01 November 2018
"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."
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."
Are You Syrious (8.11.18, link)
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."
"In this camp I saw people who are accountants, farmers, musicians, sons, daughters. Just like you and me."
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.(...)"
European Parliament study: The future relationship between the UK and the EU in the field of international protection following the UKs withdrawal from the EU (pdf):
"More specifically, this analysis presents the current situation with regard to UKEU 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."
Trans-Europe Express Migration still tops EUs 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."
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."
EU: Council Presidency calls for action on "seconndary 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 EUs 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 travellers gender, ethnicity and language, asking questions via a webcam."
"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)
"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 prosecutors 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."
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 didnt last very long.
Within days of the summit, Morocco and the African Union led continent-wide rejection to the EUs idea of setting up regional disembarkation platforms or hot spots on their territories."
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