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What's New on the Statewatch website: 2017
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European Commission: Security Union
Security: the EU is driving work to share information, combat terrorist financing and protect Europeans online (Press release, pdf):
"The 9th Security Union progress report highlights the recent steps taken to prevent terrorist financing through trafficking in cultural goods and improve the interoperability of EU information systems....
Reducing the complexity of EU instruments and strengthening interoperability:
Agreement on the Entry/Exit System is an important step towards achieving full interoperability of EU information systems by 2020 and the Commission will engage with the European Parliament and Council to accelerate work on related proposals to strengthen the Schengen Information System and EURODAC and ECRIS databases." [emphasis added]
Ninth progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 407, pdf)
Commission Staff Working document: Comprehensive Assessment of EU Security Policy (SWD 278, Part 1, 101 pages, ,pdf)
Part 2 of above (SWD 278, Part II, 186 pages,pdf)
Court of European Justice: Croatia is responsible for examining applications for international protection by persons who crossed its border en masse during the 2015-2016 migration crisis (Press release, pdf):
"Those persons must be regarded as having crossed the external border of Croatia irregularly within the meaning of the Dublin III Regulation."
European Parliament: Rapporteur welcomes court's rejection of EU Canada passenger data deal (link):
"Sophie int Veld, EP rapporteur on the PNR agreement between the EU and Canada says there may be wide-ranging consequences following the EU Court of Justices landmark ruling....
Her comment comes after the European Court rejected the agreement between Canada and the EU to swap passenger names, travel dates, itineraries and contact details for security purposes.
The European Court of Justice found that this was contrary to EU law and violated privacy and data protection rules."
See: Court of Justice says no to EU-Canada travel surveillance deal as implementation of European system continues and: CJEU Opiniont (pdf)
Letter from European Commission to Italy: Refugees and the Med (pdf): Includes
"Measures to accelerate, in cooperation with the Italian authorities, the pace of relocations under the tw>o existing Council Decisions in order to ensure that all those eligible for relocation who arrived in Italy before the 26 of September 2017 will be relocated;
Step up support from the European Border and Coast Guard to ensure faster return procedures by deploying up to 500 experts available under the return pools and additional funding to cover the costs of more return operations...."
The: Tunisia Declaration (French, pdf):
The Interior Ministers of seven EU countries (German, Austria, Slovenia, France, Italy, Malta, and Switzerland) met with six African countries (Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger, Chad and Tunisia) met to discuss "managing the flows of refugees" and returns.
GREECE-GERMANY: NGO: Open Letter: Asylum seekers' transfers from Greece to Germany for family reunification under EU Regulation 604/2103 (pdf) :
"The undersigned organizations would like to express our serious concerns on a de facto violation of the right for family reunification and breach of relevant provisions stipulated in the EU Regulation 604/2013 (Dublin III Regulation), regarding asylum seekers transfers from Greece to Germany under family reunification procedure.
We refer specifically to a practice recorded during the last months according to which, asylum seekers entitled to be transferred to Germany under the relevant provisions of the Dublin III Regulation, are blocked in Greece for periods exceeding the deadlines provided by the above mentioned provisions, for reasons related to supplementary terms of a maximum number of transfers per month."
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment (First reading) - Mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament (LIMITE doc no: 10552-17, pdf):
"Throughout discussions, significant efforts have been made to strike a balanced compromise among diverse approaches on the best way to attract highly qualified migrants to the EU. While some Member States favour a flexible and business-oriented approach, others insist on more safeguards and protection of their national labour markets.
The following issues have been particularly sensitive in the course of the negotiations: the interaction between national schemes for highly qualified migration and the EU Blue Card scheme; the proposed inclusion of beneficiaries of international protection and the family members of EU citizens within the scope of the Directive; the issue of salary thresholds; as well as the recognition of professional experience as an alternative to education qualifications."
EU: Border surveillance technologies presented to Frontex included "foliage penetration", drones and "intelligence fusion"
See: Reply from Frontex to questions from Sabine Lösing MEP (pdf): "Which of the technologies and services presented does the border agency intend to procure in the future?
The meeting referred to forms part of a series of regular meetings during which industry briefs the Agency and Member States experts on its portfolio of products and services in the field of border security. The meetings are not part of any procurement procedure."
The original questions: Subject: New border surveillance technologies Frontex (EP, link)
EU-USA: US Surveillance Makes Privacy Shield Invalid (Human Rights Watch, link):
"United States surveillance laws and programs are so broad and contain such weak safeguards that they render the EU-US Privacy Shield invalid, Human Rights Watch said today in a briefing and letter to the European Commission, published jointly with Amnesty International. The Commissions 2016 decision approving the Privacy Shield arrangement makes it legal for internet companies to transfer users personal data from the EU to the US, with major commercial implications. The arrangement will undergo its first annual review in September 2017."
See: Letter from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (pdf):
"Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International write to urge the European Commission to re-evaluate its Implementing Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield on the basis that the United States of America (United States) does not ensure a level of fundamental rights protection regarding the processing of personal data that is essentially equivalent to that guaranteed within the European Union (EU)."
EU: Relocation of refugeees "reaches record levels"; proceedings against Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland continue
The European Commission has published the fourteeneth progress report on the EU's schemes for the relocation and resettlement of refugees, stating that relocations from Italy and Greece have reached "record levels in June", meaning that "relocating all those eligible remains feasible before September."
At the same time, the Commission has moved to the next stage with its infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to comply with the relocation scheme, as an Advocate General at the Court of Justice has issued an opinion calling for the Court to dismiss a complaint made by Slovakia and Hungary that the relocation scheme breaches EU law.
UK: Sir John Mitting is the new chairman of the Undercover Policing Inquiry (press release, pdf):
"The Home Secretary has today announced the retirement due to ill health of Sir Christopher Pitchford the Chairman to the Undercover Policing Inquiry, who was also former Lord Justice of Appeal. The Inquiry team express their thanks to Sir Christopher for his leadership over the past two years, and for his work in establishing the Inquiry on a firm footing and steering it through complex preliminary matters. The Inquiry team send Sir Christopher and his family all their very best wishes.
The Home Secretary has also today announced the appointment of the Undercover Policing Inquiry Panel Member, Sir John Mitting, to the role of Inquiry Chairman. Since the announcement on 31 May 2017 that Sir John would join the Inquiry he has been familiarising himself with the Inquirys work and he will very shortly issue his first decisions."
Small is beautiful: Nano drone tech is advancing (Defence IQ, link):
"The technology behind unmanned air systems (UAS) has taken off in recent years and as a result UAS can fly faster and further than ever before performing ever more sophisticated surveillance operations.
Developments in size, weight and power (SWaP) optimised technologies have driven these improvements, allowing smaller man-portable systems more flexible tactical capability, and enhancing larger medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) class UASs built by leading manufacturers like Northrop Grumman and General Atomics.
This jump in capability has been boosted by the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) variants on mission-critical components such as accelerometers and gyroscopes as well as the miniaturisation of various crucial supplied parts."
Alis Long Wait for Justice in Greece - After Six Years, Afghan Mans Attackers are Finally Convicted (Human Rights Watch, link):
"Ali Rahimi was 27 when it happened. A group approached him and two other Afghans in central Athens, swore at them, and told them to leave Greece. Then they attacked.
Ali was hit on the head with a bottle and stabbed five times in the chest and back, suffering a lung puncture dangerously close to his heart. The other two Afghan men managed to escape.
Six years on, Ali has finally seen justice done."
CZECH REPUBLIC: New Facial Recognition Cameras to Be Installed at Prague Airport (Prague Morning, link):
"Three months before the elections, Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec is trying to ensure maximum safety against airport terrorist threats. Besides the National Security Unit, which will reveal suspects of terrorism according to data provided by the airlines, the Ministry of Interior also wants to invest in new cameras with facial recognition software.
It is not a panacea, but it could help, thinks Miroslav Mare, an expert on organized crime.
Starting next year, Prague Václav Havel Airport will have fourteen police officers of the National Security Unit, processing passenger name record data. Their talk is to go through airlines data to find individuals involved in crime or terrorism. The specialized unit will check personal data provided by airlines. The number of officers will continue to increase."
Article 7: The ins and outs of the EUs nuclear option for Poland (EurActiv, link):
"The European Commission will decide on Wednesday (26 July) how to deal with the Polands reform of its judicial system, which Brussels and the Polish opposition say undermines the judiciarys independence and violates the EUs basic principles of the rule of law.
Polish President Andrzej Duda surprised many on Monday when he vetoed two of the controversial reforms but later signed into law a third bill despite opposition from Polish demonstrators.
With only one of the reforms adopted, it was not clear what steps, if any, EU First-Vice President Frans Timmermans will announce on Wednesday."
And see: Street protests and EU warnings over attempt to bring judiciary under political control
Court of Justice says no to EU-Canada travel surveillance deal as implementation of European system continues
The EU's proposed Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement with Canada to profile air passengers is incompatible with the fundamental rights to privacy, data protection, non-discrimination and does not meet the requirements of necessity and proportionality, according to an opinion issued today by the European Court of Justice.
Digital rights group EDRi said that the EU should now suspend its Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreements with the USA and Austrlia and that the ruling "should now also lead to an end to national laws transposing the EU PNR Directive" - a measure that Member States consider as "crucial in the fight against terrorism and serious crime", according to Council of the EU and Europol documents on the implementation process published today by Statewatch.
Security and migration amongst EU priorities for cooperation with "modern, democratic" Egypt
Joint priorities adopted today by the EU and Egypt for 2017 to 2020 include a commitment from the EU to "support the Egyptian government's efforts to strengthen its migration governance framework, including elements of legislative reform and strategies for migration management," and to "support Egypts efforts to prevent and combat irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling of human beings, including identifying and assisting victims of trafficking."
CAMPAIGN FOR FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS IN AFRICA
"The next summit of Heads of State of the African Union (AU) will have on its agenda the adoption of a protocol on the free movement of people on the continent. To finalize the protocol with a view to its adoption, the African Union initiated consultative meetings extended to all AU member countries. Some African states are still reluctant and would not want to see the protocol adopted in January. While, the African populations, sixty years after independence, dream more than ever of a united Africa where people can move freely."
See: Letter (pdf)
The new EU law on refugees takes shape: More Harmonisation but Less Protection? (EU Law Analysis, link):
"At the heart of the contested issue of asylum in the EU including the current perceived refugee/migrant crisis is the definition of who is a refugee, or is at least entitled instead to a form of subsidiary protection for those fleeing threats of serious harm. Refugees and people with subsidiary protection receive more legal protection and status than many other non-EU citizens, in particular irregular migrants.
Unsurprisingly then, the proposed revision of the EU legislation on this issue forms part of the broader overhaul of all EU asylum laws proposed in 2016, as a response to the perceived crisis. Recently the EU governments agreed their position on the proposal, which must now be negotiated with the European Parliament (its negotiating position is set out here)."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21-25.7.17)
Greece: MSF: Dramatic deterioration for vulnerable asylum seekers on Lesvos (Keep Talking Greece, link):
"Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has released a new report highlighting the drastic deterioration of the care and protection for vulnerable people in Lesbos, Greece, who have fled from violence and wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and suffer from post-war psychological trauma.
Vulnerable people are falling through the cracks and are not been adequately identified and cared for, says MSF head of mission Emilie Rouvroy."
See: Report (pdf)
UK: Social Media Intelligence (PI, link):
"Social media intelligence (SOCMINT) refers to the techniques and technologies that allow companies or governments to monitor social media networking sites (SNSs), such as Facebook or Twitter.
SOCMINT includes monitoring of content, such as messages or images posted, and other data, which is generated when someone uses a social media networking site. This information involves person-to-person, person-to-group, group-to-group, and includes interactions that are private and public."
Statewatch comment: For GCHQ and intelligence agencies this is complemented by OSINT: Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is any unclassified information, in any medium, that is generally available to the public. And HUMINT (human intelligence) and also PROTINT ("protected information"): Defined by Sir David Omand (former senior British civil servant who served as the Director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) from 1996 to 1997).as
"This is personal information about individual that resides in databases, such as advance passenger information, airline bookings and other travel data, passport and biometric data, immigration, identity and border records, criminal records, and other governmental and private sector data, including financial and telephone and other communications records. Such information may be held in national records, covered by Data Protection legislation, but it might also be held offshore by other nations or by global companies, and may or may not be subject to international agreements."
State agencies also gather:
SIGINT (Signals Intelligence
COMIT (Communications Intelligence)
ELINT (Electronic Signals Intelligence)
MASINT (Measurement and Signature Intelligence)
FISINT (Foreign Signals Intelligence)
RADINT (Radar intelligence)
IMINT (Satellite and photo reconnaissance = Imagery Intelligence)
GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence)
TECHINT (Technical Intelligence)
S&TINT (scientific and technical intelligence)
Greece: Large Scale Police Operation at Moria Hunger Strike Continues (Enough is Enough, link):
"This morning many cops came into the Moria prison to search for people whos asylum application was rejected. Dozens of people were arrested. The hunger strike of Arash Hampay, Kozhin Hussein and Bahrooz Arash continues.....
At 06:30am several hundred cops entered the Moria prison and started to search and arrest dozens of people. The cops and military were cooperting with each other. Cops were especially looking for people whos asylum application was rejected. According to several Tweets and Greek media reports the police operation was carried out to deport these people."
Pain and Anxiety for Refugees Stuck on the Greek islands (Refugees International, link):
"While the Greek islands used to be places of transit where asylum-seekers and migrants spent only days on their way to other European countries, as a result of an EU agreement with Turkey, thousands are stranded on Greeces Aegean islands. People categorized as vulnerable including pregnant women, single mothers, and people with physical or mental disabilities are exempt and can be transferred off the islands to the mainland where they have better access to care and services, but this can take weeks. Others await a decision on whether or not they will be returned to Turkey under the EU-Turkey statement, and many have been stuck on the islands for months and in some cases more than a year. In the meantime, they wait in limbo in untenable conditions and with growing anxiety, uncertain as to what their futures hold."
EU: Tell the EU you disagree with EU funding to military R&D (before August 7) (ENNAT, link):
"On June 7, the European Commission proposed a text to create a Defence Industrial Development Programme, which would divert 500 million of the EU budget over 2019-2020, in order to fund the development of new military technology. This is on top of the 90 million already granted for military research over 2017-2019. Our national governments and European parliamentarians will have to decide on this new funding, and the EC wants them to vote before end of the year."
"Nonsensical", "Dishonest" !Illegal": the "Code of Conduct" (Sea Watch, link):
"Italy has drafted a Code of Conduct which it wants to impose on NGOs carrying out Search and Rescue (SAR) in the Mediterranean. Dr. Violeta Moreno-Lax, Senior Lecturer in law at Queen Mary University of London, explains why many of the clauses are either redundant or simply illegal."
See full-text of: Code of Conduct for NGOs involved in migrant's rescue operation at sea (pdf).
Greece: Chios at Breaking Point: New Research Finds Humanitarian Support Must Be Strengthened, Not Withdrawn (link):
"New research by Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) finds that the island of Chios, Greece is at breaking point. The continued arrival of refugees from conflict-ridden countries has led to chronic overcrowding, while charities and NGOs operating on the island are struggling to provide some of the most basic services required.....
In light of these research findings, the EU Commissions decision to withdraw humanitarian aid from the Greek islands in July 2017 appears wholly misguided. It is likely to force vital service providers - many of which have been receiving EU funding to-date - to leave the islands, handing full responsibility to the already over-stretched Greek authorities. As such, the decision disregards the principles of human rights which the European Union is otherwise keen to safeguard around the world, and risks having a detrimental impact on displaced people seeking sanctuary at Europes shores.
Update: On 10 July 2017, the European Commission approved 6.48 million euros towards emergency funding on Chios and Lesvos. This is a welcome development but one which needs to be accompanied by a strengthened asylum system and accelerated transfers to mainland Greece."
UK: Rashan Charles death: Furious protesters march to Stoke Newington police station in 'justice for Rash' rally (Evening Standard, link):
"Crowds of furious protesters demanding justice for a young man who died after being chased by police have marched to an east London police station and blocked the road.
Rashan Charles, 20, was chased into a shop by officers in Dalston on Saturday night. He was restrained on the floor and later died after apparently swallowing an object.
On Monday evening more than 150 people marched to Stoke Newington police station in fury after members of the local community said they had been left concerned and angered at Mr Charles death."
GERMANY: Declaration on Freedom of Expression: In response to the adoption of the Network Enforcement Law (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz) by the Federal Cabinet on April 5, 2017 (link):
"Freedom of expression has an essential and indispensable role in a society shaped by democratic values. The basic right to free expression is protected under the freedom of communication clause and under the freedoms granted to the press and broadcasters. The right to free expression finds its limits only where the rights and dignity of others are violated. The right to free expression and its restrictions, apply online as well as offline.
Recently, the permissible scope of freedom of expression has been highly debated due to a number of incidents, which claim that false statements and hate speech often shape public discourse. To cope with this phenomenon, the Federal Cabinet has presented the Network Enforcement Law (NetzDG), which is set for adoption by the German Bundestag in the summer. Against this background, the signatories of this declaration wish to express their support for the following three principles..."
And see: Germany passes controversial law to fine Facebook over hate speech (The Verge, link)
USA: Artificial Intelligence and National Security (pdf):
"Partially autonomous and intelligent systems have been used in military technology since at least the Second World War, but advances in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) represent a turning point in the use of automation in warfare. Though the United States military and intelligence communities are planning for expanded use of AI across their portfolios, many of the most transformative applications of AI have not yet been addressed.
In this piece, we propose three goals for developing future policy on AI and national security: preserving U.S. technological leadership, supporting peaceful and commercial use, and mitigating catastrophic risk. By looking at four prior cases of transformative military technologynuclear, aerospace, cyber, and biotechwe develop lessons learned and recommendations for national security policy toward AI."
Young people show up in droves to defend Poland's courts (EUobserver, link):
"John Lennon's Imagine filled the summer night in front of Poland's Supreme Court on Sunday (23 July), as people started to head home from another protest in defence of democracy and free courts.
Ever since the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party announced its plans to reform this institution around ten days ago, demonstrations have been piling up, drawing larger crowds, and finding their way into new towns and villages.
The number of participants increased after the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, passed a law on Thursday that will put the Supreme Court under the control of the government. The law would give the government the right to fire all the judges and let the minister of justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, draft the list of new ones. "
UK: state prisoner letters: Home Office correspondence, The National Archives, Kew (Protest and the politics of space and place, link):
"Between 1794 and 1820, a multitude of radical leaders and printers were arrested and imprisoned for seditious activities, combination, conspiracy, and other state offences as they campaigned for democratic and workers rights.
Many of these prisoners were working class, and were Luddites, Blanketeers, Peterloo radicals. In prison, they wrote to their families, who wrote back, and to the Home Office, sympathetic MPs, and to the radical movement outside. Many of these letters were copied or confiscated by gaolers and sent to the Home Office. The men were separated and placed in prisons across the country, often in solitary confinement or poor conditions.
Those arrested under the Suspension of Habeas Corpus acts of 1799 and 1817 were imprisoned for up to 10 months without trial, and released without trial or acknowledgement of their innocence. The governments then passed Indemnity Bills, indemnifying the gaolers against being sued by the radicals for unlawful imprisonment. The radicals saw both the suspension of habeas corpus and the indemnity bills as against the fundamental principles of Magna Carta, and evidence of government corruption, spurring them on to campaign for parliamentary reform and penal reform even further."
EU: Europol: annual report for 2016, work programme 2017-19, joint 2016 report with Eurojust
Three reports by EU policing agency Europol outlining its work during 2016 (including a joint report for the year on its work with EU judicial cooperation agency Eurojust) and its plans for the 2017-19 period.
EU: Council conclusions on Libya (17 July 2017) (11155/17, pdf)
Including: "The EU will support Libya to strengthen its capacities to control its borders, including in the south, in accordance with International Law, in addition to broader EU efforts to reinforce cooperation with countries of origin and transit to significantly reduce migratory pressure on Libyas and other neighbouring countries land borders. The EU will continue to cooperate with G5 Sahel countries, including via contributions of CSDP missions and financial support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The EU will further engage and provide support to enhance both sea and land border management by Libyan Authorities.
Underlining the importance of both missions, the Council welcomes the renewal of the mandate of EUBAM Libya and will decide shortly on the renewal of Operation Sophia...
EUBAM Libya will continue to progressively engage with and assist the Libyan authorities on border management, including on the South of Libya, law enforcement and criminal justice and plan for a possible civilian CSDP mission in the field of security sector reform, co-operating closely with and contributing to UNSMIL efforts. It will continue working towards establishing a light presence in Tripoli provided that appropriate security arrangements are in place."
UK: Tories use 'take out the trash' day to dump controversial reports (The Guardian, link):
"Theresa May has been accused of an absolute affront to democracy after dumping dozens of official documents online on parliaments last day of term, showing the police force numbers have dropped to a 30-year low and the number of soldiers has fallen by 7,000.
The government has published very little for weeks after the election but about 22 written statements and dozens of Whitehall reports were released on Thursday, just as MPs embark on their long summer break."
UK: Jack Straw MI6 Rendition Trial to be Heard in Secret (Reprieve, link):
"The High Court has decided today that the trial involving the rendition and torture of a leading Gaddafi opponent and his pregnant wife should be conducted in secret.
Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar opposed the Governments request for a secret trial under section 6 of the Justice and Security Act on the basis that extensive evidence of the CIA torture programmeand of their abductionhas been in the public domain for years.
Many key facts in the case and of the CIA rendition programme in general are officially confirmed.... The High Court found that none of this official evidence required an ordinary, fair public trial. The Court held that an open trial would cause significant damage to the interests of national security [ ] irrespective of the current sensitivity of the intelligence itself."
Anti-immigrant ship on its way to stop refugee boats in Mediterranean stopped in Suez Canal (The Independent, link):
"A ship chartered by activists to hamper the rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean has reportedly been arrested in the Suez Canal after the its captain failed to produce a satisfactory crew list.
The Defend Europe ship set sail from the east African nation of Djibouti where it was chartered last week.
Called the C-Star, it was predominantly funded with donations on a crowdfunding website.
The crew had intended to sail the ship through Egypt's Suez Canal before heading towards the Italian city of Cantania where many rescue boats run by charities and non government organisations (NGOs) are based."
UN Global Compact on Migration: Preventing torture of migrants should be at the core of the Compact (Association for the Prevention of Torture, pdf):
"On 19 September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a Resolution that sets in motion a complex process to elaborate by 2018 two instruments laying out States commitments regarding large movements of refugees and migrants. These instruments are the Global Compact on Safe Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees (not addressed in this paper).
This paper outlines seven key messages that the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) considers essential, from a torture prevention perspective, for the establishment of a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (hereafter the Global Compact on Migration)."
The Hamburg G20 Leaders Statement on Countering Terrorism (pdf)
Concerning: Implementing international commitments and enhancing cooperation; Fighting terrorism finance; Countering radicalization conducive to terrorism and the use of internet for terrorist purposes.
Austria wants to spy on messaging apps, Australia not far behind (ZDNet, link):
"Austria is pursuing plans to give police the authority to monitor messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype in an attempt to "close the gap" on criminals who increasingly avoid communicating via telephone.
The government has asked political, technology, civil rights, and legal experts to review draft legislation that would give it authority to monitor real-time conversations using new messaging services and applications, Justice Ministry officials told Reuters on Monday.
Such surveillance would be permitted only with a court order in investigations into terrorist activities or other crimes punishable by at least five years in prison, one of the officials said."
Italys migrant crisis grows amid EU debate (New Europe, link):
"Tens of thousands of migrants continue to pour into Italy, setting up makeshift camps in cities across the country. While the huge number of arrivals has triggered European Union-wide debates, a solution has yet to be found.
As reported by Italys ANSA news agency, the countrys Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni rejected a request form Visegard group leaders to close the ports to asylum seekers.
We have the right to demand solidarity from our neighbours, countries with whom we share the European project, Gentiloni said in Turin. We dont accept lessons, nor threatening words. We limit ourselves to serenely saying that we do our duty and we demand that Europe does it without giving dubious lessons."
Czech government insists migration controls should precede relocation demands (EurActiv, link):
"It makes no sense to share a burden over which we have no control, the Czech government said in response to the criticism of its failure to comply with EU migrant relocation quotas. EURACTIV Czech Republic reports.
The Czech government disapproves of the European Commissions criticism of its non-compliance with the EUs refugee relocation quotas.
Prague claims that the scheme, designed to help Italy and Greece, does not work and that Europe should focus its efforts on other measures to tackle the migration crisis.
This argument was central to the Czech reply to the Commissions letter of formal notice, sent in mid-June, after the EU executive launched infringement procedures with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland."
EU: European Commission's handling of military research 'Group of Personalities' to be investigated
An inquiry into the European Commission's alleged mishandling of a high-level advisory group charged with setting out plans for EU military research and cooperation has been launched by the European Ombudsman, in response to a complaint filed by the European Network Against the Arms Trade (ENAAT).
EU: Council of the European Union: Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange ( 6261-17, pdf): 110 pages:
"The manual contains an overview of all EU systems, legal bases and instruments of information exchange available to the law enforcement authorities of the Member States. This way, the user is fully informed of the available options when it comes to deciding how to seek or provide information across borders."
And see Chart on page 5.
UK: Rashman: Police watchdog to investigate lethal restraint of young black man in Hackney (Open Democracy, link):
"The Metropolitan police has claimed that a young black man who died in the London borough of Hackney in the early hours of Saturday morning was taken ill after trying to swallow an object and that a police officer intervened and sought to prevent the man from harming himself.
But video circulating on social media appears to tell a different story.
The video shows the young man, who has been identified as Rashman, walking down the aisle of a shop.
A uniformed police officer grabs him from behind and pulls him backwards.
The young, slightly built, black man appears to put up no resistance.
The officer then appears to throw the young man to the floor, chest down, landing heavily on top of him. He then appears to apply a headlock. The young mans legs can be seen moving."
Italy hits back at neighbours' 'threats' on border security (The Local.it, link):
"Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has warned Rome will not accept either "lessons" or "threats" from neighbours on border security amid tension over Europe's migrant crisis. "We shall not accept lessons and still less threats such as those we have heard from our neighbours in recent days," said Gentiloni."
Divided Europe seeks a long-term answer to a refugee crisis that needs a solution now (The Observer, link):
"Europe is split down the middle. Poland and Hungary have refused to take anyone. The Czech Republic initially accepted 12 people but has since slammed the door. The European commission has begun legal action against all three. Italy and Greece, so-called frontline states, are at odds with their northern neighbours, notably France and Austria. Dashing hopes of a new approach, the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, is proving inflexible on the issue."
UK-EU: BREXIT: The joint technical note attached summarises the UK and EU positions and compares them following the 2nd round of Art. 50 negotiations (pdf)
Contains 4-column document: Comparison of EU/UK positions on Citizens' Rights:
"This table summarises the UK and EU positions and compares them. Green indicates convergence, red indicates divergence and yellow indicates where further discussion is required to deepen understanding."
EU: Qualifications Directive: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection... Mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament (LIMITE EU doc no: 10475-17, pdf): Council's negotiating position with European Parliament in trilogue despite the fact that:
"Four main aspects of the proposal could not be agreed upon during the discussions at the preparatory bodies level. Therefore, the Presidency has prepared draft compromise solutions, which take into account the different positions expressed by delegations during the above discussions and which can be found in the Annex to this Note. 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 [ ]."
See: European Parliament draft orientation position (pdf)
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): Aviation Security: TSA Does Not Have Valid Evidence Supporting Most of the Revised Behavioral Indicators Used in Its Behavior Detection Activities (pdf):
"According to TSA, certain verbal and nonverbal cues and behaviorsTSAs behavioral indicatorsmay indicate mal-intent, such as the intent to carry out a terrorist attack. These behavioral indicators include, for example, assessing the way an individual swallows or the degree to which an individuals eyes are open. According to TSA, such indicators provide a means for identifying passengers who may pose a risk to aviation security and referring them for additional screening...
TSA does not have valid evidence that most of the indicators in its revised list of behavioral indicators can be used to identify individuals who may pose a threat to aviation security. In our review of all 178 sources TSA cited in support of its revised list, we found that 98 percent (175 of 178) of the sources do not provide valid evidence applicable to the specific indicators that TSA identified them as supporting. In total, we found that TSA does not have valid evidence to support 28 of its 36 revised behavioral indicators, has one source of valid evidence to support each of 7 indicators, and has 2 sources of valid evidence to support 1 indicator."
No One Is Counting Europes Missing Refugee Children (Refugees Deeply, link):
"Where are the 10,000 child migrants who went missing in Europe last year? Europol says it has no idea how many have actually disappeared as a result of Europes chaotic migrant calculations, Mario Vidal reports for porCausa and Vózpopuli."
UK: Girl, 5, fined £150 for running homemade lemonade stall (Guardian, link):
"Father says girl was left in tears after council enforcement officer accused her of trading without licence."
EU: Member states fail to back Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (euractiv, link):
"The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has stalled. The situation is frustrating the European Parliament and Commission, which have demanded that EU member states respect their commitments...
European countries have only provided a fraction of the funds they had promised for the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, set up to respond to development and security problems in the major countries of origin of migrants."
IT workers in other countries had access to secret Swedish records: report (The Local.se, link):
"Two secret police databases were made available to Czech IT workers without security clearance during a cyber security slip-up at the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen), reports the DN daily.
It emerged this week that Sweden's security police Säpo investigated Transportstyrelsen after key information was made available to IT workers in other countries who had not gone through the usual security clearance checks when the agency outsourced its IT maintenance to IBM in 2015."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18-20.7.17) including: EU visa war against African "elite"; EU to restrict sale of rubber boats to Libya
ECHR: No rights violations caused by Belgian bans on covering face in public
The European Court of Human Rights recently handed down two judgments on Belgian bans on face coverings in public, targeted at those who were the full-face veil. In both cases - which concerned bans in three municipalities and a national ban - the Court found there was no breach of the rights to private and family life; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; or the prohibition on discrimination. In one of the cases, however, the Court did find a violation of the right to access a court.
The UK Granted Spy Tech Export to Turkey Amid Its Massive Crackdown on Dissent (Motherboard, link):
"Turkey has ordered over a hundred media outlets to close, jailed journalists, and most recently demanded the arrest of a senior Amnesty International employee.
The UK is a prolific exporter of surveillance technology, ranging from IMSI-catchers that can monitor mobile phones to internet mass surveillance equipment.
Now, according to newly published data from the UK's Department for International Trade, the country granted a license to export surveillance technology to Turkey earlier this year. That in itself may not be very surprisingthe UK has greenlit surveillance exports to Turkey in the pastbut the license comes at a time when Turkey is undergoing a particularly potent wave of crackdowns and oppression against dissent, including the incarceration of journalists and human rights defenders."
UK: Durham Police unveils bodycam intelligence database (Netpol, link):
"One of the UKs smallest police forces, Durham Police, is reportedly gathering video captured by officers body worn cameras to create a troublemakers database contravening national guidance that officers should not use the technology as an intelligence-gathering tool.
Body Worn Video cameras, or bodycams as they are more usually known, are now a global phenomenon. Most UK police forces use them routinely, as do forces in the US, Australia and Europe. Nor is it just the police that is using this technology: bodycams are routinely worn by bailiffs, security guards, even traffic wardens and council workers.
This is arguably one of the biggest single expansions of surveillance capacity since the introduction of CCTV, and one that is highly profitable for bodycam manufacturers such as Axon (formerly Taser International)."
FRANCE: Calais after the jungle: migrant dispersal and the expulsion of humanitarianism (OpenDemocracy, link):
"Eight months after their eviction from the Calais jungle, migrants are still a substantial presence in the city of Calais. What has happened to them over the course of those months, however, has been largely unexplored (by those in the UK at least). To gain a better sense of what has been happening on the ground, we set up the project Mapping the dispersal of refugees evicted from Calais at Swansea University with funding from cherish-de.uk. Our aim is to investigate how migrants lives both on and off the move are controlled and governed away from the border spectacle and declared 'humanitarian emergencies' that receive so much attention in the press.
During his official visit to Calais in early June, the French minister of the interior Gerard Collomb announced that 150 additional policemen will be sent there, in order to avoid that Calais and Dunkerque become places of fixation for the migrants and that other jungles could multiply on the territory. His words suggest that informal migrant encampments are growing, or have the potential to do so, and that the French authorities are pursuing a strategy of dispersal and division to prevent such camps from coalescing into autonomous spaces like the Calais Jungle. The European context is characterised by a widespread criminalisation of migrant intra-European movements on the one hand, and refugee support activities on the other."
UK: Official figures show biggest rise in crime in a decade (The Guardian, link):
"Police-recorded crime has risen by 10% across England and Wales the largest annual rise for a decade according to the Office of National Statistics.
The latest crime figures for the 12 months to March also show an 18% rise in violent crime, including a 20% surge in gun crime and knife crime. The official figures also show a 26% rise in the murder rate to 723 homicides.
The 10% rise in police recorded crime to nearly 5m offences include increases in burglary and vehicle theft suggesting that the long-term fall in these higher volume offences may be coming to an end."
POLAND: Street protests and EU warnings over attempt to bring judiciary under political control
The latest set of measures going through the Polish legislature that would undermine the independence of the judiciary and seperation of powers have led to protests across Poland and warnings from the EU that it will invoke the 'Article 7' procedure, which could ultimately see Polish voting rights in the Council suspended.
MEDITERRANEAN: Defend Europe/Identitarian Briefing (Hope Not Hate, pdf):
"Defend Europe is an attempt by far-right activists to confront and block humanitarian rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean.
It is being led by key members of the European 'Identitarian' movement, a collection of far-right activists operating in France, Germany, Austria and Italy.
They aim to disrupt and inhibit the vital efforts of NGOs saving the lives of migrants and refugees - many of whom are children - crossing the Mediterranean this summer.
More than 2,000 people have died on the Mediterranean already this year, and over 5,000 last year.
This confrontational and dangerous project is organised by far-right activists with a long track record of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant activism and while organised by Europeans it is being supported, funded and promoted by the extreme far-right around the world.
So far the Identitarians have only launched one operation on a small boat, but they have now raised the funds to charter a sea-going vessel with space for a crew of 25."
ITALY: Mafia Boss: The State is Me. (OCCRP, link:
"By sunrise, 116 alleged members of the Ndrangheta one of the worlds most powerful crime syndicates were under arrest, including the bosses of some of its most important clans.
Mandamento, a long-planned operation aimed at crushing one of the worlds most dangerous criminal groups, had ended with a big catch. It also helped investigators piece together, with more detail than ever before, how the group operates.
The Calabria-based Ndrangheta stretches its tentacles throughout Europe. Italian prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, who wrote an authoritative book on the cocaine trade, believes that the syndicate controls over 40 percent of the worlds market of the drug.
Experts say that in 2013, it made more money than Deutsche Bank and McDonald's put together, with a turnover of 53 billion (US$ 70.41 billion), mostly from drug trafficking.
The investigation that led to operation Mandamento - led by local anti-mafia prosecutors and the Carabinieri - went on for years. Detectives pieced together clues from dozens of previous anti-mafia operations and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle.
The picture still has a few missing parts. But it already reveals a state-like criminal structure that has developed here over centuries."
UK-JAMAICA: Inhumane deportation (The Gleaner, link) by Luke de Noronha:
"Just over a week ago, two reports were published in Britain that might interest the Jamaican readership. They both concerned mass-deportation charter flights from London to Kingston.
The first report was an annual review by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) regarding several charter flights from Britain in 2016 - to Albania, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Jamaica. I have met a few people who were on that charter flight to Jamaica in September 2016, and the majority of them left children behind in Britain. Theirs were stories of banishment from home, rather than a return to home. People had been away so long that they had few memories of the island, and no close family members to turn to. This is a familiar story.
What was significant about the report was the use of waist-restraint belts on the flight. Far more than any other nationality, Jamaicans were restrained in these belts, which act like straitjackets to prevent people moving their arms - often for hours at a time. On other chartered flights, only a few deportees are restrained in this way; it's the exception rather than the rule.
The second report, conducted by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, covered the last deportation flight from the UK to Jamaica in March 2017. Again, the independent inspectors found that force was used far too often."
See the reports: Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Boards Charter Flight Monitoring Team for the calenday year 2016 (pdf) and: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons: Detainees under escort: Inspection of escort and removals to Jamaica (pdf)
Teenage refugees in Greece are being labelled 'adults' if they have wisdom teeth (International Business Times, link):
"Children as young as 14 arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos are being identified as over-18s and forced to live with unrelated adults, without access to education and protective services, a shocking new report has revealed.
Greek authorities are quick to register teenagers as adults, without conducting a proper assessment, according to the Human Rights Watch report 'Lone Migrant Children Left Unprotected' published today.
If an assessment is carried out, it is often during a hasty visit to a dentist where any children whose wisdom teeth have come through are registered as adults. This was how 17-year-old Akash from Bangladesh ended up in the adult section of Moria refugee camp, where more than 3,000 people are living in "inexcusable" and "inhumane" conditions."
And see: Greece: Lone Migrant Children Left Unprotected (Human Rights Watch, link): "Unaccompanied migrant children on the Greek island of Lesbos are being incorrectly identified as adults and housed with unrelated adults, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and unable to access the specific care they need, Human Rights Watch said today."
USA: Silicon Valley mostly quiet in internet surveillance debate in Congress (Reuters, link):
"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc's Google (GOOGL.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and other major technology firms are largely absent from a debate over the renewal of a broad U.S. internet surveillance law, weakening prospects for privacy reforms that would further protect customer data, according to sources familiar with the matter.
While tech companies often lobby Washington on privacy issues, the major firms have been hesitant to enter a fray over a controversial portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), industry lobbyists, congressional aides and civil liberties advocates said.
Among their concerns is that doing so could jeopardize a trans-Atlantic data transfer pact [the 'Privacy Shield] underpinning billions of dollars in trade in digital services, the sources said."
Statewatch Analysis: The EU goes to war with African elite (pdf): by Tony Bunyan
EU to target African governments, officials and others with the threat to refuse or delay visas to enforce its returns and readmission policies
EU starts setting out the consequences of non-cooperation by agreeing Measures targeting the "elite" of third countries
See: Council of the European Union: "Link between return/readmission and visa policies" (RESTRICTED, EU doc no: 9097-REV-1-17)
Germany says EU aid to Turkey could be halted over arrests (euractiv, link):
"Germany raised the possibility on Wednesday (19 July) of suspending European Union aid payments to Turkey after summoning Ankaras ambassador to Berlin to protest over the arrest of six human rights activists including a German citizen."
UK: A Vanishing Breed? Walker v Innospec Ltd - The UK Supreme Court Disapplies a Statutory Provision on the Grounds of Incompatibility with EU Equality Law (EU Law Analysis, link):
"Last weeks decision of the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) in the same-sex pension rights case of Walker v Innospec Ltd  UKSC 47 generated plenty of excited commentary in the UK media.
This mainly focused on the UKSCs finding that it constitutes direct discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and thus a breach of EU law - for the rules of a employers contributory benefit scheme to deny payment of a spouses pension to a surviving member of a same-sex married couple, in circumstances where such a pension would be paid to the surviving member of an opposite-sex married couple."
UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Select Committee report: Brexit: the EU data protection package (pdf):
"The Government has said that it wants to maintain unhindered and uninterrupted data flows with the EU post-Brexit. The Governments White Paper on The United Kingdoms exit from and new partnership with the European Union, says, for example, that the UK will seek to maintain the stability of data transfers between the EU, Member States and the UK.
We support this objective, but were struck by the lack of detail on how the Government plans to deliver this outcome. Our analysis suggests that the stakes are high, not least because any post-Brexit arrangement that results in greater friction around data transfers between the UK and the EU could present a non-tariff trade barrier, putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage. Any impediments to data flows post-Brexit could also hinder police and security cooperation." [emphasis added]
Indefinite detention is dehumanising for refugees. This practice must end (Guardian, link):
"With its tales of terrifying journeys and hopeless days, a storytelling project is putting flesh on the statistics. We should be all be outraged."
Police clash with migrants at Lesvos camp for second time in a week (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Police were dispatched to the Moria reception center on Lesvos on Tuesday afternoon following clashes between groups of migrants in the camp while the local fire service tried to put out blazes that broke out in nearby olive groves.
The upheaval came a week after riots at the same camp when migrants, frustrated by poor living conditions and delays in processing asylum applications, set fire to tents."
And see: Asylum seekers clash with police in Moria frustrated about living conditions and asylum delays (Keep Talking Greece, link)
Italy mulls temporary humanitarian visas to aid Libyan migrants (Guardian, link):
"Move would provoke immediate Austrian response including closure of border with Italy at Brenner Pass"
What's the EU's vision to address the refugee crisis? (aljazeera.com, link):
"The European Union restricts exports of inflatable boats to stem the flow of refugees and migrants from North Africa."
Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The Commission cannot refuse access to written submissions of the Member States held by it, on the sole ground that they are documents relating to court proceedings (Press release, pdf):
"The Court of Justice confirms the judgment of the General Court holding that the decision on such an application for access must be made on the basis of the regulation concerning public access to documents held by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission."
Patrick Breyer writes:
"The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg today ruled in favour of the German civil liberties activist and pirate party member Patrick Breyer (Commission vs. Breyer, C-213/15 P): It ordered the Commission to give the press and the public access to the pleadings exchanged in completed court proceedings. In the present case Breyer successfully demanded the Commission disclose Austrian pleadings concerning the non-transposition of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive. However the Court fined Breyer for publishing the written submissions in his own case on his homepage....
Todays ruling confirms that the EU's judicial system is lacking transparency and in urgent need of reform, comments Breyer. Since EU judges appear to consider transparency in pending proceedings a threat, the EU needs to revise the Court rules in accordance with those applicable to the European Court of Human Rights. Indifferently prohibiting parties from publishing pleadings &SHY; including their oown &SHY; is inacceptable and endangers the freedom of the press."
See: Judgment: full text (pdf)
Defend Europe boat tries to block migrant rescues - As Defend Europe sets sail in hope of turning refugees back, UK anti-racism monitor issues warning over migrant safety (aljazeera.com, link):
"Far-right activists have set sail in a boat with plans to prevent the arrival of Europe-bound boats carrying refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, sparking criticism from an anti-racism monitor.
Italy struggles to cope with refugee influx
Defend Europe, the group behind the journey which began Sunday, said on its fundraising page that its members would set sail in a 422-tonne vessel with a 25-member crew after receiving more than $115,000 in donations in recent weeks....
HOPE not hate said in a statement that Defend Europe threatens to "hinder the lifesaving work of search-and-rescue NGO ships in the Mediterranean".
"This confrontational and dangerous project is organised by far-right activists with a long track record of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant activism ... and while organised by Europeans, it is being supported, funded and promoted by the extreme far-right around the world," HOPE not hate said in a separate press briefing."
Database on European extremists: How is the plan pursued since 2001 supposed to function? (link):
"After each major summit protest, there are calls for a European troublemakers database to be established. Centralised data storage at EU level or decentralised networking of national systems would be conceivable options. For a number of reasons, it has not been possible to set up a database of this kind since the turn of the millennium. The governing coalition in Germany has now announced a new initiative to this end following the G20 Summit in Hamburg."
And see:Protests in the EU: Troublemakers and travelling violent offenders [undefined] to be recorded on database and targeted (Statewatch Analysis) and List of sources
MED: Guidance on rescue operations in the Mediterranean: Know Your Rights (CILD, pdf):
"Is there a duty to rescue at sea?
Yes, there is. Maritime law and the Italian Constitution (Article 2) are based on cooperation which is a fundamental obligation. International law (the Montego Bay Treaty and others, see glossary) requires States to require any masters of ships flying their national flag to fulfil their duty to give assistance to anyone found to be in danger at sea, to inform the competent authorities, to provide initial medical assistance to the persons rescued, and to transfer the persons rescued to a place of safety (for a definition of place of safety, see question 8)."
Greece: Ministry refugee arrivals 18.7.17 (pdf)
251 refugees arrived in the past 24 hours: Lesvos 94, Samos 55, Chios 55, other islands: 47. Total in Greece: 62,327.
Italy's migrant 'nuclear option' plot unravels (euobserver, link):
"Italy will likely meet a legal blockade if the country pursues its reported plans to issue temporary travel visas for migrants.
The Times newspaper said on Saturday (15 July) that senior government officials want to use a so-called "nuclear option", to grant migrants stuck in Italy the right to move to other EU states.
But the proposal is based on an obscure EU directive that can only be activated by a qualified majority decision in the Council of the EU, representing member states, and based on a proposal by the European Commission."
And see: Austria readies for migrant border surge (euobserver, link): "Austria is ready to "protect" its borders amid reported Italian threats to issue provisional visas to thousands of migrants.Speaking to journalists in Brussels on Monday (17 July), Austria's foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said the country would not allow large numbers of people to pass from Italy should Rome issue the documents."
EU research policy for peace, people and planet: A Civil Society perspective on the next EU Research Framework Programme (FP9) (pdf):
"The research that is prioritised and funded today will have a decisive impact on the future of our societies and our planet.
Our societies face immense environmental, social and economic challenges, as exemplified by the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 agenda.
It is certainly no time for business as usual, and radical change is needed for the European Union (EU) to address these challenges, such as climate change, food security, antimicrobial resistance, decent jobs for all, rising inequalities, and to mainstream the SDGs into the research agenda of the EU."
See also: Report by the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted 13 June 2017: Assessment of Horizon 2020 implementation in view of its interim evaluation and the Framework Programme 9 proposal (pdf) including: "Calls on the Commission to separate defence research from civil research in the next MFF, providing two different programmes with two separate budgets that do not affect the budgetary ambitions of civilian research of FP9; calls on the Commission, therefore, to present to Parliament the possible ways for financing the future defence research programme in accordance with the Treaties, with a dedicated budget with fresh resources and specific rules; highlights the importance of parliamentary oversight in this respect"
EU: Frontex cooperation with non-EU states: information from the agency
A November 2016 letter from Frontex provides an overview of the agency's cooperation with third states in the fields of risk analysis, return, research and innovation and joint operations. The information was provided in response to a parliamentary question from Sabine Lösing and Cornelia Ernst, two German MEPs from the GUE/NGL left group in the European Parliament.
UK: Neglect contributed to Liverpool prisoner's suicide, jury finds (The Guardian, link):
"An inquest jury has found that neglect contributed to the death of a prisoner who killed himself at Liverpool prison last year.
The jurys findings mirrored another inquest verdict on a death at the Merseyside jail last year. Six prisoners at Liverpool have taken their own lives in the last two years.
Edwin Ned Lewis ODonnell, 26, was found hanging in his cell in the segregation unit at Liverpool on 23 October last year.
Last Friday, the jury at Liverpool coroners court found that his death was accidental, contributed to by neglect."
GREECE: Serious gaps in the care of refugees in Greek hotspots; Vulnerability assessment system is breaking down (Refugee Support Aegean, link):
"Following the departure of Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), medical and social services have seriously been minimised in the Registration and Identification Centres (RIC), the so-called hotspots of the Aegean. Ever since the needs of refugees are not being covered effectively. Huge gaps have been observed concerning psychological aid, and this in a period where the mental health of refugees is deteriorating severely due to being stuck and under constant threat to be readmitted to Turkey. At the same time, the system of vulnerability assessment seems to be breaking down. It is not known, how far the state agencies who are planned in to take this job over, will be able to replace the work the NGOs had provided until recently.
The working contracts most of the NGOs had signed with the Ministry of Migration Policy ended end of May. As a result the staff left the RIC and dozens of people lost their jobs. More than that, a huge service gap emerged all of a sudden. Until recently those NGOs had been tasked with a large part of the medical and social services, which are among the responsibilities of the Reception and Identification Service."
And see: EU to scale back Greek asylum aid (EUobserver, link)
IRELAND: Regulator and CSO in stand-off over mobile data (Irish Times, link):
"An extraordinary stand-off has emerged between the States official statistics body and the data protection watchdog over a plan by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to force mobile phone network providers to hand over roaming data about tourists and Irish residents travelling abroad.
Communications between the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) and the statistics office over a period of almost nine years up to late last year reveal the statistics body wanted to compel mobile operators to transfer to it on an ongoing basis the details of phones or users roaming on the networks, as well as the dates and times of their calls.
The commissioner objected on the grounds there was no legal basis to allow the CSO obtain such data and on the grounds it would be a serious interference with peoples privacy rights.
The statistics office first wrote to former commissioner Billy Hawkes in 2008 to say the data on international mobile phone roaming usage may significantly enhance our statistics on tourism and international travel."
EU: Parliamentary Tracker: The qualification Directive of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is moving forward (FREE Group, link): A detailed overview of the Commission´s proposal and current positions of the Council and Parliament on the new Qualifications Regulation.
EU: Counter-terrorism recommendations from 2006 declassified
The Council of the EU has published two declassified versions of a 2006 paper containing a host of recommendations on counter-terrorism policy, covering Islamist extremism in prisons, an assessment of "returning jihadis" on radicalisation and recruitment in Europe, terrorist movments and travel patterns, "what deters terrorists?", and the "terrorist threat to rail and underground systems." The recommendations were drawn up by officials in the Council with a view to including them in the EU's Counter-Terrorism Action Plan, at that time in its infancy.
INTERPOL to highlight need for military to police terrorism data flow at Global Coalition meeting (INTERPOL, link):
"LYON, France Ahead of a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, INTERPOL has underlined the need for military success against the group to be translated into actionable intelligence for police around the world.
With mounting pressure on former ISIS strongholds likely to result in increased numbers of battle-hardened terrorists returning home, fleeing to neighbouring countries, or joining other conflicts, it is vital that critical information left by retreating fighters and recovered by Global Coalition forces is quickly shared with the global law enforcement community through a secure multilateral platform.
Details of more than 18,000 Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) have now been shared via INTERPOLs global network with an increasing amount being sourced from the conflict zones. Biometric data such as photos, fingerprints and DNA profiles have already led to the positive identification of terrorists around the world, including via facial recognition."
Italys Smuggling Prosecutions Ruin Lives While Real Criminals Go Free (Refugees Deeply, link):
"This improvised captain a migrant just like everyone else aboard had no idea what to do. The overloaded dinghy started spinning uncontrollably and taking on water. Yusuf stepped in and found himself at the helm until the dinghy was found by the Italian coastguard nearly two days after setting sail.
Upon disembarking, Yusuf was identified by fellow passengers as one of the scafisti, the Italian term for smugglers who pilot boats, and was arrested.
Between August 2015 and the end of July 2016, a total of 793 scafisti were arrested, according to Italys interior ministry. This is on top of the 1,511 arrested since 2013. Arresting migrant pilots has been central to the approach of the Italian government, with then prime minister Matteo Renzi boasting on Twitter in April 2015: We have arrested 976 scafisti and rescued thousands of people.
While Italys popular press paints them as ruthless criminals, the reality of the scafisti is more nuanced. Stories like that of Yusuf are common."
Polish TV denounces pro-democracy 'putsch' (EUobserver, link):
"Demonstrators in Polish cities have raised an outcry over judicial reforms amid a toxic media campaign.
The largest protests were in Warsaw, where 10,000 people, according to city authorities, assembled outside parliament and outside the supreme court on Sunday (16 July).
Thousands of people also assembled in other Polish cities, including Katowice, Krakow, Opole, Poznan, Szczecin, Torun, and Wroclaw.
People lit candles around court buildings in what they called a Chain of Light. They also carried signs and chanted slogans which accused the ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), and its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, of turning Poland into a dictatorship.
The demonstrations came after PiS extended its control over Polands judiciary by passing two reform bills in the senate on Friday."
See also: Very, very dangerous: Thousands protest proposed Supreme Court changes in Poland, fearing creep toward one-party rule (Krakow Post, link): "[The bill] would allow MPs and the the Minister of Justice to appoint judges, bypassing the consultation of judicial circles. The bill would also give the judiciary council, a body which will have almost all of its members chosen by parliament, the power to choose future appointees."
Neuromarketing in the Age of iPhones (Epoch Times, link):
"Marketers are hoping to capitalize on biometric data that can reveal feelings we may not even know we haveor would rather not share.
The field of neuromarketing could be on the verge of a breakthrough with the latest smartphones and wearable tech. In the past, neuromarketers operated on the fringes of credibility, but that could change, along with the ethical issues the technology raises."
UK-EU: Brexit: European Commission publishes Position Papers: Justice and Home Affairs
The Commission has published three Position papers on the effect of the UK's withdrawal from the EU - whether or not these will be replaced later is not known at this stage of the negotiations:
Position paper on Ongoing Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal matters (12 July 2017, pdf):
"The following general principles should apply in accordance with Union law, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the date of entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement."
Thirteen measures including: European Arrest Warrant, European investigation order, ECRIS and Passenger name records.
Position paper on Ongoing Union Judicial and Administrative Procedures (12 July 2017, pdf):
"The Withdrawal Agreement should provide for arrangements relating to proceedings before the Court of Justice involving the United Kingdom, and/or United Kingdom residents/legal persons (I(1)), and administrative procedures before Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies concerning the United Kingdom, and/or United Kingdom residents/legal persons (II(1)), which are ongoing on the withdrawal date, as well as for arrangements relating to judicial proceedings and administrative procedures initiated after the withdrawal date and relating to facts that occurred before the withdrawal date (I(2); II(2))." A Footnote says:
"The arrangements dealt with in this paper are without prejudice to the possibility, e.g., for the Court of Justice to consider, on a case by case basis, that a preliminary question addressed to it by a court in the United Kingdom can no longer be adjudicated by the Court of Justice for lack of substantive Union law applicable to the case after the United Kingdom's withdrawal."
Position paper transmitted to EU27 on Ongoing Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal matters (28 June 2017, pdf) Covers:
"General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679;
- Directive (EU) 2016/680;
- Sectorial Union legislation in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
- Classified information."
UK: Draft Technical Capability Regulations notified to European Commission following targeted consultation (gov.uk link):
"Regulations to help make companies maintain the technical capability to respond to warrants and authorisations from law enforcement.
The Home Office has notified the European Commission of regulations to help make companies maintain the technical capability to respond to warrants and authorisations from law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.7.17)
Italy proposes Libya pact to curb illegal migration (euraciiv, link):
"Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Thursday (13 July) proposed a pact with Libya to combat human trafficking during a visit to Tripoli to meet mayors of cities affected by the scourge."
EU to scale back Greek asylum aid (euobserver, link):
"Stranded refugees on the Greek islands will soon have to rely on the Greek government for all basic services.
Athens is set to nationalise services over the summer that were previously funded by the EU amid concerns that it won't be able to deliver, as some 60 people continue to arrive from Turkey to the islands on a daily basis.
Greek socialist MEP Miltiadis Kyrkos, at a hearing on the issue at the European Parliament on Wednesday (12 July), said that the transition of aid from EU-funded NGOs to the Greek state will be a "disaster.""
Serious problem regarding family reunification for asylum-seekers in Germany under Dublin III Regulation (aitima.gr, link):
"n the context of our project on legal assistance to asylum seekers, we deal with hundreds of cases of asylum seekers who are in Greece and have applied for family reunification under the Dublin III Regulation.
During the last months we have noted that there is a serious problem concerning the completion of the family reunification cases in Germany. More specifically we have found that in cases of asylum seekers for which Germany has accepted responsibility, the transfer to Germany has not been carried out despite the fact that the six-month time-limit provided by the Regulation has expired. So far our organization is aware of 21 such cases of asylum seekers, including particularly vulnerable people such as an eight-member family waiting to be reunited with the seriously ill father as well as unaccompanied minors."
EU remains silent as Polands government assaults top court (euractiv, link):
"The EU remained silent on Thursday (13 July) despite being pressed by journalists to say something following the news that Polands far-right government tabled a bill in parliament that would subordinate the countrys Supreme Court to executive power."
And see: Poland 'leaving EU community of values' (euobserver, link):
"Leading MEPs and legal watchdogs have raised the alarm on Polish judicial reforms, but the European Commission declined to speak out so far.
Manfred Weber, the German head of the centre-right EPP group, the largest in the European Parliament, said on Thursday (13 July) that EU states and the Commission ought to take measures against the Polish government. "
UK: Government criticised for refusing to publish report into funding of extremist groups
The UK government has been criticised for refusing to publish a Home Office report on "the nature, scale and origin of the funding of Islamist extremist activity in the UK, including any overseas sources."
Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, said in a written statement to parliament that the report would not be published "because of the volume of personal information it contains and for national security reasons."
Certain MPs - members of the Privcy Council, an archaic government body - will be able to view the report in private, but will not be allowed to discuss what they have learnt in public.
Interpol Rejects Azerbaijani Request for Arrest Warrant Against European Parliamentarian (Armenia Weekly, link):
"International police cooperation agency Interpol has rejected a request for an international arrest warrant to be served on a Czech Member of the European Parliament (MEP), reported Prague based Czech Radio.
Interpol refused the request for the arrest of MEP Jaromir tetina following an appeal from authorities in Azerbaijan. The request was done following a visit by the MEP to Artsakh in February, during which tetina denounced Azerbaijani authorities."
Europol chief defends EU counterterrorism efforts as battle-hardened Islamic State fighters return (Washington TImes, link):
"Europes top intelligence and counterterrorism officials are bracing for a surge of battle-hardened Islamic State foreign fighters returning home to the continent as the jihadi group loses its territorial base in the Middle East, the head of the European Unions main law enforcement agency says."
Spain: Hunger strike in Barcelona migrant detention centre ends
A hunger strike undertaken by some 60 detainees in Barcelona's migrant detention centre (CIE, Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros) ended on Wednesday night, two days after it began.
The hunger strike was undertaken as a protest calling for detainees to be set free and against their planned expulsion, which they considered to be "collective" according to a lawyer for local campaign group Tanquem els CIE (Close the CIE).
Dutch Senate votes in favor of dragnet surveillance powers - GA NAAR DOSSIER / Dragnet surveillance for secret services (Bits of Freedom, link):
"Late last night the Dutch Senate passed the bill for the new Intelligence and Security Services Act. With the Senates vote, a years-long political battle has come to an end: the secret services have been afforded dragnet surveillance powers....
Were beyond disappointed that a bill has been passed that faced such overwhelming opposition from experts, civil society and citizens alike. Traditionally, Senate concerns itself with the quality of legislation, compliance with the constitution and international agreements, and the question whether citizens' rights are upheld. The dragnet surveillance bill fails on all counts."
UK-BREXIT: Repeal Bill: Summary "factsheet" are here (link)
- Full-text of the Repeal Bill (pdf)
- Explanatory Notes: EU withdrawal Bill (68 pages, pdf)
- Note on delegated powers (pdf)
See: Small print of repeal bill creates unprecedented new powers for Brexit ministers (Politics.co.uk, link):
"On the face of it, the repeal bill addresses many of the concerns of its critics. But once you dig in a little further, the full scale of the executive power grab becomes clear. There has never been a piece of legislation like this in modern British history. We have never handed the government so much power. "
And; Small print of repeal bill creates unprecedented new powers for Brexit ministers (Politics.co.uk, link):
Exposing hate crimes of successfully prosecuted beyond borders (IRR News, link):
" Eric and Philippa Kempson and their daughter are long-time residents of Lesbos, their home facing across the short stretch of idyllic but deadly water to the Turkish mainland and the first landfall for the many flimsy vessels of refugees seeking rescue and safety. In the months and now years that have passed since the initial arrivals, they helped bring to the worlds attention the plight of people arriving, and gave up their normal lives to devote themselves to the needs of the most vulnerable children, elderly, disabled, bereaved, nursing and pregnant mothers, the war wounded and traumatised...
Some sought to scapegoat the Kempson family and other human rights defenders for encouraging refugees to come to Lesbos, and have continued a campaign of intimidation and threats of violence against them to this day....
As if local animosity were not enough, a regular British tourist to Lesbos, Richard Sturdy, a respectable 72-year-old businessman from North Yorkshire, joined in the abuse, using online social media, Twitter, Facebook and even media interviews to denigrate and abuse the Kempsons. His personalised hate campaign also extended to racially and religiously abusive language against refugees as well as those trying to assist them. ...
At his trial on 25 May, Sturdy changed his plea to guilty on all charges and received a community rehabilitation activity order, was made to pay victim and court costs and subjected to a restraining order not to contact the victim (this non-custodial sentence reflected credit for a guilty plea)."
European Commission: Infringement proceeding: Hungary & Spain
- Hungary: Commission launches infringement procedure for law on foreign-funded NGOs (pdf):
"Infringements - Today, the European Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Hungary for its new law on foreign-funded NGOs adopted on 13 June.
The Hungarian law introduces new obligations for certain categories of NGOs receiving annual foreign funding above HUF7.2 million (approx. 24,000) to register and label themselves in all their publications, websites and press material as "organisations supported from abroad", and to report specific information about the funding they receive from abroad to the Hungarian authorities. These organisations face sanctions if they fail to comply with the new reporting and transparency obligations."
- Commission refers SPAIN to the Court of Justice of the EU for failure to implement EU rules on whistle-blowers (pdf):
"This Directive is part of the Market Abuse rulebook and requires Member States to establish effective mechanisms to enable the reporting of infringements of the Market Abuse Regulation. It contains provisions to protect those who report such infringements and further specifies procedures to protect whistle-blowers and reported persons, including follow-up arrangements on reports by whistle-blowers and protection of personal data."
See also: Proposed law on whistleblowing and corruption is "perverse, megalomaniacal and authoritarian" (Statewatch News)
GREECE: NGOs fearful of handing island camps to state (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Seven top NGOs aiding refugees in Greece have issued a joint statement expressing their concerns over the handover of responsibilities at migrant camps on the Greek islands to the government as of August 1.
The NGOs say the Greek government has released few details about how it plans to continue providing existing assistance to residents at the camps. A deterioration of living conditions and diminished access to essential services are the main concerns cited if the Greek government does not communicate a plan to the NGOs before the handover."
European Parlliament: Smart Borders Entry/Exit System is unproven, expensive and violates right to privacy (GUE/NGL, link):
"The European Parliament's LIBE Committee today adopted the first part of the so-called Smart Borders Package; the Entry/Exit System (EES).
"The Entry/Exit System text that was voted on today is the result of negotiations with the European Council. It is complex, costly and dangerous to fundamental rights and freedoms. It conflates irregular immigration, border security and the fight against terrorism, and it's effectiveness has not been proven. This is particularly worrying, considering the huge sums of money that would be invested in it."
"In this text, the European Parliament has retreated on many of its initial positions, notably on the right to respect for privacy and data protection. All biometric and alphanumeric data recorded in the EES will be accessible to the member states, including their immigration authorities, law enforcement authorities and intelligence services.
"Even worse, it allows data sharing and cooperation with third countries without specifying the purposes for this.
"The EES therefore institutionalises the registration of personal details of all third-country nationals on a mass scale in violation of their fundamental rights. This is a big brother-style policy and it would set a dangerous precedent," warns the French MEP."
BREXIT: Ongoing Union judicial and administrative proceedings Position paper (pdf):
"Leaving the EU will end the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the UK."
UK: SURVEILLANCE: Final Report DATA-PSST (pdf):
- Transparency has two important dimensions: (a) degree of citizen control over how visible they are; and (b) degree of oversight of the surveillant entity.
- Post-Snowden, we have moved towards a transparency arrangement of radical translucency. This is where (a) people have no personal control over their own personal visibility because they have signed this away for the greater good, but the surveillant organisation helps secure peoples privacy by adding opacity; and (b) public processes are maximally opened up for inspection...".
Statewatch contributed to this project.
Italy to impose tough rules on NGOs (euobserver, link):
"Italy is set to reveal an 11-point code of conduct to restrict NGO rescues in the Mediterranean sea. Those that fail to comply will be banned from disembarking rescued people at Italian ports, according to a draft copy of the proposal.
The issue is part of a wider Italian-led campaign following failed appeals by Rome to get help from other EU member states. "
See Italy's proposed code of conduct for Mediterranean NGOs "threatens life-saving operations"
Mediterranean migration route: help for Italy and long-term solutions (EP Press release, link):
"Most MEPs in the debate defended the work of NGOs from criticism that their presence and rescue interventions are encouraging perilous journeys and even supporting human traffickers. Nevertheless, some MEPs also agreed that a code of conduct is needed to create order in operations at sea.
Many voiced doubts about the cooperation with Libya, pointing to the political instability in the country, the unreliability of its authorities and the heightened risk of abuse and violence faced by migrants who are returned to its shores."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8-12.7.17) including: Italian code of conduct for NGO search and rescue ops; Operation Sophia is "a failed mission"
EU completes ratification of Association Agreement with Ukraine
The EU has taken the final step in ratifying its Association Agreement with Ukraine with the adoption on 11 July of a decision to conlude the Agreement, allowing full implementation of the agreement from 1 September 2017 and giving "a new impetus to the cooperation in areas such as foreign and security policy, justice, freedom and security (including migration) taxation, public finance management, science and technology, education and information society."
Watch: Technologies for borders and critical infrastructure showcased (IFSEC Global, link):
"Featuring L3, Satel, CLD Fencing, Genetec, AxxonSoft, Technocover, Morgan Marine, Gilgen Door Systems, UAS Flight Ops in the Drone Zone and BRE Global in the Attack Testing Zone, here are a selection of interviews, stand tours and product pitches from Borders & Infrastructure Expo at IFSEC 2017."
UK: New criminal tagging system scaled back after ministry failings (The Guardian, link):
"A new tagging system to monitor criminals has been dramatically scaled back and is running at least five years behind schedule after a series of expensive failings by the Ministry of Justice, the governments spending watchdog has found.
The National Audit Office (NAO) discovered that as attempts to develop bespoke technology failed, civil servants turned to G4S for a new tagging contract even though the outsourcing firm is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
A report released on Wednesday describes a chaotic picture of the departments handling of the project, launched six years ago under the then justice minister Ken Clarke, and supposed to be a cheaper and efficient alternative to prison."
See the full report: The new generation electronic monitoring programme (pdf), summary (pdf) and the NAO press release: The new generation electronic monitoring programme (link)
Myths of Migration: Much of What We Think We Know Is Wrong (Spiegel Online, link):
"Migration was the issue of the year in 2016 and it will likely remain important in 2017. The topic is, however, just as hotly debated as it is poorly understood. The so-called "refugee crisis" in Europe and the omnipresent images of overfilled boats arriving on Mediterranean shores give the impression that migration is threatening to spin out of control and that radical action is needed to curtail the uncontrollable influx of migrants. The fear of mass migration has fueled the rise of extreme nationalist parties throughout Europe and helped Donald Trump win the presidential election in the U.S.
This call for tougher migration policies is juxtaposed by another, albeit somewhat weaker, opinion voiced by the business sector, human rights and religious organizations and left-liberal parties. They argue that migration tends to be beneficial for both origin and destination societies, and that we should not see refugees as a burden but as a potential resource.
But in this polarized debate, the rather more sobering facts unfortunately get lost. Both the left-wing and right-wing narratives on migration are rooted in a series of myths that reveal a striking lack of knowledge about the nature, causes and consequences of migration processes. This text examines eight of the myths that I have often encountered in my research."
EU: Drowning mothers (OpenDemocracy, link):
"As late as June of 2015, men comprised nearly three-quarters of the worlds migration flow, according to UNICEF. This has been replaced by a major spike in the numbers of women and children across the Mediterranean and up through Europe.
More migration, unfortunately, has meant more deaths from people trying to cross borders. Although far more men than women undertake the perilous journey through the North African desert or across the Mediterranean in rubber rafts, it is the women who have a greater risk of dying along the way most of them at sea.
Womens increased risk of death is not only true for the Mediterranean journey. The same lethal pattern can be seen along other borders."
ITALY: Interior ministry statistics on migrant arrivals, January-July 2017 (Italian, pdf): including overall numbers, comparative statistics with 2016, distribution of migrants within Italy, ports of disembarkation, nationality of persons disembarked, data on relocations, unaccompanied minors.
UK: Met police spy faces disciplinary over relationship with activist (The Guardian, link):
"A police spy who deceived an environmental activist into forming a long-term relationship with him is facing disciplinary proceedings initiated by Scotland Yard.
Jim Boyling, a serving Metropolitan police officer, will appear before the disciplinary panel six years after he was unmasked as an undercover spy when the activist revealed details of their relationship to the Guardian. The activist wishes to remain anonymous and is known as Laura.
The Met has apologised unreservedly to Laura and six other women after admitting they had been deceived by undercover officers into having intimate relationships that were abusive, deceitful or manipulative. The Met paid substantial compensation to Laura and the other women after a long legal battle."
SPAIN: Over 60 detainees in Barcelona migrant detention centre on hunger strike
On Monday night 52 detainees in Barcelona's migrant detention centre (CIE, Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros) began a hunger strike. On Tuesday morning another 11 detainees from a variety of countries joined the 52, who are said to be from countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The detainees are in "different administrative situations", although the hunger strike was started to protest against the impending deportation that many of them are facing.
UK: South Wales Police in the UK uses NEC facial recognition system (Biometric Update, link):
"NEC has provided a facial recognition system for South Wales Police in the UK through NEC Europe Ltd., which uses the companys flagship facial recognition software platform NeoFace Watch.
The software is used for real-time CCTV surveillance, as well as still image and recorded video face search, which acts as a security measure in crowded locations, such as airports and stadiums.
The police force has deployed NeoFace Watch using CCTV cameras installed on several police vehicles. It is using the softwares real-time surveillance capability to locate persons of interest on pre-determined watchlists, including criminals, suspects, vulnerable individuals and missing persons." (emphasis added)
USA: Does the Militarization of Police Lead to More People Killed? Research Says Yes (Truthout, link):
"Scenes of heavily armed police forces are becoming more common across the country. New research from Ryan Welch, Jack Mewhirter, Casey Delehanty and Jason Wilks finds that this militarization results in more individuals killed each year by law enforcement. The study found that twice as many people are more likely to die in counties that receive an influx in military equipment. Additional research conducted in 2016 also found that police are more likely to be attacked when they are militarized, which raises the question of how beneficial it is to pad police forces with military-grade weaponry."
See: Militarization and police violence: The case of the 1033 program (SAGE, link) and: The Case Against Police Militarization (pdf) by Eliav Liebnich and Adam Shinar:
"this Article develops the first comprehensive and principled argument against police militarization that is not strictly instrumental. Contrary to argument that are preoccupied with the consequences of militarization, we argue that militarization undermines our basic understanding of the nature of the liberal state."
EU: Crowdfunded far-right vessel to set sail for the Mediterranean to target refugee rescue boats (i News, link):
"At some point this weekend a 42-year-old former Finnish research vessel will set sail from the east African country of Djibouti bound for the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. In its previous life, the Suunta surveyed the Arctic seas but its latest voyage will see it enter far more contentious waters.
Re-named the Sea-Star, the 25-crew vessel has been chartered by European far-right activists to intervene in the ongoing humanitarian mission to rescue refugees and migrants seeking to cross from Libya to Europe a journey which has so far this year claimed more than 2,000 lives.
The 422-tonne ship, whose running costs are being financed with more than 100,000 euros (£88,000) raised through crowdfunding supported by white supremacists and neo-Nazis, is expected to station itself off the Libyan coast within a fortnight to carry out its self-declared mission to save Europe and to save lives.
In reality, charities and anti-extremist campaigners believe the Sea-Star has but one mission to directly interfere with and disrupt the humanitarian vessels which every week pluck hundreds of people from waters where they would otherwise perish."
IRELAND: Revealed: The Department of Justice 'shopping list' includes new HQ, helicopters and garda station (Irish Independent, link):
"The Department of Justice 'shopping list' for gardaí includes requests for funding for major projects like a new headquarters for key units, the reopening of a Dublin station and new helicopters.
Additional funding needed for gardaí and wider justice sector has been set out in a briefing prepared for new Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.
Officials have sent details of extra funding requirements between 2018 and 2021 to the Department of Public Expenditure, which is in the process of preparing its mid-term capital plan review."
EU: UK parliamentary report: "failed" Operation Sophia has caused more deaths, EU should "combat irregular migration" in southern Libya
A UK parliamentary committee has said in a new report that it sees "little reason to renew the mandate of Operation Sophia", the EU's anti-migrant smuggling mission in the Mediterranean, when it comes up for renewal at the end of July.
According to the report by the House of Lords European Union Committee, the operation "has not in any meaningful way deterred the flow of migrants, disrupted the smugglers networks, or impeded the business of people smuggling on the central Mediterranean route," while an "unintended consequence" of the mission "has been that the smugglers have adapted, sending migrants to sea in unseaworthy vessels, leading to an increase in deaths."
UK: Was my friend a spycop? publication now out (Undercover Research Group, link):
"A guide to the dos and donts of investigating if a comrade was an undercover police officer is released today,
In this 24 page booklet, we have brought together all the lessons we have learned to help you do your own investigation.
It covers how to start investigating and the sorts of questions that need answering. Equally importantly, we discuss how to support each other or deal with situations which are inconclusive. It takes you through the process step by step, so even if you have already started your own investigation there is help with what to do once you have come to a conclusion."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Prague is to argue it cannot be blamed for not accepting refugees (Prague Monitor, link):
"The Czech Republic is likely to argue that it could not meet its pledge to accept asylum seekers from Italy and Greece due to bad conditions and inactivity of especially the Italian authorities, according to the information CTK has received.
On June 14, the European Commission opened legal cases against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland over their unwillingness to resettle migrants. The deadline for the Czech Republic to react within the proceedings is Thursday, July 13. The case may end up in the EU court.
The Czech Republic is to argue that it wanted to test the system and offered to accept 50 refugees in the spring of 2016, Greece did not use the offer and Italy only partly, according to CTK's information.
From Greece, only 12 of 30 asylum seekers were resettled. Italy at first did not let security interviews with the selected refugees to be held by the Czechs in its territory and it did not even react to the second Czech offer. As a result, no refugee was resettled."
Note: the Irish authorities have reported the same problem with Italian refusal to allow security checks by other states on their territory. See: Less than a third of promised 4,000 refugees settled here (Irish Times, link)
Italian uproar over fascist-themed beach near Venice (BBC News, link):
"When a national newspaper revealed that a beach near Venice was styling itself on the fascist era of Benito Mussolini, police quickly raided the club.
One sign said "Anti-democratic zone and regime" while another appeared to joke about the Nazi Holocaust, reading "Entry forbidden - gas chamber".
The Venice prefect ordered "any references to fascism" to be removed.
But now the row has spread to parliament, over a bill to tighten up laws against promoting fascism."
USA: PREDICTIVE POLICING: The Ex-Cop at the Center of Controversy Over Crime Prediction Tech (Bloomberg, link):
"Goldsteins company does make one unusual promise, which it thinks can satisfy skeptics in law enforcement and civil rights circles simultaneously. Other companies that make predictive software for criminal justice settings keep their algorithms secret for competitive reasons. In March, CivicScape published its code on GitHub, a website where computer programmers post and critique one anothers work. It was an unprecedented move, and it caused an immediate stir among people who follow the cop tech industry. Theyre doing all the things Ive been screaming about for years, said Andrew Ferguson, a professor at the University of the District of Columbias law school and author of the forthcoming book, The Rise of Big Data Policing.
Posting computer code online wont erase the worries about predictive policing. There are still concerns about how CivicScape responds to perceived shortcomings, and theres also the big question of what police departments do with the intelligence it produces. But more than any other company, CivicScape has turned itself into a test case for what it means for law enforcement to use artificial intelligence in a way thats transparent and accountableand whether that's even possible."
And see: FAQs on Predictive Policing and Bias (Human Rights Data Analysis Group, link)
EU: Open NGO Letter to EU Member States and Institutions Regarding the Export of Surveillance Equipment (Access Now, link):
"Following the alarming evidence that EU-made electronic surveillance equipment is still being exported to authoritarian countries around the world, we strongly urge all EU member states and institutions to respect their human rights obligations and call on them to prioritise long overdue EU reforms.
We are extremely concerned that little has changed since civil society first recognised the need to modernise current EU rules governing the export of surveillance equipment as far back as 2011 during the Arab Awakening. As the European Commission has since proposed reforms to the current system specifically aimed to prevent human rights violations associated with certain cyber-surveillance technologies, we urge member states to refrain from any further delays in the process and to ensure that states throughout the European Union prevent surveillance exports that pose risks to human rights."
See: Open Letter (pdf)
UK: Bristol police officer to be charged after man shot with Taser weapon (The Guardian, link):
"A police officer is to be charged with assault after one of her forces race relations advisers was allegedly shot with a Taser electronic weapon.
PC Claire Boddie, 47, has been summonsed to appear before magistrates following an incident in which 63-year-old Judah Adunbi was stopped outside his home in Bristol.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated and sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which decided there was sufficient evidence to charge the officer."
See: Judah Adunbi 'welcomes' decision to charge police officer who Tasered him as suspension calls grow (Bristol Post, link): "A race relations advisor Tasered in the face by a police officer said he welcomed a decision to prosecute the officer on an assault charge. It came as calls grew for the two PCs involved in a confrontation with Judah Adunbi in Bristol to be suspended.
Mr Adunbi, speaking via the Justice for Judah campaign, which was launched following the incident in January, said he "keenly awaits the verdict" of a court case, which will begin next month."
SPECIAL: EU: Italy's proposed code of conduct for Mediterranean NGOs "threatens life-saving operations"
The European Commission asked Italy to draw up a "Code of Conduct" for NGOs carrying out search and rescue in the Mediterranean: See full-text of: Code of Conduct for NGOs involved in migrant's rescue operation at sea (pdf). The organisation Human Rights at Sea has said the proposed code "threatens life-saving search and rescue operations".
All NGOs operating in the Med are required to sign and obey the Code: "Failure to sign this Code of Conduct or failure to comply with its obligations may result in the refusal by the Italian State to authorize the access to national ports, subject to compliance with the existing international conventions."
GREECE: Migrants 'stuck and forgotten' in notorious camp on Lesbos (Sky News, link)
"They are tired of waiting for Greek authorities and the EU to decide whether or not to take them in, with some there for a year."
See also: Lesvos migrants clash with police (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Frustrated by poor living conditions at the overcrowded Moria reception center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, migrants clashed with police Monday afternoon.
The unrest was sparked during a protest outside the so-called pre-departure center that operates within the Moria camp aimed at drawing attention to the substandard conditions that people are forced to endure while awaiting deportation to Turkey. According to reports, police guarding the center came under a hail of stones when they tried to secure the area and responded with tear gas....."
Germany asks for EU help following Hamburg G20 protests (DW, link)
"Germany has asked EU members to help trace demonstrators who vandalized property or attacked police at the Hamburg G20 summit. More than 50 suspects from seven countries are currently being detained."
See also: Politicians want EU-wide "extremist" database after arrests, injuries, protests and riots at "dystopian" Hamburg G20 summit
EU: Migration only factor bumping up EU population (euractiv, link):
"The European Unions population increased last year, despite the same number of births and deaths being recorded. Eurostat, the EUs statistics office, said the bump was driven by migration.
On World Population Day (11 July), it can be revealed that the EUs population increased from 510.3 million on 1 January 2016 to 511.8 million on 1 January 2017. Eurostat said that in 2016 the same amount of births and deaths were recorded (5.1 million), meaning the 28-country blocs natural population change was in fact neutral.
That means the positive population change of 1.5 million was driven largely by an increase in net migration."
EU The impact on fundamental rights of the proposed Regulation on the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) (FRA, link):
"The European Parliament requested this FRA Opinion on the fundamental rights and personal data protection implications of the proposed Regulation for the creation of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), including an assessment of the fundamental rights aspects of the access by law enforcement authorities and Europol."
See: Opinion (pdf, link)
Italys New Law on Torture Fails to Meet International Standards (HRW, link):
"After 28 years of failure, Italy has finally made torture a crime. But theres little to celebrate.
The compromise text, finally approved on July 5 by the Chamber of Deputies after four years of tough negotiations, falls short of the bar set by European and international bodies of which Italy is a member and fails to meet international law standards.
The flaws rest with how the law defines the scope of the crime and the statute of limitations."
CoE: Hungary: Visit to transit zones to evaluate sexual abuse risks faced by migrant children (link);
"Council of Europe childrens rights experts concluded today a three-day visit to Hungary to evaluate risks of sexual abuse and exploitation faced by migrant children placed in transit zones. Their report is expected in October.
Hungarian authorities invited Lanzarote Committee Chair Claude Janizzi and representatives of the committee to visit Hungary, following a letter that Janizzi had sent to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in March, in which he expressed concerns that a new Hungarian law On the amendment of certain acts related to increasing the strictness of procedures carried out in the areas of border management could increase the risks of sexual abuse of migrant children."
EU: Data retention discussions continue at informal JHA Council meeting
"In a format of joint session between the Ministers of Justice and Home affairs, the issue of data retention was discussed. The ministers exchanged views on possible options for data retention for the purpose of prevention and prosecution of crime, underlining that this does not concern the content of the messages.
Communications metadata is a very important element in fight against serious crime, for example to help discover links between possible criminals and locate the victims of crime, minister Reinsalu said.
Estonia has always considered data retention an important element in fight against serious crime. During the presidency, Estonia will continue the good work of the Maltese and will be looking into different options for addressing the current situation of legal uncertainty, said Mr. Reinsalu."
See: Press release, informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers, 7 July 2017: At the informal meeting of EU justice ministers the future of e-Justice was set (pdf)
EU: An attack from outer space? These brokers of fear have just what you need (De Correspondent, link):
"The EU is playing an increasing role in public security. But a great deal of policy focuses not on understanding the dangers we face, but on boosting the security industry itself. Marijn Hoijtink has spent years researching the issue. This is what she found."
HUNGARY: Whats the new Fidesz game plan? (Hungarian Spectrum, link):
"Viktor Orbán himself talked about the hot summer and even hotter fall that awaits us. He predicted that George Soros will do his best to have a new government in Hungary that will take down the fence and open the borders to illegal immigrants. 444 might find all this sheer madness, but one cant help thinking that we are faced here with a centrally manipulated propaganda campaign and that behind it the government may actually be preparing to create a situation that would require police intervention. That would give the government an opportunity for a major crackdown, possible martial law, and perhaps the large-scale jailing of activists and opposition politicians."
UK: 25% increase in police use of tasers against children
The number of times police officers used taser electroshock weapons against children increased by 25% across the UK in 2016 compared to 2015, with 597 deployments as compared to 476 in the previous year. Police are being equipped with an increasing number of more powerful tasers following recent approvals by the Home Office and ongoing police policy towards deployment of the weapons.
GERMANY: Politicians want EU-wide "extremist" database after arrests, injuries, protests and riots at "dystopian" Hamburg G20 summit
The G20 summit in Hamburg, which was accompanied by "dystopian" security measures including the deployment of Predator drones, robots in the sewers, heavily militarised police and 'no-protest zones', finished on Saturday following days of mass protests that continued over the weekend. Dozens of protesters were injured and hundreds arrested - although there are no official figures on how many exactly - while numbers offered for the number of police officers injured range from 200 to 500. The German justice minister, Heiko Maas, is now leading calls for a "Europe-wide extremist database" - which sounds similar to previous calls for EU-wide databases on "troublemakers".
UK: Children blighted by care home criminalisation (Police Professional, link):
"Policing must understand the rejection felt by looked-after children to prevent unruly behaviour turning into a criminal record.
Figures from the Howard League for Penal Reform show young people aged 16-17 in childrens homes are 15 times more likely to be criminalised than others of the same age.
Launching a two-year campaign, the charity has claimed opportunities are being missed to help young people because care home workers are too quick to call the police over their behaviour.
It believes police officers and childrens home workers need to learn more about how a sense of rejection can lead to young people being criminalised."
And see: Programme to end the criminalisation of children in residential care (The Howard League, link)
A crisis of definition, re-humanising the refugee (Media Diversified, link) by Olivia Woldemikael:
"The label of refugee is deceptiveit often hides more about a person than it reveals. In particular, when we refer to the 21 million refugees or the refugee crisis, we inadvertently strip people of their individuality and reduce their diverse lived experiences to the single narrative of displacement. Refugees, as a whole, have been so dehumanised that it is palatable to enclose them in congested camps and detention centres, to deny them access to education and opportunities to work, and to want to keep them out of our countries like a plague. Nothing has made this clearer to me than a meeting with one African refugee, in particular."
UK: Asylum seekers forced into homelessness by paperwork delays, study finds (The Guardian, link)
"The government has been accused of routinely denying support to asylum seekers, leaving them homeless and unable to feed their families, following analysis of more than 300 recent cases.
Research conducted by Refugee Action found that the Home Office was missing its own deadlines for finding emergency accommodation for homeless and destitute asylum seekers, and in some cases wrongly refusing those who make claims for emergency assistance.
In one case, it took more than 10 months to make a decision on whether to grant an applicant asylum support so long that the person had already received refugee status."
See: Slipping through the cracks: how Britain's asylum support system fails the most vulnerable (Refugee Action, pdf)
USA: Banks Deploy AI to Cut Off Terrorists Funding (Wired, link):
"Ever since the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, banks have been required to assist government agencies in detecting money laundering. Software has helped automate that process somewhat. Yet, the process is beset by false positives, in which the system flags behavior that is not actually criminal. A recent Dow Jones survey of more than 800 anti-money laundering professionals found that nearly half of them said false positive alerts hurt their confidence in the accuracy of the screening process.
Still, to comply with governments, banks invest billions of dollars in these systems every year. Thats billions investeda lot of humans investigating the flags a legacy system will generate, and a large majority of those turn out not to be financial crimes," says David McLaughlin, who founded QuantaVerse in 2014. "Meanwhile, the real financial crimes are going unnoticed.""
Interpol's global criminal database and my face (Financial Review, link):
"Good God, I needed a drink.
I was wandering around the booths at the Interpol World cybersecurity conference in Singapore last week, feeling curious and uneasy, when I noticed a high-definition photograph of my own sweaty face broadcast high on one of the hundreds of screens.
It had been captured as I climbed the crowded escalators outside the conference centre. I was half-looking down at my phone, oblivious to the camera, and underneath the picture was some helpful information. Ethnicity: caucasian. Gender: female. Hair: brown. Height: 170-180cm. Glasses: no. Smile: no."
UK: We came from Romania to build a life, and were locked up for sleeping rough (The Independent, link):
"We come from Romania. We left for the reasons most people do. Its a corrupt country. If you have money you can do what you like, but if you have nothing, you cant even get a doctor to treat you.
So we left. For twelve years we lived in Spain. It was difficult to find work that paid enough to live on but we survived. Marineta worked as a carer and Teofil did lots of different jobs.
In 2016 we decided to try our luck in the UK. We were curious about what life here was like. We hoped to find better-paid work, and improve our quality of life."
Turkey: EU funds, authoritarianism, and civil society (Osservatorio balcani e caucaso):
"For over 10 years, Turkey has received EU funds supporting reforms and democratisation. In light of the country's authoritarian drift, however, many wonder whether this strategy still makes sense
Relations between Turkey and the EU are undergoing a period of profound transformation. For Ankara an official EU candidate since 2005 the prospect of accession seems now unlikely. The process, which had already been stalling for several years, has been further damaged by the authoritarian positions taken by the Turkish government. They have worsened after the attempted coup of last summer, followed by a state of emergency which is still in place."
EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs meeting
Migration, counter-terrorism and transnational crime - Awaiting CJEU opinion on PNR Canada scheduled for 26 July
The first "meeting with the new US Administration at ministerial level": Outcome of the EU US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting,Valletta, 15-16 June 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 10483-17, pdf):
UK: This Woman Always Thought She Was British. Now, After 30 Years, The Home Office Says Shes Not (Buzzfeed, link):
"Five generations of Cynsha Bests family are British, but she was detained by the Home Office after trying to register a marriage. Now she's scared of being deported."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-7.7.17)
War and violence drive 80% of people fleeing to Europe by sea, not economics (Guardian, link):
"Report challenges economic migrant myth, revealing that most of those making perilous sea crossing were forced from their homes by persecution and fear.
The vast majority of people arriving in Europe by sea are fleeing persecution, war and famine, while less than a fifth are economic migrants, a report published on Friday reveals.
More than 80% of an estimated 1,008,616 arrivals in 2015 came from refugee-producing countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and a quarter of that number were children.
Researchers say the findings challenge the myth that migrants are coming to Europe for economic reasons."
EU-G20: Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany (pdf):
Tusk is seeking support to tackle "the unprecedented wave of illegal migration" through "targeted UN sanctions against smugglers" in north Africa. However, he notes that:
"Unfortunately I have to say that today we do not have the full support even for this minimum. If we do not get it, it will be a sad proof of the hypocrisy of some of the G20 members..."
Perhaps this is because he refers to everyone arriving in the EU as "irregular migrants" (who anyway have the right to claim asylum) and not as refugees and migrants. He also refers only to "smuggling" not trafficking - two legally distinct concepts.
Clock ticking on EU migrant quota deadline (euobserver, link):
"EU states are running out of time to comply with migrant relocation quotas on Italy and Greece, the European Commission has said.
Im not very happy with how some member states have so far responded to our call for more relocations, the EU migration commissioner, Dmitris Avramopoulos, said in Tallinn on Thursday (6 July). ...
As of 3 July, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, and Slovakia had not relocated a single person from Italy. Germany and France were miles away from their full legal commitments, with Germany 20,477 relocations short and France 15,935 behind. Spain (8,254 short), the Netherlands (3,891), Romania (3,546), Sweden (3,100), Belgium (3,031), and Portugal (1,561) were also heading for major violations....
Human Rights at Sea, a UK-based charity, said on Thursday it had seen a leaked copy of the draft Italian code. There was a distinct lack of ... explicit reference to the need to save life at sea in the draft, the charity said. It said that NGOs who refused to sign could be denied access to Italian ports."
See: Relocations at 3 July 2017 (pdf)
Pluralism under attack: The assault on press freedom in Poland (IFEX, link):
"Poland's government is using legislative, political, and economic means to stifle the media and limit dissent and debate within the country, according to Pluralism under Attack: The Assault on Press Freedom in Poland, a special report from Freedom House."
Brexit and the future of UK arms transfer controls (Saferworld, link):
"As the UK moves towards exit from the EU, Saferworld examines the implications for UK strategic trade control in a new report and accompanying comment piece.
We consider how - from sanctions and embargoes to an extensive EU control lists for military and dual-use goods and much more besides - UK and EU controls are closely entwined. Much needs to be done to ensure that UK still has its full suite of transfer control measures in place on the day it leaves the EU."
European Parliament: Special committee to tackle deficiencies in the fight against terrorism (EP News, link): It will:
"examine counter-terrorism measures, detect shortcomings in cross-border judicial cooperation and information-sharing
measure impact on fundamental rights.
MEPs approved setting up a 12-month special committee to address the practical and legislative deficiencies in the fight against terrorism across the EU."
See: Decision setting up the Committee (pdf)
EU plans on Central Mediterranean Route: old wine in new bottles (ECRE, link):
"EU Ministers once more set the wrong priorities. Reducing search and rescue capacity and increasing deterrence is not the answer when lives are at stake, said ECREs Secretary General, Catherine Woollard, Rather than a code of conduct on NGOs an action plan on the creation of safe and legal channels is urgently needed.
UK: Tasers used against children as young as TEN in the West Midlands (Birmingham Mail, link);
"Tasers have been used against children as young as ten in the West Midlands. A primary school-age child in the region was 'red-dotted' with a Taser by police in 2016.
Police in the West Midlands fired Tasers six times at under-18s, three times at 15-year-olds, twice at 16-year-olds and once at a 17-year-old. There were 597 incidences of Tasers being used against children across the UK in 2016, according to figures released by police under the Freedom of Information Act."
Activist launches court battle over undercover police tactics as Scottish Government decline probe (Daily Record, link):
"Tilly Gifford and her legal team raised £7000 for legal challenge as they fight for inquiry into illegal police tactics in Scotland...A campaigner has launched a court battle over the Scottish Governments decision not to order a public inquiry into undercover police tactics.
Glasgow-based environmental activist Tilly Giffords legal team used an online crowdfunding appeal to raise the £7000 needed to take the case forward and trigger a Government response in court.
They want the Home Office to extend the Pitchford Inquiry, which will probe illegal tactics used by undercover police since 1968, beyond England and Wales."
UK: From Hillsborough to Grenfell (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link)
The law rarely holds powerful individuals to account. The Grenfell disaster is unlikely to be different, argue Steve Tombs and David Whyte.
Interoperability: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Weighing the pros and cons of sharing information among EU borders and security systems:
"Interoperability between information systems for borders and security can help border and law enforcement officials thanks to fast and easy access to information about non-EU nationals entering the EU. However, as a new paper from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows in addition to benefits, there are also fundamental rights risks. These include using data for some purpose other than the one were designed for, unlawful access to personal data, replicating incorrect data about a given person, and children being linked to immigration offences their parents committed."
See: Report (pdf)
EU: Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministers: Press statement following discussions on Central Mediterranean (pdf):
"In Tallinn, the Ministers of Interior acknowledged that the situation in the Central Mediterranean and the resulting pressure on Italy is of great concern to all Member States. In line with the European Council conclusions of 22-23 June, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take urgent action by stepping up coordination and delivery of all the elements contained in the Malta Declaration, the Partnership Framework and the Joint Valletta Action Plan, as well as the need to continue steps towards finding the right balance between the principles of solidarity and responsibility and to provide adequate support to the most affected Member States.
The Ministers of Interior welcomed and based their discussions on the Action Plan presented by the Commission on 4 July 2017, containing immediate measures that can be taken by the Commission, the High Representative, Italy and other Member States."
See also: Presidency of the Council: Ministers of Interior agree on more robust approach to migration pressure (press release, pdf)
And: EU: Action Plan for Central Mediterranean: mandatory code of conduct for NGOs, massive expansion of detention and hotspots in Italy
UK government urged to end Muslim Council of Britain 'boycott' (Middle East Eye, link):
"The British government needs to fix its broken relationship with the Muslim community, according to a report by an influential charity.
The Missing Muslims Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All is the result of an 18-month commission into the place of Islam in public life by the community support group Citizens UK.
The commissioners, who include high profile names from the world of business, academia, politics and faith, travelled the country and are said to have listened to 500 hours of testimony. They have proposed recommendations for the government, Muslim community, civil society and the business world to implement."
EU: Britain First supporter calls for Merkel to be shot for refugee policy (The Guardian, link):
"A prominent Britain First supporter has advocated gunning down Angela Merkel because of Germanys policy of allowing Muslim refugees to settle in Europe.
Marian Lukasik, a far-right activist, said the German chancellor should be shot to pieces after allowing Syrian and Iraqi people to enter Germany.
Footage of his comments has been uploaded to YouTube as part of an interview which has been viewed thousands of times.
It comes days after a man, reportedly with rightwing views, was charged with planning to assassinate the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and one year on from the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed by a far-right activist who shouted Britain First before shooting and stabbing her."
UK: Criminal justice after austerity: are there radical possibilities? (The Independent, link) by Rebecca Roberts:
"In the aftermath of the exceptional bravery and heroism displayed by police officers during recent terrorist attacks, it seems almost heretical to question any expansion of police resources. We must not overlook the darker side of policing in terms of institutional racism and the overwhelming focus on black youth and poor communities. If we want to take seriously the problems of violence and harm in society then we need a new approach.
As both austerity and the economic crisis have wreaked havoc in society, the impulse to punish and control has trumped any commitment to taking seriously peoples needs. We need to look beyond the narrow confines of our existing legal system, police force and prison system.
To take law breaking and harm seriously, we need to reconfigure how we think about safety in society. Law breaking and harm have many complex sources, many that simply cannot be addressed by more police on the streets. In simple terms, if some of the problems we face include violence, mental ill health, poverty, and yes, harmful deregulation, then the one-size-fits-all solution of criminal justice is not the answer. "
And see: What lies beyond criminal justice? Developing transformative solutions (EG Press, link)
Central Mediterranean: Death toll soars as EU turns its back on refugees and migrants (Amnesty, link):
"The soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to failing EU policies, said Amnesty International in a report published today.
A perfect storm: The failure of European policies in the Central Mediterranean finds that by ceding the lions share of responsibility for search and rescue to NGOs and by increasing cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, European governments are failing to prevent drownings and turning a blind eye to abuse, including torture and rape.
EU Ministers meeting in Tallinn today are set to discuss new proposals that will make a dire situation worse."
And see: Europe migrant crisis: EU blamed for 'soaring' death toll (BBC News, link)
UK: Chilcot: Tony Blair was not 'straight with the nation' over Iraq war (The Guardian, link):
"Sir John Chilcot has said he does not believe Tony Blair was straight with the nation about his decisions in the run-up to the Iraq war.
The chairman of the public inquiry into the 2003 conflict said the former prime minister had however been emotionally truthful in his account of events leading up to the war, meaning he relied on both emotion and fact.
Breaking his long silence on the matter in an interview with the BBCs political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, Chilcot said: Tony Blair is always and ever an advocate. He makes the most persuasive case he can. Not departing from the truth but persuasion is everything."
Interpol removes Turkey from database for uploading Gulenist profiles (New Europe, link):
"Ankaras move to upload 60,000 wanted supporters of the Gülenist movement on Interpols database has caused the suspension of Turkeys use of the infrastructure, Hurriyet daily reports.
Interpols system of notices is used to issue international alerts for fugitives, suspected criminals, persons linked to or of interest in an ongoing criminal investigation, persons and entities subject to UN Security Council Sanctions, potential threats, missing persons and dead bodies. Details are stored in a database known as the INTERPOL Criminal Information System, which also contains personal data and the criminal history of people subject to a request for international police cooperation.
Turkey no longer has access to the database, as the use of Interpols infrastructure to prosecute 60,000 individuals with suspected links to what Turkish prosecutors consider a terrorist organization is seen as a breach of trust."
But see: INTERPOL spokesperson: Turkey not suspended, has access to databases (Daily Sabah, link):
"Turkey's access to the International Police Organization's (INTERPOL) databases has not been denied, and it is still able to report Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) members to the institution, an INTERPOL spokesperson told Daily Sabah, after some Turkish media outlets claimed Ankara's access to INTERPOL's databases had been suspended since last July.
An INTERPOL spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions, told Daily Sabah that Turkey's access to INTERPOL's databases has never been denied, and it is still able to submit names on the international wanted persons list."
GREECE: Police detain dozens of migrants in Samos sweep (Ekathimerini, link):
"Police on Wednesday carried out a sweep of Samos to round up dozens of migrants whose applications for asylum have been rejected for deportation to Turkey, but officers struggled to locate them all.
Authorities detained 138 people though many more are believed to be hiding out across the eastern Aegean island. There has been tension on Samos and Chios amid local opposition to the creation of so-called predeparture centers to host migrants whose asylum applications have been rejected.
The situation is less chaotic on Lesvos, Leros and Kos, which have such centers, though overcrowding remains a problem, particularly on Lesvos, which smugglers have started targeting again."
UK: Government seeks secret trial in MI6 rendition case (Reprieve, link):
"The Government will apply for a secret hearing in a challenge to a prosecution decision for the first time in a case stemming from the involvement of a senior MI6 officer in the abduction and rendition of two families to Gaddafis Libya, it emerged today.
The move came today in a hearing in the case of Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar. The couple were seized and rendered to Gaddafis Libya in 2004 in a joint CIA-MI6-Libyan operation. Last June, after Scotland Yard recommended that criminal charges be brought, the Crown Prosecution Service declined to charge the lead suspect former MI6 official Sir Mark Allen. The couple are challenging the decision.
The Foreign Secretary and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, are seeking to avoid the public disclosure of documents detailing the reasons it was decided not to prosecute. At the High Court today, lawyers for the DPP and the Foreign Office said they would apply to have the entire challenge heard in secret."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.7.17)
UK: Police officers who failed to help murdered refugee despite years of pleas displayed 'hallmarks of racism' (The Independent, link):
"Police officers who failed to come to the assistance of a disabled refugee who was beaten to death and set on fire by his neighbour showed hallmarks of racial bias, the police watchdog has said in a damning ruling that revealed a catalogue of failings.
Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, was murdered by Lee James in Bristol in July 2013 after seven years of abuse. James wrongly believed his neighbour, an Iranian national, was a paedophile.
In an excoriating report, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) criticised the poor responses of the police and suggested the officers involved had displayed signs of racism."
See: Poor responses over seven years by Avon & Somerset Constabulary to vulnerable man who was murdered (IPCC, link): "Evidence gathered by an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation identified poor responses over at least seven years by Avon & Somerset Constabulary to a vulnerable man who was brutally murdered by his neighbour in Bristol."
EU: EASO: Vast majority of migrants arriving in Italy not eligible for relocation (EurActiv, link):
"Quoting from a recent monthly statistic, Celis said that Nigerians were indeed the number one nationality applying for international protection currently in Italy, with more than 20%, followed by Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, who were the top three for the moment. Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are not considered eligible for relocation either.
Celis said that in 2016, of all Nigerians applying for asylum in the EU, 55% applied in Italy. The second country where applications were lodged was Germany. However Germany, in the vast majority of cases, is not the country of first arrival on EU territory.
The EASOs Ward Lutin explained that it was not correct to say that the nationals of a certain country were ineligible for asylum, as some certainly were, and this is why an individual assessment was needed. He also said that unlike the past, the vast majority of arriving migrants were applying for asylum."
See: Restrictive refugee relocation scheme means new lower targets might be met (Statewatch News Online, 18 May 2017)
And: European Asylum Support Office (EASO): Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union 2016 (5.7MB, pdf)
GREECE: Waiting in Patras. Next stop: Italy (Athens Live, link):
"48 hours after I have travelled to Patras over the weekend, Greek police entered an abandoned factory in the port city in western Greece. In a unannounced operation, they started forcibly removing 70 refugees and migrants of the 170 who lived there. They were the ones without proper documentation.
I visited the abandoned wood factory while no one suspected such eviction would take place.
Under the scorching heat, the residents moved their tents to the roof so they can avoid the temperatures that reach over 45 degrees Celsius in the industrial hangar.Tired and exhausted, they continued their effort, unaware of what was to come."
GERMANY: Hamburg is transforming itself into an Orwellian dystopia for the G20 Summit (OpenDemocracy, link):
"In less than three weeks from now, the worlds attention will be drawn to your city, as you host the planets most powerful heads of state for the G20 summit. Let us be clear: the G20 has no democratic mandate: it embodies the politics of austerity, social inequality, war and ecological destruction. The protests and draconian security measures that follow G20 summits around the world are testament to this groups odiously illiberal and autocratic nature.
Yet on July 7 and 8, your city will take security measures that are extreme even by G20 standards. Andy Grote, your senator of the interior, went back on a previous promise to not ban demonstrations and declared a general decree forbidding any kind of assembly in a territory of 38 km2.
Predator drones, usually deployed in warzones, will circle the skies, tanks will be out on the streets, and over 15,000 police officers are expected to be on patrol, including those on horseback and with dogs.
Robots deployed by U.S. secret services will crawl through sewers and subway tunnels (doing what exactly? No-one knows since the U.S. wont give us any information about them!) Hamburg will be transformed into an Orwellian dystopia of complete surveillance, enforced by paramilitary means; a democracy-free area."
Austria plays down spat with Italy over border controls (Reuters, link)
"Austria on Wednesday played down a dispute with Italy over possible controls at their shared border, saying Rome had misunderstood its intentions when it spelled out military preparations for any future influx of migrants.
Rome reacted furiously on Tuesday to Austrian Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil's comment that he expected controls at the border with Italy to be introduced "very soon".
His remarks were part of a report in Austria's top-selling tabloid, confirmed by an official in his ministry, that 750 troops were ready to be deployed and four armored vehicles had been sent to the province that includes the Brenner Pass, a gateway for Italy to important trading partners such as Germany."
UK: Suicide and self-harm in prisons hit worst ever levels (The Guardian, link):
"Prisons have struggled to cope with record rates of suicide and self-harm among inmates following cuts to funding and staff numbers, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said it remains unclear how the authorities will meet aims for improving prisoners mental health or get value for money because of a lack of relevant data.
Auditors said that self-harm incidents increased by 73% between 2012 and 2016 to 40,161, while the 120 self-inflicted deaths in prison in 2016 was the highest figure on record and almost double that for 2012. Since 2010, when David Cameron became prime minister, funding of offender management has been reduced by 13%, while staff numbers have been cut by 30%, the report said."
See: National Audit Office report: Mental health in prisons (pdf) and: Summary (pdf)
UK: New Court Interpreting Contract, Same Old Shambles (one small window, link):
"The Ministry of Justice published criminal court statistics for England and Wales for the first quarter of 2017 in June. Buried within is the first set of quantitative data on the performance of the new framework agreement for the provision of foreign language and deaf interpreting services in courts and tribunals and across the justice sector, in force since the end of October 2016.
Boasting a similar success rate as its predecessor and dogged by the same problems, the performance of the new contract offers few surprises to anyone who has watched the shambles of the privatisation of court interpreting services unfold over the past five years. With essentially the same structure and premise but a broader remit and larger budget, the new contract has picked up the baton and kept on running."
UK: Stop and search is not used fairly, most young BAME people believe (The Guardian, link):
"Three-quarters of young black and minority ethnic (BAME) people believe they and their communities are being targeted unfairly by stop and search despite a steep decline in the use of the controversial tactic, according to new research.
A survey commissioned by the Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA), a coalition of 120 organisations, also found that more than a third of BAME people aged 16 to 30 did not believe police used fair information to decide who they stopped and searched.
The figures, published within a CJA report titled No Respect, come at a time when the overall number of stop and searches has fallen from 1.2m to 380,000 over five years.
The latest Home Office figures show BAME people are three times more likely than white people to be searched, up from twice as likely a year earlier, and within this group black people are six times more likely to be searched, up from four times more likely a year earlier."
See: briefing by the Criminal Justice Alliance: No respect: Young BAME men, the police and stop and search (link to pdf)
Understanding public attitudes towards refugees and migrants (ODI, link):
"Understanding public attitudes towards refugees and migrants within their host communities is an increasingly important task. This working paper is intended as a primer outlining current global polling data on public attitudes, and analysing what the literature has to say about the drivers influencing these attitudes.
This large evidence base has a number of implications for those working on refugee and migration issues:
- Engaging effectively with public attitudes towards refugees and migrants requires understanding the real world concerns, emotions and values around which attitudes are formed.
- These efforts work best when clearly rooted in national and local contexts, and the nuances of public attitudes within them.
- Traditional approaches to public engagement, such as myth-busting, may have exacerbated negativity and are unlikely to resonate beyond those who are already supportive. While evidence remains important in influencing policy debates, strategies must acknowledge its limitations as a persuasive tool.
- Emotive and value-driven arguments may have more traction than facts and evidence. Successful strategies might highlight the manageability of the situation, while emphasising shared values."
See: Working Paper (pdf)
Spain Still Struggles to Fill Gaps in Its Fight Against Torture (Liberties, link):
"From incommunicado detention to violence against women, there are many shortcomings in Spain's efforts to combat torture. The Spanish state will soon have to account for its actions, or lack thereof.
Coinciding with the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture, Rights International Spain has presented a report enumerating existing challenges in the prevention and elimination of torture in Spain.
The Committee will take this report into account as it prepares the list of questions the Spanish state will have to address during its upcoming review by the Committee. Some of these challenges are listed below."
EU: Action Plan for Central Mediterranean: mandatory code of conduct for NGOs, massive expansion of detention and hotspots in Italy
The European Commission has published an Action Plan containing a swathe of measures "to support Italy, reduce pressure along the Central Mediterranean Route and increase solidarity," in order to try to address the "structural challenge" represented by the "loss of life and continuing migratory flows of primarily economic migrants on the Central Mediterranean route."
This includes a proposal for Italy and the Commission to draw up a code of conduct for NGOs conducting search and rescue missions, and demands for Italy to massively increase the capacity of its hotspots and its detention centres as well as extending the maximum period of detention up to 18 months, the maximum allowed under EU law.
EU: Rule of law: double standards undermine EU's role in the neighbourhood (CEPS European Neighbourhood Watch, pdf) by Toby Vogel:
"Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty defines the European Union as a community of values and then goes on to list them: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are supposed to inform all EU policies, including enlargement and foreign and security policy, which crucially depend on the strength of the EUs soft power. But what happens to the EU and its power to persuade and lead by example when it fails to safeguard its values at home?
Several events in recent months illustrate what happens when the EU loses sight of its commitment to democracy and the rule of law."
EU: Frontex in the Balkans: Serbian government rejects EU's criminal immunity proposals
The Serbian government is not happy with EU proposals that Frontex teams would be able to operate on its territory with total immunity from Serbian law. After two rounds of talks between the EU and Serbia, the text of a proposed agreement that would govern Frontex teams' joint operations, "rapid border interventions" or return operations in the Western Balkan country shows that the Serbian side rejects the EU's proposal that "members of the team shall enjoy immunity" from the administrative, civil and criminal jurisdiction of the Republic of Serbia.
EU and 'Eastern Partnership' countries discuss return, readmission and reintegration
The EU and the countries of the 'Eastern Partnership' (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) met in Yerevan, Armenia in late June to discuss "recent trends, developments and challenges in return, readmission and reintegration of migrants as well as to share national practices, experiences and lessons learnt."
Poland: EU Should Tackle Unsafe Returns to Belarus (Human Rights Watch, link):
"(London) The European Commission should take enforcement action to address Polands summary returns of asylum seekers to Belarus, three leading rights groups have said today. Amnesty International, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch highlight how Poland is in breach of human rights law, refugee law, European Union law and orders by the European Court of Human Rights.
The Polish government is forcing asylum-seekers back to unsafe Belarus in defiance of its duties as an EU member state, Lydia Gall, Balkans and Eastern Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch said. Its time for the European Commission to step in and address this serious breach of EU asylum law.
Since 2016, Polish authorities have been blocking entry to most asylum seekers at Brest-Terespol border crossing from Belarus by train, forcing them to return to Belarus the same day. Belarus lacks a functioning asylum system, and there are real risks that asylum seekers from Chechnya or central Asian countries could be returned to their countries of origin putting them at risk of torture or ill-treatment."
See also: Poland pushes back thousands of refugees, many fleeing crackdown in Tajikistan (Statewatch News Online, August 2016) and: New detention centres part of 7 million EU migration project in Belarus (February 2017)
UK: Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London until 28 August 2017: People Power: Fighting for Peace (IWM, link):
"Take a journey from the First World War to the present day, exploring how peace movements have influenced perceptions of war and conflict in this major exhibition.
From conscientious objectors to peace camps and modern day marches, Fighting for Peace tells the stories of passionate people over the past one hundred years and the struggles they have endured for the anti-war cause.
Over three hundred objects including paintings, literature, posters, placards, banners, badges and music reveal the breadth of creativity of anti-war protest movements, reflecting the cultural mood of each era."
UK: Legal Aid Cuts in Focus: The Law Society Has its Say (Rights Info, link):
"It is now four years since the government implemented an overhaul of the UKs legal aid system. However, not everybody is happy with the changes.
With the new regime now well established, the Law Society (the professional body that governs the work of solicitors in England and Wales) has published a comprehensive review of how it thinks the new system is working out. With access to legal services coming under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the report is disquieting to say the least. Heres a snapshot of what it says."
See: LASPO 4 years on: Law Society review (The Law Society, link):
"Four years ago, the then government implemented the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Hundreds of thousands of people who were eligible for legal aid on 31 March 2013 became ineligible the very next day.
Four years on, the Law Society has conducted a review of the legal aid changes introduced under the act. This review concludes that:
1. Legal aid is no longer available for many of those who need it
2. Those eligible for legal aid find it hard to access it
3. Wide gaps in provision are not being addressed
4. LASPO has had a wider and detrimental impact on the state and society"
ISRAEL: Bureaucratic Chaos Abound After Biometric IDs Become Mandatory in Israel (Hareetz, link):
"During the first month that biometric identity documents have been compulsory, 15 percent of those getting new passports or identity cards refused to have their fingerprints stored in the database.
Under the new procedures, a high-resolution facial photograph is automatically stored in the database, while the issue of fingerprints is left up to the applicant. Those who refuse to have their fingerprints stored get passports or identity cards that expire in five years, rather than 10. Children under 16 do not have their fingerprints stored. According to the Population and Immigration Authority, 107,000 passports and 65,000 identity cards were issued in June.
But at a meeting on Sunday the parliamentary oversight committee on the biometric database reported that it had been deluged with complaints of citizens who had difficulty obtaining the new documents."
IRELAND: Right to work for asylum-seekers: Supreme Court judgment and Irish Refugee Council position
Following a judgment by the Supreme Court of Ireland calling on the government to consider giving asylum-seekers permission to work (there is currently a total prohibition regardless of how long an individual have been within the asylum system), the Irish Refugee Council has called on the government to give asylum-seekers the right to work after they have been within the asylum procedure for six months or longer.
SCOTLAND: New group to investigate Police Scotland's use of biometric data (The Herald, link:
"THE way the police handle and store the growing mountain of biometric data about Scotlands citizens is to be investigated by a new independent group.
Led by John Scott QC, whose past work led to Police Scotland ending its disproportionate use of stop-and-search, the group will look at mugshots, fingerprints and DNA samples.
The use of data from CCTV, road traffic and police body cameras will also be examined.
The aim is to produce a report by the end of the year on the ethics and governance of keeping and disposing of biometric data, and whether new laws and rules are required.
Last year, an HMCIS report on police biometric data recommended tighter legislation, a statutory code of practice and the creation of a new post of Biometrics Commissioner.
Police Scotland retain custody photos for up to 12 years even if no one is charged, although mugshots are not uploaded to the Police National Database as in England and Wales."
See: Independent Advisory Group on the Use of Biometric Data (Scottish Government, link), the group's terms of reference and membership (pdf) and: Mobiles to offer crime scene access to fingerprint database (The Scotsman, link)
European Border and Coast Guard report
- 72% of returns inside Europe: 101 return flights to the West Balkans and only 41 outside the EU
- Deploying "assets" to frontline Member States: thermo-vision vehicles, dog teams, CO2 detectors and smartdeck cameras
The Commission Press release of 14 June (pdf) concerning the Fourth report on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) stated on the question of "returns" that:
"The pace of return operations organised by the European Border and Coast Guard has continued to grow, with 6,799 irregularly staying migrants returned in 2017 so far, representing an increase of over 157% compared to the same period of last year." [emphasis added]
However, the Fourth Report on EBCG (COM 325-17, pdf) says that:
"Between 1 January and 9 June 2017, the Agency provided support to 144 return operations of third-country nationals during which 6,799 illegally staying third-country nationals were returned, with further 43 operations under preparation. This represents an increase of over 157% compared to the same period of last year. The majority of these operations (101 out of 144) concerned flights to the Western Balkans."
Thus 101 return flights concerned returns inside Europe to the West Balkans and only 41 outside the EU. There were an average of 42 people per flight.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1- 4.7-17)
RACE & CLASS: Prison resistance and black self-defence (link)
"Read new and re-released material from Race & Class on black prison resistance, the role of the Black Panthers, and the influence of US rebellions on the struggle in the UK.
As the USA witnesses a resurgence of law and order rhetoric, Toussaint Losier, assistant professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, publishes this month in Race & Class a double-length article based on his original research into the rebellions, which predated Attica, in New York City jails in 1970. These revolts in five facilities, against overcrowding, inhumane conditions and the practice of preventive detention against political dissidents and those too poor to afford bail were influenced by the politics of the Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party. These radical prison movements drew on discourses of human rights, multiracial unity, national liberation and joined calls for broader social transformation. Click here
To coincide with the publication of this new research, Race & Class makes available a series of pieces on resistance to black incarceration in the USA and UK.
To read interviews carried out in 1992 with key members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Geronimo ji-jaga Pratt (now deceased) and Mumia Abu-Jamal click here
To read reflections on the lineage of radical black politics forged in the harsh conditions of the prison industrial complex from former prisoner Stephen Jones, who was politicised from age 13 during many stints in Californian jails click here
To read the manifesto from Attica during the famous 1971 riot when prisoners seized control of the facility - click here
To read how US Black Power influenced the 1976 Spaghetti House Siege in the UK and later the prison resistance of Shujaa Moshesh, one of the gunmen, click here"
EU: Total information awareness for law enforcement: "turning point" reached, says EU police technology network
- Police foresee immediate 24/7 access to data/profiles, images, videos, biometrics on everyone stopped, checked or under surveillance with automatic flagging on what action to take
- Mobile technologies to access ID profiles from local, national and international records, gather photos and videos and be used for covert surveillance
The European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS), an informal group funded currently funded by the European Commission, has produced a report on 'best practices in mobile solutions' (LIMITE doc no: 10127-17, pdf) which sees developments in mobile technologies, telecoms networks and 'cloud' computing as a "game-changer" for total information awareness for law enforcement authorities. The report foresees police smartphones, smartwatches or other devices having instant, 24/7 access to a complete profile on individuals from data gathered and stored locally, nationally or internationally.
European Parliament: Draft Report on legitimate measures to protect whistle-blowers acting in the public interest when disclosing the confidential information of companies and public bodies (pdf):
"the Commission has not proposed suitable legislative measures to protect whistleblowers in the EU effectively...
Considers that a breach of the public interest includes, but is not limited to, acts of corruption, conflicts of interest, unlawful use of public funds, threats to the environment, health, public safety, national security and privacy and personal data protection, tax avoidance, attacks on workers rights and other social rights and attacks on human rights;
Stresses that the role of whistleblowers in revealing serious attacks on the public interest has proved its significance on many occasions over a number of years and that whistleblowers have proved to be a crucial resource for investigative journalism and for an independent press."
Protesters plan to 'kettle' leaders at G20 summit in Hamburg (Guardian, link):
"Police say choice of inner-city venue is incomprehensible, as protesters prepare to block access routes... the decision to hold it at a congress centre in a densely populated part of the inner city, bordering a district with a long-running history of anti-establishment protests and annual May Day riots, has put police services on high alert....
The 2001 G8 summit in the Italian port city was overshadowed by clashes between police and an estimated 200,000 demonstrators, and the death of a 23-year-old Italian anti-globalisation protester, Carlo Giuliani.
Hamburg authorities have said they expect about half the numbers of protesters that descended on Genoa in 2001, but the presence of divisive political figures such as Trump and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is likely to draw protesters from a wide range of political causes. "
See: Genoa Reports from the ground: Statewatch News Online, July 2001
A tragedy unfolding in Italy as migrant influx spikes (New Europe, link): "What is happening in front of our eyes in Italy is an unfolding tragedy, stated Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, remembering the estimated 2.030 migrants who died in the Mediterranean sea since the beginning of the year..... Italys Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, repeated his call for help stating that it is necessary if Europe wants to stay true to its own principles, history and civilization.
France, Germany pledge more support for Italy on migrants, offer vague (euractiv, link): "France, Germany and the EU executive on Monday (3 July) promised Italy more support in handling the influx of migrants arriving by boat from Africa, agreeing to bolster training and funding for Libyas coastguard and to relocate asylum seekers more swiftly. But they made no direct reference to Romes appeal for European Union nations to ease the pressure by allowing rescue boats carrying migrants to dock in their ports."
Italian plan to curb Mediterranean rescue boat charities 'threatens lives' (Guardian, link): "New rules drawn up by Italy likely to bring NGOs under coast guard control, which they fear will hamper rescue attempts..... Charities that rescue migrants and refugees from the Mediterranean have reacted angrily to plans to make them subject to a new code of conduct drawn up by Italy and endorsed by other EU countries. The move is likely to bring them under the control of the Libyan and Italian coast guards, which might constrain their ability to save passengers from overcrowded and unseaworthy smuggling boats...... But a proposal by Italy to unilaterally close its ports to ships containing migrants is expected to be shelved because it is in clear breach of international maritime law."
Caritas Europa: EU member states must help Italy (New Europe, link): "The European Union member states are showing a lack of solidarity towards Italy, according to Caritas Europa, a European confederation of Catholic relief, development and social service organisations operating in Europe. According to Caritas, Italy is delivering humanitarian assistance to children, women and men in desperate need who have been forced to leave their home countries. But the heroic task of coping alone with 75% of all arrivals to Europe is becoming too difficult to fulfil without the support of all the other member states.
UNHCR: MIXED MIGRATION: TRENDS IN LIBYA: Changing Dynamics and Protection Challenges (pdf):
"This report sheds light on the constantly changing flow of refugees and migrants into Libya and identifies their principal vulnerabilities and needs. It builds on previous studies that indicate that of the three main routes to Europe used by refugees and migrants - the Western Mediterranean Route, the Central Mediterranean Route and the Eastern Mediterranean Route Libya has become the preferred gateway for irregular movement, despite also being the deadliest."
EU: Restricted document highlights plans for ongoing EU interventions in Libya
The EU's plans to re-establish functioning government institutions in Libya and to halt the flow of people across the Mediterranean are outlined in a restricted document currently being discussed by officials in Brussels. The detailed Strategic Review on EUBAM Libya, EUNAVFOR MED Op Sophia & EU Liaison and Planning Cell (9202/17, 15 May 2017, RESTREINT/RESTRICTED, pdf), produced by the European External Action Service, proposes extending until December 2018 the Mediterranean military mission EUNAVFOR MED/Operation, the EU Border Assistance Mission Libya (EUBAM Libya) and the work of the EU Planning and Liaison Cell (EUPLC), based in Brussels.
The report's recommendations were approved by the Council's Committee on Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CivCom) and Politico-Military Group (PMG) on 28 June: see Joint CivCom Advice and PMG Recommendations on Strategic Review on EUBAM Libya, EUNAVFOR MED OP Sophia & EU Liaison and Planning Cell (10714/17, 29 June 2017, LIMITE, pdf).
They will be discussed by the Council's Political and Security Committee tomorrow (link to pdf). The proposals will ultimately need to be approved by the Justice and Home Affairs Council, which is not due to meet again until September (Council of the EU, link).
Statewatch has produced summary of some of the key points from the EEAS report. See: Summary: Restricted document outlines official proposals and recommendations for future EU actions in Libya (pdf).
EU: Commission, France, Germany and Italy - Joint "Declaration": Italy to draw up a "Code of Conduct" to bring NGOs operating in the Med under state control: Press release (pdf):
The measures proposed contains many previous ideas: increasing "relocation" in the EU (which has failed miserably), increasing "returns" (which are low), helping Libyan Coast Guards and enhancing "readmission rates" to Africa.
But top of the list is a new proposal to:
"Work on a code of conduct for NGO's, to be drafted and presented by Italy, in order to improve coordination with NGO's operating in the Mediterranean Sea....
In order to allow swift progress in support of Italy, the Ministers of Interior of France, Germany and Italy and the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs call on all EU partners to consider these action points at the next EU informal Council meeting in Tallinn on 6 July."
EU: Entry-Exit system (EES): Nearing agreement - some "technical" issues still outstanding
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 (Doc no: 10535-17, pdf):
The last political trilogue under the Maltese Presidency is scheduled for 29 June. A number of outstanding issues remain to be solved on this occasion in order to reach a political agreement and meet the objective set by the European Council:.
"The interinstitutional negotiations started on 23 March 2017. 15 technical meetings and 5 political trilogues have been held so far..... "Considerable progress has been achieved so far and the Presidency managed to defend the Council position on crucial issues such as the conditions for law enforcement access, the territorial scope of the Regulation and the data retention period for overstayers."
State of play (LIMITE doc no: 10823-17,pdf) The outstanding issues on 29 June were:
1. Bilateral agreements (Article 64(5)(h))
2. Schengen Borders Code (Article 8a, 8b, 8d)
3. Calculator (Article 10(4))
4. Access to the EES by asylum authorities (Articles 25a and 25b and related provisions)
5. Enrolment of biometrics in case of refusal of entry (Article 16)
6. Transfer of data to third countries (Article 38)
7. Structure of Article 5
8. Data Retention (Article 31)
4-column documents: ADD - 1 (10545-17, 265 pages, 26 June, pdf) and ADD - 2 (10545-17, 27 June, 99 pages, pdf)
Council press release: 30 June 2017 (pdf):
"[agreement with] European Parliament representatives on 29 June on the political issues of a proposal for an Entry-Exit System and a proposal amending the Schengen Border Code in relation to the Entry-Exit System, with a view to an overall agreement once the remaining technical issues are addressed."
Statewatch Analysis: Policing the internet: how Europol takes action against undesirable content online (pdf) by Kilian Vieth (Translation by Viktoria Langer):
Europol removes content from the internet. This approach goes beyond regular measures in the fight against terrorism propaganda and mixes police work and media regulation. Should a police agency be responsible for the surveillance and control of Facebook posts and tweets?
Greek port of Patras becoming something like Calais in France (Migration News Sheet, link):
"An increasing number of migrants/asylum-seekers have been heading to the Greek port of Patras from where they hope to travel clandestinely to Italy. Patras is becoming a bit like the French port of Calais where migrants/asylum-seekers gathered and waited for an opportunity to smuggle themselves or get smuggled by traffickers to the UK."
The detention of asylum seekers in Europe: Constructed on shaky ground? (ECRE, link):
"The detention of asylum seekers pending the examination of their application for international protection continues to provoke heated debates in Europe. While the use of immigration detention is generally on the rise in European countries as an integral part of their responses to migration flows, the detention of persons applying for international protection raises particular questions of legality and proportionality. International and European legal standards have established a clear presumption against the detention of migrants and refugees in particular."
97 migrants detained off Egypts Mediterranean coast (ahram.org.eg, link):
"Egypts navy foiled on Saturday an attempt at irregular migration by 97 people in a boat off the Alexandrian coast, the state-owned MENA news agency reported. According to a statement by the Armed Forces, the migrants included Egyptians, Eritreans, Somalis, Sudanese, Syrians, Yemenis, and Chadians."
German Plan to Deport Children to Morocco Ignores Lessons of History (Refugees Deeply, link)
"The leaked German proposal to build reception centers for unaccompanied minors in Morocco ignores the lessons from Spains controversial and ill-fated attempt to do the same thing 12 years ago, says researcher Lorena Gazzotti."
France: Detention still a primary instrument of migration control (ECRE, link):
"The annual report on administrative detention in France, published today by six civil society organisations present in detention centres, details the systematic use of deprivation of liberty as a primary instrument of migration control.
Last year, France detained 45,937 persons in administrative detention centres (CRA) and other places of administrative detention (LRA) scattered across the territory and overseas. The year 2016 drew a particularly strong link between detention and camp management policies, where the dismantlement of settlements in Paris, Calais and Metz, as well as unlawful evictions (décasages) in Mayotte, resulted in people being placed in detention, often to the detriment of their personal situation and in contravention of legal standards."
EU: Centralised biometric database for convicted non-EU nationals also part of "interoperability" agenda
Proposals published last week by the European Commission will see the development of a new a centralised database holding the criminal records of non-EU citizens, alongside their fingerprints and photographs.
"Although it is possible to exchange information on convictions concerning third country nationals and stateless persons (hereinafter: TCN) through ECRIS [the European Criminal Records Information System] today, there is no procedure or mechanism in place to do so efficiently," says the Commission, and thus a new system is required that will simplify the process and leave the door open for future "interoperability" initiatives with other EU databases and information systems.
Italy appeals for migrant help in Paris (euobserver, link):
"Interior ministers from Italy and Germany met in Paris on Sunday, along with their French counterparts, to discuss the inflow of migrants and refugees disembarking from Libya."
GREECE: LESBOS LEGAL CENTRE: Arbitrary Detention in Lesbos Refugees Driven to Hunger Strike to Protest Inhumane Conditions (link):
"The Legal Centre Lesbos condemns the unlawful practice of indiscriminately detaining people who are in the process of applying for international protection. The Greek Asylum Service is currently automatically detaining applicants whose initial appeals have been rejected, and arbitrarily detaining people of certain nationalities for the entire duration of their applications.
International law forbids discrimination on the basis of nationality, and prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention. It also provides that detainees have the right to meaningfully challenge any deprivation of their liberty. All these rights are being systematically violated in Lesvos."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29-30.6.17)
UK: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber): No more returns to Libya
"The violence in Libya has reached such a high level that substantial grounds are shown for believing that a returning civilian would, solely on account of his presence on the territory of that country or region, face a real risk of being subject to a threat to his life or person."
See: Decision: full-text (pdf)
ICC in The Hague to investigate Libyan Coastguard on the initiative of Sea-Watch (link):
"The International Criminal Court in The Hague is investigating the so-called Libyan Coastguard. This investigation is the result of the numerous attacks on civil rescue organisations as well as refugees and migrants, as highlighted by Sea-Watch. In several cases, the so-called Libyan Coastguard has put rescuers, migrants and refugees in mortal danger in order to bring the latter back to Libya at gunpoint a clear violation of the internationally-accepted principle of non-refoulement.
For Sea-Watch, the specific reason for this legal investigation stems from an incident on 10th May in which a patrol boat of the Libyan Coastguard dangerously cut across the bow of the Sea-Watch 2 in order to subsequently reach a wooden boat with c. 500 people on board."
EU: European Parliament Study: Towards an EU common position on the use of armed drones (pdf):
"Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones....
Furthermore, progress has been made recently in agreeing a joint EU position regarding the related matter of lethal autonomous weapons." [emphasis added]
See also: Towards a European Position on the Use of Armed Drones? A Human Rights Approach (ICCT, pdf): "The authors conclusions include observations on the need for and possible ways to obtain information, challenges for the use of armed drones generally, and legal challenges and recommendations."
UK: Data management and use: Governance in the 21st century A joint report by the British Academy and the Royal Society (pdf):
"Changing data, changing society: As data collection activities continue to increase in speed, scale and variety, and the analytic techniques used to process these datasets become more sophisticated, individuals..."
Counter-terrorism was never meant to be Silicon Valley's job. Is that why it's failing? (Guardian, link):
"Extremist content is spreading online and law enforcement cant keep up. The result is a private workforce thats secretive, inaccurate and unaccountable...
Counter-terrorism is being slowly privatized and carried out by low-paid workers at technology companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter. Although these companies hire expert advisers and former government agents to tackle extremist propaganda and recruitment enabled by their platforms, much of the grunt work is carried out by contractors earning $15 an hour or, in YouTubes case, volunteers.
The result is a private counter-terror workforce with little training increasingly employed to do the kind of work expected of law enforcement. Such work is carried out secretly, inaccurately (journalists and activists have been censored) and with little accountability."
Greater Manchester doubles number of police trained to use stun guns (Guardian, link): "Force to train 1,100 officers to use Taser weapons to better protect region after terrorist attacks in London and Manchester."
EU: 14 EDA Member States to pool & share GOVSATCOM capabilities (European Defence Agency, link):
"On June 15th the EDA Steering Board accepted, by written procedure, the Outline Description for the Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) Pooling and Sharing demonstration project (GSC demo). Under the leadership of Spain, the project brings together Austria, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Norway, which has signed an Administrative Arrangement with the Agency, is also participating in the project. The next step will be the establishment of a Project Arrangement."
And see: High Level Civil Military User Needs for Governmental Satellite Communications (GOVSATCOM) (LIMITE doc no: 7550-17, pdf)
Also: EU-US: Satellite states: Commission prepares for negotiations with the US on EU's defence and internal security satellite system (Statewatch News, 2013)
Are You Syrious (29.6.17, link)
EU funds for refugee support in Turkey are used to detain and deport them: Feature
"The EU-Turkey agreement was always supposed to be a plan, according to the ones that design it, to stop to route though Greece and support the millions of refugees stuck in Turkey. Nevertheless the EU has not disbursed all funds under the EU-Turkey deal to NGOs but also to the Turkish government, FAZ reported on Monday....
So the EU funds do not entirely go straight to support the refugees but also to detain and deport them. In its report from 13.06.17 the Commission also stated: Due to the lower than expected number of returnees, the Special Measure on returns is also being modified to improve the Turkish Directorate-General for Migration Managements capacity to manage, receive and host migrants and returnees, especially as concerns human resources and infrastructure.....
According to the information from the Turkish authorities only 56 of the around 1000 non-Syrian refugees, who were transferred back from Greece to Turkey, applied for asylum in Turkey. Only two were granted international protection and 38 applications are pending, the rest was denied or rejected. But overall more than 700 people were returned to their countries of origin."
"The afghan migration ministers is asking both Sweden and EU to stop the deportations instantly, was today reported by the Swedish paper SVD. A Swedish lawyer quoted is reading this info as if the Afghan government is looking for a way out from the previous agreement regarding returning citizens...."
"There has been a protest today at Cara di Mineo camp. 300 people blocked the main road Catania-Gela close to the entrance of the Cara to protest against local new rules. Plus, older problems like delays in receiving permits to stay and the diaria (daily allowance) converted into cigarettes.
Authorities announced the rule which prohibits migrants from cooking different food from the one provided by the Cara and from selling clothes and medicines inside the structure."
Migrant arrivals up in Aegean, as Juncker pledges support (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As official figures point to a significant increase in undocumented migrants seeking to enter the European Union, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday described Greece and Italy as heroic in their efforts to tackle the problem and pledged additional European support.
In the past week alone, a total of 813 migrants arrived on the Greek islands from neighboring Turkey, according to government figures made public on Friday.
Local reports suggest that conditions at migrant reception centers on Chios and Lesvos are becoming increasingly cramped and unpleasant, as arrivals have spiked due to the good weather and only a handful of migrants are being sent back to Turkey."
Turkish 'walk for justice' continues despite Erdogan threat (DW, link):
"President Erdogan has warned Turkey's opposition leader his long march for justice could land him in trouble. Tensions in Turkey have accelerated over the past two months when a referendum gave Erdogan enhanced powers."
The Brexit talks: opening positions on the status of UK and EU citizens (EU Law Analysis, link): by Steve Peers, Professor of Law:
"One of the most high-profile issues relating to Brexit, which could potentially have the biggest direct impact on the lives of the greatest number of people, is the issue of what happens to UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in UK after Brexit."
European Parliament: New Asylum Agency to ensure respect of EU asylum rules and fundamental rights (Press release, link):
"The informal, preliminary agreement reached on Wednesday covers all the main elements of the legislation, but inter-institutional talks will continue under the Estonian Presidency to finalise the text.
The proposal to strengthen the current EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), turning it into a new EU Agency for Asylum equipped with the means and resources to assist Member States in crisis situations and to monitor compliance with EU legislation, is linked to the wider review of the Common European Asylum System currently under way."
Slovenian PM: EU enlargement at risk if Croatia border ruling ignored (Politico, link): "Tribunal grants Slovenia access to international waters but Zagreb says the arbitration process was compromised."
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Sexual violence in the public space: stop trivialisation and impunity (link):
"The Assembly today expressed its concern at the magnitude of the phenomenon of sexual violence and harassment of women in the public space. Although this violence takes place in public, sometimes in front of dozens of people, women often find themselves facing their attackers alone because witnesses fail to act. This widespread indifference only increases the victims feeling of insecurity and helplessness, PACE warned."
See: Adopted report (pdf)
EU: President Tusk wants to turn the international sanctions machinery against migrant smugglers: See Council Press release (pdf):
"When it comes to migration just one remark: there is already a very ambitious and responsible language proposed by Chancellor Merkel. My suggestion is that maybe we could also add a very concrete reference to the fight against smugglers. We could appeal to the other G20 members to consider for example UN sanctions against the smugglers.
In order to put smugglers on the UN list we need the UN Security Council members to agree. The G20 format seems to be a good forum to bring it to the table."
What guarantees? The Brexit proposals on EU citizens residence (IRR News, libk) by Frances Webber:
"The governments widely-condemned post-Brexit proposals for EU citizens should be used to highlight the unfair and discriminatory immigration laws to which they will be subjected, particularly those limiting family reunification, which currently apply to British citizens and settled migrants. "
EU: Interoperability and EU databases: Big Brother takes shape
Press release: Security Union: Commission delivers on interoperability of EU information systems (pdf):
"The Commission is today delivering on its commitment to ensure interoperability and address the existing shortcomings of EU information systems for security and border management, as set out by the Commission in its 7th Security Union Report on 16 May and endorsed by the European Council of 22-23 June. As a first step, the Commission is proposing to strengthen the mandate of the EU Agency for the operational management of large scale IT systems (eu-LISA), enabling it to develop and roll-out the technical solutions to make the EU information systems interoperable." [emphasis added]
SECURITY UNION: Eighth progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 354-17, pdf):
"Next steps towards the interoperability of information systems
As set out in the seventh progress report, the Commission is taking further action to implement the new approach to the management of data for borders and security. On 28 June 2017, the Commission presented a legislative proposal to strengthen the mandate of eu-LISA. The agency will play a crucial role in the technical work towards the interoperability of information systems, including with ongoing technical analysis on the identified solutions to achieve this." See also: Press release (pdf) [emphasis added]
Extending eu-LISA mandate: Proposed Regulation on the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, and amending Regulation (EC) 1987/2006 and Council Decision 2007/533/JHA and repealing Regulation (EU) 1077/2011 (pdf):
"aims at inserting in the Regulation changes deriving from policy, legal or factual developments and in particular to reflect the fact that new systems will be entrusted to the Agency subject to agreement by the co-legislators and that the Agency should be tasked with contributing to the development of interoperability between large-scale IT systems in the follow-up to the 6 April 2016 Commission Communication on Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for borders and security, the final report of the High-level expert group on information systems and interoperability of 11 May 2017...." [emphasis added]
Report on eu-LISA: Report: on the functioning of the European Agency for the operational management of largescale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) (COM 346-17, pdf)
eu-LISA: Staff Working document report: eu-LISA Evaluation (SWD 249-17 , pdf) and see Summary (SWD 250-17, pdf)
Factsheet: Security Union: Interoperability of EU Information Systems (pdf)
Factsheet: EU information systems (pdf) includes: "Who can access which database?"
Factsheet: Security Union (pdf)
UK: Legal action over Prime Ministers secret order to British spies (Reprieve, link):
"Reprieve and Privacy International have launched legal action today after the government refused to reveal the subject matter or contents of a secret Prime Ministerial order governing the activities of the British security services.
It was revealed last year in a separate case brought by Privacy International that the Prime Minister has made three such orders, or Directions, which require intrusive and risky covert activity by the UK security services to be overseen by the Intelligence Services Commissioner. Two of these Directions have been made public but the Third Direction remains secret, redacted from public documents."
The document that revealed the existence of the Third Direction can be found here. The two Directions that have been made can be seen on the Intelligence Services Commissioners website here (Bulk Data Sets) and here (Consolidated Guidance).
And: Full Statement of Grounds for legal action by Reprieve and PI (link)
UK: Immigration detainees bring legal challenge against £1 an hour 'slave' wages (Guardian, link): "Lawyers for 10 people held in UK centres want Home Office to raise minimum pay for voluntary but essential work by detainees."
Italy considers closing its ports to boats carrying migrants (Guardian, link):
"Government reportedly seeking EU approval of drastic changes to asylum procedures after surge in refugee arrivals....
The Italian government is considering blocking boats carrying migrants from landing at its ports after nearly 11,000 refugees arrived on its shores in five days.
It has been reported that the government has given its ambassador to the EU, Maurizio Massari, a mandate to raise the issue formally with the European commission to seek permission for a drastic revision of EU asylum procedures. One idea being discussed is denying docking privileges to boats not carrying Italian flags that seek to land in Italian ports, mainly in Sicily or Calabria."
And see: Italy takes formal EU migrant step, ports cd be blocked (ANSA, link):
" Italy is taking a formal step with the European Commission in relation to the large numbers of asylum seekers landing on its shores, ANSA sources said. Over 10,000 asylum seekers arrived in Italy from Saturday to Tuesday and some 12,000 have arrived in the last 48 hours. The government gave its ambassador to the EU, Maurizio Massari, a mandate to formally raise the issue with European Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, the sources said."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27-28.6.17) including: Italy delivers broken boats to Libyan coastguard
Irish naval ship 'rescues 712 people' off Libyan coast (Al Jazeera, link):
"An Irish naval ship has rescued 712 people, including pregnant women and infants, off the coast of the Libyan capital of Tripoli as part of an international migrant-rescue effort, Ireland's Defence Forces say.
The Le Eithne ship led the rescue of multiple vessels in distress 40km north-west of Tripoli throughout Sunday.
Six migrants, including one baby, were revived from states of unconsciousness.
The ship will transport the people, including 14 pregnant women and four infants below the age of four months, to a designated "port of safety" to be handed over to Italian authorities."
BOSNIA: Court confirms Dutch U.N. peacekeepers partly liable for Srebrenica massacre (Reuters, link):
"A Dutch appeals court on Tuesday confirmed that the Netherlands was partly liable for the deaths in 1995 of some 300 Muslim males who were expelled from a Dutch U.N. base after the surrounding area was overrun by Bosnian Serb troops.
The ruling by the Hague Appeals Court upheld a 2014 decision that Dutch peacekeepers should have known that the men seeking refuge at the base near Srebrenica would be murdered by Bosnian Serb troops if they were forced to leave -- as they were.
The Dutch government resigned in 2002 after acknowledging its failure to protect the refugees, but it said then that the peacekeepers had been on 'mission impossible'.
The defense ministry told Reuters on Tuesday that the state was studying the appeals court's findings carefully."
And see: Dutch state is partly liable for 300 Srebrenica deaths, appeal court says (Dutch News, link)
UK: Mother of man killed by police attacks decision not to charge officer (The Guardian, link):
"The family of a man shot dead during a police operation in 2015 have expressed shock that the officer who killed him is not going to face criminal charges.
Jermaine Bakers family have written to the Crown Prosecution Service demanding an urgent review of the decision.
The CPS announced on Wednesday that the Metropolitan police officer who fatally shot Baker will not face charges.
Margaret Smith, 49, Jermaine Bakers mother, said she believed that the CPS had made the decision because it was scared of prosecuting police officers for fatal shootings. I believe that from the bottom of my heart, she said. If ever there was a case of a police officer carrying out a fatal shooting who should be prosecuted, it should be this one. "
See: Network for Police Monitoring: Dissent is Not a Crime: Latest news from Netpol: June 2017 (link)
GREECE: In Athens (LRB Blog) by Daniel Trilling:
"My friend was tired, and a little bitter about the way volunteers have been treated. I think shes right to be. When we look back on Europes refugee crisis, are we more likely to remember the stories told by the institutions responsible, or the connections forged between the people who found themselves at the centre of it?"
EU: Over a decade after adoption, Eurogroup "working methods" made public: Working Methods of the Eurogroup (3 October 2008, pdf):
"At their 26 February 2007 meeting, ministers approved the following working methods of the Eurogroup which replace those dated 15 November 2004 as well as the addendum dated 5 July 2005.
The informal character of the Eurogroup provides for both the flexibility of a pragmatic approach to the agenda-setting and the confidentiality for in-depth political discussions. The Eurogroup should function efficiently, notably by avoiding duplication with the Ecofin Council." (emphasis added)
See: Eurogroup chief: 'I'm for secret, dark debates' (EUobserver, 21 April 2011) and: The Eurogroup Made Simple (DiEM 25, link) by Yanis Varoufakis
UK: Merseyside Police target legal observers based on the way they were dressed (Netpol, link):
"Merseyside Police is accused of ignoring the standard practice, adopted by most UK police forces, of acknowledging that independent legal observers are not the same as protesters and of justifying this on the basis of the way those monitoring a protest in Liverpool were dressed.
During a recent English Defence League (EDL) march and counter demonstrations against it on Saturday 3 June, legal observers who are part of Green and Black Cross national network of volunteers who monitor the policing of protests were out on the streets near the citys Lime Street station. As always, they were clearly identified by their familiar fluorescent orange bibs. According to media reports, there were over 200 officers and 25 riot vans deployed on the day.
An inspector informed them, however, that as part of the planning of the operation the Silver Commander, Merseyside Polices Deputy Chief Constable Carl Foulkes, had issued an instruction that officers should consider legal observers as left wing protesters and arrest them if they refused to follow Section 14 directions."
UK: Allegations of police corruption double in four years (The Justice Gap, link):
"The number of allegations of police corruption has doubled in four years. According to figures obtained by The Times under freedom of information legislation and published earlier in the week, 2,434 officers and police staff were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over corruption allegations over the last four years. The number almost doubled between 2012, when there were 275 referrals, and 2016 when there were 531.
According to the report, some allegations of serious corruption involved a covert referral and so were not included in the figures. There were 113 corruption referrals last year from the Metropolitan Police, Britains largest force. There were 59 from West Midlands police and 20 from Greater Manchester.
The number of complaints about inappropriate use of force (from physical restraint to firearms and stun guns) rose from 769 in 2012 to 912 last year. Overall referrals have gone up from 2,404 in 2012 to 3,793 last year."
SPAIN: EU Court says tax exemptions for the Catholic Church in Spain may constitute unlawful State aid (New Europe, link):
"Tax exemptions to the Church may constitute state aid prohibited by European law if these are granted for economic activities, according to a ruling today of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
It was a ruling in a case brought against the Spanish state by the Congregación de Escuelas Pías Provincia Betania v Ayuntamiento de Getafe (Community of House of Schools Schools of Getafe), after the tax authorities refused a refund of 23,000 euros paid in municipal taxes for works carried out in its centre in Madrid.
In their ruling, European magistrates consider that tax exemptions enjoyed by the Catholic Church in Spain can constitute prohibited state aid if granted in respect of economic activities and meet certain requirements."
See: CJEU press release: Tax exemptions for the Catholic Church in Spain may constitute unlawful State aid if and to the extent to which they are granted for economic activities (pdf) and: Judgment (Case C-74/16, pdf)
UK: Hillsborough disaster: six people, including two senior police officers, charged (The Guardian, link):
"Six people including two former senior police officers have been charged with criminal offences relating to the deaths of 96 people at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesdays Hillsborough football ground and the alleged police cover-up which followed.
David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire officer who was in command of policing at the match, has been charged with manslaughter of 95 people the 96th, Tony Bland, died four years later after his life support was switched off.
Sir Norman Bettison, the former chief constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire police, who was an inspector in the South Yorkshire force at the time of the disaster, has been charged with four counts of misconduct in a public office."
See: Crown Prosecution Service: Hillsborough Charging Decisions (pdf)
EU ringed by human trafficking offenders (EUobserver, link):
"The EU is encircled by a ring of the worlds worst offenders on human trafficking, a US state department report has said.
In the south, it neighbours the special case of Libya, and is ringed by Mauritania, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea, Syria, and Iran - all of them countries that do not meet US minimum standards on prevention of trafficking and are not making significant efforts to do so, the report, out on Tuesday (27 June), said.
In the east, Russia and Belarus fell into the same category."
See: US Department of State: Trafficking in Persons Report 2017 (link)
French woman guilty of smuggling migrant partner but spared jail (BBC News, link):
"A woman put on trial in France for helping her romantic partner cross the border from the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais to the UK has escaped a jail sentence.
Béatrice Huret, a former supporter of the far-right National Front, was found guilty of aiding an Iranian man named Mokhtar to cross the English channel.
However, the court did not hand down any punishment for Mrs Huret.
Three others on trial for related offences were also convicted."
BREXIT: Analysis: what is the UK proposing for EU citizens in the UK and EU citizens in the EU? (Free Movement, link):
"On 26 June 2017, over a year after the Brexit referendum result, the government finally published its proposals to safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU. Here we take a look at the details of the proposals.
It is important to remember that at the moment these are just proposals by the UK. They have been tabled as part of a negotiation process. The UK proposals may change, either becoming more generous as part of the negotiation or being withdrawn partially or in full if the negotiations fail.
It is hard to see in what way the UK proposals are generous as had originally been suggested. For example, on family members the offer is merely to comply with EU law until Brexit, which the UK is already obliged to do. Kicking out family members who had lawfully arrived in the meantime should be utterly unthinkable anyway. The UK proposals rather look like the bare minimum which decency demands; if one considers what arrangements the UK would be likely to put in place in the event of no deal when Brexit occurs, they would surely look a lot like these. The UK was never going to forceably remove 3 million EU citizens resident in the UK."
UK-USA: Minister refuses to condemn Trumps views on torture (Reprieve, link):
"A senior government minister in the House of Lords has refused to condemn President Trump for his views on torture. The comments directly contradict a statement by a Foreign Office minister, just yesterday, that the UK opposes torture in all forms.
Baroness Goldie, the incoming Lords Whip, was asked yesterday in Parliament whether the Government had in any way addressed President Trumps publicly expressed opinion on torture a reference to the Presidents previous comments that torture, including waterboarding, works. Responding, Baroness Goldie said: What other sovereign states choose to do is largely their affair.
The comments appear to contradict the UKs policy on torture, affirmed as recently as yesterday by other Government officials."
EU: Croatia Enters Schengen Information System (Total Croatia News, link):
"Starting from today, the Croatian police and security services have access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) which will, according to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, increase the efficiency and credibility of the Croatian police and security services which cooperate with partner countries, reports Vecernji List on June 27, 2017.
The Schengen Information System was presented on Tuesday to Croatian Prime Minister, the Interior Minister and the press at the Bregana border crossing. This is considered a significant step in meeting the criteria for Croatia's entry into the Schengen Area.
The information system enables access to the primary tool for cooperation with the Schengen Area police forces. About 200,000 wanted persons, vehicles, documents and objects are found annually through this system. It contains more than 70 million data that countries with access rights can search and check. The implementation of the scheme in Croatia was financed by the European Union funds in the amount of five million euros."
UK: Right to Health for All: Why the Home Office should not have access to NHS patients data, and why NHS professionals should not be expected to guard our borders (if we are to take human rights seriously) (pdf) by Doctors of the World and Just Fair:
"A Memorandum of Understanding between NHS Digital (formerly Health and Social Care Information Centre), the Home Office and the Department of Health (MoU) came into effect in January 2017. The intention of this MoU is to formalise and facilitate the access to NHS patients non-clinical information, including their home address, by Home Office Immigration Enforcement authorities.
In accordance with international law, governments can control their borders and regulate migration, but not at the expense of human rights. Everyone is entitled to healthcare regardless of their immigration status.
This paper shows why and how the transfer of non-clinical personal data between the NHS and immigration authorities can seriously impair the enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of health for thousands of people living in the UK, which constitutes a breach of the international human rights obligations of the UK."
EU cash underpins record international sales for security and defence multinational GMV
A bevy of EU contracts has underpinned record international sales growth for multinational security and defence corporation GMV, which works with Frontex on the Eurosur border surveillance system, with the European Maritime Safety Agency on maritime surveillance drones, and receives funding from various projects supported by the EU's research and development programes, amongst other sources of income.
The open society and its contradictions (Global Labour Column, link) by Stephan Lessenich:
"The openness of liberal democracy is part and parcel of the Western worlds self-description. However, this openness has always been functionally dependent on building effective shields against the outer world. While the rising prosperity of the advanced capitalist societies rested on, among other things, the establishment of a free trade regime systematically biased towards their own economic interests, the institutionalisation of social peace in the relations between capital and labour was actually an effect of exporting social unrest to the peripheries of the capitalist world system. And democracy itself was effectively stabilised by redistributing substantial parts of a hitherto unknown dynamic of economic growth a dynamic resulting from the steady rise in productivity of a capitalist economy which was structurally able to externalise large parts of the social and ecological costs of its mode of production onto third parties, specifically the labouring classes and the natural environments of the so-called developing countries."
EU effort to halt migrants founders in Libya's chaos (Reuters, link):
"When Libya's coastguard received the first of a long-awaited batch of patrol boats from Italy last month, two of the four vessels still had mechanical problems and one broke down on the way to Tripoli.
As Italy's interior minister later flew in to present the boats officially at a naval base in the Libyan capital, coast guards grumbled that the vessels were old and had little deck space for rescued migrants.
"They want us to be Europe's policeman. At the same time, that policeman needs resources," said naval coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem. "I challenge anyone to work in these conditions." "
EU: Rise in Cybercrime Ups Demand for Mobile Biometric Security and Services (TMR, link):
"In a report titled Mobile Biometric Security and Services Market Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends, Analysis, Growth, and Forecast 2017 2025, TMR Research finds that growing awareness about the benefits of biometric technology and the soaring use of smartphones across the globe are mainly responsible for the rapid expansion of this market.
The various technologies involved in mobile biometric security and services include voice recognition, embedded fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, iris scans, and fingerprint recognition. Of these, fingerprint recognition is perhaps one of the most commonly used method of biometrics used in a wide range of applications.
The global market for mobile biometric security and services can be geographically segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. North America accounts for a major share in the overall market, with Europe also emerging as a key contributor toward the global revenue. Factors such as rising government initiatives and favorable policies to improve homeland security, to tackle cybercrime, and to enhance the security infrastructure of various connected mobile devices have been benefitting the North America and Europe markets for mobile biometric security and services. In addition to this, the easy availability of services such as mobile payments and e-passport is also supporting the mobile biometric security and services market in these regions."
DENMARK: Government party wants to punish NGOs for saving refugees crossing the Mediterranean (Copenhagen Post, link):
"The government party Venstre wants to strip Danish aid funds from NGOs that take part in rescuing migrants and refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean via boat.
Venstres spokesperson on immigration issues, Marcus Knuth, follows the line set by the EU border agency Frontex, which has also criticised NGOs for funding or taking part in rescue missions.
I agree strongly with the criticism. Aid organisations create a greater incentive to take the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea, and I look upon that gravely, Knuth told Berlingske newspaper.
So we should look at where these organisations get their funds from, and if it comes from Denmark, we should strongly reconsider continuing to give them support."
UK: ARMING THE POLICE? Police chiefs to discuss offering guns to all frontline officers (The Guardian, link):
"Police chiefs will consider the possibility of offering a gun to every frontline police officer in England and Wales, to counter the threat of a marauding terrorist attack, the Guardian has learned.
A discussion paper on the subject has been drawn up for the next meeting of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), which wants to look at how to boost armed police numbers to deal with a crisis, following the atrocities in Manchester and London.
The paper is intended to start a debate on the issue among police leaders at the two-day meeting that starts on 12 July although it is thought at this stage unlikely that any wider arming will be agreed upon. Routine arming is controversial within policing and many do not support it."
See: Should We Arm More Police? Serving Officer Has "Mixed Mind" (LBC, link):
"Christopher, who is not an armed officer, told Ian "theres only a handful of officers I know that want to be routinely armed."
"If you start arming the police - how many times are we going to be criticised for pulling the trigger and how many time are we going to be criticised for not pulling the trigger?""
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council: 6-7 July 2017, in Tallinn, Estonia: Press release (pdf): Includes:
Two sessions on:
In this session two interlinked issues are addressed. Firstly, the ministers are invited to share their views on how to continue discussions on the application of responsibility and solidarity in the common migration management system. After that, the discussion will be focused on return policy as one of the key pillars of a comprehensive migration management system. The ministers will discuss possible measures to improve the return of irregular migrants from the Schengen area to their home countries, in order to reduce overall migration to the EU...."
Ministers will discuss how EU databases in the areas of security, border and migration management, and criminal justice could be made interoperable, so as to make the best possible use of all the available information. The overall aim would potentially be to deliver better security and safety to EU citizens. Another area to be discussed is whether the role of eu-LISA should be strengthened in regard to research and development, so that technological innovation could be introduced more quickly, while increasing the value for end users, improving data protection and reducing costs." [emphasis added throughout]
See: Commission wants a quick march to interoperable, centralised EU databases by 2020 (Statewatch) and EU wastes no time welcoming prospect of Big Brother databases (Statewatch)
Ministers will exchange views on possible options for data retention for the purpose of prevention and prosecution of crime."
Comment: the JHA Council is still trying to find ways around the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the necessity and proportionality of mass data retention which the Court wants limited to terrorism and serious crimes (not crime in general).
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft reply to question for written answer: E-000945/2017 - Marina Albiol Guzmán (GUE/NGL): 'Provision of training, equipment and support to the Libyan coastguard' (LIMITE doc no: 10302-17, pdf). The MEP asked:
"Taking into account that three different governments and countless armed groups are controlling different parts of Libya, and that the country has at least seven different coastguard services, how did the Council select the coastguards and officials that will receive EU support? What criteria were applied?"
The Council says there is one government it recognises and one Coast Guard.
See also: UN report on Libya: serious abuses against migrants, "concerns" over vetting of coastguard members trained by EU (Statewatch)
EU: Council of the European Union: Schengen evaluation of GREECE - Action Plan to remedy the deficiencies identified in the 2016 evaluation on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of the Schengen Information System (LIMITE doc no: 10283-17, pdf):
Checklist of measures adopyed in Greece or planned:
- Including when and when not to record "nationality"
- "mobile devices to enable photographs and links to be displayed in case of a hit;",
- "Strengthen the use of discreet or specific check alerts for prosecuting criminal offences and preventing threats to public security (Article 36 (2) of Council Decision 2007/533/JHA) by the Hellenic Police";
- "The number of checks has been increased. During the period from 01/06/2015 01/05/2016 there were conducted 823.746 document checks of EU citizens, while for the period from 01/06/2016-01/05/2017 the checks reached the number of 1.274.436."
See also: At the behest of the EU Greece is to install a "coastal surveillance system covering the whole sea border between Greece and Turkey" (Statewatch)
UK: European Court of Human Rights finds UK in breach of Article 5 over unlawful detention of Zimbabwean national (gardencourtchambers.co.uk):
"The applicant, S.M.M., is a Zimbabwean national who lives in London. Relying on Article 5 § 1 (f) (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention, he claimed that he had been detained unlawfully between November 2008 and September 2011. He was detained during that time on the basis that he was awaiting deportation from the UK. In September 2011, he was released on bail and one year later he was granted asylum in the country."
See: Judgment (pdf)
Why exactly were the police spying on Jeremy Corbyn? (Guardian, link):
"Undercover officers are alleged to have monitored the Labour MP for two decades.....
The Telegraph article was based on the testimony of an unnamed former police officer who was quoted as saying that Corbyn was monitored because he was deemed to be subversive....
Two years ago, Francis gave an on-the-record account of how police had spied on Corbyn and a string of other Labour politicians even after they had been elected to the House of Commons. Francis said he had read secret files on 10 MPs while he worked for the Metropolitan polices special branch in the 1990s. These included Harriet Harman, Peter Hain and Diane Abbott. "
And see: Rod Richardson: #spycop was used to undermine protest (undercoverresearch.net, link):
"we publish the profile of Rod Richardson, the undercover officer active as an environmental, anarchist and animal rights protestor between 1999 and 2003 in Essex, London and Nottingham. Richardson was exposed on Indymedia UK and in The Guardian in 2013 and confirmed as a spycop in December 2016."
European Council: Press release: European Council conclusions on security and defence, 22/06/2017 (pdf):
See: EU flexes military muscles with new defense plan (Reuters, link): "European Union leaders launched their the most ambitious defense plan for decades on Thursday, agreeing a multi-billion-euro weapons fund, shared financing for battlegroups and allowing a coalition of the willing to conduct more missions abroad." And see: 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit (euobserver, link)
UK: Probe launched as young father dies after being detained by police in east London (Evening Stardard, link):
"The police watchdog has launched an investigation as a young man died in hospital after being detained by police in east London.
Family of Edir Frederico Da Costa, known by friends as Edson, allege he was brutally beaten after officers stopped him in Newham on June 15. They said the 25-year-old had his neck broken and suffered head and other injuries after he was stopped in a car, containing three people, by Met officers."
And see: Demonstrators confront police in east London over Da Costa death (Guardian, link): "Riot police were called to angry scenes at Stratford bus station after Edson Da Costa, 25, died in hospital following arrest."
Uncovering Lisbons Forgotten History of Slavery (Black Perspectives, link):
"By all accounts, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon is a strikingly beautiful city, butlike so many entrepôt Mediterranean cities of its kindit is one built on blood. Beginning in the fifteenth century, the Portuguese launched what would become the modern slave trade off the coast of West Africa that eventually spawned the terror of the Middle Passage. Lisbon quickly became the center of slavery in Portugal itself, where wealthy Portuguese families and traders purchased enslaved Africans to work the opulent homes and bustling docks along the Tejo River....."
EU: EUROJUST: Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Eurojusts Views on the Phenomenon and the Criminal Justice Response: Fourth Eurojust Report: Summary of Main Findings (pdf):
"This paper presents a summary of the main findings of the fourth Eurojust report, Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Eurojusts Views on the Phenomenon and the Criminal Justice Response (the report) of November 2016. The objective of the report is to present Eurojusts findings on the evolution of the EU criminal justice response to FTFs."
UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit (euobserver, link):
"British nationals may end up paying into the EU general budget after the UK leaves the European Union.
An EU proposal to tighten border security controls for all visa-free travellers sometime in 2020 will be generating cash by demanding fees from holidaymakers. The fees will pay for annual running costs."
Social media giants step up fight against extremist content (euractiv, link):
"Social media giants Facebook, Googles YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday (26 June) they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms.....
The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism will formalise and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the EU and the UN, the companies said in a statement."
Perils of Back Door Encryption Mandates - Five Eyes Nations Should Support, Not Threaten, Digital Security (HRW, link):
" The governments that constitute the intelligence partnership known as The Five Eyes, will meet on June 26-27, 2017, in Ottawa to discuss how to bypass encryption. The governments may pursue a dangerous strategy that will subvert the rights and cybersecurity of all internet users."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21-26.6.17)
EU: European Council meeting (22 and 23 June 2017) Conclusions (EUCO 8/17, pdf):
"Today the European Council focused on strengthening Europe and protecting its citizens through effective measures to fight terrorism and develop its common security and defence, to ensure its economic development in a globalised world, to tackle migration and to protect its external borders. A strong and determined Union is the best way to promote our values and interests, support a rules-based multilateral system and mobilise partners for a positive climate policy. It will also help shape globalisation in order to reap the benefits of open markets while protecting against unfair practices and promoting the social, environmental, health and consumer standards that are central to the European way of life. The European Council paid tribute to Helmut Kohl, Honorary Citizen of Europe, who passed away on 16 June 2017."
And see: EU: European Council wants industry to develop automated censorship tools and "address the challenge" of encryption
ITALY: Italian police tortured Genoa G8 protesters, ECHR rules for the second time
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that 42 demonstrators were tortured by Italian police officers during protests againts the Genoa G8 summit in 2001, following a seperate ruling in 2015 that reached the same conclusion.
FRANCE: Petition calls on French president to end the detention of migrant children
La Cimade, with Réseau Education sans frontières (RESF), Ligue des droits de lHomme (LDH), Anafé, MRAP, Syndicat des avocats de France (SAF), France terre dasile and ASSFAM has launched a petition calling on the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, to put an end to child migrants' detention.
UK: Police set to step up Taser training (Swindon Advertiser, link):
"WILTSHIRE Police is offering voluntary training to any officers who wish to be trained to use a Taser.
Police forces around the country have been responding to the Metropolitan Polices lead in increasing the number of officers trained to carry Tasers.
Chief Constable Mike Veale says that although Wiltshire is one of the safest counties in the country, it still faces a rise in violent crime and the threat of terrorism remains very real throughout the UK.
The Police Federation of England and Wales has demanded that forces around the country equip police with the devices, after Met Commissioner Cressida Dick revealed 1,867 additional officers would be Taser trained, bringing the total number of officers in the capital trained and carrying Tasers to over 6,400.
Wiltshire Police currently has 160 Tasers."
EU: E-smuggling: Europol steps up efforts against online-assisted migrant crossings (Matthias Monroy, link):
"According to the EU police agency, in the past year 17,459 people operated as human traffickers. In the majority of cases, refugees and their facilitators communicate using Facebook or Telegram. Seizing of electronic evidence is thus to take on a greater role in investigations.
Last year, the EU police agency Europol received reports of 1,150 social media accounts apparently used by refugees to facilitate their entry into or travel through the European Union. This information is based on figures (PDF) published by the European Migrant Smuggling Center (EMSC) at Europol for 2016. The number of incriminated accounts in 2015 was just 148."
And see: Statewatch Analysis: Policing the internet: from terrorism and extremism to content used by traffickers to attract migrants and refugees (pdf, March 2016) by Chris Jones
EU members abstain as Britain defeated in UN vote on Chagos Islands (The Guardian, link):
"The UK has suffered a humiliating defeat at the United Nations general assembly in a vote over decolonisation and its residual hold over disputed territory in the Indian Ocean.
By a margin of 94 to 15 countries, delegates supported a Mauritian-backed resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague on the legal status of the Chagos Islands.
A further 65 countries abstained on Thursday, including many EU states who might have been expected to vote in support of another bloc member.
Among EU members who abstained were France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Greece and Finland. Canada and Switzerland also abstained."
See: Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 22 June 2017: Request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 (pdf)
ITALY: Romes mayor adopts anti-migrant stance (New Europe, link):
"Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi has warned that the Italian capital is facing a new migrant emergency.
We cant afford new arrivals, she wrote in a letter sent to Italys Interior Ministry. Romes reception capacity is on its knee and new arrivals would have devastating social costs.
As reported by local and international media, this was not Raggis view in December when she spoke at an event hosted by the Roman Catholic Church to showcase positive responses to refugees in European cities."
EU: Rescue organizations in Italy under pressure (Deutsche Welle, link):
Video: "There are over ten NGO-run boats patrolling the coast of Libya to help thousands of refugees. But Frontex, the European border control and coast guard agency, thinks they are playing into the hands of smugglers."
Prison overcrowding in the EU concerns MEPs (New Europe, link):
"MEPs have taken a stance against prison conditions in the European Union by expressing concerns of overcrowding during the Civil Liberties Committee meeting on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
During the session, MEPs expressed their concern with the high levels of overcrowding in detention centers in some of the EU member states. MEPs also encouraged the national authorities to utilize alternatives, such as home detention, community service work, and electronic bracelets should be prioritized for those who are not a danger to society and that imprisonment should be used conservatively."
See the most recent Council of Europe statistics: Prison statistics for 2015: overcrowding still a problem (Statewatch News Online, 11 April 2017)
INDIA: BIOMETRICS: India's fintech marvel acquires an Orwellian tinge (Reuters, link):
"India's enthusiasm for its biometric identity database has gone into overdrive. Citizens are being pushed to link their 12-digit Aadhaar number, which captures fingerprints and iris scans, to everything from school enrollments to air ticket purchases. That points to the rise of a surveillance state.
Aadhaar, which means "foundation", was launched in 2009 and covers more than 1.1 billion people. It goes beyond social security schemes in the United States and the United Kingdom, partly to solve developing-country problems like the low registration of births.
But Aadhaar is now going further than what is obviously useful. In the latest example, bank accounts will cease to function if Indians do not provide their identity number. The scheme, once touted as voluntary by its champion Nandan Nilekani, a founder of IT giant Infosys, looks less and less so."
EU human rights chief: Civil society will push back the rise of extremism (EurActiv, link):
"We have been talking about challenges in civil society and the so-called shrinking civil society space for years but we have been looking outside Europe. And we overlook the extent to which we also have problems within the EU.
The record is uneven across EU member states but we see five different types of pressure on civil society. In the first place, we have challenges thrown up by the regulatory environment, for example, when anti-terrorism law creates problems for the gathering of civil society groups like legitimate demonstrations in the streets. Secondly, we see quite serious problems with regards finance and funding and there are many problems here, the issue in Hungary is the most recent and dramatic but there are many forms of funding issues, such as removing human rights advocacy from charitable status for purposes of the taxation laws.
A third area is access to the decision-making process..."
UK Justice Policy Review: Volume 6 (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link):
"The sixth in an annual series by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, supported by The Hadley Trust, assessing year-on-year developments in criminal justice across the UK.
Combining analysis of the main developments with key data on issues such as spending, staffing and the numbers going through the criminal justice system, UK Justice Policy Review (UKJPR) offers an accessible overview of UK-wide developments.
The 13 month period covered by this edition of UKJPR is bookended by two notable political events. At one end is the May 2015 General Election, which returned the first majority Conservative UK government for nearly two decades. At the other is the June 2016 referendum on the UKs membership of the European Union, which inaugurated a new period of politics and policymaking, distinctive in many ways from that which preceded it.
This edition of UKJPR is concerned with assessing and explaining criminal justice developments across the UKs four nations and regions England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland between these two events. Developments between the Brexit Referendum and the 2017 General Election are covered in UKJPR 7, due out in early 2018."
EU: Strengthened EU rules to tackle money laundering, tax avoidance and terrorism financing enter into force (European Commission press release, pdf):
"The Juncker Commission has made the fight against tax avoidance, money laundering and terrorism financing one of its priorities.
Today, the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive enters into force. It strengthens the existing rules and will make the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing more effective. It also improves transparency to prevent tax avoidance. This entry into force comes as discussions with the European Parliament and the Council on extra measures further reinforcing the Directive are already at an advanced stage.
Today the Commission also publishes a report which will support Member State authorities in better addressing money laundering risks in practice. As required by the new directive, the Commission assessed the money laundering and terrorist financing risks of different sectors and financial products. The report published today identifies the areas most at risk and the most widespread techniques used by criminals to launder illicit funds."
See: Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the assessment of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing affecting the internal market and relating to cross-border activities (COM(2017) 340 final, pdf) plus: Annex 1 and Annex 2 (pdfs)
See also: Commission Staff Working Document: On improving cooperation between EU Financial Intelligence units (SWD(2017) 275 final, pdf)
German parliament votes to cut funding to extremist parties (EurActiv, link):
"Germanys parliament has changed the constitution so that extremist parties can no longer claim government funds. Critics call that undemocratic, but lawmakers say Germanys political system is entitled to defend itself.
A majority of 502 of 579 delegates in the German Bundestag voted yesterday (22 June) in favor of amending the countrys constitution to deprive anti-democratic political parties of federal money. One of the first groups likely to be affected by the new rules is the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which received 1.1 million last year."
EU: Arrival of migrants in May: Numbers in Italy and Greece higher than month ago (Frontex, link):
"There were around 27 000 detections of illegal border crossings on the four main migratory routes into the EU in May. The total number of detections in the first five months of 2017 fell 75% from the same period of last year to 84 000, although the number of migrants arriving in Italy remained above the figures from a year ago."
EU: Immigrants stuck between rhetoric and reality (New Europe, link):
"Migration will continue to be rein among the most favourite topics of any kind of populist in Europe. Based on sentimental grounds, its an issue used strictly for national electoral gains, ignoring the fact that Europes population is aging and EU economies need to renew their labour forces.
While politicians find it convenient and easy to hide behind alarming slogans concerning the Islamisation of Europe and the potential threat of immigration to national values, the economic world holds a different view.
Finance ministers, bankers and industry leaders constantly express concern about looming worker shortages in EU economies. They started sounding the alarm bells several years ago."
EU-HUNGARY: Hungary is Taking European Values for a Ride (Human Rights Watch, link):
"Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the Fidesz government has repeatedly undermined the rule of law, as well as checks and balances of the executive through the courts, media, and civil society. This year those attacks have intensified, with a law aimed at shutting down a reputable academic institution, the Central European University, another to curb the work of foreign-funded nongovernmental groups inspired by Russias foreign agents law, and a third that doubles down on the countrys abusive border regime for asylum seekers.
Yet Fidesz membership of the EPP [European People's Party] has helped shield Hungary from meaningful European Union action by blocking resolutions in the parliament aiming to address serious rule of law and human rights concerns, despite the fact that the governments actions breach not only European values, but those of the EPP itself. Those values include respect for rule of law and human rights and encouraging a vibrant civil society.
By letting Fidesz take the country down an authoritarian path without any tangible consequences, the EU has signalled that other EU states can do the same.
If [Manfred] Weber [chair of the EPP] really wants to bring about positive changes both in Hungary and Poland he should urge EPP to reassess Fideszs membership in EPP, and consider expelling the party."
CoE: Anti-racism and discrimination experts publish annual Europe survey (Human Rights Europe, link):
"Surging nationalist populism, the integration of migrants and the response of European governments to Islamist terrorism, are key developments confirmed in the 2016 annual report of the european Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).
The rise of populist politics in todays Europe is deeply worrying, especially when directed against the minorities, including migrants and refugees, said Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland. I call on all responsible politicians to do everything they can to stop this dangerous trend and to work towards creating inclusive societies.
The Chairperson of the ECRI, Christian Åhlund, noted the rise of hate speech in political and media discourse: It is not enough to criminalize hate speech and monitor it; we need to actively counteract it. Internal codes of ethics for media and parliamentarians should foresee sanctions for its use. Political, religious, cultural elites, artists and sports celebrities must actively engage in counter-speech."
See: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): Annual report on ECRI's activities covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2016 (pdf)
GERMANY: Data retention, video surveillance and state trojans: "surveillance state" measures under fire from politicians and NGOs
A swathe of new surveillance and security measures recently introduced by the German government are facing increasing criticism from politicians and civil society organisations, with legal challenges to new laws on data retention and video surveillance in the works.
Facebook grows its counterterrorism team (CNN, link):
"There's a new in-demand job at Facebook: counterterrorism specialist.
Facebook (FB, Tech30) says it now has more than 150 people who are mainly focused on fighting terrorism on the social network, including a mix of academics, analysts and former law enforcement agents.
This team of specialists has "significantly grown" over the last year, according to a Facebook blog post Thursday detailing its efforts to crack down on terrorists and their posts.
"Really my job is how do we disrupt what the terrorists are trying to do and how do we get ahead of it," Brian Fishman, Facebook's counterterrorism policy manager, told CNN Tech."
UN: General Assembly approves creation of new UN Counter-Terrorism Office (UN News Centre, link):
"15 June 2017 The General Assembly today approved the establishment of a new United Nations office to help Member States implement the Organization's global counter-terrorism strategy.
Adopting a consensus resolution, the 193-nation body also welcomed Secretary-General António Guterres' initiative to transfer relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and into the new United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.
As a result, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), currently in DPA, will be transferred to the new office, together with their existing staff and all associated regular and extra-budgetary resources. The new Office would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General."
See the Resolution: Strengthening the capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (pdf) and preceding report: Capability of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (pdf)
EU: Border management going virtual (EUobserver, link):
"Internal security and migration are merging under the guise of border management as the EU seeks to tighten controls on who leaves and enters the bloc.
Krum Garkov, who heads the Tallinn-based EU agency that oversees large-scale IT systems, described the merger as a fundamental shift that will also make border controls virtual.
"Border management today is going through a very fundamental transformation," he said earlier this week at a conference organised by Forum Europe in Brussels.
His agency, known as eu-Lisa, is also set for an overhaul, with the European Commission floating a bill next week to beef up its mandate."
Is Greece ready to receive asylum seekers under the Dublin system? (Human Rights Centre Blog, link)
"On the occasion of Refugee Week, this blog entry aims to provide an overview of the reception conditions for asylum seekers in Greece under the prism of the so-called Dublin system. The Dublin system consists of regulations which purport to streamline the handling of asylum claims amongst most European Union (EU) member states and a small number of other non-member states. With a few exemptions, the core principle of these rules is simple: the member state responsible for an asylum claim will be the state through which the asylum seeker first entered the EU.
In light of these developments, asylum seekers in Greece are in need of receiving legal assistance during the prolonged and stressful stages of their claim for asylum. The systemic failures they face are barely addressed by NGOs, legal practitioners and grassroots solidarity movements. In response to that need, the Immigration Law Practitioners Association set up the Athens Legal Support Project on 10 April 2017. The Project brings together a diverse pool of UK-based lawyers with the aim of working closely with a Community Centre in Athens and Greek lawyers to advise asylum seekers in relation to the Greek asylum process, relocation, family reunification and other issues arising from the Dublin system."
Report: Western Balkans route not closed, just diverted via Bulgaria (euractiv. link):
"A report by a German think-tank reveals the deficiencies of the deal with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees to Europe. Migration is on the menu of the two-day summit starting today (22 June).
Migration will be discussed on Friday (23 June), the second day of the summit. According to diplomats decisions are not expected at this stage, but a frank discussion on the external aspects is very likely to take place.
On Wednesday (21 June), the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung released a 26-page report, pointing out at the fragility of the situation since the EU-Turkey deal, which in theory closed the Western Balkans route."
See: The EU-Turkey Refugee Deal and the Not Quite Closed Balkan Route (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, pdf) by Bodo Weber
EU should stop cooperating with Libyan coastguard, to avoid abuse of refugees: Amnesty International (New Europe, link)::
"Ahead of the European Council on 22-23 June, Amnesty International is calling on EU leaders to step up efforts to save lives in the Mediterranean, and stop cooperating in returns to Libya, before more drown as crossings increase during the summer months.
The EU is allowing the Libyan coastguard to return refugees and migrants to a country where unlawful detention, torture and rape are the norm. They are increasing the capacity of the Libyan coastguard while turning a blind eye to the inherent, grave, risks of such cooperation, said Iverna McGowan, Director of the Amnesty International, European Institutions Office."
Change torture bill, CoE tells Italy (ANSA, link):
" The Lower House must change a bill against torture to bring it into line with international standards, Council of Europe (CoE) Human Rights Commissioner Nils Miuznieks said in a letter to parliamentary Speakers Laura Boldrini (House) and Pietro Grasso (Senate) Wednesday. Miuznieks voiced concern about the "profound differences" between the definition of torture ion the bill and that contained in various international treaties ratified by Italy, especially the UN's Convention against Torture.
The Senate approved the controversial bill introducing the crime of torture last month.
German police conduct nationwide raids against Reichsbürgers (Daily Sabah, link):
"German authorities have launched an investigation in 14 states in response to a growing number of hate crimes among far-right extremist groups and "Reichsbürger" terrorists on social media, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) stated yesterday."
Are You Syrious (21.6.17)
"Six countries in the European Union - Chech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia??are currently working on a military pact in order to be able to unite and coordinate their military forces in case another wave of refugees hit the EU. More details is hopefully, if not to say not hopefully, to come about this extremely terrible and mean idea. At this point it is known that the defense ministers from the six Central European countries promised closer cooperation over the migration crisis, including using armed forces where necessary.
The group, which includes two countries, currently being sued by the European Commission for refusing to participate in the E.U.s internal resettlement mechanism, said this would allow countries to have control over who is entering their borders. Control and alienation, again, instead of understanding and solidarity towards people whos homes arent as safe places as their own."
"A terrible incident has been reported from Moria detention center. A resident in the camp was today beaten up by police, and after that the police tried to delete everyones photos from the incident. Fortunately, they didnt succeed in doing so."
"Since the EU Commission advised the member states to resume with the Dublin III transfers to Greece, Germany has sent them 50 cases to deport back. But the Greek ministry hasnt answered yet, which means that Germany cant transfer the people.
The situation is similar for returning people back to Italy during the same legislation, of the more than 6700 requests made by Germany only 370 people have been sent back. This has various reasons like courts blocking the deportation or theres no EURODAC hit for the persons. Further Germany is not sending requests for families with children under three years. Tweets to follow in German."
Greece urged by European Court of Human Rights stop deportation (ekathimerini.com, link):
"The European Court of Human Rights is urging Greek authorities to hold off on deporting a Pakistani national who was due to be sent back to Turkey, from where he had traveled to Greece.
The man, whose name has not been publicized for his own protection, is being held at a migrant detention center on the island of Lesvos."
Refugee campaigners launch legal challenge over Home Office 'failure' to implement Dubs scheme (Independent, link):
"Campaigners have launched a High Court challenge against the Government over the number of unaccompanied child refugees accepted into the UK under the Dubs scheme.
The Help Refugees charity, which is leading the case, accuses the Home Office of adopting a seriously defective process to measure the capacity of local councils to take in child refugees, after it emerged many local authorities were not properly consulted.
The Government announced in early February that it was to close the Dubs scheme intended to grant 3,000 vulnerable unaccompanied minors a safe passage to Britain after accepting just 350."
The way asylum seekers are treated in the UK is a silent scandal (Guardian, link):
"We may be on different sides of the table, but legal aid lawyers like me feel the anxiety of the Home Office caseworkers who lose sleep over a failing system.
I want to say this to the Home Office caseworker: legal aid caseworkers like me feel and hear your anxiety, and though we may often be on the other side, we fundamentally have the same remit, to ensure that those in need are given a chance to rebuild their lives with dignity. This is being made increasingly difficult, however, due to severe cuts to public services.
The author laments how Home Office caseworkers are poorly trained, under-resourced and tyrannised by performance targets that actively compromise their ability to make a measured decision. The author describes experiencing severe anxiety over cases: Wheres the back-up, how do you sleep at night if you make a mistake?
I also provide a service to the public, and I also have sleepless nights. Although my job is to challenge and rectify the unlawful decision-making of such Home Office caseworkers, I was seized with a powerful sense of solidarity with the author. "
EU: European Council wants industry to develop automated censorship tools and "address the challenge" of encryption
- Draft conclusions for 22-23 June meeting also back multi-billion euro military research programme
- Migration: "Training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard is a key component of the EU approach and should be speeded up"
UK: EU citizens in Britain to be asked to register for post-Brexit status (The Guardian, link):
"The government is preparing to announce a registration process for the estimated 3 million EU citizens living in the UK, as a first step towards regularising their legal status post-Brexit.
It is understood ministers will unveil plans inviting all EU citizens to officially register their interest in acquiring documentation allowing them to live and work in the country after 2019 when Britain is scheduled to leave the European bloc.
The government is hoping the stocktaking exercise will help it understand the scale of the demand for residency applications once Britain leaves the EU and prevent an overwhelming avalanche of applications on Brexit day."
EU: Say yes to human mobility and no to Fortress Europe (EurActiv, link):
"EU leaders will this week meet to agree, once more, on ways to keep migrants out of the EU. Out of sight may be out of mind but such a policy is only encouraging the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of people, warns Leila Bodeux.
No walls, no human rights abuses, no coast guards or threat of return will stop desperate people from searching for a dignified life in Europe, no matter how deadly the attempt may be.
The time is ripe to anchor policies in facts and evidence, rather than in fear and quick fixes.
Europe has the moral duty and the material means to welcome, protect, promote and integrate people in need. There are plenty of tools to open efficient, safe and legal pathways to Europe, such as humanitarian visas, resettlement, community sponsorship, humanitarian corridors, and family reunification.
In these unsettling times, Europe can take strong global leadership and promote a fair and humane world by dismantling old, stiff Fortress Europe and by investing in a modern and dynamic, welcoming Europe that fosters human mobility.
This is the future."
European Court of Justice: Advocate General Sharpston considers that an applicant for international protection can challenge a Member State's decision to transfer him to another Member State on the basis that the 'take charge request' sent by the first Member State was not made within the time limits set out under EU law (press release, pdf):
"In the Advocate General's opinion, the Dublin III Regulation, the relevant legislation, is no longer a purely inter-State mechanism and the operation of time limits has substantive implications for the applicants and the Member States concerned."
See: Opinion in Case C-670/16 (pdf)
UK: 28 Days Later The Rule that Leaves New Refugees in the UK Destitute (one small window, link):
"For the lucky few, being granted refugee status should come as a relief. Instead, it is often the start of a new ordeal. The challenges that lie ahead for new refugees include integration, finding work, learning English, homelessness, medical care and racism. Yet these problems are exacerbated by the growing destitution among new refugees, who have not been granted this status under a special government resettlement scheme, such as that for some Syrian refugees.
In early 2017, the Red Cross reported a 10% increase in the number of destitute asylum seekers and refugees they helped in 2016, compared to 2015: 21% had been granted refugee status. The number of hungry refugees sleeping rough across the country is growing."
And see: All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees: Refugees Welcome? The Experience of New Refugees in the UK (April 2017, pdf)
SERBIA: Welcome to refugee purgatory on the Hungary border (IRIN, link):
"Thousands of migrants and refugees trying to reach northern Europe have become trapped in Serbia since neighbouring countries sealed their borders in early 2016. After months of living in squalid conditions in abandoned buildings or overcrowded reception centres, many attempt to cross into Hungary. Few succeed.
Filmmaker Jaime Alekos spent two months earlier this year interviewing dozens of migrants, many of them unaccompanied minors, who described being caught near the border by Hungarian police, beaten brutally, and forced back into Serbia. Their accounts are consistent with reports from Médecins Sans Frontières teams working in Serbia who regularly treat migrants for injuries inflicted by Hungarian border patrols. The abuse and pushbacks appear to be systematic and ongoing. This atmospheric film captures the migrants testimonies as well as their grim living conditions in Serbia."
UK: Women's prison population close to 4,000 after rapid twelve-month rise (Prison Reform Trust, link):
"The number of women in prison in England and Wales is in touching distance of 4,000 for the first time in four-and-a-half years. Ministry of Justice figures released last Friday show the female prison population currently stands at 3,994.
The latest edition of Prison: the facts (Bromley briefings summer 2017), published today and covered exclusively on this mornings edition of BBC Radio Four Womans Hour, shows an increase of 200 women in prison in the past year has pushed the female prison population towards this significant watershed after years of gradual but sustained decline in the numbers of women behind bars. The briefing highlights facts and figures which show the beleaguered state of our overcrowded prison system and the men and women in its care.
Some of the complex factors which may lie behind the growth in the women's prison population include a decline in the use of community orders, an increase in the use of suspended sentence orders, an increase in the number of women held on remand, an increase in the number of women sentenced to custody, and a rise in the number of women recalled to custody."
UK: Privatised probation service is failing prisoners
"Prisons and probation services are failing to meet the needs of newly released long-term prisoners, one in seven of whom end their sentence with no idea where they will spend their first night on the outside, according to a report which campaigners called "devastating"."
EU: The EU-Turkey Refugee Deal and the Not Quite Closed Balkan Route (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, pdf) by Bodo Weber:
"The effect of the two measures [the closure of the Balkan route and the EU-Turkey deal] on the Balkan route has been threefold: First, the number of refugees and migrants moving along the route has dropped dramatically, but tens of thousands still succeed to transit; second, the route has been redirected, with the southern entry point shifting from the Greek islands to Bulgarias land border with Turkey; and third, the form of transit has shifted back to the use of smugglers. The three EU member states located at the southern entry (Bulgaria) and northern exit (Hungary, Croatia) of the Balkan route have reacted to the inability to completely close the route with intensified efforts of systematic push-backs of refugees and migrants. Bulgaria has done so with limited success, the other two have been more successful. The attempts to physically close the Balkan route, especially in the case of Hungary, have included changes to asylum legislation that, taken together with the physical push-backs, amount to the systematic violation of human rights and the systematic violation of domestic, EU and international laws and conventions and constitutes a departure from core EU values."
UK: Police seek to avoid accountability in Human Rights case over abusive relationships by undercover officers (Police Spies Out of Lives, link)
"In 2017, Kate Wilson became one of eight women who have won an historic apology from the Metropolitan Police over their relationships with undercover police. She is now taking the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers to Court over human rights abuses she was subjected to by undercover officers. Ms Wilsons claim questions the legitimacy of such political policing in a democratic society, and the legality of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that is used to authorise such operations.
Despite having withdrawn their defence in Ms. Wilsons Civil Claim, paying substantial compensation and issuing a personal apology  to Ms. Wilson acknowledging that these relationships were a violation of her human rights, the police have also stated that they intend to contest this claim, and are applying for it to be struck out."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-20.6.17) including: three shipwrecks on eve of World Refugee Day; pro-refugee protests in Madrid
SWITZERLAND: Eritrean asylum seekers expulsion from Switzerland would not breach the European Convention (press release, pdf):
"The case M.O. v. Switzerland (application no. 41282/16) concerned the complaint brought by an Eritrean asylum seeker that he would be at risk of ill-treatment if deported from Switzerland to his country of origin. He essentially claimed before the Swiss authorities that he was a deserter from military service and, following a period of imprisonment, had escaped and left Eritrea illegally. The authorities found that his asylum claim was not credible and ordered his removal.
In todays Chamber judgment in the case the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that:
there would be no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights if the expulsion order against the applicant, Mr M.O, were implemented."
See: Judgment (pdf)
EU: Council document outlines implementation of Europol/INTCEN recommendations against foreign fighters
In December 2016 a series of joint recommendations on dealing with foreign terrorist fighters were issued by Europol, the EU's policing agency, and INTCEN, the intelligence centre of the European External Action Service. A note sent to the Council of the EU's internal security committee (COSI) on 9 June outlines actions that are being taken to implementation the recommendations.
EU: Schengen: temporary internal border controls to be replaced with intensified police checks "across the entire territory"
The Council of the EU has begun to discuss ways to implement the European Commission's May 2017 recommendation for Member States to "intensify police checks across the entire territory, including in border areas," in the hope that the authorities "give precedence to police checks before deciding on the temporary reintroduction of border controls."
A painful record (Ekathimerini, link) by Pantelis Boukalas:
"Tuesday marks World Refugee Day. Although a plethora of heartfelt statements will come from official lips about the plight of millions of people who have been displaced from their homes, very little will reach the ears of the actual protagonists of this drama.
In any case, the figures released on Monday by the United Nations are enough to make you gasp: About 65.6 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict or persecution by the end of 2016.
This is a painful record, which leaves an indelible mark on the face of humanity, especially considering that half of the refugee population is composed of children.
Sixty-five point six million people. With no freedoms, no rights, no future. This Europe which so touts its respect of human rights does not even respect the right of families separated by violence to reunite. Officials always find a way to bypass the rules or to turn a blind eye to the plight of these people, while at the same time bragging about their official signature at the bottom of agreements and protocols."
World Refugee Day - Reports of three new shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea (UNHCR, link):
"UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency received information last night about three new shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. We fear that at least 130 people are dead or missing.
The first and largest of these incidents involved a rubber dinghy that left Libya on 15 June and began taking on water just hours into its journey. From the Italian coast guard, and the four survivors - Sudanese and Nigerian nationals we understand the boat was carrying at least 133 people. 129 people are missing.
The second incident involved a boat carrying at least 85 people which broke in two and sank yesterday. People who witnessed the sinking say the boat was among three that left Libya on the evening of 15 June. There were many families with children aboard. The nationalities of those lost are Syrians and people from North African countries.
A third shipwreck is reported to have left seven more people dead or missing. Survivors were disembarked yesterday in Messina, Sicily. Their boat left Libya on 14 June. A pregnant woman from Cameroon lost her husband in the shipwreck.
Today is World Refugee Day. These incidents are a reminder of the grave dangers that people confront when forced to flee their countries because of war and persecution. Since the beginning of the year, over 77,000 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. This is among the worlds most dangerous routes a journey that no one takes lightly."
UK: Terrorism-related arrests and trials increase as number of far-right extremists reported to Prevent programme grows by 30%
The number of arrests for terrorism-related offences in the UK jumped to 304 in the year ending March 2017, an increase of 18% on the previous year, while the number of completed trials for terrorism-related offences completed in the same period increased by 55%, from 51 to 79.
The change "was driven by an increase in arrests of people from 'white' ethnic groups," according to the Home Office, while a report in The Independent has revealed that "the number of suspected far-right extremists flagged to the Governments key anti-terror programme soared by 30 per cent in the past year."
SERBIA: Thousands of refugees left stuck in limbo in Calais of the Balkans (The Herald, link):
"In recent months, Serbian authorities have tried to provide shelter, food and medical care to thousands of refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa camping within its borders.
But the newcomers do not want any of it. This country is quickly becoming the Calais of the Balkans, a reference to the northern French city where refugees live in limbo while awaiting either deportation, asylum or continuing their journeys in hope of landing in a more welcoming European country.
I tried to leave Serbia 17 times, said Jawad Afzali, 17, an Afghan who has lived for the past six months with 1,500 other Afghan, Iraqi and Pakistani migrants in abandoned warehouses and a tent village that sprung up behind the bus station."
EU: Poland reacts to non-compliance procedures (New Europe, link):
"In response to the European Commission launching procedures against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic over non-compliance with their obligations under the 2015 Council Decisions on relocation of migrants, Beata Szydlo has denied his country is refusing to show solidarity with its EU partners.
The Polish PM said her country is not alone in failing to relocate migrants under a 2015 deal designed to alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy which have seen the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants and refugees.
In an interview with Belgian daily Le Soire, Szydlo said migrants were not interested in staying in Poland, Hungary or the Czech Republic but wanted to head for richer countries."
See also: Orbán: No chance for single EU migration policy (EurActiv, link):
"Hungarys populist prime minister said Monday (19 June) that he sees no chance for a single EU-wide migration policy, just days after the bloc launched legal action against Budapest for refusing refugees under a controversial solidarity plan."
And: Commission latest reports on the refugee crisis and "returns" to Turkey (Statewatch News Online, 14 June 2017)
UK: Number of people detained for longer than six months under Immigration Act powers increases by 10% (The Independent, link):
"The number of people detained under Immigration Act powers for longer than six months has increased by 10 per cent in the past year, statistics have revealed.
A total of 317 people were detained in immigration removal centres, short term holding facilities or pre departure accommodation for more than six months in the first quarter of 2017 a 10 per cent increase on the same quarter in 2016, when there were 287.
In the first quarter of 2017, 236 people were detained for between six months and a year, 69 between a year and 34 months and 12 between two and three years."
IRELAND: Resettlement and relocation: Less than a third of promised 4,000 refugees settled here (Irish Times, link):
"Less than a third of the 4,000 refugees the Government promised to accept by the end of the 2017 have been resettled here, according to the most recent figures released ahead of World Refugee Day on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, charities have called for a reversal of parts of the International Protection Act 2015, which narrowed the definition of family and removed the possibility for refugees to apply for extended family members to joint them in Ireland.
Though we had promised to relocate refugees from Italy, none have yet been moved here. The Department of Justice said this was because Italian authorities have not allowed law enforcement agencies from other EU member states to conduct security assessments of candidates on its soil."
SPAIN: Thousands march for refugees, ask Madrid to honour commitment (Middle East Eye, link):
"Several thousand people marched in Madrid on Saturday to ask the Spanish government to honour its commitment to take in more than 17,000 refugees as part of Europe's relocation plan.
"No human being is illegal," the crowds chanted as they walked under scorching heat past clothing shops in central Madrid, holding banners that read "Bridges not walls" and "Enough with excuses, no more barriers".
The protest, organised by dozens of NGOs including Amnesty International, comes just a few days before World Refugee Day on Tuesday."
See also: Massive demonstration in Barcelona in support of migrants and refugees (Statewatch News Online, 20 February 2017) and: Milan like Barcelona. Together, without walls, against the racist criminalisation of migrants and the poor. For an international network of antiracist cities (27 May 2017)
HUNGARY: Asylum in Hungary: damanged beyond repair? ECRE's call for states to end transfers to Hungary under Dublin and bilateral arrangements
"A legal note published today provides a succinct analysis of the most problematic aspects of the Hungarian asylum system and legal framework, and the most egregious human rights violations asylum seekers currently face in the country, including at its external border with Serbia.
It concludes that Hungarys legal framework, including alarming recent changes, puts rights at risk due to (1) the lack of access to asylum procedure (2) the application of safe third country concept to dublin returnees (3) the expansion of summary returns policy (4) inadequate reception conditions and automatic use of detention, and (5) increased risks of destitution.
Therefore, ECRE calls on all States not to transfer applicants for and beneficiaries of international protection to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation or any bilateral arrangements, and to assume responsibility themselves for the examination of these asylum claims."
See: Asylum in Hungary: damaged beyond repair? (link to pdf) and: SWITZERLAND: Court rules against sending asylum seekers to Hungary (Al Jazeera, link)
EU: Access to e-evidence: Inevitable sacrifice of our right to privacy? (EDRi, link):
"What do you do when human rights get in the way of tackling crime and terrorism? You smash those pillars of your democratic values the same ones you are supposedly protecting. Give up your right to privacy, it is a fair price to pay for the guarantee of your security! This is the mantra that, during the past decades, we have heard populist politicians repeat over and over again never mind that gambling with our rights actually helps very little in that fight.
One of the bargaining chips in the debate on privacy versus security is access to e-evidence.
The EU is working towards easing the access to e-evidence for law enforcement authorities. The plan of the European Commission is to propose new rules on sharing evidence and the possibility for the authorities to request e-evidence directly from technology companies. One of the proposed options is that police would be able to access data directly from the cloud-based services."
And see: Commission to present legal proposal on police access to cloud data; data retention discussion continues (Statewatch News Online, 9 June 2017)
USA: When a Computer Program Keeps You in Jail (New York Times, link):
"The criminal justice system is becoming automated. At every stage from policing and investigations to bail, evidence, sentencing and parole computer systems play a role. Artificial intelligence deploys cops on the beat. Audio sensors generate gunshot alerts. Forensic analysts use probabilistic software programs to evaluate fingerprints, faces and DNA. Risk-assessment instruments help to determine who is incarcerated and for how long.
Technological advancement is, in theory, a welcome development. But in practice, aspects of automation are making the justice system less fair for criminal defendants.
The root of the problem is that automated criminal justice technologies are largely privately owned and sold for profit. The developers tend to view their technologies as trade secrets. As a result, they often refuse to disclose details about how their tools work, even to criminal defendants and their attorneys, even under a protective order, even in the controlled context of a criminal proceeding or parole hearing."
Commission report on relocation: Does it know how many refugees there in Greece?
Commission asks "the Greek authorities to clarify the total number of migrants present on the mainland and the islands."
German police seek volunteers for facial recognition surveillance (DW, link):
"Police are recruiting subjects to test biometric recognition systems at a Berlin train station. Data protection advocates are wary, but police and volunteers say the pilot project will help fight crime.
Germany's federal police force has a multitude of different tasks, but casting usually isn't one of them. That changed on Monday, as officers set up a stand in Berlin's Südkreuz subway and commuter rail station in an effort to recruit subjects to help them test out anti-crime facial-recognition software.
Volunteers have their photos taken, are equipped with transponders and agree to allow themselves to be tracked in a specially marked section of the station for six months starting on August 1. In return, they're given thank-you presents - everything from Amazon gift certificates to an Apple Watch for the person who passes through the police surveillance zone most often.
It sounds a bit goofy, but officers were able to recruit 44 volunteers on the first morning of casting alone and said that the people they had approached had been quite receptive. So will people spend all day walking through the station trying to claim the top prize?"
COE: European countries must lift obstacles to reunification of refugee families (link):
"reunification is a fundamental part of the right to family life, which is protected by international human rights law. This right is particularly important for refugees in Europe. Because of the dangers they face at home, their only option to enjoy their right to family life is to bring their families to Europe. Regrettably, many European countries are limiting refugees access to this right through restrictive measures which are unjust, unlawful and cause immense hardship for refugees and their families.
This has to change, says today Nils Muinieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a report which aims at helping Council of Europe member states adopt a more humane and human rights oriented policy on family reunification for refugees and beneficiaries of international protection."
See: Issue Paper (pdf) and Summary (pdf)
European Parliament: Draft Opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications) (pdf): Rapporteur: Axel Voss:
"The rapporteur does not welcome the proposal concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications (ePrivacy Regulation).
All the aims of the creation of a digital single market (growth, promoting innovation, boosting Europes IT-based economy, the free flow of data, and promotion of SMEs) will not be attained, and in some cases indeed the very opposite of what is intended will be brought about. Many existing business models would be outlawed by this." [emphasis in original]
VENICE COMMISSION: Hungarian law on foreign-funded NGOs - despite amendments - still raises Venice Commission concerns (link):
"The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) today adopted an opinion clarifying its preliminary opinion on the previous Draft Law on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Support from Abroad of Hungary.
In the clarification, the Council of Europe expert body expressed the view that the law, passed this week, only partly satisfies the preliminary opinions main recommendations."
See: Preliminary Opinion on the draft law on the transparency of organisations receiving support from abroad (pdf)
CoE: Europe and migration to take centre-stage at the Summer Session (link):
"Europe and migration will be one of the central themes of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Summer plenary session, to be held in Strasbourg from 26 to 30 June 2017.
Four reports will be debated on Wednesday 28 June, focusing on the humanitarian and political response to the migration crisis, the human rights implications of the European response to transit migration, migration as an opportunity for European development and the integration of refugees in times of critical pressure."
EU: Schengen Information System (SIS): Returns, Border checks and discrete checks
SIS AND RETURNS: Draft Regulation on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals - Draft compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 9592-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: Footnotes with Member State positions:
"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BE, BG, CZ, DE, DK, EL, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, SI, SK and UK. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE, PL, SE and UK. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes."
SIS AND BORDER CHECKS: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks... draft compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 9593-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: 73 Footnotes with Member State positions:
"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BG, CZ, DE, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, and SI. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE and PL. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes."
SIS AND "DISCRETE" CHECKS: Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.... - draft compromise text regarding alerts on persons and objects for discreet checks, inquiry checks or specific checks (Articles 36 and 37) (LIMITE doc no: 9594-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: 98 Footnotes with Member State positions:
"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BG, CZ, DE, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, SI and UK. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE, PL and UK. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes.....
Article 2: Scope
This Regulation establishes the conditions and procedures for the entry and processing in SIS of alerts in respect of third-country nationals, the exchange of supplementary information and additional data for the purpose of refusing entry into and stay on the territory of the Member States." [emphasis added]
EU: Potential expansion of Eurodac database scope raises data protection concerns (ECRE Bulletin, link):
"The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament has adopted a report on the European Commission proposal to recast the Eurodac Regulation. It outlines a wide expansion of the scope of the Eurodac database that raises strong concerns about data protection.
These measures have raised serious concerns about asylum seekers right to data protection from a number of actors and organisations including ECRE, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the Meijers Committee."
.See European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee position on recast Eurodac Regulation and the Council's position (LIMITE doc no: 10079-17,pdf) going into trilogue meetings.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-18.6.17)
EEAS Discrimination? (New Europe, link):
"n an unprecedented, yet exemplary case of discrimination, the European External Action Service has treated two Access to Documents requests filed by different parties for the same documents inconsistently, in one case providing access to a requested document for one party and not the other!
New Europe has been investigating for months now, the case of the purchase made by the EEAS of the residence for the Head of Delegation in Albania. ..."
Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 77,004 in 2017; 1,828 Deaths (IOM, link): Italy: 65,450, Greece 7,967, Spain 3.314 and Cyprus 273.
Arrival in Greece show sharp rise in arrivals
Figures released by the Greek Ministry show that refugee arrivals on the islands are rising:
13 June: 146
14 June: 151
15 June: 145
16 June: 52
Total on Islands: 14,322
Total in Greece: 62,258
EU: Passenger Name Record (PNR): Meijers Committee: Note on the EU law aspects of PNR in public transport pdf)
"The note concludes that the Meijers Committee is not convinced that national instruments extending the scope of application of PNR rules beyond the air transport sector would be in accordance with all requirements of EU law. This being said, the note also specifies the main issues that should, in any event, be resolved in the decision making process."
See: Putting the PNR pieces in place: more EU funding for mass surveillance (March 2016) and: EU-USA: PNR Directive: USA offers a helping hand to EU air travel surveillance and profiling efforts
WikiLeaks Reveals How the CIA Could Hack Your Router (Wired, link):
"Your Wi-Fi router, sitting in the corner of your home accumulating dust and unpatched security flaws, provides an attractive target for hackers. Including, according to a new WikiLeaks release, the CIA.
On Thursday, WikiLeaks published a detailed a set of descriptions and documentation for the CIA's router-hacking toolkit. It's the latest drip in the months-long trickle of secret CIA files it's called Vault7,..."
See: Vault 7: Projects (Wikileaks, link)
Europol: TE-SAT: Terrorism: Situation and Trend Report 2017 (8MB, pdf):
Largely concernng Spain, Italy and Greece: "Left-wing and anarchist activities included riots, arson attacks and attacks with explosives, criminal damage and spreading propaganda."
And: "Migration and the perceived threat from Islamisation are key topics on the agenda of right-wing extremists....
Germany stated that after the investigation into the National-Sozialistischer Untergrund (NSU, National Socialist Underground) in 2011, additional investigations into groups such as the Old School Society in 2015 and Gruppe Freital (Freital Group) in April 2016 demonstrated that the formation of right-wing terrorist structures cannot be excluded."
EU-USA: Joint EU-U.S. press statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting, Valletta, 16 June 2017 (Press release, pdf) Includes:
"The European Union and the United States of America agreed on the importance of advancing towards reciprocal visa free travel under their respective legal frameworks. Both sides endorsed a cooperative approach to assisting Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania in advancing more rapidly towards the fulfillment of the requirements for designation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, consistent with U.S. law."
Comment: This has been in the agenda and unresolved for years.
"Both sides welcomed the entry into force of the EU-U.S. Data Protection "Umbrella" Agreement and reiterated their commitment to ensure its full implementation."
Comment: The exchange of personal data agreement - remains to be seen how much redress there will be for EU citizens under the USA Judicial Redress Act. The Agreement covers all crimes however minor.
A new item: "The discussion further covered the implementation of the U.S.-EU Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and the question of access by law enforcement authorities to electronic evidence."
Comment follows new initiatives in the EU access data/files for electronic evidence, which in the EU could includes material gathered under an EIO (European Investigation Order) using remote access - prior to charges being brought. See: Commission: Improving cross-border access to electronic evidence: Findings from the expert process and suggested way forward (9543/17, 22 May 2017, pdf) and Council follow-up: Improving cross-border access to electronic evidence - findings from the expert process and suggested way forward (9677/17, 29 May 2017, pdf).
EU: Court of Justice in the European Union (CJEU): Making available and managing an online platform for sharing copyright-protected works, such as The Pirate Bay, may constitute an infringement of copyright (Press release, pdf):
"Even if the works in question are placed online by the users of the online sharing platform, the operators of that platform play an essential role in making those works available.
Ziggo and XS4ALL are internet access providers. A significant number of their subscribers use the online sharing platform The Pirate Bay. This platform allows users to share and upload, in segments (torrents), works present on their computers1. The files in question are, for the most part, copyright-protected works in respect of which the rightholders have not given the operators or users of that platform consent to share those works.
Stichting Brein, a Netherlands foundation which safeguards the interests of copyright holders, has brought proceedings before the courts in the Netherlands seeking an order that would require Ziggo and XS4ALL to block the domain names and IP addresses of The Pirate Bay.
See: Judgment (pdf)
European Parliament Briefings: Uncritical but useful summaries prepared for High-level Conference on migration management 21 June 2017:
What has the European Union done in the field of migration since 2014? (pdf)
European Parliaments positions on key issues related to asylum and migration (pdf)
Hungarian NGOs embrace civil disobedience (Hungarian Spectrum, link):
"I dont think anyone was surprised when two days ago the Hungarian parliament with its overwhelming, almost two-thirds Fidesz majority passed a law imposing strict regulations on foreign-funded non-governmental organizations. The law bears a suspicious resemblance to the 2012 Russian law that required groups that received funds from abroad to identify themselves as foreign agents. The Hungarian version is somewhat more lenient. The targeted NGOs dont have to call themselves foreign agents, but they must bear the label that they are the recipients of foreign funds, which can be considered a stigma....
Only a few hours after the enactment of the civic law, TASZ announced that it will not obey the law, i.e. it will not register as the law demands because this is the most effective way of combating this unconstitutional law. According to TASZ, the law violates the freedoms of speech and association and unlawfully differentiates among civic organizations."
UK: Jermaine Baker shooting: Firearms officer will not be charged (BBC News, link):
"A Met Police firearms officer will face no charges over the shooting of a man who was killed in a botched attempt to free a prisoner, prosecutors said.
Jermaine Baker was killed in London by armed officers in December 2015.He was with two other men in a car near Wood Green Crown Court who had intended to help spring an inmate from a prison van. Firearms officers were deployed to foil the plan and the 28-year-old was shot dead during the escape attempt."
And: Police officer who shot 'gangster' Jermaine Baker during failed prison van escape to face 'no action' (Mirror, link) and also: CPS statement on the fatal shooting of Jermaine Baker (Crown Prosecutiion Service, link)
May And Macron's Ridiculous Adventure In Censoring The Internet (Techdirt, link):
"apparently they agree on one really, really bad idea: that it's time to massively censor the internet and to blame tech companies if they don't censor enough. We've been explaining for many years why this is a bad idea, but apparently we need to do so again...."
Study: The impact of Brexit in relation to the right to petition and on the competences, responsibilities and activities of the Committee on Petitions (pdf):
"first looks at the changes that Brexit will determine in relation to voting rights, the right to petition, the right to apply to the European Ombudsman and the European Citizens Initiative. It then focuses at length on the way Brexit will affect UK citizens in the EU-27, and EU citizens living in the UK. In this respect, it considers challenges and risks for both citizens who have resided in the EU-27 or the UK for less than 5 years, and for those who have already acquired the right to permanent residence at the time of Brexit."
Briefing: Smart Borders: EU Entry/Exit System (JUNe 2017, pdf):
"Under the new proposal, the current system of manual stamping of passports would be replaced by automation of certain preparatory border control procedures. The system would be interconnected with the Visa Information System (VIS) database and used by the same authorities: border control and consular posts. Moreover, it would allow law enforcement authorities to perform restricted queries in the database for criminal identification and intelligence to prevent serious crime and terrorism."
Greek Hotspots: Deaths Not to Be Forgotten (Pro Asyl, link)::
"In an extensive policy paper, the team of Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) in Greece has observed that in numerous cases of refugee deaths at the hotspots on Greek islands, the Greek authorities have undertaken little or no investigation, turning the hotspots into an institutional gray zone."
Report: Refugee Support Aegean (RSA, link)
France's Macron to end state of emergency, but keep its anti-terror powers (France24, link):
"President Emmanuel Macrons government wants to end a 14-month 'state of emergency' in France, but at the same time integrate several of its exceptional anti-terrorism powers into common law, alarming judges and civil liberty groups."
And: Macron's security law plan under fire as state of emergency criticised (RFI, link): "The Constitutional Council found that the state of emergency gives too much power to prefects representatives of the state in a department or region to ban individuals seeking to obstruct the authorities activities from certain places at certain times and said that it should be amended to protect individual freedoms."
See also: France's Macron says new anti-terrorism law to respect public freedoms (Reuters, link)
UK: How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states (BBC News, link):
"A year-long investigation by BBC Arabic and a Danish newspaper has uncovered evidence that the UK defence giant BAE Systems has made large-scale sales across the Middle East of sophisticated surveillance technology, including to many repressive governments.
These sales have also included decryption software which could be used against the UK and its allies.
While the sales are legal, human rights campaigners and cyber-security experts have expressed serious concerns these powerful tools could be used to spy on millions of people and thwart any signs of dissent."
And see: BAE 'secretly sold mass surveillance technology to repressive regimes' (Guardian, link): "Documents reveal official concerns that deal with countries including Saudi Arabia could put UK security in danger, says BBC..."
EU: European Parliament Study: Children On the Move: A Private International Law Perspective (pdf):
"The childs best interests are a primary consideration under international and EU law. EU migration and private international law frameworks regulate child protection, but in an uncoordinated way: the Dublin III and Brussels IIa Regulations are neither aligned nor applied coherently.
This should change. In particular, the rules and mechanisms of Brussels IIa should be used to enhance the protection of migrant children. These include rules on jurisdiction to take protective measures, on applicable law, and on recognition and enforcement of protective measures, and mechanisms for cross-border cooperation between authorities."
Hungarys transit zones are prisons where pregnant women are handcuffed and children go hungry (Budapest Sentinel, link):
"The Hungarian government set up transit zones along the border as a place for those fleeing war to request international protection.
These transit zones operate as though they are located in a no mans land. In other words, Hungarian law does not necessarily apply at these locations. Until now, we had no knowledge of what happens behind the gates of these transit zones because the public access to these areas is restricted...."
IRELAND: Asylum seekers to get extra 2.50 per week to live on (Irish Times, link):
"People living in Irelands direct provision are have their weekly welfare payments increased, in a move announcd on Wednesday by Taoiseach-elect Leo Varadkar and Minister for Justice and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.
The increase of 2.50 per week for adults and 6 per week for children will benefit more than 4,000 adults and children living in direct provision. Mr Varadkar and Ms Fitzgerald will seek Cabinet approval for the increases.
The rate for children will rise from 15.60 to 21.60 per week and for adults from 19.10 to 21.60 per week from August."
See also: Direct Provision allowance increase does not go far enough, say the Irish Refugee Council (Irish Refugee Council, link) and: Judge McMahon urges action two years after Direct Provision report (Irish Legal News, link):
"Retired Judge Bryan McMahon, who produced a landmark Government report on Direct Provision, has urged the Government to act on its recommendations at a conference marking the two-year anniversary of its publication.
The McMahon Report was published in June 2015 and contained 173 recommendations to improve and reform Direct Provision and the asylum process in Ireland.
Addressing a conference hosted by the Childrens Rights Alliance, Judge McMahon said the Government had to address asylum seekers right to work and the length of time people spend in Direct Provision."
EU: Commission: latest reports on the refugee crisis and "returns" to Turkey
- Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland face infringement proceedings
- Greece: Arrivals outpace returns to Turkey
- Next steps - dodgy figures or wishful thinking?
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.6.17) including: Germany offers millions to Libya, Swiss court halts returns to Hungary
GREECE: Coast guard rescues 43 migrants off Farmakonisi (ekathimerini.com, link):
"A total of 43 migrants and refugees were rescued off the southern Aegean islet of Farmakonisi on Tuesday, the Greek Coast Guard has said.
Officials said all 43 were transferred to the nearby island of Leros.
New figures released by the UN refugee agency on Tuesday show that the number of migrants who entered Europe in the first half of 2017 was 35 percent of the number a year ago."
Hungarian parliament approves "unecessary, stigmatising and harmful" law on NGOs receiving funds from abroad
On Tuesday 13 June the Hungarian parliament approved the 'Law on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Foreign Funds' that requires non-governmental organisations (NGO) receiving more than 24,000 in direct or indirect funding from abroad to register as "civic organisations funded from abroad". The Civilizáció coalition of Hungarian NGOs condemned the law as "unecessary, stigmatising and harmful" and "a new step in a longer process that aims at fully discrediting civil society organisations."
UN report on Libya: serious abuses against migrants, "concerns" over vetting of coastguard members trained by EU
"The Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Libya... discusses links between armed groups, criminal groups, and different coast guard factions, including involvement by coast guard factions in migrant smuggling and coast guard factions shooting at or sinking migrant boats operated by competitors. The report makes clear that after interception at sea, migrants are often beaten, robbed and taken to detention centres or private houses and farms where they are subjected to forced labour, rape and other sexual violence.
The report questions whether any of the coast guard factions are under the control of the Government of National Accord and questions the vetting of the coastguard trainees who are receiving training from EUNAVFOR MED. This information is further reason for the EU and EUNAVFOR MED to immediately suspend all collaboration with the Libyan coast guards and navy."
EU: Relocation: Commission launches infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (press release, pdf)
"The European Commission has today launched infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for non-compliance with their obligations under the 2015 Council Decisions on relocation.
Despite the Commission's repeated calls for action, these three countries remain in breach of their legal obligations and have shown disregard for their commitments to Greece, Italy and other Member States.
The Council Decisions require Member States to pledge available places for relocation every three months to ensure a swift and orderly relocation procedure. Whereas Hungary has not taken any action at all since the relocation scheme started, Poland has not relocated anyone and not pledged since December 2015. The Czech Republic has not relocated anyone since August 2016 and not made any new pledges for over a year"
And see: EU opens legal case against Warsaw, Budapest and Prague over migration (Reuters, link)
NGO says Israels biometric database law an infringement of privacy rights (Biometric Update, link):
"The Digital Rights Movement has filed a request to Israels High Court to block the state from a public campaign to convince the public to sign up for smartcard identification and the countrys biometric database.
According to a report in The Jerusalem Post this court action is a part of the NGOs broader campaign to get the new biometric database law struck as an unconstitutional infringement of privacy rights, asserting that the campaign is designed to fool the public into signing up for all aspects of the biometric database, even though the public has the right to refuse giving over their fingerprints.
From the outset, there have been concerns raised about privacy rights and risks of identity and personal information theft but defenders of the law say the final version reflects a number of compromises to address privacy concerns."
Refugee rescue ships not acting as pull factor or colluding with people smugglers, report finds (The Independent, link):
"Humanitarian ships rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean Sea are not acting as a pull factor driving increasing refugee boat crossings or colluding with smugglers, research has found.
A report by the Forensic Oceanography department at Goldsmiths, University of London, rejected a toxic narrative seeking to blame NGOs for the worsening crisis.
Experts dismantled allegations made by agencies such as Frontex and leading European politicians, who claimed charities were encouraging smugglers to use more dangerous tactics on the treacherous passage between Libya and Italy."
See: New report debunks "toxic narrative" aimed at search and rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean (Statewatch News Online, 9 June 2017)
Transnational terrorism focus of INTERPOL meeting (INTERPOL, link):
"ATHENS, Greece An international counter-terrorism meeting has been held in Athens under the auspices of INTERPOLs Project Nexus to review regional and global trends on the activities and movement of returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs).
The three-day (6 8 June) INTERPOL Project Nexus Working Group Meeting on Foreign Terrorist Fighters gathered more than 60 representatives from the counter-terrorism units of 32 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean.
Co-hosted by the Greek Police and INTERPOL, the meeting was part of INTERPOLs global counter-terrorism strategy which focuses on assisting INTERPOL member countries in targeted regions to contain and disrupt transnational terrorist activities, including by addressing information gaps."
HUNGARY-SWITZERLAND: Court rules against sending asylum seekers to Hungary (Al Jazeera, link):
"Switzerland's highest administrative court on Friday ruled against the deportation of an asylum seeker to Hungary, citing humanitarian and legal concerns over conditions in a country that has been sharply criticised for its harsh treatment of refugees.
Judges at the Federal Administrative Court said the situation in Hungary is too insecure for asylum seekers, delivering a verdict in the case of a young male from the Democratic Republic of Congo who had filed a judicial complaint against his return to the Eastern European country, where he was officially registered.
Under the European Union's Dublin Convention, member states can return asylum seekers to the country where they first applied for protection. Switzerland is not an EU member state, but it is a signatory to the accord.
Seeing as the court issued a so-called "pilot ruling", its provisions automatically apply to all present asylum seekers in Switzerland who had registered a complaint against their return to Hungary.
Local media reported that 202 people would now have their asylum requests processed in Switzerland."
Untangling the other dark web of pervasive, inescapable, corporate surveillance (Privacy News Online, link):
"Visitors to this site are well aware of how our every move is tracked as we move around the Internet. We know that companies are building minutely-detailed profiles of us, stored on huge databases, and that the information held there not only changes the ads we see, and the prices that companies offer us when we visit e-commerce sites, but even the mix of news stories that we view. The scale of this surveillance capitalism, as it has been called, is vast. One recent study looked at a million Web sites, and found that over 80,000 third-party services receive details about the visitors to them."
A brief overview of some of the information made available in the recent report: Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life (Cracked Labs, link
HUNGARY: Government squandered $15.3 million on Lets Stop Brussels! campaign in April (The Budapest Beacon, link):
"The government acknowledged spending HUF 4.2 billion (USD 15.3 million) on Aprils Lets Stop Brussels! campaign after Átlátszó.hus public data request, reports index.hu.
Although the by now customary blue billboards appearing across the country constituted the most visible aspect of the campaign, more than half of the budget was spent on advertisements in Fidesz-tied media outlets."
UK: Cressida Dick: public supports police on stop and search (Evening Standard, link):
"The public is giving lots of support to police in London over the decision to step up the use of stop and search in their battle to combat knife crime, the Met Commissioner said today.
Cressida Dick said that street searches were a very powerful tool for officers as she spoke of her deep concern about a surge in knife crime which has led to 37 fatal stabbings in the capital so far this year.
She emphasised that Met officers carrying out searches must be courteous and use intelligence to target prolific offenders."
The statistics, on the other hand, do not support the police: Mass stop and search by police doesn't reduce crime, says study (The Guardian, link):
"The use of large surge stop-and-search operations by the police has no discernible effect in reducing crime, according to newly released Home Office research.
The study looks at the mass use of stop and search by Londons Metropolitan police to tackle knife crime in 2008/09, at a time when officers were carrying out one search every 20 seconds on average nationwide."
And: Black and minority ethnic groups increasingly more likely to be stopped and searched by police (The Telegraph, link)
France and UK announce internet counter-terror plan (EUobserver, link):
"The UK and France are moving ahead with a joint plan to fight terrorism, online hate speech, and to crack encrypted data.
Speaking together in Paris on Tuesday (13 June), French president Emmanuel Macron and UK prime minister Theresa May said the two countries were renewing their counter-terrorism cooperation.
The plan includes possibly imposing fines on social media giants for not taking down flagged online hate speech quickly enough. They also spoke about prying apart encrypted messages, which posed broader questions on civil liberty and cyber security.
But Macron said they first wanted to make sure internet operators "delete any content promoting hatred and terrorism in any way.""
And see: Theresa May still plans to clamp down on the internet despite losing her majority (Metro, link):
"A privacy group has criticised Theresa May over hints that she will continue with plans to clamp down on internet services despite failing to win a majority in last weeks election."
EU-USA: PNR Directive: USA offers a helping hand to EU air travel surveillance and profiling efforts
The USA has invited EU Member States to visit its National Targeting Center (NTC), which "uses several automated enforcement data processing systems that are focused on detecting and preventing terrorist access to the United States," as joint efforts between EU institutions, agencies and the Member States to implement the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive on the surveillance and profiling of air passengers continue. Official documentation made public here also reveals other aspects of the implementation of the Directive, such as the inclusion of customs authorities as recipients of PNR data.
Germany's Sigmar Gabriel promises millions on surprise visit to Libya (Deutsche Welle, link):
"German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Wednesday made a surprise visit to Libya to announce a new tranche of aid to the conflict-ridden country.
Berlin will provide 3.5 million euros ($3.9 million) to Libyan authorities to improve conditions at refugee camps in the North African country, Gabriel said. The money is expected to complement relief funds provided by Germany aimed at easing Europe's migration crisis.
"It is, therefore, our goal, together with the Libyans, to resist the instability that has arisen from the absence of established structures," Gabriel said. "Concrete progress is urgently needed.""
EU: Space and Security: Crucial synergies for European citizens (European Defence Agency, link):
Joint Opinion Editorial by Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director general of the European Space Agency:
"Europe has been earmarking space and security as priorities for over a decade. Yet, it still hasnt fully lived up to its ambitions. There is now an unprecedented window of opportunity for addressing these shortcomings: a series of ambitious EU security related initiatives launched in 2016 can finally make space and security cooperation a tangible reality with positive effects on Europes security, its economy and, perhaps even more important, on how citizens perceive Europe. This is why the partnership instated in 2011 between our two organisations through an Administrative Arrangement holds such strategic resonance. While EDA is Europes defence capability development actor, ESA is Europes uncontested space agency, whose Convention, pursuant to its second article, scopes ESAs security initiatives: these must be provided for exclusively peaceful purposes, a provision which has been interpreted under international law as non-aggressive uses of outer space.
Synergies on dual-use amongst sectors make political, technological and budgetary sense. Such synergies have been called upon in most policy documents for over a decade, and again more recently in the European Commissions 2016 Space Strategy. But have we made real and genuine headway in fostering dual-use cooperation? Or have we perhaps not done enough to bring the two communities together and to build the confidence needed? "
And see: Space Strategy : Europe needs civil-military synergies (EDA, link)
UK: Former MI5 chief defends intelligence service (Defence IQ, link):
"The former director general of MI5 has hit out at critics of Britains intelligence service, saying the threats of today are worse and more complex than ever.
Dame Stella Rimington, who oversaw MI5 in the mid-nineties, said that intelligence officers will always be subject to criticism in the days after a terror incident because the public rarely understands the huge difficulties of counter-terror operations.
When an incident happens, people are quick to blame and throw the whole thing up in the air," she said. "That is not the way to deal with security.""
Ukraine and Slovakia to strengthen cooperation in the field of readmission
"During the consultations held on 18-19 May, the experts of Ukraine and Slovakia agreed on an article-by-article basis the draft Implementation Protocol to the Agreement between Ukraine and the Slovak Republic on readmission."
EU: Shock Monitor: documenting and studying "private war" and its impact on human rights
"Shock Monitor is created to document and study the evolution of Private War and its worldwide impact on human rights. Through the documentation, systematisation and analysis of incidents involving PMSCs and private contractors, it studies not only the development of the industry but also the incidents and related legal cases, perpetrator accountability and remedy for the victims."
Border Walls Dont Stop Immigration, but They Do Undermine Integration (Refugees Deeply, link):
"The most visual form of increasing the cost of migration for undocumented migrants the building of walls and fences has recently regained popularity among policymakers in Europe and the United States alike.
In 2015-16, several European borders were fortified or fences were built, at Calais and other borders like Hungary-Serbia, Austria-Italy and Macedonia-Greece. At the same time, President Donald Trump is pursuing an extension of existing border walls and fences at the southern border of the U.S.
For many, building a wall at the national borders is the most appealing way to curb illegal immigration, to regain control over entry and to improve security.
But often little thought goes into the effects such a border wall can have beyond reducing the absolute number of immigrants in the short term."
EU: Partnership Frameworks in Africa: Commission publishes progress reports on first year
"A year into its implementation and ahead of the June European Council, the Commission and the High Representative present today the fourth progress report on the Partnership Framework on Migration."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.6.17)
EURODAC: eu-LISA: European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice: Eurodac - annual statistics (Press release, pdf):
"In 2016, Eurodac processed: "Over 1,000,000 fingerprints of applicants for international protection aged 14 or more - more than 370,000 fingerprints of persons aged 14 or older, apprehended when irregularly crossing the external border of a Member State - over 252,000 fingerprints of persons aged 14 or older, apprehended illegally present on the territory of a Member State."
In July 2015, the new Eurodac Regulation (No 603/2013) took effect and national police forces as well as Europol can now have access to the system but in 2016 only 327 searches were made by EU police forces.
See also: 2016 Report (pdf) and List of authorities with access (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Reflection Paper on the future of European Defence (pdf):
"The reflection paper on the future of the European Defence is the fourth in this series. It outlines the main trends and challenges that will shape the future of our security and defence and on this basis, sets out options in three different scenarios for moving towards a Security and Defence Union. While not mutually exclusive, these scenarios are underpinned by different levels of ambition for the EU in doing things together in security and defence....
Finally, systematic defence cooperation and integration in turn requires a true Single Market for defence."
UK: High Court to rule on acquittal of eight anti-arms fair activists (Winter Oak, link):
"On Tuesday 13th June 2017 the High Court in London will consider whether the decision by Stratford Magistrates Court to acquit eight activists of seeking to prevent crimes at one of the worlds largest arms fairs, was correct in law (see previous reports and updates)...
The case against the activists had been formally closed since November 2016 because of the failure of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to pursue the case. The case was reopened in March 2017, following an application by the CPS....
On 15th April 2016, the eight activists were acquitted at Stratford Magistrates Court of seeking to obstruct one of the worlds largest arms fairs. They had been accused of Obstruction of a Public Highway by blockading roads to frustrate the setup of the DSEI arms fair in September 2015."
Does your MEP run a ghost office? (Investigative Reporting Denmark, link):
"Is your member of the European Parliament a rent payer or a subsidy player?
Last week the journalists of The MEPs Project revealed that one out of three MEPs across the EU does not maintain a national office or has declined to disclose its location. Citizens are now asking:
What is the address of my MEPs national office, if any?
How much of the tax-free 4342 Euro allowance per month does he or she pay in office rent?
Did my MEP vote to hide or disclose how this money is spent?
Who declined to comment on their use of my tax money?"
And see: EU Citizens pay for Misused or Non-Existent 'Ghost' Offices (OCCRP, link)
Greece earthquake hits Lesbos: Tremors felt in Istanbul and Athens (BBC News, link):
"A strong earthquake has struck off the Aegean coast of western Turkey and the Greek island of Lesbos, with tremors felt in Istanbul and Athens.
The epicentre of the 6.3 magnitude quake was 5km (3 miles) south of Plomari, a town on the coast of Lesbos, the US Geological Survey said. Several buildings were damaged but the village of Vrisa was worst hit with 10 people taken to hospital.".
See also: Vrisa: The ghost village of Lesvos after earthquake strikes with 6.3R (Keep Talking Greece, link)
BULGARIA: Administrative Court in Sofia held that the deliberation process at the Presidents office cannot be classified forever (AIP, link)
"On 5 June 2017 the Sofia Administrative Court (SAC) declared unlawful the denial of the Bulgarian Presidents Secretary to provide access to the minutes of consultations chaired by the President on 14 July 2014. The document marked as confidential recorded a discussion addressing the problems of the Bulgarian financial system following the bankruptcy of the 4th biggest commercial bank (KTB) in the country, which happened under suspicious circumstances. Former President Plevneliev whose administration classified the document for a period of 5 years said he agreed with the restriction as it was still necessary to protect national security and the confidentiality of consultations chaired by the President."
Experts in tackling migrant smuggling meet to enhance cooperation and information exchange (Europol, link):
"On 9 June 2017, Europols European Migrant Smuggling Centre, as part of the tasks emerging from the Malta Declaration and associated Implementation Plan, organised an expert meeting focusing on cooperation and information exchange in tackling migrant smuggling networks operating from source and transit countries, with a specific focus on North Africa and the Central Mediterranean route.
The meeting brought together representatives from the (Immigration) Liaison Officers support units from 17 EU Member States as well as the European Commission."
Poland mulls refugee referendum (New Europe, link):
"Polands President Andrzej Duda has announced that a vote on whether the country should accept the European Unions refugee quotas could coincide with general elections scheduled for 2019.
Im ready to put forward a motion for a referendum on this, Duda said. That would allow the new government to hear the clear voice of the nation on the issue.
Prime Minister Beata Szydlos cabinet, led by the ruling Law & Justice Party, has said it wont accept any of the refugees who have come to Europe from the Middle East and Africa in the continents worst migrant crisis since World War II."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.6.17) including: EU and Member States work towards implementation of latest Action Plan on returns
EU: European travel information and authorisation system - Council agrees negotiating position (press release, pdf):
"On 9 June 2017, the Council agreed a general approach on the proposal for a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS). The general approach constitutes the Council's position for negotiations with the European Parliament.
ETIAS will allow for advance checks and, if necessary, deny travel authorisation to visa-exempt third-country nationals travelling to the Schengen area. It will help improve internal security, prevent illegal immigration, limit public health risks and reduce delays at the borders by identifying persons who may pose a risk in one of these areas before they arrive at the external borders."
See: General approaches on the draft regulation establishing a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS) (9763/17, 1 June 2017, pdf) and on the draft regulation amending regulation 2016/794 for the purpose of establishing ETIAS (9763/17 ADD 1, 1 June 2017, pdf)
And see: Estonia heads EU interior ministers meeting for the 1st time (The Baltic Times, link): ""The foundation of the security of the European Union is solidarity and helping each other in a difficult situation. The key to success can lie only in cooperation, not in encapsulating," Anvelt said, adding that it's important for the member states that the problem is dealt with together. What is especially important for Estonia is that progress was made on several topics having to do with databases such as the ETIAS travel authorization system, renewal of the Schengen information system and developing interaction between databases more broadly."
Thousands in Moldova protest over proposed voting changes (EurActiv, link):
"Several thousand people took part in demonstrations across Moldova on Sunday (11 June), protesting both in favour of and against proposed changes to the electoral system that European rights experts see as inappropriate.
The pro-European ruling coalition has been seeking to change the voting system in time for a parliamentary election next year, when its parties will be in a tough fight with pro-Moscow rivals who reject closer integration with Europe.
Chanting We will not surrender!, some 4,000 protesters gathered in central Chisinau, appealing to the Venice Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the United States to prevent the changes coming into force."
HUNGARY: Gulyás: Fidesz backs most Venice Commission proposals on NGO bill (Politics.hu, link):
"Lawmakers of Fidesz will support the majority of the recommendations the Venice Commission has made concerning the government-initiated bill on the transparency of foreign-funded NGOs, the partys deputy group leader said. Referring to the commissions evaluation of the bill, Gergely Gulyás said that the body has acknowledged that ensuring access to information on foreign funding to non-governmental organisations is a legitimate objective. Gulyás noted that positions by the Venice Commission have no binding effect. He added, however, that Fidesz has so far considered and will again consider the majority of the bodys recommendations. Referring to US billionaire George Soros, Gulyás insisted that the new law was necessary to ensure the transparency of Hungarys Soros-organisations and to clarify allegations of some organisations being financed from the east."
See: CoE: Venice Commission on Hungarian law on foreign-funded NGOs: legitimate aims, but excessive obligations, disproportionate sanctions (link) and: Press release (pdf)
Hungary to extradite Holocaust denier Horst Mahler to Germany (Politics.hu, link):
"Horst Mahler, a former German lawyer sentenced to prison for Holocaust denial, is to be extradited to his homeland, the Budapest Court of Appeals said. Mahler was apprehended in the western Hungarian town of Sopron on May 15 on the basis of an international arrest warrant. The ruling to transport him to Germany is in force. According to international regulations, Hungary can keep Mahler in custody until June 16 and is to set him free afterwards, should Germany not receive him until then."
1,000 Migrants Rescued Off Libyan Coast; Two Dead (Reliefweb, link):
"Two migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday during a rescue operation that saved more than 1,000 others who were attempting the dangerous crossing to Europe, according to a Spanish aid group.
Laura Lanuza, spokeswoman for Spain's Proactiva Open Arms, said that while two migrants perished in international waters off the Libyan coast, the Spanish aid group and five other humanitarian organizations saved 1,058 migrants after intercepting several smugglers' boats.
Lanuza said that in addition to the two deaths, another two migrants were in critical condition.
The Golfo Azzurro, Proactiva Open Arms' converted fishing trawler, pulled 243 migrants from two smugglers' boats. That group included one baby, a pregnant woman and several children.
The other boats that participated in the massive rescue operation belonged to Save the Children, Sea Watch, Moas, Sea Eye and Jugend Rettet Iuventa."
Ten migrants die, 100 missing off Libya (ENCA, link):
"GARABULLI - At least ten migrants have died after their Europe-bound boats sank off Libya's coast and some 100 people are missing, coastguard officials and aid groups said on Saturday.
Eight bodies were found on an inflatable craft that can carry up to 120 passengers, said Colonel Fathi al-Rayani, head of the coastguard in Garabulli, 60 kilometres east of Tripoli.
He estimated that "at least 100" migrants were missing.
Libyan navy spokesman General Ayoub Qassem meanwhile told AFP that coastguards patrolling off Zawiya, west of Tripoli, on Friday intercepted five inflatables and two wooden boats with more than 570 migrants on board.
He said the boats were being escorted by five Libyans on a jet ski and two outboards, and that three of the men were apprehended.
"The migrants are Africans, Bangladeshis, Egyptians, Moroccans... and were delivered to the detention centre in Zawiya," Qassem said."
EU: The BIG DATA Challenge: Impact and opportunity of large quantities of information under the Europol Regulation (Computer Law & Security Review, link) by Daniel Drewer and Vesela Miladinova:
"In the digital age, the interaction between privacy, data protection and advanced technological developments such as big data analytics has become pertinent to Europol's effectiveness in providing accurate crime analyses. For the purposes of preventing and combating crime falling within the scope of its objectives, it is imperative for Europol to employ the fullest and most up-to-date information and technical capabilities possible whilst respecting fundamental human rights.
The present article addresses precisely the paradox of on one side protecting fundamental human rights against external terrorist and/or cybercrime intrusions, and on the other providing a privacy-conscious approach to data collection and analytics, so that Europol can even more effectively support and strengthen action in protecting society against internal threats in a proportionate, responsible and legitimate manner. The advantage proposed in this very context of large quantities of data informing strategic analysis at Europol is a purpose-oriented data protection impact assessment. Namely, the evolution from traditional instruments in the fight against organised crime and terrorism to more technologically advanced ones equally requires an alteration of the conventional notions of privacy and investigative and information-sharing methods."
Anti-EU rhetoric props up Czech election race (EUobserver, link):
"The Czech government's decision on Monday (5 June) to stop taking asylum seekers from Greece and Italy is the latest sign of the development of an anti-EU stance in the country, with the elections approaching in October.
Interior minister Milan Chovanec said that pulling out of the EU relocation scheme was justified by an "aggravated security situation and the dysfunctionality of the whole system".
This new stance could largely be due to the upcoming elections in October of this year, as only 23 percent of Czechs think that the country should help refugees, according to a survey from March 2017.
After the elections, the Czech Republic may edge closer to Hungary and Poland, whose governments are very vocal in their criticism of Brussels."
Slovakia Tackles Its Constitutional Skeleton in the Closet (I-CONnect, link):
"On 31 May 2017, six days before a parliament imposed deadline and 19 years after the fact, the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic (CC) upheld constitutional changes which annulled amnesties introduced by the former strongman prime minister and acting president Vladimír Meciar (Meciars amnesties). The amnesties shielded from criminal prosecution multiple persons allegedly involved in the abduction of the son of the first Slovak president (Michal Kovác Jr.) in 1995 and in the obstruction of a referendum on direct elections of the president and Slovak accession to NATO in 1997. Making things more complicated was a prior amnesty decision of the first president, Michal Kovác, which halted the investigation of his own son in a fraud case.
The important part of the story is that none of the previous seven attempts at annulling the amnesties had been successful. The first annulment by presidential decree was thwarted on legal grounds by the CC which made all subsequent attempts at finding a political consensus in conjunction with a legally acceptable solution much more difficult. Between 1998 and today, the issue gradually attained the status of a permanent stain in Slovakias transformation to a liberal democracy. The constitutional skeleton was also kept largely dormant by political elites; only intermittently, and in any event with no results (until now), were parliamentarians interested in wriggling some bones out of the proverbial closet."
UK-EU: Data commissioner calls for government action on police data handling laws (Government Computing, link):
"While the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becoming UK law from next May will have limited impact on law enforcement, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham has said there remains significant uncertainty regarding data protection in the sector.
Speaking this week at the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) Information Practitioner event, the UK data regulator said GDPR did not cover how personal data is used for law enforcement purposes, with these matters falling under the separate legal instrument known as the Law Enforcement Directive.
The Law Enforcement Directive, which covers how data is processed for certain European justice and home affairs measures, is still required to be implemented into UK law by the government.
Denham said there had not been any public announcement from government with details of how and when this will happen, or a broader position on data processing in domestic law enforcement."
See: Speech by Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner at National Police Chief Council Information Practitioner event, 7 June 2017 (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee position on recast Eurodac Regulation
New rules governing the EU's Eurodac biometric database are one step closer to being adopted following the approval by the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) of its position on the recast Regulation.
The recast Regulation will extend the scope of the database from holding the fingerprints of asylum-seekers to the inclusion of biometric data on irregular migrants. Facial images are also to be included in preparation for the future use of facial recognition systems.
USA: Washington state places restrictions on commercial biometrics data use (Planet Biometrics, link):
"Washington State will next month become the third US state to statutorily restrict the collection, storage and use of biometric data for commercial purposes.
On July 23, a new biometrics law will come into force that aims to require that businesses ensure consent before it that collects and can attribute biometric data to a specific individual.
Firms must also provide notice to and obtain consent from an individual before enrolling or changing the use of that individuals biometric identifiers in a database."
And see: Paying With Your Face: Face-detecting systems in China now authorize payments, provide access to facilities, and track down criminals. Will other countries follow? (MIT Technology Review, link)
EU-ITALY-LIBYA: Back to Old Tricks? Italian Responsibility for Returning People to Libya (EJIL: Talk!, link) by Jean-Pierre Gauci:
"On 10/11 May 2017 various news outlets reported a maritime operation by the Libyan authorities, in coordination with the Italian Search and Rescue Authority, in which 500 individuals were intercepted in international waters and returned to Libya. This operation amounted to refoulment in breach of customary international law and several treaties (including the Geneva Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights), and an internationally wrongful act is one for which Italy bears international legal responsibility."
EU: Military research: calls for proposals on naval drones, "force protection" and technology foresight
The EU's 'Preparatory Action on Defence Research' (PADR) is moving ahead with three calls for proposals recently published on "enhanced situational awareness in a naval environment" showing the "added value of unmanned systems"; "Force Protection and Soldier Systems" and "strategic technology foresight". The PADR is supposed to be pave the way for a full-blown military research programme from 2021 onwards that the European Commission thinks could be worth over 5 billion annually.
UK-EU: Brexit and Northern Ireland: trouble brewing?
"THERE can be no doubt that Brexit is reopening old wounds in Northern Ireland.
The pattern of the election results speaks for itself.
The image above shows Sinn Féins clean sweep along the border and the DUP stronghold in the north east.
The distribution of seats matches a recent data map by The Detail which revealed the extent to which Catholic and Protestant communities continue to live apart, nearly 20 years after the violence of the Troubles ended.
But these patterns are inherited from the distant past."
UK: How a crippling shortage of analysts let the London Bridge attackers through (The Guardian, link):
"Last Tuesday, in the wake of the latest terror atrocity to strike Britain, the former head of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington recalled just how primitive intelligence gathering used to be. Addressing a conference of security officials in west London four miles from London Bridge where the terror attack had taken place three days earlier Rimington recounted an anecdote about how her spy training in the 1970s involved infiltrating a local pub to eavesdrop on targets.
Over the four decades since then, intelligence gathering within Britains security services has evolved beyond comparison. Eking out a lead is no longer an issue instead extraordinary volumes of information are relentlessly harvested electronically. The worry, according to experts, is whether they are acquiring too much."
And see: How to detect a potential terrorist? Heed warnings from people who know them (The Guardian, link):
"The only way potential attackers will be identified before they kill and maim is through the most old-fashioned means one can imagine: someone warning authorities about what they plan to do. This can be people in the workplace, the mosque, or at school. Research tells us that more than 70% of Islamic militants who operate alone tell someone of their plans. The first line of defence against Islamic militancy is not our crash barriers or covert operations, nor armed cops or MI5, it is a potential terrorists brother, mother, partner or friend."
EU: Migration: EU and Member States work towards implementation of latest Action Plan on returns
The EU and its Member States are working towards the implementation of the European Commission's "renewed Action Plan" on European returns policy, published in March this year. At the latest meeting of the Commission-hosted 'Contact Group - Return Directive', which brings together EU and national officials, "Member States expressed general support in relation to the policy line and specific recommendations," but also highlighted that "on some specific recommendation, [sic] there may be divergences of views among Member States and with the Commission, and that some may be difficult to apply in practice for technical or political reasons."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-11.6.17)
Greek Ombudsman: Special Report: Migration flows and refugee protection: Administrative challenges and human rights issues (pdf):
"EU was called upon also in the past to strike a balance between the conflicting interests of its Member States,
to reconcile often diametrically opposite priorities within a common, European narrative of development and progress for all its citizens...
EU was called upon also in the past to strike a balance between the conflicting interests of its Member States, to reconcile often diametrically opposite priorities within a common, European narrative of development and progress for all its citizens...
One of the most characteristic expressions of the common, European political structure giving way before the individual priorities and imperatives of the Member States is the so-called EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016, which, without being a convention of the Union with a third country, from a legal aspect, introduced a host of derogations from the EU regulatory framework...."
Airbnb to help host 35,000 refugees in houses across Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Short-term property rental platform Airbnb has announced that it will be helping to find housing for some 35,000 asylum seekers trapped in Greece, a representative for the company told the Concordia Europe Summit in Athens.
According to the representative, Airbnb is developing a special platform, airbnb.com/welcome, where property owners can offer their house or apartment to refugees for as long as desired or needed.
The company hopes that its campaign, which is Europe-wide, will help house a total of 100,000 people across the continent.
The initiative is run with the help of the nongovernmental organization Solidarity Now."
USA: Intelligence Agency Dodges Congressional Scrutiny (HRW, link):
"Does the National Security Agency (NSA) understand that it should be accountable to its overseers in the other branches of government and to the public?
Few would dispute that monitoring someones communications is sometimes necessary to achieve a legitimate goal. However, it is critical that such activities be subject to independent, impartial, and effective oversight involving all branches of government to prevent violations of peoples rights. Testimony by top officials during a Senate hearing yesterday gives rise to doubts as to whether the United States intelligence agencies accept this principle. As a result, it appears that Congress, which is responsible for ensuring that the intelligence agencies respect the law, will not have crucial information it needs to determine whether one of the countrys most important and problematic surveillance laws (which will expire at the end of 2017 unless renewed) is leading to more abuses than we realize."
Training the Libyans is not enough to stop migrants (Open Migration, link):
"On the night of May 23, 2017, the captain of the Iuventa, a ship from the German NGO Jugend Rettet, reported a new attack at sea by a Libyan motorboat: the crew had shot at some boats overloaded with refugees, then brought two of them back towards Libya. Was it the Libyan Coast Guard? How is Italy training them, and to what end? And how many Coast Guards actually exist in Libya? Francesco Floris takes us into the details of training in Libya and its historical precedents."
UPDATE: EU: Final: Press release (pdf)
Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 June 2017: agendas and other documentation including draft conclusions heading for approval
Agendas and documentation in relation to the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 8-9 June 2017.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9.6.17) including: Serbia-Hungary police cooperation on migration "excellent"; new report debunks "toxic narrative" aimed at search and rescue NGOs
UK: Law firm Leigh Day cleared over Iraq murder compensation claims (The Guardian, link):
"The law firm Leigh Day and three of its solicitors have been cleared of all the allegations of professional misconduct they faced over Iraq war murder compensation claims.
The not-guilty verdicts delivered by the solicitors disciplinary tribunal in London are a crushing setback for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which launched the costly prosecution, and the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, who had called for legal action.
The seven-week trial is believed to have cost almost £10m. The SRA can appeal against the findings."
EU: New report debunks "toxic narrative" aimed at search and rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean
A new report examines the accusations made by state officials, commentators and others that search and rescue NGOs operating in the Mediterranean are a "pull factor" for migrants and are effectively working in league with people smugglers. The report, Blaming the Rescuers, argues that as well as being false, those accusations have allowed state actors "to divert public attention from their own responsibilities and failures" and are part of "a wider attempt to criminalise solidarity towards migrants and refugees, which endangers the possibility of EU citizens standing in solidarity and exercising civilian oversight at the EUs frontiers to contest their deadly effects."
UK: Three Musketeers terror trial: Undercover officer 'honest' (BBC News, link):
"An undercover officer would have had "nothing to gain" by putting a bomb in a car to frame an alleged terror cell, a colleague has told a court.
The policeman, known as Vincent, infiltrated a group known as the Three Musketeers, who are accused of plotting an attack on British soil
A fellow covert officer told the Old Bailey Vincent, who has denied planting incriminating evidence, was "honest".
The four men deny preparing terrorist acts."
And see: West Midlands police unit accused of perjury and falsifying evidence (The Guardian, link):
"A West Midlands police counter-terrorism unit has been accused in court of perjury, falsifying notebooks and hiding text messages related to the trial of a group of terror suspects who called themselves the Three Musketeers.
Simon Hussey, a senior officer in West Midlands polices special projects team, began giving evidence at the Old Bailey trial of four men from the Midlands accused of plotting terror attacks in late April but his cross-examination was interrupted, and the personal and work phones of several officers involved in the case were seized by the police shortly afterwards."
UK: Can protesters believe anything Sussex Police tells them? (Netpol, link):
"Within 24 hours of the start of drilling on 31 May by UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) at its Broadford Bridge well in West Sussex, Operation Edmond the response by Sussex Police to protests at the site is already raising the same concerns we highlighted last year about unpredictable policing and an unwillingness by officers to accommodate minor disruption to unconventional energy exploration without making arrests.
A week after a somewhat bizarre arrest for alleged obstruction of the highway that involved a protester clearly walking on a grass verge, members of the recently established Broadford Bridge Community Protection Camp were handed a map (below) by a Bronze operational commander offering a tolerated slow walking area along 600 metres heading towards the UKOG site from a scrap yard on Adversane Lane. Members of the camp had neither negotiated nor agreed to this proposal but it seemed to indicate that senior officers were intending a less confrontational attitude to the presence of protesters.
What was evident from the events we witnessed at Broadford Bridge was that officers had either not been briefed about a tolerated slow walking area or that Sussex Police had abandoned the proposal, without informing protesters, within hours of offering it."
And see: Dissent is not a crime: News from Netpol: May 2017 (link)
EU Citizens pay for Misused or Non-Existent 'Ghost' Offices (OCCRP, link):
"Hundreds of members of the European Parliament are potentially misusing EU funds meant to pay for offices in their home country, but at least 249 of these offices either do not exist or are nowhere to be found, according to an investigation by 'Journalists of the MEPs Project' published Wednesday.
Each month MEPs are given a tax-free lump sum of 4,342, called the General Expenditure Allowance (GEA). The fund costs the EU around 40 million annually and is meant to provide MEPs with national offices that, among other things, should keep them in touch with citizens.
The series of investigations across all 28 members states, however, found that in 249 cases MEPs either said they have no offices, refused to reveal their addresses, or the locations could not otherwise be tracked."
HUNGARY: Will Hungarys detention practices put an end to the Common European Asylum System? (Migration News Sheet, link):
"The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is today much less common than it used to. Large-scale arrivals of refugees in 2015 have tempted Member States, starting with Hungary, to act unilaterally and in complete violation of EU rules.
Are Hungarys unpunished waves of massive detention paving the way for other national governments to openly violate EU regulations?
Would this race to the bottom signal the end of CEAS and its Dublin System?
In turn, will European institutions manage to force governments to comply with its legislation?
This article will look into these questions."
IRELAND: Irish police phone tapping undermines citizens rights (EDRi, link):
"An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force has fallen, yet again, under public scrutiny for privacy violations of innocent citizens. An investigation by the Irish Independent newspaper has found that members of the public had their phones tapped without proper justification.
The widespread phone tapping was revealed after a senior officer tried to highlight his concerns about the legality of the covert surveillance. According to this account, he was put under pressure to listen in on private conversations of citizens without a necessary court order. When he raised the concerns about this activity with his superiors, the authorities sidelined him. He decided to take legal action, but the State avoided full extent of the phone tapping scandal being made public with agreeing to an out-of-court settlement."
See: Exclusive: Inside the murky world of phone taps and Garda intelligence (Irish Independent, link):
"AN Irish Independent investigation has found that innocent members of the public had their phones tapped by Garda intelligence.
Our investigation has also seen accounts of where a decorated detective has said he was put under pressure to routinely bypass strict protocol to listen in on private conversations for almost a decade."
USA: Congressional Republicans seek to obliterate record of CIA torture (World Socialist Web Site, link):
"It was reported last week that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture is being retrieved from executive agencies in the Trump administration. Congressional Republicans have demanded the confiscation of all copies of the report in order to cover up and, if possible, erase entirely the record of the investigation into the agencys torture program.
A heavily redacted executive summary of the report was released to the public in December of 2014, but the full 6,700-page Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agencys Detention and Interrogation Program remains secret. Only a limited number of copies were made, which were distributed to a handful of federal executive agencies. Since 2015, when the US Senate passed into the hands of the Republican Party, the new committee Chairman Richard Burr has led efforts to suppress the report, declaring that the report should become a footnote to history.
In a statement released June 2, Burr declared, I have directed my staff to retrieve copies of the congressional study that remain with the executive branch agencies and, as the committee does with all classified and compartmented information, will enact the necessary measures to protect the sensitive sources and methods contained within the report."
And see: Trump buries Senate torture report: Reprieve comment (Reprieve US, link)
UK: Former chief constable wins legal challenge over Hillsborough resignation (The Guardian, link):
"A former chief constable has won a high court challenge over a decision requiring him to resign.
Lawyers for David Crompton claimed there was no fair or reasonable basis for forcing the officer out of office in South Yorkshire.
Crompton attacked a decision taken by Dr Alan Billings, the regions police and crime commissioner (PCC), after inquest findings into the deaths at the Hillsborough stadium disaster 27 years before.
Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham, sitting in London, ruled in Cromptons favour on Friday.
The judges quashed a number of decisions made by Billings."
USA: Secret Algorithms Threaten the Rule of Law (MIT Technology Review, link):
"Predicting and shaping what you will do nextwhether as a shopper, worker, or voteris big business for data-driven firms. But should their methods also inform judges and prosecutors? An ambitious program of predicting recidivism among convicts is bringing algorithmic risk assessments to American courthouses.
These assessments are an extension of a trend toward actuarial prediction instruments for recidivism risk. They may seem scientific, an injection of computational rationality into a criminal justice system riddled with discrimination and inefficiency. However, they are troubling for several reasons: many are secretly computed; they deny due process and intelligible explanations to defendants; and they promote a crabbed and inhumane vision of the role of punishment in society."
UK: May to forge 'government of certainty' with DUP backing (BBC News, link):
"Theresa May has said she will form a government with the support of the Democratic Unionists that can provide "certainty" for the future.
Speaking after visiting Buckingham Palace, she said only her party could form a "legitimate" administration after winning the most seats and votes.
She said she would work with "friends and allies" in the DUP to take forward Brexit, saying "let's get to work".
The Tories are eight seats short of the 326 needed to command a majority."
See: So, who are the DUP? (OpenDemocracy, link):
"The most likely coalition partners for a floundering Conservative party sit on the hard right fringe of British politics.
The Democratic Unionist Party now look like the Tories preferred coalition partners. The DUP, which is the biggest Unionist (ie pro-UK) party in Northern Ireland, are often treated as though they are just the same as the other Unionist party they have essentially replaced the Ulster Unionists. But while the UUP have a long running relationship with the Tories, and are a centre right party, the DUP are another thing entirely. The idea that they are near power in Westminster should worry us all. Here are some things you need to know."
EU: Commission to present legal proposal on police access to cloud data; data retention discussion continues
The European Commission is planning to present a legal proposal on easing police access to data hosted in the cloud "by the end of this year or early 2018", according to a Commission spokesperson, acting on a "sense of urgency" raised by justice and interior ministers at the JHA Council in Luxembourg yesterday.
Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life (Cracked Labs, link):
"Report: How thousands of companies monitor, analyze, and influence the lives of billions. Who are the main players in todays digital tracking? What can they infer from our purchases, phone calls, web searches, and Facebook likes? How do online platforms, tech companies, and data brokers collect, trade, and make use of personal data?
In recent years, a wide range of companies has started to monitor, track and follow people in virtually every aspect of their lives. The behaviors, movements, social relationships, interests, weaknesses and most private moments of billions are now constantly recorded, evaluated and analyzed in real-time. The exploitation of personal information has become a multi-billion industry. Yet only the tip of the iceberg of todays pervasive digital tracking is visible; much of it occurs in the background and remains opaque to most of us.
This report by Cracked Labs examines the actual practices and inner workings of this personal data industry. Based on years of research and a previous 2016 report, the investigation shines light on the hidden data flows between companies. It maps the structure and scope of todays digital tracking and profiling ecosystems and explores relevant technologies, platforms and devices, as well as key recent developments."
See the full report: Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life: How Companies Collect, Combine, Analyze, Trade and Use Personal Data on Billions (link to pdf)
SPAIN-EU: Cautious Openness: the Spanish Constitutional Courts approach to EU law in recent national case law (European Law Blog, link):
"In recent months, the Spanish Constitutional Court (SCC) has issued a series of decisions related to EU law that show an interesting combination of both openness toward the European legal order and a certain degree of apprehension to the growing role of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in constitutional matters. In these cases the SCC has arrived at fairly pro-EU results: the SCC decided that preliminary references from Spanish courts to the CJEU take precedence over constitutional questions submitted to the SCC, and that a non-transposed, directly-effective EU Directive can be taken as a factor in the interpretation of a constitutional provision. But, as discussed below, the details subtly suggest that the SCC does not fully agree with the ways in which the CJEU has asserted its institutional position, and prefers to avoid potential conflicts in the future."
UK-EU: Britain drops opposition to new EU military command centre
"The European Union approved a new military command centre for foreign training missions on Thursday after Britain dropped its opposition, the latest step in EU efforts to integrate its militaries and defence industries.
A day after the European Commission offered 1.5 billion euros ($1.68 billion) a year in support of Franco-German plans for greater EU defence cooperation, all 28 EU governments agreed for the command centre in Brussels to run training missions in Somalia, the Central African Republic and Mali."
UK-EU: Italian police say they constantly monitored third London Bridge attacker (Financial Times, link):
"Italian police constantly monitored Youssef Zaghba, one of the three London bridge attackers, during his stays in Italy over the past eighteen months, a senior prosecutor said, in contrast to British authorities, who did not consider him to be a high priority.
Giuseppe Amato, the chief prosecutor of Bologna, said that while the 22-year old Italian citizen born in Morocco could not be charged with any terrorism-related crimes, he was considered at risk of radicalisation and trailed on the two occasions he returned to Italian soil.
I dont know what the English did, but we constantly monitored him, Mr Amato said in an interview with the FT. We constantly controlled him, verified him, interviewed him and evaluated him. Thats what is done normally in Italy.
Italian officials said they warned British authorities of Zaghbas case and inserted his details into the Schengen Information System, a European database containing the names of individuals considered to be at risk of terrorism. The communication was exhaustive and complete, Mr Amato said."
And see: Pressure rises on anti-terror chiefs as London Bridge toll rises to eight (BT.com, link): "The death toll from the London Bridge attack has risen to eight as pressure on British authorities intensified amid new questions about how the terrorists slipped through the net. "
EU-MALTA: 9.2 million in EU funds for police modernisation, border security projects
"9.2 million in EU funds are being spent on modernising the Malta Police Force and on border surveillance, Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela and PS for EU Funds Ian Borg announced.
Mr Abela said five projects on border security, which is a priority, have been completed so far.
These include the acquisition of radios and biometric devices for border guards and modern equipment that can analyse a persons unique physical characteristics, like fingerprints.
Mr Abela said the Malta Police Force is also benefitting from other projects falling under the EU Internal Security Fund 2014-2020.
These include the purchase of bullet-proof vests, riot kits and surveillance equipment; access to the Europol and Interpol databases; the Smart Policing project, which will see the Cyber Crime unit strengthened, the purchase of new forensic equipment; and the strengthening of the automated case management system."
See: Article in Border Security Report (in World Security Report, p.24, link to pdf)
EU: Im So Angry in 261 protest signs (Iron Curtain Project, link):
"Wherever the I'm So Angry (I Made a Sign) Pop-Up Museum appears, we register visitors slogans, in search of an answer to the question what Europeans want for the future. Watch them here!"
See: Im So Angry (I Made a Sign) Pop-up Museum (link):
"The Im So Angry (I made a sign) Pop-up Museum is an exhibition that pops up for a short time in different cities through Europe. The exhibition tells the personal stories of people who joined one of the protests that shaped Europa. It shows the symbols they used and asks the question: what are we willing to fight for nowadays.
A protest is a powerful tool for the powerless. When the difference between the dreamed future and daily reality becomes insurmountable, people revolt. They awake from their lethargy or overcome their fear and decide to fight for their ideals. Newspapers and television channels spread the images of their protests. We see masses of demonstrators, moving as a single organism, but when you look closer, you see individuals. A student of mathematics, a mother with her child, a retired steelworker, a middle-aged man who has just lost his job; people who, independently of each other and for their own reasons, decided that that day, their patience had come to an end."
Europol press release: Migrant smuggling organised crime group dismantled in Greece (pdf):
"An organised crime group involved in smuggling migrants from Greece to other European Union countries has been dismantled in Athens, Greece. The operation was jointly carried out by Attika Aliens Division, Europol and the UKs National Crime Agency, following several months of investigations.
In this large operation in Athens at the end of May, a total of 12 individuals were arrested, of which seven were members of the organised crime group. Four arrestees were migrants that were about to be smuggled. In addition, one Afghan national was arrested for carrying a false identity card. Seven members of the organised crime group were already arrested earlier. The members of the network received up to EUR 16 000 per person that was illegally transported, with the money transferred via the Hawala informal money transfer system."
Serbia-Hungary police cooperation deemed "excellent" (b92, link):
"Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic spoke on Thursday in Budapest with his Hungarian counterpart Sandor Pinter about illegal migration.
They also discussed cooperation in protecting external borders and exchange of information in the fight against human trafficking, the Serbian government announced.
It was assessed during the meeting that cooperation between the two police forces in the fight against organized crime is on an exceptional level, while the excellent results achieved through the work of joint investigation teams in combating human trafficking have been particularly highlighted.
Stefanovic and Pinter concluded that the involvement of police officers from EU countries, among them those from Hungary, who are, together with Serbian colleagues, securing Serbia's borders, resulted in better control of migrations and prevented illegal border crossings and human trafficking.
Stefanovic said that the Serbian police in the last two years arrested more than 2,000 persons suspected of smuggling people and filed more than 1,200 criminal charges."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (7-8.6.17) including: Greek police continue to illegally return Turkish asylum seekers to Turkey
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5-6.6.17) including: Commission may launch sanctions over central European refugee relocation intransigence
ECHR: Refusal of Bulgarian authorities to register an association promoting the rights of the Muslim minority was not necessary in a democratic society (press release, pdf):
"In todays Chamber judgment1 in the case of National Turkish Union and Kungyun v. Bulgaria (application no. 4776/08) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned the refusal of the Bulgarian authorities to register an association promoting the rights of the Muslim minority in Bulgaria.
Referring back to its case-law, the Court found that there was no pressing social need to require any association wishing to pursue political aims to constitute a political party if it was not the intention of the founders to take part in elections.
The Court further noted that the domestic courts had not referred to any action of the association or its members which might have compromised the territorial integrity or unity of the nation, or any action or speech which might have been regarded as a call to hatred or violence.
It concluded that the refusal to register the applicant association had not been necessary in a democratic society."
See the judgment: AFFAIRE UNION NATIONALE TURQUE ET KUNGYUN c. BULGARIE (application number 4776/08, French only, pdf)
EU: EP approves fingerprinting asylum seekers from age 6 (ANSAMed, link)
"The Civil Liberties Commission of the European Parliament on Tuesday [30 May 2017] approved fingerprinting asylum seekers as young as six in order to facilitate reunification with their parents. Under current EU law asylum seekers can be fingerprinted only from the age of 14. The measure was part of a package of amendments to an overhaul of the Eurodac fingerprint database, which were approved with 35 yes votes, 10 no votes and 8 abstentions. The MEPs also greenlighted the start of negotiations with the European Council in view of a definitive agreement. Under the changes, detention of minors should be prohibited. In addition, unaccompanied minors who disappear from reception facilities should be recorded in the Schengen Information System (SIS) and reported as missing persons. MEPs also voted to give the European police force Europol direct access to the Eurodac data base in order to prevent terrorist attacks and common crimes. In addition to fingerprints, the system should also allow the search and comparison of facial images and other personal data, such as name and identity document number when this information is available."
EP press release: Asylum: MEPs tighten internal security and improve safety for refugee children (pdf)
EU parliament groups want inquiry into terror failures (EUobserver, link):
"Two main political groups in the European parliament are hoping to launch a special committee to probe failures by EU states in the fight against terrorism.
The joint-announcement on Wednesday (7 June) by the centre-right EPP and the liberal Alde groups comes on the heels of the latest round of terror attacks in Manchester, London and Paris.
A draft mandate seen by EUobserver calls for a 12-month probe into "potential faults and malfunctions" that allowed the terror attacks to be carried out in Belgium, France and Germany.
It also wants to analyse, among other things, the lack of police cooperation and problems in cross-border investigations. Hearings with sensitive or secret information would be held behind closed doors. "
UK: Another round of criticism from UN Special Rapporteur for policies on counter-terrorism, surveillance and undercover policing
One of the final reports of the UN's former Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai, follows up on a previous visit to the UK and offers further critique of the UK's counter-terrorism policies (in particular Prevent), surveillance (the Investigatory Powers Act) and undercover policing, noting with regard to the latter that the damage caused by police infilitration of non-violent protest groups "can partly be remedied by imposing real accountability and transparency for the survivors, together with full reparation." The report also examines a number of other issues including the policing of anti-fracking protests and restrictions on the work of civil society groups.
EU: 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe (MEDAM, link)
"How can the responsibility for refugees be distributed more fairly globally and within the EU? And how can we curb irregular migration while expanding legal immigration to the benefit of all concerned? The large number of refugees and other migrants who have come to Europe over the last two years has caused the EU member states that received most of the asylum seekers, to reach their capacity limits. With a view to new arrivals and their long-term integration, it is now necessary to develop new and, above all, common strategies to address the migration flows to Europe.
The 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report focuses on two core Messages:
Distribute the responsibility for refugees more equitably
Extending legal immigration from non-EU Member States into EU member states"
EU: Why Schengen deserves to be saved (EUobserver, link):
"By exploiting latent fears of uncontrolled immigration across open borders, far-right parties such as the Danish Peoples Party, France's Front National, and the UK Independence Party (Ukip) have managed to turn the Schengen area into a political hot potato despite its manifold benefits.
Macrons victory in France has temporarily neutralised this political threat, but he himself has repeatedly assessed that the work is not over.
An open Europe must successfully protect its citizens against terrorist threats, aggressive powers, and internal dumping.
Otherwise, the narrative being pushed by illiberal and anti-European populists will regain traction sooner rather than later."
See: The Economist Cost of Rolling Back Schengen (pdf) by Vincent Aussiloux and Boris Le Hir: "This paper looks at the economic consequences of re-establishing permanent border controls within the Schengen Area."
EU: Relocation and its Numbers Which Role for the Courts? (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link):
"In spite of the quote attributed to Einstein Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts, a large part of the current European debate on relocation is about numbers. Out of 387,739 people requiring international protection who arrived at the borders of the European Union (EU) in 2016, 362,376 travelled by sea through unseaworthy boats and 5,082 were reported dead or missing. This year alone, 58,944 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in Italy and 7,676 in Greece, with numbers rising by the day. 73,900 refugees are stranded in Greece and the Western Balkans. In stark contrast stand the 18,418 people relocated to the other 25 EU Member States following the European Commissions report of May 2017 on relocation, as opposed to the 160,000 relocations envisaged by the EU.
Even if the European Commission heralded the progress made, the underlying frustration with both the Commission and civil society is palpable. The Commission has already indicated that it will not hesitate to make use of its powers under the Treaties for those which have not complied with the Council decisions, noting that the legal obligation to relocate those eligible will not cease after September, hinting at its preparedness to start infringement proceedings under art. 258 Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). Judges could play a role in enforcing the relocation numbers. After providing a brief background to the relocation decisions and the underlying principles, we remind the upcoming case on relocation filed by Hungary and Slovakia at the European Court of Justice and underline a case started by the NGO Lets bring them here in the Netherlands, both posing the question of what the numbers pledged actually count for."
Polish court rules presidential pardon was premature (Radio Poland, link):
"Poland's supreme court has indicated that the president's 2015 pardon of a former anti-corruption agency chief was premature because his jail sentence was still being appealed.
In 2013, Law and Justice (PiS) MP Mariusz Kaminski who served as head of the anti-corruption agency from 2006 and 2009 was found guilty of overstepping his powers.
He was sentenced to three years in prison and was banned from holding public office for ten years.
Polish President Andrzej Duda pardoned Kaminski even though he was still appealing his sentence at the time. The case against Kaminski was then discontinued.
A supreme court judge said that the president interfered in the legal process because Kaminski was proven neither innocent nor guilty when he was pardoned, making a future ruling redundant."
EU: MORE FENCES: Lithuania starts erecting fence on border with Russia (The Washington Post, link):
"VILNIUS, Lithuania Lithuania has started building a fence on its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in an attempt to curb smuggling and illegal immigration and strengthen the EUs external border.
State border officials on Monday kicked off construction works of the first segment of the 130-kilometer (80-mile) -long metal fence at the Raminiskiu village in a ceremony attended by the Lithuanian Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas.
The installation comes complete with electronic surveillance systems and drones. It will cost some 3.6 million euros ($3.9 million) in total and is to be completed by the end of this year."
UK: Danny Sewell-French: 'Failures' contributed to Blackburn death in care (BBC News, link):
"Staff at a children's home missed opportunities to find drugs and alcohol on a 16-year-old boy who died in their care, an inquest has heard.
Danny Sewell-French was found dead in his room at Cherry Tree Resource Centre in Blackburn on 2 October 2016.
He was intoxicated with a mixture of alcohol, morphine and buprenorphine.
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, which runs the home, said it had since "rigorously reviewed" its safety procedures."
Forget far-right populism crypto-anarchists are the new masters (The Guardian, link):
"Consider for a moment how your life has changed thanks to digital technology. You can become friends with 2 billion connected people, chose your own news, and watch/date/order whatever you want, on demand. Infinite choice and control is now the norm, and yet formal politics has barely evolved since the days of Robert Peel. Our modern political system came of age in the industrial revolution, which was a time of massive organisations and centralised control. We are now, however, firmly in a new industrial revolution, characterised by endless choice, digital technology, data, automation and artificial intelligence. The economy, identity, political allegiances, perhaps even the essence of what it is to be human, are all starting to change, and our politics will have to change with it. The current set-up, including the populist right, will cling on for a while, like a legacy IT system thats too pricey to update, but it will shortly become redundant."
USA: Customs and Border Protection entry/exit program pilot successful (Biometric Update, link):
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has found a feasible solution for a biometric entry/exit program, CBP Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations John Wagner told a congressional committee meeting on visa overstays last week.
As previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that 629,000 visitors to the U.S. overstayed their visas in 2016 due to the lack of a biometric exit system.
A program piloted at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in which a facial image is captured and compared to a database without first reading the travelers passport, has processed 28,000 people with accuracy in the high ninetieth percentile, Wagner said."
GREECE: The European Court of Human Rights communicated the case of B.J. (v. Greece) and has addressed the Greek government with specific questions (Refugee Support Aegean, link):
"A Syrian refugee, a Christian of Armenian origin, who lived for about a year in Turkey under the precarious temporary protection regime without access to lawful work and housing and at risk of losing his temporary status and be deported to Syria has been under risk of readmission to Turkey in implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint statement. During his stay in Turkey, B.J. had to conceal his religious and ethnic identity for fear of being discriminated. The applicant entered Greece after the Implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement and applied for international protection. In June 2016. The competent Greek authorities issued a final decision on his request ruling his application as inadmissible considering Turkey as a safe third country for him.
RSPAs Lawyers, members of Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) found the detainee in the Police station while at risk of readmission. RSA lawyers lodged all available domestic remedies against the rejection of his asylum claim as inadmissible as well as against the decision ordering his readmission to Turkey, requesting his release. They also requested to refer a question to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of the wording international protection according to the Geneva Convention.
B.J. and his lawyers also lodged an application before the European Court of Human Rights complaining for the violation of Article 3 and 13 of the ECHR (protection from inhuman or degrading treatment and deportation to a country where it may be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or torture)."
England's forgotten armed uprising to be celebrated in Derbyshire (The Guardian, link):
"Britain goes to the polls this week almost exactly 200 years after the last armed uprising in English history, when a group of Derbyshire weavers and miners resorted to pitchforks and muskets in a futile attempt to overthrow by force the government that denied them the vote.
The uprising lasted only the length of one cold, rainy night and ended in public executions and beheadings, but Derbyshire is preparing to commemorate the bicentenary this weekend.
The Pentrich Revolution is little remembered now certainly not taught in the local schools and there is little trace of it in the cluster of villages 14 miles north of Nottingham where it occurred. But in 1817 it terrified ministers sufficiently for them to take extreme measures to make sure nothing like it ever happened again. It is a tale of violence and despair far removed from the common and placid image of Jane Austens England the author died six weeks after the uprising."
EU: Legislative Tracker : an interinstitutional agreement on the new EU Entry-Exit system is approaching... (FREE Group, link):
"The rapporteur Agustín Dían De Mera García Consuegra stated before the LIBE Committee (11 May 2017) that progresses have been made during the trilogue negotiations and that the good cooperation between delegations will probably allow to come to a political agreement by the end of the summer. Two political trilogues as well as nine technical meetings have already taken place and a third political trilogue is scheduled for 31 May 2017. Needless to say no public recording is accessible on the debates which took place during these trilateral meetings"
Greek police continues to illegally hand over Turkish asylum seekers to Turkey (FIDH, link):
"On 2 June at 9am, a family of six, including an infant, and three men who wished to apply for international protection in Greece because of persecution in Turkey were handed over by Greek police to a group of masked gunmen. The refoulement was witnessed and the HLHR has in its disposal the license plate numbers of the Greek police van that transferred the asylum seekers. The new refoulement took place in Evros by boat, near Didymoteicho, and involved Mustafa Can, his wife and their four children, as well as Yilmaz Erdogan, Fethullah Çatal, and one more man, whose name is still not known.
The informal and forced refoulement of any person is considered an act of violence and is a blatant violation of international law and the international obligations of our country."
EU: European Parliament analysis: European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs: an overview (pdf):
"The interconnections between border management, migration and internal security have become more apparent recently in the context of high inflows of refugees and irregular migrants and of increasing terrorist activities in the EU. To address these challenges, the EU has taken steps to revise and develop the European information systems in order to improve the collection, processing and sharing of data among Member States and relevant EU agencies. This publication provides an overview of the existing and proposed European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs. It discusses the legal basis, the purposes, the scope of data and access, the utilisation and the proposed changes for each information system, including issues of interoperability."
USA: NSA contractor facing 10-year Espionage Act sentence for alleged journalistic leak may have been tracked down by printer used
"Reality Winner, the woman alleged to have leaked classified information about Russian interference in the US election, could face up to 10 years in prison if the Trump administration pursues its complaint that she violated the Espionage Act.
The 25-year-old allegedly shared documents that reveal Russian intelligence agents hacked a US voting systems manufacturer in the weeks immediately before the 2016 presidential election."
USA-POLAND-GERMANY: US officials targeted in push for justice and accountability on rendition and torture
Reprieve US and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights are pursuing new legal cases seeking accountability and justice for torture carried out as part of the USA's "extraordinary rendition" programme.
COMMERCIAL SURVEILLANCE: I Bought a Report on Everything That's Known About Me Online (The Atlantic, link):
"On a recent Thursday, I waited for an email that was supposed to contain every personal detail the internet knows about me. The message would be from an online data brokera company that collects and sells information that many people would hope is private. This includes browsing history, online purchases, and any information about you thats publicly available: property records, court cases, marital status, social-media connections, and more. Facebook collaborates with data brokers for targeting advertisements. In some states, the Department of Motor Vehicles, among other agencies, sells information to brokers. Brick-and-mortar stores do, too.
Historically, data brokers dont do nuance. Companies care about demographics: If they can get information that is in the right ballpark, its likely to suit their needs just fine. I thought opening my data would be like looking in a mirror, maybe a dressing room mirror under lighting that makes you think you should start taking many vitamins. Instead, it was like seeing an expressionist painting of myself. I caught glimpses of something I recognized, but everything was hazy and a little off.
The sight was a relief. Conversations and debates about privacy tend to take for granted that the technology invading privacy finds information that is correct. But while our data is collected aggressively these days, clearly companies still arent infallible. Maybe the death of privacy isnt quite so near."
London attack: UK was warned about third attacker (BBC News, link):
"One of the London Bridge attackers was able to enter the UK, despite being placed on an EU-wide watch list.
Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Moroccan-Italian man who lived in east London, was named as the third attacker.
An Italian police source has confirmed to the BBC that Zaghba had been placed on a watch list, which is shared with many countries, including the UK.
In March 2016, Italian officers stopped Zaghba at Bologna airport and found IS-related materials on his mobile phone.
He was then stopped from continuing his journey to Istanbul.
The BBC understands he was not prosecuted but was listed on the Schengen Information System, an EU-wide database which includes details of potential suspects.
When Zaghba entered Britain, staff at passport control should automatically have been alerted by the Schengen system, BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said.
"One unconfirmed report suggests that did happen, apparently when Zaghba arrived at Stansted Airport in January - but that border staff still let him in," he said."
EU-AFRICA: Migration: EU money in exchange for border controls in Africa (Afronline, link):
"European funds in exchange for greater border controls. Easier repatriations. Quicker expulsions. In a word: border externalisation. By now this is the main point of the external aspect of immigration and asylum policies, both nationally and internationally. The objective is clear: to get the countries of origin and the transit countries more and more involved in controlling the flows towards the European Union. Which is what Italy and Europe have chosen to do. They are doing this independently and also in the name of the European Union. The fact that this perspective on immigration policies has been intensified can be seen from the funds that have been allocated."
GREECE: Hands off from #CityPlaza and all other Refugee Squats! (Enough is Enough, link):
"At June 7th, 2017 the news came out that a court ordered the eviction of City Plaza Refugee Accommodation and two other refugee squats in Athens.
Projects like City Plaza succeed in where the Greek goverment and other EU member states fail; a self-determined life, a life with dignity for those who travelled to a putative Europe under extrem hard conditions. A life where it doesnt matter which papers people have but instead a life where people can live together in a self-organised way.
Since the former City Plaza hotel was squatted more than a year ago, after the building was empty for several years, more than 1500 people lived in the building. 400 at any one time. Among them where many refugees and supporters from many countries. While EU member states closed their borders, sharpened their asylum laws, detaining and deporting more and more refugees, people in Athens have buildup self-organised projects like City Plaza together with refugees."
UK: Theresa May's comments on human rights are 'reckless and misinformed', says Amnesty
Responding to Theresa Mays comments about changing human rights laws, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK section, said:
"Theresa Mays comments are reckless and misinformed.
"This is exactly the time that human rights must be protected and cherished, not attacked and undermined."
European Parliament: Background Information for the LIBE Delegation on Migration and Asylum in Italy - April 2017 (pdf):
"Upon request by the LIBE Committee, this paper provides some information on the current situation of asylum and migration in Italy, focusing in particular on the hotspots and on the asylum procedures. The paper describes the applicable legislative framework, as recently amended, as well as its practical application."
Turkey arrests Amnesty International head and lawyers in Gulenist sweep (Guardian, link):
"Police detained Taner Kiliç and 22 other lawyers on suspicion of ties to the movement of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen."
EU reassures Turkey over its 3bn refugee package (euractiv, link):
"The EUs 3billion package to help refugees in Turkey will have been fully assigned to projects by the end of the year, the blocs envoy said Tuesday (6 June).
All the funds, part of a deal with Turkey to tackle Europes refugee crisis, will be fully assigned by the end of 2017, said Christian Berger, the EU ambassador to Turkey."
Migration Minister says 20,000-25,000 refugees to remain in Greece if EU Turkey deal continues (Keep Talking Greece, link):
"Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said that 20 to 25 thousands refugees will remain in Greece if the EU Turkey deal stands. At the same time, he expressed concern about the increasing influx of refugees and migrants on the Greek islands.
Speaking to Skai TV on Tuesday, Mouzalas said if the EU Turkey deal fails, things will be difficult. He noted that after the clearing up of Idomenti camp in North Greece last year, 25,000 refugees have been transferred in one way or another outside of Greece. We have 10,000 people with right to relocation and 6,000-7,000 with the right to family reunion, the minister said.
He admitted that there is a problem on the islands because of the influx of migrants and refugees and that the plan for small pre-accession centers should go ahead on all islands."
Commission readies sanctions against the Visegrad Four (euractiv, link):
"The European Commission warned yesterday (6 June) it could sanction member states that dont follow EU quota rules for asylum seekers by opening infringement proceedings against them as early as next week.
The warning came after the Czech Republic said it would not take in more migrants, citing security concerns."
EU threatens sanctions in Czech asylum row (euobserver, link):
"The European Commission threatened to take governments to court on Tuesday (6 June) following an announcement by the Czech Republic to halt asylum seeker relocation from Greece and Italy.
Czech interior minister Milan Chovanec had earlier this week said that the country would withdraw from the legally binding EU scheme, over broader concerns linked to security and the "dysfunctionality of the whole system"."
EU: Meijers Committee: Comment on the Draft Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders (pdf):
"On 21 December 2016, the European Commission submitted a proposal for a Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders (COM(2016) 819 final). In this comment, the Meijers Committee wishes to express its concerns as to several aspects of the proposal. Moreover, with a view to future negotiations on the proposed Regulation, this letter contains a number of recommendations on how to respond to its troubling aspects."
UK: On the life of Robin Murray, visionary economist (link) by Hillary Wainwright:
"Robin Murray who died late on Sunday exuded vigour and hope. And he inspired those around him with his spirit. Maybe as a resuIt I find myself resisting the sadness which threatens to overwhelm me now that he is gone. The tears well, but they refuse to flow. He was not one for a passive response of any kind. The only respite is to ring common friends for mutual comfort...
This is just one way in which Robins legacy of hope will live on with us and through us. In the intervening years, to give just one example, his restless and inventive energy pioneered twin trading and created the Fair Trade network that supports tens of thousands of small farmers in developing countries. "
Council moves quickly to get interoperable centralised database operative
Among the issues to be discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 8-9 June: "Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on improving interoperability of information systems." (Council)
See the Draft Council Conclusions on the way forward to improve information exchange and ensure the interoperability of EU information systems (LIMITE doc no: 9132-REV-2-17, dated 30 May 2017, pdf) which draws on:
European Commission: Seventh progress report on an effective and genuine Security Union (COM(2017) 261 final, 16 May 2017, pdf), the High-Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability (HLEG) final report (pdf) and a Council discussion paper, LIMITE 8797-17, pdf).
Background: Commission wants a quick march to interoperable, centralised EU databases by 2020 (Statewatch) and EU wastes no time welcoming prospect of Big Brother databases (Statewatch).
European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights: Following ECCHR complaint: Inadmissibility interviews in Greek hotspots: EU Ombudsman probes work of European Asylum Support Office (Press release, pdf):
"The European Ombudsman will examine practices by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) at hotspots (reception centers) in Greece. The move comes in response to a complaint about the inadmissibility decisions taken under the EU-Turkey agreement. The complaint was filed by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) with the support of Brot für die Welt in April 2017."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 June 2017: Background Note (pdf):
"On Friday, ministers will take stock of the current situation on migration, in particular in the Central Mediterranean, and will discuss return policy. They will also touch upon the issue of improving the interoperability of information systems.
Ministers will take stock of work carried out so far regarding the proposals to reform the common European asylum system and will discuss the proposals on the Schengen Information System (SIS). The Council is expected to adopt a general approach on a proposal on a European travel and information authorisation system (ETIAS).
In the margins of the Council, the Mixed Committee (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) will take stock of work on the proposals on the SIS and on ETIAS. Exceptionally, the Schengen associated states will be present in the discussions on migration, return policy and information systems and interoperability.
Over lunch, ministers will discuss counter terrorism."
European Parliament Study: International protection in Greece Background information for the LIBE Committee delegation to Greece, 22-25 May 2017 (pdf):
"Greece remains under pressure with a government-reported number of 62,200 refugees and migrants still present in its territory, of whom around 14,000 on the Eastern Aegean islands and around 48,200 persons on mainland Greece."
Council of the European Union: Eurodac
Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of biometric data 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.... (LIMITE doc no: 9879-17,100 pages pdf):
"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,"
Council developing its negotiating position with 62 Footnotes including Member State position.
"Delegations are reminded that the intention of the Presidency is to submit the modifications on the inclusion of scanned colour copies and the possibility to query Eurodac using alphanumeric data for approval of Coreper..."
EU judges may be asked to rule on legality of UK surveillance powers (Guardian, link):
"Fresh court challenge by privacy campaigners could impact the controversial Investigatory Powers Act.
EU judges may be asked to decide whether the intelligence services bulk collection of email data in order to prevent terrorist attacks is legal.
In a fresh challenge that could impact the Investigatory Powers Act, the campaign group Privacy International has argued in court on Monday that interception of social media that is not targeted and subject to sufficient safeguards is forbidden by a previous European judgment.
After a minutes silence in memory of the victims of the attack in London on Saturday, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) said it was considering whether to refer the issue concerning the use by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 of bulk communication data back to the court of justice of the European Union in Luxembourg."
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Migration crisis in the Mediterranean: tangible improvements but additional efforts are needed (link):
"More than a year since the adoption of the EU-Turkey Statement, the implemented measures have delivered some tangible results with regard to the challenges underlying the refugee and migration crisis. While the situation in Greece has largely improved in terms of reception, registration and asylum processing, some outstanding concerns still persist and require further efforts and improvements, PACE Committee on Migration said today....
Adopting unanimously a draft resolution, based on the report prepared by Miltiadis Varvitsiotis (Greece, EPP/CD), the Committee stated that the reception conditions and asylum procedures in Italy, even if also improving, require urgent action. As with Greece, Italy has become a destination country and continuous mass arrivals risk saturating the countrys reception capacities. The question of return of rejected asylum seekers should be given immediate consideration; the large number of irregular migrants creates threats for the whole asylum system and social stability."
See: Report (pdf)
CoE: Venice Commission on Hungarian law on foreign-funded NGOs: legitimate aims, but excessive obligations, disproportionate sanctions (link):
"The Venice Commission has published today its preliminary opinion on the Draft Law on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Support from Abroad of Hungary.
The Venice Commission acknowledges that the draft law pursues the legitimate aim of ensuring transparency of civil society organisations and may also contribute to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism."
See: Press release (pdf)
European media plurality at risk (New Europe, link):
"It considered four topical areas which could be of concern: basic protection of freedom (of main foundations for freedom of expression and media pluralism), market plurality, political independence and social inclusiveness."
Czechs stop taking asylum seekers under EU quotas (euobserver, link):
"The Czech Republic will stop taking in asylum seekers under the EU quota scheme to distribute refugees who arrived in Greece and Italy, citing security concerns, the government said Monday (5 June). Prague protested the 2015 decision to share migrants, and has taken in only a dozen out of the 2,691 set by the quota. The Czech Republic holds elections in October and migration is a sensitive topic."
EU: Council of the European Union: European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO)
The Council developing its negotiating position:
TEXT: Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Consolidated text (LIMITE doc no, 9545-17, pdf): 17 Member States support "enhanced cooperation":
"Delegations will find in Annex a consolidated version of the draft Regulation, established with a view to reaching a general approach at the Council (JHA) of 8 June 2017....
Having regard to the notification by Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain, by which those Member States on 3 April 2017 notified the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of their wish to establish enhanced cooperation on the basis of the draft
And see: Latvia joins too: LATVIA: LIMITE do co; 9546-17 (pdf)
GENERAL APPROACH: Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - General approach (LIMITE doc no:9476-17, pdf):
"Coreper is invited to agree to submit the draft text of the Regulation, as set out in document 9545/17, to the June 2017 Council, for the purpose of attaining a General Approach."
EPPO - Financial issues (LIMITE doc no 9276-17, pdf):
"The model means that expenditure of the EPPO shall be borne by the Member States which participate in enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the EPPO."
FINANCE: European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) - Financial issues - Contributions from delegations (LIMITE doc no, 9278-16, pdf):
"Following the invitation of the Presidency to delegations to written comments on the issue of the financing of the EPPO, the Polish, Swedish and UK delegations have made the contributions in Annex."
Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Outstanding issues (LIMITE doc no, 9066-17, pdf):
"At the meeting of COPEN on 12 May 2017, delegations were asked to indicate all concerns they have with the current Council draft. The annex to this note enumerates all the issues thereby indicated, on which agreement could not be reached."
EARLIER DRAFT: Draft Regulation implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Presidency text (LIMITE doc no 8750-17, pdf):
"Delegations are invited to indicate whether they can preliminarily agree to the full text of the draft Regulation at the COPEN meeting of 12 May, or - if they cannot yet agree - which provisions they consider it is absolutely necessary to reflect further upon. In this context,"
and see: 8750-COR-!-17 (LIMITE doc, pdf)
Eurojust: Proposal for a Regulation on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) - EPPO related provisions (Presidency document) (LIMITE doc no:9069-17, pdf):
"The partial general approach on the draft Eurojust Regulation agreed in March 2015 did not include any EPPO-related provisions, as the negotiations on the EPPO Regulation had not sufficiently advanced at that moment in time."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30-4-17- 4-6-17)
Far right raises £50,000 to target boats on refugee rescue missions in Med (The Observer, link):
"Aid charities have saved more than 6,000 from drowning this year. Now anti-Islam Identitarians are crowdfunding to pay for vessels to chase them down...
Far-right activists are planning a sea campaign this summer to disrupt vessels saving refugees in the Mediterranean, after successfully intercepting a rescue mission last month.
Members of the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant Identitarian movement largely twentysomethings often described as Europes answer to the American alt-right have raised £56,489 in less than three weeks to enable them to target boats run by aid charities helping to rescue refugees..."
Twenty million in camps around the world: Migrant nation (Le Monde Diplomatique, link):
"Most places that house people on the move, for whatever reason, were set up in a hurry and meant to be temporary. The reality was quite different."
And see: The aid business (Le Monde Diplomatique, link)::
"In a world where everything must make a profit, refugees and aid to them are seen as just another opportunity for entrepreneurship."
Greece: Court acquits man who protested police brutality against migrant (ekathimerini.com, link):
"An Athens appeals court on Thursday acquitted an Athens resident who was arrested after challenging a group of police officers over their treatment of a migrant man.
Petros Kapetanopoulos was charged with resisting authority, attempting to free a prisoner and giving a false statement when he challenged officers of the DIAS motorcycle squad for using violence against a man who was already in handcuffs....".
Archives, race, class and rage (IRR news, link):
"Below we publish an excerpt of a commentary in the April 2017 issue of Race & Class, in which Colin Prescod (IRR Chair) examines the challenges of black heritage facing archivists today.
This is an edited version of a keynote speech to the annual conference of the Archives and Records Association 2016 in which a leading black British cultural curator, using the concept of reparative histories, charts his own involvement in and knowledge of recent milestones in black cultural heritage intervention in the UK. Referencing the London Mayors Commission on African and Asian Heritage, the museum worlds marking of the 2007 bi-centenary of the Act abolishing the Atlantic slave trade and the significant No Colour Bar archive and art exhibition of 2015, he challenges archivists to understand the issue not as the need to simply include Black experience, but to allow Black agency in the making of the record.""
Migrants: meeting of police chiefs from 9 countries June 7 (ANSA, link):
"Police chief Franco Gabrielli on June 7 will meet in Lampedusa with his counterparts from France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia and Slovenia to discuss immigration, terrorism and organized crime.
It will be the first meeting of the European Relationship for Mediterranean Security (Ermes), a gathering attended by representatives of nine countries on the Mediterranean to promote wider cooperation.
The meeting will take place in the conference hall of the airport of Lampedusa. (ANSAmed)"
European court launches new system for single judge decisions (CoE, link):
"A new system for single judge decisions with more detailed reasoning has been announced today by the European Court of Human Rights.
Its statement confirms that: Following the entry into force of Protocol No. 14 in 2010 introducing the possibility for a Single Judge to declare applications inadmissible, the court initiated new working methods to tackle the massive backlog of clearly inadmissible cases.
Hungarian civil society victimized by Orban government (DW, link):
"Hungarian NGOs - especially those working with migrants - are facing stigmatization under a new law being pushed by Viktor Orban's government. DW's Ben Knight talks to some of those NGOs in Budapest."
Migrants' new route to Europe: Number of refugees using perilous crossing from Morocco to Spain TRIPLES in a year as other routes are shut down (Mail Online, link):
"Number of migrants crossing from Morocco to Spain has tripled in the last year. More than 3,300 refugees made perilous journey in first four months of 2017. It comes after EU and Turkey struck a deal to curb flow of migrants into Greece. Tens of thousands still use another crossing between Libya and southern Italy."
Migrants' new route to Europe: Number of refugees using perilous crossing from Morocco to Spain TRIPLES in a year as other routes are shut down (Mail Online, link):
"Number of migrants crossing from Morocco to Spain has tripled in the last year. More than 3,300 refugees made perilous journey in first four months of 2017. It comes after EU and Turkey struck a deal to curb flow of migrants into Greece. Tens of thousands still use another crossing between Libya and southern Italy."
European Parliament Study: An assessment of the Commissions Proposal on Privacy and Electronic Communications (pdf):
"In this study we discuss weaknesses of the proposed provisions, and ways to improve these provisions. We recommend that the EU lawmaker pays extra attention to four points;
(i) location tracking; (ii) browsers and default settings; (iii) tracking walls; (iv) the confidentiality of communications.
Regarding those topics, the ePrivacy proposal does not ensure sufficient protection of the right to privacy and confidentiality of communications. Some provisions in the ePrivacy proposal offer less protection than the GDPR."
France: A right not a threat: Disproportionate restrictions on demonstrations under the state of emergency in France (AI, link);
"In 2016, French authorities banned dozens of public assemblies using emergency powers and placed restrictions on hundreds of individuals to prevent them from exercising their right to freedom of assembly. Individuals not linked in any way to acts of terrorism are getting caught in the cross-hairs of the emergency measures. This report shows the disproportionate use of emergency powers to restrict the right to freedom of assembly in situations unrelated to any specific threat of attacks on the general population. Moreover, the report shows that French authorities often relied on unnecessarily resource-intensive strategies and used force disproportionately when policing public assemblies."
See: Report (pdf, link)
Germany: Uneven progress in treatment of detained persons and detention conditions, says anti-torture committee (CoE, link):
"In the report on its most recent visit to Germany, published today, the Council of Europes Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) praises progress made to improve the treatment of detained persons and detention conditions, but also found striking contrasts between establishments visited in different Federal States (Länder).
During the visit, carried out in late 2015, the CPTs delegation heard no allegations of deliberate physical ill-treatment of detained persons by police officers whilst in police custody. However, some allegations were received in particular from foreign nationals and persons suffering from a mental disorder about excessive use of force by police officers at the time of apprehension (such as punches or kicks after the person concerned had been brought under control or unduly tight handcuffing)."
And: Switzerland: Commissioner welcomes progress on asylum, but the most vulnerable need better protection (CoE, Link);
"stop detaining migrant children arriving at Swiss international airports. Children, with or without their families, do not belong in detention said today Nils Muinieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, after a three-day visit (22-24 May) to Switzerland, which included a visit to the closed reception facility in the international transit zone of Zurich airport."
EU: Juncker: Death penalty in Turkey would mean end to EU accession talks (euractiv, link);
"The European Union should continue accession negotiations with Turkey but a reintroduction of the death penalty would clearly put an end to the process, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said."
EU/Greece: Pressure to Minimize Numbers of Migrants Identified As Vulnerable (HRW, link): "European Pressure Affecting People with Disabilities, Others at Risk."
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