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What's New on the Statewatch website: 2017
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EU: New report: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex
Market Forces focuses on the development of EU security policies and budgets through the 2007-13 period and their successors, which were launched in 2014 and will run until 2020. These include the ESRP, which funds research to develop new technologies for law enforcement, border control, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection and leans heavily towards technologies and techniques initially deployed or favoured by military forces: drones, data-mining tools, large-scale surveillance systems, biometric recognition and automated behaviour analysis tools. It also explicitly seeks to develop dual-use technologies for both civil and military use.
The Council of the European Union is considering the Internal Security Strategy
Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy and Counter-Terrorism Implementation Paper: report of the first half of 2017 and programme for the second half of 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 10827-17, 64 pages, pdf) and see COR 1 (pdf) and:
Draft Council conclusions on the mid-term review of the Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy 2015-2020 (LIMITE doc no: 11901-REV-1-17) The Council lays emphasis on the quick implementation of interoperability data retention
Greece: Almost a third of UNHCR accommodation empty while refugees and asylum-seekers continue to sleep on the streets
In Greece the current occupancy rate of UNHCR accommodation is 71.2%. This means almost a third of places are empty.This is not because there is no one to fill them.
Volunteers and workers on the ground in Greece know that there are refugees and asylum seekers sleeping on the streets and in squats who have been trying to get accommodation for months.
See: Weekly accommodation update: September 19, 2017 (pdf) from UNHCR, Norweigan Refugee Council, Terre des hommes, Care, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.
Spain to send extra police to try to halt Catalan referendum (AP, link):
" Spain will deploy police reinforcements to the northeastern region of Catalonia to maintain order and take action if a referendum on independence pledged by the Catalan government but deemed illegal by Spain should take place, officials said Friday.
The measure comes amid rising tension between Spanish and Catalan authorities over the planned referendum. Civil Guard police this week arrested around a dozen regional government officials and seized about 10 million ballot papers. Catalan authorities insist the Oct. 1 ballot will take place. Both sides accuse each other of acting illegally and undemocratically."
And: Internet Society statement on Internet blocking measures in Catalonia, Spain (internetsociety.org, link):
"Measures restricting free and open access to the Internet have been reported in Catalonia. There have been reports that major telecom operators have been asked to monitor and block traffic to political websites, and following a court order, law enforcement has raided the offices of the .CAT registry in Barcelona, examining a computer and arresting staff."
Also: We just want to stop pleading (Open Democracy, link): "A call to the people of Spain, because the Catalan independence referendum on October 1 is about rather more than that."
UK: Campaigners condemn change in police tactics over anti-fracking protests in North Yorkshire (Drill or Drop, link):
"Opponents of fracking plans at Kirby Misperton have accused North Yorkshire Police of violating their human right to protest.
An inspector was filmed today confirming that slow walking protests where campaigners slowly escort trucks would not be permitted near the Third Energys fracking site.
This form of protest has been used at protests against the onshore oil and gas industry throughout the UK. Earlier this month, Supt Dave Hannan, the silver commander of the operation at Kirby Misperton, said he would allow one 20-minute slow walk in the morning and another of the same duration in the afternoon. DrillOrDrop report."
Migrant Boat Capsizes Off Libya, Leaves 5 Dead, 90 Missing (NYT, link):
"At least five migrants died and more than 90 were missing after their boat capsized off Libya's western coast, a major embarkation point for the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe, the Libyan coast guard said Thursday.(...)
At least five migrants died and more than 90 were missing after their boat capsized off Libya's western coast, a major embarkation point for the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe, the Libyan coast guard said Thursday."
Armed group seeks legitimacy with Tripoli migrant deal (euractiv, link):
"A powerful armed group, known for smuggling people from Libya, is seeking legitimacy and state security jobs from the Tripoli government in exchange for stopping migrant boats from leaving the coast of Sabratha for Italy, a senior group member said.
The group, the Anas al-Dabbashi brigade, struck a deal with Libyas United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) this summer to clamp down on trafficking, the senior brigade member, who gave his name as Mohamed, told Reuters."
UK: Banks to carry out immigration checks on customers (BBC News, link):
"Banks and building societies are to carry out checks on all current account holders to identify illegal immigrants.
The measure, part of a government clampdown, will see them given a list of people who are liable for removal or deportation from the UK or who have absconded from immigration control. Financial institutions will have to report any names they discover and freeze or close the accounts.(...)
According to the Guardian, 70 million accounts will be looked at quarterly to check the immigration status of the holders. The checks form part of a series of measures in the Immigration Act 2016 aimed at encouraging illegal immigrants to leave the UK voluntarily."
See also: Home Office wrongly denying people bank accounts in 10% of cases (Guardian, link) "Study of Theresa Mays hostile environment measures against illegal immigrants finds high error rate."
UK's terror fight 'puts unsustainable strain on police' (BBC News, link):
"The UK's counter-terrorism effort is putting an unsustainable strain on policing, the head of the National Police Chiefs' Council has said.
Chief Constable Sara Thornton said resources were being diverted from mainstream policing in England and Wales, leading to backlogs in control rooms and slower response times.
"This puts extra strain on an already-stretched service," she added."
GREECE: Migrant rescue led to tension with Turkish coast guard, sources say (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Coast guard officers on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos have said that a migrant rescue officially reported as having been carried out without incident had actually involved serious tension with Turkish counterparts on Wednesday.
Sources on the island speaking to Kathimerini said that a Hellenic Coast Guard patrol boat called out to rescue an undisclosed number of migrants and refugees on the maritime border between Greece and Turkey was harassed by Turkish counterparts when the Greek officers refused to turn the rubber boat over to them.
According to their claims, a second Turkish coast guard boat joined the first after the Greek crew refused to comply with its demand and started making dangerous and aggressive maneuvers around the Greek vessel. Its antics were such that the rope attaching the rubber dinghy to the Greek coast guard boat was severed.
The harassment reportedly continued all the way into Lesvoss port in Mytilene, where a Hellenic Navy boat thwarted the continued advance of the Turkish vessels."
Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ): Brexit and Northern Ireland: A briefing on Threats to the Peace Agreement (pdf):
"The withdrawal of the UK from the EU will have a profound effect on the legal and constitutional underpinning of the present jurisdiction of Northern Ireland, its relations with the Irish state and UK-Ireland bilateral relations. The UK and Irelands common membership of the EU was an assumption in the Belfast Good Friday Agreement (BGFA) and the UKs adherence to EU law regulates the powers and legislative operations of the devolved institutions."
Direct Provision in Ireland: the holding pen for asylum seekers (IRR News, link):
"In the first of a series, asylum campaigner John Grayson examines the Direct Provision (DP) system for asylum seekers in Ireland. Part-two will examine the private companies involved in providing services under DP." and see:
Without racial justice, can there be trust? (IRR News, link):
"Institutional racism is not mentioned in David Lammys important review of the over-representation of BAME people within the criminal justice system. The IRR tries to understand why."
UK: IPCC: police had series of chances to help man who died after arrest (Guardian, link)
"James Herbert, 25, who had mental health problems, died after being restrained by officers and then left naked in a cell.
Police missed a string of opportunities to help a young man with mental health problems who died after he was restrained by officers, locked up in a van on a hot night and then left naked in a cell, a watchdog has said.
Avon and Somerset police knew James Herbert, 25, was ill, but rather than treat it as a medical emergency when he was seen acting strangely, they secured him with handcuffs and leg restraints, and drove him to a custody suite 45 minutes away. He suffered a cardiac arrest and died.
In its report, called six missed chances, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the outcome for Herbert, a data recovery engineer, could have been very different if the officers involved had taken alternative actions. "
See: IPPC report: Six missed chances: How a different approach to policing people with mental health problems could have prevented James Herberts death in custody (pdf)
European Parliament Study: Completing the Digital Single Market for European Consumers and Citizens: Tackling Geo-blocking in the EU (pdf):
"This report summarizes the discussion during the 10th Meeting of the IMCO Working Group on the Digital Single Market. It summarizes the exchange of views between MEPs, independent academic experts and the European Commission on the topic of geo-blocking in the Digital Single Market."
"Geoblocking is the system used to limit your access to the internet, based on your geographic location. Geoblocks are used to limit or change content depending on the end-user's geographic location". (BBC News)
BREXIT: THe General Affairs Council of the EU is meeting on Monday 25 September. The main subject is BREXIT. The Backgound Note (pdf) contains a summary of the EU's position.
Without Good Interpreters, Refugees Are Lost in an Information Void (Refugees Deeply, link):
"Humanitarian interpreters are in short supply, undermining effective refugee response in countries like Greece, writes Julie Jalloul of Translators without Borders, which is launching a new platform to help connect interpreters and refugee support groups."
Dubs scheme refugee children left on hold for a year in Greece (Guardian, link)
"Group of up to 60 unaccompanied children expecting to come to UK have heard nothing about their applications."
EU charting the wrong course in migration policy (euobserver, link):
"European officials have faced strong criticism for prioritising security interests over the rights of vulnerable people, in their efforts to stem migration flows.
In particular, many perceive the EU, which measures the success of its efforts in the reduced number of people crossing the Mediterranean, to be guilty of hypocrisy as it claims that its efforts are informed by "strong policies to protect human rights and ensure dignified living conditions for migrants in countries of transit". (...)
The EU and its member states have been impelled to work with problematic partner governments in order to 'do something' about migration. Particularly, the main approach has been to reinforce the capacity of priority countries - like Libya, Niger and Chad - to control their borders and, as such, control Europe's.
Nevertheless, this kind of support not only overlooks the role that these regimes play in pushing people out in the first place, but also the manner in which they deal with migrants and refugees on their territory."
EU: Who is behind the EPPs latest attempt to tighten rules for NGOs? (euractiv, link):
"On 14 September, MEPs voted against amendments to tighten controls on EU-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that act against EU interests. A search for the proponents of these measures points to a pro-Israeli pressure group and a Glyphosate supporter.
The amendments were tabled at the last minute by the centre-right European Peoples Party, and some were taken straight from an earlier report by German MEP Markus Pieper (EPP).
In his original report, Pieper wanted to stop EU funding for NGOs whose objectives are contrary to the fundamental values of the European Union, democracy, human rights and/or strategic commercial and security-policy objectives of the EU."
Asylum seekers create EU 'limbo' nation (euobserver, link):
"The number of asylum seekers "in limbo" in the EU is likely to have become greater than the combined populations of Cyprus and Malta, estimates indicate.
More than 1.1 million of the 2.2 million people who sought asylum in the EU and associated countries Norway and Switzerland in 2015 and 2016 still do not know if they will get it, according to a new survey by US pollster Pew."
Europes human rights court struggles to lay down the law (New EUrope, link)
"Nearly 10,000 judgments covering 46 countries have not been implemented. The most sophisticated system in the world for defending human rights is facing a test. So far, its failing.
Nearly 10,000 judgments of the European Court of Human Rights have not been put into effect by national governments. Some of those cases were ruled on as far back as 1992, and they cover all but one of the 47 member countries of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, the courts parent body and the Continents leading human rights organization.
The failure to implement these judgments detailed in a Council of Europe database means that practices have continued across Europe, in many cases for years, after being ruled violations of human rights. These range from segregating HIV-positive prisoners in Greece, to police brutality in Bulgaria, to not properly investigating deaths of prisoners in Romania."
European Commission: State of the Union 2017: A framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the EU (Press release, pdf):
"To unlock the full potential of the EU data economy, the Commission is proposing a new set of rules to govern the free flow of non-personal data in the EU. Together with the already existing rules for personal data, the new measures will enable the storage and processing of non-personal data across the Union to boost the competitiveness of European businesses and to modernise public services in an effective EU single market for data services. Removing data localisation restrictions is considered the most important factor for the data economy to double its value to 4% of GDP in 2020."
See: Proposed Regulation on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union (COM 495, pdf) and Commission: SWD 304 (pdf) and SWD 305 (pdf).
And see:Council of the European Union: Draft Council Decision on open data and the reuse of Council documents (LIMITE doc no: 12007-17, pdf)
"This Decision should not apply to documents for which the Council is not in a position to allow reuse in view of third party intellectual property rights, access rights regimes in the Member States and those provided for in Regulation 1049/2001 on access to documents and the respective Council implementing rules and in view of the security rules for protecting EU classified information." and
"The General Secretariat of the Council shall take appropriate measures to protect its rights, interests and public image in all the appropriate fora."
UN: Unlawful death of refugees and migrants (pdf): Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard:
The present report focuses on the mass casualties of refugees and migrants in the course of their flight. It addresses killings by both State and non-State actors, and denounces a quasi-generalized regime of impunity, worsened by an absence of accurate data on the dead and missing. The Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings calls urgently on States to address this human rights crisis by prioritizing the protection of the right to life in their migration and refugee policies.(...)
Other violations to the right to life result from policies of extraterritoriality amounting to aiding and assisting in the arbitrary deprivation of life, and from the failure to prevent preventable and foreseeable deaths, as well as the limited number of investigations into these unlawful deaths. The report also presents best practices in search and rescue operations and for the dignified treatment of the dead, but points out that States do not implement them as they should, and fail to resource them adequately.
"Governments around the world know that people will die attempting to cross dangerous border regions, including deserts, rivers and seas. Here, the conflict between human rights and migration control could not be clearer: migrants are supposed to be deterred from crossing a border because they might die. It is impossible to protect the right to life while simultaneously attempting to deter entry by endangering life. Nor is it acceptable to discourage exit out of countries where lives are endangered on the grounds that doing so saves lives from the dangers of border crossing: that is simply permitting a more secret death elsewhere." [emphasis added]
Greece: Lesvos mayor issues warning on refugee numbers (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos has written to the government and the European Commission asking that immediate action be taken to reduce the number of refugees on the island.
In the letter sent to European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos and Greek Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, Galinos says there are now more than 6,000 refugees and migrants on the island, which is far more than existing facilities can cope with."
Statewatch report: Greek Ministry report shows that as of morning of 19 September there were 5,916 refugees in camps on Lesvos. In the main camps there are 4,352 refugees which officially have a capacity of 2,330. 157 are being held in "Pre-return detention centres" (in Section B in Moria camp which has a capacity of 210) and 4 are held in detention at police stations.
The only other island with "Pre-return centres" is Kos with 165 refugees held (capacity 500)
A total of 13,038 refugees are on the Greek islands.
According to UNHCR 525 refugees arrived on Lesvos between 13-19 September
Catalonia referendum: Spain steps up raids to halt vote (BBC, link):
"Spain's Guardia Civil police have detained a dozen senior Catalan officials and raided regional government ministries involved in organising a banned independence vote. Tensions were already high when Josep Maria Jové, number two in the Catalan vice presidency, and others were held. Catalan leaders are defying a court order to halt the vote, condemned by the Madrid government as illegal."
And from Statewatch correspondent (Barcelona):
"On Friday (15 September) 100,000 pro-referendum posters paid for by the Generalitat (the Catalan regional government) were removed from a printers warehouse in Hospitalet de Llobregat, a town adjoining Barcelona.
A number of Catalan radio stations were visited last week by the Guardia Civil (the national police force) to warn them against publicising or cooperating in any way with the 1-O vote.
On Friday the Basque municipal police force closed down an event in Vitoria (in the Basque Country) on the referendum at which Anna Gabriel, a politician from the left-wing Catalan pro-independence group CUP (Candidatura de lUnitat Popular) was due to speak.
On Saturday a demonstration in Bilbao (Basque Country) in favour of the Catalan referendum drew some 35,000 supporters, according to the event's organisers.
In a speech in Barcelona on Friday night the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, warned the Catalan authorities and pro-independence voters that they should not underestimate the force of Spanish democracy. Do not underestimate it. Its very strong.
Italy picks up more migrants (New Europe, link):
"Italy picked up another 2,000 migrants aiming to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in the past week, while Libyas coastguard rescued more than 3,000"
Germany: Parties Differ on Human Rights Approach - Platforms Show Variations in Foreign, Migration Policy (HRW, link):
"The platforms of the German parties most likely to be elected to the Bundestag differ greatly on protection of human rights in foreign policy and migration and asylum policy, Human Rights Watch said today.
The election platforms of the main German parties offer a clear roadmap for voters when it comes to making sure their elected representatives will protect human rights, says Wenzel Michalski, Germany director at Human Right Watch. Of course, what matters is the actual political work after the elections, which we will closely monitor.
Migrants in Tunisia/Libya: MEPs to assess search and rescue operations (EP press release, link):
"A Civil Liberties Committee delegation will be in Tunisia from 18 to 22 September to assess cooperation in migration management between the EU and countries in the region.
MEPs will evaluate search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the current situation in Libya. They will discuss visa liberalisation and readmission agreements with national and local authorities, as well as representatives of the EU, other international bodies, and NGOs."
AGREEMENT WITH SUDANN ON REFUGEES: De Morgen reports the Belgian government is cooperating with the Sudanese government to identify and send home refugees via sweeps of the Brussels North train station. The International Criminal Court accuses Sudans President Omar al-Bashir of genocide and the regime hosted Osama Bin Laden and other extremist groups. More in De Morgen.
EU: More concerns over the Copyright Directive: Germany questions Council Legal Service on Article 13
The mandatory introduction of automated filters to detect copyright infringements online, as proposed by Article 13 of the EU's Copyright Directive, continues to raise legal concerns. Dubbed the "censorship machine" by the European Digital Rights Intiative, the proposed filters have long been opposd by civil society groups, academics and legal experts, and they were questioned two weeks ago by a group of Member States in a note published by Statewatch. Now the German authorities have submitted their own set of questions on Article 13 to the Council's Legal Service.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18-19.9.17) including: EU development aid in Africa "misused and diverted"
UK: Kingsley Burrell trial: Police officers 'lied repeatedly' (BBC News, link):
"Three police officers told repeated lies about a cloth being placed over the head of a mental health patient who later died, a court has heard.
Kingsley Burrell died aged 29, four days after being detained by police.
Jurors heard the men may have "put their heads together" and agreed to lie after the death in March 2011.
Paul Adey, 36, Mark Fannon, 45, and Paul Greenfield, 50, are on trial at Birmingham Crown Court, and deny charges of perjury.
The court heard numerous witnesses saw Mr Burrell's head or face covered with either a towel, sheet or blanket when he was placed in a seclusion room at the city's Oleaster mental health unit."
UK: Undercover policing: in open letter, women call on Home Secretary to recognise institutional sexism in the police
Today, 13 women who were deceived into intimate sexual relationships with undercover policeman, over a period spanning nearly 30 years, have written to the Home Secretary to raise their concerns about the progress and recent direction of the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing.
The women noted that, two years into the Inquiry, the names of the 1000+ groups spied on by political policing units have still not been made public, nor have the cover names used by officers while undercover. These two steps are critical to allow non-police witnesses to come forward and give evidence to the inquiry. The women also raised concerns about the recent appointment of Sir John Mitting as Inquiry Chair.
EU-AFRICA: New report says "development aid is misused and diverted through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa"
A new report by Global Health Advocates says that the EU's multi-billion euro 'Emergency Trust Fund for Africa', launched following the November 2015 Valletta Summit and designed to address "root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa", is prioritising "quick fixes driven by Europes short-term domestic priorities, with little involvement of local governments let alone civil society actors."
UK: Information Commissioner's Office: Big data, artifical intelligence, machine learning and data protection (pdf):
"Our main conclusions are that, while data protection can be challenging in a big data context, the benefits will not be achieved at the expense of data privacy rights; and meeting data protection requirements will benefit both organisations and individuals. After the conclusions we present six key recommendations for organisations using big data analytics. Finally, in the papers annex we discuss the practicalities of conducting privacy impact assessments in a big data context."
EU: Study on the treatment of tortured and traumatised asylum-seekers in eastern EU Member States
A study by the Hungarian Helsinki committee (May 2017) looks at the treatment of asylum seekers who are victims of torture or traumatised in eight EU Member States and finds that while EU legislation generally "provides sufficient guarantees", tortured or traumatised asylum-seekers are not being identified or treated because of "the lack of or improper transposition" of the EU's Reception Conditions and Asylum Procedures directives, or because of "the lack of actual implementation in practice".
BELGIUM: On the unfolding situation of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants sleeping rough in the streets of Brussels Interview with Jolien Potemans Policy Officer at the Flemish Refugee Action who has been on location several times (ECRE, link):
"Informal refugee camps in cities a (new) European reality? Reports of informal refugee camps and mounting police violence against the people inhabiting them are coming from all over Europe at the moment: Brussels, Paris and Rome. In an interview on the situation in Brussels, Jolien Potemans, Policy Officer at the Flemish Refugee Action, explains what is at stake for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants sleeping rough at the citys Northern train station and how this problem is interlinked with national and European policies."
EU: Time limits for detention of asylum-seekers for the purpose of a 'Dublin transfer': judgment in Mohammad Khir Amayry case
"...a national legislation such as that in Sweden, which allows for a detention to be maintained for 3 or 12 months until the transfer is carried out, is at odds with the DRIII and the guarantees under Article 6 CFREU."
EU: 2017 European Police Chiefs Convention: largest ever gathering of global Police Chiefs at Europol (Europol press release, pdf):
"On 6 and 7 September 2017, over 550 police chiefs and senior law enforcement representatives from all over the world gathered at Europols headquarters for the 2017 European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC).
Participants discussed main issues concerning the security of the EU and beyond, including: the spread of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda online and law enforcements response; the use of financial intelligence as a critical tool for successful counter-terrorism and organised crime investigations; crime in the age of technology; cybercrime; and migrant smuggling."
The EUs militarisation of development aid (EurActiv, link):
"Security will be the keyword of the EUs development policy in the near future.
On Thursday (14 September), the European Parliament gave a green light to start the discussion with other European institutions on the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP).
This program allows member states to intervene to prevent or address a crisis.
For the first time, it will be possible to use it for military purposes, especially in African countries plagued by instability. The European Commission announced it will receive 17.5 million to address the terrorist threat in Middle East and North Africa."
See also: The new European consensus on development: 'our world, our dignity, our future' (pdf) agreed 8 June 2016 and: European Consensus on Development (European Commission, link)
LIBYA: How Libyas Fezzan Became Europes New Border
"European policymakers increasingly are looking at the Fezzan, Libyas vast and scarcely populated south west, as their frontier against sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees traveling the Central Mediterranean route to Europe. In 2016, over 160,000 took this route from Libya on makeshift boats; most had entered through this region, which connects the countrys southern border with its coast. Several European countries, chiefly Italy, hope that stabilising the situation in the Fezzan and reviving its economy will help curb migrant flows."
SPAIN: 12 million more for Ceuta's border fence to "fulfil its purpose"
The Spanish interior minister, Juan Iganacio Zoido, announced on 12 September that a further 12 million will go to the border fence in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in north Africa bordering Morocco, as the fence does not currently "fulfil its purpose".
EU: Cybersecurity package: proposal for a new EU Cybersecurity Agency and supporting documentation
On 13 September the European Commission published a proposal to establish an EU Cybersecurity Agency that would have an operational role to "counter particular threats", serve as a "centre of expertise" on cybersecurity certification and support Member States in implementing EU legislation. The new body, if approved by the Council and Parliament, will replace the current Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), "with a view to effectively and efficiently supporting Member States, EU institutions and other stakeholders' efforts to ensure a secure cyberspace in the European Union."
GERMANY: 2-3 October 2017, Berlin: ConAction Conference: A public platform for grassroots initiatives providing humanitarian aid to refugees in Greece and Turkey (link):
"Since 2015, more than one million people have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea to the coastlines of Greece and Turkey. At present, there are still more than 60,000 refugees stranded in Greece and more than three million in Turkey, of which nearly half are children.
From the start of the current mass migration, refugees have to live under disastrous humanitarian conditions. Last winter was the second in which an alarming number of people had to survive in inadequate camps of tents - highlighting the failure to address this humanitarian crisis with European competency. Binding agreements, such as the Relocation Program and the Reunification of Separated Families Program, are only partly implemented and connected to long administrative processes. Basic humanitarian care for refugees in Turkey and Greece is mainly provided by private initiatives and small NGOs that receive little or no support from the EU or local governments.
Together with representatives of the civil society, the public and the political sphere, strategies and action plans will be developed. Participants are invited to inform themselves about the current refugee situation and receive up to date and first-hand factual information."
The Wrong Catch: Italy Imprisons Refugees Who Were Forced to Pilot Smuggling Boats At Gunpoint (The Intercept, link):
"When the refugees disembark at port in Sicily, those with wristbands are handed off to Italian police, who will interview them again and arrest the suspected smugglers, in an effort to break up the criminal networks that have brought over 85,000 people to Italy this year. Regardless of whether rescued by the coast guard or ships run by NGOs, every boatload of refugees that arrives in Sicily goes through a similar process.
The Italian press cheer these operations as a key part of the fight against illegal immigration, lionizing figures like Carlo Parini, a former mafia investigator who is now a top anti-human trafficking police officer in Italy. Parini leads a squad of judicial police in the province of Siracusa in eastern Sicily, one of several working under different provincial prosecutors, and his aggressive style has earned him the nickname the smuggler hunter.
There is only one problem: the vast majority of people arrested and convicted by these police are not smugglers. Almost 1400 people are currently being held in Italian prisons merely for driving a rubber boat or holding a compass. Most of them paid smugglers in Libya for passage to Europe and were forced to pilot the boat, often at gunpoint."
EU: Freedom Not Fear 2017 (Digital Courage, link):
"From 6 to 9 October 2017, internet and human rights activists from all over Europe will meet at "MundoB" in Brussels for the Freedom not Fear Barcamp.
At freedomnotfear.org you will find detailed information about this event. Important: You don't need to register to participate at the Barcamp, and the Barcamp is free of charge (including lunch at MundoB)."
See: Freedom not Fear 2017: 69 October, Brussels (Freedom Not Fear 2017, link):
"Freedom not Fear is an annual meeting for civil rights activists from all across Europe. Representatives from non-governmental organisations meet in Brussels for four days to work for freedom in the digitised world. We plan action and we take action against increasing surveillance and other attacks on civil rights. We want to live in freedom, not in fear. Join us!"
Lampedusa migrants condemned by Mayor Salvatore Martello (Deutsche Welle, link):
"The mayor of the Italian island of Lampedusa, destination for many migrants setting off from Tunisia, complained on Sunday that his town was on the verge of societal collapse.
Groups of migrants were flouting laws, harassing women and getting drunk, Mayor Salvatore Martello said in an open letter to Italian news agency ANSA and in comments to Italian news outlets.
"Threats, harassments, thefts, Lampedusa is about to collapse," Martello wrote, calling for the closure of the "useless" migrant center on the island. "Police are powerless," he wrote.
His comments were rejected by his predecessor Nicolini, who told ANSA he was vastly overstating the problem and that there were very few thefts.
"This is an attempt to restore the climate of fear that existed on Lampedusa before my election," she was quoted as saying."
Greece: No School for Many Asylum-Seeking Kids (Human Rights Watch, link):
"Greeces Education Ministry should move quickly to implement positive new plans for the education of asylum-seeking children on the Aegean islands and make schools accessible to all of them, Human Rights Watch said today. When the school year began on September 11, 2017, hundreds of asylum-seeking children who are being prevented from leaving the islands due to a European Union deal with Turkey remained out of school.
Greece will extend a program that provides special Greek classes and integration support for non-native speaking pupils to asylum-seeking children on the islands. But this program excludes children in the so-called refugee hotspots and other reception facilities who cannot obtain the proof of address required to enroll in school. To reach children in these facilities, the Education Ministry recently announced it would open afternoon classes at public schools on the islands."
ROMANIA: Desperate Europe-bound migrants turn to capricious Black Sea (EurActiv, link):
"While the arrival of exhausted migrants may be common on Mediterranean shores, its a rare sight on the Black Sea coastline. But a string of recent arrivals from Turkey suggests it may be emerging as part of a new Romanian route to western Europe.
Shortly before dawn on Wednesday (13 September), around 150 people, a third of them children, were rescued in the Black Sea the fifth migrant boat to be intercepted by Romanian authorities since mid-August.
The arrival of some 570 Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Iranians and Pakistanis in less than a month remains modest compared to the influx recorded in the Mediterranean.
In 2014, the last year of relative activity, close to 300 migrants crossed the Black Sea to reach Romania."
And: Romania braces for migrant influx (New Europe, link): "Romania police reported that 2,800 migrants were caught trying to illegally enter the country since the start of this year. This is an increase of 1,624 compared to the whole of 2016."
EU-U.S. data pact faces first major test of credibility (Reuters, link):
"A pact underpinning billions of dollars of transatlantic data transfers will undergo its first annual review on Monday, with Europe seeking to ensure Washington has lived up to its promises to protect the data of European citizens stored on U.S. servers.
Feted as a milestone in transatlantic relations, which had soured after revelations of mass U.S. surveillance four years ago, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data pact has been in place for just over a year.
It was hammered out after the European Unions top court struck down a previous data transfer pact in 2015 because it allowed U.S. spies excessive access to peoples data, plunging everyday cross-border data transfers into legal limbo.
However, it is already subject to two legal challenges in European courts on the grounds that it does not offer adequate privacy protections for European citizens data, and EU data protection watchdogs have also expressed misgivings."
UK government sets out proposals for post-Brexit security, policing and justice cooperation
"Britain will look to agree a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership with the EU after Brexit, to fight our shared threats from terrorism and organised crime, the UK Government said today.
In the latest future partnership paper, laying out the UKs vision for a deep and special partnership with the EU, Britain stresses the need to build upon and enhance the internal security cooperation that already exists."
New legal tool on electronic evidence: Council of Europe welcomes civil society opinion (CoE, link):
"In a Global Civil Submission handed to the Council of Europe today, European Digital Rights (EDRI), an association defending rights and freedoms online, has provided an opinion from civil society worldwide on the proposed protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.
Alexander Seger, the Council of Europes anti-cybercrime coordinator, welcomed the submission: Clear rules and more effective procedures are required to secure electronic evidence in the cloud in specific criminal investigations. Otherwise, governments will not be able to meet their obligation of protecting the rights of individuals and ensuring the rule of law in cyberspace..."
Joe McNamee, Executive Director of EDRI said: Global civil society is engaging in this process to ensure that any harmonisation in this crucial policy area is up to the highest human rights standards, in line with the ethos of the Council of Europe.
In June 2017, the Cybercrime Convention Committee gave its green light to the preparation of a second additional protocol to the Convention. Negotiations are scheduled from September 2017 to December 2019.
Seventy States are either already party to the Budapest Convention, or have formally committed. At least 70 more countries have drawn on the Convention as a guideline for domestic legislation."
See: Cross-border access to data: EDRi delivers international NGO position to Council of Europe (EDRi, link)
Libya's migration crisis is about more than just security (IRIN, link):
"Theres no shortage of news on Libyas migration crisis, but there is a serious dearth of policy solutions.
Late last month, the International Organization for Migration announced what passes for good news at the moment: no deaths on the Mediterranean for 20 days. This followed reports, later denied, that Italy had been paying militias to prevent people from leaving Libyas shores.
But the risk of drowning is far from the only danger facing migrants attempting the central Mediterranean route into Europe. Migrants are subject to arbitrary detention, arrest, harassment, bonded labour, slavery, and sexual exploitation.
And even as drowning numbers are down, IOM says there has been an increase in trafficking rather than smuggling on the central Mediterranean route the former distinguished by the coercion and extortion that continues after arrival at the destination. This trend is partly because fewer Syrians (and migrants in general) are making the journey, so those plying the route are seeking ways to keep profits up sub-Saharan African women appear to be paying a horrible price in this shift, finding themselves forced into the sex industry in greater numbers.
Human rights groups, humanitarians, and governments are naturally concerned, but some rights advocates feel the anti-trafficking policies of the European Union and others are more aimed at stopping migration entirely."
EU: Commission: Italy free to "lump migrants together with prisoners" in complaints system
The European Commission has said is up to the Member States to determine the national authority responsible for dealing with complaints about the activities of border guards working in Frontex operations, in response to a question from an MEP who asked whether it was right that Italy "lump migrants together with prisoners" by giving the role to the 'Italian Authority for the protection of the rights of people who are detained or deprived of liberty'.
EU: Ombudsman welcomes proposals to strengthen Commissioner ethics and transparency rules (press release, pdf):
"The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, welcomes the College of Commissioners decision to strengthen the ethics and transparency rules governing Commissioners activities, while in office and after they leave.
The measures, which include a much more detailed Code of Conduct for Commissioners and publishing the Independent Ethical Committees opinions on Commissioners post-mandate jobs, have previously been called for by the Ombudsman."
HUNGARY: Atlatszo is suing the foreign intelligence agency for documents it compiled about Soros-funded NGOs (Atlatszo, link):
"Atlatszo is suing the Hungarian foreign intelligence agency (IH) because it refused to share a research paper that it supposedly compiled about the influence attempts of Soros-funded NGOs. At our first court date it became obvious that no such study exists but IH also revealed that they do have some information on the topic but that is classified."
UK: Deportation threats, driving licence revoked, child benefit stopped - all for living legally in the UK (The Guardian, link):
"A Japanese woman living in London with her Polish husband has been threatened with deportation, had her child benefit stopped and driving licence revoked even though she is lawfully in the country under EU law, it has emerged.
In a two-year ordeal, photographer Haruko Tomioko, was also threatened with separation from her eight-year-old son.
She told the Guardian how her life was turned upside down, how she was ordered to pay back £5,000 in child benefit for their son and report to a Home Office immigration centre every month. If she did not comply with the reporting order, she was told she was liable to detention, a prison sentence and/or a fine of up to £5,000."
UK: Undercover policing: legal wins in Scotland and England
- Court grants permission for judicial review into Home Office's failure to extend inquiry to spycop activities in Scotland
- Police give up on attempts to limit human rights case at Investigatory Powers Tribunal
- Interview with woman deceived into a relationship by Andy Coles; report from European Parliament event
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-17.9.17)
Who Protects Refugees? 15/09/2017 (Eric & Philippa Kempson, Lesvos, Greece, You Tube, link)
Council of the European Union: European Criminal Records System and Third Country Nationals
Proposed: Regulation establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European criminal records information system (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU) No. 1077/2011 (LIMITE doc no: 11445-17, pdf): 35 Footnotes with Member State positions. The Council developing its negotiating position.
"The question was asked whether the Commission, in setting out its time-table, had taken account of the fact that the Member States also have to adopt legislation and to set up systems locally in order to allow the ECRIS-TCN system to work properly.
It was observed that it would be difficult to distinguish between EU-citizens and TCN. For this reason, inter alia, some delegations recommended it would be good to collect fingerprints for every conviction."
Britain faces rebuke over refusal to back more than 100 UN human rights targets (Observer, link)
"Civil society groups warn that further deterioration in protection is likely as Brexit looms.
Britain is heading for a confrontation this week at the UN human rights council over its failure to support more than 100 recommendations on subjects ranging from the rights of children to the international law on abortion.(...)
Among the recommendations that the government has declined to back, a number outline the need for the UK to limit how long someone can be held in an immigration detention centre. The UK is the only European country without such a time limit.
Britain has also declined to support recommendations on the detention of children in immigration centres. Of a total of 229 recommendations by UN members, the government will confirm that it is supporting just 96 42% of the total. The government has chosen simply to note the remainder."
They can't sail for Europe - so what's happening to migrants trapped in Libya? (MIddle East Eye, link)
"Militias are trying to take over government detention centres - and trade their occupants as human commodity (...)
Libya has become the preferred destination for migrants and refugees heading for Europe. In the first half of 2017, at least 2,030 people died or went missing while crossing the Mediterranean for southern Europe. The greatest number set off from Libya.
The EU, and especially Rome, has tried to work with the Libyan authorities to return migrant ships back to North Africa."
Orbán wins the migration argument (Politico, link):
"Suddenly most EU leaders echo the Hungarian prime minister.
No one in Brussels wants to say it out loud, but Viktor Orbán is winning the migration debate.
The Hungarian prime minister may be much maligned in European capitals for his anti-immigrant rhetoric, his opposition to the EUs refugee relocation policy, and for building a border fence.
But look closely at how EU leaders now talk about the issue and the policies theyve adopted since the 2015 crisis, and its clear Orbáns preference for interdiction over integration has somehow prevailed.""
UK: Head of scandal-hit G4S detention centres is put on administrative leave (Guardian, link):
"G4S has placed Ben Saunders on administrative leave after undercover Panorama exposed abuse of detainees.
The head of two G4S-run detention centres has been placed on administrative leave after a series of scandals, the Guardian has learned.
G4S is believed to have placed Ben Saunders on leave from his role in charge of Brook House and Tinsley House immigration removal centres (IRCs) after an undercover Panorama exposed abuse of detainees there. Officers were seen to mock suicidal detainees and one officer is alleged to have attempted to choke a detainee."
Are You Syrious (15.9.17, link):
"Fascism is on the rise in Europe and around the world. Today this is illustrated by what is happening in Hungary, but we can easily find examples - some we will mention in todays digest - all around the old continent.
The Hungarian media are reporting that the council of the southwestern village of Esztergályhorváti has adopted an ordinance obliging people who are renting accommodation to check refugees vaccination records before renting??!! If a person does not have proof of all the vaccinations obligatory in Hungary, she/he cannot rent a place in this village. Even before this order, not a single refugee had come to this village."
"Today, 262 people were rescued from the in international waters off the Libyan coast to the west of Tripoli. Among those rescued were 56 women, 7 children under 5 years and 48 unaccompanied minors. In the evening, another 109 people were saved by humanitarian boats.
Today we came across a report about a rescue mission by the Irish Defence Force. They rasponded to a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre and found a boat with 285 people on board 44 kilometers northwest of Tripoli. During the rescue operation, three people were declared dead."
And this is just another day in the Mediterranean
"This week, hundreds were saved, people from sub-Saharan Africa: Nigeria, Cameroon, Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, but also Syria. They all came from Libya testifying, again, about the appalling situation in that country.
SOS MEDITERRANEAN saved some of their stories."
"But none of these reports is enough for the current politicians in Europe. According to the Italian activist group Radicali Italiani, the contents of the agreements reached by Italy and Libya are not completely known to the citizens or the parliament. The groups reacted by filing a complaint to the Procura della Repubblica di Roma for criminal conspiracy/offences and international corruption in the framework of agreements between Italy, the Government of Sarraj and the wanted Ahmad Dabbash, indicated by the press as head of violent armed groups and, at the time of the agreement, as one of the principal persons responsible for the smuggling of migrants at sea, said the secretary of Radicali Italiani Riccardo Magi, author of the petition together with the lawyer Francesco Mingiardi, member of Radicali Italiani."
EU: Massive biometric "smart borders" database may be illegal
A number of MEPs think CJEU opinion on EU-Canada air passenger surveillance scheme makes biometric border control database illegal and are demanding renegotiation
Council Legal Service: "substantial difficulty" for air passenger surveillance schemes in EU and with Australia, Canada and USA, as well as other EU databases\
Longstanding plans for an EU Entry/Exit System (EES) which would store the fingerprints, a facial image and other personal data on all travellers entering the Schengen area are running into serious problems as the implications of a recent court ruling on an EU-Canada air passenger surveillance scheme become clear.
The ABC secrecy trial: 40 years on (Crispin Aubrey Legacy Fund, link):
Friday 3rd November 2017, Arnolfini, Bristol 7.00 - 9.00pm (Networking & Drinks from 6.00pm)
"This event marks 40 years since the joint arrests of Crispin Aubrey, John Berry and Duncan Campbell. In the early seventies, Crispin Aubrey became a leading figure in the campaign to prevent the government deporting two Americans on national security grounds - former CIA case officer Philip Agee and Time Out journalist Mark Hosenball..."
Speakers: Panel Discussion One : Reflections from the trial and campaign: Chaired by Andrew Kelly, Bristol Festival of Ideas, ABC defendant, John Berry, ABC defence barrister Mike Mansfield QC, Sue Aubrey, wife of ABC defendant, Crispin Aubrey
Panel Discussion Two: Lessons from the trial and legacy today: ABC campaigner and Statewatch Director Tony Bunyan,Sarah Kavanagh, NUJ Senior Campaigns and communications officer and ABC defendant, Duncan Campbell.
Click here to register (link)
Council of the European Union: Reception Directive & Resettlement Regulation
Proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (LIMITE doc no: 1149417, 115 pages pdf): Including 190 Footnotes with Member State positions. Contains discussion on detention clauses. The Council developing its negotiating position.
Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 516/2014) (pdf) Contains 115 Footnotes with Member State positions.The Council developing its negotiating position.
"Without prejudice to Irelands right to opt in post-adoption as set out in Article 4 of Protocol 21 of the TFEU, Ireland has not opted into this proposal under Article 3 of Protocol 21 of the TFEU and as such does not have voting rights. AT: reservation on the proposal. BG, CZ, DE, ES, FI, HU, IE, IT, PL, SE, SI, SK: scrutiny reservation on the proposal. HU, SI: parliamentary reservation."
"Suggested modifications are indicated as follows:
- new text compared to the Commission proposal is in bold;
- new text compared to the previous version of this document is in bold underlined;
- deleted text is marked with [ ]."
As Europe refugee and migrant arrivals fall, reports of abuses, deaths persist (UNHCR, link):
"On land, movements across Europe continued in the first half of 2017, although at a much reduced level compared to the same period last year. People moving onwards irregularly from Greece and Bulgaria reported abuses at the hands of smugglers, as well as being beaten, and set upon by police dogs. In addition there were reports of robberies, and kidnappings by smugglers for extortion.
During the period of the report UNHCR and partners continued to receive allegations of push-backs by State authorities, including in Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Spain and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. There were also reports of access to asylum procedures being denied and allegations of violence in some instances. While some States have taken steps to address such actions, for example through investigating allegations of human rights abuses at borders, the report notes that further measures are required."
See: Desparate Journeys report (pdf)
UK: NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION (Sites of Resistance, link): A Family Statement
"This statement is being read at sentencing at Manchester Crown Court on 14.9.17 behalf of the families involved in the Not Guilty by Association family group.
This group includes a number of the families whose loved ones were charged as defendants in the two murder trials. The group is supported by local youth workers, academics and the national campaign group JENGbA, who collectively share concerns at the potential for racial injustice in such cases.
When a young person from any community loses their life it is tragic. Like any parents we want our young people to feel safe, to grow up and live their lives."
Urgent Press Release: Belgian court has ruled that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation (Kurdistan National Congress, link):
"The Court of Appeals in Belgium has announced their decision after appeals were submitted by the Turkish state and Belgian prosecutors for the initial decision made.
Today a decision has been taken by the appeal court from Brussels in the case of the 36 Kurdish politicians and the Kurdish TV. The Belgian prosecutor opened a file against some prominent Kurdish politicians for being leaders of a terrorist organisation. The prosecutor considered the PKK to be the terrorist organisation. The court however decided that there is an armed conflict in Turkey and that the PKK is a belligerent party in that conflict and that therefore cannot be considered as a terrorist organisation."
EU: Migrants stuck on endless ferry journey as countries refuse entry (Guardian, link)
"Men stowed away on Istanbul to Odessa ferry and are stuck at sea while both Turkey and Ukraine refuse to take them.
Twelve migrants, apparently from North Africa, have been sailing to and fro between Istanbul and Odessa on a Danish passenger ferry for the last seven weeks, locked in four cabins with no country willing to take them.
According to the operator, DFDS, Turkey and Ukraine both refuse to accept the men."
Greek, Italian leaders call for fairer EU migration rules (ekathimerini.com, link):
"At a joint summit on Corfu on Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni declared that European countries should share the burden of dealing with migration.
Mediterranean countries must find a way to act decisively, taking a leading role in this debate and in developments, Gentiloni said. Tsipras, for his part, noted that refugee crises should be handled with solidarity and a shared sense of responsibility, not with fences and exclusions that undermine our European values."
EU deadline on refugee pledges misses mark (euobserver, link):
"A looming deadline for the EU states to commit to their pledges on how many refugees they will resettle appears to have shifted.
The EU commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told reporters in Brussels that he had pressed interior ministers on Thursday (14 September) to come forward with numbers ahead of a deadline initially set during the summer. (...)
Of the almost 39,000 people resettled from Africa last year, only around 1,800 ended up in Europe. The vast majority went to United States, followed by Canada and Australia.(...)
Niger - through which the vast majority of migrants travel to reach Libya - has only resettled one person since 2015. Similar figures are cited for Bukino Faso and Mali.
Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, said on Monday that the "response has been very far from adequate." "
EU executive warms to Franco-German call on emergency border checks (Reuters, link):
"The European Unions executive offered initial backing on Thursday to a Franco-German proposal to allow more permanent border checks within the blocs free-travel zone.
Five countries in the so-called Schengen travel zone - Germany, France, Denmark, Austria and Norway - restarted border controls after 2015 attacks in Paris and in an attempt to control the movement of refugees and migrants arriving in the bloc in unprecedented numbers the same year.
Schengen rules allow for the reintroduction of such frontier controls for up to two years and the ones now in place expire in November.
Germany and France, aiming for an extension and the ability to reinstate them in future, asked the EU to change the system to extend the maximum duration to four years. "
EU COPYRIGHT DIRECTIVE: 4 Times NO: Article 13 Censorship Filter Confirmed as Illegal (Copybuzz, link):
"The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (the Max Planck Institute) responds [PDF] to the questions on the censorship filter (Article 13) addressed to the Council Legal Services by a series of Member States (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands) in the non-paper leaked by Statewatch (see our analysis here). In the meantime, it seems that the German government also submitted a contribution to the Council, wherein they too express concerns about Article 13."
UPDATE: Final Press release (pdf)
EU: JHA Council, 14 September, Brussels: documentation including terrorism and migration discussion papers
"Following recent terrorist attacks in Europe, ministers will discuss priority areas for action on counter-terrorism in the coming months.Ministers will discuss the state of play and next steps regarding migration policy. They are expected to cover several aspects including the response to the migratory flows in the Central Mediterranean, the return of irregular migrants, the continued implementation of the EU-Turkey statement, relocation and the ongoing work on the concept of 'safe third countries'."
See: Note on: Migration: state of play and next steps - Exchange of views (LIMITE doc no: 11836-17, pdf) and REV 1 (LIMITE doc. dated 13 September 2017, pdf) This contains a new sectio 6 on cooperation with African states on "countries of origin and transit" and Refugees: Council next steps (Statewatch News)
"B" points agenda for discussion (pdf) and "A" points agenda adopted without discussion (pdf)
Privacy International launches international campaign for greater transparency around secretive intelligence sharing activities between governments (link):
"Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments.
Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance. These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law.
National intelligence oversight bodies hold intelligence agencies accountable to the public by exercising scrutiny over the legality, propriety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the intelligence activities of their governments."
See: Briefing (pdf)
EU: Commission: Proposed Regulation on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union (pdf): Would limit government freedom to restrict the movement of data.
Denmark Suspends Refugee Resettlement Under UN Program (Bloomberg, link):
"Denmark wont allow any refugees into the country this year under a United Nations program and will seek flexibility in determining how many may resettle in the future instead of a set quota, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration said."
EU: Centre-right MEPs revive anti-NGO funding bid (euobserver, link):
"Centre-right MEPs are pushing to restrict EU funds for NGOs amid broader aims of weakening transparency ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on Thursday (14 September) in Strasbourg.
The move follows a series of amendments, introduced by the Christian Democrats early this week, to a report on the "transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions".
German Green MEP Sven Giegold, who drafted the transparency report, described the amendments in a statement as an attempt to weaken European civil society and roll back efforts to shed light on who lobbies the EU institutions."
Theresa May blocked Scottish inquiry into spies having sex with female activists (Herald Scotland, link):
"THERESA May repeatedly refused to extend an official inquiry into rogue undercover police to Scotland, despite SNP ministers warning she was doing their victims a disservice.
Correspondence released under Freedom of Information has revealed escalating tension between the Scottish and UK governments over the probe into officer misconduct.
Despite rogue cops routinely spying on people in Scotland, as Home Secretary Mrs May refused to extend the inquirys remit, which she set, beyond activity in England and Wales. "
EU: Austria and Europol call for crackdown on "under the radar" informal money transfer services
The EU and its Member States should withdraw 500 and 200 euro banknotes from circulation and tightly regulate the informal hawala international money transfer system in order to help fight terrorism, irregular migration and money laundering, according to a note sent by Austria and Europol to the Council of the EU's internal security committee on 8 September.
GREECE: Occupy Lesvos: Refugee Resistance at the Heart of the Border Regime (Novara, link):
"Recent acts of dissent within Moria have met with harsh police violence, and few positive outcomes. So the Afghan protesters left the camp, thrusting the continued struggle of detained refugees into the laps of the cocktail-sipping yacht-owners around the harbour.
Facing down threats of eviction and arrest, and violent abuse from an off-duty Moria guard, they won the promise that asylum claims which have dragged on for 12 or 18 months will be resolved within days. If these decisions do materialise, the occupation can be counted as a major victory for self-organised refugee struggle. Novara Media was on the ground for the duration."
UK: The Home Office makes huge profits from immigrants. So where is the money going to?
"As Theresa May's Government makes plans for Brexit, there are increasingly serious concerns about the economy if there is a hard Brexit and fewer migrants filling skilled work shortages.
Little attention has focused on how new immigration policies will be paid for as the costs of Brexit go up and extra funding harder to find. This might be because Theresa May has other plans for the money raised from immigration applications and so starving the immigration system of much need cash.
Migrants pay increasingly high fees to apply for visas and citizenship and most of this goes into the government's back pocket. Prices have soared in some cases by 25 per cent over the last year many times the inflation rate. It can cost £2,297 to become a permanent resident and an additional £1,282 for citizenship and that's after passing a citizenship test that's more like a bad pub quiz, meeting five year residency requirements and no access to public funds. The Home Office has even started charging £5.48 for emails."
EU: New rules on Schengen Information System and border checks: Council's latest draft compromise text
"Delegations will find attached a Presidency revised draft compromise text of the abovementioned proposal, taking into account the discussions held at the Working Party for Schengen Matters (Acquis) on 19 June 2017 and 3, 4, 5 and 26 July 2017 and the written comments subsequently sent by the delegations."
EU: How public CCTV operators can avoid eye-watering fines under the GDPR (IFSEC Global, link):
"The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force across the EU including the UK from 25 May 2018.
With fines for non-compliance potentially being a staggering 79 times greater than under the existing data protection regime, the stakes for organisations in a range of sectors are enormous.
As security practitioners are well aware, a CCTV image featuring people counts as personal data just like a date of birth or someones marriage status or political views.
Jean-Philippe Deby, business development director for Europe at Genetec, very kindly shared his thoughts on the implications for CCTV operators and the wider security industry with IFSEC Global."
ECHR scales back businesses' powers to snoop on staff's private messages
"The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rules a company shouldn't have sacked one of its employees because he sent private emails from his work account during working hours.
The ECHR used the case of Romanian Bogdan Mihai Barbulescu vs Romania to stipulate what companies can and can't do when monitoring employee emails."
What's The Worst That Could Happen With Huge Databases Of Facial Biometric Data? (Gizmodo, link):
"Facial recognition is not new. It's been a sci-fi staple for decades, and its practical roots are in the 1960s with Palo Alto researchers on RAND Tablets manually mapping out people's features. Even back then we could give a computer enough data to be able to match a person to a their photograph. The group, led by Woodrow William Bledsoe, even managed to calculate a compensation for any tilt, lean, rotation and scale of the head in a photograph.
Data inputs stayed pretty rudimentary, with manual input of details being replaced by the Eigenfaces in the '80s and '90s. This would be the start of computer vision systems leveraging the kinda freaky power of big data.
What can happen when we combine the large amount of facial biometrics data with a potentially imperfect system? What sort of societal implications would there be if you were recognised by someone, anywhere and everywhere you went? For this week's Giz Asks, we connected with experts in law, technology and facial recognition to find out."
EU-INDIA: Talks on possible Europol-India agreement may come up at summit focused on trade
"The two sides may also look to strengthen security cooperation such as by expanding the scope of counter-piracy dialogue to maritime security and establishing a new dialogue on cyber crime and space.
Also, it may support India-Europol cooperation on issues like cyber crime and counter terrorism.
"We have had recently good and concrete dialogue on cyber security and counter terrorism and on maritime security. And these are certainly key fields where we can deepen our cooperation," the EU official said.
On the new areas of cooperation, he said a strategic cooperation with Europol, which is the Europe wide agency for police cooperation, is being talked about."
See: EU hopes to resume FTA talks with India (Press Trust of India, link)
EU-POLAND: Independence of the judiciary: European Commission takes second step in infringement procedure against Poland (Commission press release, pdf):
"Today, the European Commission decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Poland regarding the Polish law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.
The Commission has carried out a thorough analysis of the response of the Polish authorities to the Letter of Formal Notice sent in July 2017 concerning the Law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.
The European Commission maintains its position that the Polish Law is incompatible with EU law because by introducing a different retirement age for female judges (60 years) and male judges (65 years), it discriminates against individuals on the basis of gender. This is contrary to Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Directive 2006/54 on gender equality in employment.
The Commission also raises legal concerns that by giving the Minister of Justice the discretionary power to prolong the mandate of judges who have reached retirement age, as well as to dismiss and appoint Court Presidents, the independence of Polish courts will be undermined, contrary to Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) read in connection with Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. "
EU: European Parliament committee reports: violence against women, prison conditions, arms exports, fight against cybercrime, space strategy
Reports adopted by European Parliament committees in July 2017 on: EU accession to the Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence; prison systems and conditions; the implementation of EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms exports; the fight against cybercrime; and a Space Strategy for Europe.
EU: European Parliament special committee on terrorism - list of members published
In July the European Parliament agreed to set up a special committee on terrorism that will sit for 12 months to examine "the extent of the terrorist threat on European soil" and to propose appropriate measures" for the EU and the Member States "to help prevent, investigate and prosecute crimes related to terrorism."
Its first meeting will be on 14 September and its membership of 30 MEPs has now been decided, with membership dominated by the parliament's two biggest groups - there will be ten 10 MEPs on the committee from the European Peoples' Party (EPP) and eight from the Socialists & Democrats (S&D).
CoE: Study on police oversight mechanisms in Council of Europe member states
"The following document sets out to provide an update to the main findings from a comprehensive review of policing oversight across the forty-seven Council of Europe States first set out in September 2015. The update reflects the position of police oversight mechanisms cross the forty-seven States as of 20 February 2017."
Hungary and Russia lead criticism of Ukraine's new education law (Irish Times, link):
"Hungary and Russia have lambasted Kiev over a new education law they say will deprive Ukraines ethnic minorities of the right to study in their own languages.
Poland and Romania have also expressed concern over the reforms, prompting Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman to order his officials to explain to European Union states how the changes will protect minority languages spoken by millions of the countrys people.
The angriest reaction came from Budapest, where foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said Ukraine had stabbed Hungary in the back and announced that his government would complain about the new law to the EU and United Nations."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-12.9.17)
EU-LIBYA: UN report highlights abuses by Libyan Coastguard during search and rescue operations
"The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern about abuses and violations against such persons by the Libyan Coastguard during search and rescue operations, which, in some instances, further endanger the lives of people in distress at sea. Intercepted or rescued migrants are rarely provided with life jackets."
See: Full text of UN Secretary-General report (pdf):
UK: More than 100 people arrested over London arms fair protests
"More than 100 people have been arrested as they tried to prevent weapons companies from setting up their stands for the worlds biggest arms fair, which begins this week in London.
Peace activists began a week of blockades of ExCeL centre in Docklands last Monday to stop weapons, vehicles and other military equipment arriving at the biennial Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair."
Geneva: As global arms trade surges, states greenlight reckless, harmful deals (AI, link):
"Diplomats meet in Geneva to discuss landmark Arms Trade Treaty
Several countries may be breaking treaty obligations with reckless deals
UK, France and Italy among states supplying abusive governments"
EU: Council of the European Union: Manual on cross-border operations - national fact sheets (LIMITED doc no: 11840-17, 491 pages, pdf):
"Delegations will find attached a compilation of national fact sheets, containing all the practical information necessary for carrying out cross-border operations."
EU: JHA Council, 14 September, Brussels: documentation including terrorism and migration discussion papers
"Following recent terrorist attacks in Europe, ministers will discuss priority areas for action on counter-terrorism in the coming months.
Ministers will discuss the state of play and next steps regarding migration policy. They are expected to cover several aspects including the response to the migratory flows in the Central Mediterranean, the return of irregular migrants, the continued implementation of the EU-Turkey statement, relocation and the ongoing work on the concept of 'safe third countries'."
New report highlights need to improve data on dead and missing migrants to better inform policy and public awareness (University of Bristol, link):
"University of Bristol Senior Research Fellow, Ann Singleton, who co-edited Fatal Journeys Volume 3: Improving Data on Missing Migrants, said:
Since 2014, more than 23,000 migrant deaths and disappearances have been recorded globally by the IOM, although the real number is likely to be significantly higher because many deaths are unrecorded.
Few bodies of missing migrants are formally identified leaving families in limbo, without perhaps ever knowing whether a loved one is alive or dead.
The focus of this years report is how data on missing migrants can be improved, to inform policies that can prevent further deaths, to meet the needs of families and those left behind to learn more about the fate of their relatives, and to improve the chances of identifying bodies.
See: Fatal Journeys, Volume 3 Part1: Improving Data on Missing Migrants (pdf)
UNICEF: HARROWING JOURNEYS - Children and youth on the move across the Mediterranean Sea, at risk of trafficking and exploitation (pdf):
"Young migrants and refugees set out to escape harm or secure better futures and face staggering risks in the process. For 17-yearold Mohammad, who travelled through Libya to seek asylum in Italy, violence and persecution back home meant the choice was clear: We risked our lives to come here, he says, we crossed a sea. We knew it is not safe, so we sacrificed. We do it, or we die.
For children and youth on the move via the Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe, the journey is marked by high levels of abuse, trafficking and exploitation. Some are more vulnerable than others: those travelling alone, those with low levels of education and those undertaking longer journeys. Most vulnerable of all are those who,
like Mohammad, come from sub-Saharan Africa.
These findings come from a new UNICEF and International Organization for Migration (IOM) analysis of the journeys of some 11,000 migrant and refugee children (adolescents aged 1417) and youth (1824),..."
Sea-Watch is called to rescue 27 refugees in the Aegean Sea (link)
"Laila is standing on the deck of the Sea-Watch 1, shivering. When speedboat driver Ben takes her hand, she doesn't let go. In her life, Laila has seen a lot more awful things than a German rescue ship. But last night she was scared to death again, when she was crossing the sea from Turkey to Greece. Together with her boyfriend, she left behind the war in Kobane, Syria. Everything she still carries with her from her past life fits into a small pink bag.
At 2.30 am, Sea-Watch captain Phil received an unusual call by the Greek coastguards in Kós: "Hello my friend, can you help us? Can you tug a refugee boat back to the harbor?" Since the start of the monitoring mission in the Aegean Sea, it seemed as though the Coast Guards did not appreciate the presence of NGOs in their waters. But for the Greek commander in Kós, it was a relief to be able to call the Sea-Watch crew for assistance. "This rescue was an important sign for us: Good cooperation with the authorities could always look like this", Captain Phil says.
All 27 rescued were taken to a camp in the interior of the island. Laila would not have had to risk her life again if there were legal ways to reach the EU for refugees. What she needs is security, no repression."
Brexit: UK government position paper: Foreign policy, defence and development: A Future Partnership Paper (pdf):
"The UKs commitment to European security will remain steadfast, and we will seek to agree new arrangements that enable us to sustain close UK-EU cooperation that will allow us to tackle our shared threats.
The UK therefore envisages cooperation on external action to be central to our future partnership, complementing broader national security and law enforcement collaboration to tackle complex, multi-faceted threats.
The UK remains committed to working with and alongside the EU and third countries by contributing our policy tools and expertise, defence and security capabilities, global networks and influence, and development spend to support peace and security."
FIDH: France: The harassment of Cédric Herrou, defender of migrants rights, must end (Press release, link):
"The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an FIDH-OMCT partnership) and the Ligue des droits de lHomme (LDH) condemns the police and judicial harassment in France against Mr. Cédric Herrou, as denounced by the Observatory in an Urgent Appeal published on August 28, 2017. This harassment reflects a policy from the French Government to hinder the work of defenders of migrants rights and their organisations.
Mr. Cédric Herrou is victim of harassment for defending migrants in the Roya valley, in Alpes Maritimes, where a huge police operation involving several hundred officers is taking place, with the aim of deterring the passage and presence of migrants in the region."
And see: GISTI: Actualité des poursuites et des mobilisations relatives aux délits de solidarité (link) and Avis: mettre fin au délit de solidarité (legifrance.gouv.fr, link)
Brexit: Deportations of EU citizens soar since referendum - Exclusive: The number of EU citizens being removed from the UK has now increased fivefold since 2010 (Independent, link):
"The number of EU citizens being removed from the UK has now increased fivefold since 2010. It reached 4,754 in 2016 up from just 973 in the year the Conservatives came to power. The rapid rise followed a fall of more than 74 per cent in the previous six years, down from 3,779 in 2004.
It comes despite a significant drop in the total number of people being deported, suggesting the focus of the Home Office and its immigration enforcement units has shifted specifically towards immigrants from EU countries."
UK-EU: Briefing paper: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (pdf):
"Clause 7 represents the Governments request for Parliament to delegate legislative power to change the statute book so that retained EU law functions effectively after exit day. The Governments case for delegation is based on the uncertainty over what changes will be needed, the volume of changes required and the speed at which they will need to be made.
The challenge for scrutinising this power will be assessing the extent to which it is possible to define what counts as a failure or deficiency of retained EU law. The Government requires a degree of flexibility in order to cover the scope of retained EU law, and there are a variety of reasons why changes might be needed. This scope and variety of legislative tasks in practice results in a power that, in legal terms, can be used to achieve a wide range of legislative changes, including establishing new public bodies, substantive policy changes and amendments to constitutional legislation in order to prepare for Brexit."
UK: Review highlights discrimination in criminal justice system, but a missed opportunity to examine policing
The publication of the Lammy Review into the treatment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in the English and Welsh criminal justice system has demonstrated the significant racial bias that many have long suspected. However, the remit of the review was drawn so narrowly that it was unable to examine the relationship between the police and BAME people - a regrettable missed opportunity according to the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, whose director, Richard Garside, commented that: "The starting point of the disproportionate criminalisation and punishment of black and minority ethnic people is their disproportionate rates of arrest by the police."
UK: Five army men held over alleged membership of banned UK neo-Nazi group (The Guardian, link):
"Five serving members of the British army have been arrested on suspicion of being members of the recently banned neo-Nazi group National Action.
A 22-year-old from Birmingham, a 32-year-old from Powys, a 24-year-old from Ipswich and a 24-year-old from Northampton, all men, have been arrested under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organisation, West Midlands police said. An army source said a fifth serving soldier had been arrested in Cyprus.
An army spokeswoman confirmed to the Guardian that serving members were among those arrested."
UK: PREVENT is about Policing Dissent not Safeguarding (CAGE, link):
"Anti-war, Fracking, Pro-Palestinian, Anti-Austerity, Animal Rights; Aid Convoys these have all been identified as threats under PREVENT.
Security and safety of people is a duty of the state, but it is also a responsibility of all citizens to report anyone they believe is about to carry out a criminal act. However, the responsibility of citizens duty extends to hold the state to account ensuring it does not go beyond the law and its role.
This can happen through the unnecessary targeting of individuals and the intrusion into peoples lawful expression of beliefs and practices, and the disruptions of their right to oppose to state policies.
Therefore, any opposition to state policies, such as PREVENT, must be seen within the framework of lawful expression and debate and not a reason to invoke national security to silence dissent and smear dissenters as extremists. "
UK: If only our prisons really were like hotels: How Crown immunity is hobbling efforts to improve fire safety in the HM Prison Service (IFSEC Global, link):
"In June 2014 Peter Kimberley, the owner of the New Kimberley Hotel in Blackpool, was jailed for 18 months and ordered to pay £5,243 in costs after being found guilty of 15 breaches of fire safety regulations.
His 90 room hotel, when inspected by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, was found to have fire exits blocked with combustible material, fire doors were locked shut, and there was insufficient water available to fight fires.
The New Kimberley Hotel, described in court as a death trap, was shut down.
But Mr Kimberley wasnt a bad chap just an unlucky one in his choice of career.
If instead of being a hotelier Mr Kimberley had been the Governor of a prison where exactly the same, and worse, fire safety failures had been discovered, he would not have even been arrested.
Certainly he could never have been charged, tried, convicted and sent to his own jail because every prison in England and Wales is immune from prosecution when it comes to fire safety."
Migrant sea route to Italy is world's most lethal (The Guardian, link):
"More than 22,500 migrants have reportedly died or disappeared globally since 2014 more than half of them perishing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean, according to a study by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
A clampdown on Europes eastern borders has forced migrants to choose more dangerous routes as the death toll in the Mediterranean continues to rise despite a drop in the overall number of arrivals, data compiled by the UNs migration agency shows.
While overall numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean by the eastern route were reduced significantly in 2016 by the EU-Turkey deal, death rates have increased to 2.1 per 100 in 2017, relative to 1.2 in 2016, reads the IOM report which is released on Monday. Part of this rise is due to the greater proportion of migrants now taking the most dangerous route that across the central Mediterranean such that 1 in 49 migrants now died on this route in 2016."
See the report: Fatal Journeys, Volume 3 Part1: Improving Data on Missing Migrants (pdf)
IRELAND: Film on Womens Coalition recalls the fight for peace (The Detail, link):
"A NEW documentary recalling the Good Friday agreement of 1998 is a timely reminder of how difficult it was to secure the historic peace deal.
There was no guarantee of success at the time but a whole range of factors aligned to deliver an end to decades of violence.
The US government played a key role by applying pressure from outside, but it was also crucial for the talks that pressure for change came from within.
The documentary by The Details sister company Fine Point Films and directed by Eimhear ONeill examines how the Womens Coalition provided an important added ingredient which helped to open-up a political arena dominated by violence, by intransigent politics, and by men."
IRELAND: Firms involved in biometric database in India contracted by Irish government (The Irish Times, link):
"Two tech firms one owned by businessman Dermot Desmond involved in the creation of a controversial biometric database in India, are providing services for the Governments public services card and passports.
Known as the Aadhaar project, the Indian scheme is the worlds largest ever biometric database involving 1.2 billion citizens. Initially voluntary, it became mandatory for obtaining state services, for paying taxes and for opening a bank account.
Daon, which describes itself as a biometric enabling technology company was also awarded a 1.9 million contract by the [Irish] Department of Foreign Affairs last year to provide a facial recognition solution for the passport service."
Dermot Casey, a former chief technology officer of Storyful, said that if the Daon system was used to store the data and carry out the facial matching then the Government appears to have purchased a biometric database system which can be extended to include voice, fingerprint and iris identification at a moments notice."
EU-SPAIN: The EU and the Catalan Crisis (Verfassungsblog, link):
"The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. Its a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. Its a challenge for the EU as well.
A personal disclaimer to start with: as a Spaniard, I am a supporter of an asymmetric federal Spain that recognizes the national identity of its peoples. I also support the right of a national community to decide by democratic means its own future. But having said all that, the events that have currently unfolded are nothing close to what independence should look like. The events are a serious threat to the rule of law, and it is important to stress it in these very terms."
HUNGARY: The latest brainstorm: military sports centers to popularize a military career (Hungarian Spectrum, link):
"In the last year or so the ministry of defense has been looking for ways to make military service more attractive to young men and women. First, we heard that shooting galleries would be attached to schools, and several school principals reported receiving inquiries from KLIK, the center in charge of all state schools. But a few days later the ministry of human resources, which deals with matters related to education, issued a denial. Although there will be more emphasis on patriotic education, the talk about the militarization of Hungarian schools was nothing but an unfounded rumor. If there was, at one point, some thought of using schools as sources of future military personnel, this idea had been scrapped.
Meanwhile, the ministry of defense was working on a new idea. On February 11 the ministry announced the formation of the National Defense Sports Association (Honvédelmi Sportszövetség/HS) under its auspices... As I suspected, this new military sports association is a backdoor way to try to enlarge the Hungarian Army. There will be plenty of enticements. In the sports centers that will be built, people can learn to shoot, fence, engage in martial arts and strength athletics, even joust. In addition, they can learn to drive and apply basic first aid. The Sports Association will also organize military summer camps. Ultimately, the goal is to attract as many young people as possible who want to play a role in defending the country by applying for either reserve or professional service."
EU: Reality check: has Juncker delivered on his promises? (euronews, link):
"The last time Jean-Claude Juncker took Europes pulse its blood pressure was sky-high as it battled Brexit, populism and the refugee crisis.
Standing before MEPs last September, Juncker used his annual State of the Union address to admit the European Union was having an existential crisis.
He made a now familiar complaint about a lack of togetherness among member countries and bemoaned the blocs economic problems.
But, a year on, has much changed? Here we examine progress by looking at six key points from his speech 12 months ago."
UK: Police officers face gross misconduct charges over Adrian McDonald taser death (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, link):
"Three police officers have been accused of gross misconduct over the death of former Dalton man Adrian McDonald.
Adrian, who had been living in Stoke-On-Trent, died in the back of a locked police van on December 22, 2014.
He had been tasered by officers called to a house in Newcastle-Under-Lyme following reports of a burglary.
Last month the Independent Police Complaints Commission said three officers involved in the case would not face criminal charges over Adrian's death.
However this week PC Jonathan Tench, Insp Richard Bills and Det Sgt Jason Bromley of Staffordshire Police are facing an IPCC gross misconduct hearing, accused of breaching professional standards during the incident."
UN aviation agency to call for global drone registry (Reuters, link):
"The United Nations aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry, as part of broader efforts to come up with common rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft.
While the International Civil Aviation Organization cannot impose regulations on countries, ICAO has proposed formation of the registry during a Montreal symposium this month to make data accessible in real time, said Stephen Creamer, director of ICAOs air navigation bureau.
The single registry would eschew multiple databases in favor of a one-stop-shop that would allow law enforcement to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft, along with their operator and owner.
The initiative comes at a time when drone usage is soaring in the United States, Europe and China, raising privacy concerns and fears of collisions with commercial jets."
EU: Pathways towards Legal Migration into the EU: Reappraising concepts, trajectories and policies (CEPS, link):
"Finding that EU migration policies are still subject to inconsistency, legal uncertainty and discriminatory treatment, scholars call for the creation of new legal pathways.
Over the past 15 years, the Europeanisation of policies dealing with the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals has led to the development of a common EU acquis. Yet questions related to policy consistency, legal certainty and fair and non-discriminatory treatment in working and living standards still characterise the EUs legal framework for cross-border mobility. This book critically explores the extent to which EU legal migration policies and their underlying working notions match the transnational mobility of individuals today. It addresses the main challenges of economic migration policies, both within the EU and in the context of EU cooperation with third countries. Special consideration is given to the compatibility of EU policies with international labour standards along with the fundamental rights and approach to fairness laid down in the EU Treaties. The contributions to this book showcase the various uses and potential of social science and humanities research in assessing, informing and shaping EU migration policies. Leading scholars and experts have brought together the latest knowledge available to reappraise the added value of the EU in this area. Their reflections and findings point to the need to develop a revised set of EU policy priorities in implementing a new generation of legal pathways for migration."
UK: Information tribunal dismisses Drone Wars appeal over British drone secrecy (Drone Wars UK, link):
"An information tribunal has upheld the MoDs decision to refuse to release the number of British armed drones deployed against ISIS and their location, despite such information being released by the UK about its manned aircraft.
In the just released open judgement (a closed judgement has also been produced but will not been made available to us), the tribunal accepted that there was clear public interest in the information Drone Wars sought as both parliament and the public could then ascertain if the UKs armed drones were being used outside of Iraq and Syria, or if some were in storage due to personnel shortages. However the tribunal accepted the MoDs argument that the public interest arguments in favour of disclosure were outweighed by the public interest in favour of non-disclosure as the information would likely impact on the effectiveness of UK armed forces.
The judgement setting out the full reasons can be read here and background papers and submissions from the MoD and Drone Wars are here."
Also on armed drones: Humans will always control killer drones, says ministry of defence (The Guardian, link): "Britains military will commit to ensuring that drones and other remote weaponry are always under human control, as part of a new doctrine designed to calm concerns about the development of killer robots.
The move by the Ministry of Defence comes after more than 100 leading robotics experts wrote to the United Nations urging the organisation to step in to halt the development of artificial intelligence in weaponry."
GREECE: A young woman is in jail for no reason. Shes been convicted for joining a terrorist organisation without any substantial proof. (AthensLive, link):
"Irianna is a Greek 29-year-old woman, born and bred in a middle class suburb of Athens (Cholargos). She has worked as a teacher and is a PhD student at the University of Athens, as well as being a volunteer teacher of Greek for young refugees. She studied Greek Philology, major in Linguistics and she did her masters thesis in teaching Modern Greek as a second or foreign language. While a student she fell in love with Konstantinos, a naval engineering student from National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), who she knew him from her school time years.
In general, Irianna had a pretty normal life for an average 29-year-old Greek young woman. Until last Friday??when she ended up in jail serving thirteen years for possession of illegal firearms with intent to distribute them for criminal activities and for being part of the same terrorist group as her boyfriend had been accused and acquitted."
See the petition: Justice for Irianna (change.org, link)
HUNGARY: Life in the Hungarian transit zones: no proper food, medical care or education (Atlatszo, link):
"An Afghan-Iranian family with three children waited eight months at the Serbian-Hungarian border to be able to apply for refugee status. After the long wait, in April 2017 they were admitted to the so-called transit zone where they were practically locked up behind barbed wire for four months. They told Atlatszo.hu about the inhumane conditions in the transit zone: no food for the father, harassment and doctors visits in handcuffs. Hungarian authorities want to keep the conditions in transit zones a secret, but we were shown cell phone photos that were taken inside."
EU-GEORGIA: 86 Georgian citizens illegally residing in EU return home (Agenda.ge, link):
"Georgia continues to monitor the return operation of the Georgian citizens residing on the territory of the European Union (EU) countries without permission.
This week 86 Georgian citizens have been returned from European countries and specifically from the German city of Düsseldorf and the Greek capital of Athens, the office of Georgias Public Defender says.
The representative of the Department of Prevention and Monitoring of the Public Defenders Office of Georgia attended the return of Georgian citizens from the airports of Düsseldorf Athens.
Border police officers of Germany and Greece handed over the Georgian citizens to the escort of Georgias Ministry of Internal Affairs on board.
As reported, no incident had taken place and no force or special means had been used during the return operation."
EU-MALTA: Over 3 million of EU funds received for ISF projects (Malta Independent, link):
"On 2 September 2017, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela together with Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia addressed a press conference during which three EU co-financed projects under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) 2014-2020 were launched.
The national internal security strategies provide the direction and the prerequisites that Malta needs to address in order to improve its capabilities in managing border control and police cooperation. Minister Abela and Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia underlined that since accession to the EU, Malta is and will continue to observe EU regulations and participate in EU initiatives which foresee the protection and security of its borders. The projects being launched will further strengthen the Ministry's capacity in this sector with particular focus on the issuance of Schengen visas."
EU: Refugees: Council next steps
- finance and train Libyan Coast Guard to end arrivals to Italy
- expedite "return" operations from the EU
- create "reception" centres across Africa
- continue actions under the "dodgy" EU-Turkey Statement
- yet another call for "relocations" within the EU
- redefine "safe third countries"
See: Note on: Migration: state of play and next steps - Exchange of views (LIMITE doc no: 11836-17, pdf).
European Commission reports on Partnership Framework, Relocations, EU-Turkey deal and European Border and Coast Guard
Includes in EU-Turkey deal report: "Additional Hellenic Police officers are needed to better control entry/exit points and for patrolling inside the hotspots. The Greek Reception and Identification Service, in cooperation with EASO, is looking into establishing electronic entry/exit control systems at all hotspots, starting with a pilot project in Moria [Lesvos]."
And: "The Hellenic Police to issue return decisions at the same time as the notification of negative first instance asylum decisions."
British arms sales to repressive regimes soar to £5bn since election (The Observer, link):
"Campaigners claim that government is putting exports to despots ahead of human rights
UK arms manufacturers have exported almost £5bn worth of weapons to countries that are judged to have repressive regimes in the 22 months since the Conservative party won the last election.
The huge rise is largely down to a rise in orders from Saudi Arabia, but many other countries with controversial human rights records including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Venezuela and China have also been major buyers.
The revelation comes before the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair at the Excel centre in east London, one of the largest shows of its kind in the world. Among countries invited to attend by the British government are Egypt, Qatar, Kenya, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia."
GREEK ISLANDS: ARRIVALS: Today (10 September, link)
1st boat (South) 43 people
2nd boat (North) 32 people
3rd boat (South) 63 people
4th boat (South) 64 people
5th bost was pushed back by Turkish Coast Guard.
CHIOS 54 people
LESVOS, GREECE: MOIRA CAMP Report from No Borders KItchen on police raid (20 hours ago, link)
"Early this morning, hundreds of police once again invaded Moria prison camp. Waking the inmates as they lay sleeping in crowded containers, they made sweeping controls and detained many refugees - including those with papers and the legal right to be here.
as a consequence, eleven more people have been arrested and now face deportation. those with papers should eventually be released, back for another restless night of sleep. they do not know when the police will next invade their "home" or harass them in the street, or when their time will finally run out and they will be deported back into the violence and persecution they fled in their home countries.
one clear purpose of these massive and indiscriminate operations is to instill fear and uncertainty into the population of Moria. the last "sweep" of the camp followed political protests, subsequent arrests and violent police abuse of refugees inside Moria and behind closed doors in the police station.
That operation sent the message that dissent would not be tolerated. this new wave of arrests was a further reminder that Fortress Europe is closed, and that those clinging to its brink with their fingertips can be swept away at any moment.
with love and rage always
your NBK crew."
LESVOS GREECE POLICE RAID ON MOIRA: Press report (ekathimerini.com, link)
"More than 350 police officers took part in a pre-dawn operation on Saturday at the Moria camp on the Aegean island of Lesvos to transfer an unspecified number of migrants to the pre-deportation center.
These individuals, who have all received a final rejection of their asylum application, will be returned to Turkey."
Greece: Lesvos: Saturday 9 September: SECOND POLICE RAID TO ARREST REFUGEES: NOW: Giant police operation at Moria's Hotspot to arrest immigrants for deportation (Translation from Lesvos News, link):
"A giant police operation at Hoto Spot in Moria, in order to capture immigrants for whom a rejection, final and irrevocable decision not to issue a political asylum, and a return to Turkey have been in progress since 6:00 am today.
The police drew up a plan and caught the migrants in Moria, because in previous such operations the migrants were uprooted and caused extensive damage.
After the entire encirclement encircled the entire area, HotSpot entered a large police force and police teams with their decisions, tapping the door on the container to proceed with the arrests.
More than 350 police officers are involved in the police operation, while a proactive force in the Hot Spot of Moria is a major force of the Fire Brigade and an ambulance of the EKAB for every eventuality."
It is reported that 14 people have been arrested so far. This follows: From Lesvos Legal Centre on 31 August 2017:
"Yesterday Afghan refugees in Lesvos began a sit-in protest in Sapfous Square in Mitilini. Their statement follows: "Today Afghan refugees are protesting our imprisonment on Lesvos. Many of us have been here for over a year trapped on this island, and we are still waiting for decisions. We join the struggle of protests held on 17 and 18 of July, and demand that the right to freedom of movement be granted for asylum seekers who have been here since 2016. We also join the call of Afghan refugees who protested last week in Athens, and call on Greece to halt all deportations of Aghans. From the recent massacres of unarmed civilians in Mirzaolang in northern Afghanistan, in which children, women, and elderly were ruthlessly killed, to the daily suicide bombings across the country, to the reckless US drone strikes in Nangarhar, Afghan Asylum Seekers in Greece say -- Afghanistan is not a safe country, and all deportation should stop." :
And: FREE THE MORIA 35 (30 July 2017) Lesvos Legal Aid Centre, link)
Greece: Crete: Evictions: Locals furious as US Fund seizes shop in Rethymnon under police protection (Keep Talking Greece, link);
"Riot police squads had rushed as early as possible outside a shop in the old city of Rethymnon, Crete, and blocked the street to prevent locals from approaching. A representative of a US Fund was to install an alarm system at the shop the Fund had seized after buying the owners loan from a Greek bank. A court bailiff was also present in order to count and seize the merchandise and proceed with the eviction one of the many evictions underway in Greece.
However the local community was furious. Businessmen from the Solidarity Association of Rethymnon Debtors (SAOP) but also citizens attempted to break the police chain and prevent that the store was seized.....
US Funds have bought red loans and mortgages from the Greek banks. They target not the loan or mortgage repayment but the seizure of the properties and the debtors eviction."
GREECE: Govt aims to integrate up to 30,000 migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Authorities are preparing measures to integrate between 25,000-30,000 asylum seekers who are not entitled to relocation under the existing European Union program, Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas has said.
Speaking to Ta Nea newspaper over the weekend, Mouzalas said that a three-pronged scheme is under way to integrate newcomers, involving a new registration process and the issuing of tax identification and social security numbers; school enrolment for children; and access to the local labor market.
Asked about Greeces recent decision to take back a small number of asylum seekers in line with the EUs so-called Dublin rules, Mouzalas said that Athens had only accepted returns from countries who helped us by consenting to up to 17,000 relocations and 7,000 [family] reunions.
The minister said that a new agreement is currently in the works because the Dublin system is dead."
New Privacy International report shows that 21 European countries are unlawfully retaining personal data (link):
"Privacy International surveyed 21 EU member states' legislation on data retention and examined their compliance with fundamental human rights standards
0 out of the 21 States examined by PI are currently in compliance with these standards (as interpreted in two landmark judgements by the Court of Justice of the European Union: Tele-2/Watson and Digital Rights Ireland)..."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1-9.9.17)
EU-TURKEY DEAL: Operational implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (pdf):
The total number of returns from Greece to Turkey under the "Bilteral protocol" since 21 March 2016 has been 588 people.
The total number of returns under the "dodgy" Turkey Statement in 2016 was 801
The total number of returns under the "dodgy" Turkey Statement in 2017 is so far 506.
Overall total: 1,895.
The total depoyment of Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and others in Greece is 1,177: The largest number 327 "Border Surveillance Officers and Crew Members assigned to Frontex (including the UK Border Force boat "Valiant" stationed in Mytilni harbour) plus 280 Security Officers - assigned to Frontex and 105 "Escort officers and readmission experts" under Frontex.
See also: Challenge mounted to Court judgment on opposing access to the documents concerning the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016
Libya: Open letter - European governments are feeding the business of suffering (link):
"An open letter from MSF International President Dr Joanne Liu to European government leaders...
What migrants and refugees are living in Libya should shock the collective conscience of Europes citizens and elected leaders.
Blinded by the single-minded goal of keeping people outside of Europe, European funding is helping to stop the boats from departing Libyan waters, but this policy is also feeding a criminal system of abuse.
The detention of migrants and refugees in Libya is rotten to the core. It must be named for what it is: a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion. And European governments have chosen to contain people in this situation. People cannot be sent back to Libya, nor should they be contained there."
MOAS Suspends Mediterranean Rescue Operations (link) :
"The Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) search and rescue NGO has suspended all rescue operations in the Mediterranean citing, among other reasons, concern about the lawfulness of returns to Libya and alluding to the conditions of those returnees held in detention facilities in Libya....
MOAS does not want to become part of a mechanism where there is no guarantee of safe harbor or welcome for those being assisted and rescued at sea. In this context, and on the basis of our humanitarian principles, the decision has been taken to suspend our search and rescue activities in the Central Mediterranean. " [emphasis added]
Statewatch Analysis: A Pyrrhic victory? The ECJ upholds the EU law on relocation of asylum-seekers (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law:
"How should the EU deal with the perceived migrant/refugee crisis? It has done a number of things, but back in September 2015, when the numbers of arrivals were peaking, it did something truly remarkable requiring Member States to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from the frontline states of Italy and Greece, which were bearing most of the burden of new arrivals....
The Court rejected the arguments that the decision was not suitable to obtain its objectives. True, as Commission reports have pointed out, not many asylum-seekers have actually been relocated, but that could not be foreseen at the time and that was implicitly partly the fault of the plaintiff Member States for not implementing the decision in practice. (The Advocate-Generals opinion dismisses this I killed my parents, give me sympathy as a poor orphan line of argument more bluntly)."
The UKs complicity in data-driven drone strikes (LUSH, link):
"Blue skies, a universal symbol of hope for many, mean nothing but fear for those living under the threat of US-ordered drone strikes, which are picking off people on a kill list informed by UK intelligence. Safety only comes when the skies cloud over, meaning the drones cannot fly.
Those overhead drones incite constant fear for innocent civilians in some parts of the world, and some 1,207 people have so far been killed by drones outside of war zones. While the finger on the trigger may belong to the US, some of the intelligence leading to drone strikes is coming from the UK and Europe. Human rights organisation Reprieve is now calling on Theresa May to provide accountability and transparency when it comes to sharing data that could end in the unlawful loss of human life."
UK: Tribunal says EU judges should rule on legality of snooper's charter (Guardian, link):
"Investigatory powers tribunal says need for European court of justice clarification is obvious in surveillance powers case...
In a politically charged judgment on Friday, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) ruled that the European court of justice (ECJ) should decide whether the UKs bulk collection of communications data, tracking personal use of the web, email, texts and calls, was legal."
See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)
UK: Guardian legal chief Gill Phillips on the chilling effect of Law Commission plan to 'criminalise public interest journalism' (Press Gazette, link):
"his week The Guardian published leaked Brexit proposals from the Government which set out strict new plans for a British workers first immigration policy. Here Guardian head of legal services Gill Phillips warns of the chilling effect on journalism of Law Commission proposals to possibly criminalise such leaks...
Recent proposals by the Law Commission to reform the Official Secret Acts are the latest attempt to impose greater state control of information about the operation of government.
If accepted by the Government, they would have a chilling effect on public interest journalism, further criminalising the act of leaking government documents even when in the public interest, and making illegal the role of journalists in reporting on those documents."
European citizens want information on migration not higher walls (The Conservation, link);
"The groups of citizens we spoke with did not see tougher border security measures by the EU as either an effective solution to the challenge of migration, or as reflecting their own views on the issue. Instead, they called for better information, greater dialogue with European citizens, and stronger efforts to manage integration between communities."
EU: European Commission: Security Union: Commission delivers on 2017 security priorities (Press release, pdf):
"The European Commission reported today on actions taken since President Juncker's 2016 State of the Union address to enhance security at the EU external border, improve information exchange between Member States, close down the space in which terrorists operate and prevent radicalisation....[including]
Enhancing security at the external border: Systematic checks against security databases of all travellers, including EU citizens,
crossing the external borders are now in place.
A political agreement has been reached on the EU Entry/Exit System, which will register entry and exit data of non-EU nationals crossing the EU's external borders.
Work is on-going to establish a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to carry out security checks on those travelling visa-free to Europe before they arrive at our borders."
And see: Tenth progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 466-17, pdf)
Where Dreams Come to Die Migrant Path in Europe Ends at Brenner Pass (Spiegel Online, link)
"Migrants who make it across the Mediterranean to Italy dream of continuing on to northern Europe. Most, though, are unable to make it past the Brenner Pass. A visit to Europe's waiting room.
"Whereas the number of migrants arriving in southern Italy has dropped recently, a new border has been established here in the north. In mid-August, the Austrian army sent 70 soldiers to the Brenner Pass, the Alpine border between Italy and Austria, and they use iron rods to poke through freight trains for stowaways. In addition, police are checking passenger trains more thoroughly than ever before. Austria is in the midst of an election campaign, and gone are the days when around 200 Africans, Pakistanis and Afghans heading north were waved through the border each day, while Bolzano residents handed out food and clothing. Today, says one railroad worker, residents are more likely to point out refugees hiding under the seats and say: "Look, mister conductor, there's another one trying to hide."""
Are You Syrious (7.9.17, link)
Feature: Human Cruelty - the cost of current migration management
"Several groups of humanitarian workers and activists are trying to bring awareness to the corruption and dangerous collaboration between European leaders and Libyan officials in encouraging the harming of refugees setting out from Libya.
MSF has been extremely active on Twitter in calling for dissent and bringing awareness to the systematic human rights abuses against refugees in Libya....
Horrifying reports of sexual and all forms of violence against those pushed into the margins of society??at the mercy of smugglers or corrupt officials.
European officials hope to prevent further migration to Europe by blockading refugees in Libya, claiming they are not equipped to deal with this level of migration."
GREECE: GENERAL: REGISTRATIONS (Official) 6.9.17:
"Around 73 people arrived to Crete today, with 100 being transported from Crete to Athens. It is clear that there is continued effort to transport people from the islands to the mainland.
Activists report that Crete not be overlooked in terms of overloaded, under-supported reception centers. There is a serious shortage of services on Crete, no lawyers, not enough volunteers. "
AUSTRIA: URGENT CALL TO PREVENT DEPORTATION IN AUSTRIA
"A refugee from Afghanistan who has been living in Austria since March of 2015 and has since learned German to B1 proficiency and is working in an NGO was taken into custody and is facing deportation! He was picked up in Niedernsill and is being transported to Vienna, where he will face deportation to Afghanistan.
It is recommended that citizens of Austria immediately send this form letter or one like it to this address (in German)...."
"According to activists in Finland, six more individuals of Afghan nationality were deported the night prior. Follow Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Org for more information."
EU intelligence agency not a priority (euobserver, link):
"A European intelligence agency would take too long to set up and distract from the urgent work currently needed to tackle terrorism, said the European Commission....
Calls for an agency reappeared earlier this week when the EU commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said it would have helped prevent the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Belgium, France, Finland, Spain and the UK."
ALARMPHONE: Deterrence no matter what - Europe escalates its War on Migrants (link):"Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 24th July 3rd September...
he EU and member states have sought to establish ever-more violent obstacles, and following the EU-Turkey deal of March 2016, they have focused their energies even more on Libya. The drastic consequences are currently becoming more visible than ever before."
The EU as the Appropriate Locus of Power for Tackling Crises: Interpretation of Article 78(3) TFEU in the case Slovakia and Hungary v Council (http://verfassungsblog.de, link):
"Undoubtedly the CJEUs judgment in Slovakia and Hungary v Council of 6 September 2017 is going to illuminate for some time many a discussion not only on asylum but also on institutional matters in the EU. I will not attempt a comprehensive analysis of the judgment here. My attention was captured by one particular aspect of the CJEUs reasoning, namely the implicit recognition of the EU as the appropriate forum for taking effective action to address the emergency situation in Italy and Greece created by a sudden inflow of third country nationals."
EU-BREXIT: Commission position papers
Guiding principles transmitted to EU27 for the Dialogue on Ireland/Northern Ireland (pdf):
"The present paper does not put forward solutions for the Irish border. The onus to propose solutions which overcome the challenges created on the island of Ireland by the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and its decision to leave the customs union and the internal market remains on the United Kingdom."
Position paper transmitted to EU27 on the Use of Data and Protection of Information Obtained or Processed before the Withdrawal Date (pdf):
"The principles set out in this paper should also apply, mutatis mutandis, to personal data, data or information which was received /processed by the United Kingdom or entities in the United Kingdom after the withdrawal date pursuant to the Withdrawal Agreement."
Fugees The Score (by Jan Piotrowsk) (fourmillionstepsblog, link):
"The military jeep at the entrance is the only overt clue the old factory is not what it seems. You could pass its unassuming walls everyday and remain unaware that hundreds of people live in purgatory within. The guards are to prevent unwanted visitors, and its refugee residents can leave whenever they want of course. However with international borders closed and the world looking at its feet, calling the camp anything but a prison feels like a semantic slight of hand. Among the scrubland pocked with industrial detritus, hope is a fragile thing, as insubstantial and difficult to grasp as the whirling dust clouds that whip across the hard, ocre dirt.
The camp I visited lies just outside Thessaloniki in northern Greece, but this scene is repeated again and again across Europe. Images of sprawling tent cities that populate peoples conceptions of refugees camps do exist: mostly at the entry points to the continent Greek islands, Italy, increasingly Spain. Camps are more often are hidden away though, in warehouses, abandoned factories or stacked containers in remote border villages. Out if sight, out of mind...."
EU seeks new rules on internal border checks (euobserver, link):
"The European Commission is working on revising rules that allow EU states to impose internal border controls and checks throughout the passport-free Schengen area.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (6 September) that a proposal will soon be put forward to reform the so-called Schengen Borders Code.
"Very soon we shall be in a position to present our proposals," he said. One EU commission official noted that a possible option for the reform would be to allow the states to use terrorism, and not migration flows, as a basis for internal controls. "
Court of Justice of the European Union: The Court dismisses the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers (Press release, pdf)
"That mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate.....
Since the decision is a non-legislative act, its adoption was not subject to the requirements relating to the participation of national Parliaments and to the public nature of the deliberations and vote in the Council (as those requirements apply only to legislative acts)."
See: Judgment: full-text (pdf)
And: Hungary and Slovakia defiant after EU court rebuke (euobserver, link):
"Hungary and Slovakia pledged not to change their opposition to taking in asylum seekers after the EU's top court on Wednesday (6 September) dismissed the two countries' complaints over the EU's migration quota scheme.
Slovak prime minister Robert Fico said his country respects the European Court of Justice's (ECJ's) decision to reject their complaints but that it will not change his position.
Stop your blackmail, Croatia PM tells Slovenia as tensions continue (euractiv, link):
"Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic urged fellow EU member Slovenia on Thursday (7 September) to stop its diplomatic blackmail related to a border issue between the two ex-Yugoslav republics and return to dialogue.
Plenkovic raised the issue at a government session after Slovenia indicated this week it could block Zagrebs access to the borderless Schengen area and to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)."
EU: Copyright Directive: six Member States question legality of proposals for automated upload filtering
The European Commission's proposed Copyright Directive has caused controversy since its publication, in particular with its proposals that would introduce the automated filtering of uploads to online content-sharing platforms to try to detect copyright infringements.
A note published today by Statewatch shows that concerns over the proposals raised by academics, civil society organisations, lawyers, MEPs and others are shared by some EU governments. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands have asked the Council's Legal Service whether the proposal is compatible with EU law.
See Note: Written questions fro the authorities of Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands to the Council Legal Service regarding Article 13 and Recital 38 of the proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (pdf)
UK: Young black people nine times more likely to be jailed than young white people report
"Young black people are nine times more likely to be locked up in England and Wales than young white people, according to Ministry of Justice analysis.
The official exploratory study also shows that young black people are more likely to be identified with gang concerns and be considered a risk to others when being sentenced than any other ethnic group."
SPAIN: Outsourcing Border Control to Morocco a Recipe for Abuse (Human Rights Watch, link):
"We had to get up at 4 in the morning to avoid the police. They caught me five or six times. They beat me with their batons. If you fall, they beat you. Each time, they sent me to Tangiers, Casablanca or somewhere else far away.
Eighteen-year-old Emmanuels horrendous experience at the hands of the Moroccan police is a foreseeable consequence of Spains emphasis on deterrence and outsourcing of border control while turning a blind eye to Moroccos abuses against migrants. This model also serves as an unfortunate blueprint for the European Unions current approach to migration and asylum.
In 2015, Spain formalized in its law the longstanding practice of summary returns of would-be asylum seekers to Morocco, a move that breaches EU and international law. Spains close border control cooperation with Morocco, and wider EU investment in effective migration management in that country carries lessons as the EU pursues similar engagement with other countries, including Turkey and Libya. Morocco has taken positive steps but has yet to establish a national asylum system, and many of the abuses documented by Human Rights Watch in 2012 and by others continue."
UK: Sussex Police apologises over Taser error (BBC News, link):
"Police have apologised to a disabled father and son who they shot in error with a Taser after suspecting them of being involved in an attempted robbery.
Darren Sullivan, 49, and his 74-year-old father, John, were shot with a stun gun after being unable to respond to police orders to get down, they say.
The pair, from Bexhill, East Sussex, were released after a four-hour ordeal.
They have lodged a complaint with Sussex Police, whose Professional Standards Department is investigating.
Darren and John Sullivan were both shot with the weapon after their car was stopped in London Road, Bexhill, by armed police responding to reports of an attempted armed robbery at a post office."
EU: Brexit consequences raise doubts over future defense industrial collaboration (Defense News, link):
"Britains planned departure from the European Union could put pressure on missile-maker MBDA and will bar London from EU funds for weapons research and development, raising doubts over defense industrial cooperation with the U.K., according to a report from Ares, a network of European think tanks.
Ares published the report on Britains exit, titled The Impact of Brexit on the European Armament Industry, in the same week that Britain and the European Commission held a third round of high-level talks to negotiate Londons exodus.
The European Commission is due to fund arms research with a launch of the European Defence Research Programme and the demonstration stage of weapons with the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
These two funds could be more problematic for MBDA, the report said. British companies will in principle no longer benefit from Community credits outside the EU."
See: The impact of Brexit on the European armament industry (Ares, pdf)
UK: Families of people who died in police custody failed by system report (The Guardian, link):
"A long-awaited unpublished official report into deaths in police custody says families who have lost loved ones have been failed by the system and recommends far-reaching reforms to the police, justice system and health service, the Guardian has learned.
The report, ordered by Theresa May in 2015 while she was home secretary, is yet to be published, prompting warnings from some groups that the government delay risks damaging public confidence.
The report by Dame Elish Angiolini QC will say there should be a ban on those detained under mental health powers being held in police cells, and being transported in police vehicles, except in exceptional cases. It will also say that holding those believed to be suffering from mental health issues in police cells should be phased out completely."
And see: Four black men die. Did police actions play a part? (The Guardian, link):
"Four deaths, all different, but with sufficient similarities for some to suggest a pattern. Yet the new details form only part of the narrative the testimony of officers involved is not known and the IPCC investigations will take months to conclude. Both the Met and Warwickshire police state that only when the watchdog has established the full facts can any conclusions be made.
Yet the deaths pose awkward questions for the police, fermenting simmering disquiet over longstanding issues of race and criminality. All four families want the truth, then justice."
ITALY: Further on Italian right, a house divided (Politico, link):
"BOLOGNA, Italy Once, the Northern League campaigned for the break-up of Italy. Now, the partys challenge is how to reconcile its separatist roots with the national ambitions of its leader, Matteo Salvini.
The ultimate aim of the Northern League, according to its constitution, is the independence of Padania the partys name for the broad region across northern Italy it argues should constitute an independent state. But you wouldnt know it since Salvini became leader in 2013.
The Northern Leagues bellicose leader has propelled his once marginal party into one of the largest in Italy by hammering on topics like crime, terrorism, immigration, and the ills of the European Union. Regional autonomy once his partys defining issue has almost completely dropped out of his register."
EU rejects Hungary's demand to finance border fence (EUobserver, link):
"The European Commission rejected Hungarian demands to co-finance its fences along the country's shared borders with Serbia and Croatia.
"We are not financing the construction of fences or barriers at the external borders," EU commission spokesperson, Alexander Winterstein, told reporters in Brussels on Friday (1 September).
Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, in a letter addressed to EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, requested the money as a gesture of solidarity given the some 800 million Budapest has spent on the fences. Hungary now wants the EU to pay half.
But Winterstein also took issue with Orban's notion of solidarity, noting Hungary's refusal to take in asylum seekers from Greece and Italy."
GREECE: British assistance and EU funding for new intelligence infrastructure in Greece
"Greek police and the Citizens Protection Ministry are creating a new intelligence service in an attempt to upgrade the countrys data gathering and processing capabilities.
According reports, the division of Information Management and Analysis (DIDAP) will be moved by the end of October from the eighth floor of the Greek police headquarters (GADA) in central Athens, to a new building in the western suburb of Peristeri, in a bid to improve its operational capabilities.
The operational capabilities of the service will more than double, a senior officer told Kathimerini, adding that the GADA building is not equipped to handle the increased demands of new technologies.
Indeed, a high-ranking official at the Citizens Protection Ministry told Kathimerini that, the intelligence services surveillance capabilities are being upgraded with the help of British experts.
In 2016, DIDAP secured the sum of 820,000 euros from the European Internal Security Fund as part of a program to create a "modern operations center and specialized software that will link databases together."
See: Intelligence services to get boost (Ekathimerini, link)
USA: Senate bill would label WikiLeaks non-state hostile intelligence service (The Washington Times, link):
"Congress will formally consider WikiLeaks a non-state hostile intelligence service if lawmakers adopt the annual Intelligence Authorization Act passed 14-1 by a Senate panel last month a provision the bills sole dissenter now cites as his reason for rejecting it.
Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat and the only member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to cast a ballot against the 2018 authorization act during last months vote, said Tuesday his decision was driven by the inclusion of language specifically targeting WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy website responsible for publishing millions of pages worth of U.S. state secrets ranging from military documents and diplomatic cables to internal Democratic Party emails.
The provision was included at the very end of the annual intelligence authorization act passed in committee and quietly introduced in the full Senate on Friday amid summer recess."
EU: A chance to change EU security research policy for the better (EUobserver, link) by Chris Jones:
"By 2020, the European Union will have invested over 3 billion in the European security research programme, which is supposed to develop innovative technologies and solutions that address security gaps and lead to a reduction in the risk from security threats.
In practice, the programme has been dominated by corporations and major national research institutes who seem intent on introducing a surveillance society in the name of public security.
This is a particularly worrying prospect in a Europe where increasingly illiberal governments have used emergency situations to ensure exceptional and temporary powers [are] permanently embedded in ordinary criminal law. "
And see: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex
UK: The sting: private investigators and spying on fracking and trade union activists (The Bristol Cable, link):
"Tabloid phone hacking, trade union blacklisting and the Daniel Morgan murder scandals have shone light on the murky world of private investigation. But whats happening in our own backyard? The Cable set out to discover whats going on locally in this unregulated industry that Theresa May as home secretary promised to regulate as far back as 2013.
As well as secretly recording the public meeting, the PI said they could spy on an individual activist for the fake oil and gas company. Danny explained that a GPS tracker fixed onto an activists private vehicle would provide real-time information on where he is.
The tracker scenario is the best solution for you with this pain in the backside activist that youve got who is causing problems with your business, Danny said. We do about 200 trackers a week Weve got probably 30 jobs on, on any one day."
UK: Detainees 'mocked and abused' at immigration centre (BBC News, link):
"G4S has suspended nine members of staff from an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation.
The programme says it has covert footage recorded at Brook House showing officers "mocking, abusing and assaulting" people being held there.
It says it has seen "widespread self-harm and attempted suicides" in the centre, and that drug use is "rife".
G4S said it is aware of the claims and "immediately" began an investigation."
And see: We are locking up people indefinitely. This inhumane practice needs to end (The Guardian, link) by Paul Blomfield: "We are the only country in Europe to hold migrants in detention centres with no time limit some of them for years. We cant let the government off the hook"
EU: The ongoing march of the EUs security-industrial complex (OpenDemocracy, link):
"A new report tracks the last decade of EU attempts to build a homeland security economy, using advanced technology as the most promising solution to a multitude of threats."
See: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21-31.8.17) including: IOM to support Libyan "rescues" at sea; Italy reportedly pays for anti-migrant militias in Libya
UK: Number of EU citizens detained in UK up by 27%, figures show (The Guardian, link):
"The number of EU citizens detained for suspected immigration offences has risen by 27% in the past year alone, Home Office figures have revealed.
The statistics emerge after the Home Office admitted mistakenly sending out 100 letters to a number of EU nationals living in the UK, telling them that they had to leave the country or face deportation.
The statistics for the first quarter of 2017, released by the immigration minister, Brandon Lewis, after a parliamentary question, show that 3,699 people were held under the Immigration Act in 2015, which rose by 1,000 in 2016 when Britain voted to leave the EU.
The figure is on course to rise again this year, with the number of EU citizens detained up 16% in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the previous quarter last year. "
International Organisation for Migration to help Libyan authorties take migrants back to "hell"
The International Organisation for Migration, which since July 2016 has been the UN's migration agency, has met with authorities in Libya "to discuss an initial workplan and the establishment of a coordination body to facilitate rescues at sea," having already "provided computer literacy classes and lifesaving equipment to Libyan authorities as part of a wider intervention to strengthen the Governments humanitarian capacity."
Bulgaria will Join an Agreement on the Automated Exchange of DNA Data (Novinite, link):
"The agreement will be signed by Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Reports BNT.
The signing of the agreement is an expression of the will of the countries to establish police cooperation in the fight against public security threats related to the prevention, detection and investigation of crimes as enshrined in the Southeast European Convention on Police Cooperation.
The competent authority for implementing the agreement on the Bulgarian side is the Ministry of the Interior."
Unite asks barrister to examine worker blacklisting collusion claims (The Guardian, link):
"Britains biggest trade union has commissioned a barrister to examine allegations that union officials colluded with a covert blacklisting operation financed by major firms to prevent certain workers from being employed.
The move has been ordered by the head of Unite, Len McCluskey, and follows calls by blacklisted workers to set up an independent inquiry into the claims of collusion, which is alleged to have spanned at least 20 years to 2009.
The barrister is to scrutinise documents that were disclosed in a high court lawsuit that led to construction firms apologising and paying compensation amounting to around £75m to 771 blacklisted workers.
Some documents appeared to show that trade union officials had passed information to the blacklisters, including private warnings not to hire specific workers they deemed to be politically awkward. Individual workers were labelled militant or a troublemaker by union officials, according to the files."
Interpol helped Harvard educated professor get tortured in Turkish prison (Stockholm Center for Freedom, link):
"In yet another sign of the abuse of the Interpol system by Turkish government, Harvard-educated Turkish professor was extradited to Turkey to endure torture and ill-treatment in notorious Turkish prison despite he was under the United Nations (UN) protection in Bahrain.
Murat Acar, 46-year-old medical doctor who was working as a professor and consultant at King Hamad Universitys Radiology Department in Bahrain, was whisked away to Turkey on trumped up coup plotting charges filed by Turkish government. Acar who suspected the government may target him sought the UN help and was granted humanitarian protection. However, Bahrain police disregarded his status, raided his house to detain him. He was turned over to Turkey by the Interpol section of Bahrain police."
EU: New report: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex
Market Forces focuses on the development of EU security policies and budgets through the 2007-13 period and their successors, which were launched in 2014 and will run until 2020. These include the ESRP, which funds research to develop new technologies for law enforcement, border control, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection and leans heavily towards technologies and techniques initially deployed or favoured by military forces: drones, data-mining tools, large-scale surveillance systems, biometric recognition and automated behaviour analysis tools. It also explicitly seeks to develop dual-use technologies for both civil and military use.
The report also analyses the Internal Security Fund (ISF), distributed to EU Member States to enhance the powers of law enforcement and border control agencies (including through numerous new surveillance and analysis systems). The aim albeit not yet realised is that EU funds pay for both the development of new technologies and their subsequent purchase at EU or national level, creating a self-fulfilling loop of supply and demand. Despite warnings and public concerns over the direction of the EUs security strategy, the journey towards a world of ubiquitous public-private surveillance and control systems continues, for the time being, largely unabated.
EU: Copyright Directive: new Estonian compromise proposals on controversial press rights and upload filters
The Estonian Presidency of the Council has proposed new compromises on the forthcoming EU Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market, including a number of options for Member States to discuss on the controversial articles 11, on "neighbouring rights for press publishers", and 13 - on mandatory upload filters for online platforms.
See: Presidency compromise proposal regarding Articles 1, 2 and 10 to 16 (11783/17, LIMITE, 30 August 2017, pdf)
USA: Transfer of Military Hardware to Police Could Lead to Abuses (Human Rights Watch, link):
"The United States Department of Defenses program to provide military equipment to police departments curtailed by the Obama administration has been given a second life under President Trump.
Originally created to assist police in the war on drugs of the 1980s, the program was cut back in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Police in Ferguson were widely criticized for using military hardware in heavy-handed efforts to intimidate and disperse protestors days after police fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old African American, Michael Brown.
While the Trump Administration is arguing much of the equipment is entirely defensive in nature, the equipment now being greenlighted includes projectile weapons, such as rifles and other firearms."
See: Militarization Makes Police More Violent (CATO Institute, link): "When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced yesterday the Trump Administrations repeal an Obama-era rule limiting the distribution of certain military equipment (such as tracked vehicles, camouflage uniforms, high-powered rifles, bayonets, and grenade launchers), he dismissed concerns about police militarization as superficial. The evidence suggests otherwise: militarization makes police more violent."
EU: Spycops under the spotlight at European Parliament; campaigner deceived into relationship refuses to pay police legal bill
Police spies targeting campaign groups across Europe are the focus of a European Parliament event on 6th September, where MEPs will hear from activists directly affected by undercover police, along with experts on state surveillance.
Among those speaking is Kate Wilson, deceived into a relationship by undercover officer Mark Kennedy. The unmasking of Kennedy as a spycop in 2010 triggered a spate of revelations about undercover police activity and behaviour, and Kennedy himself is known to have operated in at least a dozen European countries. I have been the subject of systematic surveillance and violations of my intimacy, my right to privacy, and my bodily integrity, for at least the last 18 years by police forces that are cooperating across European borders, Ms Wilson comments.
Study: a small percentage of terror fatalities occur in US and Europe (Muslim Village, link):
"Terrorist attacks have riveted attention in the United States and Europe, but those regions accounted for only a tiny percentage of fatalities from such attacks last year, a new report has found.
The report issued on August 23 from the University of Maryland and based on its Global Terrorism Database found that Western Europe and North America accounted for less than 1 percent of the 34,676 people killed in terror attacks in 2016, while they accounted for less than 2 percent of all attacks.
Countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen suffered the most frequent and deadly attacks, which were concentrated by region in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, the study found.
Attacks by the Islamic State extremist group and its affiliates, while much feared in the West, were heavily concentrated in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and other Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African countries, the report found."
EU: Schengen database logs 70 mn pieces of data in five months (ANSA, link):
"BRUSSELS, AUGUST 24 - The Schengen Information System (SIS), the European Union database that supports border control operations, has collected 70 million pieces of data in just five months, since April when systematic EU external border controls were put into place to combat terrorism and irregular migration, according to figures released by the spokesman for the European Commission.
As a result, alerts have increased "exponentially" for individuals in the system that manages passage between EU borders, not necessarily for terrorism or serious crimes but also for common crimes or other judicial reasons.
In some countries, the number of consultations and instances of using the database for research have quadrupled."
EU: Databases and interoperability: brief report from eu-LISA industry roundtable
"The event was attended by 55 representatives of industry alongside the staff of eu-LISA, EASO, and Frontex, convening to discuss the various concepts of interoperability introduced by the European Commission in 2016, considered by the High Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability for the past year and currently being studied by the Agency and its stakeholders with a view to implementation in the coming years."
See: eu-LISA roundtable: A single search portal and shared BMS for Europe: Moving forward with concrete implementaton (pdf)
UK: Samim Bigzad: UK Government's attempt to deport Afghan asylum seeker fails after pilot refuses to take off (Independent, link):
"The deportation of a young Afghan man refused asylum by the Government has been dramatically stayed after the pilot of the plane he was supposed to be removed on refused to take off.
Samim Bigzads friends and family feared their efforts to prevent him being forced back to Kabul had failed when he was detained and booked on commercial flight to Afghanistan via Istanbul.
The 22-year-olds cousin previously told The Independent he feared he would be killed in the city he fled two years ago after being threatened with beheading by the Taliban.
More than 3,000 people had signed a petition appealing for the deportation to be delayed so Mr Bigzads asylum claim could be reviewed."
UK: How not to support a victim of human trafficking: a demonstration by the Home Office in R (FT) v SSHD (Free Movement, link):
"The Upper Tribunal overturned several decisions concerning the grant of Discretionary Leave to Remain to a victim of human trafficking in FT, R (on the application of) v the Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKUT 331(IAC). The background to the case is that of the Home Office failing to appropriately identify the individual concerned as a victim of human trafficking, and subsequently unlawfully placing him in immigration detention for four years.
...six years later, on 15 August 2013 was he referred to the National Referral Mechanism for the purpose of identifying him as a potential victim of trafficking. Yet this did not stop the Secretary of State making two decisions in 2014 finding that the applicant was not a victim of trafficking, which ended outreach and financcial support that had been provided for him. Even after a later decision in 2014 that the applicant was a victim of trafficking, no further leave was granted to him, his deportation was pursued, and no steps were taken to reinstate his support."
See the judgment: The Queen on the application of FT (Anonymity Direction Made) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (pdf)
Iceland Not to Receive Asylum-Seekers from Georgia (Georgia Today, link):
"Georgias Special and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Denmark and Iceland, Gigi Gigiadze, has stated that Iceland will no longer accept Georgian citizens applications on asylum and will proceed to deport applicants for such.
Icelands decision once again emphasizes the positive environment, political stability and economic development in terms of human rights and security in Georgia, clearly recognized by our partners, Gigiadze said, adding that if Georgians address Iceland regarding asylum, they will be deported and sanctions will be imposed on them in Georgia."
UK: Gross Misconduct Alleged against Avon & Somerset Police Inspector following death of James Herbert in 2010 (INQUEST, link):
"Inspector Justin French of Avon and Somerset Constabulary will face a gross misconduct hearing concerning the death of 25 year old James Herbert. The hearing will take place in public at the Avon and Somerset Police Headquarters. A publicity notice from the Force and details of the venue can be found here.
James Herbert died on 10 June 2010 following his detention by officers under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. He was restrained by officers and members of the public and driven 30 miles in handcuffs and two lots of leg restraints to Yeovil Police Station. He was removed unresponsive from the police van and transferred to a police cell. An ambulance was called and James was transferred to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The inquest into James Herberts death concluded in April 2013 and found serious failings. Full information on the conclusions of the inquest can be found here."
IRELAND: No lawful basis for compulsory public services card, expert says (Irish Times, link):
"There does not appear to be a lawful basis for making it compulsory for people to obtain a Public Services Card (PSC), a data protection expert has said.
Solicitor Simon McGarr said there appeared to be a compulsion being levied on individuals, frequently some of the most vulnerable people in society that was forcing them to get one of the cards, which critics claim represents a national ID card being introduced by stealth.
The Government has insisted the card is not compulsory, lacks many of the characteristics of a national identity card and is designed for the purpose of safely, securely and efficiently providing public services.
However, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty last week said the cards were mandatory to receive payments from her department and that others would also make it mandatory."
EU: Opinion: Europe is paying for African migrant deterrence (Deutsche Welle, link):
"Macron is taking a fast, focused and skillful approach in his implementation of a new European refugee and migration policy. He wants to present himself to the French people as a man of action and this could help boost his poor approval rating. The other guests share his goal of closing the Mediterranean route to migrants and keeping as many people in Africa as possible. European and African leaders want to make clear that before potential migrants embark on a dangerous journey to Europe, they must understand that they have very little chance of obtaining asylum or the right to live in Europe legally.
The European Union is becoming all the more ruthless in this regard and has put aside any concerns about conditions in Libya or the humanitarian situation in North Africa as a whole. Italy does not want to receive any more people who will not be distributed throughout Europe. Spain, on the other hand, does not want to become an alternative route for migrants. German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to prevent the flow of migrants from Italy to Germany via the Alps at all costs. She wants to win re-election in a vote scheduled less than four weeks from now."
Backed by Italy, Libya enlists militias to stop migrants (Washington Post, link):
"Under a deal backed by Italy, Libyas struggling government in Tripoli has paid militias implicated in trafficking to now prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, one reason for a dramatic drop in the traffic, militia and security officials told The Associated Press.
The policy has raised an outcry among some in the Libyan security forces and activists dealing with migrants, who warn that it enriches militias, enabling them to buy more weapons and become more powerful. In the countrys chaos, the militias can at any time go back to trafficking or turn against the government, they say.
The deal further cements the real power of militias, which since the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have undermined Libyas successive governments, including the current one of Fayez Serraj, which is internationally recognized but weak."
See also: Italy accused of bribing Libyan militias to stop migrants reaching Europe (Middle East Eye, link): "Rome refuses to comment on claims that millions of dollars have changed hands, as migrant arrivals in Italy plummet"
EU-POLAND: Merkel backs Brussels in row with Poland over courts (Reuters, link):
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday threw her weight behind the European Commission in its row with Warsaw over freedom of Polands court system.
The previously reticent Merkel, speaking in Berlin, said she took the issue very seriously and would talk about it with Commission President Jean-Claude Junker on Wednesday.
In July, the Commission, the European Unions executive, gave Warsaw a month to address its concerns about ongoing reforms it sees as interfering with an independent judiciary.
Warsaws reply on signalled that the ruling nationalist and eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party had no intention of backing down and even doubted the Commissions right to intervene."
Mauritania: Police experts of the G5 Sahel countries boost cooperation (Medafrica, link):
"During last week gathering, sponsored by the GIZ (German Cooperation Agency), 32 senior police officers from the G5 countries exchanged views on cooperation between police officers at the borders, security of border areas, and cross-border crime. They also discussed compliance with human rights standards in the context of border controls, and the creation of a platform for exchanges on community policing, the official document of the workshop detailed.
According to the organizers, the Nouakchott phase emerged as an approach aimed at identifying operational planning for cooperation actions between the G5 Sahel police forces in order to counter the cross-border crime in the region.
The regional task force, which is expected to consist of around 5,000 troops, is scheduled to be operational by October.
It will need significant financial backing to fund a first-year budget of 423 million.
The five member states have so far contributed a total of 108 million, including the European Unions 50 million contribution announced in June."
GERMANY: Jenetric handed role in 'smart borders' project at Frankfurt Airport (Planet Biometrics, link):
"German biometic firm Jenetric has revealed that its technology will be used at a EU-led "smart borders" project.
The company's fingerprint scanner LIVETOUCH quattro has been used in a pilot project at the Frankfurt Main airport for several months, noted the firm.
For the integration into the border control system, Jenetric cooperated with the German Federal Police and the IT security company secunet Security Networks."
GERMANY: 25 years after Rostock-Lichtenhagen: 'Don't dwell on the past, learn from it' (Deutsche Welle, link):
""It never had to reach that point," says Frau Kosfelder, clutching her shopping bag on the way to the supermarket. "The politicians failed us that summer."
The 77-year-old pensioner was among the German residents of the so-called "Sunflower house" apartment block who witnessed the escalation of right-wing violence between August 22 and 26, 1992
The apartments were subjected to the worst right-wing violence in Germany since the Second World War. Alongside the German residents lived Vietnamese contract workers, who had been hired by former East Germany, as well as refugees at an asylum seeker reception center.
On August 22, 1992, around 2,000 people gathered in from the apartment blocks and began throwing stones. The violence escalated on the second day, however, when hundreds of well-known right-wing extremists traveled from across Germany to support the rioters.
The building was attacked with fire bombs as bystanders looked on, many of them chanting right-wing slogans such as "Germany for the Germans! Foreigners out!""
C-Star : FIDH calls on Mongolia to withdraw its flag of convenience from racist boat (FIDH, link):
"Paris, August 23, 2017 Chartered by European identitarian and xenophobic groups, the C-Star (racist in reverse) and its crew claimed this summer to hinder the efforts of NGOs to rescue Mediterranean boat-people. The boat completed an eventful first mission, still flying a flag of convenience granted by Mongolia. FIDH is sending a letter today to the Mongolian Minister of Transports, asking for the boats deregistration, as the Defend Europe collectives objectives are contrary to both the Mongolian Constitution and international maritime law."
TURKEY-SPAIN: 'I thought I was safe in Europe' (EUobserver, link):
"The arrest of a Turkish dissident has again highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU.
Armed police arrested Dogan Akhanli on Saturday (19 August) morning at his hotel in Granada, Spain, handcuffed him, and drove him for questioning at a regional HQ.
The 60-year old writer was later freed, but is not allowed to leave Spain until judges have decided whether to extradite him to Turkey. "
EU: Well Into the Third Act: The Way Forward on Public Access to EU Documents (European Law Blog, link) by Maarten Hillebrandt:
Review of: Public Access to Documents in the EU, by Leonor Rossi and Patricia Vinagre e Silva, (Oxford/Portland, Hart Publishing, 2017, ISBN 9781509905331); xxxviii + 340pp.; £49.00 hb.
"On 7 February, the EU celebrated a remarkable anniversary. Exactly twenty-five years ago on that day, the Heads of State and Government (HSG) of the European Communitys then twelve Member States took the bold leap forward by signing the Maastricht Treaty. Another leap forward lay tucked away in one of the Treatys accompanying texts, even when the Member States representatives did not realise it at the time of signing. Declaration 17, attached to the Maastricht Treaty, recognised the positive relation between transparency and democracy, and professed an intention to take steps to advance such transparency. Thus began the First Act of a transformative development called Access to Documents."
GERMANY: Interior Ministry shuts down, raids left-wing German Indymedia site (Deutsche Welle, link):
"Germany's Interior Ministry on Friday banned and ordered raids on a portal popular with leftist readers and activists. Possibly the last posts from linksunten.indymedia.org - commemorations of a 1992 far-right mob attack on apartments where foreigners lived in Rostock-Lichtenberg and reports of racist graffiti on a memorial to a young woman killed by neo-Nazis in the United States - went live the previous night.
The site was closed for "sowing hate against different opinions and representatives of the country," saidInterior Minister Thomas de Maizière, adding that the operation of the site was now "a criminal offence."
He said authorities were treating linksunten.indymedia.org as an "association" rather than a news outlet, which would help officials get around constitutional protections on freedom of expression. De Maizière said at least two people constituted an association - the site has up to seven administrators - and the ban would not affect the international award-winning Indymedia network."
UK biometric commissioner slams police for face recognition at carnival (Planet Biometrics, link):
"Paul Wiles, UK Biometrics Commissioner has spoken out over the use of facial recognition rechnology at the Notting Hill Carnival.
In a public statement, Wiles said that while this technology has the potential to be a really useful crime fighting tool, that "we are not there yet".
"It [face recognition] needs to be properly tested and evaluated if it is going to be effective and it will need to be handled carefully by the police and the government if it is going to be trusted by the public"."
Press release: Metropolitan Polices use of Facial Recognition Technology at the Notting Hill Carnival, 2017 (23 August 2017, pdf)
See also: UK govt steams ahead with £5m facial recog system amid furore over innocents' mugshots (The Register, link): "The UK Home Office has put out to tender a £4.6m ($5.9m) contract for facial recognition software despite the fact its biometrics strategy and retention systems remain embroiled in controversy."
And: Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group replaces the National DNA Database Ethics Group (gov.uk, link): "The remit of the BFEG expands beyond that of its predecessor and includes ethical issues associated with all forensic identification techniques including, but not limited to, facial recognition technology and fingerprinting."
UK: No charges for police in Newcastle-under-Lyme Taser death (BBC News, link):
"No charges will be brought against three police officers over the death of a man who had been Tasered.
Adrian McDonald died after his arrest at a flat in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, in 2014.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) asked prosecutors to consider charges against three officers following its investigation.
But the Crown Prosecution Service said there was "insufficient" evidence for a "realistic prosecution"."
Italian PM holds talks on migration after mass protest over Rome eviction (Guardian, link):
"Thousands of Italians have marched through Rome in support of the rights of refugees after clashes between migrants and police exposed rising hostility towards recent arrivals in the country.
Italy is bearing the brunt of the European migration crisis, having seen almost 100,000 people arrive between January and June. Authorities are struggling to cope and efforts to promote integration have become strained.
The prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, is due to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and counterparts from Spain and Germany, as well as leaders from Chad, Niger and Libya, on Monday for talks aimed at cutting illegal migration from Africa to Europe."
See also: Police Clear Migrants From Rome Piazza With Water Cannons (In Homeland Security, link) and: Macron wants asylum claims to start in Africa (EUobserver, link)
GREECE: EU states begin returning refugees to Greece (Keep Talking Greece, link):
"European Union member states like Germany, UK and others to send asylum seekers back to where they first sought refuge, despite the continued economic strife in Greece.
European countries are poised to begin the process of returning refugees to Greece, as migrants seeking reunification with their family members mostly in Germany step up protests in Athens.
In a move decried by human rights groups, EU states will send back asylum seekers who first sought refuge in Greece, despite the nation being enmeshed in its worst economic crisis in modern times.
Germany has made nearly 400 resettlement requests, according to officials in Berlin and sources in Athens leftist-led government. The UK, France, the Netherlands and Norway have also asked that asylum seekers be returned to Greece....
In the last couple of days, more than 1,100 news refugees and migrants arrived on the islands of the Eastern Aegean Sea. Local authorities watch with sudden increase of new arrivals with concern, wondering whether the phenomenon has to do with the improved weather conditions or with President Erdogan letting the EU Turkey deal go burst due to his feud with Germany."
UK-EU-BREXIT: Confidentiality and access to documents Position paper (pdf):
"This paper outlines the United Kingdoms (UK) position on confidentiality and access to documents, relating to information obtained by the UK and the European Union (EU) whilst the UK was a Member State. On the matter of confidentiality and access to documents, the Government will continue to take into full account the interests of all parts of the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as considering the priorities of the governments of Gibraltar, the other Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies....
The UK considers that both parties should agree how access to documents regimes will work after withdrawal. The aim would be for the UK and the EU to have equivalent protections and obligations after withdrawal to those in Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 and the related Union legal acts, in relation to documents received prior to the UKs withdrawal."
Malta 'denies' Defend Europe anti-migrant boat (aljazeera.com,link):
"Aid groups applaud Maltese government, saying snub sends 'a clear message against the politics of hate and extremism'"
Britain will not exclude possible EU oversight of Irish border (euractiv,link):
"Britain will not rule out the possibility of the European Union retaining oversight of customs controls at UK borders after it leaves the bloc,as the country seeks ways to keep unhindered access to EU markets following Brexit."
UK: Peterloo massacre: hundreds attend anniversary memorial in Manchester (Guardian, link)
"Actors Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake spoke in memory of civilians killed and injured by government troops in 1819."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-20.8.17)
UK: Home Office used charity data map to deport rough sleepers - Emails show that deal with Greater London Authority helped it target homeless EU nationals for removal (Observer, link):
"The Home Office secretly acquired sensitive data, showing the nationality of people sleeping rough on the streets, in order to remove them from Britain, the Observer can reveal.
A chain of emails sent by senior Home Office immigration officials show how they used information that was designed to protect rough sleepers to target vulnerable individuals for deportation. The internal correspondence shows the Home Office repeatedly requesting and finally gaining access to a map created by the Greater London Authority (GLA) that identified and categorised rough sleepers by nationality."
Are You Syrious (18.8.17, link):
"The boats affiliated with Defend Europe a far-right xenophobic organization, have drawn quite a bit of attention in the last few months. The group, whose stated mission was to keep boats from reaching Europe, has announced that their mission is coming to a close. Even as they frame their exit as having completed their goals, the truth of the matter is that the mission was a failure from the get-go, and has been marred by controversies and mishaps from the very beginning.
Their boat was detained several times, first in Egypt and later on Cyprus, their fundraising mediums were taken offline, and they became embroiled in a people smuggling controversy...."
Syrian refugees and their children jailed
"After their asylum application was rejected, a Syrian refugee family living on Chios has been detained and jailed pending their deportation to Turkey. The family was arrested around noon on Thursday. With them are their young children, aged 7, 5, and 2-year-old.
To quote the Chios Solidarity group, we are asking for the immediate release of the children and their parents and we call for the intervention of every competent body, local and nationwide, in this and in all the other relevant cases we are afraid we will see in the future, due to the application of the inhuman agreement of the EU with Turkey.
"A total of 1,421 refugees and migrants crossed the islands of the northern Aegean from August 1 until today, Thursday, August 17, morning. Of these, 394 passed to Lesvos, 458 to Chios and 569 to Samos.
It is worth mentioning that, according to Turkish Coast Guard information published on its official website, during the same period, they intervened in 32 incidents and returned to the Turkish coasts 1,265 people heading to the Greek islands."
Libya; Refugee sheds light on collaboration between Libyan coast guard and smugglers
"As AYS reported last week, the loyalties of the Libyan coast guard are questionable, with the country embroiled in a long-standing civil war in which several governments are vying for power. The western-backed Unity government is quite weak and often relies on the help of local militias to maintain any semblance of control. Many in the Libyan coast guard currently being trained by the EU to cap the refugee flow across the Mediterranean are themselves militias who are affiliated with very dark practices, namely keeping rescued refugees in makeshift camps that are simply not suitable for living.
One recent refugee, Ghanim from Sudan, told representatives of SOS Méditerranée that the camp in which he was being held was being administered by a high-ranking official in the military who would decide when departures would take place. If this is true, it speaks to an unimaginable level of corruption and a massive failure on the EUs part. In effect, this constitutes the EU funding people linked to smugglers as part of their project to crack down on smugglers."
UNHCR checking asylum program as influx continues (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As the influx of undocumented migrants into Greece continues unabated, exacerbating the overcrowding problems at reception centers, the United Nations refugee agency has dispatched an official to assess the situation.
The UNHCRs representative to Greece, Philip Leclerc, was on Crete Friday and is expected to stay until Monday to evaluate the progress of a state-backed program to accommodate refugees whose asylum applications have been accepted.
The slow progress in the processing of asylum claims is a key reason for the overcrowding of reception centers, particularly on the islands of the eastern Aegean, which dozens of migrants continue to reach daily on smuggling boats from neighboring Turkey."
Migration trends shifting across Mediterranean region (ekathimerini.com, link)::
"At the height of Europes recent migration crisis, more than 7,000 people landed every day at the Greek islands that face Turkey. Orange life vests covered the beaches of northern Lesvos while multiplying numbers of new arrivals slept in fields and at the islands main port.
That was the fall of 2015.
Now, with international efforts underway to block smugglers and their human cargo on one of the Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe, smugglers are finding alternatives. As a result, Spain is set to overtake Greece this year as a key entry point for migrants, although Italy far and away outpaces the two other countries....."
GREECE: Protest at reception center as migrant influx continues (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As tensions continue to run high at overcrowded reception centers across the country, a group of migrants Thursday staged a sit-in at a state-run camp in Diavata, northern Greece, protesting plans to bring more migrants to the facility.
The situation is worse on the islands of the eastern Aegean, where many reception centers are at twice their capacity as hundreds of migrants and refugees await the outcome of asylum applications or deportation orders while dozens more arrive daily from neighboring Turkey. There are currently more than 14,500 migrants living on camps on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros."
EU: Commission rolls out migration action plan despite heavy criticism (euractiv, link):
"The EU is pressing on with controversial plans to tackle the migration crisis in the face of mounting criticism from NGOs and UN experts. EURACTIV France reports.
After protests from several NGOs, two experts from the UNs Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday (August) added their voices to criticism of the EUs management of the refugee crisis.
The EUs proposed new action plan, including a code of conduct for organisations operating rescue boats, threatens life and breaches international standards by condemning people to face further human rights violations in Libya, said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, and the Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer."
Repoliticization Through Search and Rescue? Humanitarian NGOs and Migration Management in the Central Mediterranean (Taylor & Francis Online, link):
"This article analyses the search and rescue (SAR) activities carried out by three NGOs (MOAS, MSF and Sea-Watch) in the Central Mediterranean, and asks whether and in how far non-governmental SAR contributes to the repoliticization of the EU maritime border.
The article first introduces the concept of depoliticization/repoliticization, as well as that of humanitarianization. Two sections summarize the development of the SAR regime and the governmentalization of international waters in the Strait of Sicily from the Cap Anamur case to 2016, and from late 2016 to recent days. Against this backdrop, the article analyses the different political positions taken by MOAS, MSF and Sea-Watch, their operational activities, as well as their cooperation and relations with the other actors involved in SAR. "
See: Article (pdf)
UK-EU-BREXIT: EU citizens will not need visas to visit UK after Brexit, say sources (Guardian, link)
"Post-Brexit system will allow EU citizens to enter freely, but to work they will need to comply with new immigration restrictions."
Migration: Bulgaria may send troops to Turkey border (DW, link)
"Bulgaria plans to station 600 troops on its border with Turkey to quell any potential flow of migrants. Bulgaria's defense minister said the EU's failure to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean justified the move."
IRELAND: Newton Emerson: Identity cards are coming for us all - UK-Irish identification likely alternative to policing already overwhelmed borders (Irish Times, link):
"he UK governments position paper on Brexit and the Border points to an identity card system, and recalls the intriguing fact that Britain and Ireland considered parallel systems only a decade ago.
The paper, published this week, offers to maintain the Common Travel Area and the rights of British and Irish citizens to live and work in each others countries."
Life in the Hungarian transit zones (Hungarian Spectrum, link)
"The other day I happened upon an opinion piece in Magyar Idok written by Georg Spöttle, one of the many somewhat mysterious national security experts attracted to the Orbán government. He is allegedly a retired German army officer who has permanently settled in Hungary. His background is murky, as one can see from an interview he gave to Magyar Nemzet in 2002."
UK-EU-IRELAND: British government proposals: Northern Ireland and Ireland: Position paper (pdf)
And see: UK Brexit position paper opposes Irish border posts (BBC, link)
UK: Undemocratic, unlawful and discriminatory: civil liberties and race relations groups slam Mets plan for controversial facial recognition technology at Notting Hill Carnival (LIBERTY, link):
"Civil liberties and race relations groups have demanded the Metropolitan Police Service abandon plans to deploy cameras equipped with facial recognition technology at this months Notting Hill Carnival.
The coalition which includes Liberty, Privacy International, StopWatch and Black Lives Matter has written to the Met, warning that scanning the faces of thousands of attendees and capturing their images has no basis in law, could lead to discriminatory policing, and represents a gross violation of carnival-goers privacy.
No law, no oversight
The police intend to monitor crowds at the Notting Hill Carnival using cameras equipped with facial recognition technology.
The biometric software scans the faces of passers-by, creating maps of unique facial characteristics that are as uniquely identifying as fingerprints. The scans will be measured and compared to images on an unknown database, the origin of which has not been disclosed by the Metropolitan Police.":
See: Letter ti the Met (pdf)
Spain lacks capacity to handle migration surge, says UN refugee agency (Guardian, link)
"UNHCR warning comes as Spanish coastguard intercepts nearly 600 people in a day trying to reach country from Morocco."
Migrant rescue NGO accuses the EU of hiding the dirt under the Mediterranean (euractiv, link)
"Speaking about the refugee crisis and the Lybian and Syrian conflicts, Óscar Camps, director of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, accused the EU of hiding the dirt under the carpet of international waters in the Mediterranean sea."
The War on Migrants Continues - NGOs harassed in the Mediterranean (Migreurop,link):
"Since this PR has been written, the situation in the Mediterranean is much more worse:
- Libya established a SAR zone up to 100 miles of its coast, forbidden to foreign vessels, particularly those of the NGOs.
- Facing threats from the Libyan coast-guards, several NGOs (as of Aug. 16, 2017 Médecins sans frontières, Save the Children and Sea Eye) decided to interrupt their SAR missions.
- General Haftar asks the EU for 20 billions , for the «safety» of Libya Southern border, and nearly 1000 migrants have been intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast-guards to be sent back to the hell of the Libyan gaols."
The 10 Best Articles on Refugees and Migration (Open MIgration, link):
"The controversy on the code of conduct for NGOs which has been dubbed the code of mass distraction has kept the publics attention away from the real issue: Libya. From the suspension of rescue missions to the hell of Libyas prison, here are some things we really need to talk about."
EU: The Commission's transparency register strategy is extremely worrying (theparliamentmagazine.eu, link):
"Regardless of who you talk to, everyone agrees: a strong register is important. But when it comes to practice, things start to look a lot bleaker, writes Margarida Silva.....
The Commission's proposal attempts to limit the scope of the register to organisations that perform direct lobbying (i.e. meetings, calls, emails), instead of retaining the current definition that also includes indirect lobbying, such as providing advice on who and how to lobby.
And while the Commission's aim to make the register more manageable is fair enough, this strategy is extremely worrying. Exempting indirect lobbying from the register could create a massive obstacle for proper scrutiny, and might distort what is really happening in Brussels."
UK: West Yorkshire police officers back front-line Taser call (BBC, link):
"More than 90% of West Yorkshire police officers want to see Tasers routinely issued to colleagues on front-line duty, according to a new survey.
The poll, carried out by West Yorkshire Police Federation, found 1,417 of the 1,563 officers asked backed the idea.
A second survey of 5,939 people in the county found 86% supported the proposal."
See also: CPS make decision over criminal charges in Adrian McDonald Taser death inquiry (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, link):
"Three police officers will NOT face criminal charges in connection with the death of a Huddersfield man.
Adrian McDonald, 34, of Dalton, died on December 22, 2014 after he was tasered by officers called to a house in Newcastle-under-Lyme following reports of a burglary. It later emerged he was a guest at a birthday party. "
Controlling the killer robots (ips-journal.eu, link)
"We are in danger of sleepwalking into a situation where the decision to kill is ungoverned by our normal combat laws. We need to keep a human in the loop."
Lesvos, Greece: Eric Kempson report (link):
"On the 14th we had one boat arrived on Samos with 57 people on board,. Yesterday we had one boat arrived on lesvos 37 people on board, also one boat arrived on Samos the morning with 45 people on board. There are reports of a boat Arriving on Zakinthos with 150 people on board."
Migrants still attempting to enter Europe through Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Even as a steady influx of undocumented migrants continues to arrive on Greek islands in the eastern Aegean from neighboring Turkey, in western Greece hundreds have been intercepted while attempting to continue their journeys further into Europe.
In the first seven months of this year, authorities intercepted more than 400 undocumented migrants trying to reach Italy aboard ferries from the Peloponnese and the Ionian island of Zakynthos."
Austria sends 70 soldiers to guard Brenner Pass (ansa, link):
"Austria has deployed 70 soldiers to help police conduct checks at its border with Italy, near the Brenner Pass, territorial military commander Herbert Bauer announced on Wednesday.
"This does not mean," local police chief Helmut Tomac said, "that Panzers will be deployed there as well." Austria has threatened in the past to shut the Brenner Pass if Italy were to give migrants humanitarian visas to travel across Europe, a possibility Rome has aired but since ruled out."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-16.8.17) including: Deportation by EU states of 29 Nigerian, Togolese in leg chains; deaths at French-Swiss-Italian borders
EU-AFRICA: Three EU Countries Deport 29 Nigerians, Togolese in Leg Chains (This Day, link):
"Three European nations Sweden, Norway and Spain in the wee hours of Tuesday deported 29 Nigerians and two Togolese male nationals to the country in dehumanising leg chains.
The flight, which landed at the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos, at 6.45 a.m., was operated by Privilege Style aircraft with registration number EC-IZO.
The passengers onboard the flight included 27 Nigerian males, two females and two Togolese males who were deposited in Nigeria, just as the flight took off at 8.30 a.m. to Ghana from Nigeria."
Swedish opposition proposes paying migrants 30% less (New Europe, link):
"Swedish statistics suggest migrants and asylum seekers are overrepresented in unemployment figures. Government and opposition have proposed controversial solutions to address the challenge at hand.
The Swedish government wants to limit low-skilled migration. The center-right opposition in Sweden is now proposing a 70% pay rate for young people up to 23 and migrants who have arrived over the last five years."
UK: Court of Appeal judgment on joint enterprise and trials of vulnerable defendants (Youth Justice Legal Centre, link):
"Five defendants, in two joined applications to appeal, challenged their convictions for joint enterprise murder. The appeals also raised issues as to how young or vulnerable defendants are dealt with by the court. Whilst the applications to appeal were all dismissed, the court made important comments on the training of practitioners representing children and vulnerable defendants in the criminal courts, and announced that changes will be made to the Pre Trial Preparation Hearing (PTPH) form in order to ensure that the practice directions involving vulnerable defendants are properly considered. The Court also emphasised the need for new counsel taking on appeal to consult fully with the original trial counsel and solicitors, following the McCook guidelines."
Judgment: R v Grant-Murray and Henry; R v McGill, Hewitt and Hewitt  EWCA 1228 (pdf)
ITALY: Change can start from us: Roma women in Italy fight for their rights (OpenDemocracy, link):
"If being Roma in Italy isnt easy, the situation for Roma women is harder still.
Saska Jovanovic is a Roma woman who came to Italy from Kosovo after the war in the former Yugoslavia. She studied electrotechnical engineering and works as a cultural mediator.
Roma women are the most exposed to discrimination and the least represented and visible, she told me.
They are discriminated [against] three times: as women, as Roma and inside our communities in all areas which are relevant for independent and dignified life such as education, healthcare, employment."
FRANCE: Police and protesters clash at planned nuclear waste site (RFI, link):
"Police in north-east France used water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades on Tuesday against demonstrators protesting plans to store nuclear waste at a site in Bure. Protest organisers said over 36 people were injured, six of them seriously.Two police officers were also injured.
Over 300 protesters joined the demonstration - some helmeted and wielding stones, sticks and shields, according to the authorities.
Officials say demonstrators threw stones and at least one Molotov cocktail at police who respoded with water cannon, [tear] gas and stun grenades."
And see: Hulots anti-nuclear credentials called into question as protest turns violent (EurActiv, link)
Jordan Issues New Work Permits to Syrian Refugees (Voice of America, link):
"Jordan on Wednesday became the first Arab country to issue Syrian refugees with a new type of work permit that opens up the growing construction sector, the U.N. labor agency said.
The International Labor Organization said work permits for refugees used to be tied to specific employers, who applied on behalf of workers to fill specific positions. Now, refugees can apply themselves, then take available roles in the industry."
EU: Ongoing deaths at the French-Swiss-Italian borders
"After travelling to Ventimiglia where 12 border deaths were recorded in just a few months, we head back to Como where migrants keep trying to cross the inaccessible border with Switzerland, injuring themselves, or losing their lives on trains, and where both attempts and refoulements have reached substantial numbers."
See: The border crossing deaths in Como (Open Migration, link) by Andrea Quadroni and Michelle Luppi
And: The border crossing deaths in Ventimiglia (link): "Only a few months have passed since the closure of the French border at Ventimiglia, but the decision has already caused 12 fatal accidents. Drowned, run over, fallen, and electrocuted, migrants keep dying in their attempts to cross the border or get lost and hurt themselves in dangerous places. This is the first of three reportages by Michele Luppi and Andrea Quadroni about border deaths and includes an interactive map of the places where they have been killed."
USA: US Justice Department Wants To Know Identities Of 1.3 Million Anti-Trump Web Users (IFLScience!):
"The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has formally requested that the IP addresses of 1.3 million people that visited an anti-Trump protest organizing website, disruptj20.org, be handed over along with their contact information, email addresses and content, and photograph uploads.
DreamHost, a Los Angeles-based web hosting provider, has explained in a blog post that the request came through a few months ago, and that they are challenging the request.
The company explain that this information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitutions First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyones mind.
This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.
The website in question is a left-leaning protest nexus. Its primary mission was to disrupt the inauguration of President Trump back in January via peaceful means."
Spain: Migrants Held in Poor Conditions (Human Rights Watch, link):
"Asylum seekers and other migrants arriving by sea to Spanish shores are held in poor conditions and face obstacles in applying for asylum. They are held for days in dark, dank cells in police stations and almost certainly will then automatically be placed in longer-term immigration detention facilities pending deportation that may never happen.
Dark, cage-like police cells are no place to hold asylum seekers and migrants who reach Spain, said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Spain is violating migrants rights, and there is no evidence it serves as a deterrent to others."
SPAIN: Madrid Offers Alternatives to the Detention of Migrants (Liberties, link):
"The Madrid City Council has drawn up a road map to prevent the deprivation of liberty of migrants in an irregular administrative situation in the Identification and Expulsion Center (CIE) of the city.
The working paper in which the road map is included, entitled "Madrid and Human Rights: The responsibility of cities regarding migrant detention centers," contains the conclusions of a working group in which various institutions and civil society organizations have participated, including Rights International Spain."
IRELAND: UN Committee against Torture to insist on action from Governement (Irish Examiner, link):
"The Government is coming under pressure to ratify a treaty against torture after committing to it 10 years ago.
The issue is expected to be highlighted in a series of recommendations being published today by the United Nation's Committee against Torture.
The treaty allows for protection against ill treatment not only in prisons but care homes, hostels and police stations."
See: Statement following the publication of the concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, on Irelands State Examination (Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission): "The UN concluding observations however reflect crucial gaps in Irelands compliance with the UN Convention against Torture highlighted by the Commissions monitoring, these include: Irelands non-ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT)... International Protection... conditions of detention... access to justice and remedy for historical abuses... gender-based violence... residential care settings..."
And: UN Committee Against Torture: Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Ireland (pdf)
UK: Police camera inaction? Civil liberties group questions forces' £23m body-cam spend (The Register, link):
"Almost three-quarters of police forces have forked out more than £22m on body-worn cameras, but are failing to properly monitor how the videos are used in court, according to a report released today.
Proponents of the technology argue it will improve transparency in frontline policing, stop police and the public from behaving badly and speed up court proceedings by encouraging earlier guilty pleas.
But civil liberties group Big Brother Watch which compiled its report based on Freedom of Information requests to all 45 UK forces said there wasn't enough evidence that it had a positive impact on policing."
See: 71% of police forces use body worn cameras but cannot show when footage is used in court A Big Brother Watch Report (Big Brother Watch, link) and the report: Smile youre on body worn camera: Part II - Police (link to pdf)
Note: there are similarities here the debate over mandatory data retention in the EU, for which authorities have never been able to provide any comprehensive statistics in terms of convictions obtained or assisted through retained data. The European Commission has even argued that "an undue focus on such statistics can be counterproductive to the effectiveness of law enforcement". See: The EU Data Retention Directive: a case study in the legitimacy and effectiveness of EU counter-terrorism policy (pdf)
Italy-EU search and rescue code could increase Mediterranean deaths, UN expert warns (UN Human Rights):
"Through this new code of conduct, Italy and the European Commission are imposing procedures that could reduce the ability of NGOs to carry out life-saving activities. This could lead to more deaths at sea, and the resulting loss of lives, being foreseeable and preventable, would constitute a violation of Italys human rights obligations, the expert [Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard] said.
This code of conduct and the overall action plan suggest that Italy, the European Commission and EU Member States deem the risks and reality of deaths at sea a price worth paying in order to deter migrants and refugees.
The European Commission is also seeking enhanced cooperation with Libya, investing 46 million euro in support of the Libyan border- and coast guards, including their search and rescue operations.
Ms. Callamard warned that, given the situation in Libya, this funding to retrieve refugees and migrants from the Mediterranean and return them to Libya could mean they were subjected to further appalling violence."
UK: House of Commons Library: Protests around Parliament (pdf):
"This briefing paper provides an overview of the current provisions on protests around Parliament, including a background of previous legislation, and controversies and legal cases arising from different provisions over the years."
UK: Find out how to request your personal information (ICO, link):
"You have the right to get a copy of the information that is held about you. This is known as a subject access request.
This right of subject access means that you can make a request under the Data Protection Act to any organisation processing your personal data. The Act calls these organisations data controllers.
You can ask the organisation you think is holding, using or sharing the personal information you want, to supply you with copies of both paper and computer records and related information."
Tabloid hate is damaging our society. The Suns advertisers must help stop it (Guardian, link):
"Trevor Kavanaghs attack on Muslims is the latest in a line of articles that risk legitimising hatred. Companies must stop using our money to fund them."
Are You Syrious (14.8.17, link)
Lybia / Sea: Rescue workers fear many lives will be lost after their missions in the Mediterranean are suspended
"Following a recent announcement by the Libyan authorities, who have decided to expand their search and rescue (SAR) area, thereby restricting access to all foreign vessels, including humanitarian vessels, more rescue boats are being docked quoting safety concerns in the Mediterranean. Only hours after MSF and Sea Eye said they were pulling out of Lybian waters, Save The Children also announced the docking of their ship Vos Hestia.
It has been reported that the Libyan authorities have now increased their SAR zone from 12NM to 70NM from their shoreline, a distance many would argue is international waters...."
114 new arrivals in two boats have been reported on Chios today
"According to long-term volunteers on the island, most tents have been cleared from Souda camp. Around 380 refugees from Souda, as well as the new arrivals, are being directed towards the already packed Vial hotspot that currently hosts at least 1000 people. As authorities are discouraging distribution of food and other necessities to refugees in Vial, volunteers are distributing donations illicitly, outside the camp premises."
69 people, including 15 children and 2 pregnant women, have been dropped off to Zakynthos Island in Greece by smugglers who reportedly told them they had arrived in Italy, according to the local press. They have been transferred to safety, where they were given first aid, food and clothing, while many locals were still fighting wildfires in the area.
75 people (approximately) have arrived on Lesvos today in two boats, while one boat with broken engine and 49 people on board was found by Frontex and ERCI south of Lesvos this morning.
57 refugees, including 20 children, arrived safely on Samos. This day has marked an obvious increase from the average of 91 daily arrivals in Greece, as counted by UNHCR in August."
France: Over thousand refugees sleeping rough in Paris
"The number of refugees sleeping rough on the streets of Paris is well over a thousand, and local volunteers say their living conditions are getting worse every day. Again, many tents can be seen by the road. Paris Refugee Ground Support will now be setting up again to cover the winter and they will be ready to start receiving donations in a week."
What is the current status of migrant rescues in the Mediterranean? (DW, link):
"Thousands of migrants have been embarking on a perilous journey to the Mediterranean - their fate is determined by refugee rescue ships and government policy in Europe. Who are the major players involved?"
The Jungle Goes Underground (Refugees Deeply, link)
"As people trickle back to Calais after the demolition of the Jungle camp, authorities are doing all they can to prevent another camp from forming. In this photo essay, Julien Pitinome meets some of the refugees hiding out in forests and running from authorities."
Merkel: No EU sanctions on migrant quota rebels (euobserver, link):
"Angela Merkel has refused to link refugee-sharing to the EU budget as she embarked on her campaign to secure a fourth term as Germanys leader.
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are blocking the redistribution of refugees via obligatory EU quotas, leaving Greece and Italy to bear the burden of the migration crisis.
Merkel's opponent in the elections, the centre-left SPD partys Martin Schulz, has called for a harder EU line, including cuts in EU funds for the migrant quota rebels.
But Merkel told the Deutschlandfunks and Phoenix radio and TV broadcasters on Monday (14 August) that to pay ransom, that won't work in this context."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.8.17) including: NGO rescue ships suspend work in Libyan waters; migrants must be able to leave Libyan "hell"
EU: Children on the move in Italy and Greece (pdf, emphasis in original):
"REACH, in the framework of a partnership with UNICEF, conducted an assessment on the profiles and experiences of children who arrived in Italy and Greece in 2016 and 2017, why they left home, the risks children encountered on their journey and their life once in Europe.
The assessment found that refugee and migrant children in Italy and Greece come from conflict-ridden countries and areas with poverty; all leave behind a situation where they feel they have no access to their basic rights as a child and do not see any prospects for themselves in the foreseeable future. For many children who have arrived in Italy or Greece, the journey is not yet over, as they aim to join family elsewhere. Others would like to stay in Italy or Greece to continue their education and build a life in the country.
All face challenges in realising their objectives, as access to documentation, including asylum and residence permits, takes longer than they had anticipated and legal pathways are inherently slow. In the meantime, children lose out on education. Often, children do not understand how procedures work and why they need to wait. As a result, children lose their trust in the child reception system and attempt to reach their goals through irregular means, relying on smugglers and putting themselves at risk of abuse and exploitation."
EU: European Parliament briefing: Review of dual-use export controls (pdf):
"Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for the development of weapons of mass-destruction, terrorist acts and human rights violations; these so-called dual-use goods are subject to the European Unions export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation recasts the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal introduces a controversial new human security dimension to export controls, to prevent the abuse of certain cyber-surveillance technologies by regimes with a questionable human rights record. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission issued a joint statement on the review of the dual-use export control system in 2014 and the European Parliament has since adopted several resolutions related to the issue."
And see: Open NGO Letter to EU Member States and Institutions Regarding the Export of Surveillance Equipment (July 2017, pdf)
Do we still need human judges in the age of Artificial Intelligence? (OpenDemocracy, link):
"Technology and the law are converging, and where they meet new questions arise about the relative roles of artificial and human agentsand the ethical issues involved in the shift from one to the other. While legal technology has largely focused on the activities of the bar, it challenges us to think about its application to the bench as well. In particular, could AI replace human judges?"
NORTHERN IRELAND: Torture was the norm in the North, says university lecturer (The Irish Times, link):
"A university lecturer who alleges he suffered waterboarding after he was arrested in Belfast in 1978 has said he believes torture was the norm, rather than the exception in the North in the 1970s.
Dr Féilim Ó hAdhmaill who was then a 20-year-old student at Queens University, Belfast said he believed he was going to die when water was poured over his mouth and nose.
A 1978 statement by Dr Ó hAdhmaill, who was then known as Phelim Hamill, is one of a number of documents uncovered by Derry-based human rights organisation the Pat Finucane Centre which contain allegations of what is now known as waterboarding."
And see: Shocking new evidence could overturn Northern Ireland ruling that became an international blueprint for torture (OpenDemocracy, link)
UK is most corrupt country in the world, says mafia expert Roberto Saviano (Independent, link):
"Britain is the most corrupt country in the world, according to journalist Roberto Saviano, who spent more than a decade exposing the criminal dealings of the Italian Mafia.
Mr Saviano, who wrote the best-selling exposés Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero, made the comments at the Hay Literary Festival. The 36-year-old has been living under police protection since publishing revelations about members of the Camorra, a powerful Neapolitan branch of the mafia, in 2006.
He told an audience at Hay-on-Wye: If I asked you what is the most corrupt place on Earth you might tell me well its Afghanistan, maybe Greece, Nigeria, the South of Italy and I will tell you its the UK.
Its not the bureaucracy, its not the police, its not the politics but what is corrupt is the financial capital. 90 per cent of the owners of capital in London have their headquarters offshore."
RUSSIA: Five years of Russias Foreign Agent law (OpenDemocracy, link):
"Russias Foreign Agent law has made the existence of many NGOs practically impossible. But solidarity is rising among organisations that are working against these restrictions."
The article notes that: "one of the consequences of the Foreign Agent law has been the development of extensive legal practice in defending the rights of NGOs and their representatives. The wave of administrative cases against Foreign Agent NGOs has led to a professionalisation of a new community of legal professionals, who have now specialised in defending NGOs. For instance, in 2016, the Club of Third Sector Lawyers released a report on Development of Civic Activism: Russian NGOs after Foreign Agent legislation, and the Resource Rights Defence Centre also published a report on the legislation. Every new attack on Russian civil society, whether its a campaign against HIV organisations or pressure on independent polling organisations, attracts attention to the countrys third sector, making it visible and creating opportunities to mobilise and coordinate peoples efforts.
To be a Foreign Agent today means that you have certain achievements, youre recognised as a professional and dangerous opponent who needs to be disarmed. Together with the defamatory labels such as fifth column, national traitor, spy, grant eater and enemy of the people, the Foreign Agent label has become a sign of quality, a marker of belonging to a consolidated, professional community that is actively fighting for human rights."
UK: Brexit and migrants' rights: An in-depth look at migrant report (Migrants' Rights Network, link):
"A new report has explored the barriers to migrants integrating into their local areas, including language and community cohesion issues. Here we speak to some local migrants and authority leaders on their views of the report.
Data released by the Migrant Rights Network last week, looks at the views of 136 migrants in Boston, revealing that two-thirds of them would like to see more done to bring communities together.
It includes a number of anonymous comments from migrants in the Boston area and highlights three key areas that could help, including better access to ESOL classes to help students learn English, ending exploitation of migrant workers and building community relationships."
See: Migrants Perspectives on Brexit & UK Immigration Policies (MRN, link):
"The Migrants Perspectives on Brexit and UK Immigration Policies provides an overview of the key findings and recommendations from The Outsider Projects Listening Campaign.
The Outsider Project supports migrants affected by the negative discourse around immigration, and seeks to promote a positive narrative demonstrating the benefits of living in an open society where migration is commonplace. The project has engaged with migrant communities in four locations within the UK Wolverhampton, Oldham, Boston and Barking and Dagenham which were selected based on their majority leave vote in the 2016 EU Referendum and their high non-UK born population."
UK: Nigerian gay rights activist wins UK asylum claim after 13-year battle (The Guardian, link):
"The Home Office has granted refugee status to a prominent Nigerian LGBT activist, ending a 13-year battle over her right to remain in the UK.
Aderonke Apata, 50, says she knew she was gay from the age of 16 and was persecuted in Nigeria. She has been recognised internationally for her human rights work, and recently received Attitude magazines Pride award.
Apate arrived in the UK in 2004 but did not immediately claim asylum on the grounds of her sexuality. Until 2010, lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum seekers were often forcibly removed to their home countries if it was deemed safe for them to live discreetly."
LIBYA: Torture, rape and slavery in Libya: why migrants must be able to leave this hell (Oxfam, link):
"Rape, torture and slave labour are among the horrendous daily realities for people stuck in Libya who are desperately trying to escape war, persecution and poverty in African countries, according to a new report by Oxfam and Italian partners MEDU and Borderline Sicilia.
The report features harrowing testimonies, gathered by Oxfam and its partners, from women and men who arrived in Sicily having made the dangerous crossing from Libya. Some revealed how gangs imprisoned them in underground cells, before calling their families to demand a ransom for their release. A teenager from Senegal told how he was kept in a cell which was full of dead bodies, before managing to escape. Others spoke of being regularly beaten and starved for months on end.
Oxfam and its partners are calling on Italy and other European member states to stop pursuing migration policies that prevent people leaving Libya and the abuse they are suffering."
See: 'You aren't human any more': Migrants expose the harrowing situation in Libya and the impact of European policies (pdf) and: Refugees face kidnap, torture, rape and slavery in Libyan living hell', Oxfam report says (Independent, link)
EU-LIBYA: More NGOs follow MSF in suspending Mediterranean migrant rescues (Reuters, link):
"Two more aid groups have suspended migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, joining Doctors Without Borders, because they felt threatened by the Libyan coastguard.
Save the Children and Germany's Sea Eye said on Sunday their crews could no longer work safely because of the hostile stance of the Libyan authorities. Doctors Without Borders - or Medecins sans Frontieres - cited the same concern when it said on Saturday it would halt Mediterranean operations.
"We leave a deadly gap in the Mediterranean," Sea Eye's founder Michael Busch Heuer warned on Facebook, adding that Libya had issued an "explicit threat" against non-government organisations operating in the area around its coast."
See: Hindrance of humanitarian assistance will create a deadly gap in the Mediterranean Sea (MSF, link): "On 11 August 2017, the Libyan authorities publicly announced the establishment of a search and rescue (SAR) zone and restricted the access to humanitarian vessels into the international waters off the Libyan coasts." And: After MSF, two other NGOs suspend work off Libyan coast citing Libyan ban (Libyan Express, link)
UK: Deportation with Assurances: Flogging a Dead Horse? (one small window, link):
"At the end of 2013, a few months after the deportation of Jordanian terrorism suspect Abu Qatada, then Home Secretary Theresa May commissioned David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation at the time, to review the policy of deportation with assurances, part of the basis of the deportation.
...The review was finally delivered to the Home Office in 2017, shortly before David Anderson QC left the post. It was presented to parliament by current Home Secretary Amber Rudd on 20 July 2017. The delay, explained in the review, allowed Anderson and his co-author Professor Clive Walker QC to take account of some significant recent developments.
Overall, the two authors agree that DWA can play a significant role in counter-terrorism, especially in prominent and otherwise intractable cases which are worth the cost and effort, but it will be delivered effectively and legitimately in international law only if laborious care is taken. The only example they provide that comes close to this, in a policy spanning almost thirteen years, is that of Abu Qatada, the cost and effort of which may be debated. Given the approach of the report, the legal arguments against DWA remain intact. What emerges from their discourse, however, is the impact various aspects of the case law and practices related to the application of DWA have had on the evolution of counter-terrorism policy in general."
See: Deportation with assurances (pdf) by David Anderson Q.C., Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (2011-2017) with Clive Walker Q.C., Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds and: Terms of Reference for the Independent Review of Deportation with Assurances (pdf)
Greece: Europes laboratory. An idea for Europe (pdf) Excellent and timely report:
""Greece: Europe's laboratory. An idea for Europe" written after a field research made by legal operators and lawyers from ASGI (Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione - Association for Juridical Studies on Migration) conducted in march 2017.
The research aims to analyze the juridical effects that the Eu-Turkey deal had on the Greek asylum system after one year from its approval. Through this observation and the contemporary study on the European ongoing reforms of the European asylum system we can say that Greece can be considered as a laboratory for the newest European immigration governmental policies which clearly focuses on stopping the fluxes also despite the respect of fundamental principles of the European rule of law."
SOLIDARITY IS NOT A CRIME
Solidarity must not be considered a law-breaking offence. It is not a crime, but a humanitarian obligation
Barbara Spinelli (MEP - group GUE-NGL)
Marie-Christine Vergiat (MEP - group GUE-NGL)
Pascal Durand (MEP - group Greens/European Free Alliance)
Ana Gomes (MEP - S & D)
Brussels, August 11, 2017
The recent proliferation of prosecutions in Italy and France towards people who showed solidarity with the refugees is a disturbing attempt to create division among NGOs active in Search and Rescue operations, and to isolate common European citizens who are concerned with the safety of the forced exiles who embarked in perilous journeys from Eritrea, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and many other distressed countries. For years, they risk death on land and sea on a daily basis in a sort of Darwinian selection and the European Union, where only a part of them arrive, is closing more and more its doors and externalizing its asylum policies.
The vast majority of migrants and refugees (80%) find shelter in developing, mostly African countries. The extraordinary activity of NGOs in the Mediterranean is due to the absence of proactive public Search and Rescue operations carried out by the Union and its Member States, since the end of "Mare Nostrum"".
Hafter says southern migrant border closure will cost $20 billion (Libya Herald, link):
"To block Libyas southern border and so stem the flow of migrants would cost some $20 billion over the next 20 to 25 years, armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter has said.
I have the elements, but I lack the resources, he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Hafter said the migrant problem cannot be solved on the Libyan coast, adding that if Libya stops the flow of migrants to Europe then Libya has to keep them. That, he said, is not possible. He thinks shoring up the 4,000 kilometre-long southern border is the best way to block the flow of sub-Saharan migrants.
He said wants to establish mobile camps spanning the southern border, each a maximum of 100 kilometres apart and each manned by 150 border guards....
Hafter said he is preparing a list for him. It will include an array of military assistance from training border guards to weapons and ammunitions, armoured vehicles, drones, mine detectors, night vision binoculars and helicopters."
UK-EU: Britain falling behind on counter-terrorism as EU links loosened - Former MEP joins appeal to prime minister to drop opposition to European court of justice (The Observer, link):
"the governments ambiguity on how it intends to fit into Europes rapidly evolving security architecture has left officials wondering what, if any, cooperation will be possible in the future prompting them to raise the possibility that the UK might end up on the outside of Europes counter terrorism apparatus.
An influential Conservative security policymaker, who created an EU counter-terror plan to collect personal data on passengers travelling to and from Europe, has also raised concerns that Britain will not be granted access to critical data unless it accepts a role for the European court of justice."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-12.8.17)
Demonstration: Info Links on Refugees Protest Against Dublin Deportation 19.08. - Support needed! Who is coming to Munich? (The Voice, link)
Priest who saves migrants lives when he calls Malta RCC is hauled to Trapani court (Malta Today, link)
"Eritrean humanitarian Fr Moussa Zerai is being charged with aiding illegal immigration by a Sicilian prosecutor targeting a migrant rescue NGO."
Afghan asylum seekers in Sweden attacked by right-wing extremists (Daily Sabah, link):
"A number of refugees demonstrating against Sweden's deportation policy were reportedly racially attacked by right wing extremist network Nordisk ungdom (Nordic Youth). Stockholm Police reported that young asylum seekers attending at a sit-down protest had flammable items thrown at them, and three of them were slightly injured. Police stated that they tightened up security after the violent attack."
Refugee rescue ship sails to aid of anti-migrant activists stranded in Med (Guardian, link):
"German NGO says its rescue vessel is sailing to help a group of far-right activists after their ship got into trouble off the coast of Libya...
Michael Busch Heuer, the founder of the Regensburg-based aid organisation, which operates two rescue vessels active in the Mediterranean since early 2016, said it was the duty of anyone at sea to help those in distress, irrespective of their origin, colour, religion or beliefs.
And see: Migrant rescue ship rushes to aid anti-migrant boat in the Med (France 24, link): "
"The Sea-Eye charity's founder Michael Buschheuer said the Italian coastguard had asked his ship to set course for the C-Star, but that the Nazi boat had refused assistance. "We had radio contact. They said they don't need or want our help," Buschheuer told Reuters news agency."
Greece: Hellenic Police: Returns statement
Based on the bilateral Readmission Protocol between Greece and Turkey in 2016: 1183 - in 2017: 14, a total of 1,197 foreign nationals, third country nationals
Based on the EU Readmission Agreement - Turkey, in 2016: 54 -2017: 11, a total of 65 Turkish nationals
On the basis of the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration, in 2016: 801 -2017: 504, a total of 1,305 foreign nationals of different nationalities (of whom 202 from Syria)
In addition, 1494 foreign nationals from third countries who had entered our country by sea from Turkey were returned to their countries of origin voluntarily via the International Organization of Military and Migration, since the implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration." [emphasis added]
EU: Council of the European Union: Letter from SIS II Supervision Coordinating Group Chair to Council Presidency concerning SIS II legislative proposals (pdf) The Letter "underline the following most crucial issues" also raised by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). And it emphasises the need to:
"prepare a prior analysis of the necessity of the introduction of new biometric (facial images, palmprints and DNA profiles) which should clearly explain that the purpose of the system cannot be achieved in a less intrusive way. Additionally palmprints have been introduced for the first time ever in an EU large scale IT system... [and give] an explanation of the necessity and proportionality of the use of such data is even more urgent."
To "better define the access rights and rules" for the European Border Guard Agency teams "involved in return-related tasks" plus the necessity to extend the retention period alerts from "three to five years.".
See also: Commission proposals: 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, amending...(COM 881-16, pdf) and Regulation on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third country nationals (COM 881-16, pdf)
Surveillance & Society: Latest issue (link):
"This is our first ever special "Responsive Issue," conceived of as something extra to our usual process of publication. We asked for shorter articles, written in a more punchy and accessible style, to cover specific countries which are moving in an authoritarian direction, and/or transnational issues that relate to the nexus of surveillance and authoritarianism."
See: The Global Turn to Authoritarianism and After (link)
UK: Sex worker robbed at knifepoint faces deportation after contacting police (Politics, link):
"Sex workers have warned that they are unable to go to the police for help, after a victim of crime was threatened with deportation. The Brazilian woman, who was in the UK on a visitors visa, was robbed at knifepoint by five men at a premises in Enfield in the early hours of June 24th.
When the victim called the police, she said their focus seemed to be more on her activities as a sex worker than the attack itself."
UK: On the lethal restraint of young black Londoner, Rashan Charles (OpenDemocracy, link):
"The police claimed that an officer intervened to prevent a young man from harming himself. Video evidence suggests a different story."
USA: Torture Case Heads to Trial Over CIA Interrogation Methods (Bloomberg, link):
"Two U.S. psychologists who helped design an overseas CIA interrogation program failed to persuade a judge to derail a trial over claims theyre responsible for the alleged torture of three terrorism suspects.
The case is over abuses in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks at secret black-site facilities that operated under President George W. Bush. The lawsuit followed the 2014 release of a congressional report on Central Intelligence Agency interrogation techniques that for the first time published the names of the three prisoners and described what they had been through."
UK-IRELAND: Brexit reaches 'silly season', but no one is laughing (The Detail, link):
"Despite speculation of a high tech solution, it seems inevitable that a hardening of the border will mean a hardening of the border.
The city of Derry/Londonderry is among the locations that today straddle the existing invisible Irish border, as was captured in a recent BBC project here.
Any attempt to run a hard border through the lives of those individuals, families and industries will cause major disruption."
UK: Post-Brexit sanctions law will hit terror group finances (Sky News, link):
"New laws giving the UK beefed up powers to impose its own sanctions against terror groups after Brexit are to be introduced by the Government.
Although modelled on existing EU sanctions, the new Sanctions Bill will make it easier to cut off funding, freeze assets and block access to bank accounts.
At present, the Government must "reasonably believe" a person is or has been involved in terrorism and that freezing their assets is necessary to protect the public.
But under the new plans, ministers would only need to have "reasonable grounds" to suspect a person or group is or has been involved in terrorism and that sanctions are an "appropriate action"."
Ex-MI5 chief warns against crackdown on encrypted messaging apps (The Guardian, link):
"A former head of MI5 has spoken out against curtailing use of encryption in messaging apps despite warning that Islamist terrorism will remain a threat for up to another 30 years.
Jonathan Evans said the terrorist threat to Britain was a generational problem, and suggested the Westminster Bridge attack in March may have had an energising effect on extremists.
But Lord Evans, who retired from the security service in 2013, told BBC Radio 4s Today programme that he would not support a clampdown on use of encryption."
Ex Greek Minister Sentenced for Money Laundering in Siemens Scandal (OCCRP, link):
"Greeces former transport Minister was found guilty on Friday of money laundering involving contracts between Siemens Greek unit and then state-controlled telecoms firm OTE, Reuters reported.
Tassos Mantelis, 72, who served as the transport minister from 1996-2000, concealed 450,000 deutsche mark (about US$ 270,000) he received from Siemens via a third party for approving a contract with OTE, according to a court in Athens.
Mantelis was handed an eight year suspended sentence and fined 50,000 (US$ 58,670), AFP reported."
And see: The Super-Panopticon Scandal of Áthens 2004 Olympics and its Legacy
EU-ISRAEL: MEPs question Israeli institution's involvement in EU-funded interrogation enhancement project
"The Israeli Ministry of Public Security (IMPS) has been participating in the LAW-TRAIN project since 2015. The project aims to enhance police interrogation techniques and receives over EUR 5 million of EU funding under the Horizon 2020 framework programme.
Israel does not expressly prohibit torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment. In fact, the use of torture by Israeli interrogators has been extensively documented in the international and Israeli press, and has been confirmed by international investigators and Israeli interrogators themselves. In June 2016, the UN Committee against Torture denounced Israels use of torture and illegal, abusive techniques during interrogations by police and prison staff.
In the light of the significant resources involved and Israels proven track record of human rights law violations, can the Commission answer the following questions:
1. Did the technical review of the LAW-TRAIN project include an evaluation of the project in the light of the provisions of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (Financial Regulation)?
2. Given that Israels human rights breaches constitute grave professional misconduct within the meaning of the Financial Regulation, how can the IMPS, which through its control of Israeli prisons and police is complicit in these serious human rights violations, be regarded as a suitable participant in Horizon 2020 programmes?"
See: parliamentary question: LAW-TRAIN, Horizon 2020 funding and human rights abuses in Israel (European Parliament, link) and: Prominent Legal Experts Confirm Israels Record of Torture Makes EU-Funding of LAW TRAIN Illegal (ECCRP, link)
See also: LAW-TRAIN: Mixed-reality environment for training teams in joint investigative interrogation-Intelligent interrogation training simulator (CORDIS, link)
Berlin starts controversial test of facial recognition cameras at train station (The Local, link):
"A Berlin train station on Tuesday became the first to test out software that will automatically recognize faces in an effort to fight terrorism. But not everyone sees the project as positive.
Berlins Südkreuz station on Tuesday started the pilot project on behalf of the federal government to use surveillance cameras to test the softwares ability to recognize the faces of passersby. Around 300 people voluntarily registered to be part of the test for six months.
Their names and faces were saved into a database so that when they are picked up by the cameras, computers will compare them back to the database as they come and go through the station. Three different facial recognition systems will be tested out through the project, according to the Interior Ministry."
Hungary is unique after all: Pew research on terrorism and refugees (Hungarian Spectrum, link):
"A couple of days ago the Pew Research Center published a survey taken between February 16 and May 8 in 38 countries, asking about the respondents sense of threats to national security. People were supposed to rank eight things they consider to be truly threatening as far as their well-being is concerned. Heading the list were Islamic militant group known as ISIS (62%) and global climate change (61%). Cyber attacks (51%), condition of the global economy (51%), large number of refugees (39%), U.S. power and influence (35%), Russias power and influence (31%), and Chinas power and influence (31%) followed in that order.
The 38 countries surveyed are widely scattered, and naturally their concerns vary according to their particular geographic and cultural settings. For example, South American countries found global climate change a greater problem than ISIS. In European countries the large number of refugees was obviously a greater concern than, lets say, in Vietnam or Chile. But in all countries, including European ones, the fear of terrorism was greater than alarm over the refugees. There was one exception, not just among European countries but on all four continents: Hungary. Hungarians dread refugees (66%) more than they worry about terrorism (64%)."
UK: 6 September, London: Paper Launch Big Data and Policing: An Assessment of Law Enforcement Requirements, Expectations and Priorities (RUSI, link):
"The paper explores the potential applications of big data technology to UK policing.
In recent years, big data technology has revolutionised many domains, including the retail, healthcare and transportation sectors. However, the use of big data for policing has so far been limited, particularly in the UK. This is despite the police collecting a vast amount of digital data on a daily basis. As sophisticated technologies become available at increasingly low cost, effective use of big data will become a top priority for the police and other law enforcement agencies.
There is currently a lack of research exploring the potential uses of big data technology for UK policing. The purpose of this paper is to identify specific ways in which big data analytics could enable UK police forces to make better use of the data they collect, allowing officers to act more efficiently and effectively. "
UK: Migrants and Housing (parliament.uk, link):
"Migration is often cited in public debate as a significant factor in the demand for UK housing. This POSTnote provides an overview of available research on migrants and housing. It examines definitions and data sources on migration and its implications. It also outlines the possible impact of migrants on housing, including variation by tenure type, migrant characteristics and region. Finally, it considers the impact of housing on migrants and local communities."
See: POSTNote 560: Migrants and Housing (pdf)
UK: Police officers interviewed under criminal caution over Taser death of Dalian Atkinson (Birmingham Mail, link):
"A police watchdogs investigation into the death of former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson has seen three police officers interviewed under criminal caution.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed its probe into the death of the retired footballer, who was tasered by officers from West Mercia Police last year, is now nearing completion.
But the IPCC said the criminal investigation does not necessarily mean criminal charges will follow.
The 48-year-old was shot by a police Taser outside his fathers house in Meadow Close, Telford, on August 15 last year. He died around 90 minutes later.
Three West Mercia Police officers were served with gross misconduct notices and IPCC investigators say they have spoken to around 15 other police officers as witnesses."
USA: These Are the Technology Firms Lining Up to Build Trumps Extreme Vetting Program (The Intercept, link):
"Back when he was a presidential candidate, in August 2016, Donald Trump promised his followers and the world that he would screen would-be immigrants using extreme vetting, a policy that has remained as ambiguous as it is threatening (his haphazard and arbitrary Muslim ban was the apparent result of that pledge). Today, Homeland Security documents show the American private sector is eager to help build an advanced computer system to make Trumps extreme vetting a reality."
USA: How Peter Thiel's Secretive Data Company Pushed Into Policing (Wired, link):
"Law enforcement accounts for just a small part of Palantirs business, which mostly consists of military clients, intelligence outfits like the CIA or Homeland Security, and large financial institutions. In police departments, Palantirs tools are now being used to flag traffic scofflaws, parole violators, and other everyday infractions. But the police departments that deploy Palantir are also dependent upon it for some of their most sensitive work. Palantirs software can ingest and sift through millions of digital records across multiple jurisdictions, spotting links and sharing data to make or break cases.
The scale of Palantirs implementation, the type, quantity and persistence of the data it processes, and the unprecedented access that many thousands of people have to that data all raise significant concerns about privacy, equity, racial justice, and civil rights. But until now, we havent known very much about how the system works, who is using it, and what their problems are. And neither Palantir nor many of the police departments that use it are willing to talk about it."
We can stop hacking and trolls, but it would ruin the internet (New Scientist, link):
"CYBERTERRORISM fears are through the roof. Ransomware is wreaking havoc on corporations, hospitals and individuals. Printers can be hacked to take down the worlds largest websites. Put simply, the internet is a mess.
Youre probably familiar with all this hand-wringing. What you might not know is that a solution has been around for decades, and in principle we could apply it tomorrow. Do so, and in one fell swoop we could get rid of ransomware, DDOS attacks and possibly nation state cyberattacks. You might even get rid of trolls.
Even now, this next-generation internet plan is being talked up in the obscure back rooms of internet governance. It is touted as a way of guarding against the potential apocalypse of putting your fridge, your toaster and a billion other gadgets online. Theres just one tiny problem: if its adopted globally, the new regime might just destroy the online world as we know it."
Oligarchs and government control: Pressure on media mounts in V4 countries as the EU watches (Atlatszo, link):
"Pressuring journalists not to speak ill of those in power has become commonplace in the Visegrad countries. While the governments take over or sue newspapers and TV stations, the opposition is reluctant to discuss the issue on the international stage and the EU lacks tools to intervene."
Cleveland Police illegal phone records grab: Officers given £3,000 compensation but journalists get nothing (Press Gazette, link):
"Two former police officers have been awarded £3,000 each in compensation after their phone records were illegally grabbed by Cleveland Police to find the source of leaks to journalists.
But two journalists whose records were also viewed have been given nothing."
Beachgoers watch migrant boat land on Spanish shore (Guardian, link):
"Group of as many as 20 people flee into countryside in Zahara de los Atunes after crossing Strait of Gibraltar."
Migrants: Church leaders criticize Italy for tightening its grip on NGOs (CRUX, link):
"Church leaders have spoken up in defense of NGOs operating search and rescue missions for migrants in the Mediterranean, calling for the creation of safe channels for refugees who wish to come to Italy and criticizing some of the provisions within the 'code of conduct' that the state asked NGOs to sign in order to continue their work at sea."
European Parliament: Mapping the Representation of Women and Men in Legal Professions Across the EU (pdf):
"Upon request by the Committee on Legal Affairs, this study analysis is mapping across all 28 EU Member States the representation of women and men in legal professions. The aim of this study is to identify areas where women or men are currently underrepresented and to analyse the underlying reasons and constraints."
Europe records biggest rise in slavery due to vulnerable migrants (ekathimerini.com, link)
"The European Union recorded the largest increase in slavery of any world region in 2017, with the arrival of more than 100,000 migrants, many of them extremely vulnerable to exploitation, analysts said on Thursday.
The risk of slave labor in farming, construction and other sectors rose across the region, with 20 of the EU's 28 member states scoring worse than in 2016 in an annual global slavery index by British analytics company Verisk Maplecroft."
Member states ask for new EU data retention rules (euractiv, link):
"Several EU member states want to include new rules allowing for data retention in a draft privacy bill.
Diplomats from EU countries have been asked to determine whether they want new data retention rules ahead of a meeting to discuss the draft ePrivacy legislation in September.
Estonia, which is leading countries discussions on EU laws until the end of this year, asked national delegations after a meeting in July whether they want to add new rules to the draft bill as a way to require telecoms companies to store consumers personal data for a set amount of time, according to a draft memo that was leaked by the NGO Statewatch."
UK-EU: Judge calls for clarity on status of ECJ rulings in UK after Brexit (Guardian, link)
"Government must specify whether it wants European court of justice rulings to be taken into account, Lord Neuberger says"
A government spokespperson said: However, we want to provide maximum certainty so the repeal bill will ensure that for future cases, UK courts continue to interpret EU-derived law using the court of justice of the European Unions case law, as it exists on the day we leave the EU.
EU needs a lasting solution to the refugee crisis (euobserver, link):
"Heads of state and government met on an almost monthly basis to discuss the issue. However, as soon as the stories began disappearing from the front pages so did the political will to do something.
Despite the receding media coverage, the issue has not gone way.
While the numbers arriving in Greece have declined since the middle of 2015, the numbers arriving across the Mediterranean to Italy have increased markedly in the last two to three years.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants that have been rescued by the Italian navy and are now waiting in reception centres or being housed by local authorities, many of which are stretched to their limits. Despite warnings from the Italian government, most EU member state continue to ignore the situation. "
Germany to restart sending migrants back to Greece (euobserver link):
"Germany is to send back asylum seekers to Greece, ending a five-year suspension of the EUs asylum rules on transfers because of poor reception conditions.
Greek migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas, speaking to the German public television channel ARD, in a program due to air on Tuesday (8 August), has confirmed that Greek authorities received 392 requests.
Mouzalas said Athens approved the return of a "small number" of asylum seekers from Germany and other EU countries. The move would end a five-year suspension of the so-called Dublin regulations, the EUs asylum rules.
The transfers to Greece will only affect asylum seekers who arrived in Germany and other EU countries from mid-March this year, in line with a recommendation issued by the European Commission last December."
UK: Ditchley Foundation: Drones, remote weapons and other robots: the military, commercial, legal and ethical implications (link):
"The United States and the UK and other rule of law nations need to do more to explain in public the ethical and legal basis for the use of targeted killings, including by drone strikes. It should be possible to arrive at a series of principles that would be permissive but also restrictive enough to have meaning.
French activist farmer who aided refugees given suspended jail sentence (Daily Sabah, link):
"A French activist farmer, who helped around 60 African refugees cross the French-Italian border in 2016, received a four-month suspended jail sentence Tuesday.
The Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence convicted Cedric Herrou, 37, of assisting the entrance of illegal migrants and housing them, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
The public prosecutor requested an eight-month suspended jail sentence during a hearing on June 19. Herrou was fined 3,000 ($3,200) last February by the Criminal Court of Nice.
University researcher Pierre-Alain Mannoni was acquitted of similar charges by the same court on January."
GREECE: July migrant repatriations bring yearly total over 11,000 (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Greek authorities oversaw the voluntary return of 1,645 people to their homelands in July, according to data published Monday. The repatriations were made via a voluntary scheme run by the International Organization for Migration, as well as through returns carried out by the Greek police.
Just over half of the migrants (872) were returned to Albania. This was followed by 297 returns to Pakistan and 98 to Algeria. A total of 11,083 migrants have been repatriated via these methods since the start of the year."
Statewatch comment: For years the highest number of returns have been from Greece to Albania. And see: Ministry refugee arrivals 18.7.17 (pdf):Just 487 returns to Turkey.
Greece:Ministry: Arrivals (8.8.17, link) A total of 247 in past 24 hours: 128 on Chious, 117 on Samos and 2 on other islands.
UNHCR: 117,907 arrivals in the EU in 2017: 96,758 in Italy, 11,919 in Greece, 8,710 in Spain. 2,398 dead/missing (7.8.17)
EU:Council of the European Union: Military-Law Enforcement Agencies cooperation & INTCEN: Threat assessment
Strengthening military, law enforcement and judicial information exchange in counter-terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 10880-17, pdf):
"This note focuses on measures that could be put in place quickly to improve access to battlefield information of European law enforcement, judicial and border authorities, in particular in view of investigation and prosecution of FTF returnees from Syria, Iraq and Libya and border checks."
And see: 10880-ADD-1-17) (pdf)
Update on the conclusions, recommendations and way forward on the INTCEN and Europol threat assessments mechanism (LIMITE doc no: 6699-REV-2-17, pdf):
"In line with the agreed way forward, INTCEN and Europol first presented their findings at the TWP meeting of 18 January 2017. These latest reportings indicate that the overall picture has not changed significantly, especially due to the short time span from the two previousreports, issued in September 2016."
Are You Syrious (7.7.17, link)
A rise in arrivals to Greece
"A growing number of people have been landing to the Greek shores recently. Over the weekend, 228 people were officially registered on the Greek Aegean islands that have seen the arrival of more than 430 people in the first week of August alone. The number of newly arrived people has been growing on Samos, especially in the previous weeks, and in the past month more than 210 registrations were marked there. Only today, 60 people arrived on a boat to Samos, including 27 children on board that vessel. A number of 128 people were registered by the local organizations arriving on Chios island today: 74 people in total on the first vessel (33 men,15 women and 26 children) and 54 people on the second vessel (30 men, 13 women and 11 children). The people came from Etiopia, Libanon, Iran, Iraq and Syria."
"Media report that the Turkish Land Forces intercepted 975 people who tried to cross into Turkey on Monday. The Turkish Armed Forces said in a statement that 926 people from Syria, 28 from Bulgaria, 18 from Greece and three people from Iraq, as well as 50 people trying to enter Syria from Turkish land, were captured.
"Samos Volunteers are looking for help - they need more volunteers, especially those willing to join them in September and october. If you are thinking about volunteering in Greece, consider aiding Samos volunteers by joing the team for at least a month or longer, if you can. Contact the group for more info."
Migrant crisis: Spain arrivals triple compared with 2016 (BBC News, link):
"Three times as many migrants have arrived in Spain so far this year compared to the same period in 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.
It means the number of sea arrivals in Spain - at 8,385 - could overtake Greece, which has had 11,713 people.
The shift may be because migrants are finding the Spanish route safer.
Earlier this week, footage showed migrants arriving by dinghy on a beach in Cádiz to the surprise of beachgoers.
The IOM say 11,849 people have arrived in Spain so far this year, compared with 13,246 in all of last year."
And see: Entry of Migrants to Spain Frustrated (Prensa Latina, link):
"According to journalistic sources, the rapid police performance of both countries prevented nearly thousand sub-Saharan migrants from penetrating the neighboring fence six meters high, which separates the metropolis of the Moroccan territory.
The agents of Rabat managed to contain most of the African citizens, while approximately 300 that managed to come up to the wire fence, were repelled by members of the Civil Guard of the European country."
Note: the Spanish government has closed one of the border crossings in Ceuta (that which is used for crossings by traders and businesses) so that more officers can be deployed in surveillance of the border.
Hungary rights chief denounces data grab bill (euractiv, link):
"Hungarys data protection watchdog on Monday (7 August) lashed out at government plans to centralise personal data and ease rules on allowing official access, calling them a major threat to citizens rights.
The bill, which was filed in parliament late last month, would lead to surveillance without any legal oversight, Attila Peterfalvi, head of the Hungarian Data Protection Authority (NAIH), told the station Klubradio."
The West attempts hybrid resistance (link):
"EU and NATO are training for their joint rapid response in the event of a crisis with three coordinated exercises. The simulated threat comes from Russia, hackers, the caliphate, immigrants and globalisation critics...
On 1 September the European Union and NATO will start their shared EU Parallel and Coordinated Exercise 2017 (EU PACE17). This is according to a Council Document published online by the British civil rights organisation Statewatch. The two alliances will test their crisis management structures over six weeks."
Revealed: Police Scotland confirms recruiting nearly 800 informants (The Herald, link):
" POLICE Scotland is facing fresh questions over its covert law enforcement strategies after being forced into confirming the recruitment of 759 informants.
The single force finally published the figure, which amounts to over 20 covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) a month, after a failed court bid to stop the information from being released.
On Monday, after resisting disclosure for over a year, the force confirmed 759 CHIS had been recruited between April 2013 and January 2016."
EU: Council of the European Union: New powers for eLisa agency
Compared version of the proposed eu-LISA Regulation with Regulation 1077/2011 (LIMITE doc no: 11164-17, pdf):
"The new text in the proposed Regulation, compared with the current one, is marked in bold italics, and the deleted text is marked with strikethrough."
Opinion by the Management Board of eu-LISA on the recommendations of the Commission on changes to the Establishing Regulation of eu-LISA (LIMITE doc no: 10873-ADD-3-27, pdf)
Discussion on the proposed new tasks for eu-LISA (LIMITE doc no: 11182-17, pdf):
"The proposed Regulation mainly aims to enhance the role and responsibilities of eu-LISA with regard to existing and possible new large-scale IT systems on cooperation and information exchange in the area of freedom, security and justice and to enable it to provide support to Member States and to the Commission. This is expected to contribute to rendering border management more effective and secure and to reinforcing security and combatting and preventing crime.
Some of the proposed novelties, in particular as regards the Agency's role in relation to interoperability..." [emphasis added]
The Presidency Note also asks Members States: "What is the opinion of delegations regarding the possible tasking of the Agency to develop, manage and/or host a common IT system by a group of at least six Member States opting on a voluntary basis for a centralised solution assisting them in implementing technical aspects..."
UK citizens to get more rights over personal data under new laws (Guardian, link):
"New legislation will give people right to force online traders and social media to delete personal data and will comply with EU data protection...
The main aim of the legislation will be to ensure that data can continue to flow freely between the UK and EU countries after Brexit, when Britain will be classed as a third-party country. Under the EUs data protection framework, personal data can only be transferred to a third country where an adequate level of protection is guaranteed.
The government has stressed that it is keen to secure the unhindered flow of data between the UK and the EU post-Brexit. But the EU committee of the House of Lords has warned that there will need to be transitional arrangements covering personal information to secure uninterrupted flows of data."
See: Government: A New Data Protection Bill: Our Planned Reforms (pdf) and Research and analysis to quantify the benefits arising from personal data rights under the GDPR (pdf)
No more separations of families! (Pro Asyl, link):
"Refugees in Greece are waiting for indefinite periods for their family reunification to Germany. PRO ASYL and Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) are calling for an end to be put to the suffering of more than two thousand refugees who are stuck in Greece while waiting to be reunited with their family members in Germany."
Spain turns its back on migrant children's rights (euobserver, link):
"At this very moment, some children in Spain are being held in adult immigration detention centres, pending return to their home countries.
Other migrant children are living on the streets in Madrid and other Spanish cities, suffering from serious illnesses, or are prevented from applying for asylum. This is happening because they are not Spanish nationals and the authorities have not recognised them as children, but consider them to be adults.
During the International Commission of Jurists' (ICJ's) capacity and coalition building activities with lawyers and civil society organisations to better defend migrant children's rights in various European countries, our Spanish partner, Fundacion Raices, raised attention to the dire situation of migrant children in Spain."
Greece: Mobile phone ban on refugees amendment lifted (ekathimerini.com, link):
"An amendment submitted to Parliament that would have seen refugees and migrants who dont have valid passports banned from owning cell phones in Greece was withdrawn on Saturday after an outcry and the intervention of Migration Policy Ministry officials.
The amendment stipulated that refugees and migrants would have to possess a valid passport in order to be granted the right to have a cell phone. This would have made it next to impossible for them to get a phone because hardly any of them have a valid passport."
And see: Greek coast guard rescue 128 migrants (link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Prum & Internal Security
PRUM: Implementation of the provisions on information exchange of the "Prüm Decisions" - overview of documents and procedures - overview of declarations - state of play of implementation of automated data exchange (5081-REV-3-17, pdf):
"The provisions of the "Prüm Decisions" relating to information exchange concern:
supply of information relating to major events and in order to prevent terrorist offences;
automated searching of DNA profiles, dactyloscopic data and vehicle registration data VRD);
INTERNAL SECURITY: Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy and Counter-Terrorism Implementation Paper: report of the first half of 2017 and programme for the second half of 2017 (LIMITE doc no:10827-17, 64 pages,pdf):
Information exchange and interoperability, the launch of the new EU Policy Cycle, prevention of radicalisation, the EU Cybersecurity Strategy, the revision of the Schengen Borders Code, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), strengthened links between the external and internal security policies, the Entry-Exit System, the Directive on countering money laundering by criminal law, e-evidence and encryption were important priorities under MT Presidency for which important progress was made."
Are You Syrious (5.8.17, link)
MED Sea: We stand with Jugend Rettet e.V and MSF!!!
"United Rescue Aid team remind us one more that that sea rescue is not a crime, but the mandatory duty for all those at the sea."
"Today, 106 people arrived in Greece, according to volunteer teams on islands: 33 arrived in North Maytlini; 26 to South Maytlini; and 47 to Samos. At this point, probably nobody knows how they will be treated and what rights they will be granted.....
What will happen with those who are still arriving is not clear to anybody. Or with people who are living in squats and do not receive any kind of help from the UN or EU, but only from small self-organized groups."
"Refugee.Info team posted data about the chances for people seeking asylum in Hungary stressing that it is amongst the lowest in Europe....
According to the official data, since the start of this year, only 321 people have been granted protection in Hungary, while 2,417 people have been rejected. Only 10 people are allowed to enter every day. They are forced to live in prison like facilities, where they are treated in most degrading way. And that is the norm in the EU."
"According to the media, one person - migrant whose nationality is not yet established - died when hit by a car on the A16 motorway near Calais. This is the second death of a migrant in Calais and its surroundings in 2017.
In 2015 and 2016, 33 people died in this area, according to an Official statement.
Currently, there are around 600 people in Calais. So far, they are living with minimum, provided manly by volunteers. By the court decision, the local authorities are obliged to install showers and toilets, the first elements of the aid scheme before the end of next week."
See also: Conditions for migrants in Calais: Reception conditions in Calais: the Conseil d'État has rejected the appeals of the Minister of the Interior and the municipality of Calais Statewatch translation from: Conditions daccueil des migrants à Calais (Link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31.7.17-5.8.17)
UK: Met police to use facial recognition software at Notting Hill carnival (Guardian, link):
"Civil liberties groups say plan to scan faces of thousands of revellers at London event has no basis in law and is discriminatory....
The Metropolitan police has described the planned deployment as a pilot project intended to look for suspected troublemakers to keep those attending safe.
But critics say the use of real-time biometric tracking has no basis in law and that the plan to deploy it during the carnival is institutionally racist, as it targets Britains main annual African-Caribbean celebration."
Lesvos, Greece: After Moria Hunger Strike: The Struggle Continues! (Enough is Enough, link):
"The imprisoned refugees Bahrooz Arash and Kozhin Hussein stopped their hunger strike a few days ago. But that doesnt mean the struggle for their release is over. Tomorrow, Saturday the fifth of August there will be protests in front of the Moria prison camp. People will meet on Sappho square in Mytilini (Lesvos, Greece) at 05:30pm to take a bus to Moria. The protest will start at 06:30pm in front of the Moria prison camp.
The hunger strikers have been detained without trial for months now and although they stopped their hunger strike, they are still in a critical condition. Bahrooz Arash and Kozhin Hussein stopped their hunger strike because they lost 30% of their body weight and authorities denied them access to basic medical care."
UK: Undercover police inquiry names three spies who infiltrated leftwing groups (Guardian, link):
"Public inquiry led by Sir John Mitting is examining use of undercover police officers going back as far as 1968...
One spy operated under the fictitious name of Rick Gibson between 1974 and 1976. He infiltrated Big Flame, a leftwing group, and the Troops Out Movement, which campaigned to end British rule in Northern Ireland....
The second spy used the fake name of Doug Edwards during his deployment between 1968 and 1971. He infiltrated a series of anarchist and leftwing groups, including the Independent Labour party.,,,
The third spy went under the name of John Graham between 1968 and 1969, when he infiltrated protest groups opposed to the US war in Vietnam. He pretended to be a leftwing activist in the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, attending meetings in Kilburn and Willesden in London and going on demonstrations. He also spied on another leftwing group, the Revolutionary Socialists Students Federation."
A Schengen Zone for NATO - Why the Alliance Needs Open Borders for Troops (Foreign Affairs, link):
"NATOs member states are willing to defend one another, and they have the troops and the equipment to do so. But quickly getting those troops and equipment to their destination is a different matter altogether. In some new NATO member states, bridges and railroads are simply not suitable for large troop movements. But one thing frustrates commanders even more: the arduous process of getting permission to move troops across borders.
I was probably naïve, admits Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe. I assumed that because these were NATO and EU countries wed just be able to move troops. But ministries of defense are not responsible for borders."
And see: Call for military Schengen to get troops moving (Politico, link)
Transferring personal data outside the EU: Clarification from the ECJ? (EU law Analysis, link)
"Canadian law required airlines, in the interests of the fight against serious crime and terrorism, to provide certain information about passengers (API/PNR data), which obligation required airlines under EU data protection regulations to transfer data to outside the EU......
for example, SWIFT, the Umbrella Agreement, the Privacy Shield (and other adequacy decisions) the last of which is coming under pressure in any event (DRI v Commission (T-670/16) and La Quadrature du Net and Others v Commission (T-738/16)). Note that in this context, there is not just a question of considering the safeguards for protection of rights but also relates to Treaty base. The Court found that Article 16 must be used and that because there was no role for judicial authorities, still less their cooperation the use of Article 82(1)(d) is wrong. It has, however, been used for example in regards to other PNR agreements. This means that that the basis for those agreements is thrown into doubt."
Conditions for migrants in Calais: Reception conditions in Calais: the Conseil d'État has rejected the appeals of the Minister of the Interior and the municipality of Calais
Statewatch translation from: Conditions daccueil des migrants à Calais (Link)
"In 2016 the migrant reception centre in Calais was closed. Many migrants were distributed across the country to ensure appropriate care was received. By the beginning of 2017, hundreds of migrants had been found in Calais.
At the request of migrants and NGOs, the interim judge of the Administrative Court of Lille, with a reference to freedom of expression, ordered the Prefect of the Pas-de-Calais and the municipality of Calais to create several measures addressing migrants needs. These include: access to drinking water and water for washing clothes, as well as toilets and access to showers. In addition, the Prefect is instructed to organise departures from Calais to open reception centres in France, where places are available.
The Conseil d'État has rejected the appeals of the Minister of the Interior and the municipality of Calais against this order..."
GREECE: Asylum seekers being blocked out of job market and health system, say NGOs (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Thousands of asylum seekers trapped in Greece by slow bureaucracy are facing problems in being issued a social security number and tax identification code that would allow them to look for work and have access to public healthcare as they wait for the applications to be processed.
The issue was brought to the forefront in a written complaint on Thursday signed by 25 nongovernmental organizations and addressed to the ministries of Migration, Interior, Health, Administrative Reform, Labor, Economy and Finance."
UNHCR Libya Operation Update, 24 July - 1 August 2017 (Reliefweb, link):
"As of 31 July 2017, 42,346 refugees and asylum seekers are registered with UNHCR in Libya. Over 5,400 individuals were registered since UNHCR resumed registration in 2016, and 376 registered during the month of July alone."
Ireland's PM in Northern Ireland to tackle Brexit issues (euobserver, link):
"Irelands prime minister, Leo Varadkar, is meeting Northern Irish party leaders on Friday (4 August) to talk about Brexit and the political stalemate in Belfast after a week of political rows with the Democratic Unionist party (DUP)....
Varadkar, who took office in June, said last week that he would "not design a border for the Brexiteers" between his country and the northern part of the island, which is part of the United Kingdom."
UK: 'Paracetamol and caffeine mix' in Rashan Charles' throat (BBC News, link):
"A man who died after a police chase in London had a package in his throat containing "a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine", investigators have said.
Rashan Charles was followed by officers in Dalston on 22 July and became ill after putting an object in his mouth.
In a statement, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the package was "wrapped in plastic".
Commissioner Cindy Butts added the police watchdog had not yet been given a confirmed cause of death. Mr Charles' death sparked a number of protests in east London, including one which turned violent. "
See also: Metropolitan Police use force disproportionately against black people in London, new statistics reveal (Independent, link)
"Figures show force ranging from handcuffs to guns used 12,600 times in three months...
The Metropolitan Police used force more than 12,600 times in just three months, with a disproportionate amount of incidents involving black people, new statistics have revealed. Data from Britains largest police force showed force of varying degrees was used 139 times a day in London on average, or once every 10 minutes."
EU "Implementation Plan" on Central Mediterranean will exacerbate "abuse, mislead and expel" process in Italy's hotspots
The EU's plans to limit the number of people travelling across the Mediterranean to Italy are set out in a detailed internal "Implementation Plan" (pdf) believed to be drawn up by the Council that is silent on the right to claim asylum in the EU - aside from ensuring that Italy "speed up examination of asylum applications" and ensure that it can "issue return decisions together with final negative asylum decisions," which is likely to exacerbate existing problems with access to the asylum procedure in Italy's "hotspots".
See: The Central Mediterranean - Alleviating the pressure: Implementation Plan (pdf)
UK: Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Fighting fire (link): by Colin Prescod and Daniel Renwick
"The Grenfell Tower inferno throws up all the contradictions between community self-help and resistance and an uncaring state....
Across the area, public-space land is being reclaimed. Maxilla Walk, on the verge of huge and controversial redevelopment, is effectively an occupied public arts space. The Henry Dickens Community Centre, a stones throw from the burnt out Grenfell Tower, is now an art therapy centre. Bay 56 under the A40 Westway, where Acklam Road meets Portobello Road, is now known around the Grove as the Village and is a central hub in the communitys self-help and aid effort, offering healing activities and care packages. Thousands are engaged in an entirely autonomous aid effort. The state withdrew and went missing in the immediate aftermath of Grenfell. It is not clear how it can come back, and on what terms."
EU: FRONTEX: Frontex Annual Activity Report 2016 (pdf):
"Frontex Annual Activity Report 2016 including the Declaration of Assurance and the Analysis and Assessment by Frontex' Management Board."
EU privacy watchdog: Privacy shield should be temporary (euractiv, link):
"European privacy watchdogs have received a few complaints about the privacy shield data transfer agreement with the United States since it was brokered one year ago, the EUs top privacy advocate said in an interview...
Privacy campaigners already filed two complaints against privacy shield at the European Court of Justice last year. The threat to the agreement is real. In 2015, the court ruled its predecessor, the EU-US safe harbour agreement, illegal. Hearings on the two pending cases have not started yet.... We can say, We told you so, Buttarelli said.
He declined to say whether the court will knock down privacy shield, but insisted that regardless of what the EU delegation decides next monthit could suspend the deal if EU officials determine that the US is not following the rulesthe agreement should only be temporary."
Data retention: Can the mass retention of data be justified under the planned ePrivacy Regulation?
The Council of the European Union is struggling to find a way to by-pass the Court of the European Union's judgments in the cases of Digital Rights Ireland and Tele2 and Watson which ban the mandatory collection of data of everyone's communications.
The Council is trying to justify mass data retention for the "prevention and prosecution of crime". Council document (LIMITE,11110-17, pdf) asks Member States to consider a "mind map" (see p3).
Now the Council's attention has turned to the planned ePrivacy Regulation: Processing and storage of data in the context of the draft ePrivacy Regulation = Introduction and preliminary exchange of views [LIMITE doc no:11107-17, pdf)
Greece: Alarm raised over detention of unaccompanied minor refugees (ekathimerini.com, link):
"An investigation conducted by the Greek Ombudsman from July 17 to 19 has revealed what it describes as blatant violations of the rights of unaccompanied, underage refugees and migrants.
The independent authority referred to prolonged detention in unsafe and inappropriate conditions at police stations and refugee centers across northern Greece as the main violations.
One example cited in the investigation is that of 17 minors who were found held in a single 25-square meter cell at a detention center for illegal migrants.
The Ombudsman said these violations of their rights put them in danger, and demanded immediate action to build more specialized accommodation centers for unaccompanied minors."
EU Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): A digital Europe needs data protection (Press release, pdf):
"The successful implementation of an EU-wide once-only principle to enable the lawful exchange of data across EU borders depends on ensuring that the relevant data protection principles are respected, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said today, as he published his Opinion on the Commissions proposal for a Regulation establishing a single digital gateway and the once-only principle.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: This proposal is one of the first EU instruments that explicitly refers to the once-only principle, which aims to ensure that citizens and businesses do not need to submit the same information to a public administration more than once. I welcome this initiative, but also recommend that the Commission take into account some key issues related to data protection in their continued development of the once-only principle. Additional clarity on important data protection principles, such as the legal basis of the processing, purpose limitation and data minimisation will reinforce the protection of the rights of individuals. [emphasis in original]
See: EDPS OPINION (pdf)
Aid groups split over Italys new rules for migrant rescues (euractiv, link):
"Five aid groups that operate migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean refused to sign up to the Italian governments code of conduct on Monday (31 July), the Interior Ministry said, but three others backed the new rules."
And: NGOs divided by Italy's new rescue code (euobserver, link)
"Five aid groups have refused to sign Italys code of conduct for organisations that run migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean, the Italian interior ministry said on Monday (31 July). "
And see: MSF committed to saving lives on Mediterranean but will not sign the Italian Code of Conduct (link):
"Médecins Sans Frontières formally informed the Italian Ministry of the Interior today that it would not be signing the Code of Conduct for NGOs operating rescue ships on the Mediterranean.
Although we are unable to sign this code of conduct in its current form, MSF already respects several provisions that are not within the remit of our core concerns, including financial transparency, said Annemarie Loof, operations manager.
MSF will continue to operate its search and rescue activities under the coordination of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome and in accordance with all relevant international and maritime laws.
Everything That's Happened Since A Bunch Of YouTubers Got A Ship To Stop Refugees Getting To Europe (BuzzFeed, link):
"The ship was supposed to pick them up in Italy. But on Wednesday, the captain and the crew of the ship were detained in Cyprus. Here's everything we do know, so far."
Shocking new evidence could overturn Northern Ireland ruling that became an international blueprint for torture (OpenDemocracy, link):
"British forces in Northern Ireland used waterboarding and electric shock treatment on detainees during the 1970s, newly uncovered files show. Witness statements and internal Whitehall correspondence released for the first time last month could have significant implications for international human rights law and British-Irish relations.
One victim of waterboarding in Belfast spoke out publicly about his experience for the first time at following the recovery of his original testimony from 1972, which recounts that he felt like I was drowning or suffocating until I fell on the floor unconscious."
EU: How McKinsey quietly shaped Europes response to the refugee crisis (Washington Post, link):
"It was October 2015. With winter approaching and no end in sight to the flow of migrants seeking refuge from the Syrian civil war, Germany needed a solution fast.
Processing centers for refugees had exceeded capacity. Asylum claims were backlogged. Temporary tent cities would not survive the punishing winter months.
So Germany did what governments increasingly do when facing apparently unmanageable problems. It called in multinational management consulting firms, including New York-based giant McKinsey & Co., to streamline its asylum procedures.
Germany has paid McKinsey 29.3 million euros, the equivalent of nearly $34 million, for work with the federal migration office that began in October 2015 and continues to this day. The office also brought in two Europe-based firms, Roland Berger and Ernst & Young."
EU: Passenger Name Records from Canada back to the EU (Verfassungsblog, link) by Raphael Bossong:
"The new opinion of the Court of Justice... will have major repercussions both for the relations of the EU with partner countries and the development of the EUs own counterterrorism or internal security policy.
To begin with, the opinion [pdf] from 26 July underlines the need for precision in the EUs security cooperation with third countries and as well as the importance of including a primary legal basis for data protection, even if the intention of the cooperation is primarily for security purposes. Therefore, security agreements with other third countries will be subject to renewed scrutiny, including in fields beyond PNR (e.g. on the transfer of SWIFT financial transaction data to the US for counterterrorism purposes)...
Yet arguably the most pressing question for European policy-makers and security authorities is whether the implementation of the EUs own 2016 PNR directive (2016/681) can go ahead as planned."
EU: Parliament's foreign affairs committee advises caution over biometrics in the Schengen Information System
The European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs has issued two opinions on proposed new rules for the Schengen Information System, dealing with the use of the system for border checks and the the "return of illegally-staying third country nationals", including a proposal for a "strict analysis" to be carried out before registering biometric data in the system. Specific safeguards for children are also proposed, along with a suggestion for a recital that would warn against Member States using coercion to obtain individuals' fingerprints.
UK: Police in England and Wales to be asked if they want to carry a gun (The Guardian, link):
"Police officers in England and Wales are to be asked whether they want to routinely carry a gun and drop the principle of normally being unarmed. The Police Federation, which represents 123,000 rank and file officers will begin surveying its members next week.
Police have grown increasingly concerned about threats to their safety from assaults as they perform their regular duties and the high likelihood of terrorist attacks, which unarmed officers are likely to be first to respond to.
The survey will ask officers whether they think they or more of their colleagues should carry Taser electrical weapons, whether there should be more specialist armed officers and whether they themselves want to carry a gun as they patrol the streets."
EU-USA: Clouds linger over troubled transatlantic data-transfer deal (Politico, link):
"A year after European and American officials hammered out a data-sharing deal to allow companies to move peoples digital information across the Atlantic, the agreements future is in the hands of lawyers, not lawmakers.
Many fretted that the so-called EU-U.S. Privacy Shield would soon run into trouble. And despite its survival so far, the data-transfer deal faces an uncertain future as policymakers start planning for the first annual review of the agreement in mid-September in Washington, D.C."
HUNGARY: The Economics of Fear: How Orbán Profits from Insecurities (Political Critique, link):
"Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbáns rhetoric is made up of a creative combination of fears: social insecurities, loss of national identity, and threats to national security all play an important role when it comes to Orbán positioning himself as the sole protector of Hungary."
UK court blocks bid to prosecute Tony Blair for invasion of Iraq (Middle East Eye, link):
"A British court has blocked an attempt by a former Iraqi general to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair over the Iraq war.
General Abdul Wahed Shannan al-Rabbat, a former chief of staff of the Iraqi army, accused Blair of committing a "crime of aggression" while he was prime minister, by invading Iraq in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
The former Iraqi soldier wanted to prosecute Blair and two other key British ministers at the time the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith."
UK: Dont call them riots. That dismisses the anger over Rashan Charless death (The Guardian, link) by Franklyn Addo:
"Concerns about the mistreatment of people of colour by police in the UK are legitimate. The deaths of Oluwashijibomi Lapite in 1994, Mark Duggan in 2011, Edson Frederico Da Costa last month and Rashan Charles last weekend, to name just a few examples, show the severity of the problem. In all of these cases, the individuals died following police contact and all were black.
The events preceding Charless death, as he was being chased and apprehended by police in a newsagents in Dalston in north-east London, were captured on CCTV and the resulting images are deeply disturbing. Peaceful protests in response to the death boiled over into aggression, with people blocking roads and setting refuse alight against, it should be said, the wishes of the dead mans family. With various pundits dismissing protesters as rioters and thugs, it is important to remember the lessons of history."
And see: Protesters block Dalston road over Rashan Charles death video (link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26-30.7.17): 21 stories/reports
UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Select Committee report: Brexit: judicial oversight of the European Arrest Warrant (pdf):
"We welcome the Home Secretarys announcement that it is a priority for the Government to ensure that the UK remains part of the European Arrest Warrant. However, it is not clear how this objective is compatible with the Governments objectives in relation to the CJEU, let alone other aspects of the UKs withdrawal from the European Union."
UK: More Than 1000 Groups Infiltrated by Spycops (Campaign Opposed to Police Surveillance, link):
"More than 1,000 groups have been spied on by Britains political secret police, the Undercover Policing Inquiry confirmed last week.
How many more than 1,000 groups have been spied upon isnt clear, but the revelation of the figure indicates that the Inquiry has a list. It is imperative that this list is published. Unlike releasing an officers real name, there can be no assertion that telling us the names of an infiltrated group would endanger those being identified.
If we are to get the truth of what has been done, we need to hear from those affected. Every person and group spied on by these disgraced units should be told and given access to their files. The victims need time to find their contemporaries and confirm the details. Only then can we see what the real purpose of the spying was, only then can the victims correct any misinformation on the files."
See also: Undercover police spied on more than 1,000 political groups in UK (Guardian, link) "Number of organisations revealed by inquiry set up to examine conduct of covert officers since late 1960s."
Transferts Dublin et relocalisation | Le mythe de la Suisse solidaire (asile.ch, link):
An article by the Asssociation Vivre Ensemble shatters two myths at once through basic data analysis:
Firstly, that Switzerland is acting in solidarity with the frontline states; and secondly, that perfecting the Dublin system benefits all the states participating in the Dublin system. By comparing the figures on relocations and Dublin transfers, the author finds that in 2016, Switzerland enacted 3,750 Dublin transfers towards other member states (led by Italy with 1,523) and received 469 such transfers (7 from Italy).
In the same year, 368 people were relocated to Switzerland from Greece and Italy, bringing the total to 1,029 (344 from Greece and 685 from Italy) out of the 1,500 it had committed to admit, from September 2015 to May 2017. In the same period, 2,420 people were returned via Dublin transfers, mostly to Italy as Dublin returns to Greece were suspended (17 took place anyways). The number of Dublin returnees Switzerland received from Italy (75) and Greece (14) is 89.
Germany's 'Marshall Plan with Africa' (devex, link):
"BERLIN, Germany A proposal from Germanys development ministry stands to rewrite the countrys and possibly the G-20s aid relationship with Africa. The so-called Marshall Plan with Africa would prioritize encouraging private investment on the continent, possibly while reducing or shifting official development assistance."
Greece: Authorities must investigate allegations of excessive use of force and ill-treatment of asylum-seekers in Lesvos (AI, link):
"Amnesty International calls on the Greek authorities to urgently investigate allegations that police used excessive force against asylum-seekers in the Moria camp near Mytilene during a protest on 18 July 2017 and ill-treated some of those who were arrested and detained in the Mytilene police station following the clashes that ensued. Testimonies the organisation collected from victims and witnesses about excessive use of force in the Moria camp are also supported by audio-visual material that was made public in the media in the days after the protest."
See: Report (pdf)
EU: ACCESS TO LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS: Council of the European Union: Own-initiative inquiry OI/2/2017/AB by the European Ombudsman concerning access to documents relating to Council preparatory bodies when discussing draft EU legislative acts: Draft reply of the Council of the European Union (LIMITE doc no: 8808-REV-1-17, pdf): The Council questions the right of the Ombudsman to conduct an inquiry on grounds of maladministration into legislative matters:
"The Council is of the view that the exercise of legislative powers is not limited to the adoption of political choices on legislative files. It also includes the choices according to which the legislators decide to organise the legislative process itself. The organisation of the legislative process cannot be considered an administrative activity and therefore cannot give rise to possible instances of maladministration but ought rather to be regarded as an essential aspect of the exercise of the legislators' prerogatives." [emphasis added]
Background: European Ombudsman launches Inquiry into availability of Council legislative documents
On 10 March 2017 the European Ombudsman launched an inquiry into: "the disclosure of documents from discussions on draft EU legislative acts in Council preparatory bodies."
See: Letter to Counci: Access to documents relating to Council preparatory bodies when discussing draft EU legislative acts (pdf) The letter to the Council observes that: "The General Secretariat of the Council (GSC) does not proactively make available documents reflecting the positions of individual Member States during negotiations. This approach, however, is without prejudice to the right of public access to documents provided for in Regulation 1049/20015. These documents can be made available after the act in question has been adopted, provided that they are not covered by any exception laid down in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001." [emphasis added]
EU cybersecurity exercise focuses on quasi-democratic country and anti-globalisation group (euractiv, link):
"An EU exercise to test countries ability to react to cybersecurity attacks will focus on threats from terrorist organisation, a quasi-democratic country and anti-globalisation groups....
During the EU and NATO exercise that will continue after the defence ministers meeting, national authorities will respond to a scenario that will be as realistic and plausible as possible, according to a 53-page preparatory document from the Council, which was leaked by the NGO Statewatch .....
One part of the exercise trains authorities response to attacks from an anti-globalisation movement that organises riots disguised as demonstrations, all combined with email spamming and receives financing through anonymous cryptocurrencies, as well as from hostile countriesincluding the quasi-democratic state."
See: NOTE from Politico-Military Group: Exercise Instructions (EXINST) for the EU PACE17 Parallel and Coordinated Exercise with NATO CMX17 (11256/17, LIMITE, 14 July 2017, pdf)
Greek islands: 341 refugees arrive in past 24 hours: Ministry figures (pdf):
145 in Lesvos
152 in Samos
41 on other islands
Despite the official talk of more "relocations" there are 62,407 refugees in Greece..
7 refugees dead as boat capsizes off Turkish coast - 2 women, 5 children among dead (AA.gr, link):
"The death toll has risen to seven after a refugee boat sank off Turkeys Aegean coast on Thursday evening, the Turkish Coast Guard confirmed Friday.
Two women and five children died when the boat carrying 18 people capsized at around 9 p.m. local time (1800GMT) near the Cesme district of the Aegean province of Izmir. The boat was headed to the Greek islands."
Greece: More than 170 migrants rescued at sea in past 24 hours (.ekathimerini.com, link):
"More than 170 migrants and refugees have been rescued in search-and-rescue operations in the Aegean Sea in the past 24 hours, Greeces coast guard said Friday.
Officials said the operations took place off Samos and Lesvos islands, which lie close to the coast of Turkey."
European Parliament: MEPs Letter to Commission, Greece, UNHCR & IOM: Moira, Lesvos: Refugee roundup (pdf):
"We learnt from the statement of the Human Rights Activist Nawal Soufi (European Citizenship Prize 2016) that at 6 in the morning of the 24th of July several police and military agents broke into Moria's hotspot on the Greek island of Lesbos, awakening migrants with violence and abuse.
"The police had a list of people to take. Dozens of migrants have been arrested, 90% of them are asylum seekers. Among them there are many Syrians and even Kurdish-Syrians. Some of them have only received the first rejection and are waiting for the decision on the appeal. One of the asylum seekers arrested is a young Kurdish-Syrian who has already suffered violence in Turkey"....."
Crew of anti-migrant boat 'deported' from Cyprus over 'people-smuggling' (Guardian, link)
"Nine people from ship hired by far-right group reportedly deported after being arrested for allegedly using false documents"
France reveals plan for registration centres to stem migrant crisis (euractiv, link):
"French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday (27 July) unveiled plans to set up migrant registration centres in Libya to help stem an influx that has sparked a crisis in Europe, although his aides said the scheme could not be implemented there immediately for security reasons.
A presidency official said the plan for which Macron set the goal of becoming operational this summer was not possible at the moment because of security in Libya.
Instead, France would study the feasibility of setting up migrant hotspot centres in Niger and Chad, and aim to open similar sites in Libya in the short term. [emphasis added]
And see: EU migrant crisis: France plans asylum 'hotspots' in Libya (BBC News, link)
Architect of EU-Turkey refugee pact pushes for West Africa deal (Politico,link):
"e European Union should strike deals with West African countries to stem the influx of migrants reaching Italy from Libya, according to an architect of the 2016 migration deal between the EU and Turkey.
Gerald Knaus, director of the European Stability Initiative think tank, said many West African migrants risked the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean because they knew they would not be sent home for years if at all due to legal and bureaucratic delays, even if their requests for asylum in Europe were rejected."
Greece: Becoming a Refugee (Samos Chronicles, link):
"Kiss the Jasmine
Take me to kiss the jasmine
Let me stand on the threshold of your garden
Let me smell what I long for
Amongst the grains of sand on your beach.
Dont kill the lovestruck stars
Dont tell the sun and the moon to be silent
Let them speak......"
EU: EuropeanCommission: EU Trust Fund for Africa adopts 46 million programme to support integrated migration and border management in Libya (pdf):
"Set up of basic facilities in order to provide the Libyan coast guards with initial capacity to better organise their control operations... assistance to the authorities in defining and declaring a Libyan Search and Rescue Region..."
AUSTRALIA: Facial recognition to replace passports (Sky News, link):
"New technology will be rolled out at Australian airports which will eventually mean known passengers arriving in the country won't have to produce passports.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Wednesday announced a new $22.5 million, three-year contract which will see 105 new smart gates rolled out, with more to come over time.It will enable passengers from more countries to be processed using facial recognition"
UK rejects Dublin's plan for Irish Sea border after Brexit (Sky News, link): "Dublin wants customs and immigration checks moved from the land border to ports and airports - drawing a new border at sea."
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 Opinion (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.
European Commission press release: Migration: Record month for relocations from Italy and Greece (pdf)
Relocation and resettlement: documentation (pdfs)
European Commission, Fourteenth Report on Relocation and Resettlement (COM(2017) 405 final)
Annex 1: Relocations from Greece
Annex 2: Relocations from Italy
Annex 3: Relocations from Italy and Greece
Annex 4: Resettlement State of Play
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."
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