January

UK: Full-text of statement by the Home Secretary on the introduction of control orders for terrorist "suspects"  Statement on the use of intercepts as evidence and Comments in the weekend press (link)

Spain: Women in prison conference, Barcelona, 8 April 2005 (pdf)

UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Inquiries Bill (link) "The Committee raises concerns about the capacity of the Bill to provide a framework for inquiries necessary to comply with the right to life, under Article 2 ECHR, where a death occurs in state custody or agents of the state are implicated in a death." Full-text of the Inquiries Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link)

and Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill (link) "The Committee raises a number of concerns about the compliance with Article 8 ECHR (right to respect for private and family life) of provisions in Part 1 of the Bill concerning the powers of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in relation to the gathering, storage, use and disclosure of information." Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill (full-text, pdf) Explanatory Note (link)

UK: Identity Card Bill as amended in Committee dated 27 January 2005 (pdf)

Statewatch bulletin published: Full contents of latest bulletin

The Inquiries Bill and the murder of Pat Finucane – Analysis and Commentaries: Pat Finucane centre analysis (link) Full-text of the Inquiries Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link) Amendments proposed as at 18.1.05 (link)

UK: Government plans to bring in "control orders" including "home arrests" by executive action for "suspected" terrorists. Amnesty International (link) Guardian (link) and The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission criticises new home new home arrest controls

EU: European Commision: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the fight against organised crime COM(2005) 6 final

Northern Ireland: Lord Carlile review of Part VII of the Terrorism Act 2000 (pdf)

EU: European Commission White Paper on exchanges of information on convictions and the effect of such convictions in the European Union COM(2005) 10 final

EU: Initiative from Austria, Finland and Sweden: Draft Council Framework Decision on the European enforcement order and the transfer of sentenced persons between Member States of the EU

UK: European Union Bill - setting up the referendum on the EU Constitution (pdf) Explanatory Note (link)

Canada/US/FATF/UK: Charities and NGOs targeted in "war on terror"

EU-Canada: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party clears the exchange of PNR (passenger name records) with Canada (pdf)

EU: “Anti-terrorism” legitimises sweeping new “internal security” complex

Ireland: NGO Alliance Shadow Report: In Response to the Irish Government’s First National Report to CERD under the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (pdf)

"To date, little real attempt has been made by the Government to curb racism in the media and to prohibit incitement to hatred... Debate on some Government policies has been conducted in a manner that has fuelled racism in Ireland, and little attempt has been made to censure politicians whose statements"

UK: Inquiries Bill: "The Inquiries Bill removes in one fell swoop the notion of independent scrutiny over the actions of government and government departments and agencies" (British Irish Rights Watch). Full-text of the Inquiries Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link) Amendments proposed as at 18.1.05 (link) British Irish Rights Watch Briefing (pdf) BIRW press release (pdf)

EU: European Parliament's Transport Committee agrees report on the introduction of 10 years driving licences: Draft EP report See also Statewatch report: EU driving licences to be renewed every 10 years and new security features added each time

'How can I leave? I have no legs' - a Greek campaign for mine survivors: At least sixty overland would-be migrants to Europe have lost their lives to the landmines on Greece's borders. A campaigner against the mines writes of one small victory in the long struggle for the rights of maimed mine survivors: IRR News Service (link)

EU-USA: US Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, announced on 13 January that that the United States will establish a full-time attache from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the European Union. "This new position is not only symbolic of our commitment to increased cooperation, but, by having a direct link between the Secretary and negotiating partners across Europe, it will allow for constant communication on an operational level," he said. Ridge announcement (link)

MI5 plan Scottish base to tackle terrorism (Scotsman, link)

EU: The European Commission has published its proposal for a:

1. Visa Information System (VIS - COM (2004) 835)
2. Extended impact assessment (VIS)
3. Study for the extended impact assessment (VIS)

This is seen by some, but not all, EU member states as alternative to the a biometric visa sticker scheme: EU: Biometric visa policy unworkable - Council Presidency recommending current proposal be abandoned due to "collision" of chips and Commission asked to amend its proposal

UK: Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, is seeking to negotiate agreements so that some Belmarsh detainees could be deported. BBC report (link) The Home Secretary told the Times newspaper that following the law lords judgement in December - which declared their detention unlawful - that he and the Foreign Secretary were seeking to get "memorandum of understandings" that people would not be subject to torture or the death penalty on their return. However, he admitted that this could only partially meet the law lords ruling. The 12 men affected by the law lords ruling are from algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan: Times (link). Law Lords judgement: Full-text of judgement (pdf)

Whether Egypt for one will agree is an open question having refused to agree to such terms last year, see: Statewatch Special Report: UK: Egyptian national “unlawfully detained” after intervention by Prime Minister (16.11.04) Target of Blair deportation intervention gets substantial compensation

European Commission: Communication to members of the Commission: Memorandum concerning the establishment of a Strategic Partnership between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Commission of the European Communities in the field of protection and assistance to refugees and other people of concern to the UNHCR in third countries (pdf - this will not be published in the Official Journal)

US: CIA think-tank: National Intelligence Council assessment on Iraq and terrorism (link) Link to full report: "Mapping the global future"

'They beat me from all sides': A German car salesman says that a year ago he was kidnapped in Europe, beaten and flown to a US-controlled jail in Afghanistan. Now the German government is collecting evidence to back up his story. James Meek hears Khaled el-Masri's account of life in America's secret offshore prison network (Guardian, link) ("rendition")

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: report on The Rehabiliation of Prisoners (pdf)

Norway: Unregistered phone ban urged (link, Aftenposten)

EU: European Commission: Green Paper an EU approach to managing economic migration (pdf)

UK: Genewatch report on: Police DNA database needs stronger safeguards for privacy and human rights (pdf) Press release and Briefings for MPs  See also: UK: Police can keep DNA of innocent people indefinitely

The European Parliament has voted to re-elect P. Nikiforos Diamandouros as European Ombudsman with 564 votes out of a total of 643 votes cast. Mr Diamandouros said, "I look forward to continuing to serve EU citizens diligently, dynamically, effectively and, most importantly, fairly and impartially.": Statement to the Petitions Committee (pdf)

U-turn over Palestinian help group (Guardian, link) Palestinian aid groups' bank accounts closed (Guardian, link)

UK citizens to face fingerprint checks from 2007 when entering the "Schengen area" (Guardian, link)

More on CIA jet story (link) See also: Statewatch: Update: Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt - second Swedish TV4 transcript with more details on the US abduction - Shannon airport on west of Ireland used as stop-over for US plane (from Village magazine)

UK: Special Immigration Appeals Commission new website contains the "Outcomes" of their decisions with some detail on each (link)

Spain: Migrants death toll surges (Guardian, link). See also: "Nothing is true, nor is it a lie?" by Nieves Garcia Benito. A powerful and moving essay on the indifference of Europe to dead migrants whose lives end on Spain's beaches (Special report): "Nothing is true, nor is it a lie?"

Update: 5 January 2005: EU: Biometric visa policy unworkable - Council Presidency recommending current proposal be abandoned due to "collision" of chips and Commission asked to amend its proposal

Greece: European Court of Human Rights - finds against police handling of shooting

Council of Europe (15.12.04): Free speech on the internet? Recommendation gives the "right of reply" (link) Article 19 submission to the draft recommendation (22.08.2003). EDRI comments that: "Only the United Kingdom and the Slovak Republic reserved the right not to comply for online services with the recommendation"

Palestinian aid groups' bank accounts closed (Guardian, link)

CIA Jet story (link) "Jet Is an Open Secret in Terror War", By Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, December 27, 2004. The airplane is a Gulfstream V turbojet, the sort favored by CEOs and celebrities. But since 2001 it has been seen at military airports from Pakistan to Indonesia to Jordan, sometimes being boarded by hooded and handcuffed passengers..... See also: Statewatch: Update: Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt - second Swedish TV4 transcript with more details on the US abduction - Shannon airport on west of Ireland used as stop-over for US plane (from Village magazine) (11.10.04)


01 January 2005

UK: Inquiries Bill

 

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