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News digest: 20 September 2012

ALBANIA: EU, US welcome Albania immunity reform (Balkan Insight): "European and US diplomats hailed parliament's approval in a bipartisan vote on Tuesday of a constitutional amendment curtailing MPs', judges' and top officials' immunity from prosecution"

BULGARIA: EC VP Kroes to visit Bulgaria over oppressed media (Novinite): "EU Commissioner responsible for the Digital Agenda and Vice-president of the European Commission Neelie Kroes is to visit Bulgaria on Thursday amid concerns about the country's press freedom"

Bulgarian nationalists move to ban Turkish from rallies (Novinite): "A heated debate took place in the Bulgarian parliament Wednesday on legislative amendments proposal for rallies and protests to be carried out only in the Bulgarian language"

DENMARK: Asylum seekers given homes in exchange for co-operation (Copenhagen Post): "The living conditions of hundreds of asylum seekers may be improved through new government deal, but opposition parties worry Denmark will only become more 'burdened'"

EU lawmakers reinforce asylum seekers' rights (EUobserver): "MEPs have voted to reinforce asylum seekers' rights in the EU after four years of talks with member states"

GERMANY: Germany sets up neo-Nazi register after "shameful" murders (AlertNet): "Germany launched a national register of neo-Nazis on Wednesday as it takes steps to tackle failings that allowed known extremists to wage a seven-year racist killing spree." See also: New weapon against neo-Nazis (Deutsche Welle)

GERMANY: Critics slam German military ad aimed at teens (Spiegel Online): "Are you a mountain or a beach type?" asks a new German military ad aimed at teens. While it may seem appealing to adolescents, the video selling "adventure camps" for young recruits is a misrepresentation of military service and a violation of children's rights, critics say"

GREECE: More migrants deported on charter flights (Ekathimerini): "The Greek Police said on Wednesday that another 34 undocumented immigrants had been deported to their countries of origin as part of an ongoing crackdown on illegal immigration"

GREECE: Xenophobes find police protection in Greece (Inter Press Service): "Many of the attacks are allegedly linked to the neo-fascist party Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) that entered parliament last June with 6.9 percent of the vote and is now climbing even higher in the polls. So far the organisation has not accepted responsibility for instigating the attacks but continues to endorse racist initiatives... Opposition MPs and activists claim that Golden Dawn supporters inside the security apparatus breed a culture of impunity"

ITALY: Afghans found abandoned on Calabrian beach (Gazzetta del Sud): "Italian authorities picked up approximately 100 immigrants on the southern coast of Calabria on Thursday"

Italy abandoning refugees to poverty and isolation, says report (The Guardian): "The damning survey of Italy's human rights record, released on Tuesday by the Council of Europe, follows the outlawing by the European court of human rights this year of Italy's "push back" policy of intercepting migrants in the Mediterranean and handing them over to Libyan patrols." See: Report by Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Following his visit to Italy from 3 to 6 July 2012 (pdf)

Italian journalists call on govt for more transparency (Gazzetta del Sud): "Italian journalists on Wednesday called on the government to adopt rigorous transparency standards by making documents more accessible to the public. Held on Transparency Day, members of the Initiative to Adopt a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) called on policymakers to adopt the same norms that the United States introduced in 1966 that have since been honored by other democratic countries"

NETHERLANDS: Halt to child refugee deportations urged, pending coalition talks (Dutch News)

NORWAY: Chief of Police wants to increase emergency response (The Norway Post): "Chief of Police Hans Sverre Sjøvold wants to expand Norwegian emergency troops in order to increase both the country's emergency response and availability"

NORWAY: Conservative Party proposes separate prisons for foreigners (The Norway Post): "If the Conservative Party (Høyre) comes to power in the next election, one of their proposals is to establish separate prisons with a lower standard for foreign prisoners in Norway"

SCOTLAND: 'Arms length' public service delivery should not block FOI access, says watchdog (Out-Law.com): "The Scottish Government should, "as an immediate priority", expand the scope of Scotland's freedom of information (FOI) laws to external organisations that deliver public services, the Scottish Information Commissioner has said"

SPAIN-MOROCCO: Morocco tightens immigration policy (Magharebia): "Moroccan authorites have in the past few weeks clamped down on illegal migrants, kicking nearly 500 of them out of the country since early September, AFP reported on Tuesday (September 18th)... Spain has also been at the forefront of the crackdown, with Madrid and Rabat co-operating to evict scores of migrants who had swum to a tiny Spanish islet just off Morocco."

UK: Sri Lankan asylum seekers removed from deportation flight at last minute after judge accepts there is risk of torture (The Independent): "Dozens of failed Sri Lankan asylum seekers were removed at the last minute from a controversial deportation flight today after a senior judge accepted there was a risk that they could be tortured on their return." See also: Immigration detention centre blockaded (Indymedia London)

UK: Sexual predators in police 'must be rooted out' (The Guardian): "Sexual predators in the police service must be treated as corrupt officers and rooted out by their senior supervisors, the police watchdog has said"

UK: Strasbourg rules on 'unlawful' indeterminate sentences (Law Society Gazette): "Open-ended indeterminate sentences for the protection of the public (IPP) - currently being served by more than 6,000 prisoners in England & Wales - are ‘arbitrary and unlawful’." See: Judgment from the European Court of Human Rights (pdf)

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