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latest news from across Europe (15-19.3.18) including: Lampedusa hotspot closed
and: Irregular migration to Spain: a state of exception
activists face trial under terrorism-related charges
"On Monday a group of
fifteen people will appear in court in Chelmsford, charged with
terrorism offences. Their crime? Blocking the take-off of a plane
deporting people from Britain against their will. The maximum
sentence? Life in prison."
of Mediterranean rescue NGO impounded in Sicily in "promotion
of illegal migration" investigation
The prosecutor of Catania (Sicily)
ordered on Sunday 18 March the impounding of the boat of Spanish
NGO Proactive Open Arms as part of an investigation into the
potential "promotion of illegal migration" by the organisation,
which late last week refused to follow the orders of the Libyan
Coast Guard during a rescue operation.
by the Swiss courts to examine a compensation claim relating
to alleged acts of torture in Tunisia: no violation
In todays Grand Chamber
judgment1 in the case of Nait-Liman v. Switzerland (application
no. 51357/07) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority
(fifteen votes to two), that there had been: no violation of
Article 6 § 1 (right of access to a court) of the European
Convention on Human Rights.
Statewatch Analysis: Irregular
migration to Spain: a state of exception (pdf) by Chris
"In late 2017, a prison-to-be
was converted into a detention centre by Spains interior
ministry, and used to hold some 500 Algerian nationals travelling
to the country by dinghy. One of them subsequently died, isolated
in his cell. The majority of detainees have now been deported,
and an official investigation into the death remains open, despite
a preliminary verdict of suicide. The penitentiary centre, meanwhile,
has now officially opened as a prison, but the episode highlights
how the treatment of such situations as emergencies
despite the fact that they have been ongoing for decades
leads to numerous and serious human rights violations."
UK: BREXIT: IRELAND: House
of Commons Select Committee on Northern Ireland report: The land
border between Northern Ireland and Ireland (pdf):
"The Committee has heard numerous proposals for
how the UK and the EU could ensure customs compliance without
physical infrastructure at the border. This is currently the
case for enforcement in relation to fuel, alcohol and tobacco.
These proposals address the question of compliance through mobile
patrols, risk analysis, data-sharing and enforcement measures
away from the border. However, we have had no visibility of
any technical solutions, anywhere in the world, beyond the aspirational,
that would remove the need for physical infrastructure at the
Court of Auditors: Special
report 07/2018: EU pre-accession assistance to Turkey: Only limited
results so far (link):
"mainly due to a lack
of political will and because the Commission has made little
use of conditions, EU assistance has insufficiently addressed
some fundamental needs and the sustainability of results is often
at risk. We therefore consider the effectiveness of the funding
to be only limited and make a number of recommendations for improvements,
including better targeting of funds and increased conditionality."
of British undercover police officer hangs over French "anarchist
The role of exposed British undercover
police officer Mark Kennedy has been raised in court proceedings
in France, where eight members of an alleged "anarchist
cell" are on trial charged with sabotaging high-speed railway
lines in 2008 in what is known as the Tarnac affair.
free speech problems laid bare in ECHR ruling and new Amnesty
The European Court of Human Rights
ruled on Tuesday 13 March that Spain violated the freedom of
expression of two men who were convicted of "incitement
to hatred and violence against the king and the monarchy"
after burning photographs of the king during a demonstration
in Girona in September 2007.
On the same day, Amnesty International
published a new report highlighting numerous cases in which Spain's
anti-terrorism laws have been used to target "social media
users, journalists, lawyers and musicians", breaching the
country's human rights obligations and leading to "increasing
self-censorship and a broader chilling effect on freedom of expression
EAW: POLAND-IRELAND: High
Court judge wants ruling over 'immense' law changes in Poland
"A High Court judge has
asked the European courts for a ruling on the effect of recent
legislative changes in Poland because they are "so immense"
the High Court has been forced to conclude that "the common
value of the rule of law" has been "systematically
damaged" and "democracy in Poland" has been breached."
of ruling (pdf)
and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 March 2018
UPDATE 11.3.18: -
(pdf) - B
(discussed, pdf) - A
(adopted without discussion, pdf)
and Home Affairs agencies' counter-terrorism roles continue to
Two papers recently circulated
to the Member States by the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
set out the EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) agencies' current
roles in implementing counter-terrorism policy and raise a number
of suggestions for how things could develop in the future.
UK-NORTHERN IRELAND: How
many murders can a police informer get away with? (The
"As the judge wound up,
it was clear that most of these 500 crimes had been committed
within a few miles of the semi-detached house on the Mount Vernon
estate in north Belfast where [Gary] Haggarty, a 46-year-old
former tyre fitter, lived with his wife and son.
of Commons paper examines antisocial behaviour powers and the
criminalisation of homelessness
"This briefing paper
discusses the use of anti-social behaviour powers to ban activities
often associated with rough sleeping, and concerns that an increase
in the use of these powers is criminalising homelessness and
is not addressing the root cause of the problem."
report: The Globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism Policies:
Undermining human rights, instrumentalising civil society
The globalisation of Countering
Violent Extremism (CVE) policies is the most significant development
in counterterrorism policy in the last decade. What began as
a rhetorical commitment from a handful of agencies has developed
into a plethora of policies, deployed from Finland to the Philippines.
testimonies highlight "systematic pushbacks" of refugees
in the Evros region
The Greek Council of Refugees'
latest report documents pushbacks of refugees at the Greek border
in the Evros region, which the organisation says violate "basic
international obligations of Greece, and more specifically the
principle of non-refoulement, the right of access to asylum and
constitute inhuman or degrading treatment as well as exposure
to threat to life or torture according to Article 3 of the ECHR."
Statewatch Briefing: The interoperability
of Justice and Home Affairs databases (pdf) by Tony Bunyan:
proposal for interoperable centralised EU databases is justified
on the threat posed to internal security by migration and terrorism.
This conflation of threats has strong racist undertones based
on fear of the other.
Building on the above the message is that as the plans only affect
218 million non-EU citizens, so there is no reason for EU citizens
to be concerned as it will not affect them. The assumption that
EU citizens are not concerned with the rights and freedoms of
non-EU citizens is insulting.
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council,
8-9 March 2018
between EU information systems: a) Interoperability Regulation
(borders and visa) b) Interoperability Regulation (police and
judicial cooperation, asylum and migration) = Policy debate (EU doc no: 6396-18,
pdf): Includes some new plans:
recording of border crossings of all EU citizens (...)
- centralised mechanism for advance passenger information
(API), including the need for a centralised router, as well
as its possible use for passenger name records (PNR)." [emphasis added]
and should biometric
datafrom national database (avaliable through the PRUM system
be included on the planned Biometric Matching Service (BMS)?
Also under discussion
- overview of implementation and way forward (LIMITE doc no: 6283-REV-1-18,
Procedures Regulation: Documentation
The new Asylum
Procedures Regulation is now being discussed by the co-legislators
- the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.
To aid public discussions on the issues involved we publish here
the key documents in historical order
identification searches now possible in Schengen Information
After a little less than two
years of intense efforts, the eu-LISA Internal Security Systems
Sector successfully launched the first phase of the SIS II AFIS
platform. The platform enables the identification of a person
from his/her fingerprints alone. The introduction of a biometric
search capability in SIS II was achieved by eu-LISA in tight
cooperation with ten Member States who showed both interest and
willingness to use biometric queries once deployed at the Central
System level. Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia will soon
be followed by more Member States.
for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing
Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives:
Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR
and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the
Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias
Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem,
the member states are upgrading the Unions external borders.
Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens
some of the EUs fundamental values - under the pretence
that ones own interests are at stake. Such an approach
borders on the inhumane."
How the EU works and justice and home
affairs decision-making (pdf)
20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch
'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the
(pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex,
with additional material by Tony Bunyan
Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
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