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The EU should "seize" the opportunity provided by the pandemic to implement "a true technological transition" and digitize deportation proceedings, says a report by the Portuguese Council Presidency looking at how member states have dealt expulsions since last spring.
A "democratic renewal" is needed to "reinforce and renew European democracy and to create an environment in which human rights and the rule of law flourish," says the latest annual report of the Council of Europe.
The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU is calling on member states to "support and contribute to the Commission's efforts in the process of identifying options for the way forward on encryption," as EU institutions aim for the contradictory objectives of promoting the use of encryption whilst undermining its effectiveness.
A briefing paper from the European Parliament's Scientific Foresight unit asks a question that raises all manner of legal, ethical and philosophical questions: "As DNA sequencing technologies continuously improve and become less costly, what if we all soon possessed our personal, smart DNA sequencers and apps to analyse our DNA?"
A statement from Mijente and Just Futures Law on the repeal of a rule introduced by the Trump administration allowing the mass collection of biometric data from immigrants entering the USA. However, this change "only stops the rollout of flawed legal justification for mass collection of our biometric information, not its practice nor plans to expand it."
Two recent Council documents: a consolidated version of the text of the proposed Asylum Procedure Regulation, currently being discussed by the Council's Asylum Working Party; and a discussion paper on the strategy on voluntary return and reintegration, recently published by the European Commission.
A recent note produced by the European Commission, marked "sensitive" and not intended for distribution outside of the Council of the EU or European Parliament, sheds a sliver of light on the "state of play of negotiations of an EU-US Agreement on cross-border access to electronic evidence".
Discussions are underway to grant more powers to EU policing agency Europol, which would vastly expand the amount of data the agency could process, and the ways in which that data could be processed. Statewatch is publishing the latest version of the Council's preferred version of the text, drawn up following secret discussions between member state delegations in the Law Enforcement Working Party.
The UNHCR says that the UK government's 'New Plan for Immigration', which seeks to diminish refugee protections, risks "breaching international legal commitments, undermining global refugee cooperation and triggering damaging effects on asylum-seekers who arrive irregularly".
Europol should exchange information with national authorities "regarding the prevention of violent demonstrations and civil unrest," say a draft set of Council conclusions on "lessons learned" from the pandemic for internal security and law enforcement.
Frontex is to set up a lobbying transparency register to record details of meetings with representatives from the private sector, in accordance with the 2019 Regulation governing the border agency. Statewatch has obtained the Decision of Executive Director establishing the register.
The EU is bolstering its ability to project power abroad. The latest means for doing so is through the adoption of a "Strategic Compass", which is intended to "help strengthen a common European security and defence culture". An internal document obtained by Statewatch shows how the EU Military Committee aims to ensure the views of the "Military Community" are taken into account.
Alongside the release of its annual report, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture has issued a set of minimum requirements for detention in prisons. The requirements are a response to a deterioration in conditions caused by years of austerity measures - and which may be worsened by future cuts introduced in response to expenditure during the pandemic.
A study contracted by the European Commission examining how practices of algorithmic discrimination can undermine the rights to equality and non-discrimination, and potential responses.
A press release from a group of human rights organisations in response to a decision of the French Conseil d'Etat, which has failed to order the closure of illegal detention facilities at the French-Italian border.
A new strategy on "voluntary" return and reintegration unveiled by the European Commission at the end of last month notes that the use of detention "can increase the uptake of voluntary returns at early stages of the return process."
Five years after the Khlaifia ruling handed down by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the effective respect of rights in hotspots in Italy is still not guaranteed and needs to be further examined in December 2021. This was decided by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe following violations and critical events reported by ASGI, A Buon Diritto Onlus and CILD.
As part of an ongoing investigation into pushbacks of migrants and refugees from Greece to Turkey, the Greek Ombudsman has issued an interim report summarising the cases examined so far and the response - or lack thereof - of the authorities.
The EU's proposed 'Digital Green Certificate' is intended to allow people to prove that they have been vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19, or received a negative test result. The aim is to facilitate the return of free movement within the EU. However, 28 human rights organisations, including Statewatch, have written to the European Parliament to warn that they must fix problems with the proposals that mean the certificates could facilitate surveillance, exacerbate discrimination and potentially become a permanent fixture of everyday life.
In response to ongoing deaths in the Mediterranean Sea, the European Commission set up a ‘Contact Group on Search and Rescue’, made up of EU member state authorities. It aims to establish a “structured framework for cooperation at EU level in order to ensure rapid response in case of events at sea as well as maintaining safety of navigation and ensuring effective migration management.” A month after its first meeting, as avoidable deaths and a lack of assistance to vessels in distress in the Mediterranean continue, it is failing to meet its own transparency requirements.
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