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    26 April 2018
 

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GREECE: Government Defies Court on Asylum Seekers: Reinstates Containment Policy That Keeps People Trapped on Islands (joint NGO statment, pdf):

"The Greek government’s move on April 20, 2018, overturning a binding court ruling ordering it to end its abusive policy of trapping asylum seekers on Greece’s islands raises rule of law concerns, 21 human rights and humanitarian organizations said today."

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: interoperability will give authorities unwarranted access to additional personal data

Interconnecting the EU's policing and migration databases would make "additional data visible to authorities who would otherwise not have access," according to the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), despite the Commission's claims that its "interoperability" proposals would make no such changes.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-24.4.18)

EU: Council of the European Union: Revision of DUBLIN rules

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 person (recast) (pdf). The Council developing its negotiating position and: New Dublin: Reversing the Dynamics (LIMITE doc no: 7674-18, pdf) In the second and third phases of a (refugee) "crisis" the European Council will take over:

"The third phase of the mechanism (marked in red in graphic 2) defines the broad parameters that will come into play in the event of a severe crisis. The main responsibilities in this phase lie at the European Council level. Any measures adopted when this level of pressure is reached should be based on political direction from the leaders. As well as the European Council being able to upgrade or prolong some or all of the measures triggered during the previous phases, leaders may also decide upon extraordinary measures, depending on the scope and specific characteristics of the crisis at hand. All measures decided upon by the leaders will be operationalised by the Council and implemented by the Commission and Member States, in line with the directions and guidelines given by the leaders."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "A familiar pattern is emerging. Llike in the financial crisis the response to a new "refugee crisis" will lie with the European Council (EU "Leaders"). Responsibility will thus not rest with the Justice and Home Affairs Council, the Commission, the European Parliament or with Member States (and their governments)."

EU: Council of the European Union: Regulation establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and amending Regulations (EU) No 515/2014, (EU) 2016/399, (EU) 2016/794 and (EU) 2016/1624 - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 7986-18, pdf): Final compromise text as agreed in trilogue:

"approve the final compromise texts, as set out in Annex I and II to this note, as well as the draft declaration regarding the Schengen Associated Countries, as set out in Annex III to this note."

GREECE: Protest by migrants against imprisonment on Greek islands attacked by far-right

"Police forced dozens of migrants, most Afghan asylum-seekers, who had been camped out on the main square of Lesvos island’s capital since last week, onto buses and transported them to the Moria camp in the early hours of Monday after downtown Mytilini turned into a battleground on Sunday."

Prepare to be fingerprinted: new EU proposals foresee mandatory biometrics in national ID cards

The European Commission has proposed a host of new measures aimed at "denying terrorists the means to act" which include the mandatory inclusion of two biometrics - fingerprints and a facial image - in all ID cards and residence documents for Union citizens and their family members issued by EU Member States.

EU: Commission's "e-evidence" proposals: "maximising risks for fundamental rights violations"

New proposals from the European Commission to make cross-border access to electronic data by police and judicial authorities "easier and faster" have been described as "a new legal shortcut to bypass existing measures, maximising risks for fundamental rights violations," by the civil society organisation European Digital Rights (EDRi), of which Statewatch is a member.

ITALY: Sequestration of the Open Arms rescue boat and the case against the crew: background, documentation and sources

On 16 April 2018 Statewatch published an analysis entitled 'The seizure of the Open Arms boat as a paradigm of the European Union's war on human rights', examining the charges levelled at the crew of the boat and the vessel's sequestration in Sicily. This page provides background information and documentation relevant to the case and the broader situation.

EU: Common European Asylum System: Qualification Directive: 6th trilogue - State of Play (178 pages, pdf): Four column do/document with the Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise" column:

"In order to facilitate the reading, these parts have been highlighted in in the table below as follows:

- the parts in yellow concern cross-references to other proposals which depend on the finalisation of the CEAS package;
- the parts in in green mark the elements upo which agreement has been confirmed;
- the parts in blue mark the elements upon which the agreement reached at technical level has to be confirmed at political level.

New text in the fourth column compared to the COM proposal is marked in bold and new text compared to the previous version of the table is marked in underline. Deleted text in the fourth column compared to COM proposal is marked with […]."

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: interoperability of biometric databases poses fundamental risks and must be widely debated

In an opinion published today the European Data Protection Supervisor warns that the European Commission's proposals to interconnect the EU's large-scale biometric databases would "change the way in which fundamental legal principles in this area have traditionally been interpreted," and calls for a "wider debate on the future of information exchange in the EU, the governance of interoperable databases and the safeguarding of fundamental rights."

EU: Confiscation orders: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders - Revised four column table following the third trilogue on 20 March and the technical meeting on 22 March 2018 (LIMITE doc no: 7525-18, pdf): Four- column document with the Commission proposal, the positions of the Council and the European Parliament and the "compromise" position:

"In the fourth column, the texts as provisionally agreed during the technical trilogues are marked by green. Issues that were also discussed, but on which no (full) provisional agreement was reached yet, are marked by yellow.

"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed""

FRANCE: Thousands of police deployed to destroy ten-year-old land occupation in France

Since 9 April some 2,500 police officers have been engaged in the destruction of a ten-year old land occupation near Nantes known as the ZAD, which was originally established in 2008 to try to prevent the construction of an airport.

EU: UNHCR Desperate Journeys report provides snapshot of changing refugee movements to Europe

Despite a drop in the number of refugees and migrants reaching Europe last year, the dangers many face along the way have in some cases increased, according to a new report by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, setting out changing patterns of movement.

HUNGARY: OSCE limited election observation mission: Statement of preliminary findings and conclusions (pdf):

"The 8 April parliamentary elections were characterized by a pervasive overlap between state and ruling party resources, undermining contestants’ ability to compete on an equal basis. Voters had a wide range of political options but intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing constricted the space for genuine political debate, hindering voters’ ability to make a fully-informed choice. The technical administration of the elections was professional and transparent.

EU: Nations in Transit 2018: Confronting illiberalism (Freedom House, link):

"In 2018, Nations in Transit registered the most score declines in the project’s 23-year history: 19 of the 29 countries had declines in their overall Democracy Scores. For the second year in a row, there are more Consolidated Authoritarian Regimes than Consolidated Democracies."

CoE: Anti-Torture Committee calls for a co-ordinated European approach to address mass migratory arrivals in Italy (link):

"The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published today a report on an ad hoc visit conducted in Italy to examine the situation of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty in the so-called “hotspots” and immigration detention centres, in a context of large-scale arrivals from North Africa.

The CPT recognises the significant challenges faced by the Italian authorities regarding the influx of new arrivals by sea. It also acknowledges the substantial efforts in carrying out rescue operations and in providing shelter and support to the hundreds of thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants currently present in the country. In this framework, the CPT recalls the need for a co-ordinated European approach and support system to address the phenomenon of mass migratory arrivals."

And see: Executive Summary (pdf) and Full report (pdf)

Hungary votes to keep prime minister and right wing in power

""BUDAPEST —Viktor Orban, Hungary’s staunchly anti-migrant prime minister, was reelected Sunday after his right-wing Fidesz party was projected to win a supermajority of seats in parliament. The resounding victory will probably permit Orban’s government to continue with democratic backsliding."

Refugees: Greece Statement by 5 of the accused of the Moria 35 – Take action!

"On the 20 April, we are scheduled to attend trial in Chios after waiting nine months, trapped on Lesvos, while 30 of our brothers unjustly have waited in prison for this same time period.

Our humanity has been denied since we stepped foot in Europe, the supposed cradle of democracy and human rights. Since we arrived we have been forced to live in horrible conditions, our asylum cases are not taken seriously, and most Africans are denied residency in Europe and face deportation. We are treated like criminals, simply for crossing a border that Europeans can freely cross."

Statewatch Analysis: Suspicion files: German police databases on political activists (pdf) by Matthias Monroy:

German authorities use a number of databases that collect data on political activists, even if they hadn't been sentenced or tried. Names are stored if people have had their identity checked, or if they have registered a demonstration under their name. Many are recorded under false designations. Such entries have raised concerns around them being used for further repression, including the revocation of journalists’ accreditation. Discriminatory and stigmatising labels have also been applied to people whose data is held by the police.


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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