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GERMANY-POLAND: Gravely ill man risks interruption of medical care due to extradition to Poland (Fair Trials, link):
"As a result of a chronic disease, Aslan (not his real name) requires hospital treatment on more than a weekly basis. Nevertheless, Aslan is currently facing extradition from Germany to Poland because of a European Arrest Warrant issued for facts that allegedly happened 17 years ago. (...)
The local court in Hamburg is now due to decide over the next days whether to consent to Aslans extradition and put his health and life at risk given the interruption of his much-needed medical treatment and interference with his right to private and family life which he has been running in Germany for more than five years."
ITALY: Beyond closed ports: the new Italian Decree-Law on Immigration and Security (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link):
"Whilst the number of arrivals to Italy is at the lowest level registered in the past few years, the phenomenon of migration has reached the dimension of an emergency in the internal public debate, with the Decree-Law on Immigration and Security representing a major downturn in the architecture of the Italian system of protection.
The implementation of further grounds for exclusion and withdrawal of protection, the reduction of procedural guarantees, and the general restrictive approach on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers adopted in the Decree generate serious concerns. Above all, some of the provisions contained in the Decree may entail a risk of violation of the principle of nonrefoulement... What is more, some of the changes introduced with the Decree might have far-reaching practical consequences on the rights of the migrants who are already present or will arrive in the country. In particular, the repeal of humanitarian residence permits, which have been widely used in the past years, is likely to have the unintended side-effect of increasing the number of migrants who will find themselves in an irregular situation. The new bill has been presented by the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as a step forward to make Italy safer however it will arguably increase the number of cases of destitution, vulnerability, and exploitation.
It remains to be seen whether the Parliament will confirm the text of the Decree when ultimately converting it into law. However, considering that the time for discussion is limited (60 days only) it is doubtful that the bill will undergo substantial improvement."
UK: Watchdog rules force used on father who died after after Beckton police stop was proportionate
"An investigation into the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa, known as Edson, who died a week after being restrained by police in Beckton found the use of force by officers was proportionate."
EU: Surveillance exports: How EU Member States are compromising new human rights standards (Netzpolitik, link):
"Since 2016, the European Union has been working on proposals to implement stricter controls on the export of surveillance technology outside the EU. However, internal documents now prove that certain Member States especially Sweden, Finland, and the United Kingdom are succumbing to pressure from business interests. As a result, human rights safeguards are being diluted."
GREECE: When Prosecuting Far-Right Violence Fails - An unbelievably drawn-out trial in Greece has shown the dangers of delay (The New Republic, link):
"Five years ago, on September 18, 2013, Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias stabbed and killed Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old anti-fascist rapper, outside a Piraeus café in full view of police officers. Outraged, [Eleftheria] Tombatzoglou became the Fyssas familys civil suit lawyer in the broader trial the rappers slaying helped trigger.
Kicked off on April 20, 2015, the trial was predicted to span 18 months. It includes several civil suits and criminal charges against 69 Golden Dawn members, including the partys core leadership, accused of operating a criminal organization, murder, racist violence, weapons possession, and money laundering, among other allegations. But with the trial dragging on and a verdict distant, Greek far-right groups, among them Golden Dawn, are reorganizing, carrying out further violence against refugees, migrants, political opponentsand individuals linked to the trial."
Statewatch Analysis: Decriminalising solidarity by promoting the regularisation of migrants (pdf) by Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo (Osservatorio Solidarieta Carta di Milano):
Translation of a speech given by Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo (Osservatorio Solidarieta Carta di Milano) at the session Decriminalizing Solidarity: an ever more topical challenge, Sabir Festival, Palermo, 13 October 2018.
"The criminalisation of people and organisations that lend assistance to immigrants in Europe is an expression of the closure of legal or humanitarian entry routes and the growing difficulty of residing legally. The distinction between economic migrants and asylum seekers, the restriction of possibilities to enter to find employment and of the scope of the European right to asylum, and finally the agreements with third countries to externalise collective refoulement practices, produce a proliferation of cases resulting in illegality."
EU: Council Presidency seeks to implement "regional disembarkation centres" in third countries
The Austrian Council Presidency has produced a: Working Paper; Regional Disembarkation Arrangements (LIMITE doc no: WK 10084-REV 1-10, pdf) to launch the "initial phase of outreach" to third states in Africa to be undertaken::
"by interested Member States, e.g. by those who entertain privileged relationships with the respective third country" [emphasis throughout]
In other words for EU Member States to use their colonial past to put into effect the "swift exploration" of creating regional disembarkation "platforms."
European Parliament study: Brexit and Migration (pdf)
"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament s Policy Department for Citizens Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), focuses on the future relationship between the UK and the EU following the UKs withdrawal from the EU in the field of migration (excluding asylum), including future movement o f EU citizens and UK nationals between the EU and UK. Moreover, it investigates the role of the Court of Justice of the EU."
CROATIA-BOSNIA: The violent reality of the EU border: police brutality in the Balkans (OpenDemocracy, link):
"As we write this article, refugees are being beaten, robbed and traumatised by Croatian police, while they attempt to claim asylum in the EU. Their clandestine journeys from Bosnia through to Italy, via Croatia and Slovenia, are referred to by refugees here as the game.
But for many of the displaced people we talked to in north-west Bosnia, the violence of the border is taking a heavy toll. Thanks to the flagrant human rights violations of Croatian police with the tacit complicity of EU authorities - the game is no laughing matter."
UK: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Policing for the future (pdf):
"This wide-ranging report examines changing demands on policing, and considers the extent to which the service is able to meet the challenges that these create. We look first at changing trends in crime and policing and the overarching problems facing the police service in England and Wales, such as funding and investment; then at three specific areas of growing pressure on policingonline fraud, child sexual abuse, and safeguarding vulnerable people; and finally at the wider, cross-cutting reforms that are required.
Our inquiry has found that police officers across the country continue to perform a remarkable and immensely valuable public service, often in the most exacting of circumstances. However, figures on police welfare paint a picture of a service under serious strain, and we conclude that forces are badly overstretched: the number of traditional volume crimes is rising, but the number of arrests and charges brought by the police is falling."
EU: European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2018 on the rise of neo-fascist violence in Europe (pdf)
"1. Strongly condemns and deplores the terrorist attacks, murders, psychological violence, violent physical attacks and marches by neo-fascist and neo-Nazi organisations that have taken place in various EU Member States;
2. Is deeply concerned at the increasing normalisation of fascism, racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance in the European Union, and is troubled by reports in some Member States of collusion between political leaders, political parties and law enforcement with neo-fascists and neo-Nazis;
3. Is especially worried about the neo-fascist violence affecting society as a whole and targeting particular minorities such as black Europeans/people of African descent, Jews, Muslims, Roma, third-country nationals, LGBTI people and persons with disabilities..."
The resolution was passed by 355 to 90 votes, with 39 abstentions. See the results of the vote on VoteWatch (link).
UK: Home Office apologises for illegally demanding immigrants provide DNA samples
"Sajid Javid has apologised after the Home Office illegally demanded immigrants provide DNA samples as part of their visa applications.
The home secretary admitted his department have denied visas or leave to remain in the UK to applicants who failed to provide DNA evidence."
EU camps in North Africa are pointless and illegal (press release, Andrej Hunko, pdf):
""The so-called disembarkation platforms remain nothing but hot air. Not one of the intended countries in North Africa has been asked, there is not even a diplomatic concept or timetable in the relevant EU Council working groups. And the Federal Government now only wants to talk about 'disembarkation agreements'", stated Andrej Hunko, European policy spokesman for the Left Party parliamentary group in the German Bundestag in reaction to a related response from the Federal Ministry of the Interior."
And see: Juncker says N.Africa migrant "camps" not on EU agenda (Thomas Reuters Foundation, link): "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday that a suggestion that the European Union might try to set up migrant camps in North Africa was no longer on the agenda."
ECHR: Slovenias Supreme Court rejects the European Court of Human Rights (Verfassungsblog, link):
"On Wednesday 24th of October the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia made a striking, indeed unprecedented, announcement. On its website it published an unsigned press release explaining the Supreme Courts reaction to the recent decision of the ECtHR in the case of Produkcija plus storitveno podjetje d.o.o. v Slovenia (No. 47072/15).
The ECtHR decision is entirely uncontroversial and the case is on its decontextualized premises completely routine... To the surprise, indeed shock, of the professional, academic and all other observers, the Supreme Court announced that it respects the rulings of other courts that it finds persuasive. Such rulings are also integrated in its case law. This logically and necessarily means, even if the Supreme Court did not put it explicitly in those terms, that other rulings, namely those that the Supreme Court finds unpersuasive, will not be respected and integrated in its jurisprudence."
UK: Poor healthcare in jails is killing inmates, says NHS watchdog (The Guardian, link):
"Almost half of Englands jails are providing inadequate medical care to inmates, whose health is being damaged by widespread failings, the NHS watchdog has told MPs in a scathing briefing leaked to the Observer.
Healthcare behind bars is so poor in some prisons that offenders die because staff do not respond properly to medical emergencies, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) says.
Mental health services for the 40% of inmates who have psychological or psychiatric problems are particularly weak, which contributes to self-harming and suicides among prisoners, according to the care regulators confidential briefing to the Commons health and social care select committee."
UK: MI5 to take over in fight against rise of UK rightwing extremism (The Guardian, link):
"MI5 is to take the lead in combating extreme rightwing terrorism amid mounting fears that white supremacists are increasing their efforts to foment violent racial conflict on Britains streets, The Guardian has learned.
The switch from the police which has always previously taken responsibility for monitoring far right extremism to MI5 means that the ideology will now sit in the same portfolio as Islamist terrorism and Northern Ireland-related terrorism, which are both covered by the domestic security service.
The decision also means that extreme rightwing activity will now be officially designated as posing a major threat to national security."
Europe-wide anti-terror exercise coordinated by Europol (link):
"European special units have trained in seven EU member states for terrorist attacks. The aim of the exercise was to harden against "Islamist as well as "right-wing or left-wing ideologies."
Trilogue on interoperable centralised database starts on borders and asylum aspects
The trilogue between the Council and the European Parliament on the interoperable centralised database started last week with consideration of one of the new overall Regulations: Regulation on establishing a framework for interoperability between EU information systems (borders and visa) and amending Council Decision 2004/512/EC, Regulation (EC) No 767/2008, Council Decision 2008/633/JHA, Regulation (EU) 2016/399, Regulation (EU) 2017/2226, Regulation (EU) 2018/XX [the ETIAS Regulation], Regulation (EU) 2018/XX [the Regulation on SIS in the field of border checks] and Regulation (EU) 2018/XX [the eu-LISA Regulation] (pdf). This is the first multi-column document with the Commission proposal, the parliament amendments, the Council's negotiating mandate and the "comprise position."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-24.10.18) including:
- No-one in the EU is responsible for the EU-Turkey deal, according to the Court of Justice
- Morocco: Wherever EU migration policy rears its ugly head, violence and abuses follow
- Crimes of solidarity: freedom for the "7 of Briançon"
FRANCE: Crimes of solidarity: freedom for the "7 of Briançon"
They are facing potential incarceration for helping migrants in danger in the French Alps. Bastien, Benoit, Eléonora, Juan, Lisa, Mathieu et Théo will face justice on November 8th in GAP. They are prosecuted for "helping undocument foreign nationals to enter national territory, in organized gang. The envisaged penalty is 10 years in prison and 750.000 euros fine. What should they amend for? Being involved in a march against the far-right, little band called "Bloc identitaire", which was obstructing the border so as to retaliate against migrants trying to cross it.
EU: Common European Asylum System (CEAS): Asylum procedures at the border a sticking point for Member States
As the Member States continue to disagree over proposed changes to Common European Asylum System, "the biggest outstanding issue for most Member States" in the Asylum Procedures Regulation is that of the "border procedure" set out in Article 41, according to a recent note sent by the Austrian Presidency to Member States' representatives.
UK: Inquiry announced on 20th anniversary of Macpherson report (www.parliament.uk, link):
"February 2019 will mark 20 years since the report of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry chaired by Sir William Macpherson. The Committee has decided to launch an inquiry to revisit the issues that Sir William properly prioritised two decades ago, to assess progress against Sir Williams recommendations on racism and policing over the last twenty years and to consider what more needs to be done - including on police diversity and community confidence. The Committee is currently seeking views on the terms of reference. "
EU: E-evidence: Council pondering issues with the "notification procedure" for cross-border data-gathering; European Data Protection Board issues opinion
As discussions continue on the proposal for a 'Regulation on European production and preservation orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters' (the e-evidence proposal, for short), Member States are currently pondering which Member States should be notified in the case of a request for cross-border evidence-gathering, and how such notifications should work.
Meanwhile, the European Data Protection Board has issued a critical opinion on the Commission's proposal that makes 18 recommendations - including for a change of legal basis and a better demonstration of the need for a new instrument on top of the European Investigation Order and the existing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Statewatch Viewpoint: Morocco: Wherever EU immigration policy rears its ugly head, violence and abuses follow (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico, October 2018
In the summer of 2018, after concerted efforts since 2014 by the EU and its Member States to block off the eastern (Turkey to Greece) and central (Tunisia and Libya to Italy) routes across the Mediterranean used by migrants and refugees to reach Europe, there was an increase in crossings using the western route (Morocco, and sometimes Algeria, to Spain). This was accompanied by an increase in deaths at sea and, in Morocco, extensive police operations to remove black African migrants from the north of the country, based on racial profiling and flagrant breaches of human rights.
Spain-Morocco: 55 people returned to Morocco from Spain in less than 24 hours
On Sunday 21 October, 208 people managed to reach Spanish territory by climbing over the fences separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Melilla. One man died whilst doing so and another 19 were taken to hospital with "injuries, cuts and some other fractures," according to the Spanish government delegation in Melilla.
55 of the 208 were subject to "express" removal proceedings and returned to Morocco in less than 24 hours, with the Spanish government invoking a bilateral agreement signed with Morocco in 1992 to do so.
Interim Revolutions: the CJEU gives its first interim measures ruling on the rule of law in Poland (EU Law Analysis, link);
"The decision of 19 October of the Vice-President of the Court of Justice, ordering the Republic of Poland to suspend the effects of the Judiciary Reform Act and, in particular, to ensure that no sitting judge is removed as a result of the new retirement age, is revolutionary to say the least. The Court has entered a terra incognita, a place where no previous European court had ever entered into, forcing a sovereign Member State to choose between its membership to the club of European integration, or to walk away and follow the path of authoritarian illiberalism. To do this in an Order of interim measures, without hearing the defendant Member State, and two days before a crucial regional and local election in Poland, is quite a gamble on the part of the Luxembourg court."
UK: Julian Cole: Four Bedfordshire Police officers guilty (BBC News, link):
"Four police officers involved in arresting a man left paralysed and brain-damaged have been found guilty of wrongdoing by a misconduct panel.
Julian Cole was involved in a scuffle with door men and police officers outside the former Elements nightclub in Bedford in 2013.
Three officers were found to have made false statements about their involvement in Mr Cole's arrest.
Another failed to "react" when Mr Cole said his neck hurt."
EU: French Gendarmerie and Spanish Guardia Civil develop joint training for cross-border operations
The paramilitary police forces of France and Spain - the Gendarmerie and Guardia Civil - are developing joint training courses to promote common standards. The aim is to "maintain security in Europe through a common and shared operational culture," and to export the training model throughout the EU.
EU: Security research: advisory group report on fundamental rights in a "digital intensive environment"
Earlier this year, the Protection and Security Advisory Group (PASAG), responsible for giving advice to the European Commission on the priorities for security research work programmes, published a report entitled 'Achieving synergies between security and information-related fundamental rights (IRFR) in a digital intensive environment" (e.g. concerning the Internet of Things, big data, mass surveillance, social media).
UK: London police force must act over excessive force claim, says court (The Guardian, link):
"The City of London police force has failed in an attempt to block disciplinary action against an officer who was accused of clubbing a student over the head and causing a life-threatening brain injury.
The force was immediately criticised over its lawyers attempt to persuade a judge that the Independent Office of Police Conduct had overstepped its role when it forced proceedings against PC Mark Alston, who is accused of using excessive force against 20-year-old Alfie Meadows in 2010.
...Lawyers for the City of London police had tried to argue that the case had no merit, and that the IOPC was undermining public confidence in the police by ordering forces to bring too many officers before gross misconduct disciplinary hearings.
But at a hearing at the high court in London, Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham accepted the IOPCs case that it was up to a disciplinary panel, not the watchdog, to decide whether a case had merit."
MALTA: PNR: Airline passenger data goes real-time as EU directive takes off (Times of Malta, link):
"Airlines will now be required to send an updated list of passenger information right after planes doors close, after a European directive was implemented in Malta.
Passenger name record data contains a wide range of information, such as dates of travel, travel itinerary, contact details, seat number and baggage information.
Prior to the directive being implemented, authorities would have information of those who had booked to go from one country to the other. Now, the country will have real-time information of those sitting in flights.
The directive had been implemented in Malta since May 2018. A new 2 million passenger name record system was now fully commissioned and functioning at police offices, Dr Farrugia said."
EU: Brussels drags out Poland and Hungary rule-of-law probes (Politico, link):
"A European ministers meeting about ongoing rule-of-law problems in Warsaw and Budapest ended in no progress on Tuesday.
A visibly uncomfortable Austrian presidency was forced to put both countries rule-of-law probes on the agenda for the General Affairs Council, days after Chancellor Sebastian Kurz publicly called for Hungarys ruling Fidesz party to remain part of the center-right European Peoples Party.
Austrian Minister for the EU Gernot Blümel told reporters that discussions at the meeting about the Article 7 probe mandated by the European Parliament into rule of law in Hungary were merely procedural. He said that the Hungarian authorities had been invited, and agreed, to provide a written statement. Meanwhile, the European Commission has been asked to give EU countries representatives an update on ongoing infringement proceedings against the government in Budapest.
When it comes to Poland, Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said that sadly, things have not improved, they have deteriorated in our analysis."
UK: Three jailed fracking protesters freed on appeal (BBC News, link):
"Three men jailed for a fracking site protest have been freed after judges ruled their sentences were "excessive".
Simon Blevins, Richard Roberts and Rich Loizou became the first UK anti-fracking protesters to be sent to prison, after climbing lorries at Cuadrilla's Lancashire site.
Court of Appeal judges ruled they should not have been jailed and imposed conditional discharges.
The judgement was met by applause and singing from supporters in the court.
A complaint against the original sentencing judge, the details of which are unknown, is being investigated."
See also: Anger and blockades as fracking starts in UK for first time since 2011 (The Guardian, link): "Fracking has begun in the UK for the first time since 2011 despite an attempt by protesters to blockade the entrance to the Lancashire site."
HUNGARY: The Hungarian state is refusing to carry out certain court orders regarding freedom of information requests (Atlatszo, link):
"...several government agencies have refused to carry out court decisions in freedom of information request cases. These offices denied or did not fulfil freedom of information requests and were therefore taken to court. In these cases, the court ordered them to fulfil the FOI requests but they ignored the decisions. The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Human Resources, the Klebelsberg Center for public education, the umbrella organization overseeing public service media (MTVA) and the Budapest 5th district municipality have all ignored such court decisions.
This may constitute a crime according to the Hungarian penal code. Paragraph 220 specifies that if someone does not carry out a court decision ordering him or her to provide data, the person might be sentenced up to two years in prison."
Council reports that the court finds that nobody in the EU is responsible for the EU-Turkey deal of 16 March 2016
- "General Court's main finding according to which the aforementioned EU-Turkey Statement does not relate to an act of the European Council nor of any other body, office or agency of the Union and hence that the actions fell outside jurisdiction of the Court of Justice, stands."
See the Legal Service of the Council has circulated a Note: Cases before the Court of Justice Cases C-208/17 P, C-209/17 P and C-210/17 P - EU-Turkey Statement - Final dismissal of appeals (LIMITE doc no: 12217-18, pdf)
Human rights v the European Arrest Warrant? The legality of surrender detention after 90 days (EU Law Analysis, link):
"The Amsterdam District Court, which has the exclusive jurisdiction in the Netherlands to decide on incoming European Arrest Warrants (EAW), currently finds itself stuck between national rules and EU law obligations on detention and provisional release."
Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa (euobserver, link):
"Disagreements over the EU's internal asylum reforms remained entrenched after the EU summit on Thursday (18 October) - with notions of solidarity broadly dismissed as leaders press ahead to offshore migration with the supposed help of north African states.
The Brussels summit, where heads of state and government meet to thrash out solutions, failed to reach any agreement on long outstanding issues over the key EU asylum reforms that seek to better manage administrative bottlenecks and their adjoining political headaches."
And see: Reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is in a mess (Statewatch News)
Northern Africa: Europes new border guard? (euractiv, link):
"As another EU summit gets underway, Leïla Bodeux and Davide Gnes wonder what values Europeans are willing to give up in order to stop migration.
Leïla Bodeux and Davide Gnes are policy officers on asylum, migration and development at Caritas Europa. (...)
In fact, EU engagement with countries of origin and transit for the purpose of stopping migration is nothing new. Propositions to enhance cooperation on migration management and border control in order to prevent departures of irregular migrants and to re-admit those returned from Europe have for long been sugar-coated with promises of economic investment, trade cooperation or development aid."
European Council: 18 October Conclusions (pdf) including migration and internal security.
European Data Protection Supvisor (EDPS): The urgent case for a new ePrivacy law (link):
"A swarm of misinformation and misunderstanding surrounds the case for revising our rules on the confidentiality of electronic communications, otherwise known as ePrivacy. Its high time for some honest debunking."
Europe and US lock horns on transatlantic privacy (Politico, link);
"Washington and Brussels discuss how to police the use of data.
Europes effort to export its tough privacy rules around the world is about to run into a wall of U.S. resistance.
Over two days of negotiations with U.S. officials this week in Brussels, the European Union is set to voice concerns about how Washington watches over EU citizens data under a transatlantic data protection pact that underpins billions of euros of annual trade, but which has become a lightning rod for how Brussels and Washington differ markedly on digital data protections."
European Commission: Security Union: List of legislative initiatives (ANNEX COM 690-18, pdf): Summary of legislative measures undertaken in the name of the "Security Union".
CJEU: Advocate General Szpunar proposes that the Court should rule that the Returns Directive must be applied to third-country national where internal border controls have been reinstated (pdf):
"The Advocate General therefore concludes therefrom that a Member State must apply the stages of the return procedure laid down in the Returns Directive to the situation of a third-country national stopped or intercepted in connection with the irregular crossing of an internal border at which border controls have been reinstated by application of the Schengen Borders Code."
European Parliament Study: Humanitarian visas: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the European Parliament's legislative own-initiative report (pdf):
"it concludes that EU legislation on humanitarian visas could close this effectiveness and fundamental rights protection gap by offering safe entry pathways, reducing irregular migration and result in increased management, coordination and efficiency in the asylum process, as well as promoting fair cost-sharing."
CoE: Romania: Court declares excessive and unjustified use of force during a police operation in a Roma community (link):
"Human rights judges have ruled that Romania policeused excessive and unjustified use of force against Roma community members, during an anti-crime operation.
In its 16 October committee judgment in the case of Lingurar and Others v. Romania (application no. 5886/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
- a violation of both the substantive and procedural aspects of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights;
- no violation of the substantive aspect of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 3 of the Convention,"
See: Press release (pdf)
The EU and the corporate impunity nexus: Building the UN binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights (TNI, link):
"For decades, affected communities around the globe have been resisting the modus operandi of transnational corporations (TNCs) in their territories and workplaces and documenting systemic human rights violations and the track record of corporate impunity with their lives and their deaths. Corporate impunity is embedded in and protected by an architecture of impunity that legitimises and legalises the operations of TNCs. This architecture has been established through free trade and investment agreements, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the structural adjustment policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other financial instruments and the aggressive push for public-private partnerships (PPPs). At the core of this architecture is the infamous investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, a private arbitration system that allows TNCs to sue states whenever they consider that their future profits are threatened by new measures or policies aiming at improving social and environmental protection. Thus, it neutralises the function of the state, whose primary responsibility is to defend public interest and protect the well-being of its citizens and the planet from corporate interests."
EU budgets for the externalisation of migration control: Austrian Presidency seeks Member State views
How do the Member States think EU budgets should be spent on the externalisation of migration control? That was the subject of a questionnaire issued to Member States' representatives in September 2018, in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the EU's budget for the 2021-27 period.
UN experts: concern over EU's attempts to seal borders, close protection space and disregard human rights and humanitarianism
In September eight UN working groups, independent experts and special rapporteurs issued a statement highlighting serious concerns over the ongoing attempts to reform the EU's migration and asylum systems. Their paper was addressed to the informal summit of EU heads of state and government in Salzburg in September, but remains relevant given the ongoing discussions in the EU on the Common European Asylum System and revamping of EU agencies such as Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
EU: Solidarity vs securitarian obsessions (EurActiv, link) by Progressive Caucus of the European Parliament:
"The sudden and substantial increase of migrants flow to Europe over the last years has produced a severe political and identity crisis within the EU, a crisis that risks undermining its basic principles and values, and fostering the rise of xenophobic nationalism, writes the Progressive Caucus of the European Parliament.
For this reason, migration is probably the greatest challenge the EU has to deal with in the near future. It is also a common challenge for all the Progressive forces in Europe.
In recent months, arrivals to the Mediterranean coasts have substantially decreased because of the border externalisation measures taken by the EU and its members, including the agreements with Turkey and Libya. This led certain governments to celebrate the result as a victory.
What they do not mention are the consequences these measures have produced on migrants lives: deaths at sea have proportionally increased and crossing the Mediterranean is becoming more dangerous. In addition, migrants are choosing new and routes that are more dangerous and many of them are trapped in Libya, victims of violence and exploitation."
UK: Charter flights are brutal and illegal. Support the Stansted 15. (Red Pepper, link) by Zak Suffee:
"15 people are facing possible lengthy prison sentences for allegedly grounding a flight intended to forcibly remove migrants from the country they call home. This, in the eyes of the state constitutes the same risk as a random bomb thrown into a crowd. These scare tactics allows us to forget the real human lives at stake. They are designed to put people off similar actions, defending an indefensible system of deportations.
Charter flights refer to the Home Office practice of chartering flights to deport large numbers of people to specific countries. The flights dont contain other passengers and take off late at night from undisclosed locations, hiding these deportations from public view. This was the first time such a flight has been grounded in the UK by people refusing to accept the brutality of the immigration system."
EU: Council: Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans (12411/18, LIMITE, 24 September 2018, pdf):
"Delegates will find attached a clean version of the revised draft Joint Action Plan on Counter- Terrorism for the Western Balkans."
Previous version: EU: Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans to be signed on behalf of the EU with Western Balkans Partners (11848/18, LIMITE, 5 September 2018, pdf)
Hungary's homeless fear they are Viktor Orbán's next target (The Guardian, link):
"Many countries have struggled to deal with the issue of homelessness but Hungary may be the first to put a constitutional ban on living on the streets. From next week, being homeless in Hungary will violate the constitution.
Activists fear the move could be the start of a political campaign against homeless people by the rightwing government of Viktor Orbán, which has previously focused heavily on the apparent threat posed to Hungary from refugees and migrants.
The government has realised they cant play the migrant card endlessly because there are obviously no migrants in the country. Migration issues can still be useful for national campaigns but for local issues they need a new scapegoat, said Gábor Iványi, a Methodist priest who runs homeless shelters in Budapests eighth district."
France: Tensions reach boiling point in crowded detention centres (ECRE, link):
"NGOs have denounced the increase of acts of violence and tension between refugees and migrants in detention centres in France- a trend that La Cimade argues is the consequence of repressive policies of confinement which severely endanger detainees.
The number of people detained in France for immigration reasons has continued to rise, according to the annual report compiled by civil society organisations monitoring administrative detention centres (CRA) and other administrative detention places (LRA). Statistics for 2017 reveal that a total of 46, 857 people were detained, in comparison to 45, 937 in 2016. The number of detained children has also risen from 179 to 304 within the same time frame.
La Cimade argues that incidences of violence and aggression between detainees are becoming more frequent, because this prolonged incarceration is leading to reactions that can range from aggression, (directed to ones self or others) self- immolation, resistance, defence, despair or anxiety."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 11-12 October, Luxembourg: Press release (pdf) See also: "B" Points Agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points agenda legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points agenda non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf)
EU: European Council: Updated Draft Conclusions: European Council meeting (18 October 2018) Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 11837-18, pdf)
EU: The European Border and Coast Guard: The Justice and Home Affairs Council is discussing: Policy debate: Doc no; 12768-18 (this is not a LIIMITE document, pdf) which includes proposals for:
"strengthening the cooperation with third countries by giving the agency a wider scope for action (not limiting it to neighbouring countries);
- supporting Member States on a technical and operational level with return operations; Agency staff can communicate directly with third countries."
Some "concerns" have been expressed as to the mandate of the standing corps of 10,000 officers.
EU: Reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is in a mess
- disagreement amongst Member States blocking adoption
The Austrian Presidency of the Council has produced a report on the state of play in the while trying to agree its negotiating position: From: Presidency To: Permanent Representatives Committee/Council (LIMITE doc no: 12420-18, pdf). There are no fewer than six previous versions.
Each of the seven measures are held up because a minority of delegations (Member States) in the Council are opposed to changes made or proposed unacceptable changes to the Council's original, agreed, negotiating position on which trilogue talks are based.
On its part the European Parliament - after many trilogue meetings - stands by the agreement reached in June on three measures: the Qualifications Directive, Reception Directive and the Resettlement Regulation.
Hungarys Orbán thanks Greek far-right Golden Dawn for its support (euractiv, link):
" Hungarys Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has formally thanked the Greek far-right Golden Dawn party for their support during last months vote on the activation of Article 7 against Hungary in the European Parliament. The move is likely to cause new frictions in the European Peoples Party, Orbáns political home in the EU."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 11-12 July 2018, Luxembourg: Background Note (pdf) Includes:
"On Friday, home affairs ministers are expected to discuss the Commission proposal on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG), the Commission proposal reforming the return directive and the Commission sectoral proposals for the field of home affairs in the context of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).The Presidency is also expected to report on progress regarding the reform of the Common European Asylum System. (...)
E-evidence package: regulation on European production and preservation orders: The Council will hold a policy debate on the regulation on European production and preservation orders for e-evidence in criminal matters."
EU: The next phase of the European Border and Coast Guard: towards operational effectiveness (EU Law Analysis, link):
" Two years after the establishment, in record time, of the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG), the Commissions new proposed Regulation opens the way for a standing corps of 10,000 border guards, with its own equipment and greater executive powers."
CoE: Commissioner for Hunan Rights: Commissioner calls on Croatia to investigate allegations of collective expulsions of migrants and of violence by law enforcement officers (link):
"Commissioner Mijatovic reiterates that all efforts to manage migration should be made strictly in line with the rule of law and binding international legal principles and urges the authorities to ensure that anyone who intends to make an asylum application gets access to a fair and effective procedure."
See: Letter to Croatia PM (pdf) and PM reply (pdf)
UK-BREXIT: Can An Article 50 Withdrawal Notice be Revoked? The CJEU is Asked to Decide (verfassungsblog.de, link):
"The legal issue of whether the United Kingdom can change its mind and revoke unilaterally its notified intention to withdraw from the European Union has been a matter of academic and professional conjecture since the 2016 referendum. An authoritative interpretation of the issue may be delivered by Christmas following the lodging on 3 October 2018 of a request by the Scottish Court of Session for a preliminary ruling in Case C-621/18 Wightman and Others."
Hungarys new law restricting freedom of assembly (hungarianspectrum.org, link):
"As of yesterday Hungary has a new law on the right of assembly which places more restrictions on citizens ability to express their dissatisfaction with the state and the government."
The Netherlands wont send Polish nationals back to face trial (dutchnews.nl/news, link):
"Amsterdam district court has refused to extradite a Polish national to Poland because of major doubts about the independence of the Polish judiciary. The constitutional right to a fair trial could now be in danger, judges said, announcing their verdict on Thursday. The case centres on a Polish national in Limburg said to be involved in drugs."
EU: ATLAS network of special forces: Council examines ways to improve cooperation
ATLAS is the network of EU Member States' 'Special intervention Units' concerned primarily with anti-terrorism operations. According to a Council document, "the majority of the Member States deems the existing range of legal possibilities in cross-border cooperation available to the Special Intervention Units related to the ATLAS Network sufficient or nearly sufficient," however a number of possibilities for enhancing cooperation are suggested, principally concerning the legal basis for cross-border operations and "mapping" the capabilities of Member States' "special intervention units".
UK: Talking about human rights: how to identify and engage a range of audiences (Equality and Human Rights Commission, pdf)
We asked ComRes to conduct research to help us understand public attitudes to human rights and to specific human rights issues, and inform our work to promote understanding of the importance of human rights. The research has focused in particular on gaining a more detailed picture of people with mixed views on human rights a group identified in previous research and their values and motivations to support human rights. This is a summary of our key findings and recommendations for talking to the public about human rights.
Who is this for?
This summary will be particularly useful for NGOs, public bodies and other individuals and organisations working in areas that relate directly or indirectly to human rights and equality. It will also be helpful to anyone else with an interest in communicating effectively about the importance of human rights."
UK: 'Stopped and searched up to three times a day' - new report says (StopWatch, link):
"The controversial gang matrix, is counterproductive. It leads to continual, heavy-handed policing of young black men and boys labelled as 'gang nominals'. According to a hard-hitting new report published today (Wednesday 19 September) from stop and search campaign group StopWatch.
Being Matrixed, paints a bleak picture of people on the Gangs Matrix being subjected to relentless stop and search encounters sometimes multiple times a day, which seemingly lack an appropriate legal basis.
StopWatch branded constant searching of gang nominals without legitimate grounds, an intrusive form of surveillance that directly impacts on the trust and confidence young people have toward the police.
Rather than preventing criminal offences, stop and search has the potential to increase offending behaviour, as people being repeatedly stopped and searched may lose their temper and consequently be arrested for a public order offence, the report warns."
See also: Trapped in the Matrix: Secrecy, stigma and bias in the Met's Gangs Database (Amnesty, link)
EU: Asylum: Austria and Denmark announce their "vision for a better protection system in a globalized world"
A paper published by the Austrian interior ministry and the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration declares that "migration and asylum policy will shape Europe's future", arguing that "many citizens have lost trust in their governments' ability to deal with the challenges of irregular migration" - trust which will only be restored by "an alternative, unifying vision".
UK: A Lord Chamberlain for the internet? Thanks, but no thanks. (Cyberleagle, link):
"This summer marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Theatres Act 1968, the legislation that freed the theatres from the censorious hand of the Lord Chamberlain of Her Majestys Household. Thereafter theatres needed to concern themselves only with the general laws governing speech. In addition they were granted a public good defence to obscenity and immunity from common law offences against public morality.
The Theatres Act is celebrated as a landmark of enlightenment. Yet today we are on the verge of creating a Lord Chamberlain of the Internet. We won't call it that, of course. The Times, in its leader of 5 July 2018, came up with the faintly Orwellian "Ofnet". Speculation has recently renewed that the UK government is laying plans to create a social media regulator to tackle online harm. What form that might take, should it happen, we do not know. We will find out when the government produces a promised white paper.
When governments talk about regulating online platforms to prevent harm it takes no great leap to realise that we, the users, are the harm that they have in mind."
UK: Sajid Javid 'taking UK down dangerous road' by expanding citizenship stripping (The Guardian, link):
"The home secretary, Sajid Javid, is taking the UK down a very dangerous road with plans to expand powers to strip dual citizens of their British citizenship, a leading human rights group has warned.
Suspected terrorists have previously had their UK citizenship taken away most often while they are abroad and the move does not require prior approval from a judge or parliament.
In his speech at the Conservative party conference, Javid proposed extending the reach of the power to cover serious criminals, citing child grooming gangmasters as an example."
EU: Meijers Committee: Note to the Presidency of the Council concerning the General Secretariat draft policy paper on legislative transparency (pdf):
"On 13 July, the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU circulated a draft policy note to the Members of the Council with proposals for reform of the policy on legislative transparency (document 11099/18 LIMITE). An initial discussion on these proposals was held at the Coreper meeting of 18 July. On 20 July, Agence Europe reported on the substance of the document. On 24 August, the document was published on the website of Statewatch (...)
As a general guideline, we propose that any access to legislative documents policy in the Council should meet three standards. It should:
1. Allow European citizens to see who is responsible for decisions made by the Council and in what way, particularly as regards their own national representatives.
2. Allow European citizens to comprehend the main lines of disagreement among Member States, and the reasons that Member States offer for disagreeing.
3. Offer sufficiently detailed and timely information to allow European citizens to participate in ongoing legislative procedures, particularly to make their voice heard concerning proposals that effect their personal situation or significant public interests."
See:Document 11099-18 LIMITE (pdf)
MI5 can authorise agents to commit crimes, tribunal told (Irish Times, link):
"Calls for tribunal to order MI5 to release information about the Third Direction policy.
MI5 officers can authorise agents to commit criminal acts under a secret policy dating back decades that operated without oversight until 2012, an investigative powers tribunal in London has heard. The policy, known as the Third Direction, has no legal basis and its existence has been secret until now.
n November 2012, former prime minister David Cameron wrote to Mark Waller, the intelligence services commissioner, asking him to keep the policy under review. (...)
The letter was sent two weeks before the publication of an independent report into the 1989 murder of solicitor Pat Finucane. Mr Cameron said there were shocking levels state collusion in the murder and that agents in the pay of the state were involved."
European Council: 18 October 2018: Migration, internal security and Big Brother database
European Council: European Council meeting (18 October 2018) Draft guidelines for conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 11816-18.pdf) target migration, disinformation and the interoperable centralised database.
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 11-12/10/2018 (link): Agenda highlights.
UK: Police fail to close down undercover relationship case following new revelations (Police spies out of our lives,link):
"Today in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the police failed in their attempt to close down Kate Wilsons human rights claim about secret political policing and her relationship with the undercover officer, Mark Kennedy.
This was the polices fourth failed application to limit the extent of the IPT investigation. After seven years of litigation, they still havent answered the detailed claims made.
The IPT panel, headed by Lord Justice Singh, ordered the police to provide a fully pleaded defence to all aspects of the claim, supported by witness evidence, within three months."
EU: European Court: Parliamentarian Allowances Are Personal (OCCRP, link):
"The European Parliament has no obligation to tell the public what its 751 members do with their tens of millions of Euros annually in tax-free allowances, according to a verdict released Tuesday by the European Court of Justice (EC).
I dont know if they realize what theyve done. To put it mildly, we are shocked, said Anuska Delic, an investigative journalist affiliated with the OCCRP."
Court press release: The General Court confirms the Parliament's refusal to grant access to documents relating to MEPs' subsistence allowances, travel expenses and parliamentary assistance allowances (25 September 2018, pdf) and: Judgment (Cases T-639/15 to T-666/15, pdf)
French police officer caught selling confidential police data on the dark web (ZDNet, link):
"A French police officer has been charged and arrested last week for selling confidential data on the dark web in exchange for Bitcoin.
The officer worked for Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI, translated to General Directorate for Internal Security), a French intelligence agency charged with counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, countering cybercrime and surveillance of potentially threatening groups, organizations, and social phenomena...
The officer stands accused of selling confidential information such as sensitive documents that made their way into the hands of cyber-criminals, Le Parisien reported last week. Investigators believe the criminals to whom Haurus sold the confidential files used them to create forged documents."
Global Counterterrorism Forum: New 'Terrorist Travel Initiative' to expand global biometric watchlists
The USA and Morocco, acting as part of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), launched on 28 September the 'Terrorist Travel Initiative' designed to identify and address "potential weaknesses and gaps in a countrys capacity to watchlist, share information, and utilize that information for screening purposes."
EU: The shrinking space for solidarity with migrants and refugees: How the European Union and Member States target and criminalize defenders of the rights of people on the move (TNI, link):
"Europes refugee crisis triggered a wave of solidarity actions by both civil society organisations and ordinary citizens. Their efforts were part of a wave of compassion, as people organised convoys to refugee reception centers, warmly greeted arrivals at train stations and lined highways to provide food and water to those making the journey from Syria and elsewhere. Just a few years later those same activists are treated as criminals and humanitarian search and rescue missions are criminalised.
The current onslaught originated in the intensification of the EUs restrictive approach to immigration policy from late 2014 and the EUs treatment of Italy and Greece, front-line states on the EUs migration routes. Today in Europe, solidarity with migrants and refugees can lead to arrest, legal troubles, or harassment. The actions of national police, judiciaries, political powers and far-right militants have created and compounded hostility to solidarity with refugees and migrants.
This report looks at how EU policy has played out and offers a glimpse into the ways citizens and movements are resisting xenophobic and securitarian policies."
EU: On the fifth anniversary of the Lampedusa shipwreck that took 368 lives: Save the Aquarius, Save Lives - Joint NGO Letter (Human Rights Watch, link):
"Five years to the day after the Lampedusa tragedy in which at least 368 people died, rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea are more vital than ever. It is alarming that the last rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean may be forced to stop operating. We call on European leaders to ensure the Aquarius can continue to save lives at sea.
The decision by Panamanian authorities to strike the Aquarius, a nongovernmental rescue ship operated by SOS MEDITERRANEE and Médécins Sans Frontières (MSF), from its ships registry, apparently in response to pressure from the Italian government, is a reprehensible move. It will deny potentially life-saving assistance to vulnerable people at risk, including injured people, pregnant women, torture survivors, people traumatized by shipwrecks and unaccompanied minors.
This is just the latest in a series of moves to delegitimize and block nongovernmental groups performing vital search-and-rescue operations in the central Mediterranean. It risks forcing the last remaining NGO ship away from the deadliest stretch of water in the world, resulting in the end of nongovernmental rescue in the area, which for years, has courageously contributed to saving thousands of lives. All other NGOs are blocked in Italian or Maltese ports by legal actions or have been forced to suspend operations given unconscionable delays or refusals to disembark rescued persons in European ports."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.9-2.10.18) including: Lesvos refugee camp at centre of Greek misuse of EU funds row; migrant aid worker convicted for tweet in France; Frontex begins testing drones
UK: Police used stun guns on mentally ill patients 96 times in a year (Guardian, link):
"Mental health patients have had a stun gun drawn, aimed or fired at them almost 100 times in just over a year, the Guardian can reveal.
Data shows police officers in the UK were called to hospitals and other mental healthcare facilities where a stun gun was used 96 times since 1 April 2017, the date when forces were required to keep data on this.
One patient who had a stun gun fired at them by Greater Manchester police (GMP) was 16 years old. Figures showed the force also pointed a stun gun, with a red dot appearing, on a 14-year-old patient.
The government has said stun guns should be used only as a last resort, but campaigners argue vehemently against their use in such a setting."
German journalist stabbed in Saxony-Anhalt: reports (DW, link):
"Three youths in Saxony-Anhalt allegedly stabbed a journalist and made the Hitler salute outside a supermarket. The victim is reportedly in hospital where he is receiving treatment for a six-centimeter-deep stab wound."
EU: Meijers Committee: Letter to Chair of LIBE Committee: Registration of criminal records of Union citizens in ECRIS-TCN (pdf):
"With regard to the suggested compromise proposal, the Meijers Committee is still not convinced that the ´discrimination´ of dual citizenship is ´solved.´ The negative symbolic effects of the proposed treatment in Article 2(2), which introduces for the first time in Union law the treatment of Union citizens as third-country nationals will negatively affect large numbers of EU nationals of immigrant origin."
Facial Recognition Surveillance a Threat to Law-Abiding Citizens (Liberties.eu, link):
"The use of facial recognition surveillance is becoming widespread across Europe, and those who stand to lose the most are law-abiding citizens, not criminals...
Berliners are in for an Orwellian surprise at the Südkreuz train station, where the government has been testing a new facial recognition surveillance system. Its the latest instance of the technologys use in Europe, and its already widely used around the world.
But despite its widespread use, facial recognition technology is operating in a legal gray area. As legal challenges arise against the use of mass surveillance, courts are increasingly siding with peoples rights and limiting the use of privacy-invading policing tactics like facial recognition German far-right terror suspects detained in overnight raids (DW, link):
"Some 100 police officers raided several properties in the German states of Saxony and Bavaria early on Monday morning as part of an investigation into a terror group called Revolution Chemnitz, named after the eastern German city that was the scene of recent far-right demonstrations following the killing of a German man.
The six men arrested, aged between 20 and 30, are suspected of forming a terrorist organization under the leadership of 31-year-old Christian K., who had already been arrested on September 14.
Later on Monday, authorities detained a seventh suspect.
According to Germany's state prosecutors, the men were planning attacks on "foreigners" and people who did not share their political views. Batons, an air-rifle, and computer hard drives were seized during the raids."
EU defence groups under fire for opacity (euobserver, link):
"The European Commission has implied it will improve the transparency of defence research advisory groups - following criticism from the European Ombudsman - but has stopped short of giving exact details. The ombudsman concluded two investigations this year relating to such groups."
EU: Reconsidering the blanket-data-retention-taboo, for human rights sake? Belgian Constitutional Court offers CJEU chance to explain its puzzling Tele2 Sverige AB-decision (European Law Blog, link):
"Compulsory retention, by ICT-providers, of all non-content user and traffic data, to ensure that that data will be available for subsequent use by law enforcement or intelligence, has been a controversial issue in the EU for several years now. On 19 July 2018 the Belgian Constitutional Court requested a preliminary ruling from the CJEU. Basically, it asks the EU Court to further clarify its earlier case law. The Belgian constitutional judges indicate that they find some aspects of the CJEUs previous decisions puzzling and they also offer a new angle by explicitly linking the matter to the positive obligations of member states under the European Convention on Human Rights. The implied suggestion seems that the CJEU did not give those obligations enough weight when it found blanket data retention obligations disproportionate."
UK: Police super-database prompts Liberty warning on privacy - Human rights group boycotts Home Office consultations on vast cloud system, saying they are a sham (Guardian, link):
"A new super-database being built for the police represents a grave risk to privacy, a leading human rights group has said.
Liberty claims the government is glossing over concerns that the database, the largest built for British law enforcement, threatens civil liberties. The group fears it gives massive power to the state at the expense of millions of Britons.
The Home Office has had consultation meetings with groups and experts concerned about privacy ahead of the super-database becoming operational later this year. Liberty said it has quit them in protest, damaging government hopes of neutralising civil liberties concerns."
See: Why were no longer taking part in a consultation on the polices new super-database (Liberty, link): "We cant be part of a process that gives a free pass to the creeping expansion of digital policing that shows contempt for our privacy rights."
EU: European Parliament factsheets on police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
Two European Parliament factsheets setting out basic information on police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters in the EU: legal basis; objectives; achievements; and the role of the European Parliament.
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