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    ISSN 1756-851X
    22 May 2019
 

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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14-20.5.19) including:

  • Hundreds of Europeans arrested for solidarity with refugees
  • Ill-treatment and detention: investigation of the Lampedusa centre
  • Germany: anti-torture committee calls on authorities to ensure better treatment of foreign nationals being removed by air

BELGIUM: Unprecedented police action against Roma Travellers community in Belgium (ERGO Network, link):

"A huge police action took place in Belgium in the morning of 7 May resulting in a massive arrest of Belgian Roma Travellers accused of trafficking of illegally obtained vehicles. The last action of this kind took place during the Second World War when 351 Roma Travellers from Belgium were transported to Auschwitz Birkenau. Today we see again a targeted action of the federal police towards the entire Roma Travellers community in Belgium."

SWITZERLAND: No symbolic pardon for anti-fascist protestors in Geneva (swissinfo.ch, link):

"Parliament has refused to clear the name of seven people found guilty of rioting nearly 90 years ago. The Swiss militia army opened fire on civilians protesting against a meeting of fascists in the city of Geneva in 1932. "

 Privacy International Wins Historic Victory at UK Supreme Court (link):

"Today, after a five year battle with the UK government, Privacy International has won at the UK Supreme Court. The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal’s (IPT) decisions are subject to judicial review in the High Court. The Supreme Court's judgment is a major endorsement and affirmation of the rule of law in the UK. The decision guarantees that when the IPT gets the law wrong, its mistakes can be corrected."

Government access to airline PNR data challenged in German courts (Papers Please!, link):

"Complaints filed today in German courts challenge government access to and use and retention of Passenger Name Record data (commercial airline reservation records) as a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by both European Union and German law.(...)

So far as we know, these are the first lawsuits anywhere in the world to challenge the legality of government demands for access to PNR data or other travel records. (...)

The lead plaintiff in the case filed in German administrative court in Wiesbaden, Emilio De Capitani, is a retired former director of the staff of the LIBE (civil liberties) committee of the European Parliament.(...)

Mr. De Capitani plans to fly from Brussels to Berlin for a meeting of GFF in November 2019. He has purchased tickets and informed the airline that he does not want PNR data pertaining to his travel to be made available to government agencies

In response, the airline has told Mr. De Capitani that regardless of his preferences, the airline will provide government agencies in Germany "

See: Complaint and Application for a Temporary Injunction (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.4-13.5.19) including:

  • Hungary's coerced removal of Afghan families deeply shocking
  • EU research funds go to project developing swarms of AI border drones
  • Report on collective expulsions at Slovenia-Croatia border
  • Common European Asylum System: Member States oppose mandatory "border procedures"
  • Masked men at Evros river push back Turkish asylum-seekers

SCOTLAND: Political Undercover Policing in Scotland – report (Public Interest Law Centre, link):

"Today, the Scottish Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (SCOPS) release their report Political Undercover Policing – Scotland.’ There is a clear need for the Justice Secretary in Scotland – Humza Yousaf MSP – to urgently review the evidence presented in this report and to order an independent and transparent public inquiry into undercover political policing in Scotland."

PRESS RELEASE: Mytilene, Greece: Peaceful demonstration and the human right to freedom of assembly prevails

"Yesterday, 9 April 2019, in the Misdemeanours Court of Mytilene, the 110 on trial for resistance against authorities, rioting, and illegal occupation of public property were found not-guilty of all charges against them.

The charges were brought last year, after a peaceful sit-in of approximately 180 refugees took place in a small part of Sappho Square in the centre of Mytilene, Lesvos, between April 17- 23, 2018, in protest against poor living conditions in Moria Camp, lack of medical care and access to health services, imprisonment on the island and the long delay in their asylum process. The trigger of the mobilisation was the hospitalisation and death of an Afghan asylum seeker with serious health problems."

EU: Frontex gets ready to deploy to the Balkans

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, is preparing to deploy officers to Albania at the end of May for an operation at the Greek-Albanian border, despite a drop in the number of illegal border-crossings detected by the agency last year.

French police watchdog to investigate 'truncheon rape' video (The Local, link):

"French investigators are looking at several videos that appear to show police violence during May Day demonstrations in Paris, including one showing an officer push his truncheon inside the trousers of an arrested man.

EU: Construction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS): progress reports from Frontex and Europol

Frontex and Europol have submitted reports to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU outlining progress in the construction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a 'travel permission' system akin to the US ESTA, the legislation for which was approved in September 2018.

EU: Common European Asylum System: deadlock in the Council as "frontline" Member States oppose mandatory "border procedures"

Council discussions on controversial proposals for dealing with asylum applications at the external borders of the EU hit a wall recently, with "a large majority" of Member States who favour tougher measures facing opposition from those on the "frontline". Member States' diplomatic representatives were called upon to try to reach a resolution, but the Council is remaining tight-lipped on the outcome of those discussions.

EU: The human rights monitoring ship Mare Liberum is being prevented from leaving port

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transportation (Bundesverkehrsministeriums) sent an order of suspension for the ship Mare Liberum to the German association of traffic and transportation (Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehr)--which handles the registration, licenses and flags for ships--to further scrutinize civil rescue vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16-29.4.19) including:

  • France delivers boats to Libya: NGOs demand justice!
  • Case filed against Greece at ECHR over crackdown on humanitarian groups
  • European governments' targeting of migrant solidarity activists must stop
  • Legal crackdown on asylum seekers in Germany
  • Starving in Hungary's transit zones

UK: Launch of the National Mikey Powell Memorial Family Fund (link):

"The fund will to be the first permanent national resource of its kind for those affected by deaths in custody, making small grants available for families and their campaign groups across the UK to provide practical domestic assistance, to further the work of their own campaigns or to assist them in engaging in other local, regional or national campaigns, events and initiatives."

EU: Police press ahead with efforts to automate cross-border information-sharing

Police forces are moving ahead with plans to increasingly automate the sharing of personal data across EU states, according to documents recently shared within the Council of the EU.

EU: National security and fundamental rights: new paper examines problems with definitions and the rule of law

The Council of Bars & Law Societies of Europe has issued a paper examining the protection of fundamental rights in the context of national security, focusing in particular on the way "national security" is legally defined.

GREECE: Racist Violence Recording Network: Annual Report 2018 (pdf):

"In 2018, the Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) recorded an increase in incidents of racist violence, especially against refugees and migrants. This increase is linked to the political polarization at a global level regarding the reception of refugees and migrants, coupled with national and local factors shaping the situation in Greece."

SPAIN: Ethnic profiling in Catalonia: for every police identity check on a Spanish national, there are seven checks on foreigners

Black or ethnic minority individuals or those with a foreign nationality are stopped more frequently by Catalan police officers than those who are white and/or have Spanish nationality, according to a recent report by the organisation Pareu de Parar-me (Stop Stopping Me).

GERMANY: Investigation against activist artists dropped, but questions remain (DW, link):

"The 16-month criminal investigation against the artist collective Center for Political Beauty (Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, ZPS) has been suspended, Thuringian State Premier Bodo Ramelow announced on Monday."


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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