EU: "A huge power grab" by the Commission? Seeking to "regulate" EU legislators: Commission wants to vet changes to draft EU law (euractiv, link):
"EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission will call on MEPs and national governments to commit to its drive for better regulation, and submit substantial changes to bills to scrutiny by experts, according to a leaked draft of its strategy to cut red tape"
See: Commission proposal: Better Regulation For Better Results - An EU Agenda (pdf).
EU: Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM): PICUM Position Paper on EU Returns Directive (pdf):
"Based on the impacts on undocumented migrants of the provisions established within the Return Directive as identified by PICUM members, this position paper
aims at informing the debate on possible further development of the EU return policy by providing concrete policy recommendations concerning the situation faced by undocumented migrants within the return process."
EU: Frontex: Annual Risk Analysis 2015 (pdf)
European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Joint Communication: Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) "Keeping human rights at the heart of the EU agenda" (JOIN 15-15, pdf)
European Parliament: Briefing on EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record) (pdf)
CoE: The Council of Europe is currently negotiating additions to the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, in the form of a protocol dealing with the "foreign fighters" phenomenon. The protocol will implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 Last week the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs proposed (pdf) "some changes to the text which would help to strengthen human rights safeguards, including putting greater emphasis on the right to a fair trial and the principle of legal certainty."
The rapporteur, John Tomlinson, who is part of the Socialist Group within the CoE Parliamentary Assembly, does not seem altogether convinced by the need for a new protocol. As he puts it: "Without prejudging the usefulness of the Draft Additional Protocol and the likelihood of its future application, I am convinced that there is a need for more clarity about the scope of terrorist offences and the application of international humanitarian law".
The original draft of the protocol was heavily criticised by Martin Scheinin, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism
UK: Detainee died in centre after allegedly waiting 15 minutes for medical help (Eastern Eye, link):
" What was supposed to be a ten-day dream holiday, including a trip to Scotland, turned into a nightmare when they were sent straight to Yarl's Wood because officials believed they planned to stay in the UK despite having booked return tickets to India."
See also: Dying for Justice (IRR, link): "gives the background on 509 people (an average of twenty-two per year) from BAME, refugee and migrant communities who have died between 1991-2014 in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated"
HUNGARY: EU chief demands Orban drop Hungary death penalty revival (Reuters, link). And see: ECHR Protocol on absolute ban on the death penalty comes into force (Statewatch database)
Germany spied on France and the EU Commission: Report (euobserver, link):
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has been embarrassed by reports that the country's intelligence service was spying on France and the European Commission for the US National security agency (NSA).
According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Thursday (30 April), the BND, the German intelligence service, listened in on officials from the French presidency and foreign affairs ministry, as well as the EU Commission.... "The core of the issue is the political espionage of our European neighbours and of the EU institutions," a German official is quoted as saying by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung."
UN Security Council President on Mediterranean Migrant Crisis: It’s Not About Protecting Europe; It’s About Protecting the Refugees. (Migrants at Sea, link) "“diplomats are warning that United Nations backing for any European Union plan to address the growing Mediterranean migration crisis could take longer than anyone wants.” Ambassador Kawar said “I don’t think we’re anywhere close to having [support] now” and that the effort is “not about protecting Europe. It’s about protecting the refugees."
"An act, which ordered large-scale mass surveillance of citizens (so called data retention) is now history. Today the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic proclaimed the mass surveillance of citizens as unconstitutional. The decision was rendered within proceedings initiated by 30 members of the Parliament on behalf of the European Information Society Institute (EISi), a Slovakia based think-tank."
UK: GCHQ conducted illegal surveillance, investigatory powers tribunal rules - Eavesdropping agency must destroy documents containing legally privileged communications relating to Libyan rendition victim Sami al-Saadi (Guardian, link):
"The ruling marks the first time in its 15-year history that the investigatory powers tribunal has upheld a specific complaint against the intelligence services, lawyers have said. It is also the first time the tribunal has ordered a security service to give up surveillance material.
The IPT says GCHQ must destroy two documents which are legally privileged communications belonging to a former opponent of the Gaddafi regime, Sami al-Saadi, who was sent back to Libya in 2004 in a joint MI6-CIA “rendition” operation with his wife and four children under 12."
News in Brief (30.4.15)
• MEPs challenge Orban's 'horrible' migration survey (euobserver, link): "In a questionnaire to be sent out to 8 million citizens over 18 years of age, Hungarians are asked to answer 12 questions on whether “the mismanagement of the immigration question by Brussels may have something to do with increased terrorism”. They are also asked if they would support the Hungarian government in detaining illegal migrants who “themselves should cover the costs” of staying in Hungary."
• Norway to send second ship to Mediterranean (The Local, link)
• LEAP Report – Towards an EU Defence Rights Movement (Fair Trials, link)"Legal Experts Advisory Panel (*LEAP) &SHY; a pan-EU nnetwork of over 130 criminal justice and human rights experts representing all 28 EU Member States and coordinated by Fair Trials Europe &SHY; has llaunched its strategy for supporting the implementation of the EU Roadmap Directives. The LEAP report, *Towards an EU Defence Rights Movement sets out the various ways in which LEAP members hope to contribute to national implementation activities through litigation, practitioner training, the production of template pleadings with comparative and EU law arguments, and participation in national legislative discussions."
• Juncker calls for EU refugee quotas, legal migration to Europe (DW, link): The European Commission's president has called for refugee quotas for EU
countries ... "We must distribute refugees throughout the whole of Europe. "If we don't open the door, even partly, you can't act surprised when the unfortunate from across the planet break in through the window," he said."
• UK: Labour promise full inquiry into 'odious' blacklisting of thousands of workers - Alleged role of covert police in passing information about workers to blacklisting agency could come under further scrutiny (Guardian, link)
USA: NSA allowed to continue spying on the rest of the world: Nearly Two Years After Snowden, Congress Poised to Do Something — Just Not Much (The Intercept, link):
"Congress is doing nothing to limit NSA programs ostensibly targeted at foreigners that nonetheless collect vast amounts of American communications, nor to limit the agency’s mass surveillance of non-American communications. The limited reforms in the new bill affect only the one program explicitly aimed at Americans." [emphasis added]
See: US Freedom Act 2015 (pdf) and see: GCHQ is authorised to spy on the world but the UK Interception of Communications Commissioner says this is OK as it is lawful (Statewatch Analysis)
CoE: Secretary General cites judicial weaknesses and media freedom as top human rights concerns: State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe; A shared responsibility for democratic security in Europe : Report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (pdf)
"Europe’s democratic shortcomings are bigger, deeper and geographically more widespread than previously understood according to the latest overview of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the 47 Council of Europe member states. The report, by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, identifies the lack of judicial independence in many countries and threats to media freedom across the continent as the two biggest challenges to democratic security.
“Honest and decent courts are essential for supporting democracy and maintaining stability, yet over a third of our member countries are failing to ensure that their legal systems are sufficiently independent and impartial,” said the Secretary General.
“Media freedom, on the other hand, is under pressure across the whole continent. Journalists face physical threats in many places, anti-terror laws are being used to limit free speech and certain media arrangements unfairly favour those who are in power.”
News in Brief (29.4.15)
• Migration: Europe's wakeup call (euobserver, link)
• MEPs call on member states to share asylum seeker burden (euractiv, link): "EU lawmakers Tuesday (28 April) demanded the bloc share the burden of accepting asylum seekers, as the pressure on southern European countries from migrants crossing the Mediterranean showed no sign of easing."
• Press release Open Access Now - Closing of the 2014-2015 mobilization (migreurop, link) with documentation
• UK intelligence tribunal to rule on surveillance case - Judgment could prove decisive in case involving Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj, returned to Gaddafi regime in UK-US rendition operation (Guardian, link)
• EU to set up new counter-terrorism center (I24news, link)
• Commission links security to development (euractiv, link) "The Juncker Commission presented Tuesday (28 April) new proposals to strengthen the link between security and development in the external actions of the European Union, two fields of action which were largely kept separate in the previous commission." See story below)
SECURITY AGENDA: European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf) published 28 April 2015
EU: Council of the European Union: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: LIMITE documents from 27 April 2015: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation):
"RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Preparation for a general approach: Chapter III (LIMITE doc no: 7978-REV 1-15, pdf) 53 pages with 233 Member State positions. Possible deal on the key chapter of the data protection regulation - going to COREPER tomorrow.
"SWEDEN: Chapters I and XI (LIMITE doc no: 8353-15,pdf)
EU: CONNECTED CONTINENT: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012:
"Preparation for the third informal trilogue - examination of the Presidency compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 8337-15,pdf)
EU: MED CRISIS: Agence Europe reports that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini said: ""To be able to take action, we have to have a United Nations mandate. That will not be easy, just as it will not be easy to get the agreement of the Libyan authorities which do not yet have a government of national unity, Mogherini said on Sunday in an interview with Italian media."
European Commission: Take Swift Action Against Attacks on Core EU Values in Spain! (Liberties EU, link): "Human rights, justice and the rule of law are core values on which the EU is founded. The Spanish government has adopted a package of legal reforms that severely undermines these principles. Ask the Commission to take action to protect European values!"
REPRIEVE: Renewed Concerns that UK 'Lobbied' US on CIA Torture Report (Common Dreams, link):
"Senior British ministers had several meetings in the past year with a Senate Security and Intelligence Committee member who was vocally opposed to the publication of the CIA torture report, its emerged.
Documents obtained by human rights organization Reprieve have revealed that in the 12 months prior to the Senate reports release, senior members of the British government had five previously undisclosed meetings with Senator Marco Rubio, who had publicly stated his opposition to the report's publication."
See also: As the Senate Torture Report Gathers Dust, Is the Obama Administration Giving Torturers De Facto Amnesty? (Just Security, link) and: CIA report: UK defends actions over interrogation claims (BBC News, link
Germany-NSA: Spying Close to Home: German Intelligence Under Fire for NSA Cooperation (Der Spiegel , link): "US intelligence spent years spying on European targets from a secretive base. Now, it seems that German intelligence was aware of the espionage -- and did nothing to stop it."
European Parliament to debate the German secret service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND) on Wednesday.
CJEU: Advocate-General: "Is it a crime to be a foreigner?" Opinion: all custodial criminal penalties for irregular migrants breach EU law
See: AG Opinion (pdf)
News in Brief (28.4.15)
• Justice for Assange (link) and see: Submission the the Working Group on the Arbitrary Detention by Mr Julian Assange (pdf): "The applicant, Mr. Julian Assange, hereby submits an urgent request for relief to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) and for an opinion regarding the arbitrary nature of the detention of Mr. Assange."
• EVENT VIDEO Chomsky, Jay, Raza & Machon: Whistleblowers, Activism & the Alternative Media (acTVism, link): "An informational event was hosted by acTVism Munich at the Muffatwerk in Munich in which the significance and role of whistleblowers, the alternative media, activism and a host of other related issues were discussed. Guests: Prof. Noam Chomsky, Paul Jay und Annie Machon."
• May 7&8: Conference 2015 - "Can We Have Some Privacy?" (Bard College, Berlin, link)
•Voices: Unequal Assistance: How Criminal Legal Aid Varies across the European Union (OSF, link): "Since 2009, the member states of the European Union have been steadily trying to establish standard protections for the rights of people who find themselves under police investigation, or facing criminal charges. If citizens can move across the EU to live, work, and study - so the EU argues - should they not also expect to find the same level of fairness in the criminal justice system? As a result of this effort, recent EU legislation has required detainees to be given information about their rights in a language they can understand, and to be guaranteed early access to a lawyer. Now the member states are embarking upon the interconnected but thorny question of access and eligibility to legal aid"
• No Interpol access to Schengen visa fingerprints of Belarusians (Belarusian News, link)
Statewatch News Online: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean (08/15) (pdf) and News Online, 27 April 2015 (09/15) (pdf): 18 stories with documentation and 26 News reports from In the News Digest (129 news links from across the EU, so far in April, updated daily)
EU will keep treaty with USA on terrorist finance tracking in force, see: Draft reply to a letter from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party concerning the Renewal of the TFTP Agreement between EU and US (pdf): "the Agreement will automatically be renewed for a period of 1 year from 1 August 2015." See attached letter to Ms Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chairperson, Article 29 Data Protection Working Party.
EU: MED CRISIS: Reportage:
• Royal Navy to send drones to the Mediterranean to save migrants - Unarmed surveillance drones could be sent to search for dangerously overloaded boats packed with people making the perilous crossing from Libya to Europe (Daily Telegraph, link)
• If the EU Attacks Migrant Boats in Zuwara, Libya, How Will It Select from Among the 100s of Boats? (Migrants at Sea, link): "There is no effective and safe (or legal) means by which a particular smuggling boat can be identified and destroyed without destroying multiple other boats."
• EU rescue ships head for Libya, as migrants die also in Balkans (Reuters, link): ""Yet hours after European Union leaders agreed in Brussels on Thursday to treble funding for EU maritime missions and pledged more ships and aircraft, 14 clandestine migrants were killed when a train ploughed into dozens of Somalis and Afghans making their way in darkness along a rail track in a Macedonian gorge."
• Italian judge keeps migrant disaster ship skipper behind bars (SUNdaily, link): "The Tunisian captain of a migrant boat in which at least 700 people
drowned is to remain behind bars as an Italian judge continues his inquiry into the deadly disaster."
• Africa's gendarme' France to seek UN approval for new military battlefront - this time in the sea (Mail & Guardian Africa, link): ""FRANCE and Britain agreed Thursday to seek United Nations approval for an EU military operation against people smugglers, in a bid to curb the soaring number of migrants dying as they seek a better life in Europe."
• UN Security Council Working on Migrant Resolution (ABC News, link): "France's ambassador to the U.N. says Security Council members are already working on a council resolution to address the spiraling migrant crisis."
• The EUs disappointing response to the migration crisis (IRIN, link): "A closer look at the list of commitments from Europes leaders after their hastily-arranged migrant crisis summit in Brussels reveals no substantial change in response and few measures likely to have any major impact on the flows of migrants and asylum-seekers trying to reach Europe" and Europe must stop exporting its migration fears or face the consequences (link):
"Thirty years ago we knew that there was a demographic and economic crisis on the horizon. We knew, because the International Labour Organization and the UN Fund for Population Activities had done their homework and told us so. We knew just how many young people would be entering the work force in the developing world; we knew how many jobs would be required; we knew that regular migration to the developed world could provide only a small percentage of solutions, at best; and we knew, too, that conflict, turmoil, upheaval and displacement would likely still be with us.
"And what did we do? Essentially, we did nothing. We put our heads in the sand, crossed our fingers, and hoped that the inevitable would never happen. Well, it did, as the inevitable generally does. And the price is being paid today, in lives lost in flight and in transit from situations of utter desperation which we saw coming, and in the floundering ineffectiveness of regional and national policies."
UK: Special branch "political police" spied on Wapping leaders (Morning Star, link):
"Reports unearthed by SOLOMON HUGHES show anti-violenceofficers kept secret files on union chiefs and MPs who dared to support striking printers: "In 2005 I asked for pecial Branch files relating to the Wapping dispute between the Print Unions and News International. The Metropolitan Police gave me the 215-page file, which includes regular - often daily - reports of the picketing and demoemonstrations by Special Branch officers....
In a bizarre twist, while the Metropolitan Police did release these Wapping files to me in 2005, they have since refused all requests from other people for copies of the files, for "national security" reasons. They were not secret in 2005, but they are in 2015."
See also: Postal staff urged to find out if they were included on blacklist - Secret file of workers uncovered in 2009 after raid by Information Commissioners Office on Consulting Association (Guardian, link)
LONDON: Police use CS spray as anti-gentrification protesters mass in Brixton - Police station and town hall invaded and shop window smashed as thousands demonstrate against soaring rents (Guardian, link):
"A peaceful protest against gentrification in Brixton, London, has ended in violence. The local town hall was stormed by protesters, the window of an estate agents was smashed, and CS spray gas was used to disperse protesters who had gathered at a Brixton police station.
More than 1,000 people had taken part in the Reclaim Brixton rally on Saturday and its organisers insisted they did not want trouble. Their aim was to demonstrate the communitys concern about the areas gentrification, with locals being priced out of the housing market and smaller, individual businesses being driven out by high rents."
News in Brief (27.4.15)
• Spanish gag law is against European values and basic democratic rights (European Alternatives, link): "The Spanish government has passed a law reclassifying peaceful protest as a threat to public securityand introducing hefty fines up to ¬600,000 for those joining demonstrations near sensitive targets including government buildings. The unauthoriseduse of images of security forces will also draw a ¬30,000 fine, in a clear attempt to intimidate journalists and citizens who document police abuses. You can even be prosecuted for a tweet if it contains a hashtag publicising an unauthorised political event. The law is due to come into force in July."
• Euro accession a turn-off for Polish voters (Reuters, link)
• UK refuses visa to Chechen political prisoner for Oxford University visit - Home Office accused of punishing activist over trumped-up terrorism charge (Daily Telegraph, link): "Human rights advocates in Russia have condemned a Home Office decision to refuse a British visa to a former political prisoner who was invited to take part in a research project at Oxford University."
• Clinks report highlights redundancies at criminal justice charities (Third Sector, link): "The umbrella body surveyed 62 of its 600-plus member organisations and found that nearly 400 jobs had been lost in three years"
The time is here to be seized (Institute of Race Relations, link) Written by A. Sivanandan:
"Neoliberalism is not working. All that stuff, about wealth trickling down, no society only individuals, the market as the regulator of everything, is shown to be false in terms of everyday reality."
And: Living to tell the tale (link): "On 18 April, a celebration event of the work of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and its Director Emeritus, Sivanandan, turned into a serious discussion on how to unite and strengthen struggles at a time of globalisation and austerity." and Film: Catching History on the Wing and Buy a copy of the film (link) plus Sivas aphorisms (powerpoint, link)
EU: European Public Prosecutors Office: Council of the European Union developing its negotiating position:
• CHAPTER III: STATUS, STRUCTURE AND ORGANISATION OF EPPO: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Orientation debate (LIMITE doc no: 8240-15, pdf): Includes 37 Member States' positions: "With a view to approaching an agreement on the text of this part of the future Regulation, the Presidency invites the Permanent Representatives to: lift any outstanding reservations on Articles 7 to 12 in the draft Regulation, as presented in Annex"
- MEETING DOCUMENT: Written comments from the German delegation (DS LIMITE doc no: 1234-15, pdf) Articles 20 to 26a.
- MEETING DOCUMENT: Written comments from the Austrian and German delegations: Article 26a (DS LIMITE doc no: 1237-15, pdf): Article 26a
- MEETING DOCUMENT: Proposals from the Finnish and Polish delegations (DS LIMITE doc no: 1238-15, pdf): Articles 26a and 20(1).
• CHAPTER IV: RULES OF PROCEDURE ON INVESTIGATIONS, PROSECUTIONS AND TRIAL PROCEEDINGS: MEETING DOCUMENT: Drafting proposal from the French delegation (DS LIMITE doc no: 1241-15, pdf): including covert operations
• Commission proposal for a Council Regulation: on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (COM 534-13, pdf)
See also: (EPPO) European Public Prosecutor: also the European Parliament wants a say&(EASFJ, link)
EU: NEW REGULATION ON DATA PROTECTION: European Parliament: Councils consolidated version of March 2015) (630 pages, 4.5MB, pdf) Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
"After decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion, and in the wake of a recent article in the Sun newspaper calling migrants cockroaches,the UN Human Rights Chief on Friday urged the U.K. authorities, media and regulatory bodies to take steps to curb incitement to hatred by British tabloid newspapers, in line with the countrys obligations under national and international law."
UN human rights chief denounces Sun over Katie Hopkins 'cockroach' column - High commissioner launches scathing attack on tabloid columnist, comparing Hopkins migrant remarks with hate language used before Rwandan genocide (Guardian, link)
"The UNs human rights chief has attacked the Sun newspaper for publishing an article by columnist Katie Hopkins, branding her use of the word cockroachesto describe migrants as reminiscent of anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda.
In a scathing and extraordinary intervention, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, points out that the word cockroacheswas used by both the Nazis and those behind the genocide in Rwanda, and urges the UK government, media and regulators to respect national and international laws on curbing incitement to hatred.
The Nazi media described people their masters wanted to eliminate as rats and cockroaches,said Zeid. Escaping Eritrea: 'If I die at sea, it's not a problem at least I won't be tortured': This type of language is clearly inflammatory and unacceptable, especially in a national newspaper.""
News in Brief (25-26.4.15)
• London: Reclaim Brixton march: Protesters smash up Foxtons shop front and storm Town Hall (Evening Standard, link)
• US unveils 6-year-old report on NSA surveillance (Washington Post, link): "With debate gearing up over the coming expiration of the Patriot Act surveillance law, the Obama administration on Saturday unveiled a 6-year-old report examining the once-secret program to collect information on Americans calls and emails. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence publicly released the redacted report following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times. The basics of the National Security Agency program had already been declassified, but the lengthy report includes some new details about the secrecy surrounding it."
• USA: Surveillance reform bill returns with concessions to NSA on data collection - Exclusive: New modifications to USA Freedom Act permit agency to warrantlessly monitor foreign targets in US and track certain domestic targets (Guardian, link): "According to congressional sources, the architects of the USA Freedom Act, a bill that seeks to stop the NSAs bulk collection of Americans phone records, have agreed to grant the surveillance giant temporary abilities to continue monitoring foreign targets who enter the US while agents seek domestic warrants; and to permit the agency to do the same for domestic targets for whom it has a probable-cause warrant who subsequently travel overseas."
EU: MED CRISIS: Draft list of Member State "pledges" of military and other "assets" (pdf) Note so far Germany has only given 2 ships and UK warships are not included.
EU: MED CRISIS: Dont Rock the Boat: EU leaders do as little as possible to address the migrant crisis (EU Law Analysis, link)
"Yesterday the EU leaders, in the European Council, adopted a policy for addressing the recent crisis of large-scale migrant death tolls crossing the Mediterranean. It builds upon the recent 10-point plan adopted by ministers (discussed here), but builds upon it in some respects. There were also some interesting last-minute changes to the earlier draft of the text (all of which are shown in the annex below), indicating leaders real priorities...
there is a specific commitment to triple the funds for search and rescue as regards existing EU operations. However, this is only within the mandate of Frontex and the head of the EU border agency has stated that this agency does not really have a search and rescue role.
It should be noted that since these operations are coordinated by Frontex, detailed rules of EU law will apply (discussed here) will apply. These rules do allow, in some cases, for returns of migrants directly from their rescue to non-EU countries as long as those countries are safe. It is unlikely that in the current situation, Libya would qualify as safe."
Although the statement limits fingerprinting to those who apply for asylum see Statewatch on EU plan for ""systematic identification": Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers
EU MED CRISIS: Press coverage:
- European Parliament: European Council: Civil Liberties Committee Chair regrets lack of commitment by EU leaders on the number of refugees to resettle (pdf): "Reacting to the final statement of the European Council held yesterday in Brussels, the Chair of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee responsible for dealing with migration, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), welcomed the setting up of a voluntary resettlement scheme to those qualifying for protection, but regretted the lack of commitment by EU leaders on the number of refugees to resettle. "Bolder pledges should have been made" at the summit, he said."
- Open letter to David Cameron: Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results - In this open letter, a coalition of 19 charities calls on the UK to ensure that a fully resourced search-and-rescue mission is re-established (Independent, link)
- EU to target migrant smugglers (euobserver, link): "EU leaders on Thursday (23 April) declared war on migrant smugglers and promised to triple the monthly budget of the EUs sea surveillance mission, Triton.But broader efforts to address politically sensitive issues on a better distribution of asylum seekers and refugees largely fell to the wayside as leaders instead placed emphasis on giving the EU's surveillance mission Triton more cash, more boats, and more planes.
- NGOs: Migration summit fell short of expectations (euractiv, link): "EU leaders have missed a real opportunity to make a serious difference in the lives and deaths of the people suffering daily in the Mediterranean, say NGOs."
- EU leaders will use military against refugees, warns leading MEP (euractiv, link)
- Coffin-carrying migrants march on European Council (euractiv, link)
GERMANY-NSA: NEW OUTCRY OVER SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL: For years, the German intelligence service (BND) shared its own collected data of telephone calls and internet traffic with the NSA, as Der Spiegel reports. However, not only data about criminal or terrorist activities was shared with the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade but also information on European companies and defense firms. German MPs speak of "very serious allegations" or even "treason"; the Chancellor's office names "technical and organizatorial deficits" at the German intelligence service. BND chair Gerhard Schindler is under fierce criticism. (Spiegel Online, link)
News in Brief (24.4.15)
• London airport police to use surveillance drones (BBC News, link)
• Summary of the Swedish Data retention law (DFI, link) and see: The Swedish Administrative Court of Appeal has decided to refer data retention case to the CJEU (twitter)
• Malawians seek compensation for Nyasaland massacre during British rule - Families of 33 pro-independence protesters killed in 1950s say decision to sue is inspired by success of legal action by Kenyan victims of Mau Mau crackdown (Guardian, link)
• Mediterranean dreams, climate realities by Paul Rogers (Open Democracy, link): "The drowning of would-be migrants attempting to reach Europe is a humanitarian tragedy that reflects a growing crisis of environmental security."
• Lawyers Take Dutch State to Court Over Eavesdropping (Liberties.eu)
EU MED CRISIS: European Council: Press release (pdf) Final text does not even commit to tiny number of 5,000 resettlement places
EU: MED CRISIS: MEPs condemn EU leaders shameful response to migration crisis in Mediterranean (GUE/NGL, link):
"GUE/NGL MEPS have condemned EU leaders in the strongest possible terms for not responding to the spiralling death toll in the Mediterranean with a much-needed robust search and rescue operation as well as proposals for safe and legal access to the EU.
Draft conclusions from today's emergency summit in Brussels show that instead EU governments want to prevent migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores and return swiftly those who arrive in Europe."
Euromedrights: OPEN LETTER TO THE EU HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENTS: No More Excuses for Deaths at Sea: Reform Policies, Save Lives! (link):
"Ahead of the EUs extraordinary summit of 23 April 2015, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) is calling on the 28 Heads of States and Governments to urgently reconsider the proposed package of measures to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. The EMHRN exhorts EU leaders to shift their focus away from surveillance, intelligence gathering and border controls towards a genuine human rights perspective with the protection of migrants and refugees at the heart of their concerns."
See also: A deadly crossing: Hasans story (AI, link)
See also: Questions and Answers: Facts and Figures on cooperation with Africa How does the EU cooperate with Africa on migration? (pdf) and An employment office in Bamako: the European Unions transformation of Mali into a migration control laboratory, by Stephan Dünnwald (Statewatch database) and see story below
See also; Special EU summit on the Mediterranean crisis: euractiv tracker (link)
EU: MED CRISIS: Most migrants crossing Mediterranean will be sent back, EU leaders to agree - Exclusive: Confidential draft from summit reveals that only 5,000 migrants will be allowed to resettle in Europe with at least 150,000 likely to be repatriated (Guardian link):
"EUs Frontex border agency, the head of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, said on the eve of the summit that saving migrants lives should not be the priority for his maritime patrols despite the clamour for a more humane response after the deaths of 800 refugees and migrants at the weekend."
See: Statewatch EU Council Draft Conclusions document: Draft European Council Conclusions (pdf)
EU-MED-CRISIS RESPONSE: Draft European Council Statement for 25 April 2015 Summit of Prime MInisters and Heads of State (pdf). includes:
- "to increase the search and rescue possibilities within the mandate of FRONTEX; [p.m.: welcome pledges]
But asks for "volunteer" Member States to join search and rescue - no commitment by all governments
- increased intelligence and police-cooperation with third countries
- systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers. The High Representative is invited to immediately begin
preparations for a possible CSDP operation to this effect, in accordance with international law
- increase support to Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger among others, to monitor and control the land borders and routes in order to prevent potential
migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores,
- promote readmission of unauthorised economic migrants to countries of origin
- new return programme for the rapid return of irregular migrants
- voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering at least 5,000 places to persons qualifying for protection
- registration and finger-printing" [emphasis added]
EU-MED CRISIS: EU borders chief says saving migrants' lives 'shouldn't be priority' for patrols - Coastal fleet missions off Italy not mandated or resourced for full search and rescue operations, and nor is EU, says head of Frontex agency (Guardian, link)
"Triton cannot be a search-and-rescue operation. I mean, in our operational plan, we cannot have provisions for proactive search-and-rescue action. This is not in Frontexs mandate, and this is in my understanding not in the mandate of the European Union,Leggeri told the Guardian."
And see today: Falling into line - but will Frontex's mandate be changed? Frontex ready to implement European Council conclusions - Executive Director (link): "My proposal is to increase as an immediate step air surveillance in the Mediterranean Sea south of Italy and Malta in addition to the vessels currently deployed, which is aimed at enhancing search and rescue capacities in the area,Leggeri said."
And see: EU leaders to consider military crackdown on Libya human traffickers (euractiv, link) and EU to 'capture and destroy' migrant traffickers' boats (euobserver, link): "the text [of the Draft Conclusions] does not mention changing Frontex's mandate, with human rights organisations regularly criticising the EU for focusing on protecting its borders rather than dealing with the humanitarian aspect."
EU: CJEU JUDGMENT: !mmigration law: Member States cannot just fine irregular migrants, they have to expel them (full text)
Frontex and eu-LISA Sign Cooperation Plan for 2015 (Frontex link), LISA Press release (pdf) and Annual Cooperation Plan 2015 of eu-LISA and Frontex (pdf)
CRISIS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN: German Marshall Fund: The United States and the Future of Mediterranean Security: Reflections from GMFs Mediterranean Strategy Group (GMF, link) This article in on the "Reading List" of the Background briefing on the Special European Council of 23 April 2015:
"Mediterranean security is set to pose key tests for both NATO and EU strategy in the years ahead. U.S. political and military engagement will be important elements in regional stability. But the relatively diffuse nature of Mediterranean security risks, a substantially reduced permanent military presence, and some marked differences in the European and U.S. approach to the region will complicate policy looking south.
See: GMF Reflections (pdf)
News in Brief (23.4.15)
• People leaving flowers outside European Union House in remembrance of lives lost on Europe's shores Mediterranean (Irish Refugee Council, twitter)
• From 'handouts' to 'hands on' - remodelling EU-Africa relations (euobserver, link)
• Frontex director Klaus Roesler hit by paint bombs over refugee policy (DEMOTIX, link)
• UK: SQUASH (Squatters' Action for Secure Homes): Homes, Not Jails SQUASHs latest report (link)
• Some tech firms being 'friendly to terrorists' says UK police chief (Reuters, link)
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Mass surveillance is counter-productive and endangers human rights (link):
"Approving a draft resolution based on a report by Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the Assembly said: Mass surveillance does not appear to have contributed to the prevention of terrorist attacks, contrary to earlier assertions made by senior intelligence officials. Instead, resources that might prevent attacks are diverted to mass surveillance, leaving potentially dangerous persons free to act.
The EU response to migrant deaths: protection and prevention or policy laundering? (EU Law Analysis, link): "Overall, this is a very disappointing document. Its not only vague on crucial details but more importantly focusses less on the situation of the migrants (addressing the root causes which cause them to move, and protection from drowning and persecution) and more on border control and repression."
and see: Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration (pdf) which does not include a response to the humanitarian situation for "search and rescue" and African Union Commission and European Commission meet to bring new impetus to the EU-Africa partnership (pdf): "In the context of the ongoing crisis in Libya and the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean, we have to enhance cooperation with North African and Sub Saharan African countries to build migration and border management capacities."
News in Brief (22.4.15)
• Britain considers ways to assist in Mediterranean migrant rescues (Guardian, link): "Weve got one of the strongest and best-organised aid budgets anywhere in Europe and we can help stabilise some of these countries,the prime minister said. Weve obviously got all sorts of resources at our disposal in terms of national criminal intelligence systems and intelligence services where we can go after the criminal gangs....Options under consideration included the deployment of one of Britains biggest warships, the HMS Bulwark, or using the destroyer HMS Dauntless, or naval helicopters, to help with surveillance"
• Will Europe make migrant crisis worse? (HRW, link): " ultimately, it would meaningfully address the root causes of forced displacement in a host of failed states that are hemorrhaging people: Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan..."
• The sea does not care: the wretched history of migrant voyages - Thousands of migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean in search of a better life. From the horrors of slavery to the coffin ships of the Irish Famine, there are grim historical parallels to the latest disasters (Guardian, link)
• This week: U.S. Congress tees up five cyber-surveillance proposals (Access, link): "These bills allow companies to sharejust about any type of information, including personal information such as your computers IP address and email content. As technologists explain in a letter to leaders in Congress, much of this information is of little use to cybersecurity, and sharing it may even pose a threat to network security."
• USA: Thirty years in jail for a single hair: the FBI's 'mass disaster' of false conviction - A dirty bomb of pseudo-science wrapped up nearly 268 cases perhaps hundreds more. Now begins the herculean effort to right the wrongs (Guardian, link)
• Czechs, Germans to sign deal on extended police cooperation (Prague Post, link): "Rules for cross border pursuits and monitoring are expanded; drugs and theft are key problems"
ITALY: Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI) statement:
Italy and Europe must react immediately to stop the tragedy of the deaths in the Mediterranean:
"Inactivity makes them accomplices of a slaughter: A failure to immediately adopt the measures listed above would entail a serious responsibility on Europe's part as, by forgetting its founding values, it remains objectively indifferent to the tragedies that are taking place at our borders."
EU: OPENNESS: Secretive 'trialogue' talks to agree EU law face investigation (euractiv, link):
"Three-way talks between the major European institutions to broker deals on EU law face being investigated over their lack of transparency by the blocs maladministration watchdog."
See: Statewatch Analyses by Tony Bunyan: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all(pdf) and Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (pdf): "Under a new agreement between the Council and the European Parliament the efficiency of decision -making is enhanced at the expense of transparency, openness and accountability "
EU: LIBYA & SEARCH & RESCUE: European External Action Service: Libya, a Political Framework for a Crisis Approach (LIMITE doc no: 13829-14, pdf):"three possible scenarios for the near future; a stalemate, with no clear winner; an escalation of violence, in which one side might overcome the other following a full-scale civil war; or a cessation of hostilities and the resumption of the political process. What these scenarios demonstrate is that the possibility for the EU to define its strategy and programme its activities depends highly on the outcome. The first 2 scenarios are clearly not conducive to any major EU footprint and/or support programme. Only a ceasefire agreement could eventually allow for a resumption of EU support" [emphasis in original]
Mass drowning prompts talk of EU search-and-rescue operation (euobserver, link):
"The EU is mulling options to launch a fully-fledged search and rescue operation following the reported drowning of some 700 EU-bound migrants over the weekend. Speaking on the behalf of Latvias EU presidency, interior minister Rihards Kozlovskis on Monday (20 April) said options should be explored for setting up a full-fledged search and rescue operation of the EU.
But Kozlovskis call for a EU-wide rescue mission is likely to meet resistance from national governments like the UK, which insist aid efforts are a pull factor for more people to make the perilous journey. The deaths and boating tragedies have historically been met with emotional statements from the EU and most governments but little in terms of action. How many more people will have to drown until we finally act in Europe?said European parliament president Martin Schulz in a statement."
And: EU to launch military operations against migrant-smugglers in Libya (Guardian, link): "The European Union is to launch military operations against the networks of smugglers in Libya deemed culpable of sending thousands of people to their deaths in the Mediterranean. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration issues, said the operation would be civil-militarymodelled on previous military action in the Horn of Africa to combat Somali piracy. The military action would require a UN mandate." [emphasis added]"
News in Brief (21.4.15)
• UK-MALAYA: Supreme Court prepares to hear 1948 massacre survivors plea for British justice (Bindmans, link): "Tomorrow (22 April 2015) Britain's highest court will hear an extraordinary test case in which survivors of a 1948 massacre by British troops in colonial Malaya argue for a public inquiry into what happened and its six-decade long cover-up. The case has huge ramifications in Malaysia, where a campaign supported by 500 organisations has been pressing for justice for the survivors and their families, and in Northern Ireland, prompting an intervention in the litigation by its Attorney General and a response by the Pat Finnucane Centre and Rights Watch UK on behalf of families seeking accountability for British troops' actions during the Troubles."
• Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of Americas Drone War (The Intercept, link): " TOP-SECRET U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Intercept confirms that the sprawling U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany serves as the high-tech heart of Americas drone program. Ramstein is the site of a satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the American Southwest to communicate with their remote aircraft in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other targeted countries. The top-secret slide deck, dated July 2012, provides the most detailed blueprint seen to date of the technical architecture used to conduct strikes with Predator and Reaper drones."
• Ombudsman: EU must interrogate US over TTIP transparency (euractiv, link): "The United States resistance to greater transparency in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks, poses a problem to a European Commission that must answer demands for more openness from civil society if it is to seal the trade deal, the European Ombudsman has told EurActiv in an exclusive interview."
• Migrant crisis: good samaritans set sail in daring Mediterranean rescue mission - Philanthropists and activists launch private initiatives to distribute water, food and rafts to those in peril (Guardian, link)
• EU: DP NGO letter (pdf)"The undersigned organisations, NGOs from the European Union and around the globe are deeply concerned at the changes to the data protection reform package being made in the Council of the European Union. Europe's data protection framework is not just important for the protection of European citizens, it is not just important for building trust in European businesses, it is also crucial as an international gold standard for data protection and privacy on a global level"
• Mediterranean refugee crisis: EU reduced to impotent handwringing (Guardian, link) and UN says 800 migrants dead in boat disaster as Italy launches rescue of two more vessels - PM Matteo Renzi says Europe cannot close our eyes and commemorate later the tragedy, as another migrant boat runs aground on Rhodes
EUROPOL "CHECK THE WEB": Development of the German Federal Criminal Police Office Check the Web project, which was originally launched to monitor the Internet, into a referral unit for unpleasant content "Check the Web is now to be developed into an EU Internet Referral Unit":
"The CtW file contains structured information on videos, audio files, texts and statements published on the Internet. The organisations and individuals associated with the publications are linked with the stored publications and contain further background information. The evaluations of individual publications available in the Member States can also be supplied to CtW. The database also contains information on relevant individuals, organisations, media centres and internet sites in the field of religiously-motivated terrorism."
See also: Fight against terrorism: follow-up to the statement of 12 February by the Members of the European Council and to the Riga Joint Statement of 29 January by the Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of the EU - Implementation of measures( (LIMITE doc no: 6606-15, pdf)
"Leaked copies of the upcoming Digital Single Market Strategy and its supporting Evidence file show the European Commission is ready to propose vast regulatory reforms that could affect everything from sales taxes and e-privacy to Internet searches and big data. The Evidence file, obtained on Monday by POLITICO, tracked changes in the Commissions priorities and concern for its public image... The strategy, which is entering into service consultation Tuesday and is set to be released on May 6, sets out a roadmap for pushing member states to accept far-reaching changes....
the Commissions document pointedly identifies their failure to finalize a substantial Telecom Single Market package, known as Connected Continent. The inter-service version of the new plan, now circulating, confirms that the Commission is giving up on much of the Connected Continent and, for now, settling for a deal restricted to roaming and net neutrality."
See also: CONNECTED CONTINENT: UPDATED for TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012 - Preparation for the second informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 7741-rev-1-15, 308 pages, pdf) ""The second informal trilogue will take place on 21 April 2015." Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
EU: "FORTRESS EUROPE" RE-BORN: SEARCH & RESCUE CRISIS IN MED: Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council: Ten point action plan on migration (pdf) which do not include a response to the humanitarian situation for "search and rescue" but which includes:
- "A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers" which would require a "civil-military" operation to be authorised by the Council
- "Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants"
- "Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States" and "Consider options for an emergency relocation"
See: Mediterranean migrant crisis: EU sets out measures (BBC News, link) and Mediterranean Humanitarian Crisis: if not now, then when will the EU trigger the temporary protectionmechanism? (EASFJ, link)
France debates proposed surveillance laws amidst civil society opposition A new bill on intelligence gathering, debated this week in the French Parliament has been criticised over its ambiguity, allowing for increased surveillance by the State. Motivated by the protection of national security, as well as territorial integrity, the bill is drafted for the additional purpose of counter-terrorism, counter organised crime and in the interests of foreign policy including within the European Union.
If passed, the bill would strengthen the monitoring techniques of intelligence services as well as the methods and technology currently used in surveillance.
Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean: What can the EU do? (EU Law Analysis, link): "There is a moral imperative for the EU to act swiftly and effectively to address the issue."
And see: EU ministers meet for crisis talks after hundreds of migrants drown in Mediterranean - Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi says EU action must be a priority as death toll of drownings this year now stands at 1,500 50 times more than at same point in 2014 (Guardian, link)
and also Watch the Med (link): "Watch the Mediterranean Sea is an online mapping platform to monitor the deaths and violations of migrants' rights at the maritime borders of the EU"
EU: Response to deaths in the Mediterranean (19.4.15): Press release (pdf):
"the Foreign Affairs Council that will meet tomorrow in Luxembourg, will [discuss] the next steps the EU is going to take to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in an effective and truly European way."
EU: Search and rescue: The Observer view on the human tragedy in the Mediterranean (link) Editorial: "Europe cant afford to sit back and do nothing when thousands of migrants are dying every week in search of a new life in Italy and Greece... The fundamental causes of this crisis will take years to address. An urgent first step is to reinstitute EU-underwritten search and rescue operations" and see:
Trivialising migrant deaths: why words matter (EU Law Analysis, link): "The escalating tragedy of thousands of migrants lives being lost every year during attempted Mediterranean crossings is one of the most difficult issues facing the EUs immigration policy."
EU response: European Commission: European Commission Statement on developments in the Mediterranean (19-4-15,pdf): "as long as countries of origin and transit do not take action to prevent these desperate trips, people will continue to put their lives at risk" [emphasis added]
And see: Statement of High Representative on capsizing of a migrants' boat in the Mediterranean Sea (19-4-15, pdf):
"Every single day, we have the duty to save human lives, sharing among all the 28 this duty and a responsibility that for too long has been left only to the southern countries.... I've decided to put the issue of migration as a formal point on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council I convened tomorrow in Luxembourg, where I'll present a set of proposals for Libya, one of the main routes of illegal trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:
"Migrants are fleeing from war, persecution and poverty which require long-term solutions. The underlying causes are wars and conflicts, persecution by oppressive and authoritarian regimes or "broken" states, poverty stemming from global inequality and exploitation and the long-term implications of climate change. And the political will to meaningfully address these issues is manifestly absent.
The response to the immediate and continuing tragedies should be obvious. The EU needs to launch an unequivocal and permanent search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean matched by a commitment by all EU governments to share responsibility for migrants' welfare." .
EU: European Commission says the plans for accession by the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights needs to be changed: Presidency: To: Working Party on fundamental rights, citizens' rights and free movement of persons: On: 21 April 2015: Subject: Technical written contribution from the Commission services - Co-respondent mechanism - Prior involvement of the CJEU (LIMITE doc no DS 1216-15, pdf):
"Article 3 (6) of the draft Accession Agreement should be amended in such a way as to provide for an unlimited right of the EU as a co-respondent to initiate the prior involvement procedure (on the basis of its own interpretation of the case of the Court of Justice)
- paragraph 66 of the Explanatory Report should be amended in order to clarify that the prior involvement procedure also covers the interpretation (and not only the validity) of secondary law."
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposals from Eurojust: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7445-15, pdf) including the involvement of Eurojust at the investigative stage.prior to arrest and charges.
News in Brief (19.4.15)
EUISS Yearbook of European Security Y"E"S 2015 (EU Institute for Security Studies, 242 pages, link)
UK: Erol Incedal trial: media groups dispute refusal to lift reporting restrictions - The Guardian, Times, Daily Mail and others launch challenge to restrictions in terrorism trial of London student cleared of plotting Mumbai-style attack. This article omits information that the Guardian and other news organisations are currently prohibited by a court order from publishing (Guardian, link)
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Launch of a parliamentary campaign to end immigration detention of children (link): "This parliamentary campaign is part of a global campaign launched during the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in 2012. It aims to raise awareness of the issue in Europe, and to encourage states to adopt alternatives to detention that fulfil the best interests of the child and allow children to remain with their family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts while their immigration status is being resolved."
UK: Julian Assange speech prompts judges to boycott legal conference - Senior British justices say the addition of a fugitive from justice at short notice forced them to withdraw from the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow (Guardian, link)
EU Zombie Law: the CJEU re-animates the old 'third pillar' (EU Law Analysis, link):
"Back in 1993, when the Maastricht Treaty entered into force, the EU began adopting measures on criminal law and policing under a peculiar institutional system, known in practice as the third pillar of EU law. This system was amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999, and then survived several attempts to kill it over the next decade; indeed I once compared it to Rasputin. The Treaty of Lisbon nominally finished it off it as from that Treatys entry into force (1 December 2009); but this was subject to a five-year transitional period.
That makes it sound as though the third pillar finally came to an end on 1 December 2014 but it did not. Indeed two judgments of the CJEU yesterday (here and here) not only maintain old third pillar measures in force, but allow new measures based on them to be adopted. Third pillar measures arent exactly dead yet rather they are undead. Lets take a look at these zombies of EU law."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: Biometric data and data protection law: the CJEU loses the plot (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, Universityof Essex:
"I wont mince words: this judgment is appalling. Its sensible enough as regards the scope of the passports Regulation itself, which clearly wasnt intended to apply to any national identity cards or to the creation of government databases using biometric data. But the Courts fundamental flaw is its failure to confirm and elaborate upon the application of the Charter and the data protection Directive to such databases."
See: Judgment (pdf)
EU: ODYSSEUS Network: EUROPEAN SUMMER SCHOOL: European Union Law & Policy on Immigration and Asylum (pdf): 29 June - 10 July 2015, UNIVERSITÉ LIBRE DE BRUXELLES.
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Data Protection Regulation, DP Directive (LEAs) & Connected Continent (Updated)
"RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: CHAP III: Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter VII (LIMITE doc no 7722-15, pdf) Council developing its negotiating position with 90 Member State positions/footnotes)
"LEAs PERSONAL DATA EXCHANGE: Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal
penalties, and the free movement of such data - Chapters I and II (LIMITE doc no 7740-15, pdf) Council developing its negotiating position with 184 Member State positions/footnotes) significant points: Chapter I: General provisions and Chapter II Principles.
See Statewatch: EU: Observatory on data protection and law enforcement agencies
• CONNECTED CONTINENT: UPDATED for TRILOGUE: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012 - Preparation for the second informal trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 7741-rev-1-15, 308 pages, pdf) ""The second informal trilogue will take place on 21 April 2015." Multi-column document: Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and proposed "compromise"
IRELAND: Supreme Court alters rule for criminal trial evidence - Bar on use of evidence obtained in breach of a constitutional right has now been removed (Irish Times, link):
"A hugely significant majority Supreme Court decision today has introduced a new rule concerning the admissibility of evidence in criminal trials.... By a four to three majority, the court granted an appeal by the DPP to alter a rule which had applied since the 1990 Supreme Court DPP v Kenny decision.
That rule effectively excluded all evidence obtained in circumstances where there was a breach of a constitutional right, whether or not that breach was deliberate or due to a mistake. The majority court decision introduces a new test which provides that evidence taken in deliberate and consciousviolation of constitutional rights should be excluded except in certain exceptional circumstances."
See: Supreme Court Judgment (pdf), Dissenting view (pdf), Judgment of Mr. Justice Clarke delivered the 15th April, 2015 (pdf) and Information Note (pdf)
EU: Rights groups: EU leaders dont care about drowning immigrants (euractiv, link): "Rights groups lashed out at the EU on Wednesday for scrapping rescue operations in the Mediterranean, saying it had endangered the lives of thousands of desperate migrants making perilous journeys across the sea."
And see: CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Mediterranean migrant tragedy: PACE rapporteur calls for a co-ordinated European response (link): "The humanitarian plight of these people has become unbearable,said the rapporteur. The human rights of refugees, on the one hand, as well as the fight against unscrupulous traffickers, on the other, should be addressed at a European level as a matter of priority.
See: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos on the situation in the Mediterranean at the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament
Brussels, 14 April 2015 (pdf): Makes no mention or commitment to search and rescue.
News in Brief (16.4.15)
"London Radical Bookfair 2015 - presented by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (link): LONDON RADICAL BOOKFAIR 12 noon - 7pm, Saturday 9 May
47/49 Tanner Street, London SE1 3PL (tube: London Bridge) https://londonradicalbookfair.wordpress.com FREE EVENT!
• The Commission's failure to carry out a human rights impact assessment of the envisaged EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (link) and see: Draft recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry into complaint 1409/2014/JN against the European Commission (link) and also: EU Commissions refusal to conduct a human rights impact assessment in the context of trade agreement negotiations constitutes maladministration, says EU Ombudsperson (FIDH, link)
• Secret documents shine light on GCSB spying in Bangladesh (New Zealand Herald, link): "Secret files reveal the GCSB spies both on and for the South-East Asian nation" See: Document (pdf)
• Pressure mounts as two more MEPs question Commission on postal addresses policy (Access-Info, link)
• Special Branch collusion with Southampton University security (Undercover Research Group, link)
• German government repackages data retention regulations (euractiv, link): "With their proposal to reintroduce data retention in Germany, Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière are planning a new law that opposition parties say is simply a scheme to relabelexisting legislation"
• EU under pressure over migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean - Human rights organisations call for collective European effort to prevent further disasters after 400 lives lost in latest incident (Guardian, link)
• Data protection and privacy must be excluded from TTIP (LSE Media Policy Project, link)
• 'There Is No Limit to Jobbik's Expansion': Does Hungary's Future Belong to the Far Right? (VICE News, link): "It has been denounced by opponents as a stain on Hungary, an alarming reflection of rising nationalism and xenophobic sentiment. But to far right party Jobbik, the victory of its first ever directly elected parliamentarian is a sign that it is the movement of the future."
• Yes voters right to suspect MI5 of spying on them (The Scotsman, link)
• Dutch Government Wants Carte Blanche to Link Data without Restrictions (liberties.eu, link): "A legislative proposal from the Dutch government would enable public authorities to link all available data of citizens for any purpose, partly suspending the Personal Data Protection Act."
• USA: Counter-Terrorism Officials Helped Track Black Lives Matter Protesters (East Bay Express, link): "A cache of California Highway Patrol emails provides a glimpse into how anti-terrorism agents helped law enforcement officials monitor Black Lives Matter protesters on the web."
• UK: Which of us are being watched? (Morning Star, link): "KEITH EWING, JOAN MAHONEY and ANDREW MORETTA probe the Special Branch files which destroyed an innocent mans livelihood and ask whether anyone on the left is safe from secretive state-sponsored sabotage."
EU: ACCOUNTABILITY of SIGNAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES: CoE: Venice Commission: Update of the 2007 Report on the democratic oversight of the Security Services and Report on the democratic oversight of Signals Intelligence Agencies (pdf): Adopted by the Venice Commission at its 102nd Plenary Session (Venice, 20-21 March 2015).
Lampedusa: why are so many migrants dying at sea? (Channel 4 News, link): "The UNHCR says that at least 500 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far in 2015 - 30 times higher than in the same period last year. Channel 4 News asks if European policy is to blame."
See: EU Council of the European Union: Migratory pressures: trends and further actions (LIMITE doc no: 6565-rev-1-15, pdf), includes: "effective return policy: The swift return of migrants could serve as an example to counter the vain promises that migrants will see an immediate improvement in their lives in the EU....."
And: UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation - Refugees and human rights organisations react with anger as minister says saving people encourages others to risk voyage (Guardian, linlk
"British policy was quietly spelled out in a recent House of Lords written answer by the new Foreign Office minister, Lady Anelay: We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean,she said, adding that the government believed there was an unintended pull factor, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths. [emphasis added]
UK-EU: The UK's general election: a fundamental change to UK/EU relations? (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex:
" The result of the current British election campaign could be crucial for the future of the UKs relations with the European Union. Every UK-wide election party which is likely to win seats in the election has now released its election manifesto, namely: the Conservatives; Labour; Liberal Democrats; UKIP; and the Greens. Its therefore a good time to examine what the parties are saying about the EU, and what the various post-election scenarios would mean for the UKs relations with the EU."
Germany-Egypt: What new progress can the Federal Government report on the negotiations or potential conclusion of an agreement regarding police cooperation with Egypt (pdf): Written question submitted by Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko on 25 March 2015: Including:
"In February 2015, the Federal Ministry of the Interior agreed measures with the Ministry of Interior Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt for a more intensive cooperation in the Federal Polices sphere of responsibility for the current year. These measures cover combatting illegal migration, support in ensuring aviation security, as well as the topics of explosive detection/disposal, police role at major events and training."
EU: Council of the European Union: ID: National contact points & Mutual recognition: confiscation orders
• Implementation of the Framework Decision 2006/783/JHA of the Council of the European Union of 6 October 2006 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to confiscation orders - Information provided to the General Secretariat (pdf):Member States' listing.
"updated information about the state of play of the implementation of Framework Decision 2006/783/JHA of 6 October 2006 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to confiscation orders (OJ L 328, 24.11.2006, p. 59). The information provided in the table is up-to-date as at 31 March 2015".
EU: European Parliament: International Trade Committee: TTIP: MEPs differ on safeguards for data, services, environment and investment (Press release, pdf): "Eight hundred and ninety-eight amendments to a draft resolution on progress in talks with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were debated by the International Trade Committee on Monday."
And see: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Recommendations to the European Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (pdf) Rapporteur: Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP.
News in Brief (15.14.15)
• EU Airlines Face Growing Demand for Passenger Data (Wall Street Journal, link) Statewatch story filed on 8.3.15: European Commission in a pickle over PNR
• EU-USA: Joint Press Statement for the 2015 U.S.-European Union Information Society Dialogue (US State Department, link)
• EUs approach to migrants: humanitarian rhetoric, inhumane treatment (Open Democracy, link)
• EU to accuse Google of abusing power (euobserver, link)
• Outcry over French Intelligence Bill (euractiv, link)
• In Germany, Data Retention refuses to die (EDRI, link)
• Cameron hints at civil liberties crack-down after election (Politics.co.uk, link)
• Writers demand greater protection for refugees in Europe - More than 1,100 authors sign a petition to the European parliament, calling on EU countries to create common, humane laws of asylum (Guardian, link)
• Brussels vows to block Cameron on EU treaty (The Times, link): "The president of the European Commission has ruled out any treaty negotiations on Britains relationship with Europe until two years after the referendum promised by David Cameron yesterday... sources close to Jean-Claude Juncker told The Times that there was no prospect of formal plans for treaty change until the end of 2019 at the earliest, with negotiations beginning the following year."
• Germany: Linke: Police instigated Frankfurt violence (The Local, link): "The head of Die Linke (The Left Party), Gregor Gysi, suggested on Monday that the security services were behind the violence which broke out at the Blockupy protest in Frankfurt in March"
• USA: CBS4 Investigation: TSA Screeners At DIA Manipulated System To Grope Mens Genitals (CBS Denver, link)
Statewatch: News Online, 13 April 2015 (07/15) (pdf): 24 pages: "News, Analyses and extensive Documentation "EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA surveillance "News in Brief "Using the Statewatch website. Search our database (over 31,000 entries added since 1991) for more articles or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates from Statewatch News Online.
EU: Council of the European Union: NIS trilogue: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security: Preparation for the informal trilogue (LIMITE 6905-15, pdf) Council presentation of multi-column document with Commission proposal, European Parliament and Council positions and "Compromise" text.
EU: The difference between torture and other ill-treatment: Cestaro v. Italy and the prohibited purposerequirement (EU Law Analysis, link):
"What is the central element which distinguishes torture from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment? Some scholars claim that the prohibited purposerequirement of the torture definition is the most central as well as the only criterion which is decisive in differentiating between that crime and other forms of ill-treatment.. However, in my view this is incorrect..."
News in Brief (14.4.15)
UK: SCHENGEN SIS II: Scotland to make record number of extraditions as UK gains access to EU crime database (Scottish Legal News, link)
USA-EU: After victory for net neutrality in the US, the battle moves to Europe - Campaign urges the European parliament to save EU net neutrality (ars technica, link) and see: Save the Internet! Defend net neutrality in Europe: Your freedom online is threatened by an EU proposal: The fight for the open internet is happening right now in Brussels (Save the Internet.eu, link)
Former Blackwater guards sentenced for massacre of unarmed Iraqi civilians - Ex-security contractor receives life in prison and three fellow employees sentenced to 30 years each after killing of 14 civilians in 2007 (Guardian, link)
Pre-trial detention (Fair Trials, link)
Fight discrimination, Schulz says at Nazi camp (ruractiv, link): "The head of the European Parliament implored citizens to fight the "demons" of racism and anti-Semitism that still haunt Europe, in a speech to mark the liberation of Germany's Buchenwald concentration camp 70 years ago."
EU: Council of the European Union: Intelligence exchange: Proposals from Europol: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no 7272-25, pdf): lots of figures including:
• Use of Europol's secure information and intelligence platform (SIENA):
- Only 14 Member States have connected a counter terrorism unit/authority to SIENA.
- In 2014, terrorism crime related information and intelligence exchange accounted for 4% of the overall volume of messages exchanged (605.000) between EU Member States, Europol and third parties through SIENA. This ratio has been at comparable levels since 2010.
- This figure showed a significant increase to 8% in January 2015 but by the end of February 2015 had already returned to the average level of 4%." [emphasis in original]
UK JOINS SIS II: "Today the UK authorities took the necessary steps to integrate into the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS), the largest tool supporting law enforcement cooperation in Europe" (LISA) See: Press Release (pdf) and Council Implementing Decision (pdf) The UK is joining the police and judicial cooperation aspects of SIS II not aspects related to immigration and asylum:
"Article 3: As from 1 March 2015, SIS alerts defined in Chapters V (alerts in respect of persons wanted for arrest for surrender or extradition purposes), VI (alerts on missing persons), VII (alerts on persons sought to assist with a judicial procedure), VIII (alerts on persons and objects for discreet checks or specific checks) and IX (alerts on objects for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings)"
SPAIN : Watch world's first hologram march as thousands protest against 'gag law' - without being there (Mirror, link):
"Thousands of people have staged a protest over new laws which they claim will impede their human rights - but nobody was there. The world's first hologram march has been in staged in Spain in anger over new laws which will see heavy fines handed to public protestors.
The Spanish government has passed the controversial Citizen Safety Law that can see those protesting outside government buildings receive hefty fines. To get round the new laws - set to come into effect in July - demonstrators organised the virtual protest which saw ghost-like figures armed with placards marching past the Spanish Parliament in Madrid."
News in Brief (13.4.15)
"New French Data Transfer Rules Could be Sign of BCRs to Come (link): "On March 24, 2015 Frances Data Protection Authority (CNIL) issued a press release announcing the simplification of its data transfer policy. The new requirement will now allow companies to transfer data outside of the EU after going through just one authorization process. This change could anticipate a new strategy for regulating international data transfers on a global scale."
"Italy picks up another 700 boat migrants (euractiv, link): "Italian ships have picked up almost 700 migrants in seven inflatable boats and further rescue operations are underway, as calm seas favoured departures from Libya for the Italian coast, the coast guard said on Sunday"
"New Swiss vote on immigration 'inevitable', EU says (euobserver, link)
"Brussels unaware Malta had outsourced border control software (Independent, link): "After German MEP Cornelia Ernst had recently taken issue over Malta's use of the PISCES border control software, which was donated to the country by the American government in 2004, claiming that Malta's use of the software could constitute a security risk for other EU member states, the European Commission has said that it is, "not aware that Malta has externalised such IT-services"." and see: MALTA-USA: MEP questions Malta's use of US-supplied border security technology (Statewatch database)
"Italy rescues nearly 6,000 migrants in a single weekend - New arrivals, spurred on by warm weather and calm seas, bring the total number of migrants to have entered Italy this year to more than 15,000 (Guardian, link)
EU: Meijers Committee: Gaps and inconsistencies in legal protection in EU criminal law
"The current body of EU criminal law offers inconsistent and incomplete legal protection to European citizens. Shortcomings are found in the procedural safeguards in instruments of mutual recognition, the proposal on a European Public Prosecutors Office and the criteria used to decide on criminalization of conduct at the EU level. In light of an expert meeting held at the European Parliament in January 2015, the Meijers Committee publishes three short notes on gaps and inconsistencies in the legal protection offered by EU criminal law. This third note concerns the use of criteria to determine whether material prohibitions are appropriate at the EU level and the role of the European Parliament therein."
"Legal Protection and the future European Public Prosecutors Office (pdf) See story below
EU: Fundamental Rights and the European Public Prosecutors Office: an uncomfortable silence (EU Law Analysis, link):
"So far, political negotiations over the draft regulation have focused on the question why the EU is in in need of this new supranational body in the first place, and on the extent of the EUs influence on national affairs, particularly in such a sensitive area as criminal justice.
Supposing that in the near future the European Public Prosecutors Office will indeed be established, more attention to the substance of the current proposal needs to be paid without delay, particularly to the protection of fundamental rights. The current proposal raises serious concerns on this matter, as it is unclear who will supervise the actions of the EPPO and how this may be done effectively."
EU: Data Protection: Confirmation that the Data Protection Regulation reduces protection for data subjects from Directive 95/46/EC (Hawktalk, link): Summary of how the Council's position would reduce protection to below the 1995 Directive in UK, by Chris Pounder
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation - latest documents
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation):
"GENERAL PROVISIONS & GENERAL PROVISIONS: Chapters I and XI (LIMITE doc no: 7700-15, pdf) With 38 Member State positions or Footnotes.
"RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Chapter III (LIMITE doc no: 7651-15, pdf) With 150 Member State positions on Footnotes. Includes: "However, if requests are manifestly unfounded such as when the data subject repetitiously requests information or where the data subject abuses its right to receive information for example by providing false or misleading information when making the request, the controller could refuse to act on the request." [emphasis added]
"Chapters III and VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7526-15, pdf) includes "Profiling" (pp 6-7)and 15 Member State positions or Footnotes.
"PRINCIPLES, INDEPENDENT SUPERVISORY AUTHORITIES and CO-OPERATION AND CONSISTENCY: Chapters II, VI and VII (Doc no 7466-15, pdf) With 147 Member State positions or Footnotes
"Note: Spanish delegation on Chapters III & VIII (LIMITE doc no: 7586-ADD-1-15, pdf)
News in Brief (12.4.15)
"UK: Stephen Lawrence investigation: inquiry was not told of corrupt detective - Special unit concluded that John Davidson was corrupt but did not tell the public inquiry into the bungled investigation of teenagers murder (Guardian, link)
ITALY: GENOA 2001: Statewatch Analysis: Italy/ECtHR: 2001 Genoa G8 police beating in the Diaz-Pertini school was torture- Italy contravened art. 3 of the ECHR in case involving 62-year-old beaten during police operation (pdf):by Yasha Maccanico:
On 7 April 2015, the fourth section of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found Italy guilty of contravening art. 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which forbids torture and inhuman or degrading treatment due to the treatment Arnaldo Cestaro was subjected to and to the criminal offences used to prosecute the case. The courts press release highlights that:
In particular, the Court rules that, considering the totality of the circumstances that have been presented, the ill-treatment suffered by the applicant in the Diaz-Pertini school must be classified as torture in accordance with article 3 of the Convention. The Court notes that the lack of identification of its material authors results in part from the objective difficulty for the court to undertake certain identifications as well as due to shortcomings in cooperation by the police."
EU Council of the European Union: Migratory pressures: trends and further actions (LIMITE doc no: 6565-rev-1-15, pdf), includes:
"effective return policy: The swift return of migrants could serve as an example to counter the vain promises that migrants will see an immediate improvement in their lives in the EU....."
EU: Connected Continent: Council of the European Union: Preparation for the second informal trilogue: Proposal for a Regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 5 (LIMITE doc no 7741-15, 342 pages pdf): Multi-column document with Commission proposal, European Parliament position, Council position and "compromise" text.
Signiicant changes proposed by Council Presidency: "Before examination of the amendments, the Working Party will be further debriefed on the results of the two technical meetings and reasoning for the amendments as proposed by the Presidency."
UK: Institute of Race Relations: The Met Gangs Matrix institutional racism in action (link):
"Lee Bridges, Professor Emeritus (School of Law, University of Warwick), examines the ethnic composition of the Metropolitan polices gangs database.,,,
the presumption that gangs databases and the policing policies and practices that utilise them represent a clear example of institutional racism will remain. Indeed, there is a strong case for suspending their use as the basis of such policies as targeted stops and searches, let alone for special operations such as Operation Shield. which so clearly involve collective and potentially indiscriminate punishment."
And: Where was our independence? The persistent questions about the IPCCs Mark Duggan investigation (link) by Betsy Barkas:
"Last week the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report into the death of Mark Duggan exonerated the officers involved and was immediately condemned by the family as a whitewash. IRR News analyses previously unreleased internal documents that shed new light on the IPCCs investigation in the immediate aftermath of the shooting"
BELGIUM: CIRÉ statement on two suicides:A dark day for migrants and for Belgian migration policy - press statement of 3 April
"Thursday 2 April 2015 will remain etched as a dark day. Two people who were refused the right of residence by Belgium killed themselves. Acting as spokespersons for many others, they send out a message to our humanity and recall - if it still needs to be demonstrated - the true cost of our migration policies."
SURVEILLANCE: ECHR: Liberty takes fight against mass surveillance to European Court (LIberty, link) and see: Privacy International calls on Europes top human rights court to rule on British mass surveillance (Privacy International, link):
"Privacy International and several other human rights organisations are taking the UK Government to the European Court of Human Rights over its mass surveillance practices, after a judgement last year found that collecting all internet traffic flowing in and out of the UK and bulk intelligence sharing with the United States was legal.
The appeal, filed last week by Privacy International, Bytes for All, Amnesty International, Liberty, and other partners, comes in response to a ruling in December by the UKs surveillance court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, dealing with the industrial-scale spying programmes TEMPORA and PRISM revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden."
UK: The roots of PREVENT: the National Co-ordinator for Special Branch (Undercover research, link):
"For a long time it has been argued that Prevent is being used as cover for spying on the Muslim community. When you realise Prevent is just Special Branch re-branded, we think this conclusion is incontrovertible." And see: National Co-ordinator for Special Branch (Wiki, link)
News in Brief (10.4.15)
"USA: Dispatches: No More Excuses on Patriot Act Surveillance Reform (HRW, link)
"UK: What is a reasonable periodfor immigration detention? (Free Movement, link)
"EU: Dublin III Regulation on asylum and unaccompanied minors (EASFJ, link)
"GREECE: Golden Dawn Watch to shine a spotlight on upcoming trial - Greek anti-racism groups announced on Thursday an initiative to provide daily coverage and analysis of the upcoming trial of Greek far right party, Golden Dawn. (Press Project, link)
"Google ordered by German authority to change privacy practices (NETWORKWORLD, link)
"IRELAND: DirectProvision15: Legal Insights into the Direct Provision System (Human Rights in Ireland, link): "The Direct Provision system in Ireland to accommodate Asylum seekers is now 15 years old. It is a remarkable system and over the past 13 years I have visited almost every hostel at this point in different parts of the Country. All of them appear to have the same hallmarks. Direct provision hostels are institutions which are wholly unsuitable for the people and families who reside in them."
"The Killer Robots Accountability Gap (HRW, link): " Programmers, manufacturers, and military personnel could all escape liability for unlawful deaths and injuries caused by fully autonomous weapons, or killer robots,Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report was issued in advance of a multilateral meeting on the weapons at the United Nations in Geneva. The 38-page report, Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots,"
EU: Shipowners, Unions Urge EU Address Migrant Crisis (Maritime Executive, link):
"European and global operators of merchant ships have joined forces with seafarers unions in a letter urging EU Member States to take immediate collective action in addressing the growing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.....
In a joint letter to leaders of all 28 EU Members States dated March 31, the European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA), the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have warned that the crisis is spiralling out of control. They warn there is a serious risk of further catastrophic loss of life unless EU Member States respond with greater urgency."
"The Council of Europe anti-torture committee (CPT) today published the report on its visit to Spain in July 2014, in which it examines the treatment of irregular migrants intercepted in Melilla on the border with Morocco. It also assesses the implementation of previous CPT recommendations in relation to the detention centres for foreigners (CIEs) in Barcelona (Zona Franca) and Madrid (Aluche).....The CPT also expresses its concern on recently adopted legislation, pending in front of the Spanish parliament at the time of the adoption of the report, which legalises the practice of forcibly deporting irregular migrants without any prior identification or assessment of their needs."
UK: Data protection concerns 72% of Britons in post-Snowden world, research shows - NSA revelations, hacks and identity theft have left seven in 10 people in the UK concerned about their privacy, and a third willing to pay to protect information (Guardian, link): "New research has found that 72% of British adults are concerned about their private information online, worried about hackers and unauthorised access to their data."
EU: Council of the European Union: Vienna Declaration - Tackling Violent Extremism and Terrorism (LIMITE doc no 7500-15, pdf):
"Delegations will find in annex the declaration of the Ministerial Conference of Foreign and Interior Ministers Tackling Jihadism Togetherheld in Vienna on 20 March 2015...
We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Ministers of Interior of Croatia, Italy, Slovenia and Austria (as host of the Conference) together with our colleagues from the Western Balkans 6 in the presence of the European Commission, the OSCE, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Europol and the Regional Cooperation Council at the Conference Tackling Jihadism Together Shaping, Preventing, Reacting
REPRIEVE: UK Stalls Publication of CIA Rendition Flights Records (Common Dreams, link):
"The UK Government is continuing to delay the publication of flight records which could hold evidence of the use of British territory by CIA "torture flights" &SHY; over eight months after iit said it was "assessing their suitability for publication.... Commenting, Donald Campbell from Reprieve said: â¬SIt is now over seven years since the UK Government was forced to admit that CIA torture flights were allowed to use the British territory of Diego Garcia, yet we still seem no closer to the publication of flight records which could provide crucial evidence of what wen. on."
News in Brief (9.4.15)
"Spanish Citizens Security law: There is still some hope (EDRI, link)
"French surveillance legislation is off to a bad start (euractiv, link): "The new French Intelligence Bill has provoked concern among many of the countrys lawmakers, as well as international NGOs. According to French Human Rights Defender Jacques Toubon, the legislation contravenes the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights."
"German government blames Pegida for rise in crimes against refugees (euractiv, link): "Germanys Ministry of Internal Affairs is blaming right-wing extremist demonstrations, aimed especially at asylum seekers, for the growing number of attacks on refugee shelters."
"USA: DEA Global Surveillance Dragnet Exposed; Access to Data Likely Continues (The Intercept, link): "Secret mass surveillance conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration is falling under renewed scrutiny after fresh revelations about the broad scope of the agencys electronic spying... The DEAs data dragnet was apparently shut down by attorney general Eric Holder in September 2013. But on Wednesday, following USA Todays report, Human Rights Watch launched a lawsuit against the DEA over its bulk collection of phone records and is seeking a retrospective declaration that the surveillance was unlawful. And see: U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades (USA Today, link)
"TTIP: Protect our privacy in EU-US trade deal or ELSE, snarl MEPs (The Register, link)
"CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Spring Session: mass surveillance, drones, situation in Ukraine (link)
"Norway to pay reparations to Roma for racist policies and suffering under Nazis - Prime minister Erna Solberg apologises for discrimination which led to dozens of Roma dying in Nazi death camps after being denied re-entry into Norway (Guardian, link)
GENOA 2001: ECHR Press release: Police violence: Italian criminal law inadequate and not an effective deterrent (pdf) and Full-text of judgment - French (pdf):
"In todays Chamber judgment1 in the case of Cestaro v. Italy (application no. 6884/11) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of ill-treatment sustained by the applicant, and a further violation of Article 3 on account of the criminal legislation applied in the present case. The case concerned events which occurred at the end of the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001, in a school made available by the municipal authorities to be used as a night shelter by emonstrators. An anti-riot police unit entered the building around midnight to carry out a search, leading to acts of violence."
See: Statewatch Analysis: Italy: Making sense of the Genoa G8 trials and aftermath by Yasha Maccanico (pdf) and Statewatch Observatory: EU: Public order and reactions to protests
See also: Italian police 'tortured' Genoa G8 protester, says ECHR (BBC News, link)
USA: Exclusive: TSA Behavior Detection Program Targeting Undocumented Immigrants, Not Terrorists (The Intercept, link):
"A controversial Transportation Security Administration program that uses behavior indicatorsto identify potential terrorists is instead primarily targeting undocumented immigrants, according to a document obtained by The Intercept and interviews with current and former government officials.
The $900 million program, Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, employs behavior detection officers trained to identify passengers who exhibit behaviors that TSA believes could be linked to would-be terrorists. But in one five-week period at a major international airport in the United States in 2007, the year the program started, only about 4 percent of the passengers who were referred to secondary screening or law enforcement by behavior detection officers were arrested, and nearly 90 percent of those arrests were for being in the country illegally, according to a TSA document obtained by The Intercept.
Nothing in the SPOT records suggests that any of those arrested were associated with terrorist activity."
"This is the Kafkaesque position we have arrived at. It is impossible to know for certain whether a secret database holds data about you, so you can only speculate that your involvement in protests means it is possible. However, submitting a request without evidence that you are in fact on the database is a speculative search.To make matters worse, advice from the Information Commissioners Office yesterday suggested providing evidence of your participation in protests, to show that your request is not simply based on unreasonable assumptions or guesswork.
Thats correct: in order to find out if the police hold data about your participation in political protest, you are expected to tell the police all about your participation in political protest."
News in Brief (8.4.15)
"EU regrets Roma integration a long way off (euroactiv, link): "There is still a long way to go for Roma integration in the EU, the European Commission said on the eve of International Roma Day Wednesday (8 April)"
"Malaysia uses specious terrorism threat to regress on human rights - New Prevention of Terrorism Act will give Najib Razaks government powers to detain people without trial, and could usher in new wave of repression (Guardian, link)
EU: Council of the European Union:
"Foreign fighters": the EU response to UNSC Resolution 2178, the CoE Protocol and critical commentary
"AGREEMENT TO START NEGOTIATIONS BY WRITTEN PROCEDURE: Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations on an additional protocol supplementing the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (CETS No. 196) Outcome of written procedure (LIMITE doc no: CM 2128-15.pdf): "We are pleased to inform you that the written procedure initiated by CM 2089/15 of 30 March 2015 was successfully completed..... the United Kingdom regrets the late publication of the Recommendation for a proposed Council Decision. This was published only after the negotiations for the Additional Protocol had been commenced. This is not consistent with the duty of sincere cooperation." ("Written Procedure" ids a process by which Member States do not meet but the text is circulated to all Member States and agreement is assumed if there are no substantive problems - in this instance a Member State Statements are attached)
"Criminal justice response to the phenomenon of foreign fighters - Compilation of replies (LIMITE doc no: 5206-rev-2-15, 87 pages, pdf) Responses from 22 EU Member States
"Judicial response to terrorism = State of play and next steps (5917-15, pdf) including: "Reinforced cooperation with third countries is indispensable to amplifying the response to terrorism across the EU. This is of particular importance for the identification of the alleged perpetrators and the collection of evidence based in foreign jurisdictions or the collection of e-evidence."
Commentary: Foreign Fightersand EU implementation of the UNSC resolution 2178. Another case of Legislate in haste, repent at leisure&? (EASFJ, link): "the European Commission and the Council informed the EP of their intention to negotiate in the framework of the Council of Europe a protocol to the European Convention against terrorism, to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution 2178 on foreign terroristfighters... highlights the main aspects of the issue of Foreign Fighters starting from the International law dimension by taking as basic references:
the excellent briefing Foreign Fighters under International Lawof the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and the very timely and focused remarks of the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Martin Scheinin on UNSC Resolution 2178": Back to post-9/11 panic? Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters
Martin Scheinin's comments include:"Let us assume that a country applies a definition of terrorism that includes organized campaigns of indigenous groups toward self-determination by non-violent means. Criminalizing the provision of training to empower these groups, including in the field of human rights, would then be legitimized by OP6. The repressive regime would refer to its obligations under the UN Charter to justify a crackdown upon travel, training and funding of organizations and movements said to constitute a threat to the oppressive regime itself even when totally nonviolent."
EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE documents: Cyber Security, Restrictive Sanctions, PRUM automated data exchange
"EU Cybersecurity Strategy: Road map development (LIMITE doc no: 6183-rev-1-15. 22 pages, pdf): "Delegations will find in Annex an updated version of the road map on the implementation of the Council conclusions on the EU Cybersecurity Strategy taking into account the progress made on the respective already agreed actions, the discussions at the Friends of the Presidency Group on Cyber Issues meeting held on 23 February 2015 and subsequent comments received."
"Restrictive measures (Sanctions) - Update of the EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures (LIMITE doc no: 7383-rev-1-15, 34 pages, pdf) Covers: "Designation and identification of persons and entities subject to targeted restrictive measures - Identification of designated persons or entities - Claims concerning mistaken identity - De-listing" and financial sanctions.
"Italian delegation: Action 7.7 "To analyse the problem of underevaluation from the point of view of the possible involvement of organised crime in this type of fraud, to evaluate existing tools and best practices to counter this phenomenon (legal/operational) and to propose adoption of new ones if needed" - Final Report (LIMITE doc no: 16072-rev-2-14, pdf): "The aim of Action 7.7 of the CCWP was to "analyse the problem of undervaluation from the point of view of the possible involvement of organised crime in this type of fraud, to evaluate existing tools and best practices to counter this phenomenon (legal/operational) and to propose adoption of new ones if needed".
"PRUM: AUTOMATED DATA EXCHANGE: Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border-crime, Council Decision 2008/616/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the implementation of Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border-crime ("Prüm Decisions") - statistics and reports on automated data exchange for 2014 (5503-rev-2-15, 50 pages, pdf) Detailed, Member State by Member State statistics on the the automated exchange of DNA data, of dactyloscopic reference data as well as of Vehicle Registration Data (VRD).
News in Brief (7.4.15)
"UK: Court 'effectively strikes down' part of the Data Protection Act (Data Guidance, link)
"TTIP: Trade agreements must not undermine EU data protection laws, say Civil Liberties MEPs (European Parliament, link)
"Boat sinks in Aegean Sea, 4 dead (World Bulletin, link): "At least four people have drowned after a boat illegally carrying migrants to the Greek islands sank in the Aegean Sea on Monday, Turkish officials said. Nine people were also rescued, governor of the southwestern province of Mugla, Amir Cicek, told.....The migrant boat was heading to Greeces Kos Island when it capsized off the Datca Gulf, in Mugla province in southwestern Turkey,"
"FRANCE-UK: 'At night it's like a horror movie' inside Calais's official shanty town new jungle camp, which has no shelter for men and no running water, represents an alarming toughening in Frances treatment of UK-bound migrants (Guardian, link)
"Poland to build watchtowers at Kaliningrad enclave border (euroactiv, link)
"Opinion: Don't reintroduce Schengen border controls! - After last week's Germanwings crash, the German interior minister wants to examine reintroducing Schengen area border controls. It is a wrongly timed move playing on people's fear of terrorism, says DW's Nina Haase. (DW, link)
"IRELAND: FoI restrictions on refugee issues rushed through Oireachtas (Irish Times, link): "The Irish Refugee Council has expressed its concernat the manner in which restrictions to the Freedom of Information Act, as it applies to bodies dealing with asylum and refugee issues, were rushedthrough the Oireachtas before Easter. Both Houses debated and approved the restrictions on the date from which the records of two refugee bodies - Refugee Appeals Tribunal and the Refugee Applications Commissioner - can be now be accessed under the Act."
"UK: 40 illegal immigrants detained every day (The Times, link): " Forty illegal immigrants a day are being arrested in Britain as enforcement squads swoop on premises known for employing people in the black economy. Raids on Indian and Chinese restaurants, petrol stations and car washes have helped to boost the number of illegal immigrants being picked up by the authorities. "
"UK: "Should we talk to terrorists?" is The Big Question at forthcoming debate (Coventry University, link)
"UK: Returns Directorate: Detention services order 14/2012C: Home Office: Guidance: To provide instructions and guidance for Home Office staff operating in the detention estate on the correct process for dealing with individuals claiming to be under 18 (link) and Detention services order 02/2006 Release of detainees by IS 106 release orders Process: This order clarifies the procedures to be followed by staff on receipt of a form IS106 Release Order for a detainee in their custody (link)
"France: Bill Opens Door to Surveillance Society - Short-Changes Rights Obligations; Bad Model for Other Countries (HRW, link): "Draft legislation authorizing sweeping powers of digital surveillance is inconsistent with Frances international human rights commitments, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, which has already won approval of the National Assemblys Law Commission, would create a highly damaging model for other countries and should be reconsidered and revised, not rushed through the parliament."
"Italian coastguard and navy rescue 1,500 migrants in less than 24 hours - Migrants rescued in five separate operations after three of the vessels carrying them got into difficulty off Libyan coast (Guardian, link)
GERMANY: Investigators seek answers over Tröglitz asylum attack (DW, link): "Questions remained unanswered in the eastern German city of Tröglitz on Easter Sunday following what appeared to be an arson attack on a planned refugee camp. The attack has caused outrage across Europe. "
A Cabinet Office inquiry has been launched into the leaking of a government document concerning alleged remarks by Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), which are damaging to the SNP and the Labour Party. Are there historical parallels?
In 1924 the leak of the "Zinoviev letter" by MI6 to the Daily Mail contributed to the fall of the first (minority) Labour government: See: "Zinoviev letter" extract from The Political Police in Britain by Tony Bunyan, 1977 (pdf)
News in Brief (5.4.15)
"Push Back Frontex! Against a new dimension of left - to - die - policy at sea (WSF 2015 Tunis, pdf link)
"Pegida London demo hit by poor turnout and massive opposition (EDL News, link): "Pegida UK appears to be on its last legs as the far right organisation achieved a pitiful turnout and massive opposition by several hundred Londoner who turned up to stop them spreading their message of hate on the streets of the capital. The spin off group from the German neo Nazi group, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, have had little success in the United Kingdom."
"UK: MedConfidential: Keep My Secrets (link)
News in Brief (3.4.15)
"UK: 100% passport checks will mean ferry port gridlock, say coach operators - Ministers hope last-minute decision to phase in exit checks for Eurotunnel and cross-Channel ferry passengers will prevent peak-time queues (Guardian, link)
"EP-FRONTEX: Question for written answer to the Commission Marina Albiol Guzmán (GUE/NGL) Subject: Asylum applications and Frontex operations (link) and Answer (link): "According to information provided by Frontex, the agency has so far assisted and coordinated 270 joint return operations in which 13 798 non-EU citizens have been returned to their home countries. Frontex is not in possession of any figures on how many people have applied for asylum during these operations..." [emphasis added]
"ECRE has published an information note providing guidance to apply the recast Dublin Regulation from the perspective of the fundamental rights of the asylum seekers. The Dublin Regulation determines the Member State responsible for the examination of an asylum application in the EU (link)
"ETHICAL JOURNALISM NETWORK: "This month we published a new report covering 18 countries and focusing on growing concerns inside media about newsroom bias and secret deals which undermine ethical values. Untold Stories: How Corruption and Conflicts of Interest Stalk the Newsroom" (link to pdf Report)
EU: DATA RETENTION JUDGMENT: European Parliament: Legal Services: Opinion LIBE - Questions relating to the judgment of the Court of Justice of 8 April 2014 in Jolned Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12, Digital Rights Ireland and Seitlinger and others - Directive 2006/24/EC on data retention - Consequences of the judgment (27 pages, pdf)
"The DRI judgment presents a novel aspect in so far as the Court of Justice refers specifically to a particular body of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on the issue of "general programmes of surveillance", The Court of Justice has now effectively incorporated the same principles, stemming from this case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, into EU law in this same field. In view of the fact that the cited case-law of the European Court of Human Rights itself relates to a diverse category of surveillance measures (which is not at all limited to data retention issues), it is to be expected that the Court of Justice will, in future, also apply the same reasoning when assessing the validity, under the Charter, of other EU legislative acts in this same field of "general programmes of surveillance....
All new and pending ED legislative proposals which concern the special context of "general programmes of surveillance" must clearly now take account of the reasoning of the Court of Justice in the DRI judgment. Great care must therefore be taken in such cases to ensure full respect for the Charter.
The same considerations will apply also in the case of international agreements under negotiation, given that the EU legislature's discretion, in external relations, to conclude international agreements, under the Treaty and in accordance with the Charter, cannot be wider than the discretion, in internal matters, to adopt ED legislation applying within the ED legal order....
Following the DRI judgment, Member States run an even higher risk than before of having their legislation annulled by the national courts, in a similar way to what has already happened in a number of Member States."
But: "bilateral agreements concluded by the Member States with third countries requiring mass collection of personal data and exchange of personal data for law enforcement purposes would presumably have been concluded in the exercise of the competence of the Member States. Consequently the Charter would not be applicable to such agreements and so the DRI judgment would not then have any particular consequences in this regard." [emphasis added]
See also: European Parliament: Legal Service Opinion on the ECJ judgment (dated 8 April 2014, pdf) and Statewatch Observatory: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU (from 2004 and ongoing)
UK-ECHR: The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes: Oral hearing 10 June 2015: Alleged failure to conduct effective investigation into fatal shooting of person mistakenly identified as suspected terrorist: communicated (link): "The applicant is a relative of Mr Jean Charles de Menezes, who was mistakenly identified as a terrorist suspect and shot dead on 22 July 2005 by two special firearms officers in London."
See: Statement of facts (pdf).
See also: No charges to be brought against officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes (Statewatch database) and Justice4JeanFamily Campaign (Statewatch database)
News in Brief (2.4.15)
"Record number of migrants expected to drown in Mediterranean this year - In the first quarter of 2015, nearly 500 migrants have drowned, ten times as many as in the same period of 2014, leading to fears of a record death rate this year (Guardian, link)
"Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights (euobserver, link): "German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem"."
"UK: Reforming laws on free movement will be a headache for any future government (Democratic Audit, link): "Immigration will be one of the defining issues of the General Election, with Labour and the Conservatives responding to UKIPs hardline, anti-EU stance with tough and supposedly crowd-pleasing measures of their own. Here, Marley Morris argues that freedom of movement rules are something that any party is going to struggle to reform after the general election."
"Roadmap Practitioner Toolkits: Using EU law in Criminal practice (Fair Trials, link)
"Spain to allow illegal immigrants to access free public healthcare - The Spanish government has done a u-turn on its policy of banning undocumented migrants from seeing GPs after A&E wards were "saturated" (Daily Telegraph, link): "It seems more sensible and reasonable that basic health care should be offered [to immigrants] at local centres so that, among other things, A&E wards are not collapsed", Mariano Rajoy, the Spainish Prime Minister said, admitting that "decisions taken in some regions" had affected the central government's policy. Catalonia and the Basque Country led a revolt of six regions which created their own regulatory framework permitting illegal immigrants to access free health care, while other regions largely ignored the ban."
"UK: Kurds protest in support of British teenager at terrorism hearing - Two dozen protesters gathered outside Londons Old Bailey at the pre-trial hearing of Shilan Ozcelik, 18, charged in relation to activities in Syria and Iraq (Guardian, link): "A small but noisy group of Kurdish protesters gathered outside the Old Bailey in London on Wednesday to protest at terrorism charges brought against a British teenager. Shilan Ozcelik , an 18-year-old of Kurdish descent, was arrested earlier this year at Stansted airport. She is believed to be the first British citizen to be arrested for allegedly trying to join the campaign against Islamic State in eastern Syria and western Iraq."
"CoE:Recommendations on the protection of personal data in the workplace (CoE, link) and see: Recommendations (link)
"DHS renews quest for access to national license plate tracking system (Washington Post, link): "The Department of Homeland Security is seeking bids from companies able to provide law enforcement officials with access to a national license-plate tracking system a year after canceling a similar solicitation over privacy issues....Ginger McCall, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Centers Open Government Project, said the new safeguards were not meaningful.She called the data retention requirements exceedingly vagueand said tracking people through alert lists without a warrant is troubling."
African Union opposes outsourcing migrants (euobserver, link):
"The African Union is opposed to any EU-level plan to outsource asylum processing centres to countries in Africa. "From the African perspective, this would be a dangerous approach,said African Union ambassador to the EU, Ajay K Bramdeo, on Wednesday. Niger, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey may host such centres."
And: African envoy expresses concern over EU migrant center plans (New Europe, link)
See also Statewatch: Plan to set up "ad hoc operational cooperation mechanisms" between the EU and north African states, which will have a "real deterrent effect so that less and less migrants would be ready to put their life at risk to reach the European coasts" - to block refugees leaving Africa and hand them over to north African states
"Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled - Guidance for further work (LIMITE doc no: 7321-15, pdf) You might think it would be easy for EU governments to agree on facilitating access to publication for people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled - but you would be wrong:
"the will to sign without delay the Marrakesh Treaty was strong, but the issues linked to the legal basis and the nature of the competence of the European Union controversial, it was agreed that the discussions on those issues would be postponed to a later stage. Thus the Council reached a fragile compromise and adopted on 14 April 2014, the decision on the signing of the Marrakesh Treaty on behalf of the European Union, with the United Kingdom voting against and Poland abstaining out of opposition to the use of Article 207 TFEU as legal basis. The signature took place in Geneva on 30 April 2014."
But the EU Member States (governments) having signed up to the Treaty disagree on the legal basis for the EU to implement it. Worth reading.
"CHILD SUSPECTS RIGHTS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings - Outcome of the first trilogue and the first technical meeting / preparation of the second trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 7503-15, 132 pages, pdf): Report on trilogue meeting:
"The Presidency generally retains a positive impression of the two meetings, which were held in a very pleasant atmosphere. This being said, the pace of the meetings is rather low; the European Parliament clearly wants to take the negotiations regarding this Directive more slowly than the negotiations regarding the procedural rights Directives that were adopted in the recent years. It may therefore take more time before concrete results can be reported."
"EPPO: MAJOR RE-DRAFT OF COUNCIL's POSITION: Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (LIMITE doc no: 7070-15, pdf). Lots of footnotes referring to "Some delegations" or "A few delegations" "A number of delegations" or "Many delegations" without naming the Member States.
UNHCR concerned by border practices after deaths of two Iraqis at the Bulgaria-Turkey border (link to press release):
"GENEVA, 31 March (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Tuesday expressed increasing concern that people needing international protection were being blocked from entering the European Union, citing the deaths of two Iraqi men who were in a group of 12 Yazidi people allegedly beaten by Bulgarian border guards....
The statement followed a recent incident in which UNHCR was told 12 Iraqis belonging to the Yazidi minority were stopped by Bulgarian border guards as they tried to enter from Turkey. The Iraqis had their belongings seized and were badly beaten.
The group scattered and two of the men, suffering from severe injuries, died later of hypothermia on the Turkish side of the border. According to the reports, a third person was taken in a critical condition to a hospital in Edirne after Turkish authorities were alerted."
European Parliament: PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: Fair trials: MEPs beef up draft EU law on presumption of innocence (Press release, pdf):
"Draft EU rules to ensure that the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is fully respected in member states were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday. MEPs inserted amendments to prevent statements by public authorities that might suggest a suspect is guilty before a final conviction, ensure that the burden of proof stays with the prosecution and guarantee the rights to remain silent, not to incriminate oneself and to be present at trial...
Result of the vote on the mandate to open negotiations with the Council: 43 votes in favour, 6 against and 1 abstention."
Googles misuse of private browsing data entitles individuals to damages Court of Appeal (UK Human Rights Blog, link): Google Inc v Vidal-Hall and others  EWCA Civ 311 (27 March 2015) - read Judgment (pdf)
"This case concerned the misuse of private information by an internet provider based in the United States. Google had secretly tracked private information about users internet browsing without their knowledge or consent, and then handed the information on to third parties (a practice known as supplying Browser-Generated Information, or BGI)."
See also: Facebook tracking said to breach EU law (euobserver, link)
Exclusive: TSAs Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists (The Intercept, link):
"Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points. These are just a few of the suspicious signs that the Transportation Security Administration directs its officers to look out for and score in airport travelers, according to a confidential TSA document obtained exclusively by The Intercept.
The checklist is part of TSAs controversial program to identify potential terrorists based on behaviors that it thinks indicate stress or deception known as the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT."
See TSA document (pdf)
Why 1.3 million dead are not worth mentioning (Matt Carr's Infernal Machine - Notes From the Margins&, (link):
"Its one of the essential tenets of the new age of humanitarian war that war is not as bad as it used to be, or at least that its not so bad that the costs outweigh the gains....
Once of the ways in which these governments have attempted to ensure popular acceptance is by ignoring or downplaying any evidence that contradicts this new mythology of war. Last month a joint report Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the War on Terror produced by the medical-political peace organization Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival, and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War concluded that 1.3 million people have died as a direct or indirect of wars fought in three main theatres of war in Iraq (1 million), Afghanistan (220,000) and Pakistan (80,000)."
See: Physicians for Global Survival, and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War report: Body Count (pdf)
News in Brief (1.4.15)
"EU:-ECHR: Opinion 2/13 of the Court of Justice on access of EU to the ECHR One step ahead and two steps back (EASFJ, link)
"Fundamental rights in the EU: Where to next? (euobserver, link): "Despite progress made, there continues to be serious gaps in both the EU fundamental rights and equality legislation and its enforcement. This is all the more worrying in the current context of austerity, which is having a disproportionate impact on groups at risk of discrimination as well as adverse effects on equality policies."
"UK: Privacy, security and surveillance: tackling dilemmas and dangers in the digital realm (Wilton Park, link)
"UK: Probation officers face redundancy in plan to replace them with machines - Sodexo, UKs largest operator of privatised probation services, is to use cash-machine style kiosks for offenders to report in without seeing an officer (Guardian, link)
"Big Data poses questions about human role in society (euobserver, link)
"New Canadian Counterterrorism Law Threatens Environmental Groups (The Intercept, link): "Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, who campaigns for environmental protection on behalf of indigenous First Nations in Canada, wasnt surprised when, in 2012, she found out that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been keeping tabs on her. The Toronto Star that year obtained documents showing that federal police had monitored private meetings held between her coalition and local environmental groups."
"Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on the Czech Republic (link) and see: Report (pdf): " Particular attention was paid to the situation of juveniles, high-security and life-sentenced prisoners. For the first time in the Czech Republic, the delegation examined the treatment of and legal safeguards offered to persons held under the court-ordered measure of security detentionat Brno Prison. Further, the delegation visited a detention centre for foreigners as well as a psychiatric hospital where it examined the situation of involuntary patients. The report also deals with the issue of surgical castration of sex offenders which was the subject of consultations with representatives of the relevant national authorities."Dutch placing immigration issues centre stage (Irish Times, link): "Austerity and terrorism have made people in The Netherlands more conservative"
"Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights (euobserver, link): "German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem"." Following Canada's Bad Example, Now UK Wants To Muzzle Scientists And Their Inconvenient Truths (Techdirt, link)
"Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights (euobserver, link): "German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem"." Amazon's clouds are da bomb, say EU data protection watchdogs (The Register, link)
"Germany eyes obligatory ID for Schengen flights (euobserver, link): "German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has said the fact the air passengers in the EU's borderless region only need to present a ticket to board a plane is a "huge security problem"." Americans Privacy Strategies Post-Snowden (Pew Research Centre, link): "34% of those who are aware of the surveillance programs (30% of all adults) have taken at least one step to hide or shield their information from the government." and see: NSA Telephone Records Surveillance (EPIC, link)
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