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A host of important LIMITE documents from the Council of the EU: Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights; draft conclusions on the impact of COVID-19 on internal security; proposals on the governance of Europol's 'Innovation Hub' for internal security technologies; a discusssion paper on visas and asylum applications; draft Council Decision authorising negotiations on an agreement between the EU and Interpol; draft conclusions on the surveillance of travel via Passenger Name Record (PNR) data; and the extension of PNR to maritime transport.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights wrote to the Greek authorities earlier this month demanding that they "put an end to pushback operations at both the land and sea borders with Turkey, and to ensure that independent and effective investigations are carried out into all allegations of pushbacks and of ill-treatment by members of security forces in the context of such operations."
Statewatch is publishing the latest version of the recitals of the proposed Screening Regulation, which will introduce mandatory detention at the EU's borders. The document was produced by the Portuguese Presidency for a discussion of the Council's JHA Counsellors (Frontiers) working group on 19 May.
The French Bar Association has denounced EU proposals for accelerated asylum screening procedures at the borders as "deadly", and the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe has also expressed serious concerns over the plans.
The Queen's Speech, which sets out the government's programme for the coming year, was read to the House of Commons earlier this month. It contains a raft of measures that pose a threat to civil liberties.
National delegations in the Council of the EU are starting to discuss how proposed new legislation governing artificial intelligence should be interpreted from "an internal security perspective," with the Portuguese Presidency highlighting that "limitations and safeguards should be in balance with the possibilities of law enforcement to use and develop AI systems in the future, in line with the rest of the society."
Both the European Commission and the French government have expressed hopes that the Moroccan government will once again take up its role as Europe's border guard and prevent departures to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, where thousands of people have arrived in the last few days.
Andalucía Acoge, APDHA, CEAR, Elín, Iridia, Red Acoge and the SOS Racismo Federation demand a human-rights based outlook in Ceuta
Two new papers, from the Meijers Committee and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), set out ways to improve the accountability and transparency of EU border agency Frontex.
Forthcoming legislation on "e-evidence" would ease the cross-border gathering and transfer of data for use in criminal proceedings. Member states and MEPs must include fundamental rights protections in the rules , says a letter published today and signed by media and journalists' organisations, civil society groups, professional organisations and technology companies.
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".
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.
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