News Digest: Round-up of new stories from across the EU (9.6.16)

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EU: Germany blocks Georgia's EU visa bid (EUobserver, link): "Germany has delayed Georgia’s bid to get EU visa-free travel in a political decision to be closely watched in Ukraine and beyond.

Germany, supported by France and Italy, said No to the move at an EU ambassadors’ meeting in Brussels on Wednesday (8 June). They did it the same day that Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili was in the EU capital to lobby for a Yes.

Berlin said the German public was worried about a recent spate of home burglaries by Georgian criminal groups in Germany, diplomatic sources said."

IRELAND: ‘I was told no black people allowed’ – South African students refused entry to Dublin pub (Irish Independent, link): "Two South African students living in Dublin have spoken of their experience of racism at a city centre pub.

Anathi and Ezile were refused entry to an unnamed establishment in Temple Bar on Sunday evening and were shocked to hear a security guard say that there were “no blacks allowed”.

“He was dead serious. We spoke to him to see if he was being serious or if maybe there was a language problem, but it was not a joke, not at all,” Anathi told RTE Radio One’s Liveline."

Ireland abortion laws cause 'inhuman' treatment: UN experts (France 24, link): "A woman in Ireland carrying a dying foetus was the victim of "inhuman" treatment caused by the country's strict abortion laws, United Nations experts said Thursday.

The UN Human Rights Committee called on Ireland to "amend" its abortion laws and if necessary its constitution to protect patients and health workers who fear criminal punishment for even providing information about terminating a pregnancy."

UK: Andy Burnham calls for 'toxic' Prevent strategy to be scrapped (The Guardian, link): "The duty on public bodies to report signs of radicalisation, included in the government’s strategy to counter Islamist extremism, is today’s equivalent of internment in Northern Ireland, the shadow home secretary, Andy Burnham, has said, calling for the strategy to be scrapped.

In a speech to the Chamber of Commerce in Manchester, Burnham called for a cross-party review of the Prevent strategy, but said his personal view was that the policy should be discarded. “I do feel that the brand is so toxic now that I think it’s got to go,” he said.

Burnham also announced Labour’s intention to oppose the government’s extremism bill, which was unveiled in last month’s Queen’s speech. It contains new powers to ban “extremist” organisations, gag individuals and enable local councils to close premises used to “promote hatred”."

UK: Police continue to stall in Undercover relationships case (Police Spies Out of Lives, link): "On Tuesday 7th June, a legal case over undercover police relationships was in the High Court. It was the latest battle in a four year campaign to hold the police to account, and in it the police continued to try to stall these civil proceedings and avoid disclosing evidence. The claimants, two women and a man [1], are suing The Metropolitan Police, South Wales Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers over sexual abuse committed by an undercover police officer in Cardiff – “Marco Jacobs”. [2]

Significantly, the Police backed down from asserting a blanket “Neither confirm nor deny” policy (NCND) to resist disclosing documents relevant to the case, and have now been directed by the court to apply by 23rd September 2016, if they wish, to withhold disclosing documents on the ground that it would damage the public interest."

UK: The Immigration Act 2016 In Plain English (RightsInfo, link): "On 12 May 2016, the Immigration Act 2016 came into force, making it officially UK law. The Act focusses on illegal migration and punitive measures for those who don’t “play by the rules”. It’s a massive new law and brings with it major revisions of the immigration system. Here are the key changes in plain-English."

USA: British firm aims to open immigration detention center near US-Mexico border (The Guardian, link): "The British security firm Serco has moved a step closer to entering the controversial but lucrative immigration detention market in the US, as the company successfully lobbied public officials in a small Texas county near the Mexico border to propose that the federal government open a family detention centre in the jurisdiction.

The billion-dollar company, implicated in numerous immigration detention centre scandals in the UK and Australia, has been lobbying the US government for more than a year in an effort to win detention contracts, sparking sustained criticism from immigrant rights groups.

The firm is now proposing that a shuttered nursing home in Jim Wells County, Texas, be reopened as a family detention centre, which could hold up to 600 detainees and would become the third privately managed centre in the United States."

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