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The Swedish Council Presidency says there is an “evident” need to revise the EU’s visa suspension mechanism due to “a near-record number of asylum applications in 2022” from citizens of visa-free countries and an “extremely cumbersome” process for removing countries from the visa-free list.
Civil society public letter on the proposed French law on the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games condemns a legal proposal to deploy algorithmic surveillance cameras in public spaces. The law would make France the first EU country to explicitly legalise such practices, violate international human rights law by contravening the principles of necessity and proportionality, and pose unacceptable risks to fundamental rights, such as the right to privacy, the freedom of assembly and association, and the right to non-discrimination.
Last week the Swedish Presidency circulated a note to member states setting out the state of play with the 37 current justice and home affairs legislative proposals that are under negotiation.
In January, representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN refugee agency (UNHCR) gave presentations to a new EU body launched last year to propel the externalisation of migration policies. The presentations included multiple facts and figures that are no longer made public, and the UNHCR called for the UNHCR and EU member states to align their communications strategies, “without concealing challenges.”
"New technologies, particularly digital technologies, are transforming the ways in which human rights are impeded and violated around the world," says a damning new report by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin. The report "addresses the intersection of counter-terrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism with the use of new technologies," and condemns "the elevation of blinkered security thinking that has accompanied a particularly restrictive approach to countering terrorism".
A statement circulated amongst Migreurop members and others by the Fédération des Tunisiens Citoyens des deux Rives (FTCR). Statewatch is a signatory. A demonstration will take place outside the Tunisian embassy in Paris on Friday 3 March.
The proposed Regulation laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse (CSA Regulation) is most controversial for its provisions that will undermine encryption, fundamentally altering how the internet works, and thus making it less safe for all users. Calls for it to be withdrawn have been ignored by legislators. The latest Council Presidency compromise text would make it simpler for authorities to have online content removed or blocked, and limits rights to redress.
In order to implement a recent Council Recommendation on increasing operational cooperation between law enforcement authorities, the Swedish Presidency has produced a "roadmap" to show the state of play in each member state.
The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will soon enter secret trilogue negotiations on two new pieces of legislation: Eurodac, the database on asylum-seekers that is being massively expanded to encompass people in an irregular migration situation; and a collaboration platform for Joint Investigation Teams working on cross-border criminal cases.
The growing number of EU digital policies should “benefit” justice and home affairs actors whilst “addressing and minimizing the associated risks,” the Swedish Presidency of the Council argues in a recent discussion paper. The Council’s internal security committee, COSI, should continue to “monitor and discuss” relevant legal proposals to create “a positive narrative… on the justice and internal security needs related to technological development and digitalization,” says the document.
Press release originally published by the Forum Tunisien des Droits Economiques et Sociaux (FTDES) on 16 February.
Following recent revelations about undercover police officers infilitrating social mvoements by using sexual and intimate relationships as cover, 88 organisations - including Statewatch - have joined a statement initiated by the legal centre Irídia calling for a "thorough, effective and independent investigation" and for an end to "any further police operations of a similar nature". Two undercover officers have been unmasked in Barcelona in the last nine months, and more recently another was outed in Valencia. Referring to similar cases in the UK, the statement notes that "the infiltration of police officers into social and political movements is a practice that has also been used in other countries."
Thirteen non-EU countries sometimes accept "social media profiles and phone contacts" as evidence of identity for the purpose of deportations, according to an internal Commission assessment of third country cooperation on readmission. The assessment, which is produced annually, is used to determine where and how to apply pressure on third states not deemed to be sufficiently cooperative with deportations from EU member states.
The call comes in a letter signed by the prime ministers of Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Latvia and Slovakia that argues "the current asylum system is broken and primarily benefits the cynical human smugglers who take advantage of the misfortune of women, men and children."
A draft “action file on Libya” is circulating within the Council of the EU. A version from January obtained by Statewatch indicates that there will be a fresh push to improve the ability of authorities in Libya to control the country’s southern borders and to prevent refugees from leaving the country by sea.
The EU’s border agency, Frontex, will be able to access vast quantities of data once the EU’s ‘interoperable’ policing and migration databases are fully operational. In particular, its access to extensive new sets of statistics is intended to increase the detail, influence and reach of its risk analyses and policy recommendations.
Today, the 10th March For Dignity will take place in Ceuta to commemorate and demand justice for the 14 people who died attempting to cross the border into Spain on 6 February 2014. The Tarajal Manifesto 2023 has been produced to mark the occasion.
Clara is an anarchist activist, member of La Cinètika and involved in the scout movement. She was in a year-long relationship with Daniel Hernández Pons, recently unmasked as an undercover police officer infilitrating social movements in Barcelona.
An officer of the Spanish National Police Corps infiltrated activist groups in Barcelona over a three-year period, joining the social centre La Cinétika in 2020 and initiating sexual relationships with women that facilitated his participation in assemblies, events and demonstrations.
The solidarity is voluntary, and there’s not enough of it to go around. Six months ago the EU established a “voluntary solidarity mechanism” for relocating refugees from states such as Italy, Greece and Malta. Now an internal Commission paper states that the entire scheme could be in jeopardy due to a failure by other EU member states to actually accept people for relocation. So far, only 207 people have benefited from the scheme.
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