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    ISSN 1756-851X
    19 November 2017

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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 14-17.11.17) including Commission "progress " reports in migration

Greece: Court rules on suspicious death

Court judgment: Inadequate investigation into the death of a phone operator employee allegedly linked to a high profile wiretapping affair (Press release, pdf) and Judgment: full-text (pdf):

"The Court considered that the Greek authorities had failed to carry out an adequate and effective investigation into the death of Costas Tsalikidis."

EU: European Parliament: Dublin reforms: Report: on the proposal for a regulation establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless persons (pdf)

The European Parliament has adopted its mandate, negotiating position, prior to entering secret trilogue meetings with the Council of the European Union. There are fears that, backed by the European Peoples Party (centre-right) the Orban-like proposals of the Commission will be reinstated.

UN human rights chief: Suffering of migrants in Libya outrage to conscience of humanity (link):

"GENEVA (14 November) – The UN Human Rights chief today expressed dismay at the sharp increase in the number of migrants held in horrific conditions at detention facilities in Libya, saying the European Union’s policy of assisting the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept and return migrants in the Mediterranean was inhuman.

“The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said. “What was an already dire situation has now turned catastrophic."

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (LIMITE doc no: 13347-17, 126 pages, pdf): The Council working on its negotiating position. There are 225 Footnotes: "Comments made by delegations on the Commission proposal text, orally and in writing, appear in the footnotes of the Annex."

Institute for Race Relations (IRR): EU member states, in criminalising humanitarians, are feeding Europe’s far Right (Press release, link):

"The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) publishes today research showing that EU member states are using laws, aimed at traffickers and smugglers, to criminalise those acting out of humanitarian motives.

The rhetoric of EU politicians and its border force, Frontex, may be fuelling far-right extremism, IRR warns. It has written to the European Commission (EC) urging it to reassert support for humanitarian values."

See: Report (link) and Trafficking laws ‘target refugee aid workers in EU’ (Guardian, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4-13.11.17)

Interview with Edward Snowden 'There Is Still Hope - Even for Me' (Der Spiegel,link):

"In an interview, whistleblower Edward Snowden discusses his life in Russia, the power of the intelligence apparatuses and how he will continue his battle against all-encompassing surveillance by governments."

EU: Returns and lack of readmission agreements highlight reluctance of African states to comply with EU demands

In a letter to Claude Moraes (pdf), Chair of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE), the Director-General of of Migration and Home Affairs sets out the present situation of readmissions.

Despite the Commission's attempts to set up return and readmission agreements, especially in Africa: "Most third countries however, do not want to engage in negotiations on readmission agreements mainly due to internal political considerations, as such agreements can be a source of public hostility."

Commission wants to extend law for police data access to the US (euractiv, link):

"The European Commission hopes to set an international standard with its upcoming proposal to give police easier access to data from tech companies, and has already asked the United States to cooperate.

A senior Commission official said on Thursday (9 November) that the EU executive suggested creating a new EU-US arrangement that would allow police to access data from companies that may be located in other jurisdictions. EU officials made that proposal to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in June, during a joint EU-US justice ministerial meeting in Malta last June, but have not yet received a response from Sessions’ office.

At the end of January 2018, the Commission will propose new rules that will apply within the EU on the access to so-called e-evidence, which will make it faster and easier for law enforcement authorities to obtain data from other member states."

Greece: Anger rises in Lesbos over crowded refugee camps (Guardian, link): "Lesbos mayor accuses Greek government of allowing island to become a giant prison camp. “We are utterly opposed to policies that are turning Lesbos and other border areas into concentration camps where all human dignity is denied,” said Spyros Galinos, the island’s mayor. “The government has failed to keep to its commitment to effectively deal with this problem and move people on.” (...)

Close to 6,000 people are being held at the island’s main camp in Moria, which was initially established as a temporary measure to house no more than 2,000."

Comment: Currently there are 8,106 refugees in Lesvos (9.11.17, Greek Ministry)

ITALY: Account of a serious violation of the law in the hotspot in Lampedusa - In spite of the ECtHR sentence in the Khlaifa case, arbitrary detention, mass expulsions and denial of the right to asylum continue

EU: Libyan Coast Guard accused of causing "at least five deaths" in the Mediterranean

"The violent and reckless behavior of Libyan Coast Guards has caused at least five deaths on the Central Mediterranean Sea this morning, as the crew of the Sea-Watch 3 was called to their first rescue mission by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center. A helicopter of the Italian Navy had to intervene to prevent more fatalities.

See: Breaking: Dramatic first rescue operation for Sea-Watch 3 (Sea-Watch, link)

UK: Buried in a government bill, an immigration rule strips millions of their data protection (, link):

"The government's data protection bill was meant to give people control over their information. Instead it will strip millions of their rights.

EU: Migrant smuggling and trafficking as crimes against humanity: growing calls for crimes to be heard before International Criminal Court

A recent editorial in Der Spiegel by two legal academics supports the call recently made by a UN Special Rapporteur for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to "consider investigation into atrocity crimes against refugees and migrants where there are reasonable grounds that such crimes have taken place and the jurisdictional requirements of the court have been met." This approach is also being pursued by the EU's military mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia, which has sought contacts with the ICC and has produced a "non-paper" on the topic that was recently obtainedby Statewatch.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.10-3.11.17) including: European Parliament chief wants 'Marshall Plan' for Africa; migrant smuggling and trafficking as a crime against humanity; refugee in Greece protest for family reunification

CATALONIA: Report about the incidents between the 1st and 4th of October 2017: patients attended to during the electoral and latter days as a consequence of the actions of state police bodies (pdf)

During the electoral day of 1 October 2017, as a consequence of the charges by state police bodies, 991 people were attended to and assessed by professionals from SEM (Sistema d'Emergències Mèdiques), CAP (Centres d'Atenció Primària), PAC (Punts d'Atenció Continuada), CUAP (Centres d'Urgències d'Atenció Primària) and hospital centres. Of those, 214 were attended to by the SEM and 777 in health centres across 38 hospitals, 40 CAP and PAC, and 14 CUAP.

UK-EU: Home Office: information on Justice and Home Affairs opt-in and Schengen opt-out protocols

The UK Home Office has published three papers explaining the UK's opt-in to EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) measures and its opt-out on Schengen issues. These opt-ins and opt-outs were one of the ways in which the UK already had a 'special relationship' with the EU prior to the attempted renegotiations that took place before the Brexit referendum.

EU agencies and bodies act "out of area" under civilian crisis management role

The role of Europol, European Border Coast Guard Agency and Eurogendfor is spelt out in the European External Action Service (EEAS): Priorities for civilian crisis management (LIMITE doc no: 13258-17, pdf): The Strategic framework includes:

In May 2017, the Council underlined the need to enhance the contribution of civilian crisis management to the wider EU response to current and future security challenges, including ‘irregular migration, hybrid threats, cyber security, terrorism, radicalisation, organised crime, border management and maritime security.’ These key challenges for the EU are tackled by a mix of EU instruments, which could include CSDP." [emphasis added]

Our readers may not be familiar with "Eurogendfor" which also acts "out of area": Cooperation with the European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR) under the Common Security and Defence Policy - Explanatory brief (pdf) and see: EU seeks more prominent international role for European para-military police force (Statewatch database)

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opinion: Regulation on eu-Lisa (pdf)

UK: HILLSBOROUGH: Home Office: ‘The patronising disposition of unaccountable power’ A report to ensure the pain and suffering of the Hillsborough families is not repeated The Right Reverend James Jones KBE (pdf):

"In this report I do not pretend to speak for the families. But I have listened to what they have said to me. I urge you to help ensure that those responsible for our national institutions listen to what the experiences of the Hillsborough families say about how they should conduct themselves when faced by families bereaved by public tragedy. I want therefore to begin by inviting you to read these opening examples of what the Hillsborough families have said, in their own words.

‘I was taken to the mortuary. This was cruel. This was my brother, who I knew inside out; who I had slept with. It was just through a window… I asked if I could go in and see him. There was a kerfuffle. They said no, he was the property of the coroner. I said “he is not, he is my mother’s property”.’

‘Police officers visited my mum shortly after the disaster… They brought my dad’s belongings in a bin liner and just tipped them on the floor. They said, “What was an old man doing going to a game like that?”’

And see: Hillsborough report urges change of attitude in authority (BBC News, link)

ITALY: ECHR: Two findings of torture against Italy: Genoa G8 protest detainees and prisoners at Asti Correctional Facility

Two seperate judgments handed down by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have found that Italian officials committed torture and that the authorities failed to investigate or punish the acts. One case concerns almost 60 people who were subject to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment at the hands of police and medical staff following the protests against the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001; the other concerns two prisoners who were placed in solitary confinement and beaten repeatedly by prison officers.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23-29.10.17)

French police ‘use beatings, tear gas and confiscation’ against Calais refugees (The Observer, link):

"Report from the Refugee Rights Data Project finds child refugees harassed and intimidated by police as well as local citizens.

Police violence towards refugees in Calais has intensified to “excessive and life-threatening” levels, according to a new report, and the overall situation for unaccompanied minors has deteriorated markedly, a year after the refugee camp there was razed.

The report by the Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) says French police tactics against the estimated 700 refugees at the port are alleged to have included driving unaccompanied girls to remote spots and abandoning them. Researchers used interpreters to interview 233 refugees, including 94 children as young as 12, and found repeated “disproportionate and indiscriminate” accounts of police brutality including beatings severe enough to break limbs."

EU-Africa: The fight against smuggling comes of age: from deaths at sea to those in the desert

Three questions: Barbara Spinelli MEP highlights the human cost of the fight against smugglers: "Barbara Spinelli interevened during the EP's plenary session on the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking in the Mediterranean, requested by the ENF group and submitted by Matteo Salvini, MEP for the Northern League."

UK: Press release: Spycops Plaques Project launch (pdf):

"This Friday, 27th October, sees the official launch of the new Spycops Plaques Project. This project is about marking some of the places where #spycops operated in the past, with a specially designed plaque being installed at locations across London.

The undercover officers whose work is commemorated by these plaques are mostly from two secretive police units: the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which was part of Special Branch and operated from 1968-2008 and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which was created in March 1999 and took over the SDS role.

The groups that these officers targeted included trade unionists, environmentalists, anti-nuclear and peace activists, the movement against apartheid, people fighting for human and animal rights, against testing cosmetics on animals, and even families whose campaigning was in response to their loved ones’ deaths in custody."

Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

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 Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan

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