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    ISSN 1756-851X
    22 September 2019

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Northern Ireland: PRESS RELEASE: The Court of Appeal have ruled this morning that the treatment endured by the hooded men is torture, and an effective criminal investigation is necessary (pdf):

"Francis McGuigan, the applicant, said:

“Todays Judgment makes it expressly clear that the treatment that I suffered at the hands of Ministers was torture and should be investigated by an independent police force.”

“This treatment cannot be forgotten, it has had lasting and terrible effects on my mental health to this day and I can only hope that this judgment will assist someone somewhere in the world that suffers torture at the hand of their Government”

The Court said at Para 116 of the Judgment that they were satisfied that “the treatment to which Mr mcGuigan and Mr McKenna were subject would if it occurred today properly be characterised as torture.”"

Counter-Terrorism Coordinator wants EU to target right-wing extremism and terrorism

The EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC) has distributed two papers to national delegations in the Council's Terrorism Working Party calling attention to the threat of right-wing extremism and terrorism: "Attacks in Western countries such as Norway, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, as well as foiled attacks in France, have shown that there is a need to further strengthen the EU approach in tackling right-wing extremist violence."

See: NOTE from: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to: Delegations: Right-wing violent extremism and terrorism in the European Union: discussion paper (11756/19, LIMITE, 30 August 2019, pdf) and: background information (11756/19 ADD 1, pdf)

The CTC (since 2007 a Belgian official, Gilles de Kerchove) underlines that "right-wing extremism is a problem in Europe" - not exactly news, but it is now deemed urgent to address the issue at EU level.

The ongoing disasters in Libya

- There are between 700,000 and 1 million migrants in Libya
- "migrants and refugees rescued or intercepted at sea being transferred to detention centres [with a] lack of traceability, transparency and accountability"
- The government’s reluctance to address the problems raises the question of its own involvement."

See: Note from the Council Presidency to national delegations; Libya and the surrounding area: current situation and need for immediate action (LIMITE doc no: 115381, pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-16.9.19)

Prorogation of Parliament: Conflicting judgments in England and Scotland (EU Law Analysis, link):

"The outcome of the conjoined appeals at the Supreme Court of the UK on Tuesday the 17th of September is far from certain. The Scottish judgment is a constitutional first: the first time a serving Prime Minister has been found guilty of acting illegally in relation to the proroguing of Parliament.

What is certain is that the 11 justices of the Supreme Court will once again make UK constitutional history after the hearing on Tuesday week."

Protecting the European way of life’ from migrants is a gift to the far right (Guardian, link):

"EU technocrats still believe tougher border controls will defang their populist rivals – but they are fuelling a dangerous new nationalism. (...)

The plan, it appears, is to co-opt the demands of the far right – and thus neutralise their appeal – rather than take them on."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"In the EU bubble lexicon this strategy is known as "triangulation" - you adopt the policies of the populists, fascists and racists in the hope they will go away. Whereas history tells that appeasement only legitimates these political forces."

GREECE: Lesvos: Head of Moria hot spot submits his resignation (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"The head of the hot spot of Moria on the island of Lesvos submitted his resignation to the political leadership of the Ministry for Citizens’ Protection on Wednesday afternoon.

Citing personal reasons, the Manager of the Reception and Identification Center, Ioannis Balbakakis said that he was “tired” and he had to go.

“I leave with my head up at doing what I needed to do in difficult situations. I am neither leaving as a thief nor leaving as a protesting politician. I’m leaving because I have to leave. I’m tired."

EU: New EU deportation law breaches fundamental rights standards and should be rejected

A proposed new EU law governing standards and procedures for deportations would breach fundamental rights standards, massively expand the use of detention, limit appeal rights and undermine 'voluntary' return initiatives. It should be rejected by the European Parliament and the Council, argues a new analysis published today by Statewatch: Analysis (pdf)

The original Returns Directive was agreed in 2008, but a proposal for a 'recast' version was published by the European Commission in September 2018 as one a number of measures aiming to crack down on "illegally staying third-country nationals" in the EU.

EU: Open letter to Members of the European Parliament: The EU peace project is under threat (pdf) signed by over 60 organisations including Statewatch:

"As a coalition of 61 organisations we are writing to express our deep concern about a number of policy proposals which, taken together, call into question the EU’s founding values of human rights, peace and disarmament."

EU: Automating the exchange of police data: Council looks to national databases

The EU's recently-agreed plans for interconnecting its migration and policing databases are still being implemented (two Regulations were approved in July), but national delegations in the Council are looking to the future - in particular, how to make national law enforcement databases 'interoperable' with EU systems and with one another.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2-8.9.19) including:

  • Britain and France to strengthen joint action against small boats
  • Turkey's Erdogan threatens to 'open the gates' for migrants to Europe
  • Legal Centre Lesvos denounces the Greek governments proposed changes to the Asylum procedure
  • Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown

UK: Court rules police use of facial recognition is legal; survey finds majority of public want restrictions on the technology

The high court in Cardiff has ruled that the legal regime governing South Wales Police's use of facial recognition "is adequate to ensure the appropriate and non-arbitrary use" of the technology. The judgment comes two days after the publication of survey results showing that the majority of the British public are willing to accept facial recognition technology in certain circumstances, "but want the government to impose restrictions on its use."

Statewatch Analysis: Spain-Morocco: "Migration control, not rescue": squeezing search and rescue in the Mediterranean

As the EU's member states continue to discuss half-hearted plans for search and rescue and the disembarkation of migrants, they are also putting in place measures to prevent their own maritime safety authorities from carrying out rescues. At the same time, they are pressuring under-resourced and unwilling non-EU states to take on rescue tasks. As reports from Spain show, the results are deadly.

 Croatian police uses electroshock torture on a migrant minor (, link):

"In another one in a series of cases of mistreatments and beatings of migrants that are being pushed back from the border, officials of the Croatian border police brutally attacked K.S., a minor from Afghanistan, according to the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia. The boy, who survived severe physical and psychological torture, was first separated from a group of 16 migrants and beaten up at the border. After that he was detained in a dark room where he was beaten by four border police officers and subjected to electroshock torture.

According to the Commissariat, the police seized the boy's phone and money and physically injured him. After they caught him at the border, he was locked in a dark room, where the officials questioned him. They forced him to take his clothes off, made him get into water, where they The Commissariat expressed concern and outrage over these practices, and warned representatives of the international community about the enormous use of violence by the Croatian border police, as well as flagrant human rights violationsreleased electricity through a shocker, which led to him losing consciousness."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.8.19-1.9.19)

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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