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    ISSN 1756-851X
    01 July 2016
 

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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.6.16)

GERMANY: Far-right violence rising sharply in Germany (DW, link);

"The number of violent crimes committed in Germany by far-right extremists has risen by over 40 percent in one year, the nation's internal intelligence agency says. In particular, asylum seekers have been targeted....

In its annual report, Germany's domestic intelligence service (BfV) showed a 42 percent increase in violent acts by extremists associated with the far-right in 2015, describing attacks against journalists, politicians and refugees.

The report shows a recorded 1,408 violent crimes, compared to 990 such crimes in 2014. During the same period, seventy-five arson attacks against refugee centers were recorded, up from just five a year earlier."

See: 2015 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (English - Summary, pdf) and Full report (German, 317 pages, pdf)

HUNGARY: Show trial in Hungary: solidarity with the accused in Röszke (migszol.com, link):

"This report is based on the talk and discussion on an event on of the Röszke trials in Hungary, on refugees accused of violating the border fence during a riot/mass disturbance - which was held in Auróra, Budapest 24th 2016. As our guest, we had Tamas Fazekas, who works for the refugee program at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. Fazekas is a criminal lawyer, the defendant of three of the accused, and works for the HHC since 2001. The views expressed in the event and in this blogpost are his own and not representative of the HHC. HHC has unique access to all refugee camps and detention centers in Hungary. They are independent from the Hungarian government and do not receive any project money the EU, and provide free legal aid for people seeking international protection in Hungary."

And see Show trials message

BULGARIA: “Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants”: STATISTICAL REVIEW (EPIM, pdf):

"It seems that one common European response to the “flow” is the increased detention of migrants. This statistical review illustrates the implication of this common trend for Bulgaria. It is appears as if detention has become a migration management tool, especially in times when most states found themselves unprepared for the increased numbers of migrants arriving on their territories. Furthermore, the ongoing economic crisis and the mass austerity measures around the continent provoked the proliferation of far-right political movements.

Pressured by a potential loss of votes, liberal European politicians also started to resort to practices that are more akin to the far-right spectrum: migrants are more than often portrayed as a national security threat and criminals, and detention practices are often used as summary punitive measures against migrants in the name of the protection of the national interest."

CIA RENDITION: Lawyer: CIA gave Romania millions to host secret prisons (New Europe, link):

"The CIA paid Romania “millions of dollars” to host secret prisons, a rights lawyer said Wednesday as the European Court of Human Rights heard accusations that Romania allowed the agency to torture terrorism suspects in a secret renditions program under President George W. Bush.

Amrit Singh told the court on the opening day of the case that CIA prisons were in Romania from 2003-2005 with the government’s “acquiescence and connivance,” something authorities have denied. Romanian government representative Catrinel Brumar countered that it takes more than “hints and speculation to establish the state’s responsibilities.” She said an investigation was ongoing. The court said it would rule in a few months on whether Romania knowingly allowed CIA secret prisons where torture occurred, and whether it failed to prevent the torture of Singh’s client."

Mourning the dead while violating the living (open democracy, link)

"As of the end of April 2016, the Italian Navy has deployed four ships to fish out the wreck of a migrants’ boat from a depth of 370m and retrieve the bodies of the several hundred migrants who remained trapped inside since the night of the 18th of April 2015. Following a collision between the migrants’ severely overloaded vessel and a 147m cargo ship that had approached to rescue it, the boat capsized, causing the death of more than 800 people – the largest shipwreck in recent Mediterranean history...

If the EU-Turkey deal is not blocked through institutional means, then all that will still stand in its way will be the acts of civil disobedience such as those enacted by activists by blocking the Frontex operated ferries on their route to Turkey with their very bodies, and forms of direct support to migrants’ illegalised crossings through the work of the numerous NGOs and activists who have, since summer 2015, transformed the Aegean islands into a new laboratory of transnational solidarity. The re-opening of a safe(er) passage through the Aegean is a matter of life and deaths for thousands of migrants, and an urgent response to revert the self-destructive course the EU is heading in. For as long as migrants will drown, Europe will keep sinking."

European Court of human rights turns a blind eye on migrants’ life endangerment in Chios (GISTI, French and English, link):

"Last weekend, the European court for human right rejected a request for emergency measures sought on June 16th by 51 Syrian, Afghani, Iraqi nationals (amongst which many minors) who are forcibly maintained on Chios Island, Greece, in a desperate situation. This island, like many others in the Aegean Sea, has become an open-air prison. The victims, lead by a GISTI lawyer, a French NGO for the defence of migrants, had asked the court to compel Greek authorities to put an end to the violations of their right to life and to the inhuman and degrading treatment they have been enduring in Chios since an immigration deal was concluded between Turkey and the EU on march 20th – more than three months now - and which puts their children’s’ and their own lives at risk.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28-29.6.16) including: Lesvos: incident of police violence towards unaccompanied minors

Terrorism Database Used by Governments and Banks Leaked Online (VICE, link):

"A researcher has obtained a copy of
Thomson Reuters' ”World-Check” confidential intelligence database, which is used by governments, intelligence agencies, banks, law firms and more to scope out risks including suspected terrorists. It was likely left exposed on the open internet by a third party....

“We monitor over 530 sanction, watch and regulatory law and enforcement lists, and hundreds of thousands of information sources, often identifying heightened-risk entities months or years before they are listed. In fact, in 2012 alone we identified more than 180 entities before they appeared on the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list based on reputable sources identifying relevant risks”....

It includes the categories “political individual,” “corporate,” “military,” “crime—narcotics,” and “terrorism”.

See: Thomson Reuters World-Check (link)

and see; VICE News Reveals the Terrorism Blacklist Secretly Wielding Power Over the Lives of Millions (link)

EU: GERMANY & FRANCE PUSH FOR EU DRIVE AGAINST "ITINERANT CRIME GROUPS": German and French delegations: Draft European initiative to prevent and combat organised domestic burglary (LIMITE doc no: 6876-15, pdf):

"In recent years, there has been a considerable increase in property crimes committed in Europe by highly mobile organised crime groups. The interim SOCTA for 2015 estimates 1.000 offences per day.

The following can be said about the situation regarding domestic burglary in Europe:

• The increase in the number of domestic burglaries is attributable to itinerant crime groups originating mainly from South-Eastern and Eastern Europe. They belong to the field of organised crime or are considered one step away from organised crime.

• They have transnational organisational structures. They are flexible and able to adapt to countermeasures taken by individual states. To fight these networks effectively concerted action at European level is necessary.....

Itinerant crime generates a sense of insecurity for European citizens that leads them to doubt the ability of EU law enforcement
authorities to effectively tackle this scourge.....

The new technology of predictive policing delivers promising new results and contributes to a better use of resources"

This is not the first time that the EU has targeted "itinerant" crime groups: See: Targeting Roma: How the EU security apparatus is mobilised for the "fight against itinerant crime" (Statewatch database)

EUROPE: Stop evictions of Roma and Travellers - International organisations stress human cost of evictions and recall standards in a joint statement (Council of Europe)

"Strasbourg, 29 June 2016 – Traditionally, summer holidays coincide with the eviction of Roma and Travellers throughout Europe, which takes place almost unnoticed. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) join the Council of Europe, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Network of European National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet) in a statement to condemn the recent evictions of Roma and Travellers in Europe. "

See: Statement in English (pdf) and French (pdf)

See also: European Commission: Commission calls for renewed commitment to Roma integration Brussels Commission adopts its annual report on Roma integration (Press release, pdf):

"This year's assessment provides, for the first time, an overview of the measures put in place by Member States following the 2013 Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures, which required them to develop National Roma Integration strategies to promote access of Roma to education, employment, healthcare and housing."

and see Commission report: Assessing the implementation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies and the Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States - 2016 (pdf)

UNDERCOVER POLICE: Undercover policing guidance published (Press release, College of Policing, link):

"The draft guidance says undercover operatives can only work once they have been accredited by the professional body, which involves going through a selection process and undergoing vetting and specialist training.

There are two types of undercover operative:

An undercover foundation operative carries out low-level infiltration that does not require the ability to withstand intense scrutiny by people who are potentially suspicious. For example, buying drugs on the street.

An undercover advanced operative is trained to undertake deployments involving higher-level infiltrations and they must be able to withstand intense scrutiny from anyone who may be suspicious. For example, counter terrorism work.

The draft guidance sets out clearly the roles and responsibilities of police officers from those who are deployed on operations, to those who supervise and manage undercover officers and authorise operations."

See: Undercover policing: Authorised Professional Practice (80 pages, pdf)

See also: Undercover police 'rulebook' published for first time (BBC News, link): "The new rule book states: "It is never acceptable for an Undercover Officer to form an intimate sexual relationship with those they are employed to infiltrate and target or may encounter during their deployment. "This conduct will never be authorised, nor must it ever be used as a tactic of a deployment."" and No sex for undercover cops, according to police draft guidance (link)

See: Undercover Police Research (link) and The Pitchford Inquiry (link) and: Police Spies Out of Lives have produced two new briefings on issues related to secrecy and openness a the Pitchford Inquiry, which is due to examine the undercover police work in England and Wales since 1968.

European Parliament Study: The Reform of the Dublin III Regulation (pdf):

"It examines the performance of Dublin and of relocation schemes, and assesses the Commission’s “Dublin IV” Proposal in this light. It argues that by retaining the Dublin philosophy and betting on more coercion, Dublin IV is unlikely to achieve its objectives while raising human rights concerns. It advocates re-centring EU responsibility allocation schemes on one key objective – quick access to asylum procedures. This requires taking protection seekers’ preferences seriously and de-bureaucratising the process. Such a reform would need to be accompanied by (a) stepping up the enforcement of refugee rights across the EU, (b) moving solidarity schemes from a logic of capacity-building to one of compensation, and (c) granting protected persons real mobility rights."

BORDER CONTROLS INCREASE DEMAND FOR SMUGGLERS: Europol: 39 migrant smugglers arrested during Sirocco-2 Action Day along Western-Balkan route (Press release, pdf)

""Border management restrictions in the South East European region have created demand for criminal networks to offer their services to those migrants who are stranded in various phases of their journey. Facilitators often appear in refugee camps and offer their services to asylum seekers."

European Council: 28-29 June: Draft Conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 8471-16, pdf):

"the return of migrants to Turkey in full respect of the provisions on inadmissibility under the Asylum Procedures Directive..."

Comment: The problem with the Asylum Procedures Directive is that is based on the lowest possible standards and does not requite third countries to implement the 1951 Geneva Convention standards and protections.

"In the Central Mediterranean, flows of predominantly economic migrants remain at the same level as last year..."

Comment: People arriving from north Africa are refugees.

"fast and operational returns of irregular migrants, including by applying temporary arrangements, pending the conclusion of full-fledged readmission agreements." [emphasis added]

Comment: To be based on the use of "leverage", that is, threats to withdraw development aid and trade if not compliant to EU demands.

See: EU to use aid and trade to stop Africa migration (euobserver, link): "EU leaders are likely to agree to use all means possible to keep irregular migrants from leaving Africa to reach Europe when they meet at a summit in Brussels later, according to leaked papers seen by this website. The heads of state are set to back a master plan to use development aid and trade as leverage against so-called countries of origin in Africa."

EU-AFRICA: ARCI: Steps in the process of externalisation of border controls to Africa from the Valletta Summit to today (pdf)

"While the logic of externalisation of borders control to neighbouring countries, has been an essential feature of EU strategy over the last ten years, as evidenced first by Tony Blair’s government’s proposal of 2003 to create asylum seekers’ camps in transit countries, by the Italy-Libya agreement of 2008, by that between Spain and Morocco of 2012, as well also as the EU-Turkey readmission agreement of 2014, we are now witnessing an acceleration in the agreements and in their effects.

This is also due to the considerable funds it has been decided to invest in the criminalisation of migration. Trust funds for Africa, established at the Valletta Summit, have made cash available to facilitate dealings with African countries. This monetisation of the relationship with African countries opens up a trade logic that appears to skate over questions of human rights and the fate of thousands of people on the African continent."

Report in Italian (pdf) and French (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.6.16): NGOs call for EU migration plan rethink; unaccompanied minors in hotspots; EU travel document and boder guard deals; refugee centre on Lesvos closed down; Hungarian referendum on relocation quotas to go ahead; and more.

UK: Brexit: Wave of hate crime and racial abuse reported after EU referendum (The Independent, link): "More than a hundred incidents of racial abuse and hate crime have been reported since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Many of the alleged perpetrators cited the decision to leave the EU explicitly."

See also: Racist Incidents Have U.K. Worried What Referendum Wrought (Bloomberg, link) and Hate Incidents After European Referendum Results: A Compilation (The Muslim Council of Britain, link)

SWITZERLAND: Anti-torture Committee calls for prison reforms and an end to police drug squad brutality

A report on a visit to Switzerland in April 2015 by the Council's of Europe's anti-torture Committee calls for the country to question the use of life imprisonment, to improve conditions in a number of prisons - particularly for remand prisoners in Champ-Dollon prison, who spend "23 hours a day in their cell" - and for an "in-depth and independent investigation" into the work of the Geneva canton drugs task force. The Committee found that the task force has been accused of violence including "punches, kicks and even truncheon blows, sometimes to blindfolded persons."

Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly calls for more EU transparency

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopted a resolution calling for transparency in EU institutions to be improved in a number of ways: ensuring full access to documents; joining the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body; and better tracking of lobbying efforts.

UK: Supreme Court finds migrant workers not protected by discrimination laws (Free Movement, link): "In short the court concludes that immigration status as a domestic worker is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The court suggests that the law should be amended to remedy this protection gap and refers to the particular vulnerability of migrants on tied visas and the review of the type of visa in 2015"

See: Supreme Court press summary (pdf) and: Judgment: Taiwo (Appellant) v Olaigbe and another (Respondents) - Onu (Appellant) v Akwiwu and another (Respondents) (pdf)

EU: European Border and Coast Guard: Parliament and Council compromise position

On 22 June negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached an "informal agreement" on the text for a Regulation establishing a European Border and Coast Guard, which will upgrade the Frontex agency with an increased role in returns, greater access to technical equipment, more powers for liaison officers and new possibilities for the Council to reintroduce border controls where states refuse to accept asssistance from the new agency.

A leaked copy of the text (pdf, html) sets out the positions of the institutions and the compromise text, which will be voted on by the Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee on 27 June and, if they agree to it, by the full Parliament in July.


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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