February


Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The Court of Justice clarifies the conditions in which a third-country national who has deserted may be granted asylum in the EU (Press release, pdf): clarifies if USA soldier opposed to Iraq war can get asylum in EU

"In August 2008, an American soldier, Andre Shepherd, sought asylum in Germany. He had left his unit, which had been stationed in Germany since April 2007, after receiving an order to return to Iraq. Mr Shepherd believed that he should no longer participate in a war he considered unlawful and in the war crimes that were, in his view, committed in Iraq.

See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)

EU: Frontex, poison or antidote to the tragedies in the Mediterranean? (Migreurop, link):

"As Malta receives millions of Euros to fund maritime border control operations in collaboration with Frontex, members of the FRONTEXIT campaign denounce the security obsession blinding Europe and leading to increasing numbers of deaths."

Update III on detentions and deportations of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco (No Borders Morocco, link):

""As part of the so-called European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the EU and its member states fund surrounding countries to control their borders and effectively prevent migrants from reaching European territory. As an "Advanced Partner" in the ENP, Morocco is complicit in creating a buffer zone externalising the EUâ¬"s inhumane border regime to Northern Africa. To gain advanced status, Morocco signed a so-called "Mobility Partnership" including readmission negotiations, and receives "assistance in implementing the strategy to combat illegal migration" (EU/Morocco Action Plan, para 48) from the EU. The large-scale detention and deportations of Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco show what this combat looks like in practice."

See: EU/Morocco Action Plan (pdf)

Greek Authorities Start Evacuating Amygdaleza Migrant Detention Center (Greek Reporter, link)

"Greek authorities have started evacuating the Amygdaleza migrant detention center last Friday, saying they have released 100 migrants by Tuesday, while 980 remain in the premises. Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Giannis Panousis had pledged to close down the Amygdaleza facility within 100 days, citing inhumane living conditions, following the suicide of a Pakistani national."

European police neglecting right-wing extremism

An online platform set up so that Europe's police forces can exchange information on right-wing extremism is "not being used much", says a recent report by the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC). This is despite the rise to prominence of far-right parties and movements across Europe - in Greece, Hungary, France, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere.

Europol, the EU's policing agency, hosts a 'Europol Platform for Experts' on right-wing extremism which is supposed to be used by police officers to "to share knowledge, best practices and non-personal data on crime." The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator's Report, published at the end of November 2014 and covering the period from December 2012 to mid-October 2014, says: "The EPE facilitates contact and exchange of best practice between Member States' experts. The platform meets as required. For the time being it is not being used much by Member States and Europol."

Europol failed to provide any further details on the use of the platform - for example, how many meetings it has held and how many messages have been exchanged through it - despite repeated requests from Statewatch.

CYPRUS: Racist attack and violence against migrant by the police (KISA, link)

"KISA publicly denounces a new incident of racist violence, inhuman and humiliating treatment against a migrant by members of the police. More specifically, according to a Cypriot citizen that witnessed the incident, two policemen called a migrant walking in front of them to stop and when the migrant turned towards them one of the two policemen hit him so hard on the face that the migrant fell to the ground. Then the policemen handcuffed and arrested him without any resistance or action from the migrants side."

Serbia: Asylum seekers and migrants left in cold (Medecins Sans Frontieres, link): "Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have risked their lives to reach Europe are being left stranded in forests and abandoned buildings in Serbia in harsh winter temperatures without sufficient food or shelter, according to international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF teams are providing them with essential relief items and urgently needed medical care. At the same time, MSF is calling on the Serbian authorities and European Union member states to provide the asylum seekers with aid and protection."

See also the MSF photo collection: Gallery: Transit denied: stranded in cold Serbia (link). One response to the increasing number of migrants and refugees attempting to reach central and northern Europe via Hungary has simply been to try to stop them. See: Serbia Border Crisis: Germany Sends Police To Stem Kosovo Refugees Seeking Asylum In European Union (International Business Times)

EU: UNICEF report: Childrens rights in return policy and practice in Europe (pdf): "A discussion paper on the return of unaccompanied and separated children to institutional reception or family"

EU: "FORCED RETURNS": Frontex quarterly report (FRAN: Frontex Risk Analysis Network): statistics on irregular migration (2MB, pdf) shows there were 74,262 "forced returns" in the last recorded year (p61).

EU: CJEU: Advocate General (AG) Sharpston: Opinion: 12 February 2015, Case C.554/13 (pdf): The AG says that if an undocumented person is suspected of a criminal offence then the authorities do not need to wait for the legal process to be completed in order to deport the person

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them (pdf): "FRA research has highlighted the risk that domestic EU Member State legislation on the facilitation of entry and stay may lead to the punishment of those who provide humanitarian assistance..."

High price paid by asylum seekers on reaching Europes affluent nations - Institute of Race Relations questions commitment to human rights after analysis of people who died in detention (Guardian, link): "Analysis by the London-based Institute of Race Relations thinktank found that the highest numbers of deaths of asylum seekers and migrants were in some of the most affluent countries, with the UK having the third largest death toll, during a period mostly governed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition."

GREECE: Joint statement by Amnesty International and Greek Council for Refugees: New government's announcement of ending the policy of indefinite detention a step in the right direction (pdf):

"The Greek Council for Refugees and Amnesty International welcome the announcement by Giannis Panousis, the Deputy Minister for Public Order that the authorities will cease to detain third country nationals held under return orders indefinitely. The Deputy Minister for Public Order made the announcement two days ago in his first policy speech before the Greek Parliament."

EU leaders want tighter border controls (euobserver, link):

"Tighter border control checks on travel and ID documents of EU nationals leaving or entering the EU are also on the cards as leaders called for the European commission to revise the so-called Schengen border code....

The EUs counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, at a European Parliament civil liberties committee in late January, told MEPs to "never let a serious crisis go to waste.... But civil liberty defenders warn of a power grab by governments and law authorities for the sake of creating a perception of greater security. The point was driven by one EU-funded study that found that out of the 88 legally binding rules in the EU counter-terrorism portfolio, 50 had yet or are not fully transposed into national law as of 2013."

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Lampedusa: another tragedy that should have been avoided by all means (link):

"I am appalled by the news of over 300 migrants feared dead in the Mediterranean. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. This is another tragedy that should have been avoided by all means. These deaths, which follow those of 29 migrants who died of hypothermia, put into question the decision to end the full-scale search-and-rescue mission Mare Nostrum in 2014, said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).... It is a question of life or death and all European states must stand in solidarity with countries of origins, Southern Mediterranean countries, and all those who are forced to flee conflict and persecution, Ms Brasseur declared."

EU burying heads in the sand as hundreds more migrants die at sea off Italy (AI, link) and Watch - Up to 300 migrants die in tragedy off Lampedusa; Amnesty International hits out (Independent.mt, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency says as many as 300 people are now unaccounted-for in the latest tragedy among migrants crossing the frigid Mediterranean.

The spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Carlotta Sami, says survivors have confirmed the existence of a fourth rubber boat that left Libya on Sunday. In a statement, the UNHCR says that means some 300 people are missing. Earlier, the agency cited survivors as saying 203 people had died in the crossing."

Strage di migranti a Lampedusa, i testimoni: oltre trecento morti. "Costretti a partire sotto la minaccia delle armi" (Massacre of migrants in Lampedusa, witnesses: three hundred dead. "Forced to leave under the threat of arms") (R.it, link):

"Found two other rafts on which there were only nine refugees: the other occupants may have been swept away by the waves. The survivors say they were forced to embark by the smugglers with weapons in hand. The bodies will arrive in Porto Empedocle. UNHCR: the victims are 232. Then one of the survivors said: was fourth boat with a hundred other people. Gentiloni: Triton's mission "is not enough" [translation]

Joint call: No to the wall of shame in Calais! (Migreurop, link): "Is France going to have its very own Ceuta and Melilla in Calais, 12 years after the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp? The growing number of migrants who have been in the Calais area for a few months is leading our rulers to take a dangerous step that contravenes migrant freedom and respect for their rights." and in French (link)

Mission plage pour EUBAM Libya (Bruxelles2, link): EUBAM operation turns into an expensive holiday camp?: An article by Nicolas Gros-Verheyde

Highlights that the expensive EUBAM mission to Libya to improve border controls in the north African country is ineffective due to the security situation which forced its personnel to retreat to Tunisia and Malta last July. Gros-Verheyde notes that 26m euros were allocated for the mission's first year of operation (ending in May 2015), and that around 12m euros would be made available for subsequent years (between 12m and 14m euros) in spite of lower numbers of staff involved. The mission is supposedly continuing from abroad, to keep contacts with its counterparts with a view to returning to Libya when it will be possible through "telework"

He cites EU diplomats as ironically referring to the mission as "the beach in Tunis". The mission's goals are to improve border controls at its northern (sea), western and southern borders, with fighting terrorism and crime listed as further purposes. The article also notes the considerable funds allocated to this mission in relation to the overall budget for PESC (external and security policy) which is 16 m euros and that OLAF (the EU's anti-fraud office) has opened an investigation into the
EUBAM mission.

EU: Council of the European Union: LIMITE document: Overstayers in the EU: methodology of gathering statistics; preventive measures; penalties (LIMITE dco no: 5194-15, pdf): The Council Presidency is looking at the harmoinsation of laws on dealing with people who overstay their visitors permint and who may enter the EU through one Member State and exit through another "without an appropriate sanction" . In 2013 there: "were 344,888 detections of illegal stay in the EU....The overstayers detected in the EU are third-country nationals who have exceeded the authorised period of stay, most of them being short-stay visa holders"

NETHERLANDS: FORCED RETURNS: CoE: CPT report: Report to the Government of the Netherlands on the visit to the Netherlands carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 16 to 18 October 2013 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)

See: Press release: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on forced return flight from the Netherlands (link)

EU: SYSTEMATIC SCHENGEN CHECKS & RISK PROFILING: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting: Riga: Joint Statement following the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 and 30 January (pdf):

"We consider that beyond the current efforts to make full use of existing Schengen framework, a targeted proposal to amend the Schengen Borders Code is a necessary step to reinforce external borders by making it possible to proceed to systematic checks on individuals enjoying the right of free movement against databases relevant to the fight against terrorism based on the common risk indicators"

See: Commission Decision: COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of XXX replacing the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision 2013/115/EU on the SIRENE Manual and other implementing measures for the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (pdf)

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January

 

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