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An internal Council survey of EU member states' assistance for Western Balkans countries shows that the emphasis is very clearly on migration control measures, with "the majority of bilateral support... provided in two areas, namely border management and combating the smuggling of migrants (over 50% of all MS activities)".
Dutch authorities have been accused of breaking the law by sharing refugees' personal data without their consent in the name of detecting "offences such as visa fraud, human trafficking and terrorism."
On 3 July the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released a ‘state of play’ document examining the deportation (“forced return”) monitoring systems of the 27 member states in 2020.
Interest in Frontex’s “Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance” activities picked up in April this year, when journalist Sergio Scandura documented the presence of Frontex-operated aircraft above the Mediterranean over the Easter weekend. Four migrant boats with approximately 280 people on board were left in distress situations for days, despite repeated calls for intervention, leading directly to “pull-backs” to Libya and deaths at sea.
On 2 June, the Croatian Presidency circulated to member state delegations a document intended for discussion at an "informal videoconference" of the secretive High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration on 12 June.
The Independent has revealed the the UK has been exporting surveillance equipment to dictatorships and other repressive regimes.
Poland's conservative president, Andzrej Duda, who is a strong backer of the governing Law and Justice Party, has won another five years in power.
The Germany Presidency of the Council of the EU (July-December 2020) has put the issue of media pluralism high on its agenda. An internal Council document sets out some of the thinking going on behind the scenes.
Report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies, plus the Committee's press release and press coverage.
Press release from Legal Centre Lesvos on their new report documenting a series of collective expulsions in the Aegean.
Press release: International travel may be on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the EU is pressing ahead with long-term plans to deploy controversial, untested technologies that will cast a “veil of suspicion” over holidaymakers and other travellers visiting the Schengen area, says a new report published today by the civil liberties organisation Statewatch.
The European Commission has published a Communication setting out the changes that will take place when the Brexit "transition period" comes to an end on 1 January 2021, no matter what the outcome of negotiations between Britain and the EU. Citizens' rights groups are concerned that many EU member states do not yet have legislation in place to ensure British citizens with the right to stay can do so.
Over the Easter weekend, 12 people died and 51 were 'pulled back' to Libya in a case where a vessel in distress lay within the Maltese SAR zone and on the fringe of Italy's territorial waters for hours, but no action was taken by Maltese or Italian authorities to conduct a rescue. Human rights group submitted a criminal complaint earlier this month, demanding that the possible complicity of the Italian authorities be investigated.
The High Court in Belfast has quashed the arrest warrants issued for investigative journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey. The two were subject to police investigation and arrest for their work on a documentary on the 1994 Loughinisland massacre, in which members of the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary killed six people and wounded five.
Those not expelled following an unsuccesful asylum claim or relocated following a succesful one would "end up in some sort of facility," reports EUobserver.
The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, has issued a new report examining the expanding use of armed drones.
There have been demonstrations across Greece against a new law which introduces a requirement to apply for a 'licence to protest'. In Athens, where more than 10,000 people gathered in opposition to the new measures, police reportedly detained 24 people. Violence broke out when a group of protesters threw petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas and flash grenades. Demonstrations have been held outside courts in support of those arrested.
A dozen human rights group have signed a statement calling for those involved in the killing of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia to be brought to justice, 1,000 days after her assassination and in the wake of "yet more disturbing revelations of state corruption and impunity".
The European Commission recently launched a consultation on possible changes to Europol's mandate, which would give the policing agency greater data-gathering and processing powers. Some of the proposals under consideration would legalise ongoing activities for which there is currently no legal basis, such as the processing of the personal data of innocent people. Statewatch's submission to the consultation called for a much broader discussion on the agency's role and operations.
As part of EDRi's series on 'COVIDTech', Greek digital rights organisation Homo Digitalis examines how the pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity for Greek police to make use of new rules allowing the deployment of drones for law enforcement purposes.
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