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    ISSN 1756-851X
    25 September 2018
 

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Top 20 stories - See: Statewatch News or: What's New (all new items) and: Refugee crisis: Observatory
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EU-USA Meeting: Draft agenda of the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Senior Officials Meeting (Vienna, 25-26 September 2018) (LIMITE doc no: 11859-18, pdf). Includes Access to electronic evidence and "Cambirdge Analytics"

Aquarius migrant rescue ship heads for Marseille despite revoked registration (France 24, link):

"The Aquarius migrant rescue ship is headed for the port of Marseille with 58 people on board and will seek authorisation to dock from the French government, the vessel's operators said Monday, after the ship's registration was revoked."

And see: Charities plea for help after Aquarius migrant rescue ship's flag revoked - Operators claim Panama deflagged vessel after pressure from Italian government (Guardian, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-24.9.18) including: Missing at the Borders project launches website; humanitarian emergency on Lesvos; Germany seeks cooperation with Algeria on deportations

Italy acquits Tunisian 'migrant smuggling' fishermen (BBC News, link):

"Six Tunisian fishermen arrested earlier this month by Italian authorities for "aiding illegal migrants" have been cleared."

UK: Prison expansion programme will turn Britain into a "prison island", says report

This August, Corporate Watch is releasing its new report on prison expansion in England, Wales and Scotland: Prison Island. It shines a light on one of the biggest prison building programs in generations.

Brexit will lead to more EU law for UK’s criminal justice systems, according to new report (Queen Mary University, link):

"Future EU-UK cooperation on security and criminal justice is dependant on the extent to which the UK complies with key EU law standards according to a new report by a taskforce from Queen Mary’s School of Law and the Centre for European Policy Studies."

UK: Police admit managers supported serious human rights abuses, but try to obstruct court from learning more (Police Spies Out of Our Lives, link):

"The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has admitted that a sexual relationship a police officer had while he was undercover was a violation of her fundamental right not to be subjected to torture or inhumane and degrading treatment.

They have admitted that he had the backing of his cover officers and line manager to have that relationship.

They are now seeking to prevent the Tribunal from examining the legality of the operations, the role of sexism and political persecution in the decisions made, and the involvement of senior commanding officers."

EU: Fixing the Refugee Crisis: Holding the Commission Accountable (Verfassungsblog, link) by Cathryn Costello and Elspeth Guild:

"Whatever its rhetoric, the Commission’s room for manoeuvre as a political norm entrepreneur on hot issues is constrained. Nonetheless, it could still have worked better, and seized the opportunity to make a success of relocation, and abandon Dublin decisively. However, it failed to shine as technical coordinator, to maintain its integrity as guardian of EU legality, or even stealthily act to maintain EU scrutiny before the CJEU."

UK: Anti-terrorism bill 'undermines access to legal advice' (The Law Society Gazette, link):

"Suspects detained under latest terrorism legislation making its way through parliament could be questioned for an hour unaccompanied by a solicitor, the Law Society has warned. Even then, the onus is on the detainee to request a solicitor and consultations would not be private, Chancery Lane added."

German government seeks greater cooperation with Algeria on deportations

The German government wants to classify Algeria as a safe country of origin in terms of asylum law, as it has already done with Tunisia and Morocco. Rejected asylum seekers could be deported more quickly.

EU: Security and migration proposals dominate Juncker's 'State of the Union' announcements - full documentation

A reinforced Frontex, a new European Asylum Agency, more measures against online terrorist content, a strengthened European Public Prosecutor's Office, lowering the standards in the Returns Directive and changes to decision-making in foreign policy were just some of the security and migration-related proposals announced in the 'State of the Union' speech given by European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, on 12 September.

UPDATED: Statewatch Observatory: Creation of a centralised Justice & Home Affairs database is "a point of no return". This Observatory covers the so-called "interoperability" of EU JHA databases which in reality will create a centralised EU state database covering all existing and future JHA databases.

SCOTLAND: Fracking campaigners are ‘domestic extremists’, say Police Scotland (The Ferret, link):

"Opponents of fracking in Scotland are considered “domestic extremists” by Police Scotland, despite Home Office advice that campaigners should not be bracketed alongside the likes of Islamic State and neo-Nazis under counter terrorism strategy."

GREECE: 19 organizations demand decongestion of the islands and immediate improvement of refugee reception conditions

Athens, September 13, 2018 - Over 17,000 people remain crammed in Greek island reception centers with a total capacity for only 6,000, living in desperate conditions which do not meet humanitarian standards. This, despite public assurances from the Greek Minister of Migration Policy, Dimitris Vitsas, that the islands would be decongested by September and that thousands of new places would be created on the Greek mainland.

EU: Official evaluation of the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur)

The European Commission has published an evaluation of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR), which recommends that the system be expanded for the "systematic inclusion" of all border crossing points; the monitoring of "secondary movements" of migrants within the EU; and to develop new services and better cooperate with "third parties", for example through "big data analysis" of EU databases such as the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System and Europol's computer systems.

UK: The "deport first, appeal later" policy: Afghan father who sought refuge in UK 'shot dead by Taliban' after being deported by Home Office (The Independent, link):

"An Afghan man who sought refuge from the Taliban in the UK has been shot dead in his home town after being deported by the British government."

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: new opinions highlight privacy concerns with biometric identity cards and Visa Information System proposals

The EU's Fundamental Rights Agency has published two detailed new opinions examining recent proposals to expand and amend the Visa Information System (VIS) and to make the inclusion of biometrics (fingerprints and facial images) mandatory in all EU citizens' national identity cards.

GREECE: Update on Moria: mainland travel permitted for some; concerns over growing EASO role in asylum procedure; deportations without due process

Lesvos Legal Centre reports that on Friday 7th September the Greek government began lifting the geographical restrictions for individuals classified as vulnerable who are attempting to claim asylum in Lesvos.

ECHR-UK: GCHQ surveillance powers violate human rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that various aspects of the surveillance powers used by the UK's signals intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), violate the rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

UK-IRELAND: Human rights judges reject final appeal of Troubles 'hooded men' (The Guardian, link):

"The European court of human rights has rejected a final attempt by the Irish government to redefine as torture the maltreatment of 14 men interned without trial at the start of the Troubles in Northern Ireland."

See: Full-text of Judgment (pdf)

GREECE: Lesvos: Moria camp "dangerous to public health" and majority of detainees "never feel safe"

The notorious Moria "hotspot" camp on the Greek island of Lesvos must be cleaned up within 30 days or otherwise closed down. Inspectors declared the camp "dangerous for public health and the environment," after finding "broken sewage pipes, overflowing garbage bins, and stagnant water and flies in the toilets," according to a report in the The Independent. Meanwhile, a recent investigation has found that over 65% of people living in the camp "never feel safe" there.


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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