Italy passes tough anti-migrant law (euobserver, link):
"Italy on Wednesday adopted an anti-migrant bill designed to more easily expel migrants and limit residency permits. Pushed through the lower parliament with 396 against 99, the bill spells the end for two-year "humanitarian protection" residency permits. Its adoption followed moves by Rome to also distance itself from ratifying (...)"
Spain ignores pleas to not send rescued migrants back to Libya (el pais, link)
"the 12 Africans who were plucked from the sea by a Spanish fishing boat are terrified of being returned."
Can 'voluntary colonialism' stop migration from Africa to Europe? (BBC News, link):
"A controversial proposal by a senior German official that foreign powers acquire land in Africa to curb migration has been rejected by the African Union, writes the BBC's Dickens Olewe. (...)
This will mean African countries leasing their land to a foreign body to "allow free development for 50 years", Mr Nooke said."
European Parliament: New rules for temporary border controls within the Schengen area (link):
"Internal border checks within the Schengen area should be limited to a maximum of one year, instead of the current two-year period, say MEPs.
The Schengen Borders Code, currently under revision, allows member states to carry out temporary checks at internal borders within the Schengen area, in the event of a serious threat to public order or to internal security.
In a plenary vote on Thursday establishing Parliament’s position for negotiating with EU ministers, MEPs agreed that: the initial period for border checks should be limited to two months, instead of the current six-month period, and border checks couldn’t be extended beyond one year, halving the current maximum limit of two years."
Hungary persists in row with Soros-founded university (euractiv, link):
"Just days from a deadline to settle a legal dispute with a university founded by US billionaire George Soros, Hungary’s foreign minister indicated Wednesday (28 November) his government will not back down."
Statewatch Analysis: 'More police’ is not a synonym for ‘more security’ (pdf) by Andreu Merino. Originally published by NacióDigital:
"In May next year the mayoral elections for the city of Barcelona will take place. Candidates for the position have recently intensified their discourse over the perception of insecurity in the city, yet many experts recommend alternative solutions to simply increasing police presence in public places."
Open Arms, Sea Watch and Mediterranea strongly condemn the negotiations between the countries of the European Union and Libya to return to the latter country the people rescued by the fishing boat Nuestra Madre de Loreto.
UK: Police facial recognition 'needs considerable investment' (BBC News, link):
""Considerable investment" is needed to get consistency from the police's use of facial recognition, according to a Cardiff University study.
South Wales Police has used automated facial recognition (AFR) technology at several events in Cardiff since the Champions League final in June 2017.
The study found the accuracy of AFR has improved since its introduction, but does worsen in bad light or big crowds.
Richard Lewis from the force said the report gave a "balanced perspective""
See the full report: An evaluation of South Wales Police's use of automated facial recognition (pdf): "This report details findings from an evaluation of South Wales Police’s deployment of Automated Facial Recognition (AFR) between May 2017 and March 2018, conducted by Cardiff University. It is possibly the first, large-scale, independent academic evaluation of the application of AFR by police conducted in a naturalistic environment."
EP lawyers back EU plans for migrant centres in Africa (EUobserver, link):
"Lawyers working at the European Parliament on Tuesday (27 November) struggled to provide a detailed analysis of whether stalled EU plans to offload rescued migrants in north Africa were legal - but ultimately backed the controversial concept.
...EUobserver has obtained a full copy of the 10-page confidential report, which attempted to provide a legal analysis of stalled EU plans to set up so-called 'regional disembarkation platforms' in north Africa and controlled centres in Europe.
...It says "controlled centres and/or disembarkation platforms of a similar nature could be, in principle, lawfully established in the European Union territory."
It states disembarkation platforms "could lawfully be established outside of the European Union, in order to receive migrants rescued outside the territory of the Union's member states."
It also says EU law does not apply to migrants rescued at high sea, even with a boat flying an EU-member state flag.
"We can't consider a vessel flying a flag of a member state to be an extension of a member state," the lawyer told the MEPs."
"A team of United Nations experts have been denied access by the Hungarian government to visit two border ‘transit zones’ where refugees and migrants, including children, are being detained. According the Working Group the visit had been planned in response to “a number of credible reports concerning the lack of safeguards against arbitrary detention in these facilities”.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had been invited by Hungary to conduct the visit from 12 to 16 November 2018 in order to follow up on its 2013 recommendations...
In an unprecedented step, they were obliged to suspend their visit after they were denied access to the Röszke and Tompa “transit zones” at the border with Serbia, on the basis that they would be unable to fulfil their mandate because under the terms of reference for these visits, governments are required to guarantee full freedom of inquiry, particularly with regards to “confidential and unsupervised contacts with persons deprived of their liberty”.
The investigators stated “There can be no doubt that holding migrants in these ‘transit zones’ constitutes deprivation of liberty in accordance with international law.”"
UK: Immigration detainee killed himself after self-harming, inquest hears (The Guardian, link):
"A Slovenian waiter killed himself while being held in an immigration detention centre, an inquest jury has found.
Branko Zdravkovic, 43, had self-harmed while in detention and had problems with alcohol, Bournemouth coroner’s court was told. The jury returned a verdict of suicide.
Although detention centre staff recognised his vulnerability and put him on self-harm watch, no report was sent to the Home Office flagging up suicidal intentions, as required under guidance known as rule 35 (2).
...The Home Office said he was facing administrative removal because he was not exercising his treaty rights to work in the UK. But his lawyers dispute that claim, saying that, while his schedule was not always predictable, he worked for many of his eight years in London as a waiter in establishments including the House of Lords, the Guildhall and the Gherkin."
EU states leave Spanish fishermen stuck with migrants (EUobserver, link):
"A Spanish fishing boat, the Nuestra Madre Loreto, has been stuck out at sea for six days after rescuing 12 African asylum seekers from a dinghy because no EU country has agreed to take them in, AFP reports. Italy and Malta told the boat's captain, Pascual Dura, to take the migrants back to Libya, but he said the migrants would "mutiny" if he tried. "We can't go anywhere," Dura said."
EU: Antiterrorism Censorship: Macron teams up with the Web giants to set up mass surveillance (La Quadrature du Net, link):
"Two months ago, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on terrorist censorship. We denounced it, explaining that this project would destroy the entire decentralized Web. Since then, we have met the French Ministries in charge of the file: our fears have increased.
France, with the support of Germany and the European Parliament, will do everything to prevent a democratic debate on this text: the government does not talk about it in the press, wants to force its urgent adoption and invokes "national security secrets" to avoid any facts-based debate.
Why so many secrets? Probably because this text, written with Google and Facebook, will submit the whole Web to these giants, to whom the State is already selling out its role in the fight against terrorism online. The collaboration announced on Monday by Macron between the State and Facebook is just a small, but revealing, step towards such a broader alliance."
Today the Home Secretary confirmed that a new UK-France Coordination and Information Centre has opened in Calais as part of the ongoing co-operation between the UK and France to tackle criminality at the border.
The centre will see Border Force working closely alongside Police Aux Frontieres as part of a 24/7 operation.
The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) publishes today a background paper showing how the injustices meted out to the Windrush generation are not anomalies but the logical result of an immigration system that, over many years, has weaponised the idea of ‘the illegal immigrant’.
Greece sued over migrant death (ekathimerini.com, link);
"Nearly two years after an Egyptian migrant died at the Moria reception and identification center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, his family has filed a lawsuit against Greek authorities over his death, saying it was caused by the negligence of responsible officials.
Ahmed Elgamal, 20, was found dead on January 24, 2017, a few weeks after reaching Lesvos on a rubber dinghy with 12 more asylum seekers. His death was attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning from a makeshift heating device used to warm his freezing tent."
EU-USA: Justice & Home Affairs Ministerial meeting, 8-9 November: Exchange of e-evidence
The Council has circulated a Note with the: Outcome of proceedings of the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting (Washington, 8-9 November 2018) (LIMITE doc no: 12894-18, pdf).
EU: CEAS: State of play: International protection, Resettlement, Reception and Return
Four key measures of the proposed new Common European Asylum System (CEAS) which are currently going nowhere fast.
Council of the European Union: Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 - possible elements of the future draft Negotiating Box in relation to the protection of the Union´s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States (LIMITE doc no: 14384-18, pdf):
"Following discussions held in the Ad hoc Working Party on the MFF, in COREPER and in the Council, delegations will find in Annex possible elements of the future draft Negotiating Box elaborated by the Presidency in relation to the protection of the Union´s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States (...)
In the case of such deficiencies, the Commission will propose appropriate measures that will be deemed to have been approved by the Council, unless the Council decides, by qualified majority, to reject the Commission proposal."
Greece: Open Doors Now Open!!! (SamosChronicle, link):
"On Thursday 22 November 2018 Open Doors opened its doors! It is proving to be all that we hoped for. It is not simply that the grocery store has almost sold out after just a few days but it has been the enthusiasm and happiness of the people coming to the shop which has brought us the greatest pleasure. Mohamed (left) from Gaza with Sofiane. Our first customer!
The fact that we supply quality foods at the cheapest price is clearly crucial. Refugees, local Greeks and the few tourists still around all remark on our (low) prices. It hardly needs to be said that for those with little money this is very important.
But it is not just a matter of prices. We stock food from across the Middle East and beyond which is not available on Samos."
EU: Meijers Committee: Comments on the proposal for a Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (recast), COM(2018) 634 final (pdf):
"The Meijers Committee observes that the recast proposal is not based on an evaluation of the existing Returns Directive or accompanied by an Impact Assessment. Despite the Commission’s earlier commitment to recast the directive only after a thorough implementation evaluation,1the present proposal is primarily based on “technical consultations with the Member States” (Explanatory Memorandum, p. 6). This makes it difficult to verify the proposal’s effectiveness, necessity and proportionality.
Despite the proposal widening the grounds for detention of illegally staying third-country nationals and tightening procedural guarantees, the Explanatory Memorandum does not meaningfully engage with human rights. It merely declares that the proposal respects fundamental rights."
and Comments on the draft for a new Regulation on a European Border and Coast Guard, (COM (2018) 631 final) and the amended proposal for a Regulation on a European Union Asylum Agency (COM(2018) 633 final) (pdf):
"The Meijers Committee would like to take the opportunity to comment on the drafts for a new Regulation on a European Border and Coast Guard, incorporating also the EUROSUR system (COM (2018) 631 final) and the amended proposal for a Regulation on a European Union Asylum Agency (COM(2018) 633 final)".
Immigrants in Greece face winter crisis after public sector cuts (Guardian, link):
"UN envoy says EU policy during debt crisis had unintended consequences. Greece’s asylum system is hamstrung by public sector cuts imposed during the country’s EU bailouts, a UN envoy has said, as campaigners warned of a looming winter crisis for refugees and migrants."
European Parliament: Libya: situation of migrants and rescue operations up for discussion (link);
"The situation of migrants in Libya and the conditions under which the Libyan coast guard is conducting rescue operations will be up for debate in the EP on Tuesday.
Civil Liberties Committee MEPs will try to get clarification from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the newly created Search and Rescue Observatory for the Mediterranean (SAROBMED) about Libya being assigned a Search and Rescue area in the Mediterranean. Being in charge of managing a SAR area implies that vessels carrying migrants and refugees can be ordered to disembark in Libya."
Council of the EU: New Frontex Regulation: Presidency compromise proposals on cooperation with third countries (LIMITE document 14091/18, 13 November 2018, pdf):
"With a view to the JHA Counsellors meeting on 15 November 2018, delegations will find attached Presidency compromise suggestions in relation to Articles 72 to 79."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20-26.11.18) including:
"Thousands of homeless and destitute EU migrants, mostly of Roma origin, are living in desperate and dangerous situations across Sweden while the country’s authorities deliberately deny them access to the most basic services, a new report from Amnesty International has found.
Sweden: A cold welcome: Human rights of Roma and other “vulnerable EU citizens” at risk finds that marginalized EU migrants face insurmountable obstacles to access shelter, sanitation and health services, something that violates their human rights which Sweden has an obligation to honour for everybody living in the country. Authorities are effectively abandoning people, who have exercised their right to freedom of movement within the EU in search of a better life, to their fate. "
EU: PASSENGER NAME RECORD (PNR): Airlines to Provide Greek Police with Passenger Info (Greek Reporter, link):
"Airlines will now be required to provide the Hellenic Police (ELAS) with detailed information on passengers travelling into and out of Greece under an EU directive to curb terrorism and crime, according to a Greek Travel Pages (GTP) report.
The European Commission has called on Greece and thirteen EU member states to comply with the new Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive, which requires travelers to provide detailed personal information before traveling. Airlines will be responsible for collecting and storing the data, which will be exchanged between EU countries and Europol."
SPAIN: Thousands march in Spain to oppose violence against women (The Guardian, link):
"Tens of thousands of demonstrators have marched through the streets of Madrid and dozens of other Spanish towns and cities to oppose violence against women.
Protesters chanted slogans and carried signs reading “For those who aren’t with us” and “Justice” as they marked the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In Madrid, tens of thousands joined a feminist group calling for a massive protest and shouted “No more victims, we want freedom!” as they marched through the centre of the capital.
The Madrid demonstration ended with a reading of the names of the 44 women killed by their partners or former partners over the past 12 months."
Slovakia becomes 8th EU country to oppose global migration pact (EurActiv, link):
"All Visegrad countries have now rejected the United Nations pact on the treatment of migrants worldwide, after Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini on Sunday (25 November) announced his country’s position after the EU summit.
...After Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Bulgaria, Slovenia too has made it plain that it will not send a representative at the intergovernmental conference in Marrakesh on 10 December.
Outside the EU, Australia, Switzerland and Israel also announced they will not sign the agreement.
In Belgium, a coalition partner to the government of Charles Michel, the Flemish nationalist N-VA, said the pact was “particularly problematic” for them."
"In early October, I visited Lesvos and the refugee camp in Moria, on behalf of Amnesty International. I would like to begin by stressing my admiration for the people of island who, in welcoming hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers over the past years are a beacon of solidarity and inspiration. It was clear to me from my visit, that the spirit of this solidarity is very much alive today despite the tides of fear and xenophobia.
...I would like to highlight the devastating situation I came across during my visit and to work towards solutions that respect human rights and are viable on local, national and international levels.
Moria is not the first refugee camp I have visited over the years but what I witnessed was quite simply shocking. Problems of overcrowding are well documented, and when I was there it was almost three times over capacity. The policy of containing refugees and asylum-seekers on the islands in order to implement the EU-Turkey deal means that thousands of people remain trapped there for months on end in squalid conditions. Their lives are in limbo, crushed by the prospect of being returned to a country that is not safe for them."
Northern Ireland: "It’s us today, tomorrow it could be you" - No Stone Unturned
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) ethic code’s first obligation is:
"a journalist at all times upholds and defends the principle of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed".
NUJ members, Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, upheld this principle and were arrested as a consequence.
BREXIT: The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement: Overview and First Observations (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers:
"The recently agreed Brexit withdrawal agreement may turn out to be dead on arrival, or at some point not long after. Nevertheless, if the agreement is ratified, it is the basis on which the UK would leave the EU – unless the two sides agree to amendments to the text.
Since the agreement is both complex and legalistic, but also the subject of intense political debate, there’s a need for a summary and explanation of the text for non-lawyers. This blog post aims to do that by outlining the structure of the agreement and the main content of each part of it in turn. It does not aim to be exhaustive, but only to give a broad indication of what the agreement entails.
Throughout the blog post, I’ve scattered the answers to ‘key questions’ which have been raised about what the withdrawal agreement does.(...)
Drones watching Fortress Europe (link):
"The market for military long-endurance drones is dominated by two companies from Israel and one from the USA. Their models are now flying missions to monitor the Mediterranean Sea."
UK: Could scanners like these solve Tube and train crowds? (Evening Standard, link):
‘Pay-by-face’ system may end need for train station barriers
Facial recognition technology is being tested by the firm behind the Oyster card to develop a ticketless system for the public transport network.
The “pay-by-face” system would look to end the need for barriers at train and tube stations and reduce congestion."
PNR: Security on the railway: does collecting personal data have a place? (Future Rail, link):
"The Belgian Government has approved a pilot project to collect data on Eurostar travellers, part of the Passenger Name Record regulation that applies to international flights. Should the rail industry bear similar responsibility to airlines when it comes to security issues"
Police informants in Germany: Money, attention and scandal (Deutsche Welle, link):
"Despite the use of several informants, police weren’t able to stop terrorist Anis Amri. Still, authorities continue to rely on such sources. How does it work? What do they get paid? DW asks the experts."
See: Analysis: Almost suspicious: the unbearable lightness of legislation (pdf) by Heiner Busch
Migrants Trapped in Bosnia Awaken to Winter’s Arrival (Balkan Insight, link):
"Snow and cold, the first signs of winter, have come to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where thousands of refugees and migrants remain stuck on their way to the European Union.
During the night of Monday to Tuesday, in Una Sana Canton, one out of ten administrative units in Bosnia’s Federation entity, migrants living outside designated camps, like those in Kljuc and Velika Kladusa, woke up to snow and heavy rain.
...Some of the migrants and refugees are still placed in improvised tent shelters in the canton, although local media say the majority of them are now housed in a former factory."
ECHR-SPAIN: Slander conviction for publicly accusing police officers of “torture” violated right to free speech (press release, pdf):
"In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Toranzo Gómez v. Spain (application no. 26922/14) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 10 (freedom of speech) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned the applicant being found guilty of slander after accusing police officers of torture.
...the courts had applied an overly strict legal definition to his statement of torture, which he had meant in a colloquial sense as excessive force. He had also been fined, or given a prison sentence in default, which was a severe penalty, which could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. There had therefore been a violation of the applicant’s rights under Article 10."
Judgment: Case of Torano Gomez v. Spain (application no. 26922/14, pdf)
Italy orders seizure of migrant rescue ship over 'HIV-contaminated' clothes (The Guardian, link):
"Italian authorities have ordered the seizure of the migrant rescue ship Aquarius after claiming that discarded clothes worn by the migrants on their voyage from Libya to Italy could have been contaminated by HIV, meningitis and tuberculosis.
Prosecutors from Catania, eastern Sicily, alleged that the waste was illegally labelled by the ship’s crew as “special waste” rather than “toxic waste”.
The Aquarius is currently docked in Marseilles, France, where so far it is beyond the reach of the Italian authorities.
...Aids campaigners criticised the prosecutors’ claims that clothing could have been contaminated with HIV. “Clothing categorically is not, and has never been, an HIV transmission risk,” said Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust."
Draft reports have recently been produced by the LIBE committee's rapporteurs for three crucial legislative files: on future security budgets (the Internal Security Fund and Integrated Border Management Fund, to run from 2021-27); and the proposed new rules to revamp and massively strengthen the EU border and coast guard agency, Frontex.
"For several reasons, not least the difficulty of extracting evidence from the Home Office, this inspection proved more challenging than most. My report is likely to please no-one. It was clear from the Home Office’s response to the draft report that this topic touched a nerve. It considered my criticisms unfair and believed its efforts had not been fully recognised."
EU: Council: Interoperability "state of play": Planned centralised "Big Brother" database coming your way by 2023
The Council Presidency has produced a Note on: Interoperability: state of play (LIMITE doc no: 14193-18, pdf) which says that: "The Presidency and the co-rapporteurs [of the European Parliament] are committed to reaching a political agreement on this file by the end of December." [emphasis added throughout]
If this objective is achieved: "it would mean that the entry into operations of the four interoperability components (European Search Portal, shared Biometric Matching Service, Common Identity Repository and Multiple Identity Detector) could be achieved by 2023 if the delegated acts and implementing acts included in the interoperability file are all adopted by 2020."
Common European Asylum System - Reception: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast) (LIMITE doc no: 13699-18, pdf)
and LIMITE doc no: 13698-18: (LIMITE doc no: 13698-18, pdf) with 57 Footnotes giving detailed Member State positions.
EU: Council of the European Union: European Criminal Records Information System for third country nationals (ECRIS-TCN)
Including Revised four column table (LIMITE doc no: 13741-18, 124 pages, pdf): Four column document with the Commission's proposal, the European Parliament portion, the Council position and the agreed or to be agreed "compromise".
Are You Syrious (20.11.18, link)
Special report: “Human rights in the trash.”
"During the night of Monday to Tuesday, all over the Balkans, but also in a big part of Europe, people who are forced to stay outside woke up in snow and heavy rain. The situation on the Greek islands is threatening and everybody should be worried what will happen with those trapped in camps like Moria, Vial, Samos… The living conditions are unbearable, due to the lack of care from the governments and big organizations who are supposed to take care of people in need.(...)"
EU greenlights new wave of military projects, secret agents training (euractiv, link):
"Foreign and defence ministers on Monday (19 November) agreed on 17 new armaments and military projects within the PESCO framework, including the development of new weapons systems and the establishment of a training facility for secret agents.
The Joint EU intelligence school will be led by Greece and based in Cyprus and is meant to train intelligence agency staff from around the EU in cooperation with national security agencies and NATO.
Critics, however, already pointed out the fact that the intelligence facility would be led by two of the most Russia-friendly member states.
According to the list of new projects [pdf], Germany will also develop a new generation of drones to monitor land and sea and work to improve the European attack helicopter, the Tiger Mk 3, which is led by France, along with Spain."
Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: The Parliamentary Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children (link):
"Europe continues to be faced with unprecedented numbers of migrants seeking protection. Migrant children are the most vulnerable group, whether they are arriving with their families or as unaccompanied minors. A worrying number of them end up in administrative detention as a result of existing immigration laws and policies. In detention facilities they are at high risk of abuse and neglect."
European Parliament: Studies: Humanitarian visas: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the European Parliament's legislative own-initiative report (Rapporteur: Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar) (pdf) :
"Humanitarian visas allow asylum-seekers to legally and safely access a third country. At present, the EU lacks a formalised humanitarian visa system. The number of persons admitted through other protected entry procedures (PEPs) and protection practices, such as resettlement programmes, community or private sponsorship schemes and 'humanitarian corridors' remains low in comparison with the need.
Furthermore, resettlement caters only for those who are already declared refugees, without providing a means of access to those in need of international protection whose status is yet to be established. This means there is a lack of regular channels for those seeking international protection to reach the EU and lodge an asylum application. As a result, 90 % of those granted international protection reached the European Union through irregular means."
And: The Cost of Non-Europe in Asylum Policy (pdf):
"According to international and EU law, EU Member States have committed to offering protection to those who have to leave their home country to seek safety from persecution or serious harm. However, there are significant structural weaknesses and shortcomings in the design and implementation of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), and related measures. Beyond the tragic loss of 8 000 lives in the Mediterranean in 2016-2017 alone, this cost of non-Europe report estimates both the individual impact in terms of fundamental rights protection and the economic costs of gaps and barriers in the CEAS."
"Thousands of people in Germany have vouched for refugees in recent years and are now being asked to pay high sums. Were their good intentions misguided? (...)
Osterhaus, who has been involved in civil society causes and development aid projects throughout his life, produces a gray folder in which he has meticulously filed all documents pertaining to the dispute over refugee guarantees in transparent plastic sleeves. The latest document is from 20 June, 2018, and was sent by Bonn's job center. It wants Osterhaus to pay €7,239.84 ($8,268.29) and warns that the sum could be even higher.
The payment demand by Bonn's job center is based on a change in the law from 2016 (...)"
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-19.11.18) including:
EU: Panic is not answer to EU's security challenges (EUobserver, link) by Lucia Montanaro and Luca Venchiarutti:
"On Monday (19 November) the European Union Foreign Affairs Council is meeting to discuss the future of EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) civilian missions and operations.
In doing so, it must choose between contaminating the CSDP with policy panic over security and migration, and reaffirming the EU's core values as a global actor for peace and development."
The Council of the EU has adopted three new regulations that will extend the scale and scope of the Schengen Information System II (SIS II). The rules cover the use of the system for police and judicial cooperation; border checks; and "for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals".
On Sunday 11 November hundreds of people demonstrated in Madrid to protest against "institutional violence" and the "racist structures of the state".
Germany opens new military camp in Niger (Deutsche Welle, link):
"German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday opened a new Bundeswehr camp in the Niger capital of Niamey.
"Niger, like Mali and the other countries of the Sahel region, is part of the European neighborhood, a neighborhood facing unending challenges," von der Leyen said. Niger "is a valuable, reliable and determined partner in the fight against terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration in the region."
During her visit, von der Leyen handed over 53 military transport vehicles to Niger Defense Minister Kalla Moutari as part of an "upgrade initiative" aimed at bolstering the country's military capabilities.
Germany is also developing other defense-related projects in Niger, including building an officer training school and expanding the military section of the capital's airport."
"Five European intelligence oversight bodies [from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland] have begun a new form of cooperation.
In this statement, we will:
Describe our project, which entailed each of us conducting an investigation into our respective countries’ services’ use of information regarding foreign terrorist fighters and sharing our methods, best practices and experiences.
Address the challenges we met when overseeing international data exchange, including the risk of an oversight gap when intelligence and security services cooperate internationally.
Identify ways to move forward towards strengthening oversight cooperation, for example through minimizing secrecy between oversight bodies so that certain information can be shared, in order to improve our oversight of international data exchange."
"On November 7, the Italian Senate approved the new Decree-Law on immigration and security, introducing significant amendments and restrictions to the current asylum framework, prompting protests in the capital and opposition from institutions and organisations.
The law includes amendments in qualification and reception provisions, abolishes the humanitarian protection status and restricts access to accommodation in SPRAR (Protection System for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) hosting facilities. Several detention and procedure-related amendments also predict significant changes in asylum standards and living conditions, while the decree includes provisions that make expulsion of aliens and citizenship revocation easier.
On Saturday, several thousand protesters participated in a march organised in Rome against the decree, which has been dubbed as the “Salvini decree” in reference to Matteo Salvini, the Interior Minister who is behind it. The protesters targeted the Minister’s hostile stance on migrant and refugee rights which has been prevalent amid wider anti- EU rhetoric."
UK: ICO finds Metropolitan Police Service’s Gangs Matrix breached data protection laws (Information Commissioner's Office, link):
"An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) use of the Gangs Matrix led to multiple and serious breaches of data protection laws.
The investigation into the Gangs Matrix, a database that records intelligence related to alleged gang members, began in October 2017 after concerns were raised by Amnesty International.
The ICO found that, whilst there was a valid purpose for the database, the inconsistent way it was being used did not comply with data protection rules.
It has now issued an Enforcement Notice [pdf], compelling the MPS to ensure it complies with data protection laws in future and has given them six months to make these changes, which the MPS has accepted and already started to implement."
See: Met Police using 'racially discriminatory' Gangs Matrix database (Amnesty, link)
ATHENS-GREECE: Traffic disruptions in Athens on Saturday during November 17 rally (ekathimerini.com, link):
"An annual march to the American Embassy in Athens to mark the anniversary of the November 17, 1973 Athens Polytechnic student uprising against the military dictatorship will affect public transport in and around the city center on Saturday, and especially the metro."
See also: Athens Polytechnic Uprising November 17 1973 (xpatathens.com, link)
"Fair Trials has made a submission to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office on the public consultation of the UK government’s review of the Consolidated Guidance. The Consolidated Guidance, also known as the “torture guidance”, is a document intended to prevent UK personnel from becoming involved in human rights abuses abroad. It sets out principles that govern the detention and interviewing of detainees overseas, as well as the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to those detainees."
Are You Syrious (15.11.18, link):
"A total of 81 people continue to refuse to disembark a commercial container ship in the Libyan port of "Misrata, claiming that Libya is too dangerous.
They were picked up by the vessel, which was loaded with cars, late on Friday after they were spotted on a flimsy raft out at sea. Only 14 people have been evacuated so far, according to IOM. Those that remain on board are protesting their return to Libyan detention centres. They have been on board now for six consecutive days.
MSF have been providing medical care on the vessel. They report there is a seventeen-year-old Sudanese boy on board whose brother and friend died in the hands of smugglers in Tripoli." (...)
EU: ENAAT: (European Network Against Arms Trade): Joint statement The risks of the new EU Defence Fund (pdf): signed by 42 NGOs including Statewatch:
"To conclude, there could be potential benefits from the pooling together military research and development, such as savings from reducing duplication. However, the proposal as it currently stands clearly says it is not substituting EU for national funding and encourages EU Member States to continue increasing their own spending.(...)
In this remembrance period of the First World War, and of the terrible effects of what were disruptitive technologies at that titime, like chemical gas and tanks, we urge the media and EU decision-makers alike to ask whether the establishment of the European Defence Fund is a good way to achieve peace and security."
BREXIT: UK draft withdrawal agreement - documentation
The UK government has published its proposed draft withdrawal agreement for leaving the EU.
Full-text of the draft withdrawal agreement, bookmarked into parts, titles, chapters and annexes: Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community - 14 November 2018 (pdf) See key sections.
EU: European Commission (13 November 2018): Brexit preparedness: European Commission proposes visa-free travel to the EU for UK nationals in a no deal scenario – if the UK also grants reciprocal visa-free travel to all EU citizens (pdf) :
"It would mean that UK citizens would not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. In the scenario where the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this would apply as of 30 March 2019. (...)
This proposal is entirely conditional upon the UK also granting reciprocal and non-discriminatory visafree travel for all EU Member States, in line with the principle of visa reciprocity."
"f The Decline and Fall of the European Union is ever written, historians will conclude that the EU’s two key intergovernmental institutions – the European Council and the Council – should bear the greatest responsibility for the EU’s demise.
As illiberal rot spread throughout the Union, eating away first at one government and then at another with centralizing autocrats destroying the rule of law in plain sight, history will show that both the European Council and the Council of Ministers failed to act and, in the end, deferred to national autonomy instead of defending the Union’s fundamental values. The EU is facing an existential crisis because Member governments refuse to recognize that the common values are the cornerstones of their common project. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are more than simply normative aspirations; they are in fact central to the operation of the European Union. If the EU fails to defend its common values, the EU won’t merely fail as a normative project, it will cease to function. But the Council appears unable to act to defend the rule of law and democracy, while the European Council has been doing its best to look the other way.(...)" [emphasis added]
EU-USA: Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting (pdf) including:
"The United States and the European Union agreed on the importance for both law enforcement and judicial authorities of swift
cross-border direct access to electronic evidence, as demonstrated by recent legislation approved or under examination in the
United States and the EU. Participants further recognised the benefit of exploring, and agreed to discuss, the possibility of an EUUS agreement to facilitate access to electronic evidence."
The Minutes of the previous Ministerial meeting are here: LIMITE doc no 9278-18, pdf) where it is recorded that regarding the exchange of e-evidence: "there are different interpretations as to the appropriate procedures and instruments to ensure direct access by law enforcement authorities to service providers, and therefore the matter will require further clarification and discussions."
Vulnerable refugees’ transfer to Greek mainland continues (ekathimerini.com, link):
"More than 600 asylum seekers have been moved from Samos, Lesvos, Chios and Kos to the mainland since Saturday, as part of the Migration Policy Ministry’s ongoing operation to ease overcrowding on the islands ahead of winter.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 16,500 asylum seekers considered vulnerable have been included in the operation."
Statewatch comment: Official Greek Ministry figures (13.11.18) show there are still 19,409 reugees on the Greek islands - including 9,428 on Lesvos and 5,228 on Samos.
"how must the Member States deal with applications for family reunification by beneficiaries of international protection which are lodged after this three months period? This is essentially the question in Case C-380/17 K. & B., that was submitted to the Court of Justice of the EU (the Court) for a preliminary ruling by the Council of State – the Dutch court of highest instance in immigration matters."
EU auditors praise refugee assistance to Turkey despite irregularities (euractiv, link):
"The Facility for Refugees in Turkey “swiftly” addressed people’s needs, stated a report by the European Court of Auditors published on Tuesday (13 October), but stressed there were some irregularities in tracking the EU funds."
"Two people, including a child, have died after their boat sank off Turkey's western coast. The Turkish coastguard said that a search was underway to find 10 others.
It said one migrant had been rescued after two others swam to shore not far from the coastal town of Dikili in Izmir province.
Initial testimonies from the survivors revealed that the boat was carrying 15 migrants, 14 Afghans and one Iranian, the coastguard said in a statement."
"Findings published by the organization today highlight how EU member states’ policies to curb migration, as well as their failure to provide sufficient resettlement places for refugees, continue to fuel a cycle of abuse by trapping thousands of migrants and refugees in appalling conditions in Libyan detention centres.
“One year after video footage showing human beings being bought and sold like merchandise shocked the world, the situation for refugees and migrants in Libya remains bleak,” said Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty International."
"Bulgaria has become the sixth EU country after Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic and Croatia to signal that it will not sign the global migration agreement at a ceremony in Morocco in December.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 UN member nations except the United States, which had backed out last year."
The Council of the European Union is discussing its negotiating position on: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU (LIMITE doc no: 12701-ADD-1-18, pdf). This document is discussing the "Recitals" of this measure which also contain Member State positions.The new positions - compared to the Commission proposals include:
"When, on the basis of evidence available, the determining authority prima facie considers that the application is neither inadmissible nor subject to the accelerated examination procedure based on the grounds referred to in Article 40(1), the assessment of the application shall not be carried out at the external border or in the transit zone."
UK: Information Commissioner's Office: Investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns (pdf):
"The invisible, ‘behind the scenes’ use of personal data to target political messages to individuals must be transparent and lawful if we are to preserve the integrity of our election process.
We may never know whether individuals were unknowingly influenced to vote a certain way in either the UK EU referendum or the in US election campaigns. But we do know that personal privacy rights have been compromised by a number of players and that the digital electoral ecosystem needs reform.
My office’s report to Parliament beings the various strands of our investigation up to date."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-12.11.18) including: analysis of the Greek-German Administrative Arrangement on Asylum-Seekers; Council Presidency calls for action on "secondary movement" of refugees
E-evidence: Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe: CCBE position on the Commission proposal for a Regulation on European Production and Preservation Orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters (pdf):
"On 14 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on European Production and Preservation Orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters.
The CCBE welcomes that the Commission took into account various aspects which the CCBE suggested during the preceding consultation process. The CCBE previously issued preliminary comments on the subject which can be consulted for more details1. With this paper, the CCBE wishes to further develop its position in relation to a number of aspects of the proposal."
Covers: 1. Legal basis, necessity and proportionality - 2. Judicial review in the executing Member State - 3. Subject matter - 4. Scope - 5. Liability - 6. Judicial validation - 7. Conditions for issuing a European Production Order Certificate - 8. Conditions for issuing a European Preservation Order Certificate - 9. Execution of a European Preservation Order Certificate - 10. Grounds for refusal to execute a European Production Order Certificate and a European Preservation Order Certificate - 11. Notification to the data subject - 12. The rights of the defence - 13. Effective remedies and judicial reviews.
UK: Off the Leash: How the UK is developing the technology to build armed autonomous drones (Drone Wars UK, link):
"A new report published by Drone Wars UK reveals that, despite a UK government statement that it “does not possess fully autonomous weapons and has no intention of developing them”, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is actively funding research into technology supporting the development of armed autonomous drones.
Our study, Off the Leash: The Development of Autonomous Military Drones in the UK, identifies the key technologies influencing the development of future armed drones and looks at current initiatives which are under way in the UK to marry developments in autonomy – the ability of a machine to operate with limited, or even no, human control – with military drone technology. The report maps out the agencies, laboratories, and contractors undertaking research into drones and autonomous weapon technology in support of the Ministry of Defence, examines the risks arising from the weaponisation of such technologies, and assesses government policy in this area."
EU: New security system trialed at Luxembourg Airport (Passenger Terminal Today, link):
"The University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) has tested a high-tech airport security system at Luxembourg Airport. The trial hopes to test the potential of an airport environment without random searches and lengthy queues.
A team of scientists, technicians and Luxembourg Airport staff worked together to test the intelligent end-to-end system, which analyzes a passenger’s on-site behavior, travel history and booking profile to classify them according to their ‘trustworthiness’. The system then funnels passengers into different risk-based levels of security screening. These are labeled ‘trusted’, ‘normal’ and ‘enhanced risk’. FLYSEC – an EU-funded consortium of 11 partners including the University of Luxembourg and Luxembourg Airport – spent three years developing the system.
For the trial, the team installed sensors throughout the airport to track 100 actors playing the role of passengers as they made their way from landside to boarding, enacting different scenarios."
See: FLYSEC (CORDIS, link) and: Stakeholder Workshop on ethical, privacy data protection and information (pdf)
"In mid-August 2018 Germany, Greece and Spain agreed on the sketchy details of the initial migration compromise deal that was reached on the sidelines of the EU Summit in Brussels late June 2018. In this context, the Ministers on Migration of Germany and Greece reaffirmed their commitment by exchange of letters, to work towards common European solutions and to avoid any unilateral measure with respect to migration and asylum.
...in the present case, it is the first time that a readmission agreement, is concluded by Greece through an exchange of letters between Ministers. Though such an agreement is totally valid and binding under international law, the fact that it not only deals with international relations and migration policy but ultimately with human rights, is concluded away from parliamentary scrutiny and procedures - without even been published in the Government Gazette - raises important concerns on transparency and the rule of law."
UK spy agencies knew source of false Iraq war intelligence was tortured (Middle East Eye, link):
"British intelligence agencies fed questions to the interrogators of a captured terrorism suspect whom they knew was being seriously mistreated in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and ministers then relied upon his answers to help justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Through a close analysis of redacted official documents, Middle East Eye has established that an MI6 officer was aware that CIA officers had placed Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi inside a sealed coffin at a US-run prison in Afghanistan. The officer had then watched as the coffin was loaded onto a truck and driven to an aircraft that was waiting to fly to Egypt.
...Despite being aware that Libi had been flown to Egypt inside a coffin, and despite that country’s well-documented record of human rights abuses, both MI6 and MI5 decided to pass questions to be put to him, and continued to receive reports about what he was saying.
...On his eventual transfer back into CIA custody, Libi said that he had fabricated the account in order to avoid further torture.
By that time, however, his statements had been used to justify the invasion of Iraq."
ROMANIA: OCCRP Strongly Objects to Romania’s Misuse of GDPR to Muzzle Media (OCCRP, link):
"RISE Project, an award-winning investigative journalism outlet in Romania and OCCRP’s partner, was ordered Thursday by the Romanian Data Protection Authority (ANSPDCP) to reveal its sources under the threat of a fine of up to €20 million based on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) directive 679/2016.
RISE Project and its journalists are currently documenting a case relating to the theft of EU funds by the highest political echelons of Romanian politics.
OCCRP and RISE Project believe the Romanian government is trying to use the directive to quash investigative reporting. OCCRP believes this to be a serious misuse of the GDPR by self-interested politicians seeking to protect themselves. We strongly object to this request and our partner has said it will not provide information on sources to the data protection authority despite the its threat to fine RISE Project €650 per day."
See also: Hungarian authorities bring criminal charges against prominent investigative journalist (Committee to Protect Journalists, link): "Hungarian authorities should immediately drop criminal charges against prominent investigative reporter András Dezso and allow him to work without fear of reprisal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today."
The UK government has announced that the Campsfield House immigration detention centre will close by 2019, when the contract with outsourcing company Mitie Care and Custody expires. Campsfield has an official maximum capacity of 282 people. The closure is a response to the Shaw review into the welfare of vulnerable people in detention. What follows is a statement by Bill MacKeith, joint organiser of the long-standing Campaign to Close Campsfield.
"A backroom deal allowing the Home Office to request patient data from the NHS to target people for deportation has been scrapped following a legal challenge.
The agreement gave the Home Office access to confidential patient information to aid immigration enforcement. It was written in secret before being published in January 2017.
Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN), represented by human rights organisation Liberty and Matrix Chambers, took legal action against the arrangement because it violated patient confidentiality, discriminated against non-British patients and left seriously unwell people fearful of seeking medical care."
LONDON: Launch of the Socialist History Society Publication: Telling the Mayflower Story: Thanksgiving or Land Grabbing, Massacres & Slavery? (Authors: Danny Reilly & Steve Cushion, pdf) Friday 30th November at 5:30pm, UCL Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PN:
"In the autumn of 1620 the ship Mayflower, with 102 passengers, landed in North America and started the colonisation of the area that became known as New England. The Mayflower had landed in a region where the Sachem of the local Wampanoag Nation was Massasoit, who subsequently helped them survive.(...)"
FEATURE: Hundreds demonstrate as seven protesters in France face 10 years in prison and 750,000 € in fines for ‘aiding illegal immigration and organized gangs’
"On April 22, 2018, a spontaneous demonstration that crossed the border between Italy and France took place against an organised group of people who were ‘guarding’ the border at Colle della Scala and preventing people from crossing to France."
EU: I don't claim to know what it's like to live as a refugee, but in Moria I would lose my sanity (Guardian, link):
"In this camp I saw people who are accountants, farmers, musicians, sons, daughters. Just like you and me."
"In its recent judgment of Aliyev v. Azerbaijan, the European Court of Human Rights (hereafter the Court) activated anew the long dormant Article 18 ECHR (which provides that States shall not abuse the possible limitations on human rights which the Convention allows) to unanimously find a violation thereof. The judgment is the third case this year where the Court found an Article 18 violation in Azerbaijan, but still remains unprecedented, since it allowed the Court for the first time to find a violation of that provision in conjunction with Article 8 ECHR (the right to private and family life)."
European Parliament studies: Brexit and Migration (pdf):
"focuses on the future relationship between the UK and the EU following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the field of migration (excluding asylum), including future movement of EU citizens and UK nationals between the EU and UK. Moreover, it investigates the role of the Court of Justice of the EU."
"More specifically, this analysis presents the current situation with regard to UK–EU cooperation in the field, the legal standards that will be applicable to the UK following its withdrawal, the areas of common interest in the field and the potential forms of future cooperation."
Council of the European Union: Draft Council Declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe (LIMITE doc no, 12116-REV-1-18, pdf):
"Delegations will find in the Annex a revised version of the draft declaration which takes into account both comments made at the CATS meeting on 18 September and subsequent written comments.
New text is marked in bold and underlined, existing text that has been moved but not modified is underlined, deleted text is marked in strike through."
" Tunisian authorities are confiscating and searching the phones of men they suspect of being gay and pressuring them to take anal tests and to confess to homosexual activity, Human Rights Watch said today. Prosecutors then use information collected in this fashion to prosecute them for homosexual acts between consenting partners, under the country’s harsh sodomy laws."
Trans-Europe Express – Migration still tops EU’s agenda (euractiv, link):
"The numbers may have fallen dramatically – by October the number of migrants reaching Europe had dropped to around 80,000 so far this year, compared to 300,000 in 2016 – but European leaders are still preoccupied with migration control. (...)
The African Union and North African countries appeared to shoot down the blueprint agreed by European leaders at the June Council summit to establish ‘regional disembarkation platforms’ or ‘hot spots’. (...)
But abandoning the idea of trying to persuade African countries to host migrant camps on their territories that does not mean that the ‘cash for migrant-control’ deal is dead. Far from it. Talks are underway to achieve similar ends via different means."
Asylum seekers appealing returns must get own travel documents (euobserver, link):
"People refused asylum in Europe may be asked to get their own travel documents at embassies even during appeal, posing risks to themselves and their families.
The proposal follows a revision of the EU's directive on returns, announced in September by the European Commission as part of a broader effort to remove failed asylum seekers.(...)"
Polish president attacks EU court on eve of divisive march (euobserver, link)
"The EU court went too far in ordering Poland to halt its judicial purge, the Polish president has said, as Warsaw prepares to host a neo-fascist march on Sunday."
And see: Poland court approves far-right 'independence march' in Warsaw (DW, link): "A Warsaw court has overturned a ban on a far-right march to mark Poland's centennial celebration of independence. Organizers were emboldened by the ruling, saying it has made them "victorious.""
IRELAND: Ballymurphy massacre inquests set to open next week (The Irish Times, link):
"The families of 10 people killed in Ballymurphy in west Belfast in 1971 have welcomed the announcement that the inquests into the killings will formally begin next week.
At a preliminary inquest hearing at Laganside Court on Monday, Ms Justice Siobhan Keegan, who will preside over the inquests, outlined how the cases will be heard over the coming months.
What is often described as the Ballymurphy Massacre or Belfast’s Bloody Sunday happened during Operation Demetrius, the introduction of internment without trial, in August 1971."
UK: Stansted protesters believed deportees were at risk of death, court told (The Guardian, link):
"Fifteen people on trial for blocking the takeoff of an immigration removal charter flight from Stansted were acting to protect the human rights of passengers who were at risk of persecution, torture, serious injury or death if they were deported, a court has heard.
At the opening of their defence at Chelmsford crown court on Monday, the defendants began making the case that they had acted out of conscience to protect those on the flight not just from persecution in their destination countries, but also from abuse of process in the UK.
All 15 are on trial for endangering the safety of an aerodrome by chaining themselves together around a Titan Airways flight chartered by the Home Office to remove 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. If convicted, the maximum possible sentence is life in prison."
"The Administrative Arrangement between Ministry of migration Policy of the Hellenic Republic and the Federal Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Germany has been implemented already to four known cases. It has been the product of bilateral negotiations that occurred after German Chancellor Merkel faced another political crisis at home regarding the handling of the refugee issue.
The document which has been the product of undisclosed negotiations and has not been made public upon its conclusion is a brief description of the cooperation of Greek and German authorities in cases of refusal of entry to persons seeking protection in the context of temporary checks at the internal German-Austrian border, as defined in its title. It essentially is a fast track implementation of return procedures in cases for which Dublin Regulation already lays down specific rules and procedures. The procedures provided in the ‘Arrangement’ skip all legal safeguards and guarantees of European Legislation.
RSA and PRO ASYL have decided to publicize the document of the Arrangement for the purpose of serving public interest and transparency."
"In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Otegi Mondragon and Others v. Spain (applications nos. 4184/15 4317/15 4323/15 5028/15 and 5053/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It also held, by six votes to one, that the finding of a violation alone was sufficient just satisfaction in the case."
"This handbook outlines the legal standards relating to data protection set by the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe (CoE). It is designed to assist practitioners not specialised in the field of data protection, including lawyers, judges and other legal practitioners, as well as individuals working for other bodies, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who may be confronted with legal questions relating to data protection.
The handbook serves as a first point of reference on relevant EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as well as the CoE Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention 108) and other CoE instruments."
Today, the Council of the European Union adopted the Eurojust Regulation (EJR), after the European Parliament had given its approval already in October. This adoption completes the European Union’s legislative work to create a new EU security architecture to step up its fight against trans-border crime and better serve and protect European citizens.
The EJR will replace the existing Eurojust Council Decision and will be applicable by the end of 2019. After the reform of Europol and Frontex as well as the creation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the EJR completes the new EU criminal justice landscape by setting up Eurojust as the EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation.
At a ministerial meeting on counter-terrorism in Paris today, France, Germany, Spain Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands have launched an initiative calling for the creation of a European judicial counter-terrorism register at Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation unit.
Eurojust declared that it stands ready to swiftly create and host the counter-terrorism register, which would bring more clarity, security and speed to investigations after terrorist attacks and increase the chances of bringing terrorists to justice.
EU: Council Presidency calls for action on "secondary movement" of refugees
The Austrian Council Presidency has circulated a Note to the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) on: Secondary movements (LIMITE doc no: 13353-18, pdf) which seeks to monitor the movement of refugees from the country of arrival northwards - particularly from Greece and Italy - to other EU Member States
EU set to test AI guards to protect external borders (euractiv, link):
"An EU-funded project is developing an ‘intelligent control system’ to test third-country nationals who reach the EU’s external borders, including a sophisticated analysis of their facial gestures.
The Intelligent Portable Border Control System, iBorderCtrl, is a series of multiple protocols and computer procedures which are meant to scan faces and flag ‘suspicious’ reactions of travellers who lie about their reasons for entering the Schengen area."
And see: EU border 'lie detector' system criticised as pseudoscience - Technology that analyses facial expressions being trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia (Guardian, link):
"The EU has been accused of promoting pseudoscience after announcing plans for a “smart lie-detection system” at its busiest borders in an attempt to identify illegal migrants.
The “lie detector”, to be trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia, involves the use of a computer animation of a border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language, asking questions via a webcam."
"The criminal accusations brought by Greek prosecutors against activists for their efforts to rescue migrants and asylum seekers at sea appear entirely unfounded, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch analyzed court records and other documents in the cases of two of the four activists currently in pretrial detention.
The two foreign volunteers Sarah Mardini, 23, and Sean Binder, 24, have been detained for more than two months. Two Greek nationals are also in pretrial detention, including Nassos Karakitsos, 37, who was arrested a week after Mardini and Binder. Their detention followed a police investigation and a prosecutor’s accusations that misrepresent humanitarian search and rescue operations as people smuggling by an organized crime ring. Greek judicial authorities should drop the baseless accusations and release them from pretrial detention."
"Greece should take urgent steps and adopt long-term policies to improve the reception and integration of migrants and to reverse the adverse effects of austerity measures on access to health care and education”, says Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, publishing the report on her visit to Greece carried out in June."
See: Report (pdf)
Brexit: Eurotunnel preparing for increased checks in Calais (euractiv, link):
"Every minute counts when it comes to maintaining a fluid flow of traffic at the entrance to the tunnel under the English Channel. In order to prepare for the return of new checks, post-Brexit, the Eurotunnel site in Calais is mounting a race against the clock. EURACTIV France’s media partner, Ouest-France reports."
EU lowers its ambitions on African migration control (euractiv, link):
"At the June Council summit in Brussels, EU leaders asked the Commission to study ways to set up “regional disembarkation platforms” in North African countries, including Tunisia, for migrants rescued by European vessels in the Mediterranean.
That demand didn’t last very long.
Within days of the summit, Morocco and the African Union led continent-wide rejection to the EU’s idea of setting up ‘regional disembarkation platforms’ or ‘hot spots’ on their territories."
Press release: International Declaration on Information and Democracy (Ethical Journalism Network, link):
"The Commission chaired by Christophe Deloire and Shirin Ebadi is today releasing the “International Declaration on Information and Democracy,” which establishes democratic guarantees for the global information and communication space.
Seventy years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in Paris, the “International Declaration on Information and Democracy” is establishing basic principles for the global information and communication space, which its preamble defines as a “common good of humankind.” The management of this space “is the responsibility of humankind in its entirety, through democratic institutions,” the preamble adds. Published today, this six-page document sets out democratic guarantees for the freedom, independence, pluralism and reliability of information at a time when the public space has been globalized, digitalized and destabilized."
See: Global communication and information space: a common good of humankind (Reporters Without Borders, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.10-5.11.18) including:
The EU policing agency Europol sees itself having a major role in the future "EU travel intelligence architecture", according to a report on the October meeting of the EU's 'Informal Working Group on PNR' (Passenger Name Record).
Freedom on the Net 2018: The Rise of Digital Authoritarianism (Freedom on the Net, link):
"The internet is growing less free around the world, and democracy itself is withering under its influence.
Disinformation and propaganda disseminated online have poisoned the public sphere. The unbridled collection of personal data has broken down traditional notions of privacy. And a cohort of countries is moving toward digital authoritarianism by embracing the Chinese model of extensive censorship and automated surveillance systems. As a result of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2018."
HUNGARY: Guilty of Homelessness – The Resurgence of Penal Populism in Hungary (Verfassungsblog, link):
"...it is of utmost importance to exert pressure on the Constitutional Court, and send an unequivocal message that even in a hostile political environment, judges must never abdicate their primary responsibility as protectors of the rights of the people. Political considerations cannot prevail over professional requirements under any circumstances. Therefore, I encourage every member of academia, and Hungarian, foreign and international human rights organizations to send amici curiae to the Constitutional Court, and urge the judges to defend the rights of homeless people from the populist rage of the Hungarian government."
UK: Fracking and the right to protest (Legal Action Group, link):
"Michael Oswald and Catriona McGregor consider the background to injunctions granted to oil and gas companies seeking to begin fracking, along with some of their most troubling aspects, and summarise the issues that will shortly come before the Court of Appeal."
FRANCE: Immigration detention profile - updated October 2018 (Global Detention Project, link):
"France has one of Europe's oldest and more widespread administrative immigration detention regimes, which extends from continental Europe to overseas territories in the Indian Ocean and the Americas. Nearly 47,000 people were placed in detention during 2017, about half of whom were detained in facilities located in the outré-mer. The country has budgeted more than 116 million Euros to maintain and expand its detention system in 2019. Although France has among Europe’s shortest maximum lengths of immigration detention, recent laws double the maximum to 90 days and provide for the re-detention of people shortly after being released."
The EU call it copyright, but it is massive Internet censorship and must be stopped (OpenDemocracy, link):
"With the approval in the European Parliament of the final text of the Copyright Directive, which will be definitely put to the vote in a very few months’, the European Union has lost a historic opportunity to produce copyright legislation adapted for the Internet in the twenty-first century. What the European Parliament will finally vote on is a technophobic text, tailor-made for the interests of the copyright monopolies which, moreover, doesn’t guarantee the right of authors to have a reasonable standard of living as a result of their work.
If the law is eventually passed, it will be used for wholesale curtailment of freedoms and more censorship, in keeping with the bizarre idea that anything that doesn’t produce hard cash for the major players – which doesn’t mean authors! – has to be prohibited and eliminated. "
UK: Papers please: how biometric ID checks put our rights at risk (Liberty, link)
"Use of big data and new technologies is often viewed as a panacea for the challenges that modern-day law enforcement faces. Technologies such as mobile fingerprint scanners, facial recognition and mobile phone data extraction, used in conjunction with one another and police super-databases, risk changing the relationship between the individual and the state, creating a society in which anonymity is the exception, and pervasive surveillance is the norm.
In that kind of environment it isn’t just our privacy rights that suffer – personal autonomy, free speech and assembly are threatened too, and the impacts are often most keenly felt by groups that are already marginalised.
We should continue to put the question to the state and society: do we need these technologies on our streets at all? In the case of mobile fingerprinting, the answer is no."
On 19 October the Presidency of the Council issued the first revised version of the proposed Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online, following discussions in the Terrorism Working Party and the submission of written comments by Member States' delegations.
Over the last fortnight Statewatch has published five new analyses looking at a series of crucial issues in the EU and beyond: proposals for biometric identity cards across the EU; European networks for coordinating undercover policing; decriminalising solidarity movements through the regularisation of migrants; the effects of EU migration policies on the ground in Morocco; and migration: from the "carrot and stick" to the "stick" in Africa.
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"Only 20 unaccompanied children have been allowed into the UK under a scheme begun more than two years ago to resettle 3,000 vulnerable refugee children from conflict zones in the Middle East and north Africa.
Figures obtained by the Observer reveal the paltry number of minors permitted to come to the UK under the Home Office’s Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), announced in April 2016. This is the only way for unaccompanied youngsters from outside Europe to legally move to the UK."
"The Eurozone crisis and the refugee crisis are showcases of the problems associated with the EU’s shift from market integration to the integration of core state powers."
The human cost of Europe’s migration policy (The Economist, link):
"a deal struck in March 2016 between the EU and Turkey. Before it, thousands were arriving on Greece’s easternmost islands every day. Turkey agreed, under the deal, to try to stop the boats and to accept unsuccessful asylum-seekers deported from the Greek islands."
Are You Syrious (.11.18,link):
Feature: Winter is coming: Conditions are only going to worsen on Greek Islands
"Winter is on everyone’s mind with the crowded conditions on the Greek islands only getting worse. 611 people arrived on the islands last week while only 495 people were transferred to the mainland. Alongside growing tensions and a lack of resources in and around the camps, racist attacks against refugees have increased. Officials on Samos, Chios, and Lesvos have all used extremist language recently."
See also: Tensions mount in migrant camps on mainland too (ekathimerini.com, link) And as of 31.10.18 there were 20,882 refugees on the Greek islands according to Greek Ministry.
Invitation to Launch of Statewatch Library & Archive
The Statewatch Library & Archive is being launched on Thursday 22 November 2018 at May Day Rooms in London: 18.00 -20.00 Map: 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH If you would like to come to the Launch please send us an email with "LAUNCH" in the subject line to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to look around the Library please come at 17.30 when refreshments will be available too
Chair: Ann Singleton (Co-Chair of Statewatch)
Welcome from May Day Rooms: Jakob
Jay Bernard (Documentalist) via video
Tony Bunyan (Director of Statewatch)
Zak Suffee (Library Volunteer)
Aidan White (President of the Ethical Journalism Network)
What’s different about this resource?
All libraries and archives have a different emphasis and history. Our archive has been gathered over 40 years and holds unique materials from national and local activism in pamphlet format including Roneo to lithographic publications, plus badges alongside key books ranging from the 1920s onwards and many hard copy EU documents which predate the EU’s digitisation of its records. Our specialism is civil liberties and the state.
Hungary’s top court clears journalist who kicked refugees (euractiv. link):
"The Supreme Court in Hungary, a country known for its tough stance on migration, has cleared of all charges the camerawoman who kicked refugees live on camera at the Serbia-Hungary border in 2015."
EU commission 'regrets' Austria rejecting UN migration pact (euobserver, link):
"The European Commission said on Wednesday it regrets Austria's decision not to sign a UN global migration pact. "We regret the decision that the Austrian government has taken. We continue to believe that migration is a global challenge," said a spokeswoman. The pact was approved by 193 countries. Austria now joins Hungary and the US in refusing to back the non-binding pact, to be signed in Morocco in December."
International protection, Resettlement, Reception and Return
Planned centralised "Big Brother" database coming your way by 2023
On Sunday 11 November hundreds of people demonstrated in Madrid to protest against "institutional violence" and the "racist structures of the state".
The Austrian Council Presidency has circulated a Note to the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) which seeks to monitor the movement of refugees from the country of arrival northwards - particularly from Greece and Italy - to other EU Member States.
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