Home Office, which had declined to release the information."
UK: Hillsborough families take 'cover up' fight to High Court (Liverpool Echo, link):
"They allege that they suffered damage as a result of the anguish caused by the prolonged cover up...
A damages action brought by 465 people over the police cover up in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster has reached the High Court.
Their lawyers have applied for a group litigation order (GLO) as the most efficient and cost-effective way to manage the claim for misfeasance in public office against the chief constables of South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police.
The claimants are either relatives of the 96 Liverpool supporters who died as a result of the crush at the stadium in April 1989 - or those who were present and survived, or their family members."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24-25.11.16)
EU-TURKEY: European Parliament: Freeze EU accession talks with Turkey until it halts repression, urge MEPs (Press release, link)
"MEPs want a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey. In a resolution voted on Thursday, they say Turkey should nonetheless remain anchored to the EU. They also pledge to review their position when the "disproportionate repressive measures" under the state of emergency in Turkey are lifted.:...
The resolution was approved by 479 votes to 37, with 107 abstentions."
And see: Turkey threatens to end refugee deal in row over EU accession - President Erdogan issues warning after European parliament vote urging ministers to freeze talks on Turkey joining the EU (Guardian, link):
"Turkeys president has threatened to tear up a landmark deal to stem the flow of refugees into Europe a day after the European parliament urged governments to freeze EU accession talks with Ankara.
The threat underlines how far relations between Turkey and the European bloc have deteriorated in recent months, particularly after a coup attempt in July.
If Europe goes too far, we will allow refugees to pass from the border gates, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Friday at a womens rights conference. Do not forget, the west needs Turkey. Erdogans statements, the most direct warning yet that Turkey could abandon the agreement, came in response to a symbolic vote in the European parliament on Thursday that demanded an end to the decade-long accession negotiations."
EU-USA: Data Protection: "Umbrella" Agreement: European Parliament: EU-US deal on law enforcement data transfers backed by Civil Liberties Committee (Press release, pdf):
"The EU-US data protection framework, known as the Umbrella Agreement was backed by a large majority in the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday morning. The deal will ensure high, binding data protection standards for data exchanged by police and law enforcement authorities across the Atlantic.
The Umbrella Agreement covers the transfer of all personal data, such as names, addresses or criminal records, exchanged between the EU and US for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences, including terrorism....
[Vote in LIBE Committee]: 41 votes to 4, with 6 abstentions"
EU: European Parliament Studies
- The Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU institutional framework (pdf):
"looks into the role of the Charter in the legislative process; in the economic governance of the Union; in the work of EU agencies; in the implementation of EU law by EU Member States; and, in the external relations of the Union, both in trade and investment policies and in the Common Foreign and Security Policy. It also analyses certain gaps in the judicial protection of the Charter and identifies measures through which the potential of the Charter could be further realized."
- The Marrakesh Treaty (pdf):
"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament Policy Department for Citizens Rights and Constitutional Affairs upon request by the PETI Committee, provides an analysis of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Copyright Works for the Blind or Print-Disabled. It explains the background and movements that led to its proposal, negotiation and successful adoption. It then considers the Treatys current situation in relation to its content and issues around its ratification, particularly by the EU. It finally examines future developments around copyright reform and makes recommendations to EU institutions and Member States."
UK: Rotherham 12: the jury finds defendants not guilty (IRR News, link):
" We reproduce a statement made by the Rotherham 12 Campaign following not guilty verdicts on 16 November.
We want to thank the jury for delivering resounding Not Guilty verdicts for all the defendants in this case.
The verdicts are a game changer, and they will have immediate and long term consequences for race relations in the region and nationally..."
EU-USA: New leaks confirm TiSA proposals that would undermine civil liberties (EDRI, link):
"Today, on 25 November 2016, German blog Netzpolitik.org in association with Greenpeace published new leaked documents concerning the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), a trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between 23 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including the European Union.
The new leaks confirm the problems identified in previous leaks, including serious threats to freedom of expression and protection of personal data of European citizens."
UK Parliament Approves Unprecedented New Hacking and Surveillance Powers (The Intercept, link):
"There is no other democracy in the world, possibly no other country in the world, doing this."
EU: High-Level Group on law enforcement information-gathering and exchange: second report released
Two months after it took place, the Commission has released the minutes of the second meeting of the 'High-Level Group on Information Systems and Interoperability', which is tasked with "developing a joint strategy" to improve "data management" for internal security and the "protection" of external borders by mid-2017. The aim is to establish what information is currently unavailable to law enforcement officials across the EU and then work out how to make it accessible. The potential implications for privacy and data protection are significant.
See: European Commission, High-level expert group on information systems and interoperability - Second meeting - 20 September 2016 - Report (pdf)
UK: Rotherham 12: the jury finds defendants not guilty (IRR News, link):
"Below we reproduce a statement made by the Rotherham 12 Campaign following not guilty verdicts on 16 November.
We want to thank the jury for delivering resounding Not Guilty verdicts for all the defendants in this case.
The verdicts are a game changer, and they will have immediate and long term consequences for race relations in the region and nationally.
The jury, as representatives of the local population, have understood the impact of race and religious hatred fuelled by far right groups on the Asian Muslim residents of Rotherham. They have also understood the need for communities under siege to defend themselves when facing intolerable levels of racist threats and violence. That the racist killing of Mr Moshin Ahmed was a death too many.
Apart from the actions of the far-right groups, our anger is reserved for South Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service. The prosecution evidence clearly acknowledged that far-right groups were intent on causing community divisions and segregation, deliberate fear and intimidation and terror through perpetual acts of violence and murder. Instead of protecting the Asian Muslim community, the police too turned against us. It beggars belief, knowing what the police and the CPS knew, that the defendants were even arrested, never mind charged and dragged through a trial. On the day of the demonstration, 5 September 2015, the police led the local community towards danger and left them unprotected."
And see: Calls for inquiry after 10 Asian men cleared of violent disorder following Rotherham clashes (The Star, link):
"Ten Asian men who were cleared of violent disorder following clashes in the wake of two rival demonstrations in Rotherham have called for an inquiry into why they were prosecuted."
UK: Stand-off with prison profiteers at the Tower of London (Red Pepper, link):
"The Tower of London has been a tourist attraction for as long as anyone can remember. But on 15 November the infamous tower was back in action, opening its doors to host the European Custody and Detention Summit. Despite the talk of progressive reform, the £1,500 per head summit was a closed-door trade fair for private security corporations and their public partners."
EU Policies Put Refugees At Risk (Human Rights Watch, link):
"A lack of leadership, vision, and solidarity based on human rights principles are at the core of the European Unions dismal response to refugee and migration challenges. The mismanagement and politicization of a surge in boat migration in 2015, when over one million migrants and asylum seekers traveled to the EU by sea, has led to a humanitarian and political crisis largely of the EUs own making that needs to be addressed with the utmost urgency.
If chaos characterized the response of the EU and its member states in 2015, wrong-headed and rights-abusing policies have defined 2016. Instead of providing for safe and orderly channels into the EU for asylum seekers and refugees and sharing responsibility for them equitably, the EU and its member states have endorsed policies designed to limit arrivals and to outsource responsibility to regions and countries outside of the EU. The deeply flawed deal with Turkey and problematic cooperation with the Libyan authorities reflect this approach."
See the press release: EU: Show Leadership in Global Displacement Crisis (Human Rights Watch, link)
BELGIUM: Restrictions on legal aid in Belgium restrict access to justice
"A new law regarding legal aid in Belgium came into force on 1st September 2016. Fair Trials discussed its implications for criminal justice defendants and their lawyers with Crépine Uwashema, practising lawyer at Brussels-based law firm Jus Cogens and member of our Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP) network.
Fair Trials: So what has happened with legal aid in Belgium?
Crépine Uwashema: I find that this reform has made it harder for people to have access to legal aid. Resources have been cut down and especially for poor people it is very difficult now to access it."
See: Legal aid in Belgium: raising the bar for defendants and lawyers (Fair Trials, link)
BELGIUM: Yugoslav Spy Chief Convicted of Kosovo Dissidents Murder (Balkan Insight, link):
"A court in Brussels on Tuesday convicted Bozidar Spasic, the former head of special operations of the Yugoslav secret police, UDBA, and Serbian criminal gang members Andrija Draskovic and Veselin Vukotic, of the assassination of Kosovo rights activist Enver Hadri in the Belgian capital on February 25, 1990.
The investigation found that it was a political killing sponsored by UDBA, using the two gang members as the hitmen, Belgian media reported.
Two other suspects who allegedly participated in Hadris assassination, Andrija Lakonic and Darko Asanin, were murdered in Serbia in the 1990s.
Spasic, who was convicted of organising the killing of Hadri, is one of the most famous Yugoslav secret police operatives, working for the secret service from 1979 until 1993, when he suffered a heart attack."
And see: Kosovo Dissidents Serbian Assassins Given Life Sentences (Balkan Insight, link):
"The Assize Court in Brussels on Wednesday sentenced Bozidar Spasic, the former head of special operations of the Yugoslav secret police, UDBA, and Serbian crime gang members Andrija Draskovic and Veselin Vukotic to life in prison for the murder of Kosovo émigré rights activist Enver Hadri."
CROATIA: New National Security Strategy to Be Adopted in 2017 (Total Croatia News, link):
"The first session of the Commission for Drafting the National Security Strategy and Law on Homeland Security System, which was established by the government on 3 November and is chaired by Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic, was held this week, reports Jutarnji List on November 22, 2016.
The session was attended by Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence Igor Dragovan, representative of the Office of the President eljka Antunovic, and representatives of ministries, government bodies, and experts in the field of national security.
As head of both working groups, special adviser to the Defence Minister, retired General Dragutin Repinc, presented the timetable of activities. According to plans, the draft of the National Security Strategy will be ready by April 2017, when the public consultation period will be launched. Adoption of both documents in Parliament is expected in July 2017."
And see: Opposition Against Plans to Introduce Homeland Security Concept (Total Croatia News, link):
"Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security Ranko Ostojic (SDP) says that this is a very dangerous proposal. The first draft which was shown, that army should provide security on the streets or something similar, that is something which is absolutely unacceptable in a country in which rules are defined and civilian services exist to carry out these tasks, says Ostojic."
EU: Towards a EU strategy to promote civic space? (Vita International, link):
"The meeting was timely: our society is ever more polarised, discrimination, particularly against immigrants and ethnic minorities is on the rise and there is a growing distrust of citizens towards institutions at national and European level. At the same time civil society organisations face increasing restrictions to their civic freedoms in many countries across the world.
Participants discussed findings of an online survey that targeted civil society organisations in Europe during early 2016 in order to assess the perception of civil society organisations on key civic space freedoms (freedom of registration, assembly, expression), challenges and opportunities and their views on political trends in Europe.
Although the framework and legal conditions for civic space are well in place in European Union countries, the survey results confirmed some worrying developments in terms of the implementation of those rights."
And see: Europe-wide survey shows "trend for deterioration in key civic space freedoms" (Statewatch News Online)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.11.16)
UK: Thomas Mair guilty: Right-wing extremist convicted for MP Jo Cox murder in EU referendum run-up (The Indepenent, link):
"A white supremacist and "terrorist" has been found guilty of killing Labour MP Jo Cox in a planned and pre-meditated murder in the run-up to the EU referendum.
Thomas Mair was convicted by a jury of murdering the 41-year-old mother-of-two outside her West Yorkshire constituency surgery.
The quiet loner was jailed for a whole life sentence for what Ms Cox's widower Brendan branded "a political act and an act of terrorism"."
And see: Was Jo Cox's killer tried as a terrorist? (The Guardian, link):
"When Thomas Mairs trial began, many people queried why he was not being prosecuted as a terrorist. A frequent comment, on social media, was that he would have been, had he been a Muslim.
The answer is that Mair was indeed prosecuted as a terrorist, and this was made clear during preliminary hearings. This is the reason that he was tried in London, rather than Yorkshire."
How economic migrants become refugees as they seek a new life (The Independent, link):
"As right-wing politicians across Europe call for economic migrants to be deported or even left to drown in the Mediterranean Sea, analysts say the term is divorced from the harrowing reality faced by many of the men, women and children risking their lives to reach safety.
The passage from Libya to Italy, the deadliest crossing in the world, is now the dominant route after the controversial EU-Turkey deal aimed to close the comparatively safer and shorter path over the Aegean Sea.
Libya has been a draw for people seeking work across Africa for decades and the prospect of high wages and abundant construction work is still luring migrants unaware of the chaos and violence that awaits.
Migrants and refugees are frequently kidnapped by gangs in exchange for ransoms, being beaten, raped and tortured in squalid makeshift prisons, while others are detained in labour camps or forced into prostitution until they pay their way out.
With routes out of Libya controlled by militias and many borders closed, the only escape is flimsy rubber boats sent into the Mediterranean Sea by smugglers, who threaten to shoot anyone attempting to resist being packed into the overcrowded dinghies."
The FBI Hacked Over 8,000 Computers In 120 Countries Based on One Warrant (Motherboard, link):
"In January, Motherboard reported on the FBI's unprecedented hacking operation, in which the agency, using a single warrant, deployed malware to over one thousand alleged visitors of a dark web child pornography site. Now, it has emerged that the campaign was actually several orders of magnitude larger.
In all, the FBI obtained over 8,000 IP addresses, and hacked computers in 120 different countries, according to a transcript from a recent evidentiary hearing in a related case.
The figures illustrate the largest ever known law enforcement hacking campaign to date, and starkly demonstrate what the future of policing crime on the dark web may look like. This news comes as the US is preparing to usher in changes that would allow magistrate judges to authorize the mass hacking of computers, wherever in the world they may be located."
EU: Organised crime group behind illegal immigration dismantled (Eurojust, link):
"Today, the Prosecutors Office - Anti-Mafia District Directorate of Salerno, Italy, in close cooperation with the Public Prosecution Office of Karlsruhe, Germany and with the support of Eurojust, carried out an operation concerning an organised crime group (OCG) involved in facilitating illegal immigration of non-EU citizens into Europe. A total of ten people have been arrested and three house arrests were carried out by the Italian police (Mobile Squad of Salerno). Simultaneously, the German authorities executed several searches and a European Arrest Warrant against the main suspect, a German citizen of Somali origin.
The investigation started in spring 2015, following the docking of the military ship Chimera in the port of Salerno, carrying 545 Somali migrants, who were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tripoli by the Italian navy. Some migrants were left for three days without water, food and medicines, and were affected by scabies and high fever. For this reason, the OCG members, all of Somali origin, are also accused of harassment and inhumane treatment of the migrants during the journey from the Libyan coast to Italy."
UK: Destitute migrant families: study assesses voluntary sector work
"This study explores the role played by voluntary sector organisations [in England] providing services such as advice and material support to migrant children and families who are destitute. It seeks to explain one of the findings of a recent study conducted by COMPAS on the responses of local authorities to destitute children and their families, which observed that voluntary sector organisations found this area of work particularly challenging. The study seeks to identify the causes of those challenges, and how those challenges could be addressed."
The executive summary (pdf) identities five main challenges: 1. Structural imbalance in the sector; 2. Funding constraints; 3. Narrative: the deserving and the undeserving; 4. Fear of media attention; 5. Misunderstanding on the legality of provision to migrants.
Full report available on the COMPAS website: Meeting the challenge: Voluntary sector services for destitute migrant children and families (link)
Interpol: Use biometric data to find extremist fighters (Phys.org, link):
"Interpol urged all countries on Tuesday to obtain biometric data from fighters for the Islamic State and other extremist groups to help law enforcement track them down, especially when they return home.
Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in an interview with The Associated Press that the international police organization only has biometric datafingerprints, DNA, iris scans and the likefor about 10 percent of the 9,000 "foreign terrorist fighters" in its database.
Stock said Interpol is helping countries to develop biometric technology not only to identify fighters from extremist groups but criminals as well.
He cited the case of "a terrorist" who attacked a police station in France last year who had traveled across Europe using 20 different identitiessomething that could have been thwarted with biometric data."
EU: Meijers Committee note on EU-US 'Umbrella Agreement'
The Meijers Committee would like to welcome the Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences (further: the Umbrella Agreement) that has been submitted to the European Parliament for approval. However, with this note the Meijers Committee wants to express its concerns with regard to a number of issues. In addition to the comments expressed by the European Data Protection Supervisor, this note contains remarks on the effects of the Umbrella Agreement on existing agreements, judicial remedies and the legal basis. The Meijers Committee encourages the European Parliament to obtain clarifications on the following points.
See: Note on the EU-US Umbrella Agreement (pdf)
MACEDONIA: Special Prosecutor Investigates Secret Service for Illegal Wiretapping (OCCRP, link):
"Macedonias Special Prosecutors Office announced Friday it is investigating 10 current and former members of the Balkan countrys secret service for taking part in the illegal wiretapping of nearly 6,000 citizens between 2008 and 2015.
Fatime Fetai, the deputy head of the office, said the officials from the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK) were under investigation for carrying out the wiretaps without court orders, thereby breaching fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens.
Between 2008 and 2015, the Macedonian secret service allegedly intercepted the communications of at least 4,286 people without court orders ever being issued, OCCRP partner Nova TV reported. Another 1,541 citizens' communication devices were monitored, with court orders only being issued later."
EU: New counter-terror powers coming after hasty, secret negotiations on EU Directive completed
Less than a year after it was proposed, agreement on the EU's new counter-terrorism law has been reached following the seventh and final secret "trilogue" meeting on 17 November between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission. The final text of the new Directive (14673/16, LIMITE, pdf) is little-changed changed from a previous version published by Statewatch on 14 November.
The broad scope of the new Directive - which counts the criminalisation of "travel for terrorist purposes" amongst a number of new offences - has been criticised by civil society organisations and legal experts.
UK: Identity checks for healthcare?
"Patients could be told to bring two forms of identification including a passport to hospital to prove they are eligible for free treatment under new rules to stop so-called health tourism."
UK police chiefs hide high-risk Gulf training (Reprieve, link):
"The National Police Chiefs Council has refused to publish details about UK training provided to officers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, despite admitting the work poses human rights concerns. Human error had resulted in some information being released earlier this year about these projects that should not have been made public, it added.
In the 18 months from January 2015, UK police chiefs approved ten projects to train foreign forces where they identified that the work carried a human rights risk. The list includes countries that use the death penalty, with three applications for work in Saudi Arabia and two for Bahrain.
Police chiefs are refusing to release the documents about their training for Saudi and Bahraini police, claiming that publishing them under the Freedom of Information Act might damage Britains diplomatic ties with the Gulf."
EU-TURKEY: MEPs intensify push to halt Turkey talks (EUobserver, link):
"The EU wants to maintain membership talks with Turkey but MEPs are calling for them to be suspended, amid an intensifying crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday (22 November) that any move to annul Turkey's membership to the EU would be a lost opportunity.
"If the accession process came to an end I believe we would both find ourselves in a lose-lose scenario," she said.
But Erdogan has hinted that he would support the reinstatement of the death penalty, a move that Mogherini has set as a red line for the EU.
The EU parliament will vote on a non-binding resolution on Thursday to freeze accession talks, given the government-led purge in Ankara against so-called terrorists and state saboteurs."
And see: How Erdogans purge hit the EU and NATO (EurActiv, link): "The European Parliament will this week vote on whether to suspend Turkeys EU membership bid. Andrew Duff explains how the Turkish military has reacted to Erdogans power grabbing and how NATO fits into the equation."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.11.16)
European Parliament Studies: European Public Prosecutor and self-defence in preventing violence against women
- Towards a European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO) (pdf):
"The evolution of the text is analysed through a comparison between the initial Commission proposal and the current version of the text (dated of 28 October 2016).
The paper assesses whether the EPPO, as it is currently envisaged, would fit the objectives assigned to it, whether it will have some added value, and whether it will be able to function efficiently and in full respect of fundamental rights. It focuses on the main issues at stake and controversial points of discussion, namely the EPPO institutional design, some material issues, its procedural framework, and its relations with its partners."
- Knowledge and Know-how: the Role of Self-defence in the Prevention of Violence against Women (pdf):
"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament Policy Department for Citizens Rights and Constitutional Affairs upon request by the FEMM Committee, examined research on the effectiveness of self-defence and its place in policies at EU and Member State levels.
It concludes that there is a growing evidence base that feminist self-defence can be effective in preventing violence. Whilst references to self-defence are present in the EU and Council of Europe policy documents, they are not substantial and yet to be developed into a coherent approach. Self-defence should be considered a promising practice and be better promoted and supported. More space should be made for it in policy, financing and research."
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Current migration situation in the EU: hate crime - November 2016 (link):
"Asylum seekers and migrants face various forms of violence and harassment across the European Union (EU). As this months report on the migration situation underscores, such acts are both perpetrated and condoned by state authorities, private individuals, as well as vigilante groups. They increasingly also target activists and politicians perceived as pro-refugee. "
See Report: Current migration situation in the EU: hate crime (pdf)
HUNGARY: Only state-run radio to broadcast nationally in Hungary from today (Budapest Beacon, link):
"Hungary has reached another new milestone. As of Sunday, only four radio stations will broadcast nationally in Hungary, all of them state-run. Not since 1991 has radio been so one-sided..."
UK-USA: $1 billion deal for up to 26 new armed drones
"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for Certifiable Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft, equipment, training, and support. The estimated cost is $1.0 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on November 16, 2016.... "
The UK is a close ally and an important partner on critical foreign policy and defense issues. The proposed sale will enhance U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing the UK's capabilities to provide national defense and contribute to NATO and coalition operations."
See: USA-United Kingdom Certifiable Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (pdf)
US anti-terror legislation risks eroding international sovereignty (euractiv, link):
"Anti-terrorism legislation in the United States risks undermining the sovereignty of other countries, despite opposition by the current president, legal experts and numerous international governments including the EU, writes Abdulrahman S. Alahmed.
Abdulrahman S. Alahmed is Saudi Arabias ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and head of his countrys mission to the EU.
On 28 September, the US Congress enacted the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in a bipartisan vote, in spite of vigorous protests from President Obama, US national security officials and experts, the EU and numerous foreign governments and business leaders. President Obama used his prerogative to veto the bill, but for the first time in his administration, Congress overrode the presidential veto."
EU terror bill casts wider net, raising rights issues (euobserver, link):
"The EU is pushing ahead with sweeping legislation to fight terrorism that could limit rights and be abused by unscrupulous state authorities....
Dr Marloes van Noorloos, assistant professor of criminal law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, says the bill's definition of terrorism could be interpreted to include left-wing protests and animal rights activism.
"This will include extreme left terrorism, extreme right terrorism, animal rights actions, also groups like that and how will the state make a distinction between leftists activism and extreme left terrorism?," she said.
"Any glorifying remark you could make about Nelson Mandela or Che Guevara, in principle, it is part of the definition," she noted."
UK: Home Office ordered to review policy on torture survivors (Guardian, link):
"Hundreds of asylum seekers who are detained in UK immigration centres could be released after a high court judge ordered the government to review its policy on incarcerated torture survivors.
Justice Duncan Ouseley ruled on Monday that the Home Office must immediately provide relief to detainees at an interim hearing, releasing survivors of torture from countries such as Afghanistan, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.
Human rights lawyers, representing an initial 20 cases, had launched a legal challenge against the Home Offices new definition of torture introduced in September, arguing that an unreasonably strict interpretation of the word meant that potentially hundreds of people have been illegally detained after claiming asylum in the UK."
EU: November deadly for migrants crossing Mediterranean, IOM says (Reuters, link)
"At least 365 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean this week in six sinkings, bringing the death toll so far this year to 4,636, already 1,000 more than in all of 2015, the International Organization for Migration said on Friday.
Migrants, mainly from West Africa, are taking to the sea from Libya in flimsy rubber boats, trying to reach Italian islands and Europe, where they have little hope of being granted asylum, IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle said.
"This is really a calamity in plain sight," Doyle told a news briefing. "We are seeing really tragic scenes of rubber rafts going under the seas in the middle of winter in the Mediterranean.""
See latest figures from: the UN (17 November, pdf) which records 4,518 dead or missing people in the Mediterranean in 2016; and the IOM (18 November, pdf) which reports 4,621 dead or missing.
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Public inquiry confirms the identities of more police spies (The Guardian, link):
"The judge-led public inquiry examining the undercover infiltration of political groups has confirmed the identities of two more police spies in recent weeks.
In brief announcements, the inquiry - headed by a senior judge, Lord Justice Pitchford - confirmed that the pair - who used the fake personas of Carlo Neri and Marco Jacobs - were undercover officers.
...It means that the number of undercover officers embedded in political groups whose identities have been officially confirmed has risen to five."
See: Update on anonymity applications N104 (Carlo Neri) (pdf) and: UK: Undercover Policing Inquiry confirms that "Marco Jacobs" was a police officer (Statewatch News Online)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18-21.11.16)
EU: Justice & Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 18 November 2016: Final press release (pdf): European Travel Information and Authorisation System; information exchange and interoperability; Joint Action Days 2016; counter-terrorism programme; EU Internet Forum; PNR.
See: Provisional agenda: "B" Points for discussion (14272/16, 17 November 2016, pdf); List of 'A' items (non-legislative, adopted without discussion) (14273/16, pdf) and Background Note (pdf)
EU: ECRE Comments on the proposal for an Asylum Procedures Regulation (ECRE, link)
"ECRE has published its Comments on the Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the EU. The proposal aims to transform the Asylum Procedures Directive into a Regulation. This means that rules laid down in the Regulation for conducting asylum procedures become directly enforceable in EU Member States national legislation.
The proposals very detailed approach, including the definition of the duration of administrative and first level appeals procedures and time limits for lodging appeals, reveals a highly ambitious mind-set with considerable impact on Member States practice.
While the introduction of measures such as the mandatory provision of free legal assistance and representation at all stages of the asylum procedure constitute an important safeguard for asylum seekers, ECRE is still highly concerned about the mainstreaming of mandatory safe country and admissibility concepts and about the extremely short deadlines for applicants to comply with often onerous procedural requirements in the proposed common procedure."
See: Comments (link to pdf)
EU: Entry/Exit System: latest Council position
"Delegations will find in the Annex to this Note compromise suggestions submitted by the Presidency on the draft Regulation setting up the Entry/Exit System. The compromise suggestions reflect the discussions and the relevant contributions by delegations put forward during the previous readings of the draft Regulation, as well as the Council Legal Service opinion (doc. 13491/16).
The new additions are highlighted in bold/underline. The changes already included in the previous version of the text (doc. 12176/16) are highlighted in underline. Deletions of parts of the Commission's proposal are marked as [ ]."
See: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data and refusal of, entry data of third country nationals crossing the external borders of Member States of the European Union and determining the conditions for access to the EES for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 and Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 (13962/16, LIMITE, 10 November 2016, pdf)
And: Annex (13963/16 ADD 1, pdf): logos for border crossing points, stamping rules, border check procedures for Member States not yet connected to the EES.
EU: Draft Conclusions on the integration of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU
The Council is drawing up a set of conclusions on the integration of legally-residing third-country nationals in the EU, as a follow up to the Commission's recent Action Plan on the topic. See: Draft Conclusions of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States on the integration of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU (14096/16, LIMITE, 10 November 2016, pdf)
EU: Systematic checks at the external borders: Council drafts final compromise text
The latest - and potentially final - version of the proposed Regulation on the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders: "The Permanent Representatives Committee is invited to give the Presidency a mandate to negotiate an agreement with the European Parliament on the draft Regulation, on the basis of the compromise text in the Annex."
See: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders (first reading) (14270/16, LIMITE, 14 November 2016, pdf)
How to Hold Algorithms Accountable (MIT Technology Review, link):
"Algorithms are now used throughout the public and private sectors, informing decisions on everything from education and employment to criminal justice. But despite the potential for efficiency gains, algorithms fed by big data can also amplify structural discrimination, produce errors that deny services to individuals, or even seduce an electorate into a false sense of security. Indeed, there is growing awareness that the public should be wary of the societal risks posed by over-reliance on these systems and work to hold themaccountable.
Various industry efforts, including a consortium of Silicon Valley behemoths, are beginning to grapple with the ethics of deploying algorithms that can have unanticipated effects on society. Algorithm developers and product managers need new ways to think about, design, and implement algorithmic systems in publicly accountable ways. Over the past several months, we and some colleagues have been trying to address these goals by crafting a set of principles for accountable algorithms."
And see: Principles for Accountable Algorithms and a Social Impact Statement for Algorithms (FAT/ML, link)
European Parliament: What if I had to put my safety in the hands of a robot? (pdf):
"Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are currently found in a wide range of services and applications, and their numbers are rapidly increasing. CPS are intelligent robotic systems linked to the Internet of Things. They make decisions based on the ability to sense their environment. Their actions have a physical impact on either the environment or themselves. This is what sets CPS apart: they are not solely smart systems, but rather, they have physical aspects to them. These robots are likely to infiltrate our everyday lives in the coming years. Due to this, we must look at what impact they will have on citizens safety and security. The question remains, how safe are these technologies?"
UK:-FRANCE: Charities criticise Home Office for UK ban on teenage refugees (Third Force News, link):
"Charities have hit out at the Home Office after it revealed most unaccompanied children over the age of 12 will not be allowed to enter the UK from the demolished Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp.
Representatives from Citizens UK, Calais Action, Refugee Action and Help Refugees say the government is breaking its promises after guidance was issued which means unaccompanied teenage refugees who do not have family in the UK and are from countries other than Syria and Sudan will not be allowed entry except in exceptional circumstances.
The guidance on how to implement the Dubs Amendment passed by Lord Alf Dubs in April this year that committed the government to taking 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees, means that children as young as 13 and 14 from countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Eritrea will be barred from being transferred to Britain."
See: Government must not backtrack on commitment to protect refugee children from Calais (Refugee Action, link) and: Home Office Guidance: Implementation of section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 in France (pdf): contains the new eligibility criteria.
POLAND-BELARUS: A road to nowhere for asylum-seekers
"On 2-5 October 2016, we conducted a monitoring visit as representatives of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in order to investigate the situation at the Brzesc-Terespol (Brest-Terespol) border crossing between Belarus and Poland. The purpose of our monitoring was threefold: (1) Uncovering the general situation of those of the foreign nationals present in Brest who express intention to seek international protection in Poland, and specifically the scale of the phenomenon, types of problems and aid actions taken on-site; (2) Observation of access to the procedure of filing an application for international protection at the Terespol border crossing point; (3) Conducting interviews with foreign nationals present in Brest with the purpose of exploring the expressed reasons for them seeking international protection and their experiences in contacts with Polish Border Guard (Straz Graniczna)."
See: A road to nowhere (Helsinki Foundation, link) and the report: A road to nowhere. The account of a monitoring visit at the Brest-Terespol border crossing between Poland and Belarus (link to pdf)
And see: Inaccessible? Polish asylum procedure at the border crossing between Poland and Belarus (ECRE, link)
UK: Freedom from Torture says Home Office mistreats expert medical evidence of torture (EIN, link):
"Freedom from Torture has said in a report released today that Home Office asylum caseworkers are disregarding or mistreating expert medical evidence of torture.
...The report provides a detailed analysis of how a cohort of 50 expert medico-legal reports documenting physical and psychological evidence of torture were treated by Home Office asylum caseworkers.
Freedom from Torture's Sonya Sceats told the BBC that the report found that caseworkers were too often dispensing with the expert views of doctors when considering evidence of torture and were instead substituting in their own views, despite being entirely unqualified to make such judgements.
Freedom from Torture says this goes against a clear Home Office policy."
See the report: Proving Torture: Demanding the impossible: Home Office mistreatment of expert medical evidence (link to pdf)
USA: Police are spending millions of dollars to monitor the social media of protesters and suspects (The Washington Post, link):
"Hundreds of local police departments across the United States have collectively spent about $4.75 million on software tools that can monitor the locations of activists at protests or social media hashtags used by suspects, according to new research.
The research, by the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonprofit organization focusing on criminal justice issues, aims to take a comprehensive look at the fast-growing phenomenon of social media-monitoring by law enforcement. Using public records, the Brennan Center tracked spending by 151 local law enforcement agencies that have contracted with start-ups that siphon data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other sites, largely out of the public eye."
Erdogan says Turkey doesnt need EU (New Europe, link):
"Turkey does not need to join the European Union at all costs and can become part of a security bloc dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations. So said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on November 20.
Turkey must feel at ease. It mustnt say for me its the European Union at all costs. Thats my view, Erdogan was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper as telling reporters on his plane on the way back from a visit to Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
Why shouldnt Turkey be in the Shanghai Five? I said this to [Russian President] Mr Putin, to [Kazakh President] Nazarbayev, to those who are in the Shanghai Five now, he said. I hope that if there is a positive development there, I think if Turkey were to join the Shanghai Five, it will enable it to act with much greater ease.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Nato member Turkeys prospects of joining the EU look more remote than ever after 11 years of negotiations. European leaders have been critical of its record on democratic freedoms, while Ankara has grown increasingly exasperated by what it sees as Western condescension."
European Court of Human Rights: Judgment confirms right to information from public authorities
"In a landmark decision, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in the case of Magyar Helsinki Bizottság v. Hungary that there is a right to information from public authorities under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The UKs Supreme Court had previously found that the Strasbourg courts case law had not established this but the new decision clearly does so."
BULGARIA: Helsinki Committee report on the detention of migrants and possible alternatives
A new report by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee examines the detention of migrants and possible alternatives: "The purpose of this report is making an analysis of the efficiency of the national practice in applying administrative detention of foreign nationals and the potential new alternatives to detention which, when put in place, would both improve the efficiency of immigration control and lower its financial and human costs."
The report: Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: Program for Legal Protection of Refugees and Migrants: Detention Mapping Report (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 18 November 2016: Final press release (pdf): European Travel Information and Authorisation System; information exchange and interoperability; Joint Action Days 2016; counter-terrorism programme; EU Internet Forum; PNR.
See: EU Ministers Back Changes to Security Database to Better Track Terror Suspects (Wall Street Journal, link): "European interior ministers backed planned changes Friday to the blocs main security database aimed at better tracking and catching terror suspects.
The changeswhich still have to be finalized by the blocs executive by the end of the yearare aimed at preventing the sort of security blunders that led up to and immediately followed the Paris attacks a year ago. But they also emphasize how slowly the European Union machinery moves to plug gaps in its counterterrorism armory."
Background: JHA Council: travel authorisation system tops the agenda (Statewatch News Online)
UK: Extraordinary judgment rubber-stamps unfounded link between anti-fracking and extremism (Netpol, link):
"The Information Commissioner, in rejecting an appeal by Netpol over the refusal of the police to release details of a programme to deradicalise extremists, has endorsed unfounded and unsubstantiated links between anti-fracking protests and the threat of terrorism.
... There is no reason for Prevent officers to target anti-fracking events for extremist activities and no reason for a police presence at anti-fracking events as a Prevent priority.
... Instead, there is an urgent need for greater transparency about the false conflation of opposition to fracking and increasingly other campaigns with terrorism and a threat to national security."
TURKEY: 123 Migrants Flee Center in Turkey After Fire Breaks Out (ABC News, link):
"Turkey's interior ministry says that 123 migrants being held at a repatriation center in Istanbul have fled in the chaos that ensued after a fire broke out.
The ministry said in a statement that Saturday's fire was set by some of the migrants.
All rooms were vacated and the inmates were brought to an assembly area, from where 123 people fled during the ensuing chaos."
GREECE: Far-right group attacks refugee camp on Greek island of Chios (The Guardian, link):
"Dozens of people have been driven out of a refugee camp on the Greek island of Chios after two successive nights of attacks by a far-right group.
At least two people were wounded after attackers threw Molotov cocktails and rocks as big as boulders from elevated areas surrounding the Souda camp, activists said.
Three tents were burned down and three others were hit by rocks. A 42-year-old Syrian man was assaulted, while a Nigerian boy was hit by a rock.
Fearing a third attack on Friday night, about 100 former occupants refused to re-enter the camp, instead taking shelter in a nearby car park. We do not have any kind of protection, Mostafa al-Khatib, a Syrian refugee, told the Guardian. No one cares about us."
And see: Chios tense after unrest at migrant camp (Ekathimerini, link)
BELGIUM: Council of Europe: Conditions in Belgian prisons during strikes "intolerable"
"Strasbourg, 18 November 2016 In its report published today, the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) describes the disturbing situation it found during its visit in May 2016 to Huy, Ittre and Jamioulx prisons, as well as in the social defence establishment (EDS) in Paifve in the context of industrial action by prison staff."
GERMANY-EU: Major challenges ahead for German police (Deutsche Welle, link):
"At the autumn conference of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office the main topic was Global migration and its consequences. Holger Münch [president of Germany's Federal Criminal Police] talks to DW about jihadists, right-wing terror and new police digital equipment."
One topic of conversation is the adding of biometric data to the EU's Schengen Information System: "One of the main initiatives will be making the Schengen information system biometric, meaning that fingerprints will be able to be automatically retrieved... It won't take a long time. We are talking about a pilot project that Germany will also take part in. It will begin next year. After that, further changes will follow."
UK: 'Extreme surveillance' becomes UK law with barely a whimper (The Guardian, link):
"A bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world has passed into law with barely a whimper, meeting only token resistance over the past 12 months from inside parliament and barely any from outside.
The Investigatory Powers Act, passed on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.
The security agencies and police began the year braced for at least some opposition, rehearsing arguments for the debate. In the end, faced with public apathy and an opposition in disarray, the government did not have to make a single substantial concession to the privacy lobby."
ITALY-IRAN-INTERPOL: Fair Trials and Italian lawyer join efforts in fighting abusive INTERPOL Red Notice against Iranian activist (Fair Trials, link):
"Criminal justice cooperation mechanisms such as INTERPOL are an important tool in the fight against serious crime. However, these tools have been exploited by authoritarian regimes across the world to restrict domestic dissidents. At Fair Trials, we have been campaigning for simple changes to improve INTERPOLs ability to filter out such abuses.
In Europe, we rely on the Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP), an EU-wide network of lawyers, academics and activists with expertise in criminal justice and fair trial rights, to maximise the impact of our work and the assistance we can provide to wanted people. Very recently, we have helped LEAP member and Italian defence lawyer Nicola Canestrini in the case of Iranian activist and political refugee Saied (not his real name), who was arrested in Italy under a Red Notice. Here is what he told us about the case."
UK: LONDON: MPS orders extra Tasers (Police Professional, link):
"The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has ordered an extra 180 Tasers to provide a less lethal option for firearms officers in the face of terrorist incidents.
It follows a strategic review of Londons terror level, which found the officers were short in terms of capability.
The MPS has more than 4,000 Taser-trained officers as part of Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howes programme to provide a Taser response across London. All 32 London boroughs now have officer teams trained in the use of Taser."
Turkey failed coup: Officers 'seeking Nato asylum' (BBC News, link):
"A number of Turkish officers posted to Nato have sought asylum since the country's failed military coup in July, Nato's secretary-general has said.
Jens Stoltenberg said the officers had requested asylum in the countries where they had been posted but gave no names, numbers or reasons for the requests.
The countries involved will consider the cases individually."
EU: European Asylum Support Office: Country reports on Western Balkans and Turkey published
"The Country Focus reports at hand cover the most important topics related to the above-mentioned criteria for safe country of origin designation, namely: state structure (Constitution, Executive branch, Legislative Branch, Administration), socio-political landscape (Political parties, Elections, Civil society, Media), rule of law and state protection (Law enforcement, Judiciary), security situation and human rights situation (Legal context, Freedom of expression/religion/assembly, Detention, Situation of specific groups ethnic or religious minorities, journalists, human rights activists, women, children, LGBTI persons, victims of trafficking, returnees)."
USA: EPIC Sues FBI Over Biometric Data Program (EPIC, link):
"EPIC has filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation for information about the agency's plans to transfer biometric data to the Department of Defense. The FBI maintains one of the world's largest biometric databases, known as the "Next Generation Identification" system, but the FBI has resisted maintaining privacy safeguards. The Bureau previously proposed to exempt the database from many of the safeguards in the federal Privacy Act, which EPIC opposed. Then EPIC, following a FOIA lawsuit, obtained documents that revealed an error rate up to 20% for facial recognition searches in the FBI database. Now EPIC has filed an open government lawsuit to obtain a secret document that details the transfer of personal data in the FBI system to the Department of Defense."
See: EPIC press release: EPIC Sues FBI for Details on Next Generation Identification - Privacy Organization Says FBI Director Shows Reckless Disregard for Privacy Rights of Americans (pdf)
EU: What chances for a real European Common Security and Defense Policy? (VoteWatch Europe, link):
"Over the past few weeks, calls for more integration and coordination in EU Defense policy were raised from several powerhouses. The election of Donald Trump as US President is likely to trigger a shift of paradigm in how the Americans see the defense of Europe, ie. the message being that Europeans should prepare to rely more on themselves. Along with Brexit, this new development seems to be spurring momentum for going forward with defense integration plans, which have been stalled for decades.
But what are the real chances of this project? We have measured the level of support among the political forces across the EU and the balance of power between proponents and opponents."
EU-POLAND: The EU and Poland: Giving up on the Rule of Law? (Verfassungsblog, link):
"A little more than a week ago, Jean-Claude Juncker gave up on the rule of law.
Speaking in an interview with Belgian newspaper Le Soir (english summary here), the European Commission President suggested that there was nothing the European Union could do to halt the slide toward authoritarianism in EU Member States such as Hungary and more recently, Poland...
Junckers response reveals how little the Commission feels that it bears responsibility for enforcing the European treaties. If the Commission cannot enforce basic EU values in the face of a meltdown of constitutional government in two of its Member States, then the Commission is violating its own solemn obligation under the treaties and calling the rule of law into further question. It is important in our opinion to stress that the Commissions job is not to uphold the rule of law only when its President is of the view, rightly or wrongly, that a number of national governments may not support the Commissions activation of Article 7 against Poland."
And see: Juncker: EU powerless against authoritarian slide in Poland, Hungary (Europe Online, link): "The European Union is powerless to act against the slide towards authoritarianism being seen in Poland and Hungary, the head of the blocs executive, the European Commission, admitted in a Saturday interview."
UK: Investigatory Powers Bill: 'Snoopers Charter 2' to pass into law, giving Government sweeping spying powers (The Independent, link):
"Despite criticism from almost every major technology and internet company including usually reticent ones like Apple and from senior parliamentary committees the legislation has received little opposition in parliament. Early on, the only amendment that the bill received from MPs was a measure that stopped themselves being spied on, and while Labour has raised objections to the sweeping spying powers it has not voted against the bill.
Those opposing the bill argue that it has been hastily written and is being pushed through parliament too quickly to ensure that it doesn't receive full scrutiny. That has led to the bill including measures that are still undefined and so could be used by the government to force companies to do almost anything, tech firms have argued."
EU: Asylum in the EU: Presidency "non-paper" calls for scrapping relocation in favour of "tailored solidarity contribution"
A "non-paper" on EU asylum policy drafted by the Slovakian Presidency of the Council suggests that Member States should be able to decline relocating asylum-seekers in favour of a "tailored solidarity contribution" such as "financial contributions to the Member State under pressure," contributions of asylum staff and border guards, and support with returns operations.
See: Slovakian Presidency "non-paper": Effective Solidarity: a way forward on Dublin revision (pdf)
EU: JHA Council: travel authorisation system tops the agenda
The recent proposal from the European Commission for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which would require non-EU nationals who do not require a visa to enter the EU to instead pay and apply for "travel authorisation", tops the agenda of today's Justice and Home Affairs Council. The system would gather the personal data of millions of people for "screening" against "specific risk indicators" to determine whether they "pose an irregular migration, security or public health risk".
Also on the agenda are recent EU-wide policing "Joint Action Days", information exchange and the interoperability of databases, counter-terrorism, the work of the EU Internet Forum and the implementation of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) travel surveillance Directive.
See: Provisional agenda: 3501st meeting of the Council of the European Union (Justice and Home Affairs) (14272/16, 17 November 2016, pdf); List of 'A' items (non-legislative) (14273/16, pdf) and: background briefing (pdf)
European Parliament: EU-US "Umbrella" Agreement on the exchange of personal data
Draft Recommendation to the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE, pdf) by Rapporteur: Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP.
Yesterday the following Amendments (pdf) were proposed:
Delete: "Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement" replace with "Declines to give its consent to conclusion of the agreement" proposed by Marina Albiol Guzmán, Cornelia Ernst, Barbara Spinelli, Marie-Christine Vergiat on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group:
Justification: "The agreement does not meet the requirements of the Charter and EU law. The wording is ambiguous regarding core DP provisions and does not provide effective judicial redress as the Charter requires. Furthermore, the agreement will serve as a form of adequacy decision, creating a false legal presumption of compliance of the US with EU data protection standards. Finally we regret that the committee did not wait for the ECJ ruling on the EU-Canada PNR agreement."
Another amendment to the same effect from Sophia in 't Veld: Justification: "While the Umbrella Agreement strengthens the data protection safeguards regarding existing law enforcement data transfers to the U.S, serious legal concerns persist and there is no guarantee that the level of protection afforded by the Agreement is fully consistent with EU law. The Agreement is deemed to fulfil the requirements of 'appropriate safeguards' as in Article 37 of the new Data Protection Directive (DPD), allowing for transfers under this Article to be automatically authorised. Furthermore, the US is not likely to (fully) implement the Agreement.""
See: European Commission: Proposed Council Decision (COM 237-16,pdf) and Annex: Text of Agreement (pdf)
Investigatory Powers Bill passed by Parliament with powers to secretly grab journalists' call records intact (Press Gazette, link)
"The House of Lords has passed the Investigatory Powers Bill meaning that is likely to be in force in a matter of weeks.
The Bill has already been passed by the House of Commons and codifies a system under which the state can deploy a variety of electronic snooping tactics to fight crime, including widespread collection of electronic data...
Internet and phone companies will be required to store comprehensive records for 12 months and enable law enforcement bodies to access those records on demand.
It also allows police and other bodies to hack into and bug computers and smartphones with the approval of the home secretary."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17.11.16)
EU: Justice & Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 18 November 2016: Background Note (pdf)
Euro MPs cancel Turkey trip over coup criticism (euractiv, link):
"Top EU lawmakers yesterday (16 November) cancelled a visit to Turkey after Ankara refused to see one of the MEPs because of her criticism of Ankaras massive crackdown following Julys failed coup, a parliament source said."
Sweden announces new prosecutor to relaunch Palme murder probe (DW, link)
"Sweden says it will appoint prosecutor Krister Petersson to lead a new probe into the 1986 murder of the Swedish prime minister. Petersson also investigated the 2003 killing of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh."
EU: ETIAS proposal: European Commission:
- Security Union: Commission proposes a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Press release, pdf):
""We need to know who is crossing our borders. By November, we will propose an automated system to determine who will be allowed to travel to Europe. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here." President Jean-Claude Juncker, 2016: State of the Union Address."
- Regulation: establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and amending Regulations (EU) No 515/2014, (EU) 2016/399, (EU) 2016/794 and (EU) 2016/1624 (pdf)
- Annex (pdf)
- Feasibility Study for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) (7 MB, pdf)
See also: Statewatch story: European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS): the EU's next border control database
And: European Commission, 'High-level expert group on information systems and interoperability: Subgroup on new systems meeting of 14 September: Report' (Ares(2016)5744990, 4 October 2016, pdf) also: Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders (first reading) (LIMITE doc no: 14270-16, pdf):
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16.11.16)
EU Council of the European Union: Extra border checks at external borders: Proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders (first reading) (LIMITE doc no: 14270-16, pdf): 4-column document giving the Commission proposal, the European and Council positions and "compromise" text prior to the next trilogue meeting between the Council and the parliament:
"After the European Parliament (LIBE Committee) voted its Report on the proposal on 21 June 2016, political trilogues were held on 13 July and 11 October 2016, along with several technical meetings....
The text of the proposal is set out in the annexed four-column document; changes are underlined and/or indicated in bold.
These issues concern: a) the length of the possible derogation from systematic checks at the air borders - Article 7 2d - for a transitional period, with a possible prolongation under specific circumstances for a further period, where the European Parliament insists on a total period of at least 24 months, and b) the databases to be consulted when verifying persons enjoying the right of free movement - Article 7(2b) - for which the European Parliament wants to specify which international databases could fall within the scope of the provision."
EU: Stockpiling, layering and carrying out profile-based searches: implementation of the EU Directive on the use of passenger name record data (link):
"The PNR directive obliges air carriers to collect a whole host of data and pass it on to the border authorities in advance of all flights. This information includes registration data, seat and flight numbers, along with food preferences, credit card details or IP addresses. PNR passenger information units (PIUs) in the Member States then analyse the information to identify suspects and anomalous travel patterns.
Turkey says its tired of two-faced EU attitude (euractiv, link):
"Turkey is fed up with European Union condescension in talks over its application to join the bloc, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu said yesterday (15 November), reflecting Ankaras exasperation with EU criticism over human rights.
Çavusoglus blunt comments, made as visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier looked on, also highlighted Turkeys frustration with the fact that, after 11 years of negotiations, its prospects of joining the EU look more remote than ever....
The EU is treading a fine line in relations with Turkey: it needs Ankaras continued help in curbing a huge flow of refugees and migrants, especially from Syria, but is alarmed by Turkeys crackdown on opponents since the failure of a coup attempt in July.
Referring to an issue that could spell the end of Turkeys accession bid, Çavusoglu said that the Turkish people would decide whether or not to reinstate the death penalty."
EU to mull new defence post at commission (euobserver, link):
"The EU should have a commissioner dedicated to defence and security to ease the burden on foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, according to an MEP who has written a report on setting up a European defence union.
"I am clearly convinced that in the European Commission there should be a special commissioner on defence and security," Urmas Paet, an Estonian liberal MEP, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (15 November). Paet said Mogherini was overstretched with too many portfolios. "She is doing everything, the whole world, all the foreign policy, all the conflicts, all the defence, security and so on," he said.
His report, if adopted next week, will shape the European Parliament's political direction in terms of defence and security for years to come."
EU: The European Parliament want a "humanitarian visa" - the Council and the European Commission are opposed: Regulation on the Union Code on visas (Visa Code) (recast) (First reading) (LIMITE doc no: 14262-16, pdf): State of play:
"1) the Council and the Commission want to stick to the recast rules (possibility for the co-legislators to amend only the parts highlighted in grey in the Commission's proposal). However, as the EP has tabled amendments concerning the white and the grey parts, the Rapporteur pleaded during the last trilogues for a pragmatic approach and advocated widening the scope of the recast exercise.
2) the humanitarian visa: EP strongly insists to include this element and considers that it would be the key added value of the proposed Regulation...
At the last trilogue on 11 October 2016, views remained strongly opposed regarding in particular the issue of the humanitarian visa...
The humanitarian visa is the main outstanding issue in the file and constitutes at the same time a red line for the EP, the Member States and the Commission.." [emphasis added]
See also: External processing of applications for international protection in the EU (EU Law Analysis, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.11.16)
UK to remain in Europol for now (euobserver, link);
"The British government has decided to opt in to a new regulation for Europol, ensuring it will still be part of the EU police agency after May 2017 despite negotiating UK's EU exit.
"The UK is leaving the EU but the reality of cross-border crime remains," minister for policing Brandon Lewis told MPs on Monday (14 November), while announcing the government's decision.
He said that "Europol provides a valuable service to the UK and opting in would enable us to maintain our current access to the agency, until we leave the EU."
Britain had until the end of the year to choose whether to opt in to the new regulation, which will enter into force on 1 May 2017."
UK Govt buried plans to weaken FOI on day Trump elected (Reprieve, link):
"The British Government published its response plans to weaken the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the same day as the result in the US Presidential election was announced, it has emerged.
The statement was published on Wednesday 9 November as part of an 18-page document entitled Government Response to the Justice Committees Second Report of session 2016/17.
In it, the Government announces that a number of recommendations of a widely-criticised review of FOI undertaken by a panel including former Home Secretaries Jack Straw and Michael Howard are being carefully considered.
The recommendation referred to is that legislation should be introduced to remove the right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. This would significantly weaken the ability of those making FOI requests to overturn decisions made by the Government not to disclose information, where those decisions have been supported by the Information Commissioner."
EU: Council of the European Union: Global Strategy - Security & Defence and Security and Defence Plan
The Foreign Affairs Council adopted the following on 14 November:
- Council conclusions on implementing the EU Global Strategy in the area of Security and Defence - Council conclusions (14 November 2016 (pdf):
"The Council is committed to strengthening the Unions ability to act as a security provider and to enhance the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as an essential part of the Unions external action. This will enhance its global strategic role and its capacity to act autonomously when and where necessary and with partners wherever possible....
Invites Member States, working through the EDA and in close coordination with the EU Military Committee (EUMC), to specify and complement the identified preliminary capability priorities...
"Civilian and military rapid response, including military rapid response operations inter alia using the EU Battlegroups as a whole or within a mission-tailored Force package;" [emphasis added]
EDA (EUropean Defence Agency)
- Implementation Plan on Security and Defence (pdf):
"This Implementation Plan sets out proposals to implement the EU Global Strategy (EUGS) in the area of security and defence. It is presented by the HRVP / Head of the Agency for consideration and decision at the FAC in November and the European Council in December 2016.
It forms part of a wider package including the Commissions European Defence Action Plan and the follow-up of the Joint Declaration signed in Warsaw by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of NATO."
And including inteeligence-sharing: "EEAS to take stock of capabilities at hand in INTCEN and EUMS INT and develop short-, mid- and long-term proposals for Member States' consideration for upgrading such capabilities in line with the level of ambition. Reinforce links between INTCEN/EUMS INT with other EU and Member States entities providing situational awareness in order to further support the development of a European hub for strategic information, early warning and comprehensive analysis."
INTCEN (Intelligence Centre based in the External Action Service) and EUMS INT (Member States' intelligence agencies)
See also: Divided Austria unites in opposition to EU army (euractiv, link): "Calls for an EU army to be set up have increased since Donald Trumps US election victory, but neutral Austria, at least, is handling the issue very carefully."
CoE: Migrants in limbo in Europe have the right to live in dignity (Commissioner for Human Rights, link):
"In some countries, they call them invisible persons, in others ghosts. Throughout Europe there are many migrants, primarily rejected asylum seekers, who live in a state of protracted legal and social limbo without any long-term prospects. The authorities refuse to regularize them or to grant them any kind of legal status, but often, they cannot go back to their countries of origin for various reasons, most often, fear of persecution.
These desperate persons tend to live in substandard conditions, completely excluded from society, lacking residence permits and the means to meet basic needs such as shelter, food, health or education. In essence, they are deprived of any opportunity to live in dignity."
European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS): the EU's next border control database
It is expected that on Wednesday the Commission will publish a proposal to establish yet another EU "migration management" database - the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). Based on systems in place in the USA (ESTA), Canada and Australia (ETA), the Commission's idea is to ensure an "additional layer of systematic control" for nationals of countries that have a visa waiver agreement with the EU - currently some 1.4 billion people.
See: European Commission, 'High-level expert group on information systems and interoperability: Subgroup on new systems meeting of 14 September: Report' (Ares(2016)5744990, 4 October 2016, pdf)
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Public inquiry into police spies issues appeal to bereaved parents (The Guardian, link):
"The public inquiry examining the undercover infiltration of political groups is making an appeal to bereaved parents to get in contact.
Lord Justice Pitchford, the senior judge leading the inquiry, is investigating how undercover police officers stole the identities of dead children and adopted them to create their fake personas.
He wants to hear from parents who wish to know whether police used the identities of their dead child.
The police have previously been forced to apologise for stealing the identities of dead children following a public outcry about a technique that has been criticised as being ghoulish and disrespectful."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.11.16)
EU: Turkey is not safe for children: 56 MEPs call on EU to stop sending back migrants
A letter signed by 56 MEPs addressed to numerous officials from the European Commission, the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration highlights the abysmal educational and living standards for children in Turkey and calls for "the cessation of readmissions and returns of migrants to Turkey, especially of vulnerable categories such as children." Of particular concern is the fact that many Syrian children are employed in Turkish textile factories where they "work in painful conditions, in very close contact with a wide range of toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances such as hydrochloric acid."
See: Letter concerning the situation of refugee children in Turkey (pdf)
EU: Salzburg Forum: "unprecedented and uncontrolled migratory flow" must not happen again
A recent statement by the Salzburg Forum, a central European security initiative, emphasises that the "unprecedented and uncontrolled migratory flow along the Eastern Mediterranean-Western Balkans route, which Europe has faced over the last two years, must not be repeated in the future." The "priority goals" for achieving this are findings ways to "strengthen the migration management and the control of the EU external border," and ensuring "the full implementation of the EU-Turkey statement."
See: Salzburg Forum Ministerial Conference, Prague (14274/16, 11 November 2016, pdf)
FRANCE: What Can We Learn from the Existence and Eviction of the Calais Jungle? (Novara Media, link):
"To challenge the mainstream media portrayal of the Jungle as only a muddy, desperate environment without basic facilities or official authority, it is important to highlight what was built there, and to recognise the strength, resilience, and determination of people to create homes, an economy, and hold onto their autonomy in the worst possible conditions.
There have been refugee camps in the Calais region since the early 1990s, and after each eviction people have always come back, to rebuild and start again. Calais and Jungle residents alike are unanimous in the belief there will always be migration at the border, that people will continue to arrive and try to cross to the UK. In light of this, the eviction does not appear to be a sustainable solution; rather, with the upcoming elections in France, this reflects on political, not practical interests.
...as the Jungle comes to an end it is also crucial that we do not just write it off as a terrible by-product of EU border policies, but rather see what can be learnt from the camp and how can this can be integrated into the way Europe supports refugees and asylum seekers."
EU-UKRAINE-RUSSIA: Ukraine's annexed territories: Council ponders mutual legal assistance problems
The EU is examining ways to undertake "mutual legal assistance cooperation with the illegally annexed territories in Ukraine, both with regard to civil and criminal matters," with some Member States in favour of "a common EU standard as regards their cooperation with the illegally annexed territories of Ukraine." A recent paper from the Dutch Presidency of the Council explores the options.
See: Mutual legal assistance between the EU Member States and Ukraine (13954/1/16 REV 1, 11 November 2016, pdf)
EU: Cybercrime, encryption, obtaining evidence from the "cloud": report on Eurojust seminar "Keys to Cyberspace"
"The Strategic Seminar Keys to Cybercrime was held on 2 June in The Hague. The Seminar was jointly organised by the Netherlands Presidency of the EU and Eurojust.
This Outcome Report presents the summary of the main topics discussed by the participants in the Strategic Seminar, consisting mainly of national judicial authorities specialised in cybercrime, representatives from the European Commission and Council, the Council of Europe, Europol and the Eurojust Task Force on Cybercrime."
See: Strategic Seminar "Keys to Cyberspace" - Outcome Report (13982/16, 4 November 2016, pdf)
Rights of suspected and accused persons across the EU: translation, interpretation and information (FRA, link):
"Protecting the human rights of individuals subject to criminal proceedings is an essential element of the rule of law. Persons who are suspected or accused of crimes in countries other than their own are particularly vulnerable, making appropriate procedural safeguards especially crucial. This report reviews Member States legal frameworks, policies and practices regarding the important rights provided in these directives, including with respect to individuals whose needs may require additional attention, such as persons with disabilities and children."
Full report: Rights of suspected and accused persons across the EU: translation, interpretation and information (pdf)
See also: JUSTICIA - European Rights Network (link): monitoring the adoption and implementation of the EU's procedural rights "package": "Recent developments under EU law to protect the rights of victims of crime, in addition to measures to protect the rights of accused and suspected persons in criminal proceedings, will have a significant impact on domestic criminal law, policy and practice throughout the European Union. More information about these measures and their impact within Network Member Organisations Member States can be found here."
EU: Europe Struggles to Harden Security in Wake of Attacks (The Wall Street Journal, link):
"PARISShortly after the terror attacks here a year ago, European leaders pledged to close a legal loophole that militants could exploit to pass through border crossings without security checks.
A year later, negotiators in Brussels are still quarreling over how to change the problematic law, which forbids border guards from conducting systematic security checks on European citizens. France and some other governments, fearing the return of European-born jihadists from Syria, have grown increasingly exasperated.
We have been quite irritated at the pace, said one European diplomat involved in the talks."
Online freedoms decline worldwide for sixth consecutive year: report
"Internet freedom has declined for the sixth consecutive year, with more governments than ever before targeting social media and communication apps as a means of halting the rapid dissemination of information, particularly during anti-government protests."
EU: Internal security: Council documents on information exchange, foreign fighters, counter-terrorism, internet, PNR, organised crime
On 8 November the Council of the EU's internal security committee (COSI) met to discuss the development and implementation of a host of new and existing measures: information exchange and interoperability between EU and national databases; counter-terrorism efforts; the 'EU Internet Forum' and Europol's Internet Referral Unit; the EU policy cycle on organised crime; and the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive. Here we provide the majority of documents discussed by participants in the meeting, along with other relevant information.
EU: Torture goods: Council adopts amending regulation (Council of the EU, link):
"On 14 November 2016, the Council adopted an amending regulation concerning goods that can be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The agreement will enable regulation 1236/2005 to be amended in the light of developments since it entered into force in 2006. It provides for modifications to the current rules on export controls, for new controls on brokering services and technical assistance, for a ban on advertising of certain goods and for amendment of the definition of other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The aim is to prevent EU exports from contributing to human rights violations in third countries.
A ban on torture and ill-treatment is enshrined in United Nations conventions on human rights. At EU level, the Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits capital punishment and provides that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The EU also promotes respect for fundamental rights around the world."
See: REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (pdf)
And see: Civilizing the torture and execution trade (pdf) by Steve Wright
FRANCE: The Risks of Frances Big New Database (The New York Times, link):
"The government of President François Hollande has moved to combine existing information on at least 60 million French citizens into a single sprawling database. The government says the goal of merging data from French passports and national identity cards is to prevent identity fraud. But the measure risks opening the door to mass government surveillance of the entire country and increases the danger that private information about citizens could be hacked.
The new Secure Electronic Documents database, known as T.E.S., will contain biometric information like fingerprints and eye color ID photos, names, addresses and marital status. One big issue is that the database could easily be checked against information, like video footage, collected by intelligence agencies. While the government claims the new database will be used only to confirm identities, it rejected a proposal for individual data chips in passports and identity cards that would serve the same purpose without compromising citizens rights to privacy.
...As a French senator, Gaëtan Gorce, warned: The database would offer to a future government the technical possibility to modify it to its ends, an ominous possibility given the rising fortunes of the far-right National Front."
See: France to collect personal data of 60 million with controversial database (France 24, link)
EU: Drones: new EU rules to ensure safety and privacy (European Parliament, link):
"Drones are used for many things, from filming and taking photos to inspecting gas pipelines and spraying crops. But these small unmanned aircraft could also pose a risk to airplanes and be used to invade peoples privacy. On Thursday 10 November the transport committee approved changes to EU aviation safety rules that would also include basic safety measures for drones...
Drones that weigh less 150 kilos are currently regulated at the national level, however having different safety and technical standards for each country is proving a headache for manufacturers and complicates cross-border cooperation.
MEPs would like to see basic requirements for civil drones weighing less than 150 kilos enshrined in EU legislation to ensure clarity and coherence, especially concerning safety and privacy. This includes the mandatory registration of drones that weigh more 250 grammes."
And see: press release: Aviation safety: transport MEPs back draft EU rules on drones and emerging risks (pdf)
Plus: USA: Consumer drone business stumbles, but commercial markets beckon (Reuters, link): "The fledgling drone industry is in the throes of change as weak consumer demand and falling prices drive startups to shift their focus to specialized business applications."
EU: Human Rights and the European Arrest Warrant: Has the ECJ turned from poacher to gamekeeper? (EU Law Analysis, link):
"From its panicked conception in the febrile months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) has been the flagship of EU criminal law. Replacing traditional extradition law with a fast-track system which scraps most of the traditional restrictions on extradition, it has alarmed critics concerned by miscarriages of justice, but thrilled supporters who welcomed the speedier return to justice of a greater number of fugitives.
Despite qualms by national constitutional courts, the ECJ has long been insouciant about the human rights critique of the EAW... However, since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, this staunch approach has been mitigated by the adoption of six new EU laws on various aspects of fair trial rights five of which also confer procedural rights on fugitives challenging the application of an EAW... the ECJ in the last eighteen months has begun to show a striking concern for ensuring at least some protection for human rights within the EAW system."
Biometric data on terrorists needed to activate global tripwire says INTERPOL (INTERPOL, link):
"BALI, Indonesia The lack of biometric data being shared on terrorists at the international level is creating a dangerous security gap for exploitation by returning foreign terrorist fighters.
With at least 15,000 fighters still estimated to be within the conflict zones of which an unknown number could return home to engage in radicalization or covert cell operations, the INTERPOL General Assembly has emphasised the urgency with which this threat needs to be addressed.
...The role of biometric information focused on unique identifiers, such as fingerprints and DNA, is pivotal in this context. Although INTERPOL currently holds information on nearly 9,000 foreign terrorist fighter including from within the conflict zone less than 10 per cent of these files include biometric data or high resolution images which could be used for facial recognition."
EU: New counter-terrorism Directive: Council text finalised
The EU is coming to the final stages of approving a new Directive on countering terrorism, which expands the scale and scope of the previous Directive (passed in 2002 and amended in 2008). Following the sixth secret "trilogue" meeting between the Council of the EU and the European Parliament on 10 November, the Council produced a "consolidated text" of the Directive and aims to conclude negotiations "at the trilogue on 17 November 2016," before presentation to the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER, EU Member States' officials) on 30 November. Following final agreement on the text, it will also have to be approved by a plenary session of the Parliament.
See: Council of the EU: Consolidated text (14238/16, 11 November 2016, pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12-13.11.16)
EU: Council of the EuropeanUnion: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Implementation of the counter-terrorism agenda set by the European Council (LIMITE doc no: 14260-16, pdf):
"This report covers progress against the conclusions on counter-terrorism (CT) agreed by the Members of the European Council on 12 February 2015. It takes into account the CT related conclusions of the European Council of 17 and 18 December 2015 and the JHA Council of 20 November 2015 and the Joint statement on the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22 March 2016."
Read with: Implementation of the counter-terrorism agenda set by the European Council (LIMITE doc no: 13627-ADD-1-16, pdf): 50-page detailed summary
And see previous version of 14260-16: Implementation of the counter-terrorism agenda set by the European Council (LIMITE doc no: 13627-16, pdf)
ITALY-SUDAN MOU: ASGI/Italy: Memorandum of understanding between the Italian public security department and the Sudanese national police. A reading guide (pdf):
"The repatriation of around 40 Sudanese refugees on the past 24 August 2016 - taken from Ventimiglia, transported to the Hotspot in Taranto (Apulia) and then led, always by force, to the airport terminal in Turin - has uncovered the existence of an agreement between Italy and Sudan which has been vigorously criticised by the Tavolo Nazionale Asilo [a consultation group on asylum comprising Acli, Arci, Asgi, Caritas italiana, Casa dei diritti sociali, Centro Astalli, Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati, Comunità di S. Egidio, Federazione delle Chiese Evangeliche in Italia, Medici per i Diritti Umani, Medici Senza Frontiere, Senza Confine].
In a reply handled through an interview with [the newspaper] Avvenire on 29 September, the chief of police, prefect Gabrielli, explained that the Memorandum in question is merely one of 267 agreements underwritten by Italy with other countries for the purpose of perfecting police cooperation and, hence, it does not require any parliamentary oversight....
The Italian-Sudanese memorandum entails the distortion of the guarantees provided by the legal order in the field of returns, which are already weak as things stand."
Barbara Spinelli MEP writes to the President [of the Council of Ministers], Renzi: an independent inquiry into ill-treatment in hotspots is necessary
Barbara Spinelli MEP has sent a letter to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi - and in copy to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and to the Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, asking to know the truth about the ill-treatment in Italian hotspots reported in the Amnesty International report published on the 3 November 2016.
See also: AI: Hotspot Italy report (pdf) and Statewatch Viewpoint: In support of the Amnesty International report: Other stories of violence in the hospot system
EU: ENTRY-EXIT SYSTEM (EES): Council of the European Union:
- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 2016/399 as regards the use of the Entry/Exit System (LIMITE doc no: 13963-16, pdf) Full-text of Council "compromise" position prior to entering trilogue meetings with the European Parliament:
"Delegation will find attached a Presidency compromise text of the above Proposal. The compromise suggestions reflect the discussions and the relevant contributions by delegations put forward during the previous readings of the draft Regulation...
The new additions are highlighted in bold/underline. The changes already included in the previous version of the text (doc. 12178/16) are highlighted in underline. Deletions of parts of the Commission's proposal are marked as [ ]."
- As above: ADD 1 (LIMITE doc, pdf) with travel document logos
- Annex to proposed Regulation (LIMITE doc no: 13962-16, pdf): With near final text on registration of third country nationals from visa-exempt states (eg: the USA), the restrictions on visa holders' movements and the Member State they can exit through.."The new additions are highlighted in bold/underline. The changes already included in the previous version of the text (doc. 12176/16) are highlighted in underline. Deletions of parts of the Commission's proposal are marked as [ ]."
The Annex says: "Four fingerprints of visa exempt third country nationals should be enrolled in the EES... The facial image of both visa exempt and visa holding third country nationals should be registered in the EES.."
Background: EU-USA visa row on the cards
Turkey halts activities of 370 groups as purge widens (Reuters, link):
"urkey has halted the activities of 370 non-governmental groups including human rights and children's organizations over their alleged terrorist links, the government said as it widens purges following a failed coup in July.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus defended the ban on the activities of the NGOs operating across the country, which was announced by the Interior Ministry late on Friday.
"The organizations are not shut down, they are being suspended. There is strong evidence that they are linked to terrorist organizations," Kurtulmus said."
USA: Newt Gingrich wants new House Un-American Activities Committee (CNN Politics, link):
"Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is calling for the creation of a new House Committee on Un-American Activities, invoking the infamous "Red Scare"-era congressional body as a blueprint for weeding out American ISIS adherents and sympathizers."
Privacy experts fear Donald Trump running global surveillance network - Concerns raised that current US and UK surveillance system is ripe for further abuse under an autocratic, power-obsessed president (Guardian, link):
"Privacy activists, human rights campaigners and former US security officials have expressed fears over the prospect of Donald Trump controlling the vast global US and UK surveillance network...."
EU: German and French interior ministers demand EU discussion on undermining encryption
The latest step in government efforts to give the authorities access to encrypted messages comes in the form of a letter from the German and French interior ministers to EU officials that calls for "solutions that allow for effective investigation into encoded [encrypted] data linked to potential terrorist attacks or organised crime." The letter demands that the issue be put on the agenda of the forthcoming Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, to be held in Brussels next Friday (18 November).
See: German-French letter concerning cooperation between law enforcement agencies and electronic communication service providers (14001/16, 7 November 2016, pdf)
What Happens After Deportation? Human Stories Behind the Closed Doors of Europe (Border Criminologies, link):
"It is important that what happens after deportation does not go unnoticed. A better examination of the human costs of forced returns and the political responsibilities of European states for post-deportation risks is called for. Only by listening to the human stories behind the closed doors of Europe, can we engage in an informed discussion about the security effects of European migration policies in a comprehensive manner."
Europes anti-immigrant leaders are taking Trumps show on the road (The Washington Post, link):
"BRUSSELS Europes far-right leaders on Wednesday heralded Donald Trumps victory as a sign that they were on the verge of a historic sweep through Western nations to upend the post-Cold War globalized world order.
From Viennese cafes to hard-luck coastal French towns to the ex-Communist flatlands of eastern Germany, anti-immigrant Europeans with views similar to Trumps said they could no longer be ignored by a political and media elite that unites conventional wisdom on both sides of the aisle. They exulted in their power to win their nations highest offices in a marathon of elections that starts next month with the Austrian presidency and circles across some of Washingtons most important partners."
EU: Implementing the commons in Europe (OpenDemocracy, link):
"The European economic crisis has been exacerbated by the lack of leadership in the continent. In addition to the financial turmoil, Europe has lost its ethical vocation inside and outside its limits.
We are living in times where the privatisation of basic common goods is the norm, and where reclaiming access to fundamental resources seems to be either utopian or radical. In this sense, the new political parties springing up across Europe can do a lot, both in regard to raising consciousness, and in the promotion of a new type of social and political values.
However, their lack of capacity for working transnationally to influence and change the political agendas prevents them from implementing practices of self-management of common goods. In order to restructure the model, it is necessary to inject new ideas and visions into it."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.11.16): France opens new centre after street camp clearance; European Parliament briefing on new EU reception Directive; Europol operations against migrant smuggling; Turkey promises to extend state of emergency as necessary.
EU-EGYPT: Italy trains Egyptian judges despite death sentences and torture (Reprieve, link):
"The Italian government has been supporting the Egyptian justice system as part of an EU project that risks complicity in abuses such as mass trials and the death penalty.
Italys highest judicial body, the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura, is one of four contractors involved in the 10 million EU project in Egypt, named Support to the Modernization of the Administration of Justice.
Human rights organization Reprieve has unearthed documents showing that the project includes training Egyptian judges who oversee death sentences; providing steel bars and a metal cage to a juvenile court, and video technology for interview rooms."
EU: Europol press release: More than 100 arrests in major international migrant smuggling operation (pdf):
"On 21 October 2016, the Spanish National Police, together with the Polish Border Police, joined forces with Europols European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) in Operation Kolso to dismantle a transnational criminal organisation implicated in the smuggling of Ukrainian citizens into the United Kingdom and Ireland.
This extensive investigation was initiated in autumn 2015 as a result of bilateral cooperation between the Polish Border Guard and the Spanish National Police, but soon developed into an international investigation with links in several countries. In 2016, the operation concluded with more than 100 individuals being arrested for forgery of administrative documents and the facilitation of illegal immigration."
The new European Migrant Smuggling Centre, set up as part of the EU's response to the large-scale arrival of migrants and refugees over the last two years, has been keen to promote its work. The press release on the Poland-Spain-Europol operation follows one issued yesterday: Action day in the Balkans: Europol supports Hungarian Police (pdf)
UK: Undercover Policing Inquiry confirms that "Marco Jacobs" was a police officer
The Undercover Policing Inquiry set up in the wake of the scandal surrounding police infilitration and surveillance of activist and campaign groups has confirmed that "Marco Jacobs", who was involved in the anarchist movement in Bright and Cardiff, was a police officer. His real identity remains unknown.
EU: Europe-wide survey shows "trend for deterioration in key civic space freedoms"
A Europe-wide survey of 300 civil society organisations has highlighted significant concern over a "trend for deterioration in key civic space freedoms", with respondents from central and eastern Europe keen to highlight limitations on the freedom of association and a general decline in respect for democratic principles.
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Spycops Stealing Dead Childrens Identities (COPS, link):
"Parents who want to know if their dead childs identity was stolen by undercover police officers have been invited to ask the Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing.
Anyone whose child was born between 1938 and 1975 can do it, as long as they have somehow stumbled across the invitation (www.ucpi.org.uk > Preliminary Issues > Deceased Childrens Identities > scroll to the bottom of a list of 16 PDFs > click the last one) .
The issue came to light when activists exposed their comrade Rod Richardson in 2013. The people who had unmasked Mark Kennedy had become suspicious of someone else they had known who now appeared to have been Kennedys predecessor. They found that the real Rod Richardson had died as a baby."
EU foreign policy chief speech at NATO-industry forum sets out military ambitions
A recent speech by the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini set out the EU's military ambitions in "this new phase of our global politics" in which there will be "a growing request for a principled global security provider." The speech was made the day it was announced that Donald Trump would become the next President of the United States of America.
Turkey vows to extend state of emergency until threat is fully eradicated (Hurriyet, link):
"The Turkish government has signaled a long-term implementation of the state of emergency, with EU Minister Ömer Çelik saying it will continue throughout the struggle against coup plotters and describing it as the only mechanism to fully eradicate the threat posed by the Gülenists.
We have no luxury to take risks and leave the issue be resolved on its own. Its clear that we should continue until we are sure they are fully rooted out. The state of emergency is an essential mechanism to this end. You cant fight them with any other mechanism, Çelik told journalists accompanying him on his trip to Athens on Nov. 2 and 3.
Ankara declared a state of emergency right after the July 15 coup attempt and extended it after the initial three months. The existing state of emergency will expire in late January 2017, but Çeliks words indicate the governments plan to extend it for an indefinite period of time."
UK: Vintage secrecy: court withholds publication of century-old police informant files
"Is it plausible that information over a century old could be withheld under FOIA on the grounds of national security and/or endangerment of health and safety? The answer is evidently yes. That was the outcome of a request for information on informants in the Jack the Ripper investigations... A request for information on police informants involved in Irish secret societies over the period 1890-1910 has met the same outcome."
UK: Still privatised, still undervalued: new court interpreting contract from 31 October (IRR, link):
"The governments stated rationale for privatising court interpreting services is to improve efficiency and save money. Whether either of those has been achieved remains debatable. Unsubstantiated savings of £38 million under the first contract do not include the cost of rescheduling court cases, holding defendants on remand for extra time or the unquantifiable distress to parties. Changes to the publication of statistics on language services may also make it difficult to track significant differences between the two contracts.
Access to the courts and justice is increasingly a privileged sphere. Migrants and the disabled the communities served by court interpreters are already adversely affected by austerity measures and public service cuts. With the language of court proceedings a challenge for many monolingual speakers of English, demanding that foreign language speakers learn English is irrelevant; language ability is simply a further disadvantage. The discourse around Brexit and foreign workers and nationals in the UK also places interpreters, many of whom are foreign nationals, at a disadvantage.
Many professional foreign language interpreters have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the new contract, which offers them little incentive or professional recognition. A strike is due to take place on Monday 14 November."
GREECE-TURKEY: Can Greece Extradite the 8 Turkish Military Officers to Turkey?
"On the night of the failed coup in Turkey, eight Turkish military officers fled to Greece. They applied for political asylum, arguing that they were afraid for their lives, if returned to Turkey. They insist that they had no involvement in the attempted coup and they claim that they were transporting injured people in Istanbul when they came under fire by police.
Following their arrest, they received a two-month suspended prison sentence for illegal entry into Greece. While they remain in administrative detention, the asylum applications of seven of them were recently rejected. The issue of the eight has given rise to a diplomatic row between Greece and Turkey. In August 2016 Turkey officially requested the extradition of the traitors.
It is well established that Greece must deny extradition, if there are substantial grounds to believe that the eight will run a real risk of a fragrant denial of justice if returned to Turkey. The declared state of emergency and Turkeys official derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights dramatically increase this risk.
However, substantiating the flagrant denial of justice claim in extradition cases is subject to an exceptionally high threshold. The European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg Court) has found only once that the applicant proved the existence of such a risk."
See: Can Greece Extradite the 8 Turkish Military Officers to Turkey? The Real Risk of a Flagrant Denial of Justice in Post-Coup Turkey (Fair Trials, link)
UK-ETHIOPIA: URGENT: Theresa May must take action now to save Andy Tsege (Reprieve, link): An open letter to Theresa May calling on her to take action to save the live of Andy Tsege, a British man who has been detained on Ethiopia's death row since he was kidnapped and rendered by the Ethiopian government to face a death penalty against him that was handed down in absentia.
Human rights organisation Reprieve continues to work with Andy's family to secure his release. See: Foreign Office loses contact with British dad in fear for his life on Ethiopian death row (Reprieve, link)
FRANCE: Paris opens migrant centre after clearing street camp (RFI, link):
"Paris opened its first reception centre for migrants and refugees in Thursday, a month later than expected. Temporary shelter and basic services will be provided.
The "humanitarian centre" is in a disused railway yard on a busy boulevard in northern Paris. It can lodge up to 400 people and take in 50-80 new arrivals each day.
The yellow and white inflatable reception hall stands in stark contrast to the concrete, industrial zone that surrounds it.
Behind the reception hall, a 10,000-square-metre hangar contains dormitories, bathrooms, a canteen and a games area.
Only men can stay in this centre; another for women and families is to open in January, while unaccompanied minors will be sent to existing children's shelters in Paris."
Asylum in the EU: European Parliament briefing on renewed reception Directive
A new briefing by the European Parliamentary Research Service examines the "recast" Directive on reception conditions for applicants for international protection, setting out the context; the requirements of existing legislation; the changes that the new Directive would introduce; and the views of the Parliament, various NGOs and other "stakeholders".
See: Briefing: Reception of asylum-seekers recast Directive (pdf)
Statewatch Viewpoint: In support of the Amnesty International report: Other stories of violence in the hotspot system (pdf) by Alessandra Sciurba:
"When I read the Hotspots Italy report, which I knew was due to be published because I was part of one of the groups that was interviewed to produce it, I was speechless because I recognised exactly the same details which I knew so well, which I had not specifically spoken to Amnesty about and which, in general, I had not found the way to make known more widely."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10.11.16)
UK: Institute of Race Relations interview with Against Borders for Children
"The Against Borders for Children campaign started with two aims to stop the Department for Education collecting country-of-birth and nationality data on 8 million school pupils aged between 2 and 19; and to encourage and assist tens of thousands of parents, teachers and schools to boycott the government data collection scheme.
We came together as a group of concerned individuals in response to the announcement of the new questions and the open admission that the policy was designed to assess the impact of immigration on the schools sector, in the wake of a review into education tourism called by Nicky Morgan, Justine Greenings predecessor as secretary of state for education. The policy was announced before the EU referendum took place, but many of us, especially after the result, were concerned about the implications that it might have for immigration enforcement."
See: Interview with Schools ABC (IRR, link) and: Against Borders for Children (link): "Our aim is to reverse the Department of Educations (DfE) policy, effective from September 2016, to collect country of birth and nationality information on 8 million children in England."
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Outstanding questions on the full text (LIMITE doc no: 13459-16, pdf)
The Council developing its negotiating position before the trilogue with the European Parliament starts. Full-text of draft position (153 pages) and 91 Footnotes including Member State's positions:
"With the outcome of the discussions in Council (JHA) on 14 October 2016, a broad conceptual support has now been reached on all the Articles in the draft Regulation. The main remaining task for the Council is to find solutions to outstanding reservations.. Some of these outstanding issues are of political nature and will be addressed at political level, and some issues that concern only one or two Member States will first be addressed by bilateral talks..."
See also earlier draft position: LIMITE doc no: 11350-REV-1-16 (pdf)
EU: Turkey backsliding on rights and rule of law, says EU (euobserver, link):
"The EU commission says accession talks with Turkey to join the European Union hang in the balance following a backsliding on the rule of law and fundamental rights. The negative prognosis, issued Wednesday (9 November) in a 102-page annual report, risks stoking further tensions between the two sides.
"We are gravely concerned about the degradation of the rule of law and democracy unfolding in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt. In its own interest, Turkey urgently needs to stop moving away from the EU," he said in statement.
Hahn had previously backed opening two key negotiation chapters on fundamental rights and the rule of law as part of accession negotiations. "I have to admit, today I am not quite sure if this is still possible," he told reporters in Brussels. "
See: Turkey 2016 Report (SWD 366-16, pdf): This sets out again the measures Turkey has to put in place for the EU to consider a visa waiver system. Turkey will not consider a readmission agreement until the waiver system is in place.
"Turkey should in particular:
- continue implementing the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March
¨ implement the EU-Turkey readmission agreement in all its provisions
- align the legislation on personal data protection with European standards and accordingly negotiate an operational cooperation agreement with Europol
¨ revise its legislation and practices on terrorism in line with the ECHR, the ECtHR case-law and the EU acquis and practices, without reducing the capacity of Turkey to fight terrorism. The proportionality principle must be observed in practice."
What it will take for President Trump to deport millions and build the wall (Washington Post, link):
"If Donald Trump sticks to the immigration pledges that helped drive his presidential election victory, he will begin a clampdown on illegal immigration that would be unprecedented in American history and would require an exorbitantly expensive and logistically difficult operation to remove millions from the country while fortifying the border."
And see: Europe's leaders cannot hide their nerves amid Trump congratulations (Guardian, link):
"In Europe, the uncertainty bubbled up beneath the ritual dispatch of congratulations. The German defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, gave her gut reaction soon after the outcome of the election became clear, admitting her surprise....
the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, framed her congratulations in the conditional, suggesting Berlin would get on with Washington as long as it continued to share core values.
Germany and America are linked by values such as democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and the dignity of men, regardless of origin, skin colour, religion, gender or sexual orientation, Merkel said. On the basis of these values, I offer US president-elect Donald Trump our close cooperation."
CoE: European court rules against Hungary in free expression NGO human rights dispute (link):
"Human rights judges say Hungarian authorities were wrong in their decision to refuse to provide a NGO with information relating to the work of ex-officio defence counsel.
The European court declared this refusal a breach of the right of access to information."
See: The Hungarian authorities refusal to provide an NGO with information relating to the work of ex officio defence counsel was in breach of the right of access to information (ECHR press release, pdf)
CANADA: RCMP intelligence centre compiled list of 89 Indigenous rights activists considered threats (APTN National News, link):
"Rattled by Idle No More and Mikmaq-led anti-shale gas demonstrations, the RCMP compiled a list of 89 individuals considered threats as part of an operation aimed at improving the federal police forces intelligence capacity when facing Indigenous rights demonstrations, according to an internal intelligence report."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9.11.16)
EU: Council of the European Union: From: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Implementation of the counter-terrorism agenda set by the European Council (LIMITE doc no: 13627-ADD-1-16, pdf): A useful 50-page summary covering: "Detailed description of recent and planned CT/CVE related activities" [Countering Violent Extremism]. Includes 31 references to refugee "hotspots".
See also: Implementation of the counter-terrorism agenda set by the European Council (LIMITE doc no: 13627-16, pdf): The EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator's recommendations.
European Parliament Study: Smart Borders Revisited: An assessment of the Commissions revised Smart Borders proposal (pdf):
"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, appraises the revised legislative proposals (package) on EU smart borders adopted by the European Commission on 6 April 2016. It provides a general assessment of the package, focusing in particular on costs, technical feasibility and overall proportionality, and a fundamental rights check of the initiative."
Juncker tells Turks to blame Erdogan if visa-free deal fails (euractiv, link):
"The European Union stepped up criticism yesterday (8 November) of Turkeys crackdown on opponents and alleged plotters behind a failed coup, drawing a sharp retort from Ankara, which accused Europe of failing to grasp the threats it faces.
But neither seems ready to take the kind of active reprisal that might completely damage a delicate relationship of mutual dependence. Brussels needs Ankara to keep stopping migrants reaching Europe and Turkey, seeing its currency hit record lows on instability fears, wants to keep access to European markets."
Syrian families held in Greece sue Ireland, EU over rights breaches (Irish Times, link):
"Case says migration deal, which allows for return of migrants to Turkey, goes against European law .
Members of two Syrian families detained in Greece after fleeing the beseiged city of Aleppo have taken an unprecedented action in the Irish courts against the European Council, EU and Ireland over alleged breaches of their human rights.
The core claim of the families is that the EU-Turkey deal on migration agreed on March 18th by the European Council - the 28 EU Heads of State including Taoiseach Enda Kenny - was made outside the ECs powers and breaches EU law. The deal allows Greece return to Turkey all new irregular migrants arriving there since March 20th. "
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.11.16)
France to collect personal data of 60 million with controversial database (France 24, link):
"Frances government last week announced the creation of a highly controversial new database that will collect and store personal information on nearly everyone living in the country who holds a French identity card or passport."
And see: French privacy row over mass ID database (BBC News, link)
See: Conseil National du Numerique: Fichier TES : le CNNum appelle le Gouvernement à suspendre sa mise oeuvre et sautosaisit pour examiner des alternatives techniques plus modernes et respectueuses des droits et libertés ('The National Digital Council calls on the government to suspend its work and to examine alternative, more modern technology that respects rights and freedoms', pdf)
"The French Digital Council is an independent advisory commission. Its remit was redefined and expanded by presidential decree on 13 December 2012, following its presentation on 12 December to the Council of Ministers by Fleur Pellerin, Minister Delegate with responsibility for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy. The Council's members were appointed on 8 february 2013 by presidential decree. The Council was set up in April 2011.
The Council issues independent opinions and recommendations on any question relating to the impact of digital technologies on economy and society. The government can consult the Council on new legislation or draft regulations."
USA: Congressional Research Service (CRS): Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law (pdf):
"Criminal law is usually territorial. It is a matter of the law of the place where it occurs. Nevertheless, a number of American criminal laws apply extraterritorially outside of the United States. Application is generally a question of legislative intent, express or implied. There are two exceptions. First, the statute must come within Congresss constitutional authority to enact. Second, neither the statute nor its application may violate due process or any other constitutional prohibition."
ECHR: Court rejects claim by the National Democratic Party of Germany (pdf):
"In its decision in the case of Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD) v. Germany (application no. 55977/13) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final.
The case concerns a political party, the NPD, and its complaint about being referred to and stigmatised as being both far-right and unconstitutional. In particular, the party alleged that there had been a wide range of infringements of its legal rights in Germany (amounting to a de facto ban), and that it had had no means to redress these. Examples of alleged violations included the dismissal of its members from jobs in public service; the inability of the party to open bank accounts; and the prevention of its candidates from standing in elections. The Court held that sufficient remedies had been available."
INTERPOL has a chance to crackdown on Red Notice abuse: will it act? (Fair Trials, link):
"The 85th INTERPOL General Assembly is currently underway in Bali, Indonesia, and on Wednesday INTERPOL will have a crucial opportunity to publicly reaffirm its commitment to safer and fairer working practices, when it announces the conclusions of its Working Group on the Processing of Information. The Working Group will make public the outcomes of its review, following recommendations submitted by Fair Trials which are intended to make it harder for countries to abuse wanted person Red Notice alerts for political ends."
EU: Case Takes UK Privacy Tribunal to European Court - Applicants Seek to Know if GCHQ Spied on Them, Legally or Not (HRW, link):
"Human Rights Watch and six individuals lodged a challenge with the European Court of Human Rights, demanding that the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal confirm whether or not they were subject to surveillance by GCHQ. The challenge, filed on November 4, 2016, also seeks to know whether or not any such surveillance was unlawful and comes after claims filed with the UK tribunal in 2015."
EU: New EU counter-terrorism law: worrying provisions remain in text as secret negotiations continue
Negotiations on a new EU counter-terrorism law are pressing ahead, with the sixth secret "trilogue" meeting between the Council and Parliament due to take place this Thursday, 10 November. A document obtained by Statewatch contains the Council's current preferred text, which contains a number of provisions that threaten to undermine fundamental rights.
See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating terrorism - Consolidated text (13686/16, 26 October 2016, pdf)
Turkey: Where Will Repression End? (EuroMed Rights, link):
"Copenhagen, 7 November 2016 EuroMed rights expresses utmost concern after several members from the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested on 4 November, on charges alleging support of terrorist activities.
Amongst those arrested are two HDP co-chairs Figen Yüksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, both democratically elected leaders and our trusted and valued interlocutors.
Other members of Turkeys Parliament from the HDP were also arrested. EuroMed Rights deplores this, as in a democratic system, MPs represent peoples sovereignty, particularly so given that HDP is the third political party in Turkeys Parliament.
These arrests come in a context of continued severe crackdown that the Turkish authorities are engaging against a very wide spectrum of Turkeys society, including human rights activists, peaceful demonstrators, political opponents, journalists, academics and intellectuals
To-date, over 130 journalists are being detained, dozens of media outlets closed, tens of thousands of public servants arrested and jailed, hundreds of academics dismissed, thousands of teachers and policemen suspended from duty."
EU: The privatisation of migrant detention: major new study by Migreurop
"In the decade influenced by the September 11 attacks, a migration security market sprang up, as the interests of European political leaders willing to militarize EU borders progressively converged with those of the main defense and security service providers. Within this market, immigration detention at borders and within the EU plays a growing role. By presenting the various facets of privatisation of immigration detention in Europe (United-Kingdom, France and Italy), this report aims to provide a tool to decode the issues around these outsourcing realities, both in terms of the detainees living conditions and treatment and in terms of the symbolic and political consequences of these choices."
Full report: Migrant detention in the European Union: a thriving business (link to pdf)
UK: How an army of super recognisers could help spot criminals and missing persons (The Conversation, link):
"While most of us find it easy to recognise highly familiar faces such as those of family and friends, identifying faces that we have only briefly encountered is much more difficult. In fact, some research suggests that even experienced passport control officers make a large number of errors when matching faces to identity documents. Yet, recent work reveals that a small number of people may have extraordinary face recognition skills, outperforming typical people on a range of face recognition tasks.
...Interestingly, all of the super recogniser participants displayed heightened configural processing on at least one task. We also monitored their eye movements as they looked at faces. While control participants mostly looked at the eyes, super recognisers spent more time looking at the nose. It is possible that this more central viewing position promotes the optimal configural processing strategy.
We also examined the potential causes of super recognition, finding no evidence that these people have higher intelligence levels or excel at all visual or memory tasks. In fact, their superior ability is restricted only to the recognition of faces. It currently seems that some people are simply predisposed to developing this skill, and there is increasing evidence that face recognition skills are heritable. Twin studies report a higher correlation in face recognition ability for identical compared to non-identical twins, and disorders of face recognition prosopagnosia or face blindness are known to run in families, too.
...The possibility that there are different subtypes of super recognition is particularly important when considering the applied value of this research. Passport control is one clear candidate for the use of super recognisers, and many policing scenarios would also benefit."
UK: Facial Recognition Technology Raises Privacy Concerns (NBC News, link):
"A new immersive experience for moviegoers is highlighting privacy concerns surrounding facial recognition technology that's being deployed by governments and the private sector.
"RIOT" by British filmmaker Karen Palmer simulates a protest scenario, employing facial recognition technologies to determine how a user would react in a real-world situation.
"If you're walking down the street, you can look around and see if there's a cop," Palmer said. "But how can you fight facial detection from a device across the street? It's so invisible. I'm using the same toolset to teach you how to empower and understand yourself better.""
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5-6.11.16)
Unaccompanied child asylum-seekers: European Court of Human Rights: Written Submissions on behalf of Statewatch as Third Party Intervenor in the case of Sh.D and others v Greece, F.Y.R.O.M, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia (Application No: 14165/16, pdf): The Statewatch Intervention invites the Court to find that:
"States party to the decision to close the Western Balkans route knew or ought to have known about the continued serious systemic deficiencies in the Greek state in respect of asylum seekers, and particularly in respect of the reception, guardianship and processing of claims of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Non-admission at the border along the Balkan and neighbouring states of unaccompanied asylum seeking children seeking access to the territory violates non-refoulement obligations under international refugee and human rights law and is incompatible with Article 3, ECHR."
The Intervention finds that:
"In view of the widely reported continuing serious deficiencies and significant delays in practice for reception (and use of prolonged de facto detention), guardianship and access to asylum processes by UN and EU agencies and non-governmental organisations, the Intervener submits that there remains no evidential basis that could lead this Court to reach a different conclusion to that which has prevailed to date, namely that the omissions to date of the Greek authorities in implementing a system of monitoring, supervising, assisting and safeguarding the best interests of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children persist at a level of severity of degrading treatment such as to amount to a breach of the states obligation under Article 3, ECHR." and:
"The Intervener therefore submits that while every country has the prerogative to control its borders, action by the Balkan states and neighbouring states to push back at the border or reject refugees and asylum-seekers based on their nationality and without any possibility of claiming asylum or otherwise having their individual circumstances taken into account violates the nonrefoulement obligations. The direct consequence of the decision to close the West Balkans route is to knowingly expose individuals and in particular unaccompanied children, acknowledged to be a most vulnerable category of persons - to the risk of proscribed ill-treatment 75 in breach of Article 3, ECHR." [emphasis in original]
EU: Council of the European Union: IT and border management & Japan MLA
- Information Technology (IT) measures related to border management (LIMITE doc no: 12661-16, pdf)
a) Systematic checks of external borders, b) Entry/Exit System (EES), c) Evolution of the Schengen Information System (SIS), d) EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), e) High-Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability = Progress report:
"the Presidency is fully committed to pursue work on the current and upcoming files on information technology measures related to border management. In this vein, it presents to the Council the below progress report on these items with a view to allowing the Ministers to take stock of the work that is under way and of the ensuing challenges."
- JAPAN-MLA: Summary of replies to the questionnaire on the application of the 2009 EU-Japan Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance (10783-REV-1-16, pdf): Member States' experience of this Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement with Japan and some of the problems.
Austria Postpones Presidential Election Re-Run Due to Faulty Postal Ballots (Press Project, link):
"The Austrian election plot thickens. Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka announced on Monday that the re-run of the presidential election scheduled for next month has been delayed after some postal voters came forward with complains of faulty seals on ballot papers ...
After the new issue was reported, the probable dates for the presidential election are either November 27 or December 4, Mr. Sobotka told reporters in Vienna, adding he was open to extending the vote to citizens who had reached the voting age of 16 since the spring. Postponing the re-run will require a change to Austria's electoral law.
Back in May, Austria came close to become the first western European country to elect a far-right head of state since World War Two. Norbert Hofer of the anti-migrant Freedom Party (FPO) lost by some 31.000 votes, which stands for less than one percentage point, to independent Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the Green Party."
UK refused access to British father in fear for his life on Ethiopias death row (Reprieve, link):
"The British Foreign Office (FCO) has failed for a week to confirm the safety and wellbeing of a British father held on death row in Ethiopia, despite having received reports last weekend that his life was in danger.
Last Saturday (28th), the family of Andargachew Andy Tsege, from London, were told by British officials in Ethiopia that Mr Tsege had indicated that he was in fear for his life, following disturbances at the prison where he is held. Mr Tsege has been imprisoned unlawfully in Ethiopia since 2014, when he was kidnapped at an international airport and rendered to the country. He is held under an illegal sentence of death, which was imposed in absentia in 2009 in relation to his vocal criticisms of Ethiopias ruling party....
UK: Philosophers talk cancelled due to passport rules (Times Higher Education, link):
"A philosopher has said he is shocked after he was prevented from speaking at a UK university for failing to provide a copy of his passport.
Jonathan Webber, reader in philosophy at Cardiff University, said that he was stunned after a guest lecture that he was due to give at the University of Hertfordshire was cancelled when he refused to show the document.
I have given many talks all over the country and have never been asked for any documentation like this, said Dr Webber, who is president of the British Society for Ethical Theory.
The UK academic, who has held lectureships at the University of Sheffield and the University of Bristol, said that he had refused to hand over a copy of his passport on principle.
They do not have the right to ask for my passport they are not my employer; so why should I have to hand it over? Dr Webber told Times Higher Education."
IRELAND: State fails to respect privacy of sexual violence survivors (The Irish Times, link):
"Late last Thursday, Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) took the decision to notify Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, that we believed they were putting the privacy and data protection rights of survivors of sexual violence at risk.
We also told Tusla that unless they responded substantively to our concerns, we would have no choice but to notify the Data Protection Commissioner and explicitly reserved our right to apply to the High Court for whatever additional remedies were needed to protect survivor privacy rights, including injunctive relief. We didnt take this step lightly. But it is our core belief that survivors must be able to access Rape Crisis Centres (RCCs) with confidence their details including critically sensitive personal data will not be unlawfully disclosed."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.11.16)
EU: Money laundering and terrorist financing: Commission assessment of new proposals lacking quality, says Parliament briefing
"This initial appraisal concludes that, while this impact assessment is generally based on useful information and data, the fact that it was apparently prepared under severe time constraints has affected the overall quality of the analysis, which as a result does not entirely meet the quality standards set out in the Better Regulation Guidelines. The structure of the IA itself, organised in two parts, but amending one piece of legislation, does not provide a fully coherent picture of the issues at stake and does not necessarily facilitate the co-legislators' understanding of the reasoning. Quality weaknesses appear to apply particularly to the second part of the IA, which was added as a direct consequence of the Panama Papers revelations."
Council of Europe: Exchange of letters with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic on the human rights of Roma and persons with disabilities (Council of Europe, link):
"Today Commissioner Muinieks published a letter he addressed to Mr Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, focusing on certain issues pertaining to the human rights of Roma and of persons with disabilities.
In his letter the Commissioner notably reiterates his recommendation to establish an extra-judicial mechanism for compensating Roma women who were victims of forced sterilizations and stresses the need to improve Romas access to inclusive education and to adequate housing. He also calls on the government to redouble its efforts to combat and eradicate anti-Gypsyism. In this context, he urges the authorities to remove the pig farm from the site of the former Nazi concentration camp in Lety, so as to provide a dignified memorial for the Roma murdered there.
Lastly, whilst welcoming the latest changes of the Civil Code concerning legal capacity of persons, Commissioner Muinieks calls on the Czech Republic to take resolute action in favor of de-institutionalization of persons, including children, with disabilities in order to enable them to live independently and be integrated in their communities."
See: The letter from Nils Muinieks to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic (pdf) and: the reply by Mr Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic (pdf)
BELGIUM: Grounds for Concern: Belgiums Counterterror Responses to the Paris and Brussels Attacks (Human Rights Watch, link)
"Human Rights Watchs analysis indicates that at least six of the governments newly adopted laws and regulations threaten fundamental rights. A law allowing the stripping of Belgian citizenship from dual nationals could create perceptions of a tier of second-class citizens based on their ethnicity and religion. An amendment to the penal code that criminalizes the act of leaving Belgium with terrorist intent contains vague language that could restrict the travel of people without evidence that they intend to commit or support extremist armed acts abroad. A measure empowering the government to suspend or withhold passports and national identity cards for up to six months lacks the important protection of prior judicial review.
A data retention law that compels telecommunications firms to provide the government with information about their clients upon demand raises serious privacy concerns. A provision that reduces the evidentiary requirements for placing terrorism suspects in pre-trial detention could disproportionately restrict the right to liberty. And a broad measure criminalizing indirect incitement to terrorism could stifle freedom of expression.
A policy that places all prisoners accused or convicted of terrorism-related offenses in prolonged solitary confinement35 detainees at time of writingis cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and may amount to torture. In one case that Human Rights Watch documented, the prison authorities held a detainee in isolation for 10 months even though by the third month he had tried to slit his wrists. In another the authorities held a prisoner in isolation for eight months despite warnings from prison-appointed psychiatrists that the detainee was talking to walls."
HUNGARY: Six years of Orbán, 600 laws and measures: EU "must show it is serious" about democracy and fundamental rights in Hungary
International human rights organisation FIDH has published a new report detailing the Hungarian government's attacks on democratic standards and fundamental rights and calling for the EU to "act and prove its commitment to defending its own founding values and the obligations that derive from EU membership by promptly addressing the situation through appropriate means and reacting to documented abuse and a systemic threat to these values in Hungary."
UK: Deputy leader of Britain First guilty over verbal abuse of Muslim woman (The Guardian, link):
"The deputy leader of far-right group Britain First has been found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment after hurling abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in front of her four young children.
Jayda Fransen, 30, was fined nearly £2,000 at Luton and South Bedfordshire magistrates court for wearing a political uniform and shouting at Sumayyah Sharpe during a Christian patrol of Bury Park in Luton on Saturday 23 January.
Fransen admitted telling Sharpe that Muslim men forced women to cover up to avoid being raped because they cannot control their sexual urges, adding thats why they are coming into my country raping women across the continent.
But she denied the words were intended to be offensive."
UK-EU: Access to European security databases post Brexit is 'mission critical' (Belfast Telegraph, link):
"Britain's access to information in Europe-wide security databases is "mission critical" in efforts to protect the public, a senior counter-terrorism officer has said.
Helen Ball, Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, highlighted the issue of returning Islamic State fighters as she discussed law enforcement arrangements with the EU following the Brexit vote.
The future of a number of tools and arrangements has come under scrutiny following the outcome of the referendum in June."
Unlawful immigration curfews under government review (BBC News, link):
"The Home Office has been forced to review curfews imposed on people after they leave immigration detention centres, a BBC investigation has found.
It comes after the Court of Appeal ruled in March that it had imposed the curfews unlawfully.
The law firm that took the Home Office to court says potentially thousands of people may be entitled to compensation.
Those subject to curfews cannot leave their home for up to 12 hours at a time.
The curfews are not directly linked to time served in prison, but some immigration detainees have committed a crime. Others have overstayed their visas or are seeking asylum."
Turkey blocks access to Twitter, Whatsapp: internet monitoring group (Reuters, link):
"Access to social media sites Twitter and Whatsapp was blocked in Turkey on Friday, an internet monitoring group said, following the detentions of 11 pro-Kurdish lawmakers in the mainly Kurdish southeast overnight.
Access was being blocked by throttling, an expert from the monitoring group Turkey Blocks said, a method of slowing certain websites to the point where they are unusable."
UK: Report highlights chilling effect on freedom to protest against fracking (Netpol, link):
"Drawing extensively on discussions with anti-fracking campaigners, as well as our own observations at prospective fracking sites, the report covers our
- Engagement with and development of resources for anti-fracking campaigners
- Concerns with the policing of anti-fracking demonstrations and camps
- The intrusive surveillance of anti-fracking campaigners; and
- The opaque relationship between the police and the fracking industry .
We have argued that the way policing operations are planned for anti-fracking protests, the scale of intrusive surveillance against campaigners and zero tolerance attitudes towards civil disobedience has a cumulative chilling effect on freedoms of assembly and expression"
See the report: Protecting the Protectors: Monitoring the Policing of Anti-Fracking Protests since 2014' (link to pdf)
Federal Court of Canada: Security Intelligence Services' data retention is illegal
"The Federal Court of Canada has faulted Canadas domestic spy agency for unlawfully retaining data and for not being truthful with judges who authorize its intelligence programs. Separately, the court also revealed that the spy agency no longer needs warrants to collect Canadians tax records.
All this has been exposed in a rare ruling about the growing scope of Canadian intelligence collection disclosed by the court on Thursday. At issue is how the federal domestic spy service has been pushing past its legal boundaries in the name of collecting data, in hopes of rounding out the holdings of a little-known Canadian intelligence facility dubbed the operational data analysis centre."
See: In scathing ruling, Federal Court says CSIS bulk data collection illegal (The Globe and Mail, link)
And see: the judgment ("public" version i.e. censored, pdf) and: summary (pdf)
New EU network of judicial authorities to combat the challenges stemming from encryption (Andrej Hunko, link)
"The European Union intends to simplify investigative authorities access to encrypted content. This emerged from the replies to a questionnaire that was circulated to all Member States by the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council. After a reflection process, efforts in this area are, according to the summary of the replies, intended to give rise to a framework for cooperation with Internet providers. It remains unclear whether this will take the form ofa recommendation, regulation or directive.
The replies to the questionnaire are now being examined by the Friends of the Presidency Group on Cyber Issues (FoP Cyber), which also held discussions on increasing tendencies to exploit encrypted communication in order to hide criminal activities, identities and crime scenes. Those taking part included the European External Action Service, the European Defence Agency and other EU institutions. FoP Cybers recommendations will then be addressed at the meeting of the next Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels."
And see: Tackling encryption: law enforcement agencies favour practical, effective solutions for access rather than new legal powers? (Statewatch News Online, October 2016)
UK: Abolish Prevent, says new study on "counter-terrorism" programme's effects in healthcare and education
The UK government's 'Prevent' programme, which is supposed to "stop people becoming terrorists or becoming drawn into terrorism" has been heavily criticised again, this time in an in-depth report published by the Open Society Justice Initiative examining how Prevent functions in the healthcare and education systems.
The report, published on 19 October, argues that "the current Prevent strategy suffers from mutiple, mutually reinforcing structural flaws, the foreseeable consequence of which is a serious risk of human rights violations," and calls for the "repeal of the Prevent duty with respect to the health and education sectors."
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: The Pitchford Inquiry must ensure openness and transparency from the police
Eveline Lubbers and Dónal O'Driscoll of the Undercover Research Group examine and critique attempts by the Met Police to maintain anonymity for former undercover officers through the use of two anonymous intermediaries only known in public by their codenames 'Jaipur' and 'Karachi'.
Travelling to and living in the EU: how would a "hard Brexit" affect UK nationals?
"The purpose of this briefing note is to outline what a so-called hard BREXIT will mean for British citizens seeking to visit, live and work in the EU. Assuming that no specific transitional arrangements are made and no special access is negotiated for British citizens after the UK leaves the EU this note sets out the current state of EU law on how British citizens will be treated. It covers nine specific areas which are covered in order of the length of time and activities which British citizens may want to stay and do in the 27 remaining EU states. This note is written on the basis that a hard BREXIT will result in no special treatment for British citizens access to the EU. At the moment we cannot know whether this will be the case but for the sake of clarity in writing, this is the assumption. If the UK does obtain more preferential treatment for British citizens to access the territory and labour market of the EU the rules set out below may not apply or not in full."
See: Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA) Position Paper: After a hard BREXIT - British citizens and residence in the EU (3 November 2016, pdf)
FRANCE: After Calais, police move in to clear encampments in Paris
"French police begun Friday a major operation to move thousands of migrants who have living on the streets of northeastern Paris, just over one week after thousands more were moved from a larger camp in Calais.
Officers backed by riot police converged early on Friday morning on the streets around Stalingrad subway station, where an estimated 3,000 migrants and refugees had been living rough.
A total of eighty-two buses were used to transport them to eighty different temporary shelters around the French capital."
See: French police clear thousands of migrants living rough on streets of Paris (France 24 link) and: Paris Is the New Calais, With Scores of Migrants Arriving Daily (The New York Times, link): "In a pattern that has not varied for months, the migrants establish themselves on the sidewalks of Paris, their numbers gradually swell over a period of weeks, and then the police come to clear them out."
BULGARIA: Over the Line: Bulgaria Welcomes Refugees With Attack Dogs and Beatings (The Intercept, link):
"Bulgarias border police are engaged in a game of questionable legality, both when they force asylum seekers out and when they let them in. They routinely use violence not only to send particular asylum seekers away, but to make sure that the larger stream of refugees turns elsewhere. Unless the refugees pay.
...The land border between Bulgaria and Turkey is about 160 miles long, and currently only the western half of it is fenced. This side consists of rolling, arid farmland. The unfenced, eastern part spans nearly 50 miles of low, forested mountains whose thick, tall trees are intercut with winding trails. Refugees and smugglers call this the jungle.
Sometimes, the smugglers explained, groups of refugees would try to cross through the jungle without paying the police. Sometimes, the smugglers would deliberately not pay, having kept the passengers money for themselves. If the passengers were caught crossing without paying, they said, Bulgarian police would always return the group to Turkey, often violently.
That, the two smugglers said, was official policy."
And see: Frontex: Joint Operational Flexible Operational Activities 2015 Land: South Eastern borders operational area: Serious Incident Report: Alleged violation of fundamental rights: censored and uncensored (pdfs)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3.11.16)
EU: Council of the European Union: European Asylum Support Office and Entry-Exit System: Limited extension of stay
Confidential Council of the EU documents on two major proposals currently under discussion. The first concerns a new legal basis for the European Asylum Support Office, which the EU hopes to give an expanded remit and more powers. Many Member States do not accept the principle of a permanent international protection relocation scheme in the EU which is still in the Commission's plans. The second document relates to a proposal from the Commission to ensure that "aliens" present in the EU on extended touring visas can only leave the bloc through the country which issued the extension, in part to "maximise the benefit" of the proposed Entry/Exit System.
- EUROPEAN ASYLUM SUPPORT OFFICE: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Union Agency for Asylum and repealing Regulation (EU) No 439/2010 (LIMITE doc no: 13306-16, 94 pages, pdf): With 250 Footnotes including Member State positions
- ENTRY-EXIT SYSTEM: Duration of short-stay in the Schengen area - Extension of that duration under bilateral agreements concluded by Member States with third countries - Draft regulations on Entry/Exit system and Touring visa (LIMITE doc no: 13397-16, pdf): After an extension of stay the "alien" must exit the Schengen area from the Member State agreeing to the extension.
UK-EU: DPP warning over post-Brexit criminal justice cooperation (Law Society Gazette, link):
"The European arrest warrant has helped the UK extradite suspects quicker and more cheaply, the director of public prosecutions said today, highlighting potential challenges with international criminal justice cooperation after the UK leaves the EU. Alison Saunders told the House of Lords EU home affairs sub-committee that up to 150 extraditions to the UK over recent years would not have been possible without the European arrest warrant (EAW)."
UK: Brexit court defeat for UK government (BBC News, link) and Judgment full-text (pdf):
"Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU, the High Court has ruled. This means the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - beginning formal exit-negotiations with the EU - on its own.
Theresa May says the referendum - and existing ministerial powers - mean MPs do not need to vote, but campaigners called this unconstitutional. The government is appealing, with a further hearing expected next month."
CoE: Turkey: Jagland expresses concern over freedom of expression and state of emergency measures (link):
"Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has expressed his concern at the media crackdown underway in Turkey. It is highly questionable if the raid against Cumhuriyet can be justified as a proportionate measure, even under the state of emergency, he said.
I am also concerned about the closure of 15 Kurdish media outlets through a decree-law.
I should like to recall that the European Convention on Human Rights continues to apply in Turkey even during the state of emergency. Careful distinction must be made between violent or terrorist acts and expressions of opposition or strong criticism to the Government. Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society. If the state of emergency is used too excessively, Turkey risks a flood of cases at the European Court of Human Rights.
Turkish return to death penalty would be KO to membership dreams (euractiiv, link):
"In one week, the European Commission will present its progress report on Turkey. But Erdogans policies continue to rub Brussels up the wrong way....
arrests of top staff at Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, the arrest of Kurdish mayors and Erdogans proposal to bring back the death penalty may prove to be the straws that broke the camels back.
The EU has so far held back in providing an official opinion, but an official at the Commissions Neighborhood and Enlargement Directorate-General told EurActiv.de that the death penalty reintroduction could prove to be a KO in terms of continued negotiations. This is a view that was shared by EU leaders during the summer. The Parliament has also clarified that any countries that implement capital punishment preclude themselves from EU accession talks."
Human Rights Begin At Home, Hungary - Election Onto UN Human Rights Council Chance To Improve Record (HRW, link):
"There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the human rights situation in Hungary. So its recent election to the United Nations Human Rights Council may seem surprising. Hungary was elected to one of two seats allocated to the region along with Croatia, with Russia failing in its bid to win a seat.
However, its election does present a good opportunity for the government to clean up its own human rights record, and for other governments to scrutinize Hungary a little more closely. And theres lots to scrutinize. "
Populist anger is a gift wrapped in barbed wire - Belgian author attempts to make sense of voters mounting sense of frustration.(Politico, link):
"The Flemish author and poet David Van Reybrouck has spent his career writing about those whose voices are only rarely heard. His books include a travelogue set in post-apartheid South Africa and an award-winning Epic History of a People about the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In his latest work, however, he has turned his attention to a group of voiceless people much closer to home: voters in Europe and the United States."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.11.16)
EU: Council of the European Unon: Cyber issues WP, IMS, Will mapping & Possession of weapons
- Establishment of a Horizontal Working Group on Cyber Issues - Terms of Reference (LIMITE doc no: 11913-16, pdf):
"Delegations expressed their views addressing matters of general, but also of organisational nature, referring in particular to the need to ensure a clear definition of the Group's scope of activities and a name that properly reflects that scope as well as to preserve the possibility of having certain meetings specifically dedicated to either capital or cyber attaches level.
On the basis of the views expressed during the meeting and the written contributions received within the set deadline (14 October 2016) the Presidency prepared a new revised version of the Terms of Reference. In order to ensure a sufficient visibility of those changes the new additions are bold and underlined whereas deleted text is stricken through...
The Working Party will ensure the strategic and horizontal coordination of cyber policy issues in the Council and can be involved in both legislative and non-legislative activities. It will bring issues to the attention of COREPER and Council in order for the latter to ensure coherence.."
- Renewed Information Management Strategy (IMS) - 5th action list - State of play (LIMITE doc no: 13258-16, pdf):
"Upon proposal from DAPIX, the Council approved Conclusions on a renewed Information Management Strategy (IMS) on 18 December 20141 . This Strategy is aimed at managing and exchanging law enforcement information across borders in a coherent, professional, efficient and cost-effective way....
The 5th IMS action list with a 18 months life span starting on 1 July 2016 contains nine actions. These actions are referred to in the Internal Security Strategy (ISS) Implementation paper as well as in the Roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management including interoperability solutions in the Justice and Home Affairs area."
See: Roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management including interoperability solutions in the Justice and Home Affairs area (LIMITE doc no: 9368-REV-1-16, pdf)
And also: EU: Implementing the Internal Security Strategy: planning documents (Statewatch database)
- MAPPING EVERY FAMILY IN THE EU? Interconnection of Registers of Wills - Final report (LIMITE doc no: 13228-16,pdf): e-Justice Expert Group Interconnection of Registers of Wills Final Report:
"Delegations will find attached the final report from the Estonian delegation on the work carried out in the context of the expert group on interconnection of registers of wills....
The overall goal of the ICRW project was to contribute to the implementation of the e-Justice Action Plan by exploring and enhancing the possibilities for exchanging succession related information and documents electronically between the Member States in order to improve and fasten the cross-border communication in succession matters."
- Draft Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons - follow-up to the fourth technical meeting and preparation of the second informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 13249-16, pdf): 4-column trilogue document.
UK: Orgreave inquiry campaigners say the gloves are off (Guardian, link): :
"Campaign considers bid for judicial review of Amber Rudds refusal to investigate clashes between police and miners..
Campaigners for an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave have declared that the gloves are off as they step up calls for a judge-led investigation into brutal clashes between police and mineworkers during the 1984 miners strike.
In a defiant press conference at the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) hall in Barnsley, campaigners said they were considering mounting a crowdfunded bid for a judicial review of Amber Rudds decision not to hold any kind of inquiry into the episod."
UK Prosecutors face legal challenge over no-charge decision in MI6 renditions case (Reprieve, link):
"Lawyers at international human rights organisation Reprieve and partners have filed a legal challenge against the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) decision not to bring charges over the abduction and torture of Libyan families.
The CPS announced earlier this year that it would not charge former senior officials in the British Government over the 2004 operation, which saw two families including a pregnant woman and four children aged 12 and under kidnapped and rendered to Colonel Gaddafis prisons."
UK must build cyber-attack capability, chancellor says (Guardian, link):
"The UK must strike back at hostile states in cyberspace and be capable of mounting sophisticated cyber-attacks of its own in place of military strikes, the chancellor has said.
Philip Hammond said that unless the UK could match the cyber-attack abilities of foreign rogue states, the alternatives would only be to ignore digital attacks on Britains infrastructure or use military force.
Launching the governments £1.9bn national cybersecurity strategy, Hammond said the UK had to develop fully functioning cyber-attack capability.
He said: If we do not have the ability to respond in cyberspace to an attack that takes down our power networks, leaving us in darkness, or hits our air traffic control system, grounding our planes, we would be left with the impossible choice of turning the other cheek and ignoring the devastating consequences or resorting to a military response.
See: National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31.10-16 - 1.11.16)
Scotland must carry out it own probe into undercover policing, says Pitchford Inquiry participants (The National, link):
"THE Scottish Government should initiate its own public inquiry into undercover policing, key participants in the UK Governments probe into the practice have said. The Pitchford Inquiry was set up in England and Wales to investigate allegations of misconduct by undercover officers.
It is claimed undercover Metropolitan Police officers were also involved in spying in Scotland, but the UK Government has refused to extend the inquiry north of the Border.
A total of 24 core participants from Pitchford, who say they were also targeted by undercover police in Scotland, have signed a statement calling for a separate Scottish inquiry to take place."
See: Letter to government (pdf):
"Rather than asking for the HMICS to conduct a strategic review, 24 Core Participants in the Pitchford Inquiry who were targeted in Scotland by undercover police have signed a statement saying that in the case the UK Home Secretary does not extend the Pitchford Inquiry to Scotland, that the Scottish government should set up its own independent inquiry, a proposal that already has cross-party support. We would be happy to participate in this and help reveal the truth that the Pitchford inquiry keeps hidden.
EU: Commission wont apologise for Oettingers racist and homophobic speech (euractiv, link):
"The European Commission today (31 October) repeatedly refused to apologise for, or investigate, racist and homophobic remarks made by Germanys EU Commissioner in a secretly-filmed after-dinner speech.
Günther Oettinger described Chinese ministers visiting Brussels as slitty-eyed and chisellers at Wednesdays Hamburg speech. He also mocked women and gay marriage.
Oettinger, who is facing calls in Brussels and Berlin for his resignation, defended his comments in a newspaper interview on Sunday. He said they were sloppy but denied they were racist or homophobic."
UK: Man dies after Wiltshire police fire Taser at him (Guardian, link):
"A man has died after police fired a Taser at him during an incident at a property in Wiltshire.
Officers were called to an address in Warminster shortly before midnight on Wednesday after reports that a man had harmed himself and was threatening to hurt others.
Wiltshire police said a Taser was discharged and the man subsequently died at the scene.
Paul Mills, assistant chief constable of Wiltshire force, said the man had caused himself significant harm and was threatening further serious harm to himself and others."
Bar Human Rights Committee publishes Interim Report on trial of Turkish journalists (pdf):
" The Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales has today published an interim Trial Observation Report, highlighting apparent breaches of international human rights law in the prosecution of several Turkish journalists from the daily newspaper Taraf.
BHRCs report, written by barrister and international law expert Gráinne Mellon, provides analysis of a preliminary hearing in the trials of Tarafs former editor, Ahmet Altan; its former deputy editor, Yasemin Çongar; two Taraf journalists, Mehmet Baransu and Yildiray Ogur, and a fifth journalist, Tuncay Opçin.
BHRCs report highlights a number of serious flaws and suspected violations of the defendants right to a fair trial..."
UK: Invisible fathers of immigration detention in the UK (Open Democracy, link) by Melanie Griffiths:
"The British state has regulated relationships between its citizens and certain foreigners since at least the Colonial era. Todays border controls continue to police peoples intimate lives and retain sexist and racist assumptions."
German Federal Criminal Police trains secret services in Egypt on monitoring extremism on the Internet (Matthias Monroy, link)
"The Federal Ministry of the Interior is stepping up its cooperation with Egypt in spite of persecution against the opposition, abuse, torture and death sentences. What is more, the Federal Criminal Police Office is cooperating with two notorious intelligence services. The focus here is on extremism and terrorism, two labels that have been used to justify the incarceration of activists, bloggers, journalists, lawyers and members of the Muslim Brotherhood."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29-30.10.16)
CETA signature ignores Agreements flaws (EDRI, link):
"On 30 October 2016, Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) will be signed between Canada and the European Union. The text includes special rights for corporations, new obligations on so-called intellectual property rights and measures which create significant risks for citizens fundamental rights, most notably with regard to privacy and data protection.
'It is a shame that nothing at all appears to have been learned from the political disagreements about the signature of this agreement. Concerns about the content of the agreement have been misleadingly portrayed as being motivated by opposition to trade or some sort of anti-Canadian sentiment,' said Maryant Fernández Pérez, Advocacy Manager of European Digital Rights (EDRi). Pointing out the risks that CETA poses to citizens fundamental rights is not about being against trade or against Canada."
Private Eyes: The Little-Known Company That Enables Worldwide Mass Surveillance (The Intercept, link):
"It was a powerful piece of technology created for an important customer. The Medusa system, named after the mythical Greek monster with snakes instead of hair, had one main purpose: to vacuum up vast quantities of internet data at an astonishing speed.
The technology was designed by Endace, a little-known New Zealand company. And the important customer was the British electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
Dozens of internal documents and emails from Endace, obtained by The Intercept and reported in cooperation with Television New Zealand, reveal the firms key role helping governments across the world harvest vast amounts of information on peoples private emails, online chats, social media conversations, and internet browsing histories.
The leaked files, which were provided by a source through SecureDrop, show that Endace listed a Moroccan security agency implicated in torture as one of its customers. They also indicate that the company sold its surveillance gear to more than half a dozen other government agencies, including in the United States, Israel, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Spain, and India."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.10.16): Mediterranean deaths all-time high; statistics on relocation from Italy; NATO to increase Med presence; and more.
EU: The number of deaths in the Mediterranean will reach a new peak this year
"UNHCR is alarmed at the high death toll being seen this year among refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Already, and with two months of 2016 still to go, at least 3,740 lives are reported lost just short of the 3,771 deaths reported for the whole of 2015. This is the worst we have seen.
The high loss of life comes despite a large overall fall this year in the number of people seeking to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Last year at least 1,015,078 people made the crossing. This year so far, crossings stand at 327,800. From one death for every 269 arrivals last year, in 2016 the likelihood of dying has spiralled to one in 88. On the Central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy the likelihood of dying is even higher, at one death for every 47 arrivals.
The causes of the increase are multiple: About half those who have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year have travelled from North Africa to Italy a known more perilous route. People smugglers are today often using lower-quality vessels flimsy inflatable rafts that often do not last the journey. Several incidents seem to be connected with travel during bad weather. And the tactics of smugglers are switching too, with several occasions when there have been mass embarkations of thousands of people at a time. This may be to do with the shifting smuggler business model or geared towards lowering detection risks, but it also makes the work of rescuers harder."
See: Mediterranean death toll soars to all-time high (UNHCR, link)
The military and migration, from the Aegean to the Central Mediterranean: NATO to boost efforts in Aegean to stop migrants (Ekathimerini, link):
"NATO defense ministers agreed Thursday to move forward cooperation with the European Union in cracking down on human smuggling across the Aegean, the alliances Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters, though Ankara emphasized its opposition to NATOs anti-trafficking mission.
NATO defense ministers have decided to continue the Alliances deployment in the Aegean to help curb illegal migration, Stoltenberg said, taking the mission launched in February to the next level. Thanks to our joint efforts, together with Greece and Turkey, the flow of migrants has decreased substantially, he said.
Ministers also decided that NATOs new maritime security operation in the Mediterranean, dubbed Operation Sea Guardian, will support the EUs anti-migrant smuggling mission, Operation Sophia. Within two weeks, NATO ships and planes will be in the central Mediterranean, ready to help increase the EUs situational awareness and provide logistical support, Stoltenberg said."
Dutch NGOs Demand a Voice to Challenge Arms Exports (Liberties.eu, link):
"PILP-NJCM and peace organizations PAX and Stop Wapenhandel are appealing the judgment of the district court Noord Holland in the case on the arms trade license for Egypt. According to the court, the NGOs' case was inadmissible."
And see: Public Interest Litigation Project: Summary of Dutch Court ruling: Peace and human rights organisations voiceless against arms trade licenses (link to pdf)
EU: "Defence" research: background to the forthcoming "preparatory action"
On 26 February the European Parliament voted to approve the EU's general budget for 2017, and with it a "preparatory action" on defence research that is supposed to set the scene for a multi-billion euro military research budget in the 2021-27 EU budget.
USA: The Pentagons Terminator Conundrum: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own (The New York Times, link):
"Almost unnoticed outside defense circles, the Pentagon has put artificial intelligence at the center of its strategy to maintain the United States position as the worlds dominant military power. It is spending billions of dollars to develop what it calls autonomous and semiautonomous weapons and to build an arsenal stocked with the kind of weaponry that until now has existed only in Hollywood movies and science fiction, raising alarm among scientists and activists concerned by the implications of a robot arms race.
Continue reading the main story
The Defense Department is designing robotic fighter jets that would fly into combat alongside manned aircraft. It has tested missiles that can decide what to attack, and it has built ships that can hunt for enemy submarines, stalking those it finds over thousands of miles, without any help from humans.
If Stanley Kubrick directed Dr. Strangelove again, it would be about the issue of autonomous weapons, said Michael Schrage, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management."
UK: More than half of local newspapers dont have a court reporter (The Justice Gap, link):
"More than half of all local newspaper editors acknowledge that the courts are not being adequately covered in their own papers, according to new research by the Justice Gap. The study also reports a 40% drop off in the number of court stories on a single day this year compared to the same date four years ago.
For the second issue of Proof magazine to be published next month, Brian Thornton, a senior journalism lecturer at Winchester University, has updated a study carried out by Professor Leslie Moran from Birkbeck law school which looked at the coverage of the courts in the national and regional papers on one day (February 16 2012).
Thornton analyzed the same newspapers on the same day four years later. The results were compared across eight national papers (Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Sun and Times) and five local titles (Birmingham Mail, London Evening Standard, Manchester Evening News, South Wales Echo, and Western Mail).
In 2012 there was a total of 82 court stories in the national and regional newspapers compared to just 57 court stories which represented a fall of (30%). The word count for the 82 stories in 2012 was 27,225 and that fell to 18,954 in 2016, also a decrease of 30%."
EU: Tackling encryption: law enforcement agencies favour practical, effective solutions for access rather than new legal powers?
- In answer to a Questionnaire Member States' responses showed: "the need for practically orientated measures prevailed over the need for adoption of new legislation on EU level."
The Council of the European Union is considering ways for law enforcement agencies to get access to encrypted messages. There are different laws and practices in Member States and it appears that a majority of them favour the better exchange of knowledge and practices to get access rather than a harmonised EU law. Many national laws prescribe that: "a prior judicial order is often required."
See: Council of the European Union: Encryption of data: Mapping of the problem - orientation debate: LIMITE doc no: 13434-16 (pdf)
European Parliament: European volunteering: remove remaining barriers, urge MEPs (Press release, pdf):
"The EU needs a better coordinated policy on volunteering, to give volunteers a proper legal status and help them join programmes, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. Almost 100 million EU citizens have taken part as volunteers in education, culture or arts, sport events, humanitarian and development aid work. Young people should take advantage of volunteering schemes to develop skills and acquire experience that helps them to find jobs afterwards, stresses the text....
People of all ages should be encouraged to take advantage of volunteering to improve their skills and understanding of other cultures, and thus improve their chances of finding a job, say MEPs."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"Experience in Greece during the refugee crisis provides a number of lessons. First, NGOs and volunteers should not be required to register with the state. Second, activities of NGOs should not be placed under the direction of state agencies who they may liaise with but not be under their control. Third, journalists and lawyers should be automatically recognised via their national rules and bodies. Fourth, NGOs, volunteers and local people should be protected against attacks by racists and fascists. And finally, giving humanitarian aid and support to refugees and migrants must be expressly decriminalised in the EU."
BULGARIA: BHC Strongly Condemns the Attack on its Chairman Krassimir Kanev (link):
"The chairman of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), the largest organization for the protection of human rights in Bulgaria, was attacked this morning around 9:30 am by two unknown men in front of the Radisson hotel in Sofia. Krassimir Kanev was hit in the face and stomach, after which his attackers fled down Tsar Shishman Street. Police was called on the site after the incident. Kanev sustained minor injuries.
BHC strongly condemns the attack on its chairperson and calls on the authorities to take immediate actions to identify the perpetrators, including obtaining records from security cameras at the scene as soon as possible."
See: Amnesty Accuses Bulgaria of Inciting Violence after Attack on Helsinki Committee Chair (novinite.com, link):
"Bulgarian authorities have not only failed to counter the climate of intolerance, but "have actively engaged in inflammatory speech and at times openly encouraged violence," John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Europe Director, has said. His words follow the attack on Krasimir Kanev, who heads the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee on Friday.
Kanev said on Thursday punched in the face and stomach by two strangers in the morning as he had been passing by a Sofia hotel near Parliament....
"Today's attack on Krasimir Kanev is an alarming assault [on] one of Bulgaria's most respected human rights campaigners. Authorities must promptly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice in fair trials," also says. He has added the attack comes at a time of increasing "xenophobia and intolerance directed against refugees, asylum-seekers and minorities including Roma as well as those who speak on their behalf".
GERMANY: The NSU scandal investigations into child murders re-opened (IRR News, link):
"More police failures in the case of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) have emerged after the discovery of the body of a child who disappeared fifteen years ago."
And see: The Pandoras box of German fascism has been opened (IRR news, link):
"Below we publish an edited version of a speech given by a spokesperson for the Berlin anti-fascist documentation centre Apabiz at a symposium held at the HAU Theatre, Berlin*.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.10.16)
How to monitor the EU's new border security strategy (euobserver, link):
"The European Council of 20-21 October has confirmed the EUs undaunted resolve to outsource parts of its immigration control policy to third countries. The trend started initially with the EU-Turkey migration agreement earlier this year, and gained considerable momentum with the recent adoption of the Migration Partnership Framework.
The Framework entails the negotiation of several "migration compacts" with key countries of origin and transit (initially Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Ethiopia), backed by significant financial and technical assistance packages.
The aim is to help these countries prevent the illegal migration of their nationals and transit migrants toward the European Union, as well as to increase cooperation on the readmission of irregular migrants already based in the EU.
The outsourcing of key elements of the EUs border security policy to third countries has generated considerable criticism from several NGOs and migration policy experts. "
Privacy group launches legal challenge against EU-U.S. data pact (Reuters, link):
"A widely expected legal challenge has been filed by an Irish privacy advocacy group to an EU-U.S. commercial data transfer pact underpinning billions of dollars of trade in digital services just two months after it came into force, sources said.
The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield was agreed earlier this year after the European Union's highest court struck down the previous Safe Harbour agreement over the transfer of Europeans' personal data to the United States, on concerns about intrusive U.S. surveillance.
The new agreement gives businesses moving personal data across the Atlantic - from human resources information to people's browsing histories to hotel bookings - an easy way to do so without falling foul of tough EU data transferral rules."
US Still Dodging Questions On Yahoo! Spying (HRW, link):
"Four weeks on, the world still does not know exactly what legal basis the US government used to obtain a secret court order requiring Yahoo! to scan all of its users incoming e-mails for a string of characters the government said was associated with a terrorist group. While sources have suggested that the court issued its order under a certain provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the government has refused to confirm this publicly. Additionally despite a plea from Yahoo! the government has so far refused to declassify the order, a stance it reiterated to Reuters this week.
This silence cannot be squared with the human rights laws that are binding upon the United States."
I Travel, therefore I Am a Suspect: an overview of the EU PNR Directive (eumigrationlawblog.eu, link):
"According to the PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive 2016/681 of 27 April 2016, a series of everyday data of all air passengers (third-country nationals but also EU citizens, including those on intra-Schengen flights) will soon be transferred to specialised units to be analysed in order to identify persons of interest in relation to terrorist offences and other serious crimes. This new instrument raises once again fundamental rights challenges posed by its future operation, particularly in relation to privacy and citizenship rights. Therefore, the story of the PNR Directive, as described below, is probably not finished as such concerns open up the possibility of a future involvement of the Court of Justice."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.10.16)
EU: Can the EU reconcile its commitment to maintaining fundamental rights and its ongoing practices?
European Parliament: MEPs call for EU democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights watchdog (Press release, pdf):
"To end the current crisis-driven approach to perceived breaches of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in EU member states, the EU Commission should set up a binding EU mechanism to monitor and report annually on their records in these fields, say MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. This mechanism should include objective benchmarks and lay down a gradual approach to remedying breaches, they add.
We have provided the European Union with the instruments to enforce all the other policy areas - competition policies, police and justice cooperation, foreign policies (...), but our core values are not protected by instruments that are sufficiently strong to make sure that the values are upheld throughout the European Union, said lead MEP Sophie int Veld (ALDE, NL), in the debate ahead of the vote. Her legislative initiative was passed by 405 votes to 171, with 39 abstentions."
See Resolution: Full-text: 25-10-16 (pdf) and: also: An EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights European Added Value Assessment accompanying the legislative initiative report (Rapporteur: Sophie in 't Veld) (pdf).
UK House of Commons Justice Committee report: The treatment of young adults in the criminal justice system (pdf):
"Concluding that there is overwhelming evidence that the CJS does not adequately address the distinct needs of young adults, despite assurances given by the Government,"
See also: Keep under-25s out of adult prisons, MPs urge - Young people should be treated differently by criminal justice system because their brains are not fully formed, MPs say (Guardian, link)
Who sets the agenda on algorithmic accountability? (euractiv, link):
"A discussion on algorithmic accountability and transparency is missing from Europes digital economy framework. Citizens need assurances that machines are treating them fairly, writes Liisa Jaakonsaari."
SPAIN: Squeezed by the spooks: attempt to recruit activist as informant caught on tape
A series of recordings captured earlier this year in Barcelona have exposed an attempt by two men claiming to work for "state security" to recruit a political activist as an informant.
Their target, Quim Gimeno, has filed an official complaint against the "modus operandi of the Cuerpo Nacional de Policia" (CNP) and the actions of the two men, who offered him monthly payments and the possibility of intervening in a court case involving terrorism charges (which was later dismissed due to lack of evidence).
One of the two men has subsequently been exposed as a senior officer known as 'Jordi' who works for the CNP's 'Provincial Information Brigade Group 6' (Grupo VI de la Brigada Provincial de Información), known for its surveillance and intelligence-gathering on social movements.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.10.16)
German weapon sales shoot through the roof (euractiv, link):
"German weapons dealers have seen their exports top 4 billion in the first six months of this year alone. While small weapon sales fell, exports of small arms ammunition reached record highs....
One of Germanys biggest customers is Turkey, which shot up from 25th on the list of buyers to a top-ten spot of 8th. In total, 76.4 billion in sales of weapons exports, including aircraft components, unmanned aerial vehicles and ground support equipment have been brokered with Ankara. The Turkish government is an important ally of Germany in regard to refugee policy and in the fight against ISIS."
Sweden: Camera spy-drones banned by Swedens highest court But cops and users with special filming permits can still attach cams to drones. (ars technica, link):
"Cameras attached to drones fall foul of Sweden's strict surveillance laws, the country's highest court has ruled by slapping an outright ban on drone filmingunless the kit is used by a law enforcement agency or an expensive permit has been issued.
The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden ruled that all drone cameras count as surveillance devices, and that they can now only be used to prevent crime or accidents. In a linked ruling, it decided that car- or bike-mounted cameras are legally fine."
Xenophobic, authoritarian and generous on welfare: how Polands right rules (Guardian, link):
"Not since the communist era has a Polish government faced as much criticism from the west as the one in charge today. It is now exactly a year since Law and Justice (PiS), a socially conservative, Eurosceptic and nationalist party, swept to power, winning a parliamentary majority with 37.5% of the vote. This followed the triumph of PiSs Andrzej Duda in the earlier presidential election, giving the party full control over Polands executive arm of government."
UK: Teachers told to guess ethnicity of children (Independent, link):
"Schools are being told to guess the ethnicity of pupils and collect their passport numbers and expiry dates as part of a controversial national schools census. The Independent has obtained a screenshot of the data input form that is being used by schools throughout England and Wales in an exercise to gather details on the race, religion, nationality, place of birth and proficiency in English for millions of children.
The form, which was designed by the Department for Education and is being hosted by outsourcing giant Capita, encourages school bosses to fill in a series of fields that also ask for pupils asylum status and whether they are members of the travelling community...
The Independent has discovered that if they do not volunteer the details, schools are then able to use the forms to guess, or ascribe, the ethnicity of individual pupils. To submit new census data, headteachers are able to select one of five options, including ascribed by present school and ascribed by previous school."
EU: Council of the European Union: European Public Prosecutor's Offce (EPPO): Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (LIMITE doc no: 12687-16, pdf): Copuncil discussing its position: Revised Preamble:
Following the examination of the draft preamble in COPEN on 8 September and the work on a number of Articles in view of the Council of 14 October, the Presidency has partly redrafted the preamble in line with the discussions. All modifications in relation to document 11350/1/16 REV 1 are indicated in underlined or strikethrough."
See also other recent Council documents: European Public Prosecutor's Office
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24.10.16)
UK: News about police use of 'Stingray' devices spreads
"Controversial stingray spy technology is being used by four Midlands police forces, according to official documents.
The equipment intercepts mobile phone calls, text messages and data.
West Midlands, Staffordshire, West Mercia, and Warwickshire forces have all bought Covert Communications Data Capture equipment according to minutes of a meeting between two of the regions police and crime commissioners and senior officers."
See: Privacy fears as Midlands police forces use new 'Stingray' spy technology (Express & Star, link). The issue was first reported in The Bristol Cable: Revealed: Bristols police and mass mobile phone surveillance (link) following which: Police remove documents following Cable investigation (The Bristol Cable, link): "Avon and Somerset police have taken down documents from their website showing that they purchased secretive mobile surveillance equipment."
UK: DEATHS IN CUSTODY: Annual rally and procession, Saturday 29 October 2016
"The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) is a national coalition of families and friends of those that have died in the custody of police and prison officers as well as those who are killed in immigration detention and secure psychiatric hospitals in the UK.
Assemble 29 October 12Noon at Trafalgar Square for a silent procession along Whitehall followed by a noisy protest at Downing Street.
We have been marching for the past 18 years and campaigning for much longer join us this year!
Every year since 1999, the UFFC holds its annual remembrance procession from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street to remember loved ones who have died in custody.
The UFFC was set up by the families who had lost loved ones at the hands of the state to challenge the injustice in the system. It began as a network of black families because disproportionate numbers of BME people were dying in police custody. It has now grown to include families of all races that die in custody."
See: UFFC Annual Rally & Procession 2016 (UFFC, link)
Refugees and terrorism must not be conflated, says UN Special Rapporteur
A new report by the UN's Special Rapporteur on terrorism and human rights calls for an end to the conflation of migrants and refugees with acts of terrorism: "in the clear majority of cases, refugees and migrants do not pose a risk, but are in fact at risk, fleeing the regions where terrorist groups are the most active," says the report, which was presented to the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday 21 October.
UK Home Office drugs policy may contribute to executions overseas
"Hundreds of thousands of pounds of UK funding for international counter-narcotics operations may be contributing to higher numbers of death sentences and executions abroad, international human rights organisation Reprieve has found.
Reprieve has written to the Home Office the lead department on international drugs policy to highlight new evidence that UK support for programmes operating in countries including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia may be resulting in the arrest and sentencing to death of vulnerable, exploited individuals.
Britain has provided almost $200,000 in funding to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) programme, along with training for anti-drugs officers in Pakistan. The UNODC recently highlighted the success of the programme in arresting three individuals following a drugs seizure in Karachi airport in September this year.
The individuals arrested could end up facing execution because Pakistan retains the death penalty for non-violent drugs offences. In the letter to the Home Secretary, Reprieve warns that those arrested under such circumstances at worst tend to be vulnerable and exploited mules, not kingpins.
See the full press release: UK Home Office drugs policy may contribute to executions overseas (Reprieve, link)
FRANCE: History repeating itself: demolition of Calais refugee camps underway
"An operation to clear the Calais refugee camp has begun, as the first of 60 French government buses left the northern port town, transporting refuges and migrants to accommodation centres elsewhere in the country.
Queues of people dragging their few possessions in donated holdalls had begun forming in the dark pre-dawn outside a warehouse where processing was taking place.
As the gates opened people surged towards the warehouse, with no idea where they were to be transported to, but having been warned they must leave the camp or risk arrest and deportation."
EU: The European Commission faces pressure from emerging European gun lobby (New Europe, link):
"The European Commission is meeting fierce resistance from Austria, Germany, France, Italy, and several eastern European states in its attempt to ban the sales of semi-automatic weapons, Der Spiegel magazine reports.
Since the Charlie Hebdo attack, the European Commission has advocated a blanket ban on assault rifles and a six bullet limit to the rounds of semi-automatic magazines from 21 today. That initial proposal has now been watered down following intensive lobbying.
Companies such as Germanys Sig Sauer, Heckler & Koch, Austrias Glock, and Italys Beretta have enlisted support in powerful European parties, including Germanys ruling Christian Democrats (CDU), to prevent the regulation of the legal retail market for assault rifles."
Statewatch Analysis: Civilizing the torture and execution trade (pdf) by Dr Steve Wright (Reader in Applied Global Ethics, Leeds Beckett University):
Earlier this month, the European Parliament and Commission finally agreed to outlaw the export, brokering and promotion of torture and execution equipment from Europe. Such equipment includes guillotines, hanging ropes, lethal injection drugs, multi-barbed steel sting sticks, electroshock batons and tools familiar to torturers of old, leg irons and wall cuffs to hang prisoners from walls and ceilings, thumbscrews, neck chains and other medieval paraphernalia....
Can we further civilize the security trade? I believe so, but only region by region. The 21st century has already become the epoch of the torturer. Only civil society can civilize state security practices further - as if people mattered.
EU: European Parliament Study: Turkey: How the pre-accession funds have been spent, managed, controlled and the monitoring system? (pdf):
"This study follows up on the European Court of Auditors Special Report 16/2009 The European Commission's management of pre-accession assistance to Turkey. The European Commission has undertaken actions addressing the recommendations of the report but it is unclear how effective these actions have been, or are likely to be, in addressing the underlying concerns expressed in the report. In particular, understanding of the effectiveness and impact of European Union funding to Turkey is still very limited." [Emphasis added]
See: European Auditors report (link)
Council of Europe: "Combating anti Gypsyism: Congress calls for better access to social rights and legislative measures"
"Strasbourg, 20 October 2016 At their 31st Session in Strasbourg, France, the memmbers of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities examined, on 20 October 2016, a report on the situation of Roma and Travellers, presented by John Warmisham (United Kingdom, SOC) and highlighting the context of rising extremism, xenophobia and the refugee crisis, which is worsening discrimination against them and stirring anti-Gypsyism."
See: Report (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22-23.10.16)
EU: Populism in Europe stoking violence, say gay activists (euractiv, link):
"Activists at Europes biggest annual gay rights conference warned today (21 October) that populist political movements across the continent are stoking violence against minorities. ILGA-Europe, an umbrella group for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex) rights campaigners, said hate speech is fuelling discrimination and physical attacks.
Its executive director, Evelyne Paradis, said growing populism, extremism and xenophobia are affecting sexual, ethnic and other minority groups. In many countries LGBTI groups find themselves among the most vulnerable, she told AFP.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.10.16)
EU: Massive transnational police "action day" on "facilitated illegal immigration", drugs, human trafficking, fraud
EU police agency Europol has been working hard to publicise the results of a recent "joint action day" that involved 52 national law enforcement agencies and four international organisations cooperating with Europol to "deliver a major blow to organised crime groups operating across the European Union and beyond. Cooperation with partners from the private sector was also key to this successful operation."
UN: Press release: Special Rapporteur warns that situation for civil society remains precarious
NEW YORK In his final presentation to the General Assembly today, Maina Kiai reflected on his 5½ years as the United Nations first-ever Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and warned that the environment for exercising civic freedoms remained hazardous worldwide.
Unless there is renewed commitment from the worlds leaders, away from fear and control of their own people, and toward respecting the dignity of all, the situation will remain precarious for civil society globally, the UN expert said.
EU: European Council offers approval for migration deals with African states
"European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to step up their efforts to curb illegal migration from African countries with the aim of replicating their success in halting inflows from Turkey over the past year...
To curb flows along the so-called central Mediterranean route, where thousands of migrants drown every year as they make the dangerous journey, the EU is offering trade deals and investment to African countries."
Official documentation: European Council conclusions on migration, 20 October 2016 (pdf)
A cashless future? Sounds like a dream but dont be fooled (The Guardian, link):
"This week the former Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins predicted the end of banks as we know them within two decades. Whats the point of these antiquated vaults, he suggested, when all thats really needed to underpin the movement of wealth around the globe is a vast electronic ledger tracking whos worth what, and some nifty apps for shunting it between us?
...No more saving coppers in jars, dropping spare coins in charity boxes; no cash means no change, the end of that faint illusion of getting something back on the transaction. And the mind boggles at how men will mark their domestic territory, once they cant leave small slagheaps of coins on every recently cleared surface in the house. But the bigger question here is who exactly a cashless society is designed to serve.
...Its not just that people tend to spend more freely when the money feels abstract, just numbers on a screen. Turn a phone into a virtual wallet, the one thing nobody leaves home without, and youre shackled to it for ever. What was once an expensive toy becomes a necessity, a contract you cant cancel if times get tough but also, perhaps, a tracking device."
For a more detailed look at the issue of the "cashless society", see: The War on Cash (The Long+Short, link): "Banks, governments, credit card companies and fintech evangelists all want us to believe a cashless future is inevitable and good. But this isn't a frictionless utopia says Brett Scott, and it's time to fight back"
UK-IRELAND: Undercover policing: fresh questions over Mark Kennedy's activities in Ireland
"GARDA CHIEFS and Scotland Yard commanders allowed British undercover policeman Mark Kennedy to spy on environmental groups in Ireland, including the Shell to Sea campaign in Mayo. Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan wants Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to get some long-overdue and straight answers from her British counterpart when she meets Home Secretary Amber Rudd this month..."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.10.16)
EU-UK: BREXIT: House of Lords Select Committee on the EU: Brexit: parliamentary scrutiny (pdf): Concludes that:
"The current level of scrutiny of trade and other international negotiations by the European Parliament, as set out in the 2010 Framework Agreement between the European Parliament and the European Commission, provides a baseline against which any arrangements agreed in the United Kingdom Parliament must be measured: it would be unacceptable for the European Parliament to have greater rights of scrutiny over the negotiations on Brexit than Westminster. We are therefore grateful for the Secretary of States assurance that the level of scrutiny in Westminster will at least match that in Brussels."
No EU money for arms (CAAT, link):
"The European Union was envisaged as a project of peace but now the arms industry is pushing for public funds to be diverted to subsidise weapons development. We have a chance to stop it.
60,000 people across Europe have already signed a petition against these proposals. Please increase the pressure by emailing your MEP directly today."
And see a detailed briefing by the European Network Against the Arms Trade: Why the EU should not subsidy military research (link to pdf)
European Data Protection Supervisor calls for new ways to protect personal data online
"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: Our online lives currently operate in a provider-centric system, where privacy policies tend to serve the interests of the provider or of a third party, rather than the individual. Using the data they collect, advertising networks, social network providers and other corporate actors are able to build increasingly complete individual profiles. This makes it difficult for individuals to exercise their rights or manage their personal data online. A more human-centric approach is needed which empowers individuals to control how their personal data is collected and shared."
See: European Data Protection Supervisor: Opinion 9/2016: EDPS Opinion on Personal Information Management Systems: Towards more user empowerment in managing and processing personal data (pdf) and the press release: Towards a new reality: Taking back control of our online identities (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: European Council Conclusions: A Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date (pdf):
"The Parliament's administrative capacity to support parliamentary committees and individual Members in exercising ex-post scrutiny and oversight of the executive has accordingly been enhanced in order to provide stronger and deeper analysis of the transposition, implementation and enforcement of EU secondary law, and more generally, of the impact, operation, effectiveness and delivery of EU law and policy in practice.
In this context, since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit has been monitoring and analysing the delivery on commitments made by the European Council in the conclusions of its meetings, as well as its various responsibilities either in law or on the basis of intergovernmental agreements."
USA: Rights groups request U.S. probe police use of facial recognition (Reuters, link):
"Fifty civil rights groups signed a letter asking the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday to investigate police use of facial-recognition databases, arguing the technology disproportionately affects minorities and has minimal oversight.
The request coincides with the release of a law school's report concluding half of America's adults have their images stored in at least one searchable facial-recognition database used by local, state and federal authorities and amid concern about law enforcement's use of force against black men."
See: Half of All American Adults are in a Police Face Recognition Database, New Report Finds (Georgetown Law, link), the report: The Perpetual Line-up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America (pdf) and the website (link).
Top EU Court: IP addresses are personal data
The EU's Court of Justice (ECJ) today looked into whether website operators such as Google or Facebook may record which information Internet users read, post or searched on the web - or whether citizens have a right to use the Internet anonymously. The ruling concerns the case of German pirate party politician and privacy activist Patrick Breyer who is suing the German government over logging all visits to government websites (Case C-582/14).
According to the court, users' IP addresses are personal data and may be collected only where allowed by data protection law.
The Court did not decide on whether website operators may retain IP addresses in bulk or whether the users privacy rights prevail. EU law does not give specific guidance on the matter.
Breyer calls on the Commission to act on the lack of specific EU rules protecting on-line privacy: "The Commission should amend EU legislation to specifically prohibit any blanket recording of our Internet use by website operators. Europe should reject the ruthless NSA method of ýcollecting it allý and enforce our right to freedom of information and expression in the digital age."
See: Judgment full-text (pdf)
See also: Your dynamic IP address is now protected personal data under EU law - CJEU rules that personal IPs can't be stored, unless to thwart cybernetic attacks or similar (arstechnica, link):
"Europe's top court has ruled that dynamic IP addresses can constitute "personal data," just like static IP addresses, affording them some protection under EU law against being collected and stored by websites.
But the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) also said in its judgment on Wednesday that one legitimate reason for a site operator to store them is "to protect itself against cyberattacks."
EU: European Parliament: MEPs push for tougher rule of law oversight (Politico, link):
"The Parliaments civil liberties committee wants measures to be non-politically motivated.... Members of the European Parliament stepped up pressure Tuesday for the EU to do more to ensure countries uphold the rule of law, saying the current procedure is ineffective and open to charges it can be politically motivated.
MEPs on the assemblys civil liberties committee voted by a large majority on a proposal to establish a new system for monitoring whether EU members adhere to the blocs basic civil rights principles."
See: EP Briefing: EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (pdf)
Opinion 1/15: AG Mengozzi looking for a new balance in data protection (European Law Blog, link):
"On 8 September 2016, Advocate General (AG) Mengozzi delivered his much awaited opinion on the agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record (PNR). It follows the European Parliaments resolution seeking an Opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the compatibility of the agreement with the Treaties. Even though the opinion concludes that the agreement has many loopholes, it could disappoint those who were expecting a strong condemnation of PNR schemes as such."
EU: European Council meeting on 20-21 October: "maintaining and tightening control": draft conclusions focus on migration
Migration is the hot topic for the European Council meeting, and the focus is on maintaining and asserting control over the situation and pursuing further attempts to keep people out of Europe.
See: NOTE from: General Secretariat of the Council to: Delegations: European Council (20-21 October 2016) - Draft conclusions (11226/16, LIMITE, pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.10.16)
UK: Armed drones: disquiet over government arguments on "targeted killing"
"We are disappointed that the Governments response does not contain a full explanation of the Governments detailed and developed thinking on these complex issues. We had hoped that the work we did in our inquiry, and our reasoned Report, deserved such an explanation. Rather, the Government declines to state its understanding of the law that applies to lethal drone strikes outside of armed conflict on the basis that this is hypothetical. We do not find this a satisfactory response."
France creates National Guard to combat terror threat (Deutsche Welle, link):
"France's government on Wednesday approved the creation of a National Guard to bolster the country's security against potential terrorist threats.
The Guard is expected to reach 84,000 people by 2018 and will relieve traditional security forces. France's police and military have been stretched following a series of devastating terror attacks across the country in the last two years.
Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve presented the decree to the cabinet during its weekly meeting on Wednesday, where it was approved.
The French National Guard will not be a completely new initiative. Rather, it will bring together personnel from the police, gendarmerie and armed forces under the National Guard umbrella currently totaling around 63,000 reservists.
The decree also borrows from the US National Guard as it aims to encourage citizens to get involved and serve their country. A dedicated government-backed website hopes to win over a number of new volunteers."
UN: Special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the workplace
"In recent decades, globalization has led to a rise in economic productivity and wealth, but it has also contributed to a dramatic increase in the power of large multinational corporations and concentrated wealth in fewer hands. At the same time, States power to regulate these business entities has eroded and in some cases been voluntarily ceded in order to attract these businesses.
This new global economic order has had a profound impact on workers ability to exercise their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Labours traditional tools for asserting rights trade unions, strikes, collective bargaining and so on have been significantly weakened across the globe. The majority of the worlds workers find themselves excluded from national legal protective frameworks, while some are not even defined as workers. This situation has left vast swathes of the worlds labour force unable to exercise their fundamental rights to associate or assemble, and without access to remedies when their rights are violated.
In this report, the Special Rapporteur examines how and why this has happened, focusing on the most marginalized portions of the worlds labour force, including global supply chain workers, informal workers, migrant workers, domestic workers and others. He finds that although States are obligated under international law to respect and promote workers rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, many are dismally failing at this task."
The report (in English): The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the workplace (pdf). Other languages (French, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Russian) are available on the Special Rapporteur's website (link). The report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on 20 October.
SWITZERLAND-ECHR: Unlawful surveillance by an insurance company of a road accident victim breached her right to privacy (pdf):
"Ms Vukota-Bojiæ had been involved in a road traffic accident, and subsequently requested a disability pension. Following a dispute with her insurer on the amount of disability pension and years of litigation later, her insurer requested that she undergo a fresh medical examination, in order to establish additional evidence about her condition. When she refused, the insurer hired private investigators to conduct secret surveillance of her. The evidence that they obtained was used in subsequent court proceedings, which resulted in a reduction of Ms Vukota-Bojiæs benefits. She complained that the surveillance had been in breach of her right to respect for private life, and that it should not have been admitted in the proceedings.
The Court held that the insurers actions engaged state liability under the Convention, since the respondent insurance company was regarded as a public authority under Swiss law. It also held that the secret surveillance ordered had interfered with Ms Vukota-Bojiæs private life, even though it had been carried out in public places, since the investigators had collected and stored data in a systematic way and had used it for a specific purpose. Furthermore, the surveillance had not been prescribed by law, since provisions of Swiss law on which it had been based were insufficiently precise. In particular, they had failed to regulate with clarity when and for how long surveillance could be conducted, and how data obtained by surveillance should be stored and accessed. There had therefore been a violation of Article 8."
And the judgment: Case of Vukota-Bojic v. Switzerland (application number 61838/10, pdf)
Networks of Control: A Report on Corporate Surveillance, Digital Tracking, Big Data & Privacy
"In their report, Wolfie Christl and Sarah Spiekermann explain how a vast number of companies have started to engage in constant surveillance of the population. Without peoples knowledge a network of global players is constantly tracking, profiling, categorizing, rating and affecting the lives of billions across platforms, devices and life contexts. While special interest groups have been aware of the corporate use of personal data for a while now, the full degree and scale of personal data collection, use and in particular abuse has not been scrutinized closely enough."
EU-CANADA: CETA: Democracy endangered by Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
"Imagine a far-off dystopia when foreign corporations are given the same status as citizens in public hearings. When the overriding priority for government in issuing licenses for fracking, pipeline and other projects is to make the process simple for corporations. When, regardless of how much a project is opposed by the public, governments have to ensure protests and court challenges do not cause undue delays.
Unfortunately, this scenario is not some distant possibility but may become legally binding reality by 2017. That is when CETA the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union is supposed to come into force... Neither Canadians nor Europeans can afford an agreement like CETA that shifts government decision-making further in favour of serving narrow commercial interests."
See: CETA: A significant shift from democratic governance (Policynote, link). And on the politics of doing the deal: Lessons to be learnt from CETAs stalemate (VoteWatch Europe, link)
EU: Europe Wishes to Inform You that the Refugee Crisis Is Over (Foreign Policy, link):
An extensive overview of the evolution and development of the European response to the refugee crisis over the last two years. Amongst the author's interviewees is European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who considers Member States' disregard for their commitments to "relocating" refugees from Italy and Greece to be "morally wrong". Meanwhile the Dutch permanent representative to the Council of the EU is keen to note that there is "a grip on the flow" but the "worry now is slippage" - that is, people leaving the squalid camps of Greece and travelling elsewhere in the continent.
The author concludes:
"Europe is bound to become less white, less Christian, and less homogeneous. Americans know that a pluralistic society can send fresh blood coursing through a nations veins; but even many Americans are turning against immigrants and refugees. Its all too easy to cater to those fears, as political leaders in the United Kingdom discovered during the Brexit debate. Its so much harder to say, as Merkel did, that honoring the obligation to accept refugees will occupy and change a country in the years to come. Political leaders must find a language that will acknowledge citizens legitimate fears without exploiting them. If they fail, Europe could fall into the hands of leaders who stir up primeval passions once thought extinct. We may be a few generations removed, but the carnage of that hatred and fear still smolders. Its not just the EUs arcane rules that are at stake, or even the EUs capacity for collective action. It is the very idea of Europe."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.10.16)
Council of Europe tells Turkey to restore MPs inviolability (euractiv, link):
"In its first opinion on Turkey after the failed coup détat on 15 July, the Council of Europe called today (17 October) on restoring the inviolability of members of parliament, which was infringed by an amendment of the constitution introduced last April.
The so-called Venice Commission (the European Commission for Democracy through Law) published a 16-page opinion on the constitutional amendment of 12 April 2016."
EU: Commission presents REFIT evaluation of the Visa Information System (link):
"As part of the Commission's better regulation agenda, ensuring that EU legislation remains fit for purpose, the Commission has today adopted an Evaluation Report on the implementation of the Visa Information System (VIS), analysing the use of fingerprints at the EU's external borders and the use of biometrics in the visa application procedure....
The evaluation found that the VIS meets its objectives and functions well but would need to be further developed to respond to new challenges in visa, border and migration policy. VIS remains one of the most advanced systems of its kind, with close to 23 million visa applications and 18.8 million fingerprints registered by the end of March 2016."
- Report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Visa Information System (VIS), the use of fingerprints at external borders and the use of biometrics in the visa application procedure/REFIT Evaluation (COM 655-15, pdf)
See also: Impact assessment: Staff Working Document: SWD 328-16 (pdf) and SWD 327 (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17.10.16)
EU: Establishing the European Border and Coast Guard: all-new or Frontex reloaded? (EU Law Analysis, link):
"On the 6th of October 2016 the landscape of EU external border control did not change dramatically, but it did change. To repeat: No new agency has been founded, no EBCG under EU command and control was established, no right to intervene at Member States external borders against their will has been introduced. In fact and most notably, the Member States external border guard is placed under increased scrutiny of the EBCG Agency. Failure to comply with integrated border management standards could eventually lead to reintroducing internal border controls to the detriment of the disobedient Member State. At the same time, the Agencys enhanced tasks and powers will go hand in hand with more responsibility and accountability, but the latter has yet to be improved. Although the complaints mechanism is a step in the right direction, its design could have been more effective. This holds true especially for the follow-up mechanism. In practice, much will depend on the Fundamental Rights officers assertiveness on the one hand, and the Executive Directors responsiveness on the other hand."
EU: European Commission: European Agenda on Security: First report on progress towards an effective and sustainable Security Union (Press release, pdf):
"The present report is the first of a series of monthly reports on the progress made towards an operational and effective Security Union, as requested by President Juncker in his mission letter addressed to Commissioner Julian King. The monthly reports will highlight action taken by the EU institutions and EU Agencies in the area of security and will identify where more efforts are needed. The next progress report is foreseen for November 2016." and includes:
"Work is also ongoing as regards the Commission's legislative proposal for an EU Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS) to provide prior checks for visa-exempt thirdcountry nationals travelling to the Schengen area, which will be presented by November.
In addition, swift negotiations and adoption of the Commission proposal for systematic checks of EU citizens crossing the external borders by the end of 2016 and the establishment of an EU Entry-Exist System (EES) are necessary to enhance security at the external EU borders."
And see: First progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 670-16, pdf)
The proposal for a EU Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS) to provide prior checks for visa-exempt thirdcountry nationals travelling to the Schengen area present a major problem for relations with the USA. See: EU-USA visa row on the cards
EU-USA visa row on the cards: many visa-free entrants "stay within the territory of the Schengen area for several years continuously."
The long-standing EU-USA row over the US visa-free entry to the EU is soon to come to a head. Last week we reported on the EU-USA JHA Senior Officials meeting 8-9 September 2016 where the EU proposal to "impose temporary visa requirement for US nationals" went down like a lead balloon. At the same time the EU has been trying for years to get the USA to give visa-free entry to five EU Member States. Now changes to visa-free entry are planned as part of the Entry Exit System.
See: Proposals for planned Regulations on the Entry-Exit System and touring visa: Duration of short-stay in the Schengen area - Extension of that duration under bilateral agreements concluded by Member States with third countries - Draft regulations on Entry/Exit system and Touring visa (LIMITE doc no: 12114-16, pdf)
UK spy agencies 'broke privacy rules' says tribunal (BBC News, link):
"UK spy agencies broke privacy rules by collecting large amounts of UK citizens' data without adequate oversight, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled. Complaints about data collection by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 were put forward by campaign group Privacy International.
The ruling said that some of the bulk collection did not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. But it added that proper statutory supervision was put in place last year. It was a "highly significant judgement", Privacy International said"
See also: UK security agencies unlawfully collected data for decade, court rules - Investigatory powers tribunal says secret collection of citizens personal data breached human rights law (Guardian, link)
And: Full text of IPT Judgment (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-16.10.16)
EU: Proposed ENTRY-EXIT SYSTEM: Council of the European Union:
- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 as regards the use of the Entry/Exit System (LIMITE doc no: 12178-16, pdf):
"Delegation will find attached a Presidency compromise text of the above Proposal. The compromise suggestions reflect the discussions and the relevant contributions by delegations put forward during the previous readings of the draft Regulation.
The new additions are highlighted in bold/underline. The changes already included in the previous version of the text (doc. 10876/16) are highlighted in underline/strikethrough. Deletions of parts of the Commission's proposal are marked as [ ]."
- ANNEX to above (LIMITE doc no: 12178-ADD-1-16, pdf): Details of processing those entering or leaving Schengen Area.
The UKs Investigatory Powers Bill is about to become law here's why that should terrify us (Open Democracy, link):
"The evidence that these powers are all needed is thin indeed. And the cost to all of our privacy is huge."
The IP Bill as at 12.9.16 (pdf): The Bill is now before the House of Lords.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.10.16)
UPDATED: EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 13-14 October 2016, Luxembourg: Final: Press Release: 13 and 14 October 2016 (pdf)
"B" Points Agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points Agenda - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A"Points non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) See: Background Note (pdf).
EU: Regulation on European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO): Council of the European Union: Partial general approach/Progress report (LIMITE doc no: 13185-15, pdf):
With Member State positions and focused on cooperation with third countries, non-participating Member States and Eurojust.
UK-ECHR: Letter from parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to the Defence Secretary of State (pdf):
"The Governments proposed derogation from the ECHR I am writing to you about your joint announcement with the Prime Minister on 4 October that the Government propose to protect the Armed Forces from persistent legal claims by introducing a presumption to derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights in future overseas operations.
Derogating from the UKs international human rights obligations is a very serious matter."
Includes 25 questions.
EU: Council of the European Union: REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the establishment of a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals, and repealing the Council Recommendation of 30 November 1994 (pdf):
Replaces the 1994 Resolution adopted under the Maastricht Treaty. This will only be effective if states (eg: in Africa) agree to returns and readmission decided by EU Member States:
"The national authorities of the Member States experience difficulties in returning illegally staying third-country nationals who possess no valid travel documents.
Improving cooperation on return and readmission with the main countries of origin and transit of illegally staying third-country nationals is essential for increasing rates of return, which are unsatisfactory. An improved European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals is relevant in that regard.
The current standard travel document for the return of third-country nationals, established by the Council Recommendation of 30 November 19942, is not widely accepted by authorities of third countries, for reasons including its inadequate security standards." [emphasis added]
Comment: The primary reason why an EU document is not accepted is not "security" but because third countries are not prepared to accept an unlimited number of "returns" to their state of those from and "transiting" through that state. Moreover, there is a quite understandable reluctance of refugees to "return" to countries from which they have fled due to war, persecution and poverty.
UK: Ministers hide report on migrant numbers - Foreign students overstated by tens of thousands (Times, link)
CoE Parliamentary Assembly: German Foreign Minister: Human rights are and must remain non-negotiable (link):
"Human rights are and must remain non-negotiable, German Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told parliamentarians today at PACEs plenary session in Strasbourg. They are not just an instrument to be used when it suits on the road to peace. They are in fact the cornerstone on which a functioning international order needs to be built.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.10.16)
EU-USA: VISAS: We'll sue EU commission over US visa policy, say MEPs (euractiv, link):
"The European Commission may end up in court unless it threatens to impose visa restrictions on US citizens. MEPs in the civil liberties committee demanded on Wednesday (12 October) that the commission makes the threat because citizens of five EU states - Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania - still need a visa to enter the US.
"The European Parliament would have a case to take you to court," Dutch liberal Sophie In't Veld told EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos....
The EU has reciprocity rules on lifting visas with other countries - if they insist that EU nations need visas, then the EU must impose the same obligations on their citizens.
The commission may trigger a so-called delegated act that would threaten to reimpose visas on all visiting US nationals. But Avramopoulos told the MEPs the EU commission prefers maintaining diplomatic relations amid threats the US would simply impose visas on everyone."
See: EU-USA JHA Senior Officials meeting 8-9 September 2016 - EU proposal to "impose temporary visa requirement for US nationals" went down like a lead balloon.
UPDATED: EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating terrorism and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism - Follow up of the third trilogue of 28 September 2016 (LIMITE doc no:12736-26, 99 pages, pdf): Multi-column document with the Commission proposal, the Council and European Parliament positions and the "Compromise" position
"Changes introduced by the GA [Council agreed "General Approach"] are marked in bold, changes introduced by the EP are marked in bold italic; new text is marked in bold underlined."
And see: State of play: after 2nd Trilogue between the Council and the European Parliament: Follow-up on 8 September 2016 the second trilogue on the Terrorism Directive (LIMITE doc no: 12051-16, pdf) 4-column document and as above: "Changes introduced by the GA are marked in bold; changes introduced by the EP are marked in bold italic; new text is marked in bold underlined "
German development aid and the politics of pre-emption (IRR News, link):
"Below we reproduce excerpts from anti-fascist activist Joschka Fröschners October 2016 Race & Class article German development aid and the politics of pre-emption".
And see: The October issue of Race & Class features articles on the international impact of securitisation (IRR, link)
UK: Revealed: Bristols police and mass mobile phone surveillance (The Bristol Cable, link):
"Evidence points to Avon and Somerset Constabulary and five other forces having bought devices that can spy on thousands of phones at a time..
IMSI-catchers are surveillance devices that can both track the movements of mobile phone users within a given area, and intercept texts and calls.
They mimic cell towers what your mobile phone connects to in order to make and receive phone calls and text messages. When deployed, every mobile phone within an area up to 8km square will try to connect to the dummy-tower. IMSI-catchers trace your location and your International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI), a unique number for each phone which can be used to identify you."
These findings have opened up a whole new avenue for investigation and debate Privacy International."
EU: 67 million for maritime surveillance drones
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) wants drones, and lots of them. The agency has made more 67 million available for unmanned aircraft that will fulfil "the various maritime surveillance needs in general, including fisheries, illegal immigration, anti drug trafficking, etc." as well as "other public purposes on an emergency basis."
In documents published at the end of July, EMSA says it is looking for a company or companies to provide three different types of drone to monitor "the different operational domains": medium-size, long-endurance drones; "larger size RPAS services with 'long endurance' and with a comprehensive set of sensor capabilities"; and drones with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) abilities.
Hungarys chilling plight could foreshadow Europes future (Guardian, link) by Owen Jones:
"Rightwing populism is on the march but the EU cant even win enough support to impose sanctions."
UK: The science of pre-crime: The secret radicalisation study underpinning PREVENT (Cage, link):
"In July 2015, the UK government introduced a statutory duty on all public sector workers to spot the signs of radicalisation in order to stop their charges being drawn into terrorism. The government uses a system of 22 factors that has been developed to train these public sector employees in spotting signs of vulnerability.
This CAGE report, details for the first time how the government produced these factors in secret, and subsequently relied on an evidence base that was not only unproven, but extended far beyond its original remit. Key among our findings, is the admission by those who wrote the study, that they did not factor political grievance into the modelling, a fact they say was, perhaps an omission. Further, the governments study states that only trained professionals should be using these factors, and yet they have been rolled out nationally under a statutory duty imposed under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 ultimately being used in what they term the pre-crime space."
Netherlands: Appeal on arms trade Egypt (pilp, link)
"PILP-NJCM and peace organisations PAX and Stop Wapenhandel are appealing the judgment of the district court Noord Holland in the case on the arms trade license for Egypt.
According to the court the NGOs were inadmissible in this administrative procedure. This would mean only the arms trade companies themselves could appeal arms trade licenses."
See: Dutch Court Stifles Human Rights Organizations' Objections to Arms Trade (Liberties.eu, link)
Macedonia: Wiretap Investigation Targets Secret Police, Ex-PMs Relative (occrp.org/en, link):
"A special prosecutor in Macedonia announced Wednesday it was investigating four interior ministry and counter intelligence officials for allegedly defrauding the state of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a deal to buy surveillance equipment. Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) partner Nova TV has reported a relative of the former prime minister is among the suspects.
mijalkov11Former secret police chief Saso Mijalkov (Photo: Nova TV)The investigation is the latest step by a special prosecutor set up in the Balkan country after the release of mass wiretaps last year of roughly 20,000 people allegedly ordered by former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. The recordings allegedly show wrongdoing by former officials, including Gruevski himself."
New Czech-German police cooperation agreement takes effect (Prague Monitor, link):
"A Czech-German agreement on police cooperation enabling one country's police to intervene on the other country's territory, if necessary, came into force on Saturday.
Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec and his German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere signed the agreement in Prague in April 2015. Afterwards, it was approved by the two countries' parliaments.
It enables the police to pursue suspicious vehicles onto the other country's territory as if they acted in their own country. This also applies to police helicopters.
The new rules should enable a quick intervention on the foreign territory without the other country's previous approval if people's health or lives are in danger. The agreement also includes the customs officers' agenda. According to it, the Czech and German police will form more joint patrols."
Refugee crisis: Council admits the EU has failed to respond on key areas
- "Frontex and Europol... report fatigue among Member States in responding to calls for experts"
- Some 'nationalities' are unable to register their asylum applications. Lodging of asylum applications is done according to nationality, giving priority to Syrians, Pakistanis and North Africans, while Iraqi and Afghani requests are not being dealt with."
Over a year ago the Council and the European Commission- belatedly - started to respond to the refugee crisis. Now a year on the Council, in a secret report to COREPER, recognises some of the failures and urges - for the umpteenth time - Member States to "do more":
See: Migration - Implementation (LIMITE doc no: 12730-16, pdf)
EU: European Parliament Study: International Agreements - Review and Monitoring Clauses: A Rolling Check-List (pdf):
"This is the second, updated edition of a study presenting an overview of various clauses on review and monitoring, sunset and management and implementation which can be found in international agreements concluded between the European Union and third countries....
As an implementation monitoring tool, this study provides a systematic overview of review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses as well as management and implementation clauses present in international agreements which are concluded between the EU and third countries. While the review and monitoring clauses refer to the process of assessing the implementation of international agreements, the sunset clauses refer to the duration of international agreements..."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.10.16)
EU: Meijers Committee: Statement on behalf of the Meijers Committee During the Public Hearing on The reform of the Dublin System and Crisis Relocation of 10 October 2016 By Ms. Nejra Kalkan, Executive Secretary (pdf):
"With regard to this proposal one may wonder:
Should we not establish a system that works with the interests of asylum-seekers and Member States which are in the frontlines instead of coercing unwilling Member States and asylum seekers into cooperation? As long as the system is deemed to be unfair by the key players in Dublin and does not serve their interests, Dublin may be bound to fail, regardless of how much coercion is put into the system. That coercion is moreover problematic from the perspective of human rights.
Would we not call a builder of a house irresponsible if he or she would build more floors to a house whose foundations are, to say the least, shaky?"
See: Note on the proposed reforms of the Dublin Regulation (COM (2016) 197), the Eurodac recast proposal (COM (2016) 272 final), and the proposal for an EU Asylum Agency (COM(2016)271 final) (pdf)
EU-UK: May to let MPs scrutinise Brexit plan (euractiv, link):
"British Prime Minister Theresa May signalled ahead of a House of Commons debate Wednesday (12 October) that she would let parliament scrutinise her plan for Brexit before she begins the formal process to exit the EU.
The move caused the pound to bounce back after a torrid week, amid speculation that MPs may be able to soften the governments approach to Brexit, which currently seems on course to take Britain out of the single market.
May has still offered no reassurance that MPs will have a vote on her plan before she triggers Article 50 of the EUs Lisbon Treaty, which formally begins the exit process."
See also: UK court challenge risks delaying Brexit (euractiv, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-11.10.16)
U.S. Military Operations Are Biggest Motivation for Homegrown Terrorists, FBI Study Finds (The Intercept, link):
"A secret FBI study found that anger over U.S. military operations abroad was the most commonly cited motivation for individuals involved in cases of homegrown terrorism. The report also identified no coherent pattern to radicalization, concluding that it remained near impossible to predict future violent acts.
The study, reviewed by The Intercept, was conducted in 2012 by a unit in the FBIs counterterrorism division and surveyed intelligence analysts and FBI special agents across the United States who were responsible for nearly 200 cases, both open and closed, involving homegrown violent extremists. The survey responses reinforced the FBIs conclusion that such individuals frequently believe the U.S. military is committing atrocities in Muslim countries, thereby justifying their violent aspirations.
Turkey's state of emergency extended for 3 more months - Parliament approves recommended extension of emergency measures first brought in after July 15 coup attempt (aa.com.tr, link);
"Turkeys parliament on Tuesday ratified a planned extension of the countrys state of emergency to run for three more months from Oct. 19. The Turkish cabinet last week decided to extend the state of emergency for 90 more days, with parliaments approval."
UK: Migrants plan day of action to highlight contribution to Britain - One Day Without Us will include labour boycott to protest against rising racism and xenophobia (Guardian, link):
"Plans for the event, called One Day Without Us, include a labour boycott to show how important migrants are to the UK workforce.
Organiser Matt Carr, a writer and commentator, has urged migrants and their supporters to join in the day of action on 20 February 2017. He said the trigger for the event was profound concern about worsening attitudes to migrants in the UK.
Carr said he believed that those who voted against Brexit, and also many of those who voted in favour of it, were alarmed at the levels of racism and xenophobia that had manifested before and after the referendum vote.
We want to make this an inclusive event, Carr said. We realise that because of the legal constraints on striking, many workers will not be able to take formal strike action. However, they can choose to support this event simply by taking the day off work."
After the closure of Hungarys major leftist daily (New Europe, link):
"A senior editor of Hungarys 60-year-old leftist daily Nepszabadsag, which was temporarily shut down by its owner Mediaworks on October 8, called an ad-hoc staff meeting to discuss ways to acquire the newspapers brand and secure funds for a fresh news outlet.
In an interview with the Reuters news agency, deputy editor in chief Marton Gergely said: The Nepszabadsag editorial team wants to stick together and carry on working.
Announcing the suspension of the newspaper, Mediaworks said the publication piled up significant losses despite cost cuts. It said it would revamp the organisation. But the closure is the latest wrinkle in a shake-up of Hungarys commercial media landscape, where businessmen seen as close to the right-wing government have steadily enhanced their market share, reported Reuters."
See also Hungarian journalists to sue publisher (euobserver, link)
EU-USA JHA Senior Officials meeting 8-9 September 2016
- US offers to help with terrorist intelligence on "special interest aliens', irregularly migrating foreigners born in countries close to the crime-terrorism nexus"
- EU proposal to "impose temporary visa requirement for US nationals" went down like a lead balloon
- The US Judicial Redress Act would not come into effect until the "Umbrella Agreement" on the exchange of personal data is adopted
See: Outcome of the EU US Justice and Home Affairs Senior Officials Meeting, Bratislava, 8-9 September 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 12385-16, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: European Public Prosecutor's Office
- Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Relations with third countries and international organisations (LIMITE doc no: 12340-16, pdf):
"This paper deals with the issue of relations with third countries and international organisations. The Presidency draws the attention of delegations to the fact that prior discussions on the issue have been based on document 10831/16, whereby the following options for legal solutions of the issues at stake were presented:
Declarations of participating Member States to third countries that EPPO shall be considered to be a competent judicial authority
Union accession to international agreements for the purpose limited to cooperation between EPPO and Third countries
Amendment of international agreements, and/or
Cooperation with third countries on the basis of the "double hat" principle, i.e. that the European Delegated Prosecutors may act also as national prosecution authorities...."
See also previous document: (LIMITE do no: 10831-16, pdf)
"In Annex I, delegations will find a descriptions of some legal and practical consequences of the above mentioned alternatives solutions, completed by some aspects pointed out during the discussion at expert level. Draft suggestions concerning the relevant provisions for EPPO Regulation are included in Annex II of this document."
- As above: Discussion paper on cooperation between EPPO and non-participating Member States (LIMITE doc no: 12341-16, pdf):
"This paper deals with the issue of cooperation between EPPO on the one hand and UK, IE and DK as non-participating Member States under Protocols No 21 and 22. Two possible legal bases have been discussed at this stage. i.e. Article 325(4) TFEU and the possibility to apply a logic of "succession".
This paper does not discuss the issue of non-participating Member States in the framework of a hypothetical enhanced cooperation. Delegations are invited to reflect on the questions highlighted in the document."
- As above: Relations with Eurojust (LIMITE doc no: 12342-16 pdf)
"The main modification in relation to the Commission proposal concerned the limitation of operational co-operation between EPPO and Eurojust (paragraphs 2-3) and the scope of the technical and administrative support which Eurojust could or should provide to EPPO, depending on whether this is an obligation or a possibility (paragraph 5)."
- As above: Other issues (LIMITE doc no: 12344-16, pdf):
"The Netherlands' Presidency established a consolidated version of the Regulation, which was welcomed by Council (JHA) on 9 June this year. A few provisions were left out of the consolidated version, as substantial issues had not yet been treated in depth or remained open (in particular as regards judicial review, relations with third countries and cooperation with Eurojust). This paper evokes a number of other issues which have been provisionally agreed upon, but for which substantial reservations remain."
- See: Consolidated text as at: 22 July 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 11350-16,
Ireland and Brexit: Tony Connelly: Walking the Tightrope - Ireland's Brexit Dilemma (RTE, link):
"After a meeting between Ms May and the Taoiseach, a senior EU official asked the British side how they could square the lack of a hard border with Britain leaving the Customs Union.
According to the official: "They replied, 'We don't know, we don't have an answer'".."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8-9.10.16)
Mhairi Black: We must learn lessons from history and speak out against the Tories' ugly xenophobia (The National, link):
"IN my year and a half of being a politician I can truly say that I have never been more horrified or afraid of the rhetoric coming from the Conservative Government as I have this past week. To read the headlines of the major British newspapers felt like I had awoken in some dystopian, V for Vendetta-esque society. The Conservative Partys mask as a party of the common people has slipped to reveal the xenophobic, often racist, nationalist, ugly face beneath....
So let me finish with a poem by Martin Niemoller:
First they came for the Jews.
But I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists.
But I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists.
But I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics.
But I did not speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak out for me."
UK: Government bars foreign academics from advising on Brexit - LSE informed that contributions from foreign experts on EU referendum matters will no longer be accepted (Guardian, link):
"Leading foreign academics acting as expert advisers to the UK government have been told they will not be asked to contribute to government work and analysis on Brexit because they are not British nationals.
The news was met with outrage by many academics, while legal experts questioned whether it could be legal under anti-discrimination laws and senior politicians criticised it as bewildering. "
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (7.10.16)
GREECE: Prosecutor wants US suspect to face trial for wiretapping (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Prosecutor Maria-Sofia Vaitsi on Thursday proposed that an American citizen, William Basil, be indicted to trial on spying charges in connection with a wiretapping system set up to eavesdrop on top Greek government officials during and after the Athens 2004 Olympics.
Basil, an American agent, left Greece after the wiretaps were discovered in 2006 and his whereabouts remain unknown..."
See: Prime minister and top officials' phones tapped by "unknown individuals" (Statewatch database, link) and Vodafone faces court case in 'bugging' row - Parents believe their son was murdered before he could blow the whistle (The Observer, link)
UK-BREXIT: I'm being stripped of my citizenship along with 65 million others - Britons are EU citizens too. Whats missing from the practical arguments about Brexit is the recognition that a solemn social contract is being destroyed (Guardian, link)
"The EU citizen was created in 1993. It is a person who, across the union, cannot be discriminated against on the basis of nationality; can move and reside freely; can vote for and stand as a candidate in European parliament and municipal elections; and is entitled to consular protection outside the EU by European diplomats. More than that, citizenship established a identity, separate from nationality, shared between individuals in the union. A common bond of the kind that Theresa May otherwise admires. In the 23 years since, cultural, political, academic and social exchange has become the norm. What might have initially seemed like a paper exercise has become durable and meaningful to millions. Eurosceptics hate it, no doubt. That doesnt mean it isnt real.
Neither was it an arrangement entered into lightly. It was the result of a treaty, signed, incidentally, by a Conservative government...."
EU-CANADA TRADE DEAL: Leaked CETA declaration given short shrift (euractiv, link)
"Five leaked pages of a draft declaration on the EU-Canada trade deal, CETA, have surfaced ahead of a Council meeting on 18 October when all member states will be asked to adopt the deal. It has done little to placate the concerns of the agreements critics....
Guy Taylor, of Global Justice, said that Now that TTIP is widely acknowledged to be effectively dead, Brussels is doing all it can to salvage CETA. The declaration has no legal basis, is devoid of substance and only goes to show how desperate the Commission is to obtain support for a corporate coup that has been condemned across Europe."
See:CETA document (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.10.16)
EU Border Guard Agency: Securing Europe's external borders: Launch of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Press release, pdf):
"Under the new mandate, the Agency's role and activities have been significantly expanded. The Agency's permanent staff will be more than doubled and the Agency will be able to purchase its own equipment and deploy them in border operations at short notice. A rapid reserve pool of at least 1,500 border guards and a technical equipment pool will be put at the disposal of the Agency - meaning there will no longer be shortages of staff or equipment for Agency operations. The European Border and Coast Guard will now ensure the implementation of Union standards of border management through periodic risk analysis and mandatory vulnerability assessments."
And see new: REGULATION (EU) 2016/1624 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (pdf)
See: Shooting revelations clouds EU border guard launch (euobserver, link):
"The EU inaugurated the launch of the new border and coastguard agency on Thursday (6 October), amid revelations that border forces routinely used firearms against migrants off Greece in 2014 and 2015.
The new agency, called the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, replaces Frontex, and is a precipitous policy response to last year's large inflow of refugees and broader security issues. ... On 23 September, EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly and Nils Muiznieks from the human rights watchdog Council of Europe were cc'd in a letter to Frontex that demanded answers over the shooting incidents. The letter, signed by 42 MEPs, asks if the new agency will continue to use firearms against boats carrying refugees."
See: European Parliament: From 42 MEPs: Letter to Mr Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot First" policy (pdf): and Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) also Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf).
UK: Against Borders for Children: ABC Day of Action: Contact your local MP and councillors! (link):
"Today, Thursday 6th October is School Census day in England. Academies and local authority schools will be electronically submitting school census data to the Department of Education.
Against Borders for Children is calling today a Day of Action to protect immigrant children in England. For the first time ever, the school census includes immigration data, i.e. country of birth and nationality of pupils in Primary and Secondary Education and young people in sixth forms attached to a secondary school.
Schools are asking parents to send this data in but parents have a right to refuse providing this information. However some schools are not making this right clear to parents."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.10.16)
EU-AFGHANISTAN: Second "dodgy deal" agreed: Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU (18 pages, pdf)
See: EU mulls 'migrant' terminal at Kabul airport (euobserver, link):
"The EU and Afghanistan are looking into creating a new terminal at Kabul's airport designed specifically for migrants rejected by EU states.
The plan is part of a broader deal on stepping up the returns of rejected asylum seekers from the EU to Afghanistan signed over the weekend....
the return agreement appears to contradict an internal document from the European Council, representing member states, which earlier this year said security is actually getting worse in Afghanistan.
"Due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, as well as pressure on Afghans in Pakistan and Iran, there is a high risk of further migratory flows to Europe," noted the internal document."
See also: Joint "non-paper" from the European Commission and the European Action Service (EEAS) in March 2016: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted do no: 6738-16, pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"Under the dodgy EU-Turkey deal we have two Letters and a Statement now for the Afghanistan deal there is a "Agreement" - yet again by-passing formal law-making and parliamentary scrutiny. Yet again the Council demonstrates its contempt for the rule of law. There is no way Afghanistan, even in Kabul, is a safe country to return refugees to."
UK: Firms must list foreign workers (The Times, link):
" Plan to shame companies that turn down British staff Sterling hits 31-year low as markets fear hard Brexit"
Council of Europe: Croatia should eliminate shortcomings in transitional justice, immigration and media freedom (link):
Croatia has substantially improved its human rights law and practice in the last years. However, some recent developments put at serious risk these achievements said Nils Muinieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing today a report based on his visit to the country carried out last April.
The Commissioner is concerned about the recent regression of inter-state co-operation in the region on the prosecution of wartime crimes committed during the 1990s. It is worrying to see the persistence of impunity in Croatia for certain serious human rights violations committed in the past. The authorities should put an end to this, and effectively prosecute, try and sanction the perpetrators of wartime crimes.
See: Report (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.10.16)
European Parliament Study: A comparative analysis of media freedom and pluralism in the EU Member States (pdf):
"This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee. The authors argue that democratic processes in several EU countries are suffering from systemic failure, with the result that the basic conditions of media pluralism are not present, and, at the same time, that the distortion in media pluralism ishampering the proper functioning of democracy.
The study offers a new approach to strengthening media freedom and pluralism, bearing in mind the different political and social systems of the Member States. The authors propose concrete, enforceable and systematic actions to correct the deficiencies found."
UK-EU BREXIT: German Bundestag Study: Consequences of Brexit for the realmof justice and home affairs Scope for future EU cooperation with the United Kingdom (pdf)
"In the referendum of 23 June 2016, a majority of British voters opted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU).1The present study deals with the consequences of the referendum result, particularly with the repercussions of Britain giving notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) of its intention to withdraw from the European Union. The study focuses on Union legislation in the realm of justice and home affairs and, in particular, on police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters."
Council of Europe: United Kingdom: New report reveals increasing hate speech and racist violence (link)
"A new report on the United Kingdom has confirmed fears that racism and discrimination in the country are at worrying levels.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) highlights key concerns in its latest report on the United Kingdom published today.
It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians, said ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund.
The Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in anti-foreigner sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority.
See: Press release (pdf) and Report from ECRI (pdf)
European Parliament set to vote on new regulation to stop trade in torture equipment (AI, link):
" This vote is an opportunity for the EU to send the message that it will not tolerate torture - Ara Marcen Naval
The European Parliament should vote in favour of measures strengthening the European Unions landmark regulation combating the trade in equipment that can be used to torture, ill-treat or execute people, said Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation today.
Final amendments to the new torture trade regulation - known formally as Regulation (EC) 1236/2005, as accepted by the EU Council - will be debated and voted on by the European Parliament tomorrow."
Greek police fire teargas at pensioners during anti-austerity protest - More than a thousand people take part in rally after government imposed cuts on pensions as part of bailout measures (Guardian link):
"Greek police have fired teargas and pepper spray at protesting pensioners after a group of them attempted to push over a police van near the office of the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, whose leftwing government faces mounting pressure over planned austerity measures.
More than a thousand people, some of them with canes, took part in the rally in Athens on Monday. Protesters chanted: Shame on you, shame on you! with one group of elderly demonstrators trying to tip over the van, triggering the police response.
Protesters ran, with one grey-haired man falling to his knees and coughing and several others appearing to be in distress. No arrests or injuries were reported. In response to opposition party criticism, police said they were suspending indefinitely the use of teargas at rallies of workers and pensioners."
MEPs call for better monitoring of rule of law (politico, link)
"Committee approves new mechanism to ensure fundamental rights. MEPs on Monday called for a better way to monitor rule of law and fundamental rights in EU member countries.
A proposed new mechanism, known as the EU Pact for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, was approved by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on Monday evening. It would consolidate a number of tools already in place, such as the Justice Scoreboard and the media pluralism monitor. A panel of independent experts would make country-specific recommendations during an annual fitness check of each member state."
The curious tale of the French prime minister, PNR and peculiar patterns (euractiv, link):
"There is no evidence that profiling airplane passengers helps security, but some politicians keep insisting the opposite, write Estelle Massé and Joe McNamee. Estelle Massé is senior policy analyst at Access Now and Joe McNamee is executive director of European Digital Rights. Access Now and European Digital Rights are both NGOs."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3.10.16)
Council documents: Manual on law enforcement information Exchange, Exit entry, Visas and Japan: Mutual Legal Assistance statistics
Including: Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX) No. prev. doc.: 6704/16 Subject: Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange - Draft update 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 11794-16, pdf)
"The Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange (6704/16), drafted in the framework of the Information Management Strategy (IMS) for EU internal security, aims at supporting, streamlining and facilitating cross-border in formation exchange. Since the manual is intended as a tool for police officers working in this area, both structure and content of the manual are focussed on the practical day-to-day cooperation between national authorities involved in information exchange, and their training purposes....."
And see: Previous document with full-text of: Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange LIMITE doc no: 6704-16, 391 pages, pdf)
CETA will undermine protection of personal data (link)
"The EU trade agreement with Canada (CETA) will undermine the protection of personal data, the Vrijschrift Foundation writes in a letter to Dutch Parliament. On 18 October the EU Council of Ministers will take a decision on signing and provisional application of CETA. Provisional application of CETA would create faits accomplis (the Netherlands did not ratify the agreement with Ukraine, but the provisional application was not terminated). See the Dutch original or the translation below."
Passenger name regulation could destroy cross-border rail (Railway Gasette, link):
"The European Commission, train operators and passenger representative groups have expressed grave concern over draft legislation introduced into the Belgian parliament on September 19 which could threaten the viability of cross-border passenger trains.
Proposed as a reaction to the terrorist attacks in Brussels earlier this year, as well as attacks elsewhere in western Europe, the regulation would extend the airline-style Passenger Name Record requirements to all international trains crossing Belgian borders.
Operators would be expected to collect and submit information on all travellers 24 h in advance, which would preclude same-day ticket sales and completely destroy any prospect of a walk-on service competitive with other surface transport modes. "
See also: USA-BELGIUM: Proposed laws would expand travel controls from airlines to passenger railroads (Papers, Please, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1-2.10.16)
UK: Who exactly will take back control? Parliament vs executive after Brexit and the Great Repeal Bill (EU Law Analysis, link):
" Conclusions: Theres no plausible argument that we need to destroy parliamentary democracy in order to save it. The Leave side argued for British parliamentary supremacy not for handing back control to our unelected bureaucrats. Parliamentary sovereignty doesnt need fair-weather friends: it needs supporters who will take the opportunity of Brexit to strengthen it for reasons of principle, not undermine it for reasons of tactical advantage."
Europes Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden (The Intercept, link):
"Human rights groups have launched a major new legal challenge over mass surveillance programs revealed by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Ten organizations including Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International are taking up the landmark case against the U.K. government in the European Court of Human Rights (pictured above). In a 115-page complaint released on Thursday, the groups allege that blanket and indiscriminate surveillance operations carried out by British spy agencies in collaboration with their U.S. counterparts violate privacy and freedom of expression rights."
See: Full-text of NGOs case to ECHR (pdf)
UK: Retired police to back miners over 1984 battle of Orgreave (The Observer, link): "Officers who clashed with strikers ready to give evidence on cover-up of tactics used as calls for public inquiry into claims of police conspiracy grow."
Greece: Tsipras calls Erdogan's questioning of Treaty of Lausanne 'dangerous' (.ekathimerini.com, link):
"Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has described Thursday's comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding the Lausanne Treaty signed between the two countries in 1923 as dangerous.
Questioning the Lausanne Treaty, that clearly and definitively settled Greek Turkish relations, as well as the status of the Aegean and its islands, is dangerous for relations between the two countries and the wider region, Tsipras said."
National Crime Agency urges Brexit negotiators not to jeopardise cross-border measures, such as European arrest warrant (Guardian, link):
"Law enforcement chiefs have urged the government to ensure cross-border crime prevention measures are not jeopardised by Brexit negotiations, it has emerged.
The director general and deputy director general of the National Crime Agency said they asked ministers to protect Britains arrangements with Europe, including use of the European arrest warrant and membership of Europol, amid concerns about the impact of leaving the union.
Membership of the EU gives the NCA and UK police forces access to tools which allow them to share intelligence quickly and efficiently with European counterparts.Lynne Owens, the NCAs director general, said at a briefing on Friday that the agency had approached the Home Office and Brexit department to raise its concerns. Weve been describing what we need to be in place post-Brexit, she said. Were absolutely clear the policy decisions are not for us but we need to be spelling out the operational case.
In bluntest form, we must be able to continue to exchange intelligence and we must be able to understand the movement of criminals and criminal behaviour across international borders. We are supplying that information to the Home Office and its for them to make the policy negotiation."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.9.16)
EU-Afghanistan returns plan: Another "dodgy" deal
- Deal to be signed next week to start immediate refugee "return" flights
- Is Afghanistan a "safe country"?
- Quick return of 80,000 refugees planned
- "effectively implement readmission commitments" - by-passing parliamentary scrutiny
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"Under the dodgy EU-Turkey deal we have two Letters and a Statement now for the Afghanistan deal there is to be a "Declaration" - yet again by-passing formal law-making and parliamentary scrutiny. Yet again the Council demonstrates its contempt for the rule of law. There is no way Afghanistan, even in Kabul, is a safe country to return refugees to."
See: Dated 22 September 2016: Draft Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU - Adoption (LIMITE doc no: 12191-16, 2016, pdf). And a joint "non-paper" from the European Commission and the European Action Service (EEAS) in March 2016: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted do no: 6738-16, pdf)
BREXIT: UK releases legal arguments on Article 50 (euobserver, link):
"The British government was forced by a judge to release its legal arguments for refusing to let the parliament decide when and how the UK should trigger the article 50 procedure to withdraw from the EU.
The legal arguments released on Wednesday (29 September) argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for parliament to be given the authority to launch the exit procedure."
See: UK government legal case submitted to the court: Full-text (pdf)
EU Inside the European Parliaments Closed Reading Rooms: Transparency in the EU (EU Law Analysis, link):
"What do documents about negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), oversight of the EUs Food Safety Authority or Tax-Justice have in common? In order to access these documents, (selected) Members of the European Parliament are requested to attend closed reading rooms. This blog post discusses how an exception to open parliamentary oversight is increasingly becoming a regular institutional practice and questions its spillover effect on requests for public access to documents."
UK: What can we expect on immigration and asylum policy post-referendum? (IRR, link) by Frances Webber:
"The round-ups for deportation of elderly people with generations of family in the UK indicate the ruthlessness we can expect from a government all too ready to take back control."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.9.16)
EUs anti-leaks strategy leaked (euractiv, link):
"EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission will launch an anti-leaks strategy on Friday (30 September) to prevent key policy documents being circulated to the media, and avoid further reputational damage to the EUs flagship institution, EurActiv.com has learned....
The European Commission may at times decide to leak information at its own initiative, to test the waters on a given policy proposal, or when it favours its own political agenda....
The European Commission will launch its anti-leaks strategy on 30 September. During the closed-door meeting of the director-generals, Souka recalled the sanctions that officials could face in the event that they breach their obligations.
The attendees commented that all EU institutions should adopt a common stance on how to minimise the risk of leaks. They also suggested raising awareness of the importance of an anti-leak stance by organising ethics days.
Meanwhile, the anti-leaks strategy was heavily criticised by trade unions, which sees it as a form of moral harassement that will put officials under inquisitorial practices.
In an open letter sent to Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, the European Civil Service Federation warned that the actions and methods of the strategy are not only ill-adapted, but also counterproductive and even deceptively pernicious."
And see: EULEAKS - a European platform where you can submit information in a highly secure and anonymous way (link)
EU: Commission: Information Exchange for Security: Commission urges Member States to improve information sharing to combat terrorism and serious crime (link)
"The Prüm Decisions (Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA) introduced procedures for fast and efficient data exchanges between Member States in specific areas. The Prüm framework lays down rules to allow Member States to search each other's DNA analysis files, fingerprint identification systems and vehicle registration data bases. The Prüm Decisions should have been implemented fully by Member States by August 2011.
The European Commission decided today to address letters of formal notice to Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal for failing to comply with the Prüm Decisions. These Member States have not yet ensured automated data exchanges in at least two of the three data categories of DNA, fingerprints and national vehicle registration data. These are the first infringement procedures initiated for a so-called 'former third pillar instrument' in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The Commission acquired full enforcement powers in this field on 1 December 2014, five years after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The concerned Member States now have two months to reply, after which the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion."
USA-BELGIUM: Proposed laws would expand travel controls from airlines to passenger railroads (Papers, Please, link):
"Legislation has been introduced in both the USA and Belgium to subject rail travelers to the same sorts of travel surveillance schemes that are already being used to monitor and control air travelers.
If these proposals are enacted into law, passenger railroads would be required to collect and enter additional information such as passport or ID numbers and dates of birth (not currently required or routinely included in US or European train reservations) in Passenger Name Records (PNRs), and transmit rail travel itineraries and identifying information about passengers to the government, in advance.
As is already the case for all airline travel in the USA, including domestic travel, railroads would be forbidden to allow any passenger to board unless and until the railroad receives an explicit, affirmative, individualized, per-passenger, per-flight permission-to-board message (Boarding Pass Printing Result) from the government."
Comment: In the UK rail tickets bought online have a PNR assigned to them.
Update: Belgian trains' security plan draws German ire (euobserver, link
Commission proposes tougher lobbying rules - Proposal would require a transparency register for all three EU institution.(politico, link):
"The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a new push to strengthen the EUs transparency rules by creating a mandatory lobbying disclosure system for all three of its main institutions.
Under the proposal, the European Commission, Parliament and Council would have the same rules requiring lobbyists to publicly register their activities. The Commission currently allows its members and top staff to meet only with lobbyists who have publicly disclosed their activities on the EU Transparency Register. The European Parliament restricts access to its buildings to lobbyists who have registered. "
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.9.16)
EU's secret ultimatum to Afghanistan: accept 80,000 deportees or lose aid (Guardian, link):
"Memo leaked in advance of Brussels aid summit reveals EU plans to make assistance to Afghanistan migration sensitive despite security concerns.
When international donors and the Afghan government convene in Brussels next week, the EU secretly plans to threaten Afghanistan with a reduction in aid if the war-torn country does not accept at least 80,000 deported asylum seekers.
According to a leaked restricted memo (pdf), the EU will make some of its aid migration sensitive, even while acknowledging that security in Afghanistan is worsening.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government is also struggling with internal turmoil, and has failed to revive the economy or produce jobs for the young who leave the country in droves.
It would be challenging for Afghanistan to absorb 80,000 deportations. So far, in 2016, about 5,000 Afghans have returned voluntarily from Europe
The EU said in the leaked memo that it is aware of the worsening security situation and threats to which people are exposed and that Afghanistan is suffering record levels of terrorist attacks and civilian casualties.
The memo added: Despite this, more than 80,000 persons could potentially need to be returned in the near future.
An EU official said in an email: We dont comment on leaked documents. He added that the EU and Afghanistan have a constructive dialogue on migration." [emphasis added]
Based on a document made available by Statewatch: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted doc no: 6738-16, pdf).
EUROPOL: DENMARK-UK: Timmermans dashes Danish hopes for parallel deal on Europol (euractiv, link):
"European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told Denmarks leaders yesterday (27 September) that they would not get the cross-border policing deal they have been seeking since Danes voted in a referendum to quit Europol.
In a precursor to the much more dramatic vote by the British in June to leave the European Union entirely, Danes last December rejected a government proposal for new laws needed to keep the country inside the European police agency....
If you vote to be out of Europol, youre out of Europol. I dont see on the basis of the legal situation any alternative for that, Timmermanns said."
Update: Belgian trains' security plan draws German ire (euobserver, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.9.16)
France, Germany to table defence plan at Bratislava ministerial meeting (euractiv, link):
"At the informal defence ministerial in Bratislava starting today (27 September) France and Germany will make the case for the EUs most ambitious defence plan in almost two decades, aiming to persuade sceptical easterners and avoid a showdown with Britain over its military future outside the bloc.
EU defence ministers, including Britains Michael Fallon, will discuss Franco-German proposals in the hope of whittling down a host of ideas into a coherent strategy for their leaders to formally back at a summit in December."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.9.16)
EU: Council of the European Union: Encryption of data - Questionnaire (LIMITE doc no: 12368-16, pdf):
"Over lunch during the informal meeting of the Justice Ministers (Bratislava, 8 July 2016) the issue of encryption was discussed in the context of the fight against crime. Apart from an exchange on the national approaches, and the possible benefits of an EU or even global approach, the challenges which encryption poses to criminal proceedings were also debated. The Member States' positions varied mostly between those which have recently suffered terrorist attacks and those which have not. In general, the existence of problems stemming from data/device encryption was recognised as well as the need for further discussion.
To prepare the follow-up in line with the Justice Ministers' discussion, the Presidency has prepared a questionnaire to map the situation and identify the obstacles faced by law enforcement authorities when gathering or securing encrypted e-evidence for the purposes of criminal proceedings." [emphasis added]
A number of questions to Member States concern whether judicial authorities have to agree access including:
"Under your national law, is there an obligation for the suspects or accused, or persons who are in possession of a device/e-data relevant for the criminal proceedings, or any other person to provide law enforcement authorities with encryption keys/passwords? If so, is a judicial order (from a prosecutor or a judge) required? Please provide the text of the relevant provisions of your national law." [emphasis added]
Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Committee calls for the protection of unaccompanied minors in Europe to be harmonised (link):
"PACE Migration Committee today called on European governments to improve the protection of unaccompanied migrant minors and to avoid them going missing. The present migration and refugee crisis, the committee said, has exacerbated the challenges of how to treat and assist these children on the move, and generated new problems with the realisation that large numbers of children are going missing at different stages of their journey, especially directly after arrival at reception centres.
Adopting a draft resolution, based on the report prepared by Manlio Di Stefano (Italy, NR), the parliamentarians called on Council of Europe member States to protect children from trafficking and criminal activities to which they are particularly vulnerable, uphold the right to family reunion in the case of separated migrant minors and harmonise the rules concerning the establishment of guardians and legal representatives."
See: Draft report and resolution (pdf)
European Parliament: From 42 MEPs: Letter to Mr Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot First" policy (pdf):
"We are contacting you with reference to a number of incidents reports documenting the recurrent use of weapons by coast guards within Frontex operations to stop boats driven by suspected smugglers, injuring or killing refugees. The documents, published on August 22nd 2016 by the online publication.
The Intercept (Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show), show multiple cases of firearms use against boats carrying refugees by the Greek and FRONTEXs operators leading to severely endangering refugees in the process. The reports cover a 20-month period from May 2014 to December 2015. Each case of firearms use even if it resulted in someone being wounded was described as part of the 'standard rules of engagement' for stopping boats at sea."
See: Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) also Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf).
Spy agencies launch 'real-time' terror tracker (euobserver, link):
"European intelligence agencies launched a shared "interactive real-time" database over the summer to track suspected jihadists, EUobserver has learned.
The move is part of a broader EU-wide trend triggered by last year's migration crisis, a spate of terror attacks and the threat of Islamist fighters returning to Europe from Syria. Dozens of intelligence agencies at the Dutch-led Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG) in The Hague set up an "interactive operative real-time information system" of people suspected of being "jihadist troublemakers", said Germany's federal ministry of interior in a document seen by this website....
One senior EU official has described it as an IT system with people working on it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. How they access people's details in real time and what details are stored is unclear.
There are also larger questions on oversight and fundamental rights, and the system has echoes of the US-led mass surveillance disclosed in 2014 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The blow-back from the Snowden revelations is still playing out. Despite this, 23 out of 30 European intelligence agencies and services "promised" to participate in Operation Platform. Germany says it has sent one officer from its domestic intelligence agency, the BfV.."
European Parliament: Civil Liberties MEPs quiz Gilles de Kerchove on counter-terrorism measures (Press release, pdf):
"In the wake of this summers terrorist attacks in Europe, EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove debated trends revealed by such attacks and EU counter-terrorism measures with Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Monday afternoon.... MEPs quizzed Mr de Kerchove on his plans to cooperate with newly-appointed security Commissioner Sir Julian King, information exchange, prevention strategies and the possibility of training Imams in Europe. They also asked how smaller towns could counter the risk of an attack and EU member states progress in implementing the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) directive approved in April."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24-25.9.16)
Switzerland votes in favour of greater surveillance - Bill wins almost 70% of vote in victory for government who argued that intelligence agencies relied too heavily on other nations (Guardian, link):
"The proposed law won 65.5% support, final results on Sunday showed. ...
Just 43% of voters took part in Sundays poll, a slightly lower mark than recent referendums when flashpoint issues such as immigration were on the ballot.
Overshadowing the vote was a scandal dating back to 1989 and the dying days of the cold war, when Swiss citizens learned that the security services had opened files on 900,000 individuals, detailing their political and trade union affiliations. The revelations sparked outrage in a country where people fiercely guard their privacy and led to significant curbs on police intelligence measures."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.9.16)
EU: Court of Justice of the European Union: Advocate General Sharpston considers that the Court should annul the measures maintaining Hamas and LTTE on the EU list of terrorist organisations on procedural grounds (Press release, pdf):
"the Council is precluded from relying on a list of terrorist attacks without those being shown in decisions of competent authorities...
the Council cannot rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet, rather than in decisions of competent authorities, to support a decision to maintain a listing." [emphasis in original]
And Adocate General's Opinion - Tamil Tigers (pdf) and Hamas (pdf)
See: EU court recommends removal of Tamil Tigers and Hamas from terrorist list (euractiv, link):
"The European Unions top court took a step toward confirming the removal of Hamas, as well as the Tamil Tigers, from an EU terrorism blacklist despite protestations from Israel and the Sri Lankan government.
An advocate general at the European Court of Justice, whose advice is usually followed by judges, recommended yesterday (22 September) that they reject an appeal by the Council of EU member states against the lower EU courts decisions in late 2014 to remove both movements from the sanctions list due to flawed procedures."
EU/France/Germany: France and Germany: take on "itinerant crime groups" through cross-border cooperation, personal data exchange, predictive policing
The German and French delegations to the Council of the EU have proposed a set of conclusions on "property crimes committed in Europe by highly mobile organised crime groups," which they assert are "attributable to itinerant crime groups originating mainly from South-Eastern and Eastern Europe," who "belong to the field of organised crime or are considered one step away from organised crime." Despite the clear connection between the proposals and the possibility of ethnic profiling and discriminatory police action - "itinerant"=travellers=Roma - the draft conclusions make no reference to fundamental rights issues.
See: NOTE from: German and French delegtaions, 'Draft Council conclusions on organised domestic burglary' (12098/16, LIMITE, 12 September 2016, pdf)
EU: Counci of the European Union: Fight against terrorism: EU strengthens its legal arsenal against ISIL/Da'esh and Al-Qaida (Press release, pdf) and see:
- COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2016/1693 of 20 September 2016 concerning restrictive measures against ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaeda and persons, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them and repealing Common Position 2002/402/CFSP (pdf)
- COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) 2016/1686 of 20 September 2016 imposing additional restrictive measures directed against ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaeda and natural and legal persons, entities or bodies associated with them (pdf)
See also: EU targets foreign fighters with sanctions (euobserver, link):
"The European Union will from now on be able to freeze assets and impose travel bans on people associated with the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida jihadist groups, even if they are not on UN blacklists. The move, agreed by the Council on Tuesday (20 September), is primarily targeted against EU nationals.
In particular, people trying to travel to Syria could be stopped from leaving in the first place, or from coming back to another EU country besides than the one they hold the passport of. It will also become easier for EU countries to prosecute their own nationals for terrorist-related activities.
Non-EU nationals with links to Islamic terrorism will be barred from entering the bloc. Their assets in the EU will be frozen, and it will become illegal for EU persons and entities to send them money. "
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): The coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data (Press release,pdf):
"The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Giovanni Buttarelli, has announced that he intends to set up a Digital Clearing House to promote more coherent enforcement of EU rules. In a new Opinion, Coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data, published today, he drew attention to the mounting concern at concentration of market power and personal data in fewer and fewer hands, with the internet experience characterised by walled gardens and take-it-or-leave-it data use policies. This means that authorities need to work more closely to protect the rights and interests of individuals, like the right to privacy, to freedom of expression and non-discrimination."
And see: EDPS Opinion on coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data 23 September (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.9.16)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Migration, security and fundamental rights: A critical challenge for the EU (Press release, pdf):
"it is vital that the reform of the EUs border policy be further assessed to ensure its full consistency with the respect for the fundamental rights of those who enter and leave the EU.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: The EDPS understands the need for the EU to better address the challenges of migration, borders and refugees. However, we recommend considering additional improvements in the revised proposals which will involve a significant collection of data concerning non-EU nationals whose freedoms, rights and legitimate interests may be significantly affected. Border management and law enforcement are distinct objectives and need to be more clearly distinguished. Refugees, asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and ordinary travellers may require separate considerations.
The EDPS recommendations to enhance data protection in these proposals relate in particular to retention periods, the collection of the facial images of travellers requiring visas, the use of sensitive information such as biometric data, and to security measures.
In his Opinions, the EDPS draws attention to the role of eu-LISA and Frontex performing specific processing operations such as those related to statistics, as well as to the situations of minors when subject to the collection of fingerprints."
See also: EDPS Opinion on the First reform package on the Common European Asylum System (Eurodac, EASO and Dublin regulations) (pdf), EDPS Opinion on the Second EU Smart Borders Package Recommendations on the revised Proposal to establish an Entry/Exit System (pdf) and Commission Press release:Commission launches discussion on future framework for stronger and smarter information systems for border management and internal security (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.9.16)
European Parliament Study: Obstacles to the right of free movement and residence for EU citizens and their families Comparative Analysis (pdf):
"This study, commissioned by the European Parliaments Policy Department for Citizens Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE and PETI Committees, presents a synthesis of in-depth studies in nine Member States in addition to broader EU and national research. Based on an analysis of selected provisions of Directive 2004/38/EC in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK, it identifies the main persisting barriers to free movement for EU citizens and their family members. The study also examines discriminatory restrictions to free movement, measures to counter abuse of rights and refusals of entry and residence rights, in addition to expulsions."
And country Studies: UK (pdf), France (pdf), Spain (pdf) and Italy (pdf)
The United Kingdom will have to withdraw from Europol by next spring (link):
"When opting back in to individual measures, the UK government only opted in to the 2009 Europol Regulation. However, just before the Brexit referendum, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the new Europol Regulation, which will come into force on 1 May 2017 and replace all previous decisions. It seems hardly conceivable following the Brexit vote that the new government would decide to adopt this Regulation. Thus, by next spring at the latest, the UK would need to completely withdraw for the time being from Europol."
TiSA leaks set alarm bells ringing (EDRI, link):
"Despite the rumours and assertions by several Member States that TTIP is dead, the fight for safeguarding citizens rights and freedoms via so-called trade agreements is far from over. Now it is time to address the threat from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Just days after Wikileaks made public some key negotiating documents concerning TiSA, Greenpeace Netherlands has released another batch of crucial and worrying documents."
See: EDRI Analysis (link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.9.16)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.9.16) including Lesvos, Bulgaria, Hungary, EU "flexible solidarity"
Statewatch: SECILE (Securing Europe through Counter-terrorism: Impact, Legitimacy and Effectiveness): Report Summary: Eine Bestandsaufnahme der EU-Terrorismusbekämpfungspolitik und Überprüfungsmechanismen: Zusammenfassung der Ergebnisse von State-watch für das SECILE-Projekt (pdf)
And see: Taking stock of EU Counter-terrorism policy and review mechanisms: Summary of Statewatchs findings for SECILE project (pdf)
Council of Europe: Hungary: Experts raise alarm over authorities promotion of benevolent segregation of Roma school children (link):
"A new expert report takes aim at Hungarys education system for its benevolent segregation of Roma children.
Todays report from the Council of Europes Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, reveals that anti-Roma prejudice in schools is on the increase.
It states: According to evidence collected by the authorities, segregation of Roma school children has become more widespread in recent years.
Alarmingly, discrimination of Roma children has deepened, in particular as a result of the approach of benevolent segregation promoted by the authorities by which Roma children are expected to catch up in separate Roma classes before their supposed inclusion in the mainstream education.
See: Report: Fourth Opinion on Hungary adopted on 25 February 2016 (pdf) and Government reply (pdf)
ECHR: Greece: Greek conscientious objector did not enjoy the necessary procedural safeguards in having his request for alternative civilian service examined (Press release, pdf):
"In todays Chamber judgment in the case of Papavasilakis v. Greece (application no. 66899/14) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights The case concerned the authorities refusal to grant Mr Papavasilakis the status of conscientious objector and to allow him to do alternative civilian work instead of military service."
Is the EU planning an army - and can the UK veto it? (EU Law Analysis, link):
"Is the EU planning to create an army? If so, can and should the UK veto it - up until Brexit? The issue has been much debated in recent days. But this is the classic example of a debate that has created much heat but shed little light. The purpose of this post is to clear up misunderstandings. In short, the recently announced plans do not amount to an EU army and so the UK is not able to veto the EUs plans."
See: UK to veto EU 'defence union' (euobserver, link)
UK: Woman who was engaged to police spy sues Met over 'psychological torture' - Complainant wants apology and list of fake names used by undercover officers, after two-year relationship with man she knew as Carlo Neri (Guardian, link):
"A woman who accepted a marriage proposal from a married undercover police officer has begun legal action against the Metropolitan police, alleging that she suffered abusive, cold-hearted, psychological torture from his deception.
The woman, known only as Andrea, had a two-year relationship with the officer, during which time the spy told her that he wanted a baby with her but did not tell her that he already had a wife and child and was an undercover cop.
The policeman, who operated under the fake name of Carlo Neri between 2001 and 2005, has been unmasked after investigations by campaigners, the Guardian and the BBCs Newsnight programme."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16-18.9.16): news, reports and documents
The Bratislava Declaration - appeasing "extreme or populists" causes?
EU: European Council meeting: The Bratislava Declaration and The Bratislava Roadmap (16.9.16, pdf):
In his "State of the Union" address Commission President Juncker said:
"The recent terrible events in the Mediterranean have shown us that Europe needs to manage migration better, in all aspects. This is first of all a humanitarian imperative. I am convinced that we must work closely together in a spirit of solidarity.
In response to "extreme or populists forces", which include a number of EU Member States, the EU promises to try and complete "Fortress Europe".
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:"The " principles of responsibility and solidarity" and hunanitarianism have patently failed so the EU answer is to concede to and appease "extreme or populists forces" arguments."
See also: The Bratislava Declaration and The Bratislava Roadmap (16.9.16, pdf):
- Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the Bratislava summit (pdf): "Never to allow for the return of uncontrolled refugee flows of last year and to ensure full control of our external border to get back to Schengen. We are determined to continue our co-operation with Turkey and Western Balkans but also to establish migration compacts with African countries"
- STATE OF THE UNION 2016 by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission 14 September 2016 (pdf)
Brexit: Visegrad Group of EU states 'could veto Brexit deal' (DW, link):
"Hungary, Poland, Czechia and Slovakia have said they're ready to veto any Brexit deal that would limit their citizens' rights to work in the UK. Article 50, which will begin the process, has yet to be triggered. ..
In an interview with Reuters on Saturday, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that having already opposed the EU's efforts to introduce mandatory quotas for migrants, the Visegrad Group (V4) of Central European countries would extend its common interest in protecting citizens' rights to work in the United Kingdom.""
EU: Corncil of the European Union: EU Border Guard and Maritime Safety Agency
- Extending Frontex's roles: REGULATION on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (176 pages, pdf): Final text as agreed with the European Parliament.
- European Border and Coast Guard: final approval (Council press release, pdf)
- REGULATION amending Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency (pdf):
Final text as agreed with the European Parliament.Involves all EU maritime roles in cooperating with Frontex and other agencies for the purpose of gathering intelligence, border control and search and rescue:
"National authorities carrying out coast guard functions are responsible for a wide range of tasks, which may include maritime safety, security, search and rescue, border control, fisheries control, customs control, general law enforcement and environmental protection.... strengthen their cooperation, within their mandate, both with each other and with the national authorities carrying out coast guard functions, in order to increase maritime situational awareness and to support coherent and cost-efficient action....
providing surveillance and communication services based on state-of-the-art technology, including space-based and ground infrastructure and sensors mounted on any kind of platform...
enhancing the exchange of information and cooperation on coast guard functions including by analysing operational challenges and emerging risks in the maritime domain..."
Greece: Police brace for three days of rallies in memory of Pavlos Fyssas (ekathimerini.com, link):
"The police will be on standby over the weekend as relatives and supporters of the anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, who was killed three years ago by a member of neofascist Golden Dawn, are to hold three days of rallies and events in his memory....
Fyssass relatives and supporters are also to gather on Monday morning outside the Athens Appeals Court complex where the trial of GD supporters and members is to resume.
Three years on, the moral and physical perpetrators of this murder remain unpunished and move freely as the judicial procedure drags on, the deputy regional governor of Piraeus, Giorgos Gavrilis said on Friday, referring to the multiple delays that have dogged the trial."
New Film Tells the Story of Edward Snowden; Here Are the Surveillance Programs He Helped Expose (The Intercept, link):
"Oliver Stones latest film, Snowden, bills itself as a dramatized version of the life of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who revealed the global extent of U.S. surveillance capabilities."
UK Foreign Secretary: Britain says EU mission should turn back migrant boats (Reuters, link):
"A European Union naval force deployed in the Mediterranean should turn back migrant boats after they leave Libya and prevent them from reaching Italy, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday. ...
"I think personally (the boats) should be turned back as close to the shore as possible so they don't reach the Italian mainland and that there is more of a deterrent," Johnson said, speaking alongside his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.
"I think I am right in saying we have turned back about 200,000 migrants," Johnson said, before a nearby diplomat hastily corrected him. "Sorry, saved, saved. Thank you. We have saved 200,000 migrants and turned back 240 boats."
It is illegal to turn back migrant boats once they reach international waters..."
See: Britains Foreign Secretary Gets it Wrong on Boat Migration from Libya - Forcing Migrants Back is Uninformed and Inhumane (HRW, link)
UK: Orgreave miners' strike inquiry 'will go ahead' (Guardian, link):
"A public inquiry into alleged police brutality at the 1984 Orgreave picket will take place after a review of material in October, according to reports."
Council of the European Union: Eurodac access & Joint Action Days
- Extending LEAS access to Eurodac database: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of [Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person] , for identifying an illegally staying third-country national or stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (recast) - Conditions for access for law enforcement purposes (LIMITE doc no: 11943, pdf):
"It has also been clear during these examinations that many delegations would be in favour of simplified and broader access of law enforcement authorities to Eurodac...
the Presidency would like to seek delegations' views on the following questions:
While there seems to be a broad agreement that the provisions relating to law enforcement access in the proposal should be amended,
Do delegations agree that the provisions relating to access of law enforcement authorities to Eurodac should be simplified and broadened, and which concrete measures would you suggest?"
Do you consider that the access of law enforcement should be enlarged to other criminal acts, besides prevention, detection and investigation of terrorism and other serious offences, and if so, how would you define these other acts?"
See also: Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and Security (COM 205-16, pdf)
- Preliminary evaluation of the Joint Action Days 2016 and strategic discussion on the planning of the Joint Action Days 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 12027-16.pdf)
"Delegations will find enclosed a Europol note providing a preliminary evaluation of the Joint Action Days 2016 and requesting strategic guidance from COSI on the planning of the Joint Action Days 2017...[including]
Two crime areas - trafficking in human beings (THB) and facilitated illegal migration - were targeted with actions carried out in dozens of key geographical hotspots (airports, border crossing points, etc.). Law enforcement authorities, immigration services and labour services from 21 countries joined forces for this operation. This was the first time that labour inspectors across the EU cooperated so closely with law enforcement authorities in a coordinated way to identify, safeguard and protect victims of labour exploitation."
And see: Definition of Joint Action Days (JADs) (LIMITE doc no: 8127-16, pdf)
European Parliament Study: Renegotiation by the United Kingdom of its constitutional relationship with the European Union: Issues related to Sovereignty (pdf):
"A key point of the United Kingdoms renegotiation agreement with the European Union is sovereignty. Historically, the British have been particularly sensitive about this issue. Following the demands of Prime Minister Cameron, five different issues have been tackled: ever closer union, subsidiarity, the role of the national parliaments, the British opt-out on matters relating to the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and the issue of national security. They all have different scope and consequences that are analysed in detail."
Council of Europe: CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF INDIVIDUALS WITH REGARD TO AUTOMATIC PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA: Opinion on the Data protection implications of the processing of Passenger Name Records (pdf):
"In view of the special interference with the rights to data protection and privacy that PNR measures may represent, the legality, proportionality and necessity of a PNR system need to be strictly respected and demonstrated, thus implying notably the following including:
- transparent demonstration in a measurable form of the necessity and proportionality of the system in light of the legitimate aim pursued;
- accurate and strict definitions of the legitimate aim pursued are required and processing of PNR data is only allowed for the defined limited grounds (prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and other serious crimes, or in exceptional cases, prevention of serious threats to the public)."
Council of Europe: Human Rights Commissioner: Greece urged to protect the human rights of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and de-institutionalise them (link):
"Today the Commissioner published a letter he addressed to the Greek government noting with interest the efforts made by Greece since the mid-1980s in order to end institutionalisation of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and to develop community care services. However, he is gravely concerned by the instances of deaths and of physical restraint of patients in certain institutions."
and see Letter to Greece (pdf)
Divided EU seeks unity after Brexit at Bratislava summit (euractiv, link):
"EU leaders meet without Britain in Bratislava today (16 September) to chart their post-Brexit future, focusing on defence cooperation and border security in a bid to heal deep divisions in particular over migration."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.9.16)
UK: GCHQ's 'Great British Firewall' raises serious concern privacy groups - campaigners say giving agency greater surveillance powers to combat hackers is like the fox protecting the chicken (Guardian, link):
"Privacy groups have expressed serious concern at the prospect of a Great British Firewall proposed by the surveillance agency GCHQ to protect major British companies against malicious hackers.
They said they were worried that it could be used to deny freedom of speech, with the government potentially able to designate sites they disapprove of as malware.
There is also concern about the prospect of handing over such power to GCHQ, given its track record of intrusion working in tandem with the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Thomas Falchetta, a legal officer for Privacy International, said: Given the broad scope of GCHQs hacking operations both domestically and abroad, this seems like the fox protecting the chicken."
European Parliament Study: The European Council and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Orientation and implementation in the field of crisis management since the Lisbon Treaty (pdf):
"This study assesses the planning, command and control of civilian and military CSDP missions and operations, progress made in developing civilian and military capabilities, particularly rapid response capabilities in the form of the EU Battlegroups, as well as challenges encountered during the force generation process. In recent years, the European Council has repeatedly called for further progress in all of these areas.
The study concludes that, despite recent progress in reviewing crisis management procedures, operational planning remains cumbersome and slow...."
And see Briefing: Control of trade in dual-use items (pdf): "Council Regulation 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items."
CoE: GREVIO receives first state reports from Austria and Monaco (link):
"The Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) initiated its first country-by-country evaluation procedure in March 2016 by requesting Austria and Monaco to report on the implementation of the Istanbul Convention on the basis of its questionnaire, as provided for under Article 68, paragraph 1.
Reports from Austria and Monaco were received by GREVIO on 1 September 2016 and are published today in accordance with Rule 33, paragraph 6 of GREVIOs Rules of Procedure."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.9.16)
EU: Copyright reform: Commission proposes "link tax"
"Today, the European Commission formally submitted its new Copyright Directive to the European Parliament for consideration. Despite opposition from a 100,000-strong network of civil society groups and Internet users, the directive includes plans for a new Link Tax granting sweeping new powers to publishing giants to charge fees when snippets of text are used in hyperlinks."
The proposed Directive: European Commission, 'Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market', COM(2016) 593 final, 14 September 2016 (pdf)
See: Press Release: New copyright directive fails at every level (EDRI, link)
MALTA: Calls for preventive action against vigilante group Soldiers of Odin (Malta Today, link):
"The Soldiers of Odin, a vigilante group that has been branded as anti-immigrant, has found a following in Malta and begun patrolling the streets, according to local media reports.
The group is part of a controversial international network with same name, which proclaims that its goal is to protect people especially women from migrants committing crimes.
The first Soldiers of Odin group was set up in Finland during the European migrant crisis last year, and several other groups have sprouted across Europe since."
Edward Snowden: ACLU and Amnesty seek presidential pardon (BBC News, link):
"Two of the most prominent human rights organisations in the United States are about to launch a campaign for the presidential pardon of Edward Snowden.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International are ready to launch the "Pardon Snowden" campaign.
They are urging President Barack Obama to act before he leaves office in January 2017."
See: Pardon Snowden (link): "Snowden should be hailed as a hero. Instead, he is exiled in Moscow, and faces decades in prison under World War One-era charges that treat him like a spy. Ed stood up for us, and it's time for us to stand up for him. Urge President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden, and let him come home with dignity."
UK: Major problems with government's approach to data security
"The UK government has been urged to adopt a "new approach" to data security by the National Audit Office (NAO).
The spending watchdog found that "too many bodies" within government have "overlapping responsibilities" for information security matters and that insufficiently clear information is collected by the government on the way it performs in protecting data or the costs involved...
The way in which personal data breaches are reported by government departments was also described by the NAO as "chaotic". It said different departments operate different reporting mechanisms which render comparisons between the organisations as "meaningless".
According to the report, there were 8,995 data breaches recorded by the 17 largest government departments in 2014/15. Of that number, 14 incidents were reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)."
See: UK government urged to adopt 'new approach' to data security (Out-Law.com, link) and the report: National Audit Office: Protecting information across government (pdf)
EU: Commission: new proposals on data collection and data exchange for "security and mobility"
A new communication published by the European Commission continues to beat the drum for "stronger borders" and new and improved information systems and databases as ways to counter terrorism and irregular migration. Part-summary of existing initiatives, the document also sets out new plans including the announcement of a forthcoming proposal on a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a "possible legislative initiative" on identity documents and residence cards, and greater powers and resources for Europol's European Counter-Terrorism Centre (ECTC). Significant efforts are already going into "enhancing information exchnange and information management" for security, justice and home affairs purposes.
See: European Commission, 'Enhancing security in a world of mobility: improved information exchange in the fight against terrorism and stronger external borders', COM(2016) 602 final, 14 September 2016 (pdf)
France to open first 'de-radicalization' center for potentially violent extremists (Vice News, link):
"As France continues to grapple with terror threats across the country, government officials announced Tuesday its first official de-radicalization center will open at the end of the month in a sleepy town in the west. It's being marketed as a place specifically for people who may be on the verge of carrying out extremist violence, and those who have tried and failed to travel abroad to join terrorist groups.
By the end of September, the Pontourny center will welcome up to 25 young people from ages 18 to 30 who espouse radical ideology in a converted government building in Beaumont-en-Veron, a small town of about 2,800 people located 210 miles southwest of Paris. It's unclear how they will ensure attendance. People are supposed to voluntarily check in to the center, and may return home on the weekends if they choose."
And see: France's first de-radicalisation centre to tackle Islamist threat opens (RFI, link). The institution will be named the "Centre for Prevention, Integration and Citizenship":
"The "volunteers" will wear uniforms, receive medical and psychological support, and take classes in a variety of subjects including history, religion, philosophy and the media. Their day will start with the raising of the French flag at 6:45am."
UK: GCHQ's 'Great British Firewall' raises serious concern privacy groups (The Guardian, link):
"Privacy groups have expressed serious concern at the prospect of a Great British Firewall proposed by the surveillance agency GCHQ to protect major British companies against malicious hackers.
They said they were worried that it could be used to deny freedom of speech, with the government potentially able to designate sites they disapprove of as malware.
There is also concern about the prospect of handing over such power to GCHQ, given its track record of intrusion working in tandem with the US National Security Agency (NSA)."
EU: Europe Turns the Screws on Former Guantánamo Prisoners (one small window, link):
"The US-run detention centre for war on terror prisoners at Guantánamo Bay is truly a collaborative effort; dozens of states worldwide assisted the US in the arrest, detention, torture or transport to torture of the around 800 men who have been held there. In some cases, their home states provided information that led to arrests, or failed to prevent or protest their illegal detention and torture once they became aware of it.
European states have proved no exception, making them complicit in the torture of their own citizens. Several dozen citizens and residents of European states have been held at Guantánamo. With the exception of Russian Ravil Mingazov, who was cleared for release in July 2016, all other European citizens were repatriated by 2005. European residents have also been returned to their countries of residence or origin. None were ever prosecuted at Guantánamo. As with prisoners released elsewhere however, legal problems and harassment have followed them.
This is not to discount the possibility that former prisoners could engage in such [illegal] activity. Playing the Guantánamo card, however, as the case above illustrates, rules out the need for any factual evidence. It creates an assumption of guilt that needs no proof, adds an international dimension to domestic crime and lowers the bar on what counts as admissible proof. Detention at Guantánamo is evidence enough of guilt."
And: Crime and Punishment? Prosecutions of Former Guantánamo Prisoners in Europe (one small window, link): an overview of ex-Guantánamo prisoners who are citizens of or resident in European states who have been tried, prosecuted and harassed by the authorities after their release from the prison camp.
Statewatch News (14.9.16): 58 stories, reports and documents
UK: New revelations show just how nervous the police are about the undercover policing inquiry (The Canary, link):
"If you think Britain doesnt have political police, think again. For decades, campaigners and protest groups have been spied upon, infiltrated, and have even been subjected to abusive and manipulative relationships. Like it not, the so-called spycops scandal affects everyone. And if it had not been for some very brave individuals, as well as a small number of dedicated journalists and researchers, the inquiry that was set up to examine the extent of this abuse the (Pitchford) Undercover Policing Inquiry may never have happened."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.9.16)
UK's next EU commissioner 'highly motivated' (euobserver, link):
"Britain's designated EU commissioner for security Julian King says he is "highly motivated" for the job.
In a letter sent to the European parliament ahead of a grilling from MEPs on Monday (12 September), King said his big priorities for the security portfolio would be "to strengthen our defences against terrorism and organised crime, and to build our resilience".
He was appointed to the post following the departure of EU financial services commissioner Jonathan Hill in the wake of the June UK referendum to exit the EU.
EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker created and gave the new security portfolio to King in early August in a move that surprised some given the UK opt-out on EU justice and home affairs laws."
See: King's answers to questions put by the parliament (pdf) and see also: Letter from Commission President Juncker: New Commissioner for the Security Union (pdf).
UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution: The invoking of Article 50 (pdf): Concludes that:
"co-operation should start now. Parliament and the Government should, at this early stage, take the opportunity to establish their respective roles and how they will work together during the negotiation process. The constitutional roles of eachthe Executive and the Legislaturemust be respected, beginning with parliamentary involvement and assent for the invoking of Article 50."
Luxembourg foreign minister wants Hungary out of EU (euraactiv, link):
"Luxembourgs foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, has called for Hungary to be thrown out of the European Union. EurActiv Germany reports.
We cannot accept that the EUs fundamental values are being massively violated, Asselborn told German newspaper Die Welt. Anyone who builds fences to stem the flow of refugees or limits press freedoms and the independence of the judiciary, as Hungary has been accused of doing, should be temporarily or permanently excluded from the EU, warned the foreign minister.
He added that Hungary would have no chance at becoming an EU member today."
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: 'Prevention must lie at the heart of the fight against female genital mutilation' (link):
"The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) believes that prevention must lie at the heart of all efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation and must involve all the players concerned, whether the communities that practise it, grass roots organisations, social and education services, the police, the justice system or healthcare professionals.....
The draft text, to be put to the vote at the forthcoming PACE plenary meeting in Strasbourg (10-14 October 2016), calls for female genital mutilation to be recognised as violence against women and children, extraterritorial jurisdiction for domestic courts so that criminal prosecutions can be initiated when mutilation has been committed abroad, and public awareness-raising and information campaigns to combat this phenomenon."
See: Draft report to be discussed: Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination: Female genital mutilation in Europe (pdf)
UK-EU BREXIT: European Parliament: Renegotiation by the United Kingdom of its constitutional relationship with the European Union: Issues related to Immigration" (pdf):
"This analysis examines the provisions of the agreement between the UK and other Member States on the renegotiation of the UKs membership of the EU which relate to the free movement of EU citizens.
It examines in turn: the overall legal framework of the renegotiation deal as regards free movement; the issues relating to the emergency brake on in-work benefits; the issues relating to export of child benefits; the issues relating to third-country national family members of EU citizens; and other issues relating to the free movement of persons arising from the renegotiation deal."
The War on Cash (The Long and Short Society, link):
"The proclaimed Death of Cash is thus an episode in the broader drama that is the Death of Privacy, and the death of informal, unaccounted-for behaviour"
GREECE: Open letter from Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Ritsona camp
A translation of a letter written by Syrian and Iraqi refugees living in the Ritsona camp near Chalkida in Greece, around one hour north of Athens. It was originally published on the website R Project in Greek; the text below is a translation of that in Spanish published by Diagonal on 27 August 2016.
Brexit: EU justice and home affairs without the UK
"On 16 September, the heads of state or government of the 27 will meet in Bratislava. They will continue a political reflection to give impetus to further reforms and to the development of the EU with 27 member countries...
'Based on my consultations so far, I have no doubt that the three main challenges are uncontrolled irregular migration, terrorism, and the fears of globalisation,' said President Tusk before his meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Stockholm. 'My ambition is that in Bratislava we can agree on the main priorities and what we need to do about them in the next few months.'
According to the President of the European Council, these priorities should be:
- to secure external borders of the EU
- to fight the threat of terrorism in Europe and elsewhere
- to bring back control of globalisation, finding a way to safeguard the interests of the EU citizens while remaining open to the world"
See: Informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government, 16/09/2016 (European Council/Council of the EU, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.9.16)
EU-TURKEY: 13 migrants returned from Greece to Turkey with no opportunity to access legal assistance
On 8 September, 13 migrants were returned from Lesvos to Turkey without being given the opportunity to access legal assistance. 10 of the migrants - from Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Palestine and Lebanon - were dismissed at first and second instance while the other three had waived their right to file an application against their return.
EU: Council, Europol and "expert group" press on with plans to boost "information exchange and information management"
In May this year the Council of the EU drew up an extensive "roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management" in relation to justice and home affairs policies - principally policing, migration and counter-terrorism. A recent leaked document provides a summary of progress on a number of those actions, including detailed information on how security checks in the "hotspots" in Italy and Greece function.
See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Strategic Commitee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum: State of play of the implementation of its actions (Actions 41-50) (11954-16, LIMITE, 8 September 2016)
DENMARK: A Danish school now separates children by ethnicity (The Washington Post, link):
"Nearly a year after the influx of migrants into Europe reached its peak, the repercussions can now be felt in thousands of classrooms across the continent as a new school year begins.
Whereas most other schools are focused on assimilating migrant children, one Danish school in the city of Aarhus has decided to separate them. The idea has drawn criticism from human rights advocates who question the legality of segregating children based on their ethnicity."
UK: Four years on from Hillsborough Independent Panel report - what has happened since? (Liverpool Echo, link):
"Four years ago today, the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) report was published and its revelations shocked the world.
Some of what the report revealed had been known in Merseyside since the tragedy on April 15, 1989, but for the first time families heard that many of the 96 victims could have been saved if there was earlier treatment and the scale of the cover up was exposed to the nation.
In the four years since the panel report was released, two investigations into the disaster were set up and new inquests found the 96 were unlawfully killed and the fans were not to blame.
We look at some of the most shocking revelations from the HIP report and what has happened since."
And see: Hillsborough Independent Panel - Disclosed Material and Report (link)
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Operation Hernes concerted efforts to limit the Pitchford Inquiry (Undercover Research Group, link):
"To date, the Metropolitan Polices investigation into undercover police abuses, Operation Herne, has made publicly available three Reports. Its fourth report, an Update, issued in February 2015, was classified as Restricted and only internally circulated rather than being published on the official Herne website.
Following a Freedom of Information request, the Undercover Research Group received a redacted copy, which (as opposed to hidden in the Mets disclosure log) we are making available for all to read.
Much to our surprise, the amount of redaction was minimal. As set out below, we believe the reason for being restricted is that it has a number of points which cause the Metropolitan Police embarrassment."
In other news: Undercover police: 'Officers won't face charges over evidence' (BBC News, link) and: Letter from Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, to Christopher Pitchford (pdf)
UK: Rendition victims challenge decision not to prosecute MI6 officer (The Guardian, link):
"Lawyers representing a Libyan husband and wife who were kidnapped and flown to one of Muammar Gaddafis prisons are seeking to overturn a decision that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute a former MI6 officer for his alleged role.
Mark Allen, the head of counter-terrorism at the agency at the time of the so-called rendition operations, had set out his role in a letter to the Gaddafi government that came to light during the 2011 Libyan revolution.
However the Crown Prosecution Service decided earlier this year that Allen now Sir Mark should face no criminal charges, a ruling that the victims said reflected poorly on British justice.
Lawyers for the couple are now seeking a judicial review of the CPS decision, which they have denounced as a see no evil, hear no evil ruling that has put the government and its intelligence agencies above the rule of law."
EU: France and Germany propose EU 'defence union' (EUobserver, link):
"Germany and France have drawn up plans for closer EU defence cooperation, including a new military HQ and swifter deployment of overseas missions.
The ideas were outlined by the two countries defence ministers, Ursula Von der Leyen and Jean-Yves Le Drian, in a six-page paper sent to the EU foreign service on Sunday (11 September) and seen by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and French daily Le Figaro.
The paper says, according to Le Figaro, that in the context of a deteriorating security environment it is high time to reinforce our solidarity and European defence capabilities in order to more effectively protect the citizens and borders of Europe.
The UK had in the past opposed steps toward the creation of an EU army or duplication of Nato structures."
These ideas were put forward immediately after the 'Brexit' vote in a paper by the German and French foreign ministers: A strong Europe in a world of uncertainties (pdf). And see: EU says "soft power is not enough" as German and French ministers call for "European Security Compact" (Statewatch News Online, 6 July 2016)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-11.9.16)
UK: Downing Street used police and courts to smear Orgreave miners - Documents found at Hillsborough inquest will be used to call for investigation into 1984 strike violence this week (The Observer, link)
"Previously unseen documents suggesting that a politically motivated operation involving the police and courts was launched against miners involved in the 1984 Orgreave confrontation in Yorkshire will be used to put fresh pressure on the home secretary to announce a public inquiry at a meeting with campaigners this week.
A legal case has been lodged with the Home Office which, it is claimed, offers evidence of the wrongful arrest of 95 miners, the deliberate falsification of a narrative against them from the outset, the immediate presentation of that false narrative by police to the media and its uncritical acceptance by the latter."
See also: IPCC announces decision following Orgreave scoping exercise (link) and: Report (pdf)
European Parliament Study: Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty - Improving Functioning of the EU: Foreign Affairs (pdf):
"Foreign Affairs as field of EU action has very distinctive constitutional qualities. Its external powers are broad, encompassing not only traditional foreign policy, but also development cooperation and number of sectorial policies such as trade, transport and environment. The report provides an analysis of the changes in the constitutional and institutional framework brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and assess the implementation of those changes including obstacles to further improvement of its implementation."
EU: Council of the European Union: Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy and Counter-Terrorism Implementation Paper: second half of 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 11001-16,pdf):
"The current document aims at providing a comprehensive overview of actions from the first half of 2016 which are still to be implemented as well as new actions for the second half of 2016. Its annex II gives an overview of the Working Parties and the objectives that are planned to be carried out under the SK Presidency in the second half of 2016....
The present implementation paper contains also an important new annex I which provides an overview of the most relevant counter-terrorism actions that have been agreed by the Council, either politically or legally. In this way, the implementation paper incorporates the so-called master document on counter-terrorism, on the development of which COSI agreed on 18 April 2016. This annex was prepared by the Presidency in close cooperation with the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (EU CTC)."
The Annex contains the objective of: "Implementation of the security aspects of the hotspots." and:
"Ensure coordination between the relevant OAPs and the European Agenda on Migration as well as with recent developments in the migratory field."
also: "Objective: debate ways of further improving cooperation between the agencies, in particular Europol and Eurojust and assess remaining obstacles for Europol and Frontex, inter alia as regards direct access to SIS II."
and: "The Presidency will continue the activity of the informal policy group on data retention within the EU."
For background see: EU: Internal security: "common risk indicators", internet monitoring, a European police register, entry bans and more (Statewatch database).
European Parliament: New role given to new Commissioner from the UK: Hearing of Commissioner-Designate Sir Julian King (link):
"On 15 July 2016, in accordance with Article 246 subparagraph 2 TFEU, the Council decided to consult the European Parliament on the appointment to the position of member of the European Commission of Sir Julian KING for the Security Union portofolio.
Pursuant to Rule 118 and Annex XVI of the Rules of procedures, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will proceed to a hearing of Sir Julian King. Guidelines for the hearing are to be adopted by the Conference of Presidents on the basis of a proposal from the Conference of committee Chairs. The hearing will take place on Monday 12 September in Strasbourg from 19.00 to 22.00 in room Louise Weiss S1.4. The meeting will be webstreamed.
LIBE Coordinators will then meet on Tuesday 13 September to assess the hearing so that Mr Moraes, Chair of the LIBE Committee, can inform the President of Parliament in view of a plenary decision in the same plenary week."
See: Letter from Commission President Juncker: New Commissioner for the Security Union (pdf):
"I would like you to support the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship in the following tasks [including]:
Ensuring the swift implementation of the steps needed to build an effective and genuine SecurityUnion as set out in the Commission Communication of 20 April 2016.
Identifying where the EU can make a real difference in fighting terrorism, including measures that can address the threat posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters.
Improving information and intelligence sharing, including through the initiatives to upgrade Europols European Counter-Terrorism Centre into a stronger structure and through the development ofefficient and interoperable information exchange systems.
Reinforcing the security response to radicalisation...
Ensuring that EU-financed security research targets the needs of security practitioners and develops solutions to forthcoming security challenges...
A Task Force composed by experts from the Commission services and supervised by the Director-General for Home Affairs will support you."
USA-UK: Inside Menwith Hill: The NSAs British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing (The Intercept, link):
"For years, journalists and researchers have speculated about what really goes on inside Menwith Hill, while human rights groups and some politicians have campaigned for more transparency about its activities. Yet the British government has steadfastly refused to comment, citing a longstanding policy not to discuss matters related to national security.
Now, however, top-secret documents obtained by The Intercept offer an unprecedented glimpse behind Menwith Hills razor wire fence. The files reveal for the first time how the NSA has used the British base to aid a significant number of capture-kill operations across the Middle East and North Africa, fueled by powerful eavesdropping technology that can harvest data from more than 300 million emails and phone calls a day.....
The disclosures about Menwith Hill raise new questions about the extent of British complicity in U.S. drone strikes and other so-called targeted killing missions, which may in some cases have violated international laws or constituted war crimes. Successive U.K. governments have publicly stated that all activities at the base are carried out with the full knowledge and consent of British officials."
Non-EU citizens will pay to enter Schengen area under future ETIAS scheme (euractiv, link):
"The EUs future passenger registration system could bring in up to 2 billion per year, which could be used to counter EU budget cuts.
British citizens may soon have to pay to visit the continent. As far-fetched as it may seem, this idea may become a reality when the Schengen area introduces a compulsory system of registration, based on the American ESTA.
The EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) would only apply to citizens of countries that do not need a visa to access the Schengen area. Members of the single market would be exempt from the measure thanks to the free movement of workers. But if the United Kingdom leaves the single market, things will not be simple."
European Parliament Study: Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty - Improving Functioning of the EU: Foreign Affairs (Revised, pdf):
"Foreign Affairs as field of EU action has very distinctive constitutional qualities. Its external powers are broad, encompassing not only traditional foreign policy, but also development cooperation and number of sectorial policies such as trade, transport and environment. The report provides an analysis of the changes in the constitutional and institutional framework brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and assess the implementation of those changes including obstacles to further improvement of its implementation."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8-9.9.16)
Shackled Freedoms : What Space for Civil Society in the EuroMed? (EuroMed Rights, link):
"This report depicts the obstacles and repression against civil society in the region and showcases first-hand accounts from Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories among others. The report also features recommendations by CSOs for joint action and seeks to influence EU policies to that effect. The report also focuses on the impact of security and anti-terrorist policies and lists the growing arsenal of repressive measures both in law and practice that CSOs face on a daily basis: judicial harassment, surveillance, arbitrary arrests, torture and assassination....
Despite legal safeguards and the human rights shared values rhetoric in the EU, EuroMed Rights argues that European civil society is under increasing pressure. Austerity measures and anti-terrorism laws are increasingly used to legitimise practices that go against individual freedoms and rights of assembly, association and expression, such as in France, Spain or the UK, for instance. The report is the result of a seminar organised in April 2016 as an open dialogue between EU representatives, South Mediterranean activists and Brussels-based CSOs."
See: Report (pdf)
EU-CANADA PNR: CJEU Advocate-General Opinion: According to Advocate General Mengozzi, the agreement on the transfer of passenger name record data, planned between the European Union and Canada, cannot be entered into in its current form: A number of provisions of the draft agreement are incompatible with EU fundamental rights (Press release, pdf)
"Advocate General Mengozzi takes the view that certain provisions of the agreement envisaged, as currently drafted, are contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. More specifically, those are the provisions which:
- allow, beyond what is strictly necessary, the extension of the possibilities for processing PNR data, independently of the public security objective pursued by the agreement, namely preventing and detecting terrorist offences and serious forms of transnational crime;
- provide for the processing, use and retention by Canada of PNR data containing sensitive data;
- confer on Canada, beyond what is strictly necessary, the right to make any disclosure of information without a requirement for any connection with the public security objective pursued by the agreement;
- authorise Canada to retain PNR data for up to five years for, in particular, any specific action, review, investigation or judicial proceedings, without a requirement for any connection with the public security objective pursued by the agreement;
- allow PNR data to be transferred to a foreign public authority without the competent Canadian authority, subject to review by an independent authority, first being satisfied that the foreign public authority in question to which the data is transferred cannot itself subsequently communicate the data to another foreign body."
See: Full text Opinion (pdf) and: European Court Opinion: Canada PNR deal cannot be signed (EDRI, link)
European Parliament Study: Transatlantic Digital Economy and Data Protection: State-of-Play and Future Implications for the EU's External Policies (pdf):
"This study details how digital and data issues will be handled in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; explains how this intersects with the new EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement and the broader implications of the judgment on Safe Harbour; and explores key issues in transatlantic law enforcement cooperation before highlighting a few broader foreign policy issues and laying forth some recommendations for the EU institutions."
Snowden: Privacy Shield won't stop US mass surveillance (euobserver, link):
"Edward Snowden, a former US national security agency intelligence contractor, told an audience in Brussels on Wednesday (7 September) that US government claims surveillance has been narrowed under the new EU-US Privacy Shield data sharing agreement is false.
"It's categorically untrue," he said via video-link from Russia, where he has been granted asylum, at an event organised by German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht....
"They are denying they do mass surveillance, they are saying what we do do is bulk collection, which is in their world something entirely different, but in reality, in our world, it is mass surveillance," said Snowden.
Privacy Shield replaced the 15-year old Safe Harbour pact, which was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice last October over broader concerns linked to US mass surveillance programmes disclosed by Snowden."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (7.9.16)
COE-CPT: :Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Turkey (link):
"A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Turkey from 29 August to 6 September 2016.
The purpose of the visit was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of persons who have been detained in connection with the recent military coup attempt. To this end, the delegation interviewed in private several hundred persons in various prisons and police establishments in the Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir areas.
On the occasion of the visit, the delegation also raised with the relevant authorities certain issues related to the situation of Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners currently held at Imrali F-type High-Security Prison."
UK: Met police pause plan to introduce spit hoods (Guardian., link): "Scotland Yard is thought to have failed to tell London mayor Sadiq Khan about scheme that was to start within weeks."
Council of Europe: Austria: First report on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (link):
"Today, the first ever report from Austria is published on the countrys efforts to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence.
Austria joins Monaco as one of the first two countries to undergo a basic evaluation of compliance with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The treaty is more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention.
Its entry into force in August 2014, marked the first time that Europe has defined binding legal norms regarding violence against women and domestic violence."
See: Questionnaire: on legislative and other measures giving effect to the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) (pdf)
EU court allows extradition of citizens outside of bloc (euractiv, link):
"The EUs top court has ruled that member states are not obligated to grant other EU citizens the same level of protection from extradition that is afforded to its own citizens.
In a judgement on a case involving an Estonian national arrested in Latvia and subject to an extradition order by Russia, the European Court of Justice ruled that Latvias decision to comply with Russias request did not contravene the principles of non-discrimination."
See CJEU Press release (pdf) and: Extradition to non-EU countries: the limits imposed by EU citizenship (EU Law Analysis, link)
UK-EU BREXIT: UK to seek special arrangement on security and Justice and Home Affairs? David Davis (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union): House of Commons statement 5.9.16 (link):
"We want to maintain or even strengthen our co-operation on security and defence."
Asked a question by Yvette Cooper MP about whether the UK will stay in Europol Mr Davis replied:
"The right hon. Lady was an eminent member of the Cabinet, and, indeed, an eminent Front-Bench Member and shadow Home Secretary. I therefore take her question extremely seriously, as she does this issue. The simple answer is that the whole justice and home affairs stream is being assessed even as we speak, and the aim is to preserve the relationship with the European Union on security matters as best we can. The right hon. Lady will recall that last year a decision was made which laid aside about 100 measures that we did not want to be part of, but kept some others, including the European arrest warrant and one or two others controversially, as she will remember. So yes, of course we are on that, and of course we are aiming to maintain it. That is the answer." [emphasis added]
See also: The UKs cooperation with the EU on justice and home affairs, and on foreign policy and security issues (Home Office, pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.9.16)
UK: The Met police are using a horrific new weapon, and they dont want you to know about it (The Canary, link):
"The Metropolitan police are getting a new weapon to use against suspects but theyre so worried about how itll look to members of the public that theyll only be able to use it behind closed doors, in custody suites.
The controversial spit hood a mesh hood used as a restraint device has been authorised for use by the Met police, the largest police force in the UK. Under a pilot scheme, the hood will be available for police to use in custody units across the London force."
European Parliament: Studies:
- Reception of female refugees and asylum seekers in the EU Case study Belgium and Germany (pdf):
"Commissioned by the European Parliaments Policy Department for Citizens Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Womens Rights and Gender Equality, this study provides an overview of the implementation of Directive 2013/33/EU laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection. It outlines the legal framework and examines how gender related aspects and the reception needs of vulnerable groups are considered in practice in Munich (Germany) and Brussels (Belgium)."
- Cyberbullying among young people (pdf):
"An analysis of legislation and policies aimed at preventing and fighting this phenomenon across the 28 EU Member States is also presented. The study outlines the variety of definitions of cyberbullying across EU Member States and the similarities and differences between cyberbullying, traditional bullying and cyber aggression. Moreover, it presents successful practices on how to prevent and combat cyberbullying in nine selected EU Member States and puts forward recommendations for improving the response at EU and Member State levels."
UK: The Met police are using a horrific new weapon, and they dont want you to know about it (The Canary, link):
"The Metropolitan police are getting a new weapon to use against suspects but theyre so worried about how itll look to members of the public that theyll only be able to use it behind closed doors, in custody suites.
The controversial spit hood a mesh hood used as a restraint device has been authorised for use by the Met police, the largest police force in the UK. Under a pilot scheme, the hood will be available for police to use in custody units across the London force."
USA: Analysis: How the world's biggest tech companies could wriggle out of privacy rules (Chicago Tribune, link):
"Companies such as Google and Facebook thrive on your personal data the bits of information that tell advertisers how old you are, what brands you like and how long you lingered on that must-see cat video. Historically, how these companies use this data has been subject to oversight by the Federal Trade Commission, the government's top privacy watchdog.
But a big court defeat for the FTC this week is putting the agency's power to protect your online privacy in jeopardy, analysts say. The ruling could wind up giving Google and Facebook, not to mention other companies in the internet ecosystem, the ability to escape all privacy oversight from the FTC, and possibly from the rest of government, too, critics claim, unless Congress intervenes." and
USA: Amazon, Google, Apple Fox News join Microsoft in US gagging orders fight - Eclectic bunch supports MS battle against US government's secret requests for user data.(arstechnica.co.uk, link):
"Microsoft's quest to put a stop to the US government's habit of demanding access to customers' digital records in court-ordered secrecy has won dozens of allies in the tech world.
The likes of Apple, Google, and Mozillaamong many othershave put their names to an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit Microsoft filed against the federal government over its controversial and continued use of gagging orders."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.9.16): UN calls on Greece to open camps; Sarkozy wants UK to process Calais asylum claims; Merkel interview on the refugee crisis.
UK: The politics of fear: how Britains anti-extremism strategy has failed (The Guardian, link): "An in-depth review of current political rhetoric is imperative. Our politicians are ethicising and Islamising the question of violent extremism in order to avoid dealing with real issues. The politics of fear must be abandoned. To act against violent extremism does not mean snooping on every single sign of radicalisation, or criminalising every individual, or group of individuals involved.
The UK government has created an atmosphere of suspicion and stigmatisation of Muslims. An effect of this will ultimately be to nurture the very radicalisation they wish to eradicate. A re-examination of strategy is required, going beyond security and surveillance, and placing greater emphasis on education, partnership, and the social and political factors at play. Unfortunately we are very far from this goal."
USA-UK: A healthy trade in surveillance equipment: Cobham spy gear catalogue leaked
"A confidential, 120-page catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area.
The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information. The document provides a rare look at the wide range of electronic surveillance tactics used by police and militaries in the U.S. and abroad, offering equipment ranging from black boxes that can monitor an entire towns cellular signals to microphones hidden in lighters and cameras hidden in trashcans. Markings date it to 2014."
See: Leaked Catalogue Reveals a Vast Array of Military Spy Gear Offered to U.S. Police (The Intercept, link)
UN to Greece: end automatic detention of migrants, improve reception standards
The UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on the Greek government to end the automatic detention of migrants arriving on the Aegean islands, to improve living conditions and ensure the rule of law is upheld in detention centres, and to do more to protect and provide for migrant children.
See: United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 'Concluding observations on the twentieth to twenty-second periodic reports on Greece', 26 August 2016 (pdf)
GERMANY-EU: Angela Merkel's fight against Europe's far-Right begins at home (The Telegraph, link):
"The news that Angela Merkels party has been beaten in the German Chancellors own backyard by the populist Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) is being taken as yet another bellwether that the far-Right is once again ascendant in Europe.
The simple narrative runs that if the AfD can win even in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, where Mrs Merkel has her constituency, it must surely represent a serious threat to Germany democracy as we approach the next years federal election where Mrs Merkel is expected to seek a historic fourth term.
But that misses a fundamental point about the appeal of parties like the AfD, with its nasty, narrow mix of nativist anti-Muslim bigotry and barely coded white supremacism which is that the more white and mono-cultural the electoral district, the better they perform."
EU: Counter-terrorism specialists team up to take down online terrorist propaganda (Europol press release, pdf):
"1 677 media content and social media accounts in 6 languages containing terrorist and violent extremist propaganda have been processed for the purpose of referral. The content was hosted by 35 social media and online service providers.
This is the result of a Europol coordinated international action involving Internet Referral Units (IRUs) from France, Germany, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.
For the first time since its launch, Europols Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised and joined forces with the IRUs on a 48-hour joint action to secure the removal of the material as quickly as possible. The teams jointly targeted accounts used by terrorist groups to radicalise, recruit, direct terrorist activity and glorify their atrocities."
EU: Pilots, airlines and others call for rules to keep domestic drones under control
"As drones continue to take the world by a storm, key stakeholders are warning that the safety risks of drone operations may be seriously underestimated and deserve urgent attention. A Joint Statement, signed by the entire spectrum of manned aviation stakeholders from pilots to airlines, helicopter operators to air traffic controllers calls for a robust harmonized EU-wide regulatory safety framework. ECA, IATA, EHA, ACI EUROPE, ERAA, IACA, A4E, IFALPA, IFATCA and CANSO jointly ask for a number of measures to be taken, including mandatory drone registration, operator/drone pilot training & licensing, built-in performance limitations and robust oversight by the national aviation authority."
UK-EU: People pushed to the margins driven to vote for Brexit (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, link):
"People earning less than £20,000 a year, with lower qualifications and living in low-skilled areas were the driving force behind the vote to leave the European Union, research for the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has found.
In one of the first academic analyses to examine individual and place-based characteristics driving the Leave vote, it shows how a lack of opportunity across swathes of the country led to Brexit. It shows how British votes in the referendum were divided across economic, educational and social lines.
It concludes that groups of voters who have been pushed to the margins of society, who live on low incomes, have few qualifications and lack the skills required to prosper in the modern economy, were more likely than others to endorse Brexit."
Full report: Brexit vote explained: poverty, low skills and lack of opportunities (JRF, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3-4.9.16)
EU: Council of the European Union: European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO)
- Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Consolidated text: update of the provisional version (LIMITE doc 11350-REV-1-16,pdf)
"the Presidency has updated the provisional version of its consolidated text of the draft Regulation, as set out in Annex. All modifications in relation to documents 15100/15 and 9799/16 are indicated in underlined or strikethrough...."
- Previous version (LIMITE doc no: 11350-16, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Counter-Terrorism Directive:
- Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating terrorism and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism - exchange of views on the LIBE orientation vote of 4 July 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 11169-16, pdf)
This 4-column trilogue document sets out the Commission proposal, the positions of the Council and the European Parliament and the "compromise" position:
"The Presidency would like to obtain feedback and specific guidance from delegations in particular regarding the provisions on:
public provocation (Article 5)
receiving training (Article 8)
travelling for the purpose of terrorism (Article 9)
financing of terrorism (Articles 11)
victims' rights (Article 22 and 23)
exchange of information (new Article 21c)
In addition, the Presidency invites delegations to indicate their initial views regarding the proposed provisions on fundamental rights and procedural guarantees (new Articles 23a, 23c and 23d), on prevention (new Article 21b) and on measures against illegal terrorist content on the Internet (new Article 14a)."
EU-USA: Draft agenda of the EU US Justice and Home Affairs Senior Officials Meeting, Bratislava, 8-9 September 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 11193-16, pdf) including: Counter-terrorism, Migration and mobility, Transnational crime, Data Protection, Anti-money laundering and terrorism financing, Cooperation in the area of criminal law and Cooperation with third countries.
EU: European Parliament Study: Good Governance in EU External Relations: What role for development policy in a changing international context? (pdf):
"It is by no means automatic that the EU will continue and further increase its engagement in supporting governance reforms. In this context, the objective of this study is to summarise evidence from academic research on why the EU and other donors should support governance reforms and under which conditions EU support positively contributes to governance reforms.
Moreover, the study analyses how the EU has aimed at contributing to governance reforms during the past decade, focusing in particular on the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund. The study puts emphasis on EU development policy, but places the analysis of governance support through development policy in the broader context of EU external relations."
USA: Leaked Catalogue Reveals a Vast Array of Military Spy Gear Offered to U.S. Police (The Intercept, link):
"A confidential, 120-page catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area.
The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information. The document provides a rare look at the wide range of electronic surveillance tactics used by police and militaries in the U.S. and abroad, offering equipment ranging from black boxes that can monitor an entire towns cellular signals to microphones hidden in lighters and cameras hidden in trashcans. Markings date it to 2014." and see:
Former Anti-Terror FBI Employee Now Finds Himself a Target (The Intercept, libk): "As an FBI surveillance employee, Ray Tahir spent the last decade tailing Muslims in counterterrorism cases."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.9.16)
EU: Europol: report on the first year of the Internet Referral Unit
A recent report by EU policing agency Europol "presents the achievements of the first year of the EU Internet Referral Unit (IRU) and its future priorities, which are in line with its mandate." The IRU is a specialised unit that seeks to ensure the removal from the web of content related to terrorism, violent extremism and migrant smuggling.
See: Europol, 'EU Internet Referral Unit - YEAR ONE REPORT - HIGHLIGHTS' (pdf)
UK: The role of the Judge: Umpire in a Contest, Seeker of the Truth or Something in Between?
Speech by Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court of the UK, on some of the ethical dilemmas raised by the role of the judge in common law systems. Given as part of a panel in Singapore on 'Judicial Ethics and Dilemmas on the Bench', 19 August 2016.
See: The role of the Judge: Umpire in a Contest, Seeker of the Truth or Something in Between? (pdf)
EU: Global fingerprinting: EU database of visa applicants expanding fast
- Fingerprinting for short-stay Schengen visas now in place across entire globe
- Massive increase in use of the system for checking asylum applicants' details
- 370% increase in use of system for identification within EU Member States
- 11 law enforcement authorities have conducted almost 10,000 searches in the system; 1,200 law enforcement "end-users" reported as having access
- Quality standards for fingerprints accepted into system to be reduced
The report: eu-LISA, 'Report on the technical functioning of the VIS', July 2016 (pdf)
EU: The Way People Look at Us Has Changed: Muslim Women on Life in Europe (New York Times, link):
"The storm over bans on burkinis in more than 30 French beach towns has all but drowned out the voices of Muslim women, for whom the full-body swimsuits were designed. The New York Times solicited their perspective, and the responses more than 1,000 comments from France, Belgium and beyond went much deeper than the question of swimwear.
What emerged was a portrait of life as a Muslim woman, veiled or not, in parts of Europe where terrorism has put people on edge. One French term was used dozens of times: un combat, or a struggle, to live day to day. Many who were born and raised in France described confusion at being told to go home."
UK: Questionable numbers on "sham marriages"
"These latest figures contrast heavily with previous figures relied on by the Government when introducing the Immigration Act 2014. At that time the Minister claimed there were 1,300 interventions in sham marriages (actually in suspected sham marriages) in 2013-14. The figure surely cannot have dropped from 1,300 in 2013-14 to just 54 in 2014-15? Is it possible that the Minister was in 2014 over-egging the statistics in order to secure the introduction of new powers which were in truth unnecessary?
In short, the latest figures suggest there are very few investigations and the Home Office is unwilling to release information on the outcome of the investigations. They may have all turned out to be genuine."
See: New guidance and numbers on sham marriage investigations published by Home Office (Free Movement, link)
EU: One year after the death of Alan Kurdi
One year after three-year-old refugee Alan Kurdi drowned in the Aegean Sea, his father "has urged Europe to keep its doors open to migrants," while his grandfather has made a "plea for world leaders to end the war in Syria." Amnesty International's general secretary said on the anniversary of the child's death: "The outpouring of sympathy for Alan Kurdi seen last year must be extended to the countless other refugee children who are in dire need of help," with the organisation noting the "dismal failure of world leaders to tackle the refugee crisis."
UK: Learning from history on prison reform: new pamphlet following John Howard's footsteps
"The Howard League for Penal Reform is the worlds oldest penal reform charity. We are celebrating our 150th birthday throughout 2016. John Howard, as our namesake, is pivotal to the shape and nature of the charity through the years.
Today, the Howard League for Penal Reform continues to campaign for change in the criminal justice system, acting as an independent voice just like John Howard. This pamphlet by Professor Thomas Vander Beken from Ghent University is based on his research following John Howards footsteps travelling to prisons across Europe. This pamphlet is published to correspond with John Howards own birthday in September 1726, some 290 years ago. What is salutary for us penal reformers today is how relevant his work and ideas remain."
See: Asking new questions: Lessons relearned from John Howard (link) and the publication (pdf)
French interior minister says Calais camp will be removed (again)
"France is to gradually dismantle the Jungle refugee camp in Calais, the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has vowed.
Cazeneuve told the regional newspaper the Nord Littoral he would press ahead with the closure of the camp with the greatest determination, dismantling the site in stages, clearing the former wasteland where record numbers of refugees and migrants are sleeping rough in dire sanitary conditions as many hope to reach Britain."
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: How Many Spycops Have There Been? (Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, link):
"There are 17 spycops who have been named and well documented. There are strong suspicions about several more. Fifteen of the seventeen have been exposed by their victims. One has been exposed by journalists, one by the officer himself Peter Francis, the only whistleblower. None have come from the police.
Journalists notably Rob Evans and Paul Lewis at the Guardian have substantially fleshed out the activists research. The Met recently claimed to be having trouble even sorting their records into order. If that is true then perhaps the best bet would be to allow these tenacious activists and journalists, who have done such sterling work despite police obstructions, to come and have a go."
UK: End the detention of refugee women: Set Her Free: Margaret's Story (YouTube, link):
"This short animation, produced by Women for Refugee Women and directed by Priya Sundram, highlights the experiences of refugee women - many of whom have survived sexual violence and torture - who are detained in Yarls Wood."
Via: Women for Refugee Women (link)
EU Commission: Copyright "reform": Directive: Proposal for Copyright in the Digital Single Market (IGEL via IPKat, pdf)
See: It could not be worse: Draft proposal for the copyright directive leaked (IGEL, link)
"We have just received the draft proposal of the European Commission for a new copyright directive. It shall complement i.e. in general not amend other directives inter alia the InfoSoc directive from 2001. As it had to be expected from the Impact Assessment that was leaked last week, the draft reads like an answer to the wish list of the publishing industry. Here comes a first assessment."
And: What the heck is ancillary copyright and why do we call it the Link Tax? (Open Media, link)
Also: Commission Staff Working Document: Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules (182 pages, pdf):
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.9.16)
UK: Submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on hate crime and its violent consequences (IRR News, link):
"As the police investigate the murder of a Polish factory worker in Harlow, the Institute of Race Relations publishes today its evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Inquiry into Hate Crime and its Violent Consequences."
And see: Man murdered for being Polish? (IRR News, link):
"On Saturday night, 27 August, Arkadiusz Józwik and two friends were attacked as they ate a pizza outside a Harlow takeaway. Arkadiusz Józwik was knocked out and suffered head injuries. The 40-year-old died two days later in hospital."
UK: House of Commons: Justice Committee report: Restorative justice (pdf):
"In this report we consider the effectiveness of restorative justice (RJ) provision across the criminal justice system. The push from the Ministry of Justice has been for high quality restorative justice to be available to victims at every stage of the criminal justice system irrespective of where they are geographically, the age of the offender or the offence committed against them and we support these objectives in this report. We have focused our analysis on the services currently available to victims."
ECHR: UK breached Art 5 by failing to process immigration detainee's case with due diligence. 3,500 Euros damages: CASE OF V.M. v. THE UNITED KINGDOM (pdf)
How algorithms rule our working lives (Guardian, link):
"Employers are turning to mathematically modelled ways of sifting through job applications. Even when wrong, their verdicts seem beyond dispute and they tend to punish the poor"
Poland: 'Empty Facade' of Human Rights Protections in Poland (LIberties.eu, link):
"A letter to the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers asks her to investigate the current threats to judicial independence in Poland. .
According to the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the constitutional crisis that has lasted for over a year poses a serious threat to the independence of the entire justice system.."
EU: European Border and Coast Guard: briefing by European Parliamentary Research Service
"In December 2015, the European Commission proposed setting up a European Border and Coast Guard System (EBCGS), building on the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the EU (Frontex). The proposal would introduce a supervisory role and a 'right to intervene' in situations at the border requiring urgent action; expand Frontex's operational tasks and its prerogatives on processing personal data; and reinforce fundamental rights and transparency safeguards.
Commentators and stakeholders had raised concerns on respect for fundamental rights, division of competences between the EU and Member States and the adequacy of the suggested individual complaint mechanism. The text agreed by the EP and Council expands the Agencys prerogatives on return operations, on migration management, the fight against cross-border crimes, and search and rescue operations. Fundamental rights safeguards and the Agencys accountability vis-à-vis the EP and Council have been strengthened. If a Member State opposes a Council decision to provide assistance, putting the Schengen area at risk, other EU countries may temporarily reintroduce internal border controls.
The EP adopted its position at first reading on 6 July 2016, reflecting the compromise agreement reached. The Council is expected to adopt the act by written procedure, enabling it to be signed during the September plenary."
Contents: Introduction - Existing situation - The changes the proposal brings - Preparation of the proposal - Parliament's starting position - Council and European Council - Stakeholders' views - Advisory committees - National parliaments - Parliamentary analysis - Legislative process - references
See: Briefing: European Border and Coast Guard system (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31.8.16)
EU-BOSNIA: Europol and Bosnia and Herzegovina agree to share information on cross-border crime (press release, pdf):
"Bosnia and Herzegovinas Minister of Security, Dragan Mektiæ, and Europol's Director, Rob Wainwright, signed today an agreement to expand their cooperation in combatting cross-border criminal activities by exchanging information, including personal data of suspected criminals, and jointly planning operational activities."
USA: The Strategic Costs of Torture: How Enhanced Interrogation Hurt America (Foreign Affairs, link):
"Despite their disagreements, all these perspectives share one key assumption: that whether the torture was good or bad depends on whether or not it workedthat is, whether it produced lifesaving results. Leaving aside the very real human and legal consequences of torture, a truly comprehensive assessment would also explore the policys broader implications, including how it shaped the trajectory of the so-called war on terror, altered the relationship between the United States and its allies, and affected Washingtons pursuit of other key goals, such as the promotion of democracy and human rights abroad. To assess the overall effect of torture on U.S. national security, one should consider not only its supposed tactical benefits but also its strategic impact.
Our team of researchers at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School has begun the first such review, and weve found that Washingtons use of torture greatly damaged national security. It incited extremism in the Middle East, hindered cooperation with U.S. allies, exposed American officials to legal repercussions, undermined U.S. diplomacy, and offered a convenient justification for other governments to commit human rights abuses. The takeaway is clear: reinstating torture would be a costly mistake."
And see: Observatory on "rendition": The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners
UK: Killing investigated as hate crime days after UN warning on racism
Police have arrested six teenage boys following the death of a Polish man in Harlow, with the investigation considering "the possibility of it being a hate crime". Arkadiusz Józwik was attacked just days after the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a report noting that the EU referendum campaign "was marked by divisive, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, and that many politicians and prominent political figures not only failed to condemn it, but also created and entrenched prejudices, thereby emboldening individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate."
UK-FRANCE: Response to Calais situation: more security measures
The UK and French governments yesterday issued a joint statement setting out what they plan to do "to strengthen the security of our shared border, to strongly diminish the migratory pressure in Calais and preserve the vital economic link supported by the juxtaposed controls in Calais."
See: Joint statement by the governments of France and the United Kingdom (pdf)
UK: #UnisResistBorderControls (Right to Remain, link):
"Five months ago, the Justice4Sanaz campaign launched the #UnisResistBorderControls campaign at SOAS. This urgent campaign brings together grassroots activists and campaigners to oppose widespread abuses against non-EU international students and staff within the British higher education system and by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI).
In the over three years since the Justice4Sanaz campaign was established, I have worked tirelessly campaigning against the racist and xenophobic discrimination I have experienced while as a PhD student at the University of Leeds. At the same time I have also campaigned against the way British universities collude with the Home Office and UKVI to effectively act as border control on campus. This collusion is creating a situation where bureaucratic surveillance is being used to victimise non-EU international students who have experienced unfair dismissals as a result of racism, ableism, and misogyny, thereby preventing them from seeking recourse to justice."
EU: Towards a corporate copyright reform in the EU? (EDRi, link):
"During our copyfails blogpost series we described how badly the EU copyright regime is broken, and how these failures could be fixed if the political will existed. However, after reading the draft IA, our conclusion is that EU policy-makers do not seem to think it is worth the effort to bring copyright to the XXI century. Ignoring the results of the copyright consultation of 2014, and despite not having published the analysis on the results on the public consultation on ancillary copyright and freedom of panorama, the Commission has a plan: Lets ignore all facts (even those previously identified) and avoid a real reform at all costs."
EU: New rules on net neutrality agreed
"European Union telecoms regulators adopted strict rules on Tuesday limiting how telecoms firms like Vodafone and Orange can prioritize some types of Internet traffic, dealing a blow to an industry hoping to boost revenues.
The guidelines on net neutrality - the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally - were welcomed by Internet activists. The new rules will ensure the web remains an open platform and will not become a two-speed highway, benefiting only companies with deep pockets that can pay for prioritized delivery, they said."
The guidelines: BEREC Guidelines on the Implementation by National Regulators of European Net Neutrality Rules (pdf)
UK: EQUALITY: New investigations welcome, but hostile environment must change (Liberty, link):
"On Sunday Theresa May revealed that the Government is launching an audit of public services to tackle racial disparities. Meanwhile, the Labour Party is launching a consultation on tackling discrimination and promoting racial equality.
Both initiatives should be welcomed.
The Equality and Human Rights Commis sion and Black Lives Matter UK have recently laid bare the scale, pattern and challenge of racial inequality in Britain.
But audits and consultations are only a first step. Successive Governments have ignored evidence and policy recommendations on race discrimination in favour of comforting words and a revolving door of reviews.
The solutions to entrenched discrimination are, of course, complex and require long-term commitment and strategy. Yet the Government could take a number of easy steps to improve things quickly and send a powerful message that its vision for post-Brexit Britain is an equal and tolerant one.
For one it could repeal its flagship hostile environment strategy which encourages racial profiling and discrimination."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.8.16)
EU-MED: Council of the European Union: EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia authorised to start two additional supporting tasks (Press Release, pdf):
"On 30 August 2016, the Political and Security Committee authorised EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia to begin two additional supporting tasks:
- training of the Libyan coastguard and navy
- contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27-29.8.16)
France burkini: Highest court suspends ban (BBC News, link):
"France's highest administrative court has suspended a ban on full-body "burkini" swimsuits that was imposed in a town on the Mediterranean coast.
The ban in Villeneuve-Loubet "seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms", it found, including freedom of belief.
The ruling could set a precedent for up to 30 other towns that imposed bans on their beaches, chiefly on the Riviera. The court will make a final decision on the legality of the bans later."
See: Frances Shameful and Absurd Burkini Ban - Banning Burkini in Wake of Terror Attacks Creates Dangerous Confusion (HRW, link)
UN blames UK politicians for Brexit hate crime spike (BBC News, link):
"Divisive" and "anti-immigrant" rhetoric by UK politicians during the EU referendum helped to fuel a spike in race hate crimes in the weeks before and after the vote, a UN body has said. It said prominent political figures had "failed to condemn" racist abuse and created prejudices during the campaign.
The report expressed concerns at the negative portrayal of immigrants in the UK and a rise of racist online abuse. Some 3,198 hate crimes were reported from 16-30 June - a 42% rise on 2015. The EU referendum was held on 23 June - when the UK voted to leave the European Union.
Abuse peaked on 25 June - the day after the result was announced - when 289 hate crimes and incidents were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A further 3,001 reports of hate crimes were made to police between 1 and 14 July - equivalent to more than 200 every day."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.8.16): more deaths at sea on journeys to Spain; Norway builds a border fence; Parliament raises concerns over Commission's "safe countries of origin" proposal; Turkey threatens to scrap refugee deal (again); and more.
New routes to reach Spain lead to more deaths at sea
In the first half of 2016, more people have died at sea trying to reach Spain than during 2015 as a whole. The reinforcement of border security measures and raids against undocumented migrants by Moroccan gendarmes has led to the development of longer, more treacherous routes, with new ports of departure emerging near the Morocco-Algeria border and the sea route to the Canary Islands re-opening.
At least 208 people are thought to have died during the crossing to Spain in the first six months of 2016, although the true figure is almost certainly higher. In 2015, the total number of known deaths was 195.
EU: European System for Travel Authorisation on the way
"The European Commission is preparing a proposal inspired by France and Germany to introduce a European ESTA modelled on a US scheme requiring international travellers who do not need a visa to apply online and pay a $14 fee before entering the territory, EurActiv.com can confirm.
A legislative draft will be tabled in the autumn, probably in November, EU sources told EurActiv.
Paris and Berlin have been pushing for the scheme, which would introduce a pan-European system for international travellers wishing to enter EU territory.
The proposal comes amid heightened security concerns following deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last November and subsequent bombings in Brussels in March."
See: Brussels prepares EU-wide scheme for visa-free travel authorisation (EurActiv, link)
And: Migration: discussions on the "Central Mediterranean Route", EU Travel Information and Authorisation System; Visa Code negotiations (Statewatch News Online, May 2016)
UK-EU: Brexit, data protection, and the independence of the Information Commissioner's Office
"Just after the EU referendum vote, the ICO published a bold statement, calling for Data Protection standards in the UK to be equivalent to those in the EU. Shortly after, the statement disappeared. Around a week later, it was replaced by something more bland...
I made an FOI request to the ICO for Any recorded information on the decision to remove the statement, including who made the decision to remove it, and why it was removed. Remarkably, the ICO claims to hold just one email that is relevant to my request (Im not convinced, so I am following this up), but I think its reasonable to conclude that the ICO did not change the statement because they noted the debates. They changed the statement because the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the government department responsible for Data Protection, asked them to."
See: Any last requests? (2040 Information Law Blog, link)
Norway building fence on border with Russia to deter refugees
Norway has begun building a steel fence on its border with Russia due to the growing number of refugees arriving in the past year. The deision to build the wall has provoked protests by refugee rights groups and has revived fears that relations with its former Cold War rival are deteriorating.
The wall, 200 metres long and 3.5 metres high, has been installed along the length of the frontier in Storskog. The government has defended its decision, citing the need to increase security.
EU: Copyright reform proposals: Leaked Impact Assessment on the copyright reform recommends an ancillary copyright on steroids! (Initiative Against an Ancillary Copyright, link):
"Direct attack on the freedom to link
That the new right would not change the legal status of hyperlinks in EU law (see p. 147) is nothing but a lip service. Even if turned out that setting a mere hyperlink without description is not covered, any kind of described link (i.e. useful link) that includes a small excerpt of the linked source would be made subject to a license. This would mean the end of the Internet, as we know it."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.8.16)
EU: European Commission: New copyright proposals: Commission Staff Working Document: Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules (182 pages, pdf):
Statewatch has obtained the current version of the Impact Assessment which is out for Inter-Services Consultation within the European Commission. The Commission's proposals are due to be published in mid-September.
Latest: EU Commission: Yes, we will create new ancillary copyright for news publishers, but please stop calling it a link tax (communia-association.org, link):
"Well that was quick: just two days after Commissioner Ansip delivered a non-denial denial that this Commission does not have any plans to tax hyperlinks Statewatch published a draft of the Commissions own Impact assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules which clearly states that the Commission will indeed propose the introduction of an EU wide ancillary copyright for news publishers."
And TDM Exception: The Impact Assessment looked so good until we really read it (copyright4creativity.eu, link) also: Dear European Commission, we dont talk anymore, we dont talk anymore, ( ) like we used to do The copyright review oddities part 2 (link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Visa Code and Database border checks
- VISA CODE: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) (LIMITE doc no; 10026-16, 183 pages, pdf): 4-column document with the Commission Proposal, the positions of the Council, the European Parliament position and the "compromise" position. Changes to the original Commission proposal are marked in bold.
This Regulation establishes the conditions and procedures for issuing visas for intended stays on the territory of the Member States not exceeding 90 days in any 180 days period.
- DATABASE CHECKS: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders (LIMITE doc no: 11082-26, pdf) 4-column document with the Commission Proposal, and the positions of the Council, European Parliament and the "compromise" position: Outlines five key issues including only checks on the Schengen Information System and insertion of a "Sunset clause":
"The EP wishes to delete the words relevant Union and national databases in Article 7(2)(b), which means that the verification of a person enjoying the right of free movement under Union law would only be carried out in the SIS."
"The EP proposes a the temporary validity of this Regulation sunset clause of five years (final provisions, Article 2 (3rd column)."
Amnesty International: France: Upholding burkini ban risks giving green light for abuse of women and girls (AI, link):
"Failure to overturn the ban on the burkini would be a missed opportunity to end an assault on womens freedoms of expression and religion as well as the right to non-discrimination, said Amnesty International as Frances highest administrative court considers a challenge to the ban."
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Radicalisation: the counter-narrative and identifying the tipping point (pdf)
"In this report we have focused on extremism which affects Muslim communities (while recognising the differences between those communities in terms of integration, segregation and urban or rural status), and arising from the activities of terrorist organisations such as Daesh. We share the concerns about other forms of extremism, including political extremism. We are currently conducting a separate inquiry into anti-semitism. We have also issued a call for evidence on the effectiveness of current legislation and law enforcement policies for preventing and prosecuting hate crime and its associated violence; and the extent of support that is available to victims and their families and how it might be improved....
The Director General of Border Force has assured us that the UK has one of the strongest borders in the world and additional measures have been put in place since the horrific attacks in Paris in November 2015. However, we are not convinced that border exit checks operate at the 100% level which the Home Office has set, which would mean that every person leaving the country by whatever mode of transport was checked."
See: MPs say Facebook, Twitter and YouTube 'consciously failing' to tackle extremism - Action to date by social media companies to remove Isis propaganda and hate speech described as drop in the ocean (Guardian, link)
Germanys new civil defence plan approved (New Europe, link):
"Germanys first civil defence strategy in more than two decades was approved by the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The new plan, which replaces a 1995 strategy, includes measures to combat terrorism, cyber warfare and infrastructure attacks.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germanys international broadcaster, the new strategy is meant to provide better protection for citizens during catastrophes and crises. It warns that the security policy environment has changed again and that Germany should be sufficiently prepared in case of an existence-threatening development in the future, which cannot be ruled out.
While the new strategy has yet to be made public, information leaked to the media, suggests the government is mulling the possibility of reinstating military conscription, which was phased out in 2011. But this proposal was reportedly opposed by members of Merkels coalition government.
Another proposed measure reported by the media is that civilians will be required to stockpile food and water for use in emergency situations."
Brussels prepares EU-wide scheme for visa-free travel authorisation (euractiv, link):
"The European Commission is preparing a proposal inspired by France and Germany to introduce a European ESTA modelled on a US scheme requiring international travellers who do not need a visa to apply online and pay a $14 fee before entering the territory, EurActiv.com can confirm."
Turkey accused of 'systematic spying' in Austria (The Local, at, link):
"An Austrian politician has accused Turkish authorities of spying on people living in Austria who are opposed to the Turkish leader President Tayyip Erdogan.
It follows similar accusations made in recent days in Germany and the Netherlands regarding possible networks of thousands of Turkish spies in Europe.".
Politicians renew call to bring Snowden to Germany (The Local.de, link):
"Green and Die Linke (Left Party) politicians are asking that NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden be allowed into Germany for an ongoing investigation.
The Green and Die Linke politicians wrote a letter to the Federal Court of Justice, asking that Snowden be allowed to be questioned in Germany for an ongoing inquiry into NSA surveillance."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24.8.16)
UK: Muslims ordered off plane after ISIL accusation - Sisters and brother interrogated on London airport runway after fellow passengers claimed seeing Arabic text on phone (aljazeera.com, link)
"Three British Muslim siblings were left traumatised after being escorted off a plane in London and interrogated on the tarmac as armed police kept watch, after fellow passengers accused them of being members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
Sakina Dharas, 24, her sister Maryam, 19, and their brother Ali, 21, were on board EasyJet flight EZY3249 from London's Stansted Airport to the Italian city of Naples on August 17.
Sakina told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that as the plane was about to take off, a crew member ordered the siblings off the aircraft and escorted them down the staircase to the tarmac, where they were met by armed police and an MI5 agent who questioned them for one hour.
Earlier, two passengers - also travelling to Naples - had told authorities that the siblings had been looking at a mobile phone screen that showed either Arabic text or the words "praise be to Allah", Sakina said.
"A passenger on your flight has claimed that you three are members of ISIS," the MI5 agent said to the siblings, according to Sakina, a clinical pharmacist."
European Parliament: Democratic control: Parliaments powers of investigation (Press release, pdf):
"Parliament is not just there to amend and approve new laws, but also to scrutinise the EU institutions. One of the tools at its disposal are committees that investigate specific issues. In recent months committees have been set up to look into revelations on car emissions cheating and wealthy individuals stashing money offshore. Read on to find out how Parliament uses its investigative powers to address peoples concerns and put important issues on the political agenda....
A committee can invite witnesses and request documents, but it is up to EU countries and European institutions to decide who they send to represent them. They can also refuse cooperation on the grounds of secrecy or public or national security. The rules for this have been set out in a joint decision of the Council, Parliament and Commission"
The parliament has set up a Committee to inquire into the: Panama Papers (link)
And see: Council of the European Union: Legal remarks on the Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA Committee) (LIMITE doc no:10615-16, pdf): The Council Legal Service says that the committee set up by the EP to investigate the Panama Papers leaks has questionable legal competences, and that Member States should coordinate their responses should they be called to appear before it.
Council of Europe: Non-implementation of the Court's judgments: our shared responsibility (pdf)
"In December last year, the Council of Europes Steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH) published a report on the longer-term future of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention). There were two challenges which particularly struck me: firstly, prolonged non-implementation of a number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and secondly, direct attacks on the Courts authority."
European Court of Human Rights: General deterioration of security situation in Iraq entails a real risk for the applicants if returned to their country of origin (pdf):
"The case concerned three Iraqi nationals who had sought asylum in Sweden and whose deportation to Iraq had been ordered....
Against a background of a generally deteriorating security situation, marked by an increase in sectarian violence and attacks and advances by ISIS, large areas of the territory were outside the Iraqi Governments effective control. In the light of the complex and volatile general security situation, the Court found that the Iraqi authorities capacity to protect citizens had to be regarded as diminished. Although the current level of protection might still be sufficient for the general public in Iraq, the situation was different for individuals belonging to a targeted group. The cumulative effect of the applicants personal circumstances and the Iraqi authorities diminished ability to protect them had to be considered to create a real risk of ill-treatment in the event of their return to Iraq."
EU backs Franco-German bid for access to encrypted messages (euractiv, link):
"France and Germany want to compel operators of mobile messaging services to provide access to encrypted content to terrorism investigations, after a series of deadly attacks in both countries......
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the European Commission should draft a law obliging operators to cooperate in investigations of militants.
If such legislation was adopted, this would allow us to impose obligations at the European level on non-cooperative operators, he told a joint conference with his German counterpart in Paris."
UK: Big is Better: Court Interpreting Privatisation 2 (One small window, link)
"As the current Ministry of Justice Framework Agreement for court interpreting services in England and Wales comes to an end, a reflection on the current situation and the new framework agreement which takes effect on 31 October 2016.
On an average day, around 700 requests for foreign and sign language interpreters are made by courts and tribunals in England and Wales. Qualified, professional legal interpreters provide a broad range of language services across the civil and criminal courts. Without them, parties would not understand proceedings and would be denied the right to a fair hearing. The role of interpreters in the justice system is not minor."
Statewatch Analysis: The visible hand: The EU's Security Industrial Policy (pdf) by Chris Jones
The European Commission has been working for some time to enhance growth and increase employment in the EU's security industry through projects launched under the 2012 Security Industrial Policy (SIP).
While estimates of the actual size of the security industry vary, the EU hopes it will provide more jobs and growth and help ensure the implementation of EU and national security policies.
The EUs initiatives in security are wide-ranging, but they frequently dovetail with the interests of major security and defence companies: tools for mass data-gathering and predictive analytics, continent-wide surveillance systems and databases, the increasing use of biometrics in all walks of life, and the closer integration of public authorities and private industry.
In 2012 the Commission argued that: A competitive EU security industry is the conditio sine qua non of any viable European security policy and for economic growth in general, and used the SIP to launch a whole host of initiatives.
These include projects aimed at technical standardisation; attempts to bring industrial interests and state agencies together through various forms of public-private partnership; enhancing synergies between civil security and defence research; and initiatives aimed at introducing standards for privacy by design
For the industry, the benefit is clear one Commission-contracted study concluded that: The development of a European public security market is perceived by [large security and defence companies] as a necessary condition for the achievement of profitable business.
An examination of the paper trail surrounding the SIP and the initiatives it has spawned serves to highlight some of the ways in which the EU is seeking to help these companies achieve profitable businesses, and how the foundations for the EUs security project are being laid.
Chris Jones commented:
The EUs duty to level the playing field in the single market coincides neatly with the aim of large security and defence companies to have an entire continents worth of governments and businesses to whom they can sell new security systems and products.
The harmonisation of regulatory and technical standards across the continent is the route to developing this true internal market in security, and is likely to further empower Europes major security and defence companies."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.8.16)
EU spy chiefs would limit encrypted communication (euobserver, link):
"EU officials are weighing the possibilities of limiting encrypted messaging to combat terrrorism, the Financial Times newspaper has reported. Frances interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve will meet his German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere Tuesday to discuss new measures that would limit the use of encrypted communications across the EU. A boom in end-to-end encryption in online platforms and apps means they are almost impossible to monitor by Europes intelligence services."
German minister seeks facial recognition at airports, train stations (The Register, link):
"Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere wants facial recognition systems in the country's airports and train stations to identify terror suspects.
Europe has experienced a wave of attacks, many terror-related, over recent months, which has in turn triggered a heightened state of security.
De Maiziere told the German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag he wants a system to match against intelligence databases of known terror suspects, something the country has resisted. "There are opportunity for individuals to photograph someone and use facial recognition software on the internet to find out if they have seen a celebrity or a politician," De Maiziere says.
"I want to use such face recognition software on video cameras at airports and train stations. "Then the system will show if a suspect is detected."
Wanna be Facebook friends with U.S. Customs & Border Protection? (Papers, Please! link):
"the US government has proposed to ask all visitors to the US for their "social media identifiers" to use in "vetting" travelers. The question would be on the online ESTA application (for citizens of countries in the US Visa Waiver Program) and on the I-94W arrival form for visitors from other countries."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.8.16)
FRANCE: A training in violence: the connecting line between Frances war on drugs and jihadism (openDemocracy, link):
"For two years now, the world has been watching as France is subjected to the most vicious jihadi attacks of any European country. From the murder of the staff of Charlie Hebdo, to the massacre of partying twenty-somethings at the Bataclan, to the driving of a truck into the crowds celebrating Bastille Day, the most obvious question is why France? Why are such a disproportionate number of their own citizens behaving this way?
Last year, I travelled around France, to research an additional chapter for the French edition of my book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. There are many complex reasons why France is facing more home-grown jihadism than any other western country but on my journey, it was explained to me by many people that there is one key reason that is barely being debated. France has the most extreme and intense war on drugs in western Europe and there is growing evidence that there is a connecting line from that fact, to this wider crisis."
Government secrecy in renditions prosecution challenged (Reprieve, link):
"The UK governments refusal to answer questions about political interference in a decision not to bring charges over British complicity in renditions has been challenged by international human rights group Reprieve.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in June 2016 that it would not bring any charges in Operation Lydd, a police investigation into the UK Governments role in the 2004 kidnap and rendition to torture of two families, including a pregnant woman and children aged 6 to 12.
This was despite finding that a senior British intelligence official was involved in the operation and had to a limited extent sought political approval for it. The CPS took two years to consider the original police investigation which produced a 28,000 page file.
Now Britains Information Commissioner will review the governments refusal of a freedom of information request about possible political interference in the CPS investigation. Reprieve asked if the Cabinet Office contacted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about Operation Lydd. The Cabinet Office, which coordinates intelligence, refused to confirm or deny if it had discussed Operation Lydd with the CPS."
UK: Special prison units for "the most dangerous Islamist extremists"
The UK government has announced new plans to "tackle extremism in prisons," including through the creation of "specialist units" for "the most dangerous Islamist extremists," and a new "directorate for Security, Order and Counter-Terrorism, responsible for monitoring and dealing with this evolving threat."
BULGARIA-TURKEY: Outrage in Bulgaria over secretive transfer of Turkish citizen to Ankara (Fair Trials International, link):
"Bulgarian civil society is currently outraged by the unlawful and secretive transfer on 10th August of Turkish businessman Abdullah Büyük from Bulgaria to Turkey. Mr. Büyük was secretly handed over to a state which has only recently derogated the application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and had expressed the intention to reinstate the death penalty as a possible means to punish everyone suspected of participating in the coup, as Turkey claimed Mr. Büyük was. What is more, the de facto extradition took place despite two Bulgarian courts finding that Büyük was being persecuted on political grounds and that were he handed over to Turkish authorities his human rights, notably his right to a fair trial, would likely be violated."
USA: Problems with predictive policing
An analysis of a predictive policing system used by the police in Chicago argues that it does "not significantly reduce the likelihood of being a murder or shooting victim, or being arrested for murder," but it does lead to "increased surveillance" of those listed on the system.
UK: Drone strikes: the development of the UK's "targeted killing" programme
In August 2015, "British forces... launched a remote air strike against one of its own citizens," Reyaad Khan, "and in a country in which the UK was not at war," Syria. A new analysis from Drone Wars UK examines what is currently known about the UK's "targeted killing" prorgramme, a timeline of its development and the need for openness, transparency and serious debate on the UK's decision follow in the footsteps of the USA.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20-21.8.16)
EU-USA: Mutual Legal Assistance Review: Council of the European Union: The EU-USA Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) entered into force on 1 February 2010 and Article 17 requires a Review no later than five years after its entry into force:
- Seminar on the application of the Mutual Legal Assistance and extradition agreements between the European Union and the United States of America - Outcome Report (LIMITED doc no: 9519-16,pdf) Note this also covers extradition. Worth a read, revealing discussions between Member States:
"In terms of refusals, Member States have refused US requests because of issues relating to data protection, death penalty, "fishing expeditions" or logistical problems. Also some identified issues in relation to US application of extraterritorial jurisdiction. The US has refused requests from many MS in relation to probable cause, dual criminality, freedom of expression and de minimis." [emphasis added]
"In relation to the possibility to directly preserve and/or obtain electronic evidence from ESPs [electronic service providers], it was observed that i) for some EU Member States, this is not a viable option to obtain admissible evidence for their criminal proceedings; ii) there is a large and ever growing number of ESPs with different policies on the voluntary disclosure and preservation of data; iii) some ESPs notify users if their data is requested by law enforcement authorities or preserved for them (in that case an MLA request should be issued specifying that the subscriber should not be notified)... It was also observed that i) directly preserving and obtaining from ESPs such data as is possible to obtain in that manner is much more rapid and efficient than going through the MLA channel to do so; ii) directly preserving and obtaining data was the best way to ensure the data is not deleted."
- Review - 5 May 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 9291-16, pdf)
- Review - 13 May 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 8707-16, pdf)
- Review of the 2010 EU-US MLA Agreement - Examination of draft texts (7403-16, pdf)
"According to the survey, the five EU Member States from which the greatest number of requests went to the U.S. in 2014 were Greece, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Portugal. U.S. records disclose that over the five year period the greatest number of incoming files (potentially with multiple requests) originated from Greece, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and Poland.
According to the Commission survey, the number of annual requests sent to the U.S. by individual Member States ranged from several hundred to fewer than 10. That corresponds with U.S. figures. According to the Commission survey, the five EU Member States that received the largest number of requests from the U.S. in 2014 were the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and France. The U.S. figures, covering the five year period, show a slightly different pattern, identifying the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France receiving the greatest number of requests."
Background: EU: JHA Council authorises signing of EU-USA agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance (Statewatch database) and see Full-text of MLA and extradition Agreements
PRIVACY SHIELD: Privacy Factsheet (Big Brother Watch, pdf)
EU: Commission Opinion of 1 June 2016 regarding the Rule of Law in Poland: Full text now available (EU Law Analysis, link):
"Rule of law aficionados among the readers of this blog may be interested in getting access to the full text of the yet unpublished Commission Opinion regarding the Rule of Law in Poland adopted on 1 June 2016, which is published as an Annex to this blog post. "
UK: Bulk data collection by security agencies is needed, says government terrorism watchdog
The UK's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation has said that the bulk collection of data by the security agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ plays "an important part" in countering terrorism and that "there is a proven operational case for the three powers already in use," while there is "a distinct (though not yet proven) operational case" for a fourth proposed power. All the powers are contained in the Investigatory Powers Bill that is currently before parliament.
The review undertaken had no remit to examine whether the powers in question - bulk interception, bulk acquisition, bulk equipment interference and the collection of bulk personal datasets - are "desirable, or should be passed into law, or [to comment] on the safeguards that should be applied to them," nor to examine whether they were compatible with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights or EU law.
See: Bulk Powers Review Report (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, link) and: Report of the Bulk Powers Review (pdf)
UK: Undercover policing inquiry: The Mets Chaotic and Dysfunctional Record Keeping (COPS, link):
"Storage facilities with most documents missing or misfiled, systems repeatedly described as chaotic by the police themselves internal documents reveal that the Met is having big problems sorting out its records management before it can even tell the Pitchford Inquiry whats gone on.
Guest blogger Peter Salmon of the Undercover Research Group unpicks recent statements from the force."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.8.16): including Hungarian state of emergency to be extended; new Fundamental Rights Agency update; new report on women living in Calais camps; Egypt as an alternative to Libya for migrants trying to reach Europe.
HUNGARY: State of emergency introduced due to "illegal immigration" will be extended
"György Bakondi, Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, told public television channel M1 that the Government will extend the state of emergency introduced because of illegal migration. Originally the state of emergency was supposed to remain in force until 9 September, but the current situation definitely justifies its extension, Mr. Bakondi added.
The Chief Security Advisor explained that partly because of the establishment of new routes, the pressure of migration has yet again increased in Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia. The number of migrants arriving on the Greek islands has doubled, but countries along the Balkan route are making serious efforts to protect their borders."
See: State of emergency to be extended (Daily News Hungary, link)
Greek government rebuffs suggestion to strengthen approach to ill-treatment by law enforcement agents
A suggestion from the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner that new powers for the Greek Ombudsman should go beyond simply "issuing non-binding recommendations" in relation to allegations of ill-treatment by law enforcement agents has been rebuffed by the country's officials.
The Greek justice minister, Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos, said in response to a letter from the commissioner, Nils Muinieks, that new powers for the Ombudsman are foreseen as "an additional mechanism, apart from the imposition of disciplinary and criminal sanctions" by internal bodies and the justice system.
See: Council of Europe to Greek government: Letter from Nils Muinieks to Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos and Nikolaos Toskas, 25 July 2016 (pdf) and Greek government reply:Letter from Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos to Nils Muinieks, 17 August 2016 (pdf)
UK: Dalian Atkinson's death 'legalised murder by police' says family after ex-footballer Tasered (Mirror, link):
"Dalian Atkinsons furious family yesterday accused police of legalised murder after the former Aston Villa legend died after being Tasered.
Witnesses claim he was stunned by the 1,200-volt device several times after drunkenly staggering towards police after they were called to a row at his fathers house.
Cousin Fabian Atkinson, 31, said: What it boils down to is one man killing another man. Its legalised murder.
Everybody sugarcoats it but they shouldnt. The police killed him. The story is murder."
UK: Undercover policing inquiry: dead babies names stolen by police may be kept secret
"Parents of dead babies whose identities were stolen by undercover policemen might not be told if their childrens names were abused.
A ruling by the Pitchford Inquiry, set up to examine undercover policing in England and Wales, says that anonymity and protection for police officers might preclude parents being told the truth."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-18.8.16)
UK: 'He was agitated and upset': Former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson's last moments revealed by his father after Telford Taser death (Shropshire Star, link): "The father of former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson, who died in Telford after being Tasered by police, has spoken of his son's 'agitated' last moments."
See also: Dying for Justice (IRR News, link): "On Monday 23 March, the Institute of Race Relations published Dying for Justice which gives the background on 509 people (an average of twenty-two per year) from BAME, refugee and migrant communities who have died between 1991-2014 in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated."
. European divisions hardening, warns German think tank (euractiv, link):
"The refugee crisis and social hardship resulting from the eurozone crisis are putting the European project under unprecedented strain, with populism gaining ground in many EU countries from Hungary, Poland, and France to the UK and Germany, warns the Bertelsmann Foundation, an eminent German think tank....
While climate change, terrorism, and migration flows are best tackled internationally, the political responses are still rooted at the nation-state level, damaging the trust and legitimacy of national governments.
This has favoured hardline political parties which have risen to power in places like Hungary and Poland, eroding democratic standards and press freedom along the way. In France, the far-right extremist party Front National is enormously popular among voters and in Germany, the new party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is exploiting the refugee issue for purposes of a right-wing smear campaign.
In light of these developments, the EU faces the greatest test in its history and is miles away from finding mutual solutions, the Bertelsmann Stiftung concludes."
UK: Police refuse to rule out using undercover officers at anti-fracking protests (Netpol, link):
"National Police Chiefs Council insists using controversial covert undercover tactics is a matter for local police commanders
In July 2015, the National Police Chiefs Council published new guidance on operations targeting anti-fracking protests. In response, Netpol produced a detailed briefing raising eighteen questions about the scale and tactics of policing operations and the necessity of undertaking significant intelligence-gathering targeting opponents of fracking. Now, nearly a year on, we have finally received a reply from Norfolk Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Sarah Hamlin, of the NPCCs National Protest Working Group."
See: Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO): Guidance (pdf) and: Netpol response (link)
See also: Why is the State Still Spying on Peaceful Protesters? (Undercover Research Group, link)
European Parliament: Martin Schulz steps in to stop a speaker on transparency - Parliament president intervenes to prevent testimony from former staffer who is suing the institution (Politico, link):
"A European Parliament committee chairwoman said Thursday the assemblys president, Martin Schulz, had intervened to prevent a former parliamentary staffer from speaking in a hearing on transparency.
Cecilia Wikström said the Parliaments petitions committee had invited the former head of the Parliaments civil liberties secretariat, Emilio De Capitani, to speak Tuesday at a debate entitled Transparency and Freedom of Information within EU Institutions. .....
But in a letter sent to Wikström before the hearing, Schulz said he would not authorize the hearing with De Capitani, citing an ongoing legal dispute.
I would like to express my astonishment at the proposal of your committee, Schulz wrote. I regret to inform you that the hearing cannot be authorized given the possible prejudice of the dignity of the Parliament."
See: Letter from Martin Schulz, President of the European to the Chair of the Petitions Committee banning Emilio de Capitani - former EP employee - from attendng hearing (pdf)
A new EU Security Strategy: towards a militarised Europe? (link):
"Europe has never been so prosperous, so secure nor so free. It was 2003 and those were the words introducing the self-congratulatory EU Security Strategy that set the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) guidelines for the next 13 years. The former High Representative (HR), Javier Solana, drafted it to tackle indirect and external threats, as almost none existed at home. Now, the current HR, Federica Mogherini, faces very different circumstances and so the strategy does too."
See also: EU says "soft power is not enough" as German and French ministers call for "European Security Compact" (Statewatch)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16.8.16)
EU to crack down on online services such as WhatsApp over privacy - Europe will publish draft law to ensure that online messaging services have privacy rules like those for texts and calls (Guardian, link):
"WhatsApp, Skype and other online messaging services face an EU crackdown aimed at safeguarding users privacy, in a move that highlights the gulf between Europe and the US in regulating the internet.
The European commission will publish a draft law on data privacy that aims to ensure instant message and internet-voice-call services face similar security and privacy rules to those governing SMS text messages, mobile calls and landline calls."
Documents Confirm CIA Censorship of Guantánamo Trials (Intercept, link):
"during the military trial of five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks, a defense lawyer was discussing a motion relating to the CIAs black-site program, when a mysterious entity cut the audio feed to the gallery. A red light began to glow and spin. Someone had triggered the courtrooms censorship system.
The system was believed to be under the control of the judge, Col. James Pohl. In this case, it wasnt."
UK: IPCC investigation launched into death of Dalian Atkinson - Tributes paid as independent police investigation begins into death of former Aston Villa striker after being Tasered by police (Guardian, link):
"The world of football paid tribute to one of the mercurial stars of the Premier Leagues early years after former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson died after being Tasered by police. The 48-year-old died around 90 minutes after being Tasered in an incident with two officers in the Trench area of Telford, Shropshire, where he grew up and lived, at around 1.30am on Monday outside his fathers home."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.8.16)
EU: Counter-terrorism: new laws passed in Bulgaria and proposed in Germany
The ongoing implementation of new counter-terrorism laws across Europe continues, with the German government announcing last week plans for new measures and the Bulgarian parliament approving the first reading of a new bill at the end of July.
EU: Reports on implementation of EU cybercrime policies in Cyprus and Italy declassified
The Council of the EU has published declassified reports on Cyprus' and Italy's implementation of EU cybercrime policies. Initially produced as RESTREINT/RESTRICTED documents, their contents have now been made public in full.
The reports cover "general matters" such as national cybersecurity and cybercrime strategies and priorities; national structures such as law enforcement agencies and the judiciary; the relevant legal framework (including sections on investigative techniques and human rights); operational aspects; training; and recommendations.
Report on: Cyprus (9892/1/16 REV 1 DCL 1, pdf) and Italy (9955/1/16 REV 1 DCL 1, pdf)
GERMANY: New far-right group comes under gaze of state spies (The Local, link):
"The far-right Identitarian Movement is growing in popularity in Germany to the extent that the main federal intelligence agency has started watching them.
Up until this point, the movement, which originated in France and has been present in Germany since 2012, had been observed by spy agencies at the state level.
We are seeing in the Identitarian Movement indications of efforts to undercut the democratic order, said Hans-Georg Maaßen, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution - Germany's domestic security agency."
POLAND: Justice Paralyzed: Polish President Signs New Constitutional Tribunal Bill (Liberties.eu, link):
"After the adoption of the bill by the Sejm (the lower house of Poland's Parliament), members of the Helsinki Committee in Poland and the board of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights issued a statement saying that the new bill is "a backslide against the separation of powers rule and it opens the path to a dictatorship of the ruling majority that is not bound with Constitution.""
NETHERLANDS: Counter-terror demands lead to community tensions
"Vorthoren finds herself in a difficult position. A convert to Islam, she now directs the Platform for Islamic Organisations in Rijnmond (SPIOR), based in the Dutch city port of Rotterdam. It is a prestigious role that she is passionate about but as she attempts to strengthen the organisations community work, the Dutch government is demanding Muslim leaders provide more information about that community.
The Netherlands has been praised across Europe for anti-radicalisation strategies which emphasise community dialogue. Aimed mainly at the country's Muslim minority (around four percent of the population), their focus has been on local initiatives implemented by municipalities, rather than those handed down from national government.
But the country has also led strategies intended to increase co-operation and information-sharing across the continent.
For several months, top intelligence officials from 30 European countries have secretly met every week in the Netherlands to share information on suspects, including children as young as nine."
See: Dutch Islamic groups resist becoming informers in surveillance drive (Middle East Eye)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.8.16)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.8.16)
EU: External migration projects: Council to approve auditors' recommendations
In March 2016 the European Court of Auditors (ECA) published a report examining EU spending on migration-related projects in Algeria, Georgia, Libya, Moldova, Morocco and Ukraine between 2007 and 2013. The report found that the total amount spent by the EU could not be established, nor was it clear whether spending took place in line with the EU's "geographical and thematic priorities". The ECA also argued that the "complex governance" involved "required stronger coordination, at all levels, and better involvement of EU delegations in migration issues."
The Council has responded to the report by drafting a set of conclusions - which have been discussed by the Permanent Representatives Committee, but have yet to be approved by ministers - that accept the ECA's findings.
EU-US: Europe must go beyond security and focus on neighborhoods to fight extremism (EurActiv, link) by Jeffrey Brown:
"Following a spate of deadly attacks in Western Europe, governments have adopted a largely military-oriented response to secure the homeland and counter violent extremism.
The Belgian government has pledged 298 million in additional funding to bolster the police, intelligence services and the judiciary; France has deployed ten thousand soldiers to the streets; and President François Hollande has declared that France must use the arms of war to check extremists.
Although the deployment of troops may temporarily restore the publics confidence, recent lone wolf attacks in Nice and Normandy have laid bare the limits of a security-centric response in which the line between policing and counterterrorism has become blurred.
Amid renewed calls for yet more security measures, and with Germany considering the deployment of soldiers to its streets for the first time since World War II, governments at the national and city level must not discount the efficacy of targeted, long-term countermeasures that seek to systematically demobilize radicalized citizens through policies that promote employment, social inclusion and mental well-being."
French interior minister wants global effort against encryption
"Messaging encryption, widely used by Islamist extremists to plan attacks, needs to be fought at international level, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Thursday, and he wants Germany to help him promote a global initiative.
He meets his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, on Aug. 23 in Paris and they will discuss a European initiative with a view to launching an international action plan, Cazeneuve said."
See: France says fight against messaging encryption needs worldwide initiative (Reuters, link)
How things change - from January 2016: Encryption backdoors by law? France says 'non' (ZDNet, link)
HUNGARY-ECHR: Anti-Roma racism, hyperlinks and freedom of expression
A case pending before the European Court of Human Rights will add to the collection of European case law on freedom of expression and the world wide web.
Magyar Jeti Zrt v Hungary concerns the liability of a news website owner for publishing an article containing a link to a video containing statements about far-right group Jobbik which were found to be defamatory by a Hungarian court.
The video was of a September 2013 interview with a resident of a town in which a group of football supporters had arrived by bus at a predominantly Roma school and subsequently "made racist remarks; waved flags; and one of them allegedly urinated on the school."
The complainant's submission to the ECHR argues that "by finding that embedding in an article a hyperlink that leads to a defamatory content is equivalent to disseminating this content, the domestic courts [in Hungary] unduly restricted its freedom of expression and the freedom of press."
UK: Exclusive: Trusts fail to report hundreds of mental health patient deaths to coroners (INQUEST, link): "Hundreds of patients who died while being detained under the Mental Health Act could have been denied inquests, it has emerged after HSJ uncovered discrepancies in official data.
By law all deaths in state detention should be examined by a coroner. However, inconsistencies between official data on deaths reported to coroners in England and Wales and notifications sent to health regulators by NHS trusts, suggest coroners may not have conducted inquests into every death.
Between 2011 and 2014 a total of 373 deaths of people detained under the Mental Health Act were reported to coroners in England and Wales, according to data held by the Ministry of Justice. In contrast, data compiled over the same period by the Care Quality Commission and Health Inspectorate for Wales, and supplied to the governments Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody, show a total 1,115 deaths 742 more than was reported to coroners."
UK: Investigatory Powers Bill: the issues at stake
"Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand and others have introduced powers to give security services and police far-reaching surveillance powers. No country, however, is going quite as far as the UK in creating laws that give government agencies the ability and the right to gather information. Adding to traditional forms of targeted surveillance, security services will soon have new powers to mine information about individuals via the explosion in data generated by smartphones and tablets.
The UKs investigatory powers bill which is due to complete its final stages of parliamentary scrutiny in the autumn formalises existing powers for security services to hack smartphones and computers, and trawl vast data sets. It also provides new powers to force internet companies to hand over, without a warrant, details of every website an individual visits and every app they use, and to hold that information for up to 12 months. The companies must also create systems so that the information can be accessed on demand via a single searchable database.
It will give government agencies powers beyond those in the US and most other western democracies. If it becomes law, the UK would be alone with Russia as the only two countries in the world that force companies to keep track of customers browsing histories."
See: Surveillance: Taking liberties? The UK is set to legislate to allow security services to hack phones and trawl browsing histories (Financial Times, link, paywall or limited free subscription)
BREXIT: New legal challenge in Northern Ireland
"A campaigner for the rights of victims of the Troubles has launched the first legal challenge in Northern Ireland to the UK leaving the European Union.
Raymond McCord lodged papers at the High Court in Belfast on Thursday seeking a judicial review of the British governments move towards Brexit.
His lawyers claim it would be unlawful to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without parliament voting on the move.
They also contend it would undermine the UKs domestic and international treaty obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, and inflict damage on the Northern Ireland peace process."
See: Belfast rights campaigner begins legal challenge to Brexit (Irish Times, link)
For more on the legal situation regarding Northern Ireland: Brexit - another legal challenge (Law and Lawyers, link)
UK-EU: The complexities of Brexit
"There really are no easy answers here. The idea that we can just walk away from the EU is utter nonsense but all the other options are complex. The length of time they will take and the resources needed to bring them to a conclusion are impossible to forecast.
Which brings us to the final piece of the problem resources. As anyone who has ever run a major project will know, being clear on the objectives, tasks, dependencies and sequencing is only half the battle. You then have to secure the resources to do it."
See: Enough David Brent, this is serious! (Flip Chart Fairy Tales, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.8.16)
UK: New powers to cut off illicit mobile phones used in prisons (Guardian, link)
"Jails in England and Wales can seek orders requiring mobile network operators to blacklist handsets and disconnect sim cards
The use of mobile phones by prisoners has long been banned but enforcement measures have so far proved ineffective, with more than 15,000 mobile phones and sim cards recovered in jails last year.
In recent years, one prisoner used his illicit mobile to arrange the murder of a rival gang leader from his cell; another organised huge shipments of cocaine from South America. A third even managed to import a consignment of submachine guns into Britain from Germany.
The new powers, introduced this week, will enable prison authorities to secure civil court orders requiring mobile network operators to blacklist handsets and disconnect sim cards."
ITALY: 15 Years After Genoa G8, It's Still Too Early for Torture Crime (Liberties.eu, link):
"Italy still doesn't have the crime of torture in its criminal code, despite strong condemnation from courts and human rights activists for the severe abuses that occurred during the Genoa G8.
Fifteen years ago, back in July 2001, the G8 summit was held in Genoa. It was a complete disaster for Italy. "The biggest suspension of democratic rights in a Western country since World War Two," was how Amnesty International described those days."
Germany: Burka ban to be proposed in security clampdown (BBC News, link)
Germany's interior minister will back plans to ban the burka as part of a raft of anti-terror measures, local media say.
Thomas de Maiziere also proposes deporting criminals more quickly and relaxing doctor confidentiality rules."
Police Scotland told to pay journalist £10,000 over illegal intercepts (Guardian, link)
"Tribunal rules force breached freelancer Gerard Gallachers human rights by accessing his communications data.
Police Scotland has been ordered to pay a journalist £10,000 in damages after it illegally intercepted his communications data in an investigation into a botched murder case.
The investigatory powers tribunal ruled the force had breached the human rights of Gerard Gallacher, a former police officer turned freelance journalist, who had spent 18 months investigating a cold murder case in which a prime suspect had been released without charge.
Gallacher said he suffered invasion of privacy, familial strife, personal stress and strain and loss of long-standing friendships after detectives accessed 32 days of his communications data, ignoring clear court rulings to protect journalists and their sources."
PANAMA PAPERS & the European Parliament: EU: Council of the European Union: Legal remarks on the Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA Committee) (LIMITE doc no:10615-16, pdf): The Council Legal Service says that the committee set up by the EP to investigate the Panama Papers leaks has questionable legal competences, and that Member States should coordinate their responses should they be called to appear before it.
See: Section IV. Conclusions:
"The EP decision on setting up a committee of inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion:
- does not specify with a sufficient level of precision the facts that are the subject matter of the inquiry, nor the provisions of Union law that have been implemented in a manner constituting contravention or maladministration;
- as such, does not allow Member States, nor the Council, to assess their obligation to participate in the works of the committee, neither to ensure a due preparation of any such participation;
- institutes a general power of control on the application by Member States of their national laws and of the policies of the Union as regards taxation, beyond the framework of Article 226 TFEU and of the competences of the Parliament as laid down in Article 14 TEU;
- risks altering the inter-institutional balance laid down in the Treaties that confer upon the Council, acting as sole legislator, the power to harmonise national laws and regulations in the field of taxation."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10.8.16)
UK: Press release: No faith in new undercover policing guidelines
Eight women who were affected by relationships with undercover officers, and who started Police Spies Out of Lives, have issued the following statement in response to the new guidelines for undercover policing issued by the College of Policing. These guidelines are out for consultation until midnight Wednesday 10th August 2016:
It is only through the actions of women such as ourselves, political activists, whistleblowers and journalists that abusive undercover relationships have been exposed, the police would have covered them up forever if they could get away with it as witnessed by their continuing stance of neither confirm nor deny in the face of all the evidence and despite the serious abuses committed."
HUNGARY: Budapest detention facility unsuitable for human habitation (Budapest Beacon , link):
"Hungarian prisons have never met European standards, but a recent OPCAT study conducted by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights found that conditions of incarceration in Hungary are even worse than thought.
According to data provided by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the overcrowding rate of penitentiaries has been constantly increasing in Hungary in the past few years, resulting in the countrys prisons being among the most crowded in Europe. The average overcrowding rate was 143% at the end of 2013. It reached 200% in certain institutions, with pre-trial detainees constituting almost a third of the prison population."
European intelligence database seen aiding fight against suspected militants (Reuters, link):
"A European counter-terrorism intelligence database designed to generate greater intelligence sharing among allies to avert deadly Islamist attacks has gone online after overcoming traditional reluctance by spy agencies to sharing information.....
The database enables European intelligence agencies to share real-time information about suspected Islamist militants collected by members of the Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG), which groups all 28 European Union countries, Switzerland and Norway."
Background: NOTE from: United Kingdom and French delegations Subject: Data and Information Sharing (pdf)
"Member States security services already work closely together to combat the terrorist threat and the Members of the CTG committed in 2015 to going further still in enhancing their cooperation. In this regard we are fully supportive of the ground-breaking CTG initiative to establish a multilateral information exchange platform."
Europol first in line for life after Brexit - Britain looks likely to decide that the political challenges of staying in Europol outweigh the security benefits.(Politico, link):
"Europol is on track to become the first EU body to get a taste of life without the U.K. as a direct result of Brexit.
Britain must decide in the coming months if it wants to sign up to new rules expanding the European law enforcement agencys powers to fight terrorism, or opt out and lose access to hundreds of databases, which hold information ranging from vehicle license plates, guns and organized crime to foreign fighters and terrorism suspects."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9.8.16)
UK: Medway child jail inspectors find further serious failings (The Guardian, link):
"Access to pornography and very high and growing levels of violence are among the latest serious and widespread failings uncovered by official inspectors at the scandal-hit Medway child jail, which had been run by G4S.
An inspection report into Medway secure training centre, published on Monday, reveals that behaviour management has deteriorated significantly in the seven months since BBC Panorama undercover filming exposed staff assaulting children and revealed that staff had deliberately falsified records."
See the report: Inpsection of Medway Secure Training Centre (pdf): "Overall effectiveness: Inadequate".
TURKEY: Erdogan vows to reintroduce death penalty if Turks want (EurActiv, link):
"Turkeys President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday (7 August) hinted at the return of death penalty which he said was a matter of peoples will.
Speaking to more than 1 million supporters in Istanbul, Erdogan stressed that if the nation made such a decision (in support of death penalty), then political parties will abide by this decision.
It is the Turkish parliament that will decide on this (death penalty) given the sovereignty rests with the nation I declare it in advance, I will approve the decision made by the parliament, Erdogan noted."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.8.16): including migration fact vs. migration fiction; suspicion's over German press articles on Greece and the EU-Turkey deal; letter to UK government on child refugees in Calais.
Accession of Serbia to the EU: draft EU negotiating position on the judiciary and fundamental rights
"[T]he Commission notes that Serbia has reached a partial level of alignment and implements some of the acquis, European standards and EU best practices in this chapter. Considerable and sustained efforts are still needed to ensure that the necessary administrative and enforcement capacity will be in place before accession. Issues of particular importance are the independence, impartiality, accountability and efficiency of the judiciary, including on handling war crime cases. The entire system of investigating, prosecuting and trying war crime cases requires further improvements so as to tackle impunity. Furthermore, the effective prevention and fight against corruption and the full respect of the rights of persons belonging to minorities, in particular the Roma minority, remain also of particular importance."
See: European Commission, Accession negotiations with Serbia - Draft common position - Negotiating chapter 23, Judiciary and fundamental rights (in LIMITE Council documents 9821/16 and 9821/1/16 REV 1, pdfs)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.8.16): including migration fact vs. migration fiction; suspicion's over German press articles on Greece and the EU-Turkey deal; letter to UK government on child refugees in Calais.
EU: Project on free movement looking for interviewees
"The IALS is working on a new research project - ON THE MOVE: The reality of free movement for young European citizens migrating in times of crisis.
The project objective is to look into the reality of free movement from the viewpoint of young Europeans (age 25-35). We are especially interested in real and perceived obstacles and barriers when moving to another EU country, in practices that promote or hinder the enjoyment of this right and in barriers of EU internal mobility. As a project result we want to propose solutions (legislative and non-legislative) for making the right to free movement effective."
GERMANY: PETITION: Prevent foreign journalists from German intelligence spying (Reporter Ohne Grenzen, link): "The German Parliament is currently debating a bill on the activities of Germanys foreign intelligence agency (BND) which allows the surveillance of foreign journalists. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) leads an alliance of NGOs, organizations and media outlets, urging for an amendment to protect reporters from spying. By will of the ruling party coalition, the BND would have the explicit right to spy without restrictions on non-EU journalists, as long as this is deemed to serve Germanys political interests.
Global mass surveillance conducted by the BND is an infringement on human rights and the surveillance of journalists is as a stark violation of press freedom. In passing this law, Germany, a leading European democracy currently ranked 16th in RSFs World Press Freedom Index, would set a dangerous precedent, encouraging other countries in restricting special protection for journalists. In September, we intend to present our petition to leaders of the German governing parties SPD and CDU/CSU."
FRANCE: The Enduring Emergency (The Atlantic, link):
"France is now nine months into a state of emergency set to last for an unprecedented 14-and-a-half months. The measures involved are supposed to make the country safer. But after a bloody July mourning more than 80 deaths in Nice on Bastille Day, then the killing of a priest in the middle of mass on July 26, the question seems inevitable: Are they working?
The emergency laws enabling heightened army and police presence, warrantless searches, house arrests, and restrictions on freedom of movement and assembly have retained broad political support since first imposed after the November 2015 Paris attacks. But two security analysts and one human rights-advocate I talked to suggested that, whatever the perception, the state of emergency likely wont do much on its ownin fact, to combat terrorism in France and elsewhere in Europe, coordinating existing procedures might be more effective than these temporary measures suspending elements of due process."
UK: Domestic drones: massive rise in complaints to police
"Police are having to investigate a fourfold rise in the number of crime reports involving shop bought drones including allegations they are being used by paedophiles over children's playgrounds, peeping toms spying through bedroom windows, burglars scoping out people's properties, and even cash point scammers recording PIN numbers.
EU: Beyond the borders: overview of "external migration dialogues and processes"
An official overview of the EU's "external migration dialogues and processes" demonstrates the sprawling nature of the EU's efforts to manage and control migration and provides some details on the recent history of different processes, as well as forthcoming events.
It was presented to Member States' officials at a meeting of the Council of the EU's High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration in mid-June and was drawn up by the European Commission and the European External Action Services.
See: Annex to High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration on: 13 June 2016, Summary of discussions (10349/16, LIMITE, 22 June 2016, pdf) Includes detailed GAMM (Global Approach to Migration and Mobility) update 21 pages
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-7.8.16)
UK: CPS upholds decision not to charge over MI6 role in Libyans' rendition - Families lawyers claim stitch-up after failure to overturn decision not to bring charges over abduction of dissidents (Guardian, link):
"rosecutors have rejected an attempt to overturn their decision not to charge anyone over the involvement of the British intelligence agency MI6 in the kidnapping of two Libyan dissidents in a joint operation with the CIA.
Lawyers for the two families accused prosecutors of a complete stitch-up after failing to quash the decision not to bring any charges over the abduction of the dissidents and their families, including a pregnant woman and children."
UK: BBC to deploy detection vans to snoop on internet users (Telegraph, link):
"The BBC is to spy on internet users in their homes by deploying a new generation of Wi-Fi detection vans to identify those illicitly watching its programmes online.
The Telegraph can disclose that from next month, the BBC vans will fan out across the country capturing information from private Wi-Fi networks in homes to sniff out those who have not paid the licence fee.
The corporation has been given legal dispensation to use the new technology, which is typically only available to crime-fighting agencies, to enforce the new requirement that people watching BBC programmes via the iPlayer must have a TV licence."
UK: Protesters march on fifth anniversary of death of Mark Duggan - Demonstrators shout no justice, no peace five years after police shooting that sparked 2011 riots (Guardian, link):
"Protesters have marched through north London to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan in a police shooting that sparked riots across the capital. Members of the Justice for Mark Duggan campaign shouted no justice, no peace and chanted that police were murderers as about 300 people joined a demonstration at the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham. They also accused the police of racism and demanded justice for people who died in controversial circumstances, including Jermaine Baker, Smiley Culture and Cynthia Jarrett.
Among the protesters were Duggans mother, Pamela, and his aunt Carole, who marched alongside Bakers mother.
The demonstrators said there was no sign of institutional racism changing in the Metropolitan police. Tottenham Rights campaigner Stafford Scott told the crowd that instead of being in a post-racial society, it is one in which racism is still creeping in. He suggested the Mets new counter-terrorism units may target people in Tottenham when they are not fighting terrorism."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.8.16): Greek refugee squats; Nansen passports as a solution to refugee legal status; death after push-back from Bulgaria; and more.
UK has granted over 100 export licences for surveillance technology since 2015
"Since 2015, the UK government has granted over 100 export licenses for off the air interception devices such as IMSI-catchers, figures show...
UK companies have successfully applied to export interception tools to countries such as Turkey, Turkmenistan, Russia, Bangladesh and China. The data lists 64 different recipient countries. In all, 113 applications were successful, according to the data provided by Privacy International.
Most granted licenses were for Indonesia, which had 19, followed by Qatar and Singapore, with 17 and 16 licenses respectively."
See: Data Shows How the UK Grants Licences to Export Interception Tech (Motherboard, link)
SPAIN: Austerity against human rights
Press release from The Center for Economic and Social Rights, Amnesty International, Médicos del Mundo, Red Acoge, la Red de Denuncia y Resistencia al RDL 16/2012 (REDER) and the Spanish Society for Family and Community Medicine (semFYC): Constitutional court ruling on exclusion of undocumented migrants from health services ignores human rights obligations.
UK: A day in the life of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (Computer Weekly, link): "Over the course of four days at the end of July, three barristers from Blackstone Chambers and a small army of solicitors represented Privacy International in a case against the intelligence services at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.
Privacy International claims the intelligence agencies MI5, GCHQ, the Secret Intelligence Service, as well as the home secretary and the foreign secretary have been using loopholes to indulge in limitless snooping on the citizens of the UK, and possibly everywhere else.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) is the most secretive court in the land. It pronounces upon matters of national security and the treatment of people under anti-terrorism legislation. It is the only avenue available for anyone wishing to make a complaint about the behaviour of the intelligence services and government surveillance."
See also: Obfuscation and work arounds: How the intelligence agencies have been obtaining communications data (Privacy International, link)
UK: Black Lives Matter movement 'needed in UK' (BBC News, link): "Activists have voiced hopes that a strong Black Lives Matter movement can be built in Britain following the growth of the campaign in the US.
The movement has grown over the past three years in protest at police killings of black people in America.
Organiser Joshua Virasami told the BBC black people should come together "to achieve justice and equality in Britain and all over the world"."
See also: Black Lives Matter protest sparks Heathrow traffic chaos (The Guardian, link)
Some context: Criminal justice system statistics (IRR, link): "People from BAME [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] communities are over-represented at almost all stages of the criminal justice process, disproportionately targeted by the police, more likely to be imprisoned and more likely to be imprisoned for longer than white British people."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.8.16)
UK: Home Office forced to reveal pregnant women kept in immigration detention centres (politics.co.uk, link):
"The Home Office is only supposed to lock up pregnant women in immigration detention centres in very exceptional circumstances. But if you try to find out how many of them satisfy this criteria, things get difficult very quickly.
The information started being centrally collected last year, but it wasn't made public. So in February, campaign group Women for Refugee Women sent off a Freedom of Information request. The Home Office waited until the final day of the 20-day time limit and then refused, citing a commercial interests defence.
By April, the commercial interest argument had disappeared and the Home Office was now refusing on the basis that it was 'management data' - in other words, of an insufficient quality for publication. This is also nonsense. Women for Refugee Women complained to the Information Commissioner's Office. They ruled against the Home Office."
See: ICO respone to FOI request (pdf)
UK: Post-referendum racism and the importance of social activism (IRR News, link):
"A new report by social media activists on the spike of hate crimes immediately after the referendum on EU membership should prove uncomfortable reading for the Home Office....
Post-referendum racism and xenophobia: the role of social media activism in challenging the normalisation of xeno-racist narratives (download here, pdf file, 5.8mb) is a factual account of the lived experience of racism felt keenly, post-referendum, by BAME communities, whether born in the UK, long-settled or from newly-arrived communities, up and down the country."
UK: Criticism of undercover policing inquiry's limited scope continues
Theresa May accused of snubbing Scotland over police spies inquiry (Guardian, link):
"Theresa May, the prime minister, has come under criticism for excluding the scrutiny of undercover operations in Scotland from a public inquiry....
Police have said undercover police who monitored political activists in England and Wales collaborated with Scottish police forces. For example, Mark Kennedy, the undercover officer who infiltrated environmental groups for seven years, visited Scotland 14 times during his time as a spy."
See also: Pitchford Inquiry: Claire Sugden wants undercover police investigation extended to NI (BBC News, link):
"Northern Ireland's justice minister has backed calls for an extension to an inquiry into controversial undercover police units working for Scotland Yard.
The Pitchford Inquiry is investigating allegations of misconduct by undercover officers in England and Wales. Some are accused of miscarriages of justice and having sex with women who did not know they were police officers.
Justice Minister Claire Sugden said the units' activities may have implications for investigations in Northern Ireland."
UK: Rough handling and restraint: UK forced removals still a nasty business (openDemocracy, link):
"A support group gathers disturbing testimony from people deported by commercial contractors...
Eight private security guards restrained and physically forced a fearful man onto a recent Home Office removal flight at Stansted Airport, a fellow passenger has reported.
The charter flight on Titan Airways departed Stansted for Nigeria and Ghana on May 24. It was staffed for the UK Home Office by the private security company Tascor, a subsidiary of Capita, who claim to achieve the safe and secure escorting and removal of more than 18,000 individuals from the UK each year.
The Unity Centre in Glasgow, a voluntary group that offers support to people seeking asylum and anyone affected by border controls, has taken witness statements from three men who expressed concerns about the treatment meted out to the restrained detainee well call Jack. The three witnesses were forcibly removed from the UK alongside Jack."
SPAIN: Francos ghosts (New Internationalist, link):
"18 July marks 80 years since the coup détat which led to the Spanish civil war and Francos 40-year dictatorship. Yet its survivors are still waiting to see their torturers on trial. Mira Galanova reports."
Can surveillance and innovation coexist? (IFEX, link) by Gus Hosein:
"While one approach would be to say that privacy is a norm and that with modern technologies the norm must be reconsidered and if necessary, abandoned; I think there's an interesting idea around the question of protecting privacy as a protection of innovation....
The future has to be bright: if we want all the things we want, we need the frameworks to provide them and prevent the things that will undermine them. At best, we will be able to develop a new discourse and new safeguards. At worst, we continue the cycle we have long been stuck in: we build it, we take it to market, we promote it, and we act aghast when abuse arises."
EU: Council of the European Union: EUBAM Libya: mission extended, budget approved (Press release, pdf):
"On 4 August 2016, the Council extended the mandate of the planning mission EUBAM Libya until 21 August 2017. It also approved a budget of 17 million for the period from 22 August 2016 to 21 August 2017....
The mission is currently located in Tunis and has established contact with the relevant Libyan authorities. The mission's budget approved by the decision provides for the activities and staff in Tunis as well as for the possibility to deploy to Libya as soon as the security situation allows.....
The decision was adopted by written procedure."
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report: FACE RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY: FBI Should Better Ensure Privacy and Accuracy (pdf):
"The Department of Justices (DOJ) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System (NGI-IPS) a face recognition service that allows law enforcement agencies to search a database of over 30 million photos to support criminal investigations....
GAO is making six recommendations, including, that the Attorney General determine why PIAs [privacy impact assessment] and a SORN [System of Records Notice] were not published as required and implement corrective actions, and for the FBI director to conduct tests to verify that NGI-IPS is accurate and take steps to determine whether systems used by external partners are sufficiently accurate for FBIs use. DOJ agreed with one, partially agreed with two, and disagreed with three of the six recommendations."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3.8.16)
UK: House of Common Select Committee on Home Affairs, Report: Migration Crisis (pdf):
Covers a wide range of issues like border security and terrorism. Observes that:
"The initial prompt for our inquiry was the issue of border security in relation to Calais and Dunkirk that arose in summer 2015. However, our concerns range much more widely that that. That there are unofficial migrant camps at the border of two of Europes wealthiest nations is a matter of serious regret and concern. A wide range of the evidence submitted to us by experts and volunteers confirms that the conditions in the camps are absolutely atrocious and are directly causing suffering and ill health for many residents....
It is clear that there are many people in these camps entitled to humanitarian protection or refugee status, including some who should have their claims processed in the UK....
Europol estimates that there are 85,000 unaccompanied minors amongst the migrant population in the EU. We were astonished to hear reports that large numbers of these children go missing from reception centres shortly after arrival and that they then face abuse, sexual assault and discrimination."
See also: UK unlikely to reach target of resettling 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 - MPs condemn response to refugee crisis as a Europe-wide failure in which too little, too late was done (Guardian, link)
UK court rules against decision to accept Calais migrants (euractiv, link):
"The British government on Tuesday (2 August) won its legal appeal against a decision to let four Syrian refugees living in Frances Jungle camp come to Britain, but they will not be deported. A British immigration tribunal in January ordered the interior ministry to allow the four to enter Britain while their asylum claims were considered.
However, three Court of Appeal judges on Tuesday upheld a challenge by the interior ministry, saying they were not entirely persuaded by the justifications used by the tribunal. The three teenagers and a 26-year old with mental health problems had been living in the sprawling Calais camp for over two months."
See: Judgment: Full-text (pdf)
UK: Immigration centre staff told: Put 'disobedient' detainees in solitary confinement - even if it could kill them (Independent, link):
"People held at Britains immigration removal centres can be thrown into solitary confinement against medical advice and held for hours without any explanation, according to new guidance set to be issued to guards by the Home Office.
A draft detention services order, spelling out guidance to staff at the immigration prisons on the use of solitary confinement, says the sanction can be applied even if medical advice explicitly warns that it would be life-threatening.
The practice, described by campaigners as cruel, can also be handed out by guards to anyone who is judged to be stubborn or disobedient despite concerns by official watchdogs that vulnerable people with mental health problems are being being seriously affected. "
EU: Council of the European Union: EU & ECHR, Greece/Italy relocations, Violence against women, Legal Aid and the EAW
- Outcome of the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens' Rights and Free Movement of Persons (RESTRICTED doc no: 10891-16, pdf):
"The Commission representative emphasised the commitment of the Union to EU accession as evidenced by the lunch discussions of the Justice Ministers on 9 October 2015 as well as the recent appearance of President Juncker in PACE where he explained that accession remained a top priority for COM. At the same time due regard needed to be given to the legal difficulties raised."
This explains the Commission's plans to revive the idea of the EU joining the European Convention on Human Rights. It is now waiting for just one CJEU judgment before it restarts the talks.
- Draft Council Decision amending Decision (EU) 2015/1601 of 22 September 2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10177-16, pdf):
Shows that the Council was still intending to implement the EU/Turkey deal despite criticisms of its effect and legal challenges - this was the position before the Turkey "coup" and the further crackdown on freedoms, journalists and many others:
"At the Asylum Working Party on 14-15 June, the Presidency suggested a further change to the text of the draft Decision, in order to enable Member States to apply the Decision to all persons admitted to their territories as from 1 May 2016. This change, reflected in new paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 2, has been agreed by delegations in the subsequent silence procedure." [emphasis added. The "silent procedure" is where a proposal is circulated to Member States and is approved unless one of them objects] ..
"Member States may choose to meet their obligation by admitting to their territory Syrian nationals present in Turkey under national or multilateral legal admission schemes for persons in clear need of international protection... The number of persons so admitted by a Member State shall lead to a corresponding reduction of the obligation of the respective Member State."
That is to say to reduce their obligations under the failed relocation scheme.
- VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and Proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion, by the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (LIMITE doc no: 10778-16, pdf):
Concerns whether the EU should sign the Istanbul Convention on violence against women:
"In view of requests by a number of delegations, Cion presented its views on the existence and the extent of exclusive external EU competences in relation to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) in greater detail whilst re-iterating its position that the EU should accede to the full extent of its competences (both shared and exclusive) to maximise the (political and legal) impact of the accession...
On the basis of the mapping exercise of the last FREMP meeting, as well as the above elaboration of the Cion MSs are invited to take a political position on whether the EU should accede to the Istanbul Convention and if so, what the scope of accession should be."
- LEGAL AID AND THE EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings = Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 10665-16, pdf)
"This file was discussed in Coreper on Tuesday 22 June in view of the 9th trilogue on 23 June. The final compromise text as it was discussed at the 9th trilogue is set out in the Annex to this note. Refinements made at the trilogue have been marked with bold in the text (and with underlining in the title of Article 9 and in recital 15b)...
The European Parliament has informed the Presidency that a large majority of its political groups can accept this text."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.8.16)
UK CHANGES EU COMMISSIONER: President Juncker consults the European Parliament on Sir Julian King as Commissioner for the Security Union (link) and see Letter setting out role (pdf)
"I would like you to support the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship...
A Task Force composed by experts from the Commission services and supervised by the Director-General for Home Affairs will support you. This Task Force will in particular include experts from Units B4 (Innovation and Industry for Security) and D1 (Terrorism and Crisis Management) of the Directorate-General for Home Affairs (DG HOME), from Units A2 (Aviation Security) and A4 (Land and Maritime Security) of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) and from Unit H1 (Cybersecurity) of the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) as well as the relevant experts from Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER)."
See also: Juncker names new UK Commissioner as EU anti-terror boss (euractiv, link)
AP: "The Big Story": Snapping up cheap spy tools, nations 'monitoring everyone' (link):
"It was a national scandal. Peru's then-vice president accused two domestic intelligence agents of staking her out. Then, a top congressman blamed the spy agency for a break-in at his office. News stories showed the agency had collected data on hundreds of influential Peruvians.
Yet after last year's outrage, which forced out the prime minister and froze its intelligence-gathering, the spy service went ahead with a $22 million program capable of snooping on thousands of Peruvians at a time. Peru a top cocaine-producing nation joined the ranks of world governments that have added commercial spyware to their arsenals.
The purchase from Israeli-American company Verint Systems, chronicled in documents obtained by The Associated Press, offers a rare, behind-the-scenes look into how easy it is for a country to purchase and install off-the-shelf surveillance equipment. The software allows governments to intercept voice calls, text messages and emails."
Bar Human Rights Committee publishes report on police violence and access to justice in Calais migrant camps: Report: Camps at Calais and Grande-Synthe (France): Policing and Access to Justice (pdf):
"highlighting allegations of police violence, police failure to protect residents within the camps, and a lack of access to justice.
BHRC representatives visited the Jungle and Grande-Synthe camps in March 2016, meeting with residents and NGOs working within the camps, including Médicins San Frontières, the UN and Help Refugees UK.
The report highlights specific allegations of police violence documented by the Legal Advice Centre in Calais...
Speaking on behalf of BHRC, Chairwoman Kirsty Brimelow QC said:
The lack of effective legal protections in the Jungle and Grand Synthe for vulnerable refugees, including women and children, should be of huge concern.
The UK and French governments must jointly ensure accountability for all human rights violations inflicted on camp residents. The treatment of refugees is one of the historic wrongs of our time. It is happening on the shores of Europe. Urgent action is required.
EU-TURKEY: Turkey to back out of EU migrant deal if no visa-free travel (EurActiv, link):
"Turkey would have to back out of its agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc if the EU does not deliver visa-free travel for Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
Visa-free access to the EU the main reward for Ankaras collaboration in choking off an influx of migrants into Europe has been subject to delays due to a dispute over Turkish anti-terrorism legislation and Ankaras crackdown after a failed coup.