May

Amnesty International report: Human rights dissolving at the borders? Counter-terrorism and EU criminal law (link.pdf)

EU: The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament has rejected a proposal on the mandatory retention of data on all telecommunications for the purposes of law enforcement (full-text of adopted report, pdf) Press release (pdf)

UK: Report on the Operation in 2004 of the Terrorism Act 2000 by Lord Carlile (pdf)

UK: Identity Card Bill published 25 May 2005 (full-text, pdf) Explanatory Notes (pdf)

1. Government briefing to Labour MPs (pdf)
2. Home Office Regulatory Impact report (pdf)
3. UKPS Biometrics Enrolment Trial Full Report (link, 3.7MB) Includes the finding that the fingerprint success rate (ie: a usable record) was as follows: Asian 70.90%, Black 54.70%, Chinese/East Asian 65.91%, Other 74.91% and White 70.86%

US Michael Chertoff, Chief of the US Department of Homeland Security speech in Brussels (link to speech)

EU: Updated EU Anti-terrorism Action Plan, 23 May 2005 (pdf) plus:

1. EU Anti-terrorism implementation report, 24 May 2005
2. EU anti-terrorism clauses 11 May 2005 - declassified version with lots of deletions
3. EU: anti-terrorism external relations 11 May 2005 - declassified version with lots of deletions
4. Europol's Plan of Action on Combating Terrorism, 23 May 2005. Contains interesting comments by Europol on the "principle of availability" of intelligence (ie: every agency has access to everything) to "avoid information "shopping" and duplication of effort" and on the Analysis Work File (AWF) "Dolphin" which seeks to cover suspected terrorist groups not covered by "Islamic Terrorism" - which covers 2,380 "entities and 6,286 "link records"

The Action Plan updates that of 14 December 2004, see Statewatch's Observatory on freedom and democracy

EU: Meijers' Committee report on the Visa Information System (VIS) (pdf). Comments Standing Committee of experts in international immigration, refugee and criminal law on the draft proposal for a Regulation concerning the Visa Information System (VIS), COM (2004) 835

UK: Identity Card Bill published 25 May 2005 (full-text, pdf) Explanatory Notes (pdf)

EU-Canada Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement (pdf)

UK: Civil Contingencyies Act 2004: i) Emergency preparedness - guidance (231 pages, pdf, link); ii) Draft Regulations (Statutory Instruments which go through parliament on the nod unless MPs object); iii) Civil Contingencies Act 2004 iv) Statewatch critique of the Bill

EU: Draft Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia (draft at 19 May, pdf)

EU: Report for the European Parliament's STOA Committee (1998): An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control by Steve Wright (pdf)

Europol Terrorism Report October 2003 - October 2004 (pdf)

EU: Analysis from Statewatch: SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway (pdf)

* after four years of secret negotiations a host of new functions are being built into SIS II
* new categories of “violent troublemakers”, “suspected terrorists” and “visa over-stayers” planned
* EU Visa Information System to share “biometrics platform” with SIS II
* fingerprints and photographs to be included – widened access for law enforcement
* European and national parliaments not yet consulted

Statewatch is also releasing an accompanying 48-page analysis which first appeared on the Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation (SEMDOC) website in February 2004: From the Schengen Information System to SIS II and the Visa Information (VIS): the proposals explained (pdf) Sources for this analysis (htm)

Draft European Parliament report on the amended proposal for a Council directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status (pdf)

EU: Feasibility study carried out in 2002 on: "The setting up of a European Border Police" (pdf)

EU: European Arrest Warrant figures for 2004 (pdf) covering 17 member states. In 2004 Germany issued 1,300 warrants (compared to 510 in 2003), Spain 668 (compared to 106 in 2003). The EU state which has received the most arrest warrants was the UK with 1,848 (compared to only 76 in 2003).

EU: European Union Committee in the UK's House of Lords has published a report on: Clause 2 of the European Union Bill - the Constitution's Passerelle Provisions (pdf). The Committee expresses stong concern's over the government's proposal that the House of Commons alone will be able to register an objection to a measure going through under this clause while the House of Lords will have just 20 days to express a view.

Migreurop: Externalisation of controls at the Southern borders of Europe mobilisation and research workshops 20-21 June, Séville (pdf)

Amnesty International report on: USA: Guantánamo and beyond: The continuing pursuit of unchecked executive power (link to pdf)

Denmark: Greenpeace charged under anti-terror laws

European Commission: Technical Mission to Libya on illegal immigration - report (pdf)

European Court of Human Rights: Judgement in the case of Ocalan v Turkey (pdf). The Court found in particular that there had been a violations under Article 6.1 (Fair trial) in that the applicant had not been tried by an independent and impartial tribunal; and a violation of Article 6.1, taken together with Article 6.3 (b) (right to adequate time and facilities for preparation of defence) and (c) (right to legal assistance), in that the applicant had not had a fair trial.

European Court of Justice: Judgment in the case of Sison v Council of the European Union (pdf) The Court ruled against the applicant who requested access to documents concerning the decision to place him on the EU terrorrist list. The judgment deals with a number of key points including access to 'sensitive' documents, the identity of the third country who provided "evidence" against Mr Sison, access to documents connected with the fight against terrorism.

Journalism, civil liberties and the war on terrorism (full-report/request printed copy) - Special report by the International Federation of Journalists and Statewatch. This 64 page report includes an analysis of current policy developments as well as a survey of 20 selected countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin Amercia, the Middle East and the USA.

“An atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is being created and civil liberties are being torn to shreds, even in states with a reputation for tolerance and pluralism,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “This report is an alarm call to democracies," said Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director. "In the name of the "politics of fear" we are in great danger of sleepwalking into a surveillance society while the democratic values we have taken for granted are being sacrificed in the ‘war on terrorism’”.

EU: European Commission Communication: "The Hague Programme: Ten priorities for the next five years" (pdf)

Physicians for Human Rights Report: "Break them down: Systematic use of psychological torture by US forces" (link)

EU: Role of new Internal Security Committee being decided by the Council - in secret - "internal security" to include crime, public order, illegal immigration and border controls

EU-Biometrics: Two reports, which were only summarised, in the Joint Research Centre report "Biometrics at the Frontiers" are well worth reading: The social implications of the wide-scale implementation of biometric and related technologies by Julian Ashbourn (pdf) and Biometrics: legal issues and implications by Paul de Hert (pdf). See also: EU: Report on biometrics dodges the real issues - "puts economics and profit above liberties and privacy"

The 4th Annual report from Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights (pdf). See in particular the comments on human rights, immigration and asylum in Europe.

Italy-USA: The Sgrena/Calipari shooting in Iraq: Unclassified report by the Italian government (link). US "unclassified" documents with the bits blanked out restored: US Army "unclassified" document (link)

EU: Liberal Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament on the data retention proposal: ALDE leader Graham WATSON, said: "European countries must do more together to combat terrorism. However, a sense of proportion and a respect for individual privacy must infuse our approach. The choice of legal base for this decision will be crucial. The US Congress will not agree to retention of data about American citizens. Why should EU governments believe that they can get away without referring such decisions to a democratic vote in Europe's Parliament?" Press release (pdf) See also previous Statewatch report: Data Retention proposal partly illegal, say Council and Commission lawyers

Brussels: Press Conference - The International Federation of Journalists and Statewatch will launch a Special Report on Journalism, Civil Liberties and the War on Terrorism on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May: Press conference calling notice Date: 3 May 2005 Place: Résidence Palace, Bloc C, 2nd Floor, Room No. 02251 - 11 am. How the War on Terror Puts Pressure on Press Freedom: "the war on terrorism amounts to a devastating challenge to the global culture of human rights and civil liberties established almost 60 years ago"


 

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