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    ISSN 1756-851X
    14 December 2017
 

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New EU-Turkey "dodgy" deal: Greece to speed up migrant transfer after Turkey deal (euractiv, link):

"Greece will speed up the relocation of thousands of migrants from its overcrowded islands to the mainland before the onset of winter after reaching a deal with Turkey, a key ally in helping to tackle Europe’s migration crisis, government sources said yesterday (11 December).

Athens persuaded Ankara last week to accept migrant returns, including Syrian refugees, from the mainland and not just from the Aegean islands as previously agreed under a 2016 EU-Turkey pact, a government source told AFP.

The new agreement — reached during a strained two-day visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — aims to reduce the more than 15,000 people packed into refugee camps on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros, another source said."

UK: The hidden world of “private spies” (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, pdf link): "How Royal Bank of Scotland, British Airways, Porsche and Caterpillar employed private security firms which spied on protesters (...) And see: Surveillance firms spied on campaign groups for big companies, leak shows (Guardian, link)

EU: Data retention and the ePrivacy Regulation: Member State positions revealed

A Council working paper obtained by Statewatch prepared on the basis of responses to a questionnaire issued by the Estonian Presidency shows the positions of a wide number of EU Member States, and Europol, on the possibility of including mandatory data retention rules in the ePrivacy Regulation.

ECHR: Children detained in Bulgaria subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the three children of an Iraqi family detained in Bulgaria were subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment. The cell they were held in was run-down, dirty, had litter and damp cardboard on the floor and "as there had been no toilet in the cell, they had to urinate on the floor." They were not given food or water for 24 hours and the youngest child's milk was confiscated for 19 hours.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (7-10.12.17)

EU: European Council 14 December, 2017:

See: European Council (14 December 2017) – Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no 13862-17, pdf): Including:

"SECURITY AND DEFENCE

Further to its December 2016 and June 2017 conclusions, the European Council reviewed progress in the field of security and defence, and:

- welcomes the establishment of permanent structured cooperation and stresses the importance of quickly implementing the first batch of fifteen projects; it calls on participating Member States to deliver on their national implementation plans;

- calls for further work on the European Defence Fund, and in particular the swift adoption in 2018 of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, in time to finance the first capability projects in 2019;(...)

UK-EU-BREXIT: Justice and Home Affairs: The Home Affairs Select Committee has started an inquiry into: Home Office delivery of Brexit: policing and security co-operation: Oral evidence to the Committee, 5 December 2017 (pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 7-8 December 2017: Conclusions and background documentation

Outcomes and documents discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, 7-8 December 2017: eu-LISA, ECRIS-TCN, Freezing and confiscation, PNR Directive, CSDP operations and JHA Agencies, Asylum Package, CEAS: Common Procedures, Reception and Qualifications, Data Retention and EU accession to ECHR.

EU: Frontex training materials for Libyan Coast Guard come up short on human rights

"Respect and protection of human rights are a negligible part of the EU’s training to the Libyan Coast Guard, as revealed by the training materials the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) disclosed in response to an access to documents request. From a total of 20 documents – including a video – released, only 0,5% of the content is dedicated to ensuring the protection of human rights."

Police militarisation: new online resource highlights the "shift towards militarised policing taking place across each and every continent"

A new online resource on police militarisation has been launched by the organisation War Resisters International (WRI), bringing together articles on a variety of relvant topics and providing an interactive map that "can be used to explore the militarisation of policing" in countries across the globe.

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: "discrimination, intolerance and hatred across the EU" show failings in law and policy

A major new report from the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) shows that "immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and minority ethnic groups continue to face widespread discrimination across the EU and in all areas of life – most often when seeking employment."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5-6.12.17)

UPDATED: 5 December 2017: EU: Trilogue on ETIAS: 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 (pdf): Four column document giving the Commission proposal, the positions of the Council and the European Parliament and "Compromise" position for discussion in secret trilogue o/n 12 December 2017.

EU: Frontex asks for greater access to databases under interoperability proposals: Non-paper by Frontex on its access to central EU systems for borders and security (LIMITE doc no: 15174-17, pdf):

Frontex says it has less access to data than national authorities. Thus it needs greater access to check hird country nationals at external borders with "hotspot" style roles of screening, registration, debriefing and fingerprintin and its role in "returns"

Fatal Journeys Volume 3 Part 2: Improving Data on Missing Migrants (IOM link):

"This report, the third volume in the Fatal Journeys series, focuses on improving data on migrant fatalities. It is published in two parts. Part 1 critically examines the existing and potential sources of data on missing migrants. Part 2 focuses on six key regions across the world, discussing the regional data challenges and context of migrant deaths and disappearances.

The second part of Fatal Journeys Volume 3 makes five key recommendations that emerge from the comparison of regions and innovative methodologies discussed in both parts of the report."

See: Report (link)

Statewatch Analysis: Human rights violations at Spain’s southern border: steps towards restoring legality (pdf)

In mid-August 2014, a group of around 80 people attempted to enter Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa, by climbing the three razor-wire topped fences that divide the territory from Morocco. The majority remained balanced atop a fence for around nine hours while some held onto their perches for up to 16 hours, “despite the suffocating heat and the lack of food and water,” as one news report noted at the time. But regardless of how long they held on, as soon as they came down from the fence they were all returned to Morocco by officers from Spain’s Guardia Civil.

Although the Article 3 claim was dismissed by the Court [ECHR], the other complaints were accepted, and on 3 October the Court found that the Spanish government had indeed violated the prohibition on the collective expulsion of aliens (Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights) and the right to an effective domestic remedy (Article 13 of the Convention).

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30-11-17-04-12-17)

EU: EDPS "Reflection paper" on the interoperability of JHA databases poses fundamental questions

"Technology should always come in support of policies and user needs, not the other way around. What is technically feasible might not necessarily be legally justifiable or ethically desirable."

"We are concerned that repeatedly referring to migration, internal security and fight against terrorism almost interchangeably brings the risk of blurring the boundaries between migration management and fight against terrorism."

How many terminals and how many officials have or will have access to all the existing and planned JHA databases? In 2003 the SIS alone could be accessed from 125,000 terminals!

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has published a "Reflection Paper on the interoperability of information systems in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice" (17 November 2017, pdf) which poses fundamental questions for the Commission who will draft new measures and the co-legislators (the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament).

EU: HQ of the Atlas Network's 38 Special Intervention Units to be based at Europol

A Report from the Council Presidency, dated 16 November 2017: Draft Council Conclusions on the strengthening of the ATLAS Network (LIMITE doc no: 12583-REV-5-17, pdf) seeks amongst other things to create a permanent ATLAS Support Office based at Europol. The Network's: "Special Intervention Units (SIUs) of the Member States may be called to intervene in a variety of situations not necessarily linked to terrorism."

Lesvos, Greece:The Memories of the Dead will not be erased with Black Paint (w2eu, link):

"In the night of the 24th of November 2017, by the harbour of Thermi on Lesvos Island, unidentified persons vandalised the memorial that we had erected there in 2013. It carries the names of those who had drowned on their journeys to Europe. Two wooden paddles hold the plaque with the names of the dead and the memorial looks out to the sea, dedicated to those of all ages and backgrounds, whose lives ended at sea."

EU: Council of the European Union: Registration of Identity in EU Member States

Questionnaire on issues related to Registration of Identity - Updated assessment of the replies (LIMITE doc no:12004-REV-1-17, pdf): "Delegations will find enclosed an updated version of the assessment of the replies to the questionnaire related to Registration of Identity prepared by the Commission services." And see: Previous version (LIMITE doc no: 12004-17, pdf)

UNHCR: Arrivals in the Med 2017: 166,250: Italy 121,916, Greece: 27,245, Spain: 21,304, Cyprus 1,062. And see: UNHCR Europe monthly report (pdf):

In Greece, the conditions on the islands have deteriorated further as a result of the increased arrivals since August 2017 and the limited reception capacity. The situation is most dire on Lesvos and Samos. On Lesvos, nearly 5,200 people are staying in a site with capacity for 1,400 at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) and the olive grove next to Moria (at 31 October) while on Samos there are 1,584 people at the Vathy RIC site with capacity for 700.(...)

Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights published a letter sent to the Italian Minister of Interior requesting information on Italy’s maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters, urging the Italian government to clarify the kind of support they expect to provide to the Libyan authorities and what safeguards Italy has put in place to ensure that people intercepted or rescued by Italian Italian vessels in Libyan territorial waters do not subsequently face a situation contrary to Article 3 ECHR (prohibition of torture). The Commissioner also requested information on the measures ensuring that search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, including those by NGOs, can continue to be carried out effectively and safely."


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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