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21st year reporting on civil liberties and the state in the European Union (updated 12.8.19)  Editor: Tony Bunyan  Bookmark and Share

August 2019

UK: Facial recognition in King's Cross prompts call for new laws (BBC News, link):

"There is growing pressure for more details about the use of facial recognition in London's King's Cross to be disclosed after a watchdog described the deployment as "alarming".

Developer Argent has confirmed it uses the technology to "ensure public safety" but did not reveal any details.

It raises the issue of how private land used by the public is monitored.

The UK's biometrics commissioner said the government needed to update the laws surrounding the technology."

And see: London mayor quizzes King's Cross developer on facial recognition (BBC News, link)

Migrant rescue ship heads for Italy after judge overrules Salvini (Al Jazeera, link):

"An Italian court has upheld an appeal by the Spanish rescue ship Proactiva Open Arms, suspending far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's decision to ban the ship from entering the country's waters.

The Italian court ruled that the ban violates international laws in light of the "exceptionally grave and urgent situation due to the protracted stay of the migrants on our boat", Open Arms said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group said its ship is now heading towards Italian waters and expects to reach them on Thursday morning. Additionally, it has made new requests to Italy and Malta for a port that will let them disembark the migrants on medical grounds."

NORTHERN IRELAND: Police ombudsman to pay damages over 2011 Loughinisland report (Irish Legal News, link):

"The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland will pay damages to families and survivors over its first report on the Loughinisland massacre.

The police watchdog admitted failings and said it would pay undisclosed damages as part of the settlement announced in the High Court in Belfast on Friday, BBC News reports.

The proceedings were brought in connection with a 2011 report which concluded that there was insufficient evidence of collusion in the 1994 massacre, in which UVF gunmen killed six people and wounded five others.

The report, by former ombudsman Al Hutchinson, was quashed by the High Court in 2012. A subsequent report in 2016 found that collusion between police and the UVF was a “significant feature” of the murders."

Major breach found in biometrics system used by banks, UK police and defence firms (The Guardian, link):

"The fingerprints of over 1 million people, as well as facial recognition information, unencrypted usernames and passwords, and personal information of employees, was discovered on a publicly accessible database for a company used by the likes of the UK Metropolitan police, defence contractors and banks.

Suprema is the security company responsible for the web-based Biostar 2 biometrics lock system that allows centralised control for access to secure facilities like warehouses or office buildings. Biostar 2 uses fingerprints and facial recognition as part of its means of identifying people attempting to gain access to buildings.

Last month, Suprema announced its Biostar 2 platform was integrated into another access control system – AEOS. AEOS is used by 5,700 organisations in 83 countries, including governments, banks and the UK Metropolitan police."

See: Report: Data Breach in Biometric Security Platform Affecting Millions of Users (vpnMentor, link)

EU: Europol Strategy 2020+ (pdf)

"Europol has been evolving and growing ever since its inception, from a small group assisting Member States’ investigations mainly on drug trafficking, it is now the EU agency for law enforcement cooperation, contributing directly to the European Agenda on Security by working with and for Member States to combat all forms of serious organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism.

Europol’s Strategy provides the framework for Europol’s work and level of ambition."

See: Europol to become a global criminal information hub (link):

USA: Amazon Is Coaching Cops on How to Obtain Surveillance Footage Without a Warrant (Vice, link):

"When police partner with Ring, Amazon’s home surveillance camera company, they get access to the “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal,” an interactive map that allows officers to request footage directly from camera owners. Police don’t need a warrant to request this footage, but they do need permission from camera owners.

Emails and documents obtained by Motherboard reveal that people aren’t always willing to provide police with their Ring camera footage. However, Ring works with law enforcement and gives them advice on how to persuade people to give them footage."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-12.8.19) including:

EU: Interoperability of European Centralised Databases: Another Nail in the Coffin of Third-Country Nationals’ Privacy? (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link):

"Crucially, databases are compartmentalised; even though in the future all third-country nationals will be effectively captured by at least one database, the data pots are separate from each other. This will soon change; the final step towards an EU ‘Big Brother’ is the interconnection of the different ‘data pots’ under the umbrella term of interoperability. Against this background, this blog post aims at critically evaluating this important legal development from a privacy and data protection standpoint."

British children of Islamic State members will not be brought back to UK: Report (Middle East Eye, link):

"The children of British members of Islamic State who have UK citizenship will not be brought back to Britain from Syria as it would be too dangerous to rescue them, the UK government has reportedly decided.

The decision, made after a cross departmental review, was one of the last acts of Home Secretary Sajid Javid before his promotion to chancellor last month, according to The Times newspaper.

Javid was said to have decided that it was not safe to dispatch military or civilian personnel to rescue the babies and minors from camps in northern Syria."

UK: Tories unveil law and order policy blitz amid election speculation (The Guardian, link):

"Boris Johnson has set out a resoundingly tough stance on law and order ahead of a possible autumn general election, with a trio of announcements on extending jail terms, building new prisons and increasing police stop-and-search powers.

...On sentencing, Johnson announced a review of the policy of allowing some prisoners with a fixed sentence to be released on licence mid-way through their term on condition of continued good behaviour.

The review will also look at potentially longer sentences for violent and sexual offences, and for repeat offenders, and includes £85m in extra funding for the Crown Prosecution Service.

...In another arguably populist pre-election move, Johnson and Patel announced that police would be freer to carry out preventive stop-and-search operations under so-called section 60 powers."

EU: Current text of the proposed Directive on equal treatment between persons: over a decade of discussions and still no agreement

The Member States still cannot agree on the proposed Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, which was proposed by the Commission in 2008. The measure requires unanimity between the Member States and the consent of the Parliament to become law. The Parliament adopted its opinion in April 2009.

UK: Victory for Netpol campaigning as Home Office confirms it has stopped using the term “domestic extremism” (Netpol, link):

"After almost a decade of campaigning for an end to the highly subjective categorisation of campaigners at “domestic extremists”, Netpol has finally received confirmation that the Home Office has decided to stop using the label.

In June, we highlighted a report by David Anderson QC, a former independent reviewer of UK terrorism legislation, who had called the ‘domestic extremism’ label ‘manifestly deficient’ and indicated the Home Office was under pressure to abandon it."

UK: North Wales Police response to concern over its handling of hunt saboteurs raises serious questions (The Canary, link):

"On 24 July, North Wales Hunt Saboteurs claimed that North Wales Police (NWP) are “involved in an [operation] with the Flint and Denbigh hunt to get rid of protesters”. The hashtag “#OperationYada” accompanied the claim. Several days later, the NWP Rural Crime Team published a video on Twitter denying that ‘Operation Yada’ existed. But the truth suggests this team tried to mislead the public."

European Parliament: How the General Data Protection Regulation changes the rules for scientific research (pdf) and Briefing (pdf):

"This study comprehensively investigates the promises and challenges associated with the implementation of the GDPR in the scientific domain, with a special focus on the impact of the new rights and obligations enshrined in the GDPR on the design and conduct of scientific research. Furthermore, the study examines the adequacy of the GDPR's derogations for scientific research in terms of safeguarding scientific freedom and technological progress."

European Commission doesn't want to enforce its CRS rules (The Practical Nomad, link):

"In May 2017 the European Commission finally agreed to investigate my longstanding complaint that the lack of adequate access controls or access logging for airline reservation data stored by computerized reservation systems (CRSs) violates the data protection provisions in Article 11 of the European Union's Code of Conduct for Computerized Reservation Systems.

More than two years later, I've finally received the first substantive response to my complaint: a letter from the European Commission proposing to deny my complaint for lack of jurisdiction, on the absurd grounds that data security is not regulated by the Code of Conduct for CRSs."

Surveillance of 5G: Governments plan to change laws (link):

"5G telephony makes communication more secure. Connections, subscriber and device identifiers are partly encrypted, also conventional IMSI catchers become useless. Providers could therefore be forced to install new surveillance technology."

Refugee rescuers to be fined up to €1m under new Italian law promoted by far-right Salvini (Independent, link)

"Charity says security decree ‘will inflict useless suffering ... putting at risk the lives of vulnerable people.

Refugee rescue boats carrying stranded migrants face fines of up to €1m after the Italian parliament passed a controversial law promoted by Matteo Salvini, the far-right interior minister.

Under the law, boat captains bringing rescued refugees to Italy will face arrest if unauthorised; their vessels could be confiscated; and the owners of the operations face steep fines between €150,000 (£138,000) and €1m (£919,000)."

See: UNHCR concerned at new measures impacting rescue at sea in the Central Mediterranean (link)

EU may extend 'passenger name records' to rail and sea (EUobserver, link):

"The national governments of the EU member states are considering extending mandatory record-keeping of air passenger data to high-speed rail travel and sea traffic.

A majority of states have said in diplomatic discussions that they were in favour of applying the rules from the EU's passenger name record (PNR) directive, currently only applicable to air travel, to other modes of transportation.

...The paper, published on the Statewatch website, said that "the majority of the member states agreed on broadening the scope of the PNR directive".

"The percentages were the following: 83 percent wants to broaden it to maritime, 76 percent to railway, and 67 percent to road traffic," said the document."

See also: EU Council Presidency proposes follow-up on extending PNR to sea and rail traffic

EU: Data protection: Commission decides to refer Greece and Spain to the Court for not transposing EU law (European Commission press release, pdf)

"The European Commission decided today to refer Greece and Spain to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to transpose the EU rules on personal data protection (the Data Protection Law Enforcement Directive, Directive (EU) 2016/680). In April 2016, the Council and the European Parliament agreed the Directive had to be transposed into national law by 6 May 2018.

In the case of Greece, the Commission is calling on the Court of Justice of the EU to impose financial sanctions in the form of a lump sum of € 5 287.50per day between the day after the deadline for transposition set out by the Directive expired and either compliance by Greece or the date of delivery of the judgment under Article 260(3) TFEU,with a minimum lump sum of € 1 310 000and a daily penalty payment of € 22.169,70from the day of the first judgment until full compliance is reached or until the second Court judgment. As regards Spain, the Commission is calling on the Court to impose a financial sanction in the form of a lump sum of € 21 321per day between the day after the deadline for transposition set out by the Directive expired and either compliance by Spain or the date of delivery of the judgment under article 260(3) of TFEU, with a minimum lump sum of € 5 290 000and a daily penalty payment of € 89 548.20 from the day of the first judgement until full compliance is reached or until the second Court judgment."

And see: Complaint lodged by Homo Digitalis against Greece for non-compliance with the EU’s data privacy law addressed to the European Commission (Homo Digitalis, link)

NORTHERN IRELAND: Former PSNI chief ‘still furious’ about closure of Historical Enquiries Team (Irish Legal News, link):

"Former PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde has said he is “still furious” about the 2014 closure of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), which he said should have been allowed to complete its work.

In an interview with The Irish Times, the former police chief, who stood down in 2009, challenged the findings of a 2013 report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary which greatly undermined the unit.

The report, which sparked fierce criticism from Irish nationalists and republicans, said some cases involving the state were being “reviewed with less rigour in some areas” than other cases.

...Sir Hugh said the HET, if allowed to continue its work beyond 2014, would have completed reviews of all 3,500 Troubles-related cases by now.

He also cast doubt on the effectiveness of the proposed new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) due to the passage of time."

European Parliament Studies: Blockchain and the General Data Protection Regulation (pdf):

"Blockchain is a much-discussed instrument that, according to some, promises to inaugurate a new era of data storage and code-execution, which could, in turn, stimulate new business models and markets. The precise impact of the technology is, of course, hard to anticipate with certainty, in particular as many remain sceptical of blockchain's potential impact. In recent times, there has been much discussion in policy circles, academia and the private sector regarding the tension between blockchain and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Indeed, many of the points of tension between blockchain and the GDPR are due to two overarching factors."

And see: Annex (pdf)

We are taking legal action against the mass processing of passenger data! (NO PNR, link):

"We are taking legal action against the mass processing of passenger data!

The European PNR Directive (Directive 2016/681) requires airlines to automatically transfer their passengers’ data to government passenger data centers, called Passenger Information Units. Data records are centrally stored and can be accessed by numerous authorities."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7-5.8.19) including:

Home Office rejects Human Rights Committee’s call for a time limit to immigration detention (HoC, link):

"The Home Office has rejected the UK Parliament Human Rights Committee’s recommendation to introduce a time limit on immigration detention, despite the overwhelming cross-party support."

EU Council Presidency proposes follow-up on extending PNR to sea and rail traffic

EU: Council Presidency: Widening the scope of PNR to other forms of transportation in addition to air traffic- discussion paper (LIMITE doc no: 10597-19, pdf) suggests that:

"Traffic volumes from both within and outside the Schengen area are increasing. Increasing crossborder travelling entails cross-border crime such as migrant smuggling and irregular migration arrangements, which involves third-country nationals that are smuggled into the EU territories, or narcotic drugs smugglers, terrorists and other criminals. This poses a growing challenge to national law enforcement authorities in combating crime." [emphasis added throughout]

GREECE: Protest held over Korkoneas release (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A demonstration was held in the downtown Athens district of Exarchia on Wednesday at the memorial of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, shot and killed in 2008 by a police special guard who was released from prison on Tuesday."

EU receives record number of requests for documents (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission has received a record number of requests to publish documents, according to statistics released this week.

EU citizens filed applications to see documents 6,912 times in 2018."

Link to: Report (pdf)

July 2019

“Video lie detector” for travelers: Patrick Breyer sues EU for keeping the iBorderCtrl project secret (patrick-breyer.de, linnk):

"The EU is funding the development of a “video lie detector” to detect deception by immigrants through video recordings of their faces. Because the EU is keeping information on this scientifically highly controversial project secret, civil liberties activist and Pirate Party Member of the European Parliament, Dr. Patrick Breyer, has filed a complaint with the EU Court of Justice."

France’s War on Protest (OSF Voices, link):

"With tears running down a bruised cheek, Vanessa Langard, a woman who participated in a protest against the policies of the French government on the Champs Élysées, recalls how she was shot by a “flash ball” projectile that was fired by a police officer. After several surgeries, Vanessa has nearly lost the use of her left eye and also suffers from memory disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder."

UK surveillance legal judgement is a blow to journalists & press freedom (NUJ link):

Working with the human rights organisation Liberty, the NUJ intervened in the judicial review of the UK's Investigatory Powers Act 2016. The case has been lost today in the High Court.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The legal judgment is a blow to journalists and press freedom. The union has consistently challenged the UK’s investigatory powers and the authorities continue to use extensive secret surveillance techniques. The NUJ is concerned that the ability to access journalistic communications, in particular bulk interceptions and interference, without prior independent authority, places whistleblowers and sources at risk, and makes it more difficult to hold those in power to account. This risks jeopardising the role of the media as the public’s watchdog. The NUJ will now consider the judgment in more detail with a view to appealing."

See: Judgment - full-text (pdf)

Calls for backdoor access to WhatsApp as Five Eyes nations meet - Countries focus on increasingly effective encryption of communications (Guardian, link):

"British, American and other intelligence agencies from English-speaking countries have concluded a two-day meeting in London amid calls for spies and police officers to be given special, backdoor access to WhatsApp and other encrypted communications.

Dealing with the challenge faced by increasingly effective encryption was one of the main topics at the summit, officials said, at a time when technology companies want to make their services more secure after a range of security breaches."

Protesters in Poland condemn attack on LGBT march (DW, link):

"Left-wing parties have held a rally in the Polish city of Bialystok against homophobia. An LGBT rights march in the city last week came under attack from far-right groups."

Sites using Facebook ‘Like’ button liable for data, EU court rules (euractiv, link):

"Europe’s top court ruled Monday (30 July) that companies that embed Facebook’s “Like” button on their websites must seek users’ consent to transfer their personal data to the US social network, in line with the bloc’s data privacy laws. (....)

Under EU data protection law, therefore, a European retailer and the US platform are jointly responsible for gathering the data and sending it to Facebook’s Irish subsidiary.

Users should therefore be warned and asked to consent to their data being gathered, although the retailer is not responsible for what Facebook does with it later."

FIVE EYES: London meeting: ‘Illegitimate’ internet use under the microscope at Five Eyes meeting: Goodale (Global News, link):

"Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale heads out for the Five Eyes meeting in London on Sunday, and while there, he says the challenges posed by those who use the internet for “illegitimate” means will be going under the microscope."

UK: Evening Standard comment: Our security alliances are more important than ever (Link):

"Away from the glare of attention focused on the new Prime Minister and his plans for Brexit, an important security summit begins in London today: Home Secretary Priti Patel and British intelligence chiefs are meeting their counterparts in the “Five Eyes” alliance — the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — to strengthen co-ordination against security threats ranging from terrorism to state-sponsored espionage to sexual exploitation of children online."

See also: Statewatch Observatory: EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance

We Tested Europe’s New Lie Detector for Travelers — and Immediately Triggered a False Positive (The Interceppt, link):

"They call it the Silent Talker. It is a virtual policeman designed to strengthen Europe’s borders, subjecting travelers to a lie detector test before they are allowed to pass through customs.

Prior to your arrival at the airport, using your own computer, you log on to a website, upload an image of your passport, and are greeted by an avatar of a brown-haired man wearing a navy blue uniform. (...)

Travelers who are deemed dangerous can be denied entry, though in most cases they would never know if the avatar test had contributed to such a decision. The results of the test are not usually disclosed to the traveler;Travelers who are deemed dangerous can be denied entry, though in most cases they would never know if the avatar test had contributed to such a decision. The results of the test are not usually disclosed to the traveler. "

Europol to become a global criminal information hub (link):

"With new regulations, the EU Police Agency will soon have access to many millions of alerts and searches, including fingerprints and facial images. The function is part of the "2020+ Strategy" Connection to other information systems is already being planned."

European Commission: Commission takes Hungary to Court for criminalising activities in support of asylum seekers and opens new infringement for non-provision of food in transit zones (Press release, pdf):

"Today, the European Commission decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU concerning legislation that criminalises activities in support of asylum applications and further restricts the right to request asylum. The Commission has also decided tosend a letter of formal notice to Hungary concerning the non-provision of food to persons awaiting return who are detained in the Hungarian transit zones at the border with Serbia."

UK: The UK government’s “hostile environment” is harming public health (blogs.bmj.com, link)

"There is growing evidence that the government’s “package” of hostile environment policies are causing serious harm to public health in the UK. We believe the precautionary principle that action should be taken to prevent harm even if some cause and-effect relationships have not been fully established scientifically now mandates that these policies should be immediately suspended pending a thorough, independent and transparent review into their health impacts."

Council of the European Union: Moving forward the automation of information exchange (LIMITE doc no: 8526-19, pdf):

"The intention is to put the topic into perspective in relation to an ever-growing and complex information exchange landscape, which has seen a political shift towards increased automation, as manifested in recent legislation. (...)

Member States furthermore recommended that any discussion of automation should take into account not only the ongoing feasibility study on improving Prüm data exchange, possibly leading to rearranging the Prüm architecture, but also the solutions to be developed for the implementation of the interoperability package."

Five Eyes in the Library of Babel (aspistrategist.org.au, link)

"The Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing arrangement between the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, owes its foundations to World War II. Significantly, cooperation started by sharing intelligence on foreign communications—through interception, collection and analysis, and associated cryptographic tools. (...)

We are learning to fear not only our actual and potential adversaries, but our own systems, and increasingly each other. Our ability to look after own individual needs and security is eroded; instead, we are expected to turn to authority. Aside from the moral hazard that induces, it’s not healthy for our society. It risks pervasive fatalism - what Timothy Snyder calls a ‘politics of eternity’ - while encouraging rally-around-the-flag behaviour, undermining our ability to withstand authoritarianism."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.7-25-7.19)

EU takes Hungary to court over ‘Stop Soros’ migrant law (euractiv, link):

"The European Union on Thursday (25 July) took Hungary to the EU’s highest court over controversial legislation against assisting migrants, known as the “Stop Soros” laws.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, decided to refer Hungary to the Luxembourg-based court over “legislation that criminalises activities in support of asylum applications and further restricts the right to request asylum”, a statement said."

European Commission: General Data Protection Regulation shows results, but work needs to continue (Press release, pdf) and Data protection rules as a trust-enabler in the EU and beyond – taking stock (COM 374-19, pdf).

EU Indirectly Confirms UK Is Taking “Practical Steps” After Illegal Copying of SIS Data (euobserver, link):

"The European Commissioner for Security Julian King, during a talk to journalists on Wednesday, indirectly confirmed, not only that the United Kingdom did make illegal copies of classified information from the database of the Schengen Information System (SIS), but he also said that the UK is already taking “practical steps” to correct its mistake.

“Those are meant to be confidential discussions that we have with the individual member states,” Commissioner King said when asked to comment on the issue, yet adding that the country in question."

EU: Frontex - New Cooperation Plan signed with EASO

The Executive Directors of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) signed an agreement last week at the Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Helsinki.

The updated Cooperation Plan can be viewed here

European Commission: Nineteenth Progress Report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (pdf);

"Close cooperation between EU Agencies, all Member States and Schengen associated countries will be paramount in order to achieve the ambitious objective of achieving full interoperability of EU information systems for security, border and migration management by 2020.(...)

The Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to take the necessary steps to reach swift agreement on the legislative proposals to counter terrorist propaganda and radicalisation online, to enhance cybersecurity, to facilitate the access to electronic evidence and to complete the work on stronger and smarter information systems for security, border and migration management."

Two charged with ‘terrorism’ over Bulgaria’s biggest data breach (euractiv, link):

"Prosecutors have charged two workers at a cybersecurity company with terrorism as part of an investigation into Bulgaria’s biggest-ever data breach, a lawyer for the defendants."

UN Chief Guterres Has Disappointed on Human Rights - New Strategy Needed for Second Half of Term (HRW, link):

"When former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres was elected United Nations secretary-general in 2016, many human rights activists welcomed the announcement. They hoped he would bring to UN headquarters the same passion for defending human rights that he showed during 10 years as the UN high commissioner for refugees.

But Guterres has been virtually silent on even the most egregious rights violations. (...)

EU plans for Artificial Intelligence (AI): Get ready to meet you friendly "digital assistant"

- "
a digital assistant should be required to be able to explain its reasoning, and undergo an ethical audit."

The Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in July under the Finnish Council Presidency discussed a report on: Artificial Intelligence and law enforcement (pdf)

European Union plans borderless query of facial images (link):

"In the Prüm Treaty, the police search for biometric data among EU Member States is significantly simplified. Under Austria’s leadership, the extension is now being examined for facial recognition. A corresponding Council decision could already be taken next year.

The European Union wants to make it much easier for the police to cross-check biometric data. This concerns mugshots or photographs that are stored in police databases after identification by the police."

EU: Disembarkation scheme - Member States asked to agree to allow landings by "private rescue vessels in the closest safe harbour"

A draft Note on: Commitments by Member States for predictable temporary disembarkation scheme (pdf) agrees to set up:

"a more predictable and efficient temporary mechanism in order to ensure swift and dignified disembarkation of migrants rescued at sea by private vessels in closest safe harbour."

This is a France-Germany proposal which is not supported by Italy.

EU: Court of Auditors: The ethical frameworks of the audited EU institutions: scope for improvement (link):

"In this special report, we assessed whether the ethical frameworks of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Council, and the European Commission were well established. We examined all the levels of staff and Members, and analysed the awareness of the ethical framework of the staff of institutions by means of a survey. The implementation of the ethical frameworks in the audited institutions did not form part of the audit."

See Report (link)

EU: GDPR Review: Council of the European Union: Finnish Council Presidency: Preparation of the Council position on the evaluation and review of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Doc no: 12292-19, pdf):

"In the context of this evaluation and review, the Commission shall examine, in particular, the application and functioning of:

Chapter V on the transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations with particular regard to decisions adopted pursuant to Article 45(3) of this Regulation and decisions adopted on the basis of Article 25(6) of Directive 95/46/EC."
[emphasis added]

." A NOTE FROM HISTORY: Statewatch Observatory: The "Stockholm Programme" and the Future Group and "The: Shape of Things to Come" by Tony Bunyan

UPDATED: Informal Justice & Home Affairs meeting , Finnish Council Presidency: Including: AI and law enforcement, migration and internal security plus documentation

Informal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (Finnish Council Presidency, link);

"On Thursday 18 July, the home affairs ministers will discuss in their working sessions the future of EU internal security and migration policy. During the working lunch, they will address artificial intelligence. In the afternoon, the ministers will hold a political debate based on a fictitious hybrid threat scenario with the aim of highlighting hybrid threats from the internal security angle." [emphasis added]

UK: Special Branch Files Project (link):

"…where released files are shared

The Special Branch Files Project is a live-archive of declassified files focussing on the surveillance of political activists and campaigners."

Human Rights Watch letter to Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (HRW, link):

"I am writing on behalf of Human Rights Watch to ask you to order both an investigation into unlawful pushbacks of migrants by Croatian border officials and a halt to such actions.

In an interview with Swiss television SRF on July 9, you acknowledged unlawful pushbacks of migrants by Croatian border officials to Bosnia Herzegovina and admitted that in some instances force is used. This contradicts previous denials by Croatian officials, but is consistent with the findings of Human Rights Watch, the UN Refugee Agency, and other organizations."

Opinion: Don’t Regulate Facial Recognition. Ban It (Buzz Feed, link):

"We are on the verge of a nightmare era of mass surveillance by the state and private companies. It’s not too late to stop it."

Green New Deal – panacea or problem? (IRR News, link):

"As the notion of a Green New Deal rapidly spreads as an answer to capitalism in US and UK media and political circles, our lead article in July 2019 asks if Green capitalism can propose a real solution to the ecological crisis and the human crises of poverty, austerity, immigration and racism.

Green capitalism and the large scale investment in environmental technologies ‘neither breaks with neoliberalism, nor can potentially reverse environmental disaster’, argues Jerry Harris, an authority on global capitalism, in his lead article on ‘The future of globalisation’."

Italy: UN experts condemn criminalisation of migrant rescues and threats to the independence of judiciary (link)::

"UN human rights experts* have expressed grave concern over the detention and criminal proceedings in Italy against the German captain of the migrant rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3, and stated that the threats to the judge who ruled her release were unlawful.

“Rescuing migrants in distress at sea is not a crime,” the experts said. “We urge the Italian authorities to immediately stop the criminalisation of search and rescue operations.”

Lessons from history: LIBE Series 14 and 15: Conclusions of the European Parliament on mass-surveillance programs – Part 2 (Access Now, link) and Part 1 (link)

 EDPB-EDPS joint reply to the LIBE Committee on the implications of the US CLOUD Act

See: ANNEX. Initial legal assessment of the impact of the US CLOUD Act on the EU legal framework for the protection of personal data and the negotiations of an EU-US Agreement on cross-border access to electronic evidence (10 pages, pdf)

Documenting Migration: From A Lampedusa Outpost To A National Level

"MotM seeks partners in growing its migration story archive from the humanitarian perspective.

Join Migrants of the Mediterranean (MotM)) in partnership to document the migration flow in the Central Mediterranean through the framework of humanitarian storytelling. With it, MotM captures the intimacy and urgency of each migrant’s experience on the ground, and now aims to do it on a larger scale, to help inform policy and popular understanding."

Greek Council for Refugees: To the Supreme Court Prosecutor: Complaint on Push-Back Incidents in the Region of Evros during the months of April - June 2019 (pdf):

"Complaints during the past two years

For the past two years, complaints on push-backs from the region of Evros have continuously been brought to our attention. We are aware that, at least, three such complaints have come to the prosecuting authorities’ knowledge
(...)

Incidents against Turkish citizens during the past 2 months:

Lately, however, and at least from 27-4-2019 and onwards, GCR has received continuous complaints on push-backs perpetrated against primarily Turkish nationals, cited."

Italy seizes 'combat-ready' missile in raids on far right (Guardian, link)

"Anti-terrorism police in northern Italy have seized an air-to-air missile and other sophisticated weapons during raids on far-right extremist groups.

Three people were arrested, two of them near Forli airport. Neo-Nazi propaganda was also seized.

The raids were part of an investigation into Italian far-right involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Turin police said":

Black undercover officer who spied on Stephen Lawrence campaign named - Police spy pretended to be leftwing and anti-racist campaigner for four years (Guardian, link):

"The fake identity of a black undercover police officer who spied on the justice campaign led by the parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has been officially revealed.

The officer, who used the name Anthony Lewis, pretended to be a leftwing and anti-racist campaigner for four years.

During his covert deployment, Lewis gathered “quite a lot” of information about the campaign run by Doreen and Neville Lawrence to try to persuade the police to properly investigate the racist murder of their son, according to an official report."

Former German spy chief causes alarm by sharing far-right tweets - Critics question judgment of Georg Maaßen for spreading ‘lies and extremist agitation’ (Guardian, link):

"When he was in charge of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maaßen warned of how easy it was for people to be led astray by “disinformation” and “clumsy fake reports” on the internet.

But since his dismissal from office last September, the former spy chief’s behaviour on social media has raised questions over his own ability to distinguish conspiracy theories from truthful reporting, and sparked a debate about the neutrality of the powerful intelligence agency during a period in which a resurgent far right marched over several days in the city of Chemnitz."

Anti-separatist Spanish MEPs dominate liberty committee (euobserver, link):

"The new Spanish leadership overseeing the European Parliament's powerful committee dealing with rule of law and rights, known as Libe, are staunch opponents of Catalan secession."

EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs meeting focuses on "battlefield information and PNR", migration and border policy, and access to electronic evidence

Outcome of proceedings of the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting (Bucharest, 19 June 2019) (LIMITE doc no: 10430-19, pdf)

German Airports: Face recognition now also for children (link):

"When crossing an EU external border, all travellers will soon have to provide biometric data. This leads to long waiting times and border controls are therefore becoming increasingly automated. This will first benefit people who have already stored facial images on the chip of their „ePass“.

The German Federal Police is extending the use of so-called "eGAtes“ to children. Since the beginning of the holiday season in Germany, the "EasyPASS“ technology used there has been activated nationwide for persons aged 12 and over."

A Political Murder and Far-Right Terrorism: Germany’s New Hateful Reality (New York Times, link):

"The death threats started in 2015, when Walter Lübcke defended the refugee policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel. A regional politician for her conservative party, he would go to small towns in his district and explain that welcoming those in need was a matter of German and Christian values.

Hateful emails started pouring in. His name appeared on an online neo-Nazi hit list. His private address was published on a far-right blog. A video of him was shared hundreds of thousands of times, along with emojis of guns and gallows and sometimes explicit calls to murder him: “Shoot him now, this bastard.”

And then someone did."

And see: German far-right group 'used police data to compile death list' - Activists linked to military and police suspected of preparing terror attack, reports say (Guardian, link) and Not All Terrorists Want to Claim Responsibility for Attacks (Fair Observer, link)

CoE: Invitation to comment by 19 August 2019: The draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the human rights impacts of algorithmic systems (link)

ALBANIA: Tirana hosts Europol’s first liaison office in the Western Balkans (Europol, link):

"Europol’s new liaison bureau in Tirana (Albania) was officially opened today, 11 July 2019, in the presence of the General Director of the Albanian State Police, Ardi Veliu, EU Ambassador to Albania, Luigi Soreca, and Europol Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle. Albania is the first country in the Western Balkans to host a Europol liaison office and this opening highlights the importance of Albania and the Western Balkans as partners for Europol and the EU."

See also: Ministerial statement on "migration challenges" keeps focus on control measures (Statewatch News)

MEPs shut out nationalists from key posts (euractiv, link):

"MEPs from the nationalist Identity and Democracy (ID) group have been excluded from the last EU key posts left in parliamentary committees. Hungary’s Fidesz and Poland’s Law and Justice have also been partially subjected to the cordon sanitaire imposed by the pro-European majority."

CoE: Bulgaria: urgent steps needed to improve foreigners’ healthcare (link)

"The Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee (CPT) in its new report published today praised certain improvements in the conditions and treatment of foreigners detained under aliens legislation in the establishments visited in December 2018, but called for urgent measures to improve the poor state of healthcare services and to facilitate effective communication of detainees within the establishments and with the outside world. The response of Bulgarian authorities (also available in Bulgarian) outlining the measures taken to implement the CPT recommendations has been published together with the report."

FRONTEX: Migratory situation in June – Arrivals in Europe rise slightly (link):

"The Eastern Mediterranean remained the busiest migratory route into Europe with nearly 4 000 detections in June 2019*

Libyan lawyers: EU is complicit in torture (euobserver, link):

"The European Union has for years adopted a policy of containment, training the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept people at sea.

Those intercepted are then brought back to Libya and placed in detention centres that are run by DCIM under the GNA's Ministry of Interior.

There has been no shortage of reports that recount the violence and torture refugees and migrants face in these centres.

Yet, unfazed, EU policy continued to support the Libyan coastguard, turning a blind eye to what happens after those intercepted are returned to Libya."

European Data Protection Board (link):

"Twelfth Plenary session: Guidelines on Video Surveillance, Implications of the US CLOUD Act, Opinion on SCCs for processors under Art.28.8 by DK, Opinion on Accreditation Criteria for monitoring bodies of Codes of Conduct by AT, Opinion on the competence."

Judges Depending on Judges (verfassungsblog.de, link)::

"As commentators on this blog and elsewhere have rightly noted, since the beginning of 2018 the CJEU has finally been putting flesh on the bones of the EU principle of judicial independence. Most recently, the Court has been widely praised for its ruling against the Polish attempt of removing the, presumably, disloyal judges by a general measure of lowering their retirement age from 70 to 65.

While the decision is indeed praiseworthy, it is nevertheless necessary to emphasize its notable doctrinal lacuna with potential negative practical implications – particularly in those EU member states with a weak democratic and rule of law tradition, a low degree of legal and political culture as well as with a small and tightly-knit legal elite."

Orban ally's bid to chair EP committee in trouble (euobserver, link):

"Efforts to give a Hungarian Fidesz party member a senior post on the European Parliament's committee dealing with immigration and law were suspended on Wednesday (10 July).

Although still in the running, Fidesz member Balazs Hidvegi was hoping to secure a vice-chair seat on the civil liberties (Libe) committee following a vote on nominations."

Spanish security company spied on Julian Assange’s meetings with lawyers (link):

"EL PAÍS has had access to video, audio and written reports showing that the WikiLeaks founder was the target of a surveillance operation while living at the Ehttps://euobserver.com/opinion/145412cuadorian embassy in London.(...)

Julian Assange was spied on 24 hours a day during the time that he spent at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge for seven years."

Internal security in the EU: „Moving from data collection to data connection“ (link):

"The European Union intends to further strengthen operational cooperation and exchange of information between police authorities. The focus will be on upgrading Europol, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.(...)

The proposal would also integrate decentralised systems into the „interoperability model“. The Romanian Presidency paper describes this as „moving from data collection to data connection“. Among other things, the Prüm Treaty is mentioned. All Member States of the European Union agreed there to allow mutual consultation of national fingerprint and DNA databases. Norway and Iceland are also taking part, and Switzerland recently also decided to join."

Finnish presidency activities on internal security kick off with informal COSI meeting at Europol (link):

"The informal meeting of the Council’s Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) at Europol today marks the start of internal security-related activities of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. This is the first time an informal COSI meeting has been co-hosted by an EU agency, which also honours the 20th anniversary of Europol.(...)

The delegations will discuss the following topics:

- the future direction of internal security in the EU;
- hybrid threats and internal security;
- 20 years of Europol – what is next?"

UK’s surveillance powers to be considered by Europe's highest human rights court (AI, link):

"On Wednesday (10 July), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights - the court’s highest body - will hear arguments from Amnesty International, Liberty, Privacy International and other human rights organisations from four continents over the unlawfulness of the UK’s bulk surveillance practices."

ECHR: Press release (pdf)

"The European Court of Human Rights will be holding the following two hearings in July 2019:

Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom (application nos. 58170/13, 62322/14 and 24960/15), which concerns complaints by journalists, individuals and rights organisations about three different surveillance regimes: (1) the bulk interception of communications; (2) intelligence sharing with foreign governments; and (3) the obtaining of communications data from
communications service providers;

Centrum för rättvisa v. Sweden (no. 35252/08), which concerns a complaint brought by a non-profit foundation about legislation permitting the bulk interception of electronic signals in Sweden for foreign intelligence purposes."

Top court hearing puts EU data transfers in jeopardy - Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems is getting his second chance to bring down a major transatlantic agreement (Politico, link):

"On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg will hear arguments in another case brought by Schrems over claims that the U.S. government does not sufficiently protect Europeans' data when it is shipped across the Atlantic.

"There is fundamentally a clash between surveillance laws in the U.S. and privacy rules in Europe," he said. "We're in a debate about who governs the internet. Europe governs privacy, but the U.S. governs surveillance."

Joint Europol and Eurojust report: Common challenges in combating cybercrime As identified by Eurojust and Europol (pdf):

The report argues that ruling by the Court of Justice ruling on data retention laws as being unlawful since the day the Directive was passed in 2006 hinders law enforcement agencies.

Greek voters kick neo-Nazis out of parliament (euractiv, link):

"The Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which in 2012 elected its first lawmakers, did not manage to pass the 3% threshold and will not be represented in the next Greek parliament.

EURACTIV Greece reported that voters turned their backs on the neo-Nazis, who have now lost their immunity in an ongoing trial into the 2013 murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a Golden Dawn supporter. The party is also accused of forming a criminal organisation."

Top court hearing puts EU data transfers in jeopardy - Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems is getting his second chance to bring down a major transatlantic agreement (Politico, link):

"On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg will hear arguments in another case brought by Schrems over claims that the U.S. government does not sufficiently protect Europeans' data when it is shipped across the Atlantic.

"There is fundamentally a clash between surveillance laws in the U.S. and privacy rules in Europe," he said. "We're in a debate about who governs the internet. Europe governs privacy, but the U.S. governs surveillance."

Italy: Council of Europe Committee takes important steps to protect Roma from forced evictions (AI, link):

"Responding to the decision by European Committee of Social Rights to request the Italian state to take immediate measures to protect the housing rights of Roma, Lucy Claridge, Director of Strategic Litigation at Amnesty International said:"

Centre for European Policy Studies: Artificial Intelligence Ethics, governance and policy challenges (pdf): Report of a CEPS Task Force by Andrea Renda:

" Like an unannounced guest, artificial intelligence (AI) has suddenly emerged from nerdy discussions in university labs and begun to infiltrate larger venues and policy circles around the globe. Everywhere, and particularly in Europe, thedebate has been tainted by much noise and fear, as evidenced in the EuropeanParliament’s resounding report on civil law rules for robotics, in which Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is evoked on the opening page (European Parliament,2016)."

UK: The Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project: Independent Report on the London Metropolitan Police Service's Trial of Live Facial Recognition Technology(pdf) by Proffessor Pete Fussey and Dr Daragh Murray:

A damning review of the police's dangerous experiment with live facial recognition has found it to be unlawful, with serious operational failures.

See: Big Brother Watch response to “utterly damning” review of police facial recognition (link) and see also: 92% false positive rate for police facial recognition system (Statewatch News)

CIA's top recruiter on how the agency finds - and keeps - its spies (CBS News, link):

"In a rare interview, the CIA's chief of Talent Acquisition, Sheronda Dorsey, told host and CBS News senior national security contributor Michael Morell that the agency plans to introduce virtual interviews, which will be conducted via commercially available technologies, in the fall. It is also exploring ways to accelerate its lengthy security clearance process by using artificial intelligence and "other technical means," Dorsey said."

Digitalisation is a threat as much as an opportunity for workers, experts say (euractiv, link):

"While digitalisation offers more flexible forms of work, it can also be a threat to well-being and encroach on work-life balance, policymakers warned during an event organised by EURACTIV.

Parental care is often the first thing that comes to mind when talking about better work-life balance. And digitalisation can certainly ease the process.

“Digitalisation is a great opportunity for all of those who want a different working arrangement,” said Katarina Ivankovic-Kneževic, Director for Social Affairs at the European Commission.

The work-life balance directive entered into force on 1 July. But as member states prepare to implement it, policymakers say the digital revolution also has its pitfalls."

Magid Magid incident highlights EU's race problem, say activists - Green MEP said he was asked to leave as he arrived for first day of European parliament (Guardian, link):

"An incident in which a black British MEP was asked to leave the European parliament on his first day highlighted the lack of racial diversity in EU politics, a campaign group has said.

Magid Magid, a Green MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, said he nearly missed the opening of the new legislature in Strasbourg after he was asked to leave the building."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.6-5.7.19)

UN calls for inquiry into Libya detention centre bombing (Guardian, link):

"Attack widely blamed on warlord Khalifa Haftar, which left at least 44 dead, labelled ‘war crime’

The United Nations has called for an independent inquiry into the bombing of a Libyan migrant detention centre that left at least 44 dead and more than 130 severely injured, describing the attack as “a war crime and odious bloody carnage”.

The detention centre east of Tripoli was housing more than 610 people when it was hit by two airstrikes. Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, blamed the bombing on the air force of Khalifa Haftar."

What future for the EU’s Charter of Rights after a decade? (euractiv, link):

"To some – Tony Blair’s UK government, at least – the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, originally drafted and endorsed by the EU institutions in 2000, was so controversial that it had to be relegated to an annex to the EU treaties as part of the changes between the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty.

So it is perhaps surprising that relatively few Europeans are aware that the Charter even exists, ten years after it became legally binding.

According to polling by Eurobarometer released in June, only one in ten Europeans have a good idea of what the Charter is."

European Parliament: Impact Assessment and European Added Value work during the eighth legislative term, 2014-2019 (pdf):

"Better law-making is at the same time both a policy objective and a process. As a methodology, its purpose is to design and to decide on regulation that is fit for purpose."

UK: Jury finds restraint by Warwickshire police contributed to death of Darren Cumberbatch (INQUEST, link):

"Today a jury has returned a narrative conclusion at the inquest into the death of Darren Cumberbatch, finding that the police’s restraint of Darren contributed to his death. They also found that ineffective communication and the lack of a meaningful plan in responding to Darren was a serious failure. The medical cause of death was multiple organ failure as a result of cocaine use in association with restraint and related physical exertion.

Darren Cumberbatch was 32 years old when he died in hospital in Warwickshire on 19 July 2017, nine days after use of force by police officers whilst he was experiencing a mental health crisis. He was one of five black men to die following use of force by police in 2017."

EU-Morocco Association Council prioritses cooperation on migration: Joint declaration by the European Union and Morocco for the fourteenth meeting of the Association Council (pdf)

"The two key fields in which specific operational measures will also be carried out are:

• Cooperation on protection of the environment and the fight against climate change...

Enhanced consultation and balanced cooperation on mobility and migration. This consultation will be based on the 2013 Mobility Partnership, in compliance with national powers and the full implementation of Morocco's national strategy on migration and asylum. The management of migration requires joint and sustained efforts by Morocco, the European Union and its Member States in the framework of an approach that is comprehensive, humane and respectful of human rights, and envisages concerted action to deal with the root causes of irregular migration. The prevention of and fight against irregular migration, against trafficking in human beings and in migrants, and their protection, including through communication and by raising awareness of the risks tied to irregular migration, stepping up the management of the sea and land borders, mobility, in particular improving the mobility of professionals, legal migration, return, readmission and reintegration, visa facilitation and the development of mutually beneficial human exchanges, in particular for students, young workers and young volunteers, will form part of the objectives pursued." (emphasis added)

Italian judge says German migrant rescue captain free to go (EurActiv, link):

"An Italian judge said Tuesday (2 July) that Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete was free to go, three days after her arrest for docking with 40 migrants aboard her rescue ship in defiance of an Italian ban.

Rackete was arrested after hitting a police speedboat while entering the port of the southern island of Lampedusa on Saturday in her vessel, which had been banned from docking by Italian authorities.

The move ended a two-week stand-off at sea.

The judge said an Italian security decree was “not applicable in the case of rescues” in the ruling."

On the decree, see: Statewatch Analysis: Italy's redefinition of sea rescue as a crime draws on EU policy for inspiration (pdf)

Spain threatens migrant rescue NGO with €900k fine (Catalan News, link):

"The Spanish authorities have threatened Catalan NGO, Proactiva Open Arms, with fines amounting to 901,000 euros for defying orders confining its migrant rescue ship to port in order to save refugees stranded in the Mediterranean.

In a letter published by the eldiario.es, the head of Spain's Merhcant Marine, Benito Núñez Quintanilla, warns the NGO that it "must not carry out search and rescue operations" without permission from the authorities."

See: El Gobierno amenaza al Open Arms con multas de hasta 901.000 euros si rescata en el Mediterráneo (eldiario.es, link) and background: Spain blocks migrant rescue boat from setting sail (InfoMigrants, link)

UK: "Socialist and anti-fascist" 14-year-old harassed by police after school referred him to Prevent programme: Jack's story (Netpol, link):

"Jack (not his real name), a 14 year old from Derbyshire, had described himself as a socialist and an anti-fascist during a school lesson on the black civil rights movement in America,

...That evening, the school called Jack’s parents to say it had decided the risk of “radicalisation towards terrorism” their son faced was so significant that a referral had been made to Derbyshire’s Safeguarding Children Board, under the auspices of Prevent. The school refused to discuss the matter any further, or provide any documents for “safeguarding reasons”.

...West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit then started to text the child’s mother and continued to send emails and make telephone calls. This persisted even after police had been told that the school had provided incorrect information and even after they were asked to stop. Jack’s mother said she felt “harassed and as if the police were trying to divide our family.”"

German neo-Nazi doomsday prepper network 'ordered body bags, made kill lists' (DW, link)

"Germany's domestic intelligence agency says a group of neo-Nazis compiled a list of political opponents and ordered 200 body bags and quicklime in preparation for a potential collapse of state order, named "Day X."

Most of the more than 30 preppers, who called themselves Nordkreuz (Northern Cross), were associated with Germany's police and military, including several former and one active member of the elite forces unit of the state police of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

...The BfV also believes that the group, which communicated via the messenger app Telegram, was preparing for Day X with "enormous intensity," and had used data from police computers to compile a list of 25,000 names and addresses."

And: German far-right group 'used police data to compile death list' (The Guardian, link): "A group of German rightwing extremists compiled a “death list” of leftwing and pro-refugee targets by accessing police records, then stockpiled weapons and ordered body bags and quicklime to kill and dispose of their victims, German media have reported, citing intelligence sources."

EU: Finnish Presidency agenda highlights digitisation, new technologies and artificial intelligence

The Finnish Council Presidency: Draft agendas for Council meetings, during the second semester of 2019 (the Finnish Presidency) (73 pages, pdf)

EU: Media advisory: informal meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers, 18 and 19 July 2019, Helsinki, Finland (link)

Italy migrant boat: Captain says she disobeyed orders due to suicide fears (BBC News, link):

"The German captain of a charity ship said she disobeyed orders not to dock in Italy because she feared for the lives of the rescued migrants on board.

Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete apologised to the crew of a patrol boat her vessel trapped against a quayside.

She denied Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's accusation that she had tried to ram the boat in an "act of war"."

CoE: Parliamentary:Putting an end to policies of pushbacks and expulsion of migrants (link):

"PACE today expressed concern at pushback policies and practice, which are in clear violation of the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees, including the right to asylum and the right to protection against refoulement. Parliamentarians are also concerned about “reports and evidences of inhuman and degrading treatment of member States and their agencies in the framework of those pushbacks”, through intimidation, taking or destroying goods of migrants, the use of violence and depriving them of food and basic services."

See: Adopted resolution: Pushback policies and practice in Council of Europe member State (pdf)

European Parliament: Continuation of work in progress from last term (pdf):

"Despite the efforts of the co-legislators, agreement could not be found on a number of legislative proposals before the end of the parliamentary term, and these form a major part of the business that needs to be picked up again in the new term. In order to ensure continuity in its work, therefore, Parliament has adopted rules on how to deal with unfinished files." .

One in four MEPs committed to work on LGBTI equality in new European Parliament (ILGA, link):

"ILGA-Europe is ready to work with the 215 MEPs from 8 different political groups who signed our ComeOut pledge and thus promised to actively protect and progress the human rights of all LGBTI people in Europe and beyond concretely at EU level."


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