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17th year reporting on civil liberties and the state in the European Union (updated 4.9.15) Editor: Tony Bunyan
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- Round-up of news stories from around the EU, updated daily: News Digest
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Agreed text of Council decision on relocation of refugees from Italy & Greece, to be adopted officially on 14 September 2105: Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (pdf): and see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (4.9.13)
Health Commissioner accused of snubbing invitation to Greek islands (euractiv, link): "Panagiotis Kouroumplis, Minister for Health and Social Solidarity in Alexis Tsipras' government, has accused EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis of damaging the blocs image by ignoring his invitation to visit Greek islands."
New EU proposal to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers (euobserver, link)
GREECE: Police clash with migrants seeking to board Piraeus-bound ferry (.ekathimerini.com, link)
Visegrad states meet on refusal of refugee quotas (euobserver, link)
Migrant crisis: Hungary train stand-off enters second day (BBC News, link)
Migration crisis: Hungary PM says Europe in grip of madness - Viktor Orbán attacks EU policy, saying the influx of Muslim refugees poses a threat to Europes Christian identity (Guardian, link)
EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Migrants refuse to leave train near Hungary camp (BBC News, link) Migrants thinking they were going to Germany refuse to get off train and go to a "camp" to be "registered"- recalling historical parallels
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS the "military" operation enters 2 phase: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, following the Informal meeting of EU Ministers of Defence, Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf):
"Now the operation has fulfilled all the military objectives of Phase one, that were related to the collection of information and intelligence. That is why I have proposed to EU Defence ministers today to discuss the transition to Phase two of the operation - that would mean going to the capture and disposal of vessels, including those escorting the migrants and refugees." [emphasis added]
Comment: The operations described would appear to relate to those traveling from north Africa to Italy, especially Libya. The small motorised-rubber dinghies travelling from Turkey to Greece are destroyed after the journey and all the occupants are migrants/refugees.
Special: EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS:Joint Letter from Germany, France and Italy to High Representative (pdf) and Non-Paper: Common external migration policy (pdf)
The suggestions regarding Africa mainly focus on immigration control, and offer little concrete as regards Eritreans in particular. The ministers ought to examine whether EU trade and fisheries measures have exacerbated the problems of the countries concerned. As regards the Western Balkans, the numbers of Albanians and Kosovars who obtain refugee status is not negligible, and so the decision to apply 'safe country of origin' status is questionable.
As for those reaching or heading for the EU, the non-paper offers little concrete, failing to mention relocation, resettlement, search and rescue, or human rights breaches by Member States as regards the reception and transit of migrants.
There is no mention of the plans to destroy smugglers boats, but it is clear that this will still be discussed. This seems like an ever-more pointless diversion at a time of great humanitarian tragedy.
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS::EU goes to "war": to authorise stage 2 in the planned military operation: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Informal Defence Ministers meeting in Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf): "I will put forward a proposal to Defence Ministers to pass from phase 1 of the operation, which was information gathering and sharing, to phase 2, which is the fight against smugglers and traffickers in the high seas."
See: See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf): "INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]
And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."
Statewatch launches Observatory on: EU MED crisis - a humanitarian emergency: The Observatory covers the arrival of migrants and the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities)
Lonndon refugee rally: Tens of thousands plan to join demonstration and call for action to tackle crisis (Evening Standard, link) and Solidarity with Refugees (Facebok)
UK: Petition Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK (Uk.gov, link): There is a global refugee crisis. The UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. We can't allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. We must help. Sign Up; 263,241 signatures so far Already over the 100,000 threshold.
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees - Young boy found lying face-down on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece (Guardian, link): "Warning: this article contains images that readers may find distressing."
and see: Drowned Kurdish boy on beach: the hypocrisy and the truth of what happened (undercoverifo, link): "First, that child He had a name Aylan Kurdi. He had a home: it was in Kobani. He had a brother: he was 5 years old and his name was Galip he too drowned. They died with their mother, Rehan, and eight other refugees when their boat overturned not long after leaving Turkey for the Greek island of Kos. The father, Abdullah, survived heartbroken."
MEPs clash over renewed calls for a European Intelligence Agency (Parliament, link)
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (3.9.15)
Greece wants EU funding to tackle migrant influx (ekathimerini.com, link)
France and Germany call for permanent EU response to migrant crisis (France 24, link)
"The (migrant) problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem." (BBC News, link): "Hungary's leader says the migrant crisis facing Europe is a "German problem" since Germany is where those arriving in the EU "would like to go". PM Viktor Orban said Hungary would not allow migrants to leave its territory without registering." and "European Council president Donald Tusk said on Thursday that EU countries should accept at least 100,000 asylum seekers between them, a sharp increase on a previous European Commission target of 40,000. EU states instead so far committed to sharing some 32,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece."
Member states want to be less attractive to migrants (euractiv, link): "A flurry of ideas about how countries could reduce their attractiveness to asylum seekers have been voiced in various European countries, providing a preview of the discussion at the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs to be held in Luxembourg tomorrow (4 September)."
Lest we forget, this humanitarian crisis was wating to happen: EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)
Charity behind migrant-rescue boats sees 15-fold rise in donations in 24 hours - Migrant Offshore Aid Station says donations hit 150,000 in past 24 hours, after pictures of drowned three-year-old Syrian boy published worldwide (Guardian, link)
Hungary: Stranded in Budapest (UNHCR, link): Video: "Outside the Keleti train station in Budapest, over 3,000 refugees wait to continue their journey.
For two days now, they have been stuck here after Hungarian authorities closed off the station, preventing all refugees from taking trains bound for Austria and Germany"
European Parliament Question: Commission response: FINGERPRINTING: COERCIVE MEASURES MUST BE "PROPORTIONATE": Question to the European Commission: Subject: Unlawful use of force at Pozzallo and Lampedusa reception centres, Italy, to collect migrants' fingerprints including those of minors for identification purposes from MEPs:Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL) , Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Laura Ferrara (EFDD) , Ignazio Corrao (EFDD) and Answer from Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission (links) "Any coercive measures used by Member States must be proportionate, justified and respect the dignity and physical integrity of the individual concerned. Moreover, children under the age of 14 should not be fingerprinted." and see: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
LESVOS-GREECE: Unnberable conditions in Refugee Camp around the Detention Center of Moria (Welcome2Lesvos, link): "Yesterday, 09/01/15, one somalien refugee died because of insuficient medical care in the madeshift refugee Camp outside the Detention Cemtet of Moria. Another one was bitten by snake." and Action on arrivals pledged as Lesvos claims emergency (ekathimerini.com, link): "The caretaker government pledged on Wednesday to take steps to tackle the refugee crisis as the mayor of Lesvos called for the island to be declared in a state of emergency due to the high number of people arriving from Turkish shores.... The caretaker administration is also considering simplifying the registration process for the next few weeks. This would allow refugees to be fast-tracked so they immediately receive their laissez-passer document allowing them to travel on from Greece."
DENMARK: 'Significantly harder to get Danish citizenship' (The Local.dk, link): "The government will attempt to make obtaining Danish citizenship more difficult with four specific changes to current policy, the integration minister has announced."
AUSTRIA: Ski star joins campaign in support of refugees (The Local.au, link) "Austrian alpine skiing champion Marcel Hirscher has joined a new social media campaign using the hashtag #showyourfacechallenge - speaking out in support of refugees and against xenophobia."
France joins call for reform of asylum rules (The Local.fr, link) and Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly (The Local.fr, link) also Italy calls for single EU policy on asylum (The Local.it, link)
Sweden sees summer rise in asylum seekers (The LOcal.se, link): "More than ten thousand people applied for asylum in Sweden in August the highest figure in a decade. Meanwhile, volunteer organizations are reporting being flooded with donations for refugees as the scope of the crisis grows."
German media: Covering the refugee crisis from all sides (DW, link): "TV magazines, websites and newspapers are filled with all sorts of stories about refugees making their way to Germany. The media outlets, including tabloids, have found sensible ways to cover the touchy subject." and Map of arson attacks on refugee centres (link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Minister signals possibility of allowing refugees to cross Czech territory to Germany (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "Speaking in Belgrade, the Czech interior minister also said he was considering a plan under which asylum seekers would be allowed to travel through Czech territory to Germany rather than being returned to Hungary."
Czech Railways obliged to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The national rail operator Czech Railways (CD) will be ready to dispatch a special train for migrants from South Moravia"
Germany gets more Italian border controls at Brenner (ANSA, link)
EU Ministers to Discuss Naval Mission Against Migrant-Trafficking (Prensa Latina, link):
"Brussels, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) will discuss this weekend in Luxembourg the expansion of a naval mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean, EU sources confirmed today. During preliminary meetings scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, representatives of the 28 member states will discuss the possibility of starting the second phase of the military operation, strongly criticized by humanitarian organizations. According to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, the analysis will begin because mission commander, Enrico Credendino, pointed out the need to advance in the mission's implementation."
See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks
Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):
"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]
And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."
ITALY: Report by ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione): The readmission of foreign citizens in Ventimigla (June 2015): UNLAWFUL ASPECTS (pdf):
Since 11 June 2015, the Italian-French border of Ventimiglia has been the scene of a considerable number of readmissions of migrants, citizens of states which do not belong to the EU, who were first blocked in French territory or upon entry into French territory and then readmitted into Italian territory, presumably on the basis of the Bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the French Republic on cross-border police and customs cooperation signed in Chambery on 3.10.1997. On 24/25 June, our organisation carried out a fact-finding visit
Legal case demands details about how CIA used windowless warehouse in Lithuania as secret prison (BIJ, link): "Now, lawyers for Mustafa al-Hawsawi one of five men facing a military trial in Guantánamo Bay for allegedly planning the 9/11 attacks have filed a case with Lithuanian prosecutors to demand more clarity about what went on in the site." See Statewatch Observatory on Rendition
EU: MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (2.9.15)
Czech police arrests 200 refugees and marks them with numbers on their forearms (http://blisty.cz, link):" Czech police continues, nonsensically, arresting refugees which are trying to reach Germany across the territory of the Czech Republic. In the early hours of Tuesday morning in southern Moravia, the Czech police removed some 200 refugees from trains arriving from Austria and Hungary which continued their journey to Germany. The Czech police wrote registration numbers on the refugees' forearms with felt tips (a practice reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps). The refugees are now in detention on police premises in several Moravian towns. The police said it will interrogate them and "then they will decide what to do with them". The refugees were travelling from Budapest and said that they had purchased valid train tickets and that Hungary had allowed them to board the trains." and Just awful: Czech police take 200 #refugees off trains & mark them with numbers on their forearms (link)
EU Commission aims to ease asylum rules for frontier, report says (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Commission is drafting a proposal to change the so-called Dublin rule that obliges migrants to request asylum in the country they first arrive in, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on Tuesday."
Italy ready to impose Austria border controls (The Local.it, link): "Italy is ready to impose identification checks at Brennero on the border with Austria after receiving a request from Germany for help in easing the flow of migrants into Bavaria, the northern province of Bolzano said on Wednesday. Rome was ready to "reactivate" controls just as it did for the G7 in June, as "a temporary measure to allow Bavaria to reorganize and face the emergency", a statement from the province said."
Hungary to return economic migrants where they came from (France 24, link) and Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens - Emergency meeting, action plan set (Budapest Times, link): "Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has convened a session of the national security cabinet by next Tuesday evening to address the challenges of illegal migration. Meanwhile the situation is becoming direr in the capital as designated transit zones are filling up quicker than expected." and Hungary U-turn on migrant trains prompts unrest (euobserver, link)
BBC Trending - Demand to open doors to Syrians spreading online (BBC, link): "From the UK to Saudi Arabia, the demand that Syrians and other refugees be accepted is being spread by vocal online campaigns. The public reaction to Europe's migrant crisis has been deeply polarised. Many in Europe are dismayed by the news of migrant deaths, and there have been several mass protests demanding stricter controls on the influx. But over recent days there's been a pattern of internet activism with a different set of demands: that it's now time to relax the rules and let refugees in, particularly Syrians fleeing the war there."
Amidst the worst migrant crisis in Europe since World War 2, one German couple founds a 'Airbnb-style' non profit to provide affordable housing to refugees (.neurope, link)
Migration crisis: bid for united EU response fraying over quota demands - Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other (Guardian, link): "Europes fragmented attempts to get to grips with its worst ever migration crisis are disintegrating into a slanging match between national capitals ahead of what is shaping up to be a major clash between eastern and western Europe over a common response."
MOLYVOS- LESVOS: Car park closed to migrants - video (link). The car park is used to bring people from the beaches and from where buses can be called to take them ti the recption centre in Moria - 40 kilometres away
Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals, Deaths at Sea Soar (IOM, link)
Europes migrant acceptance rates (The Economist, link)
Opinion: Europe can't be a fortress - Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing war, persecution and poverty. To keep them out, Hungary has built a fence along the border with Serbia. That's the wrong move, says DW's Zoran Arbutina. (DW, link)
Inability to unite on major challenges may pull the EU apart, say politicians (euractiv, link): "French Socialist Party leaders have warned that the multitude of crises currently buffeting the European Union could deal a death blow to the European project."
Human rights court slows rushed migrant repatriation (euractiv, link): "Fast-tracking the repatriation of migrants who did not qualify as asylum seekers is likely to contravene EU rules, according to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights." See: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)
SWEDEN: Secret anti-immigration blogger's name exposed (The Local.se, link)
GERMANY: Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees (THe Local.de, link)
AUSTRIA: Cardinal calls for Church to house migrants (The Local.at, link)
DENMARK: Another Muslim cemetery vandalized in Denmark (The Local.dk, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Migration wave is yet to culminate, interior minister says (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Poll: Most Czechs angry at government over its handling immigrants (Prague Daily Monitor, link)
GREECE: Refugee arrivals in Athens prompt new discussions (.ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 4,200 refugees were due to arrive in Piraeus on two ships from Lesvos Tuesday, only temporarily easing the pressure on scant resources on the island but at the same time increasing concern in Athens about the fate of those who would disembark. Authorities on Lesvos have registered some 17,500 refugees and migrants over the past week but the transfer to Athens of many of those people would only provide brief respite as hundreds more are arriving each day." and Caretaker gov't to introduce measures for refugees on islands (link)
GREECE: LESVOS: Kara Tepe! Well Done International Rescue! (Youtube, link) and see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf) also: Greek island of Lesbos overwhelmed by 13,000 refugees says the IRC (IRC, link)
EU: he EU has just become a member of three private-sector anti-terrorism bodies: Joint Decision of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the participation of the European Union in various organisations for cooperation to prevent and counter terrorism (pdf)
"The European Union will participate in the following organisations aimed at preventing and countering terrorism:
The Hedayah Centre for Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates;
The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, Valletta, Republic of Malta;
The Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, Geneva, Swiss Confederation."
EU: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)
Finnish Government and the Desire to Constitutionalize Mass Surveillance: Toward Permanent State of Emergency? (verfassungsblog.de, link):
The Finnish Government, however, wants to swim upstream. In order to satisfy the intelligence wish lists of both the Ministry of Defence and the The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO), the Government decided in August 20 to start preparing a legislation that would authorize both the military and the SUPO to use electronic mass surveillance for intelligence purposes. Although this work has just started, one may already presume that the prepared legislation will be based on Ministry of Defence Working Group Report on the Guidelines for Developing Finnish Intelligence Legislation, which was published in January, and which is available also in English. (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (1.9.15)
Agence Europe reports that: "the State of the Union speech to be given at the European Parliament's plenary in Strasbourg on 9 September by Jean-Claude Juncker. The president of the European Commission is expected to announce in his speech a number of proposals for dealing with the migration crisis. On Monday 31 August, Margaritis Schinas, a Commission spokesperson, said that Juncker would bring forward the timing of some measures announced in the European Migration Agenda, including returns policy, the role of the Frontex agency and the common list of safe countries of origin for Western Balkans states that have applied to join the EU. The Commission has announced plans to unveil a permanent European mechanism for relocating asylum-seekers in the member states in the event of an immigration crisis." and:
"In Calais on Monday 31 August, on the fringes of a visit by European Commissioners Timmermans and Avramopoulos, the French prime minister, Manuel Valls.. called for the setting up of 'hotspot' sorting centres in Greece and Italy to be speeded up in order to allow economic migrants to be returned to their country of origin. French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 60% of the migrants in Calais were economic migrants and the other people would be able to obtain protection. These figures are challenged by NGOs on the ground."
Hungary Fence Closure Causes Refugee Influx (AJ+, link) Moving video capturing the moment
More than 1,000 refugees rescued in a single day, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link)
HUNGARY: Keleti Train Station in Budapest Temporarily Shuts Down Amid Migrant Crisis (INYT, link) and Hungary closes main Budapest station to refugees - Move follows chaotic scenes when thousands of people were allowed on to trains bound for Austria and Germany without visa checks (Guardian, link)
Berlin Couple Launches Website Matching Refugees With Roommates in Germany, Austria (.haaretz.com, link): "More than 400 refugees currently based in Germany have applied to 'Refugees Welcome' website, which aims to combat housing refugees en masse in makeshift locations."
V4 government heads to discuss migration crisis (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The prime ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet on Friday or Sunday to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, Slovak PM Robert Fico announced yesterday.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said later yesterday that the V4 meeting will be held in Prague on Friday afternoon."
Migrant crisis: Five obstacles to an EU deal (BBC News, link): "Europe is struggling with its biggest migration crisis since World War Two, with unprecedented numbers of refugees and other migrants seeking asylum in the EU."
Europes response to migrant crisis is not working, warns UN rights expert (UN News Centre, link): " The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert today advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants. Lets not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay, Mr. Crépeau stressed. Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said. "
LESVOS: GREECE: Authorities on Lesvos stretched to the limit as refugee number climbs to about 12,000 (ANA-MPA, link)
Merkel urges migrant help for Italy (ANSA, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged the European Union to help Italy on its migrant crisis just as the EU called for common rules rather than walls to address the emergency that has come into sharp focus with a string of deadly incidents. The UN said the vast majority of people trying to cross the Mediterranean were refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."
NORWAY: Norway PM pushed to follow Merkel on asylum (The Local.no, link): "Norways Prime Minister Erna Solberg is under pressure to follow her German counterpart and stop sending refugees back to the country in which they first arrived in Europe."
UNHCR: Crossings of Mediterranean Sea exceed 300,000, including 200,000 to Greece (link)
GREECE: Constant flow of refugees proves overwhelming for Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link): "Despite the Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ferry carrying some 2,500 refugees at a time to Piraeus almost around the clock, thousands of people remain stuck on the Greek islands, often in squalid or dangerous conditions. Authorities on Lesvos estimate that there are 12,000 refugees on the island, which has a total population of around 85,000."
Solidarity not one way street says Faymann (The Local.at, link): "Building border fences like those erected by the Hungarian government will not prevent smugglers or solve the asylum crisis, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Monday."
Trainloads of migrants reach Austria, Germany, as EU asylum system collapses (euractiv, link): "Trainloads of migrants arrived in Austria and Germany from Hungary yesterday (31 August) as European Union asylum rules collapsed under the strain of a wave of migration unprecedented in the EU."
Our treatment of today's refugees harks back to Europe's darkest hour (New Statesman, link): "We mustn't forget the lessons of the Second World War in the face of today's refugee crisis... n the 1930s, thousands of persecuted people fled Europe. Our own press ignominiously reported these as "Stateless Jews pouring into this country" and various records exist from that time of public officials reassuring readers that no such thing would be allowed under their watch."
EU struggles to reconcile values with barbed wire fences (euractiv, link): "European politicians gathered in Calais on Monday (31 August) to make assurances that the EU will not abandon those who need protection. But they also reaffirmed the need to protect the bloc's external borders."
Trains packed with migrants arrive in Vienna (euobserver, link): "Hundreds of people seeking refuge arrived at Viennas Westbahnhof station from the Hungarian capital Budapest on Monday (31 August), with most seeking to head on to Germany."
Günter Grass criticises refugee treatment from beyond the grave - Posthumous publication of Nobel prize-winning writers last book attacks rising vitriol towards refugees in Germany (Guardian, link) and Germany urges other EU countries to take in more refugees - Angela Merkel says it isnt right that some nations are refusing to accept more refugees as France announces new Calais camp (Guardian, link)
GERMANY-EU: Opinion: Merkel steps up: Germany's position on the refugee crisis facing Europe is clear and without "ifs" and "maybes," writes DW's Dagmar Engel.(DW, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 14 September 2015: There is no mention of the need to provide humanitarian aid and civil protection:
"After a presentation of migration flows by the European agencies Frontex and EASO (European Asylum Support Office), the meeting should discuss the programming of future work, in particular the return policy, international cooperation, and investigation and measures to prevent trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]
Greece, Lesvos: The writing was on the wall:
A compilation of key articles and documents setting out the history of the migrant crisis in Lesvos, Greece which is not new - it dates from at least 2002. They show the development of reception centres, detention centres and "open camps" and the deadly role of the Greek Coastguards (which continues this summer). and include:
- Migration and state crimes: A critical criminological approach and case study of Greece (pdf) by Stratos Georgoulas (University of the Aegean). Examines the history of the Pagani detention centre and see p101 on the activities of the Coast Guard. - Map "Pagani" in the middle of nowhere (link) and "Images" (link)
Migreurop report 2013: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants (link)
- Pro Asyl and Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants: »The truth may be bitter, but it must be told«: The practices of the Greek coast guard (2007, pdf): "We were able to glean the following patterns of serious human rights violations committed by the Greek coast guard from our interviews with refugees from a wide variety of countries of origin in and outside the detention centres in Chios, Samos and Lesbos."
- Statewatch coverage: Statewatch visit to the Pikpa Centre for asylum-seekers in Mytilene (April 2013) and GREECE: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up - FRONTEX claim that families were not expelled from their rooms refuted (September 2013) and Welcome to the European Union Visit to Moria First Reception Centre , Moria, nr. Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece 11th May 2014 (pdf). Also Search for "Lesvos" in the Statewatch database.
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation and Directive on LEAs personal data exchange:
- New DP Regulation: RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Chapter III, preparation of trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 11802-15, 102 pages, pdf): Council's negotiating position. Multicolumn document giving the Commission proposal and the positions of the European Parliament and the Council plus "Compromise" position.
- New DP Regulation: Comments from the UK delegation on Chapters II, III and IV (LIMITE doc no: 11428-15, pdf) including: "It is essential that the processing of sensitive data can take place where strictly necessary for the purposes outlined in Article 1(1) of the Directive" and "The ability for law enforcement agencies to Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND) in response to access requests by the data subject is an important operational requirement that needs to be safeguarded" and "The ability for law enforcement agencies to Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND) in response to access requests by the data subject is an important operational requirement that needs to be safeguarded."
- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters V, VI and VII (LIMITE doc no; 11251-15, pdf) Chapter V covers the : TRANSFER OF PERSONAL DATA TO THIRD COUNTRIES OR INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS. Includes 40 Member State positions.
- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters IX and X (LIMITE doc no: 11252-15, pdf): With 16 Member State positions. "In view of the Friends of Presidency meeting on 9 September 2015 delegations will find attached Chapters IX and X of the above Directive, as aligned to the text of the General Data Protection Regulation as agreed in the General Approach reached on 15 June 2015." and "DE, ES, HU, IT, NL, LV, PT, SI, UK scrutiny reservation on the whole text."
- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters II, III and IV: On page 6 of document ST 10964/15 INIT recital 13 should read as follows (LIMITE doc no: 10964-COR-1-15, pdf): "Under the Regulation XXX personal data in official documents held by a public authority or a public body or a private body for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest may be disclosed by the authority or body in accordance with Union law or Member State law to which the public authority or body is subject in order to reconcile public access to official documents with the right to the protection of personal data."
EU: MED-CRISIS (31.8.15)
Dutch plan tougher asylum policy as migrants flock to Europe (Reuters, link): "Failed asylum seekers would be limited to "a few weeks'" shelter after being turned down, if they do not agree to return home. They would then either be deported or sent away to fend for themselves. From November, the centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, which competes for votes with the popular, anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders, wants to close 30 regional "bed, bath and bread" shelters where asylum seekers have been able till now to get help on the basis of need. Under the plan, six national centres applying the stricter guidelines would provide only to people who agree to leave."
Train with migrants allowed into Austria after lengthy border checks (Rueters, link) with video
HUNGARY: Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens (Budapoest Times, link)
'Why did you annoy them?' Coastguard officials acquitted of torture convictions - Moroccan says he was subjected to waterboarding in 2007 (enetenglish.gr, link)
Germans unite against xenophobia (euractiv, link): "After the recent spate of violence against asylum seekers, a wave of solidarity with refugees has swept through Germany. In many cities around the country, people have taken part in demonstrations and protests against hate speech."
The Migrants Files (link): including "Counting the Dead": "Over 30,000 refugees and migrants have died attempting to reach /stay in Europe since 2000 - and that was 18 mths ago" and "The Migrants Files is a project by data journalism agencies Journalism++ SAS, Journalism++ Stockholm and Dataninja; media outlets Neue Zürcher Zeitung, El Confidencial, Sydsvenskan and Radiobubble as well as freelance journalists Alice Kohli, Jean-Marc Manach and Jacopo Ottaviani. The project is partially financed by Journalismfund.eu."
France: Hungary refugee fence not even fit for animals (aljazeera.com, link):"Paris slams Hungary, gateway to EU from Eastern Europe, for erecting 175km fence to stop refugees as new talks called."
GREECE: Frontex requests more information on Symi incident (Frontex, link): "On early Saturday afternoon, a Latvian patrol vessel deployed in operation Poseidon Sea detected a yacht with more than 90 migrants aboard in Symi Islands Marathounta Bay. None of the officers from the Latvian vessel involved in the incident used any weapons."
Greek coast guard picks up nearly 2,500 migrants in 3 days (ekathimerini.com, link): "The coast guard said Monday it had rescued 2,492 people in 70 operations off the eastern islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Agathonissi, Farmakonissi, Kos and Symi from Friday morning until Monday morning." and Ferry carrying 2,500 refugees and migrants docks at Piraeus (link): "A ferry carrying about 2,500 migrants and refugees who had arrived on Samos and Lesvos from the nearby Turkish coast docked early Monday in Greece's main port of Piraeus near Athens.The Eleftherios Venizelos left Samos Sunday with 988 migrants and picked up 1,512 from Lesvos. On Sunday the Cypriot-flagged Tera Jet catamaran arrived in Piraeus carrying 1,745 migrants from Lesvos. Authorities said about 11,000 migrants and refugees are currently on the island."
AUSTRIA: Dubious headlline: Migrant roundup intercepts 200 suspected refugees (The Local.at, link): " Huge traffic jams stretching back 50 kilometres (30 miles) built up along the Austro-Hungarian border on Monday as Austrian police stepped up security checks in the hunt for people smugglers. The measure was put in place on Sunday, three days after an abandoned lorry containing 71 dead migrants, four of them children, was discovered on a motorway near the Hungarian border. Since the operation began at 1830 GMT, more than 200 migrants have been picked up, and another five people have detained on suspicion of smuggling, officials said." and Austria steps up police checks for refugees (link)
DENMARK: Hundreds support vandalized asylum centre (The Local.dk, link): "As many as 2,000 people turned out on Sunday to create a human 'joy ring' around an eastern Jutland asylum centre that was vandalized earlier in the week." and Man jailed for Danish asylum centre arson (link): East Jutland Police said on Friday that a 26-year-old local man has been arrested and will be held on remand for allegedly setting fire to an asylum centre minibus and vandalizing its garage with a swastika and a message telling the centre that this was its first warning."
France to build new camp for 1,500 migrants (The Local.fr,link): "France is to build a new humanitarian camp in Calais for 1,500 migrants with construction to begin in 2016, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced on Monday. The EU will stump up the money for the new camp."
GERMANY: 'No limit to refugees Germany can take in' (The Local.de, link)
Zeman: Refugees should be promptly returned, not accommodated (Prague Daily Monitor, link). Most immigrants are in Czech Republic illegally, and as they violated law, they should be promptly returned, not placed into various accommodation facilities, President Milos Zeman said in an interview for Radio Frekvence 1 yesterday. Zeman said there were three risks concerning Muslim immigrants. First, it is the creation of socially excluded zones, ghettos, as these people would not be able to assimilate due to their cultural differences, he said. He said there is the risk of spreading infectious diseases, though he would not overestimate it. The third risk are sleeper cells sent by Islamic State that would develop into terrorist organisations, Zeman said."
Eastern Germany 'more susceptible' to 'xenophobic radicalization' (DW, link): "Recent violent protests against a refugees' shelter have sparked a debate about right-wing extremism in Germany. A prominent politician from the west of the country has said the problem is worse in the east." and "We are all Germany" - celebrities support refugees How can you promote tolerance and diversity in Germany? DW talked to celebrities at the German government's annual open house weekend. (link)
Eritrean translators 'intimidating refugees' in Germany (DW, link): "Eritrean translators are deliberately mistranslating the testimonies of refugees during their hearings, according to dissidents' groups in Germany. Some are even intimidating them into hiding human rights abuses."
Refugees are human. This simple fact seems to have been forgotten (Guardian, link): "It is horrific that people are drowning and suffocating to reach safety. These stories should be a reminder that migrants are not just statistics"
Fabius calls Eastern Europe's reluctance to receive migrants scandalous (euractiv, link):"French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday said it was "scandalous" some Eastern European countries were refusing to accept more migrants and said Hungary's construction of a barrier to stop new arrivals "did not respect Europe's common values" -- drawing an angry response from Budapest."
The missing women of the Mediterranean refugee crisis (Women Under Siege, link): Dirty white gates fronted the detention center on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a tiny speck between Sicily and Tunisia, where 71 women were being held. Beyond the bars, I could just make out laundry hanging from the building in which they were housedmaybe 100 yards awaya yellow scarf, a hot-pink piece of cloth. Sometimes I could even see the women walking in or out of the house, some with hijabs, others with brightly patterned African skirts. But beyond that, the women were invisible, locked illegally for weeks inside a first reception center meant for 300 but now housing 771 refugees and migrants from all over sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East."
The battle over the words used to describe migrants (BBC News, link)
Storming the castle: Calais, or the failure of the EUs migration policies (CER, link)
European Commission looks at possible reforms and future of the Dublin rules. (New Europe, link)
EU:Med-CRISIS: (Sunday) Migration crisis: Germany, France and Britain demand urgent EU meeting - Call for action comes as UK home secretary Theresa May says only Europeans with a job lined up should be allowed to come to Britain (Guardian, link)
"Germany, France and Britain have issued a joint call for an urgent meeting of EU ministers to find concrete measures to cope with the escalating migration crisis. A statement from the home affairs ministers of the three countries said they had asked the Luxembourg presidency to organise a special meeting of justice and interior ministers within the next two weeks, so as to find concrete steps to deal with the situation. The three underlined the necessity to take immediate action to deal with the challenge from the migrant influx.
The French, British and German statement specifically called for reception centres to be set up urgently in Italy and Greece to register new arrivals, and for a common EU list of safe countries of origin to be established." [emphasis added] and
Paris, Berlin, London call for urgent meeting on EU refugee policy (DW, link) "The EU needs immediate action to deal with the influx of immigrants, the interior ministers of Germany, France and Britain have said in a statement. The three countries urged new "hot spots" for registration of refugees." [emphasis added]
EU: UK House of Commons Library: Briefing Paper: Migration pressures in Europe: (22 pages, pdf): Good summary:
"While there are some involuntary migrants, subject to people trafficking rather than smuggling, this is the exception...."
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is warning that the world is in the midst of a forced migration crisis, and it expects the situation to get worse still. European leaders are struggling to agree on how to respond to the challenges posed by large movements of irregular migrants across their borders.
Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The recipient countries in the EU are struggling to deal with the large numbers reaching their destination, and securing agreement within the EU on a coordinated response to the challenges posed by the migration flows is proving difficult." [emphasis added]
EU: West Balkans Summit in Vienna: Final Declaration by the Chair of the Vienna Western Balkans Summit 27 August 2015 (pdf): "the participating States take note with appreciation of the various ongoing efforts undertaken by European Union institutions and agencies as well as individual EU Member States and regional fora such as the Forum Salzburg, which aim at stepping up the Western Balkan countries capacities in the areas of border management, in particular the fight against trafficking in human beings, and asylum through strengthened cooperation and additional support."
RAIL SECURITY: Commissioners Avramopoulos and Bulc at the Paris meeting on cross-border cooperation against terrorism and for rail security (pdf) Contains little detail of the measures to be taken and a lot reasserting previous initiatives.
New Zealand: Submission of the Anti-Bases Campaign to the Intelligence and Security Review 12 August 2015 (pdf):
"Oversight has failed and is ineffectual at best and a useful cover-up at worst. Official secrecy means the failures and the mistakes of the agencies are buried in secret archives. The present review must incorporate David Langes comments of 1996, that it is an outrage that I and other Ministers were told so little, and this raises the question of to whom those concerned (in the agencies) saw themselves ultimately responsible. There is no evidence that anything has changed in the last twenty years, and considerable evidence that democratic control has actually weakened."
EU: MED-CRISIS: La photo poignante qui symbolise la tragédie des migrants (mais qui n'est pas de Banksy) (SLATE, link) [Photo poignantly symbolizes the tragedy of migrants (but not Banksy)]
EU: MED-CRISIS: (28-30-8-15)
GREECE: How many more deaths can we stomach? Over the past weeks Greece has been facing an unprecedented spike in refugee arrivals in its eastern islands, pushing the countrys limited resources into a breaking point (pressproject.net, link)
GREECE: EU to help govt register and relocate refugees (ekathimerini.com): Comment from "European Asykum Support Office": "EASO Executive Director Robert Visser stressed that Greece also had to do more to ensure that the refugees are properly registered. Member states are required to know the identity of everyone who enters their territory, he said. Greece is no exception.
ShelterBox Helps In Greek Crisis (piratefm.co.uk, link): "A Cornish charity is warning that the crisis is worsening on a Greek island. A second team from UK charity ShelterBox has arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos... Disaster relief charity ShelterBox is providing 100 large UN-style tents to ease the pressure, with 40 planned for construction at Kara Tepe camp in the coming days. But more assistance is needed, on Lesbos and elsewhere."
Nato ready to help EU navies on sea migrants, if asked (euobserver, link)
Solidarity in German stadiums (link)
Hungary completes anti-refugee fence on Serbian border (DW, link): "Hungary has erected a razor-wire barrier along its border to Serbia that is designed to keep out refugees and migrants, the defense ministry says. The move has drawn international criticism."
Let them board the trains! (MIGZOL Hungary, link): "Thursday, 27th August, 20-50 people were found dead in a lorry that was parked in Austria, near the Hungarian border. It is highly likely that these people were not allowed to board the trains to Austria after diligent ethnic profiling by the Hungarian police. The profiling, of course, focuses on who looks like a migrant, or a refugee."
GREECE: We're raising £1,000 to give food, water & shelter to refugees in Lesvos because everyone should be entitled to basic human rights (link) "Im Natasha. Ive worked for refugee organisations in the UK and overseas for the past 9 years. Im now living in Greece and am heartbroken to see that refugees who have escaped war arrive in Europe and do not even have their basic human rights met."
Europe's migration paralysis (New Europe, link): "As European populations age and shrink, the continent urgently needs immigration. Yet many in Europe strongly oppose immigration, because it also means social change... For many centuries, Europe was a continent plagued by wars, famines, and poverty. Millions of Europeans were driven to emigrate by economic and social deprivation. They sailed across the Atlantic to North and South America, and to places as far away as Australia, to escape misery and seek a better life for themselves and their children. All of them were, in the parlance of the current immigration and refugee debate, economic migrants. During the twentieth century, racial persecution, political oppression, and the ravages of two world wars became the predominant causes of flight.""
Islamic State smuggling terrorists among the migrants? Unlikely, say experts (euractive, link): "The risk that groups like Islamic State could smuggle militants into Europe under cover of a huge wave of migrants is much smaller than some politicians suggest, according to security specialists with close ties to governments and intelligence agencies."
Shame on Europe (Save the Children, link): "Children are dying on our doorstep. Its sickening to see the deaths of so many refugees trying to find safety in Europe. Enough is enough. Pledge your support for those fleeing war and persecution now."
Pope Francis 'deeply concerned for migrant plight' - 'Open your hearts to poor families' pontiff tweets (ANSA, link)
Czech NGO sends aid to refugees in Serbia, Macedonia (Prague Post, link): "People in Need, a Czech humanitarian organization, will send 1.7 million Kc for immediate aid to refugees in Macedonia and Serbia, the organizations spokesman Petr Stefan told CTK today."
AUSTRIA: Truck death toll 71 including 4 children (The Local.at, link): "The death toll in Thursday's horrific migrant tragedy in Austria is now understood to be 71 people, including eight women and four children."
Migrant children rescued from Austria minivan 'recovering' (BBC News, link): "Three children are recovering in hospital in Austria after being rescued from a minivan containing 26 migrants. Police said the severely dehydrated children would not have lasted much longer in the cramped vehicle. The minivan was stopped in Braunau district on Friday and the Romanian driver was arrested after a chase."
Greece edges closer to EU migration funds (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Government Gazette on Friday published a decision signed by former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and alternate minister for immigration policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou establishing an agency to manage EU asylum, reception and integration programs.Launching the agency has been a condition for the release of 470 million euros over a five-year period until 2020. The bureau, which will be headquartered on Vouliagmenis Avenue, south of central Athens, is expected to be fully operational by September 15."
GERMANY: Three arrested in Germany over arson attack on refugee home (DW, link): "Three people have been arrested after an arson attack on a refugee shelter in the German state of Lower Saxony. A woman and her three children were lucky to escape with their lives." and Cake and politicians at 'Refugees Welcome' party in Heidenau. The party took place in Heidenau after all, despite a police ban that was lifted following a political outcry"
GERMANY: Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden (The Local.de, link): "Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to welcome refugees, an AFP journalist at the scene said, following a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region."
EU free movement put into question at Vienna summit (euobserver, link): "EU politicians are threatening to dismantle the blocs free-movement rights amid calls to revamp asylum rules, due to the surge in the number of people seeking refuge in Europe. On Thursday (27 August), the bodies of up to 50 people, who had suffocated, were found in the back of a refrigerated food truck on the outskirts of Vienna. News of the tragedy came the same day EU and Western Balkan leaders and ministers met in the Austrian capital for a summit on migration issues."
Libyans protest against smugglers after up to 200 drown off coast - Residents of one of Libyas most notorious people-smuggling hubs take to the streets after bodies found by Libyan coastguard (Guardian, link)
UK deports 52 Syrian refugees (Sunday Times, link): "The Home Office said 52 Syrian nationals were forcibly removed in the year ending in June, but claimed none was sent back to Syria. They were returned instead to other safe countries through which they had travelled before arriving in the UK."
EU: MED-CRISIS: AFRICANS TO BE ON "SAFE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN" LIST?
The European Commissioner says list of "safe countries of origin" likely to include African countries, which means people cannot claim asylum and will be returned. This despite reports that migrants arriving in Greece have come from, for example, Eritrea and Somalia:
"On the idea of a safe list, Timmermans was confident of convincing Balkan countries to accept the return of their citizens, but said that it would be much more difficult with African countries." (politico, link) and as to putting countries on a "save country of origin" list
"A list of safe countries to which their citizens can be fast-tracked home following rejected asylum applications is being drawn up by the European Commission. The step is being taken in order to deal with the migrant crisis currently threatening to overwhelm government authorities in several EU countries.
[First Vice-President] Timmermans explained that for countries to be added to the list the EU will need agreement from those countries, adding with those in the Balkans it is not difficult, but with African countries it is. (plus link to video interview: breitbart.com, link)
EU: When solidarity fails (IRR, link); In observations made at a side-meeting of the 87th session of the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the IRRs director warned that Europes mishandling of the refugee crisis is fuelling racism:
"hough there has been a huge drive by ordinary European citizens to welcome refugees, to take a stand for human dignity, another trend is undermining it. The truth is that we face the possibility of a perfect storm unless those in power take cognisance of their positive duty to combat racism, rather than fuel it."
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs call for more EU solidarity on visit to reception centres in Sicily (Press release, pdf):
"Countries such as Italy and Greece dealing with an influx of asylum seekers should receive more support from other member states, MEPs said on a delegation visit to the Italian island of Sicily from 22 to 24 July. Italy spends over 1 billion every year just to take care of those who make it across the Mediterranean. Italys borders are the EU's borders and a better management of the migratory flows is our common responsibility, said French ALDE member Jean Arthuis, co-chair of the delegation."
And see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (27.8.15)
Refugees face death threats at Italian hotel (The Local.it, link): "Italian police are investigating claims that dozens of immigrants have received death threats in a xenophobic letter sent to the hotel which is hosting them in Lombardy's Valtellina valley."
Migrant crisis: Grim find of bodies in Austria lorry (BBC News, link): "At least 20 migrants have been found dead in a lorry abandoned in a motorway lay-by near the eastern border with Hungary, the Austrian authorities say. The number of dead could be as high as 50, police say. Their bodies had started to decompose." and Migrant tragedy leaves dozens dead in Austria (The Local.at, link)
European Commission: Funding to main migration-related activities in the Western Balkans and Turkey (pdf):
Migrants crisis: Austria and Balkans call for EU answer (BBC News, link): "Serbia and Macedonia have told a summit in Vienna the EU must come up with an action plan to respond to the influx of migrants into Europe."
Hungary scrambles to confront migrant influx, Merkel heckled (Reuters, link): "The chief commissioner of Hungarian police, Karoly Papp, said police were readying six special border patrol units of an initial 2,106 officers, equipped with helicopters, horses and dogs, to be sent in depending on the situation on the Serbian border. "
More than 50 migrants found dead on boats near Libya coast (euractiv, link): "Rescuers saved about 3,000 migrants, but found more than 50 dead on boats near the coast of Libya yesterday (26 August), the Italian coast guard said."
Migration hijacks EU-Balkan summit in Vienna (euobserver, link)
Desperate migrants find holes in Hungary's razor-wire fence strategy - Viktor Orbáns populist government hoped to deter new arrivals, but instead, his country is the new focal point of Europes migration crisis (Guardian, link)
GREECE: Refugee life at makeshift detention centre in Lesbos - shadow economy has sprung up in a refugee detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos.(BBC News, link-video): There are thousands of people living in the facility, and now makeshift shops have opened up inside the camp. And see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf)
GREECE: Minister chides mayors calling for migration action (ekathimerini.com)
German employers 'should hire more refugees' (DW, link): "The Federal Employment Agency has urged German businesses to hire more refugees and harness their potential. Their ability to speak several languages is among the qualities it says would be an asset to firms."
GERMANY: Rostock riots revealed 'the dark side of humanity' (DW, link): "Heidenau, Solingen, Rostock-Lichtenhagen: Germany has a long history of attacks on asylum seekers. One former Rostock city official has spent his career thinking of ways to combat xenophobia."
Syrians cross Norway's Arctic border on bicyles (The Local.no,link) "More than 100 Syrian refugees have crossed the Arctic border from Norway to Russia on bicycles, exploiting a loophole in the country's border regulations."
Norway gives 5m to Greece for refugees (The Local.no, link): "Norway has given Greece 5m in emergency funding to help it provide for a sudden influx of refugees at a time when it is facing its own protracted economic crisis."
AUSTRIA: Kurz threatens tighter border controls (The Local.at, link): "Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has threatened to introduce stricter border controls in Austria if a European solution cannot be found for the asylum crisis."
LN: Detention centre for refugees not suitable for children (Prague Monitor, link): "
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Chair of the Conference of the Data Protection Commissioners of the Federation and of the States [Lande]: The General Data Protection Regulation requires substantial improvement in crucial points! (pdf)
"it is of outmost importance that in comparison with the existing legal status, the General Data Protection Regulation guarantees an improved, at least, however, a standard of the protection of fundamental rights which is equivalent to the current one.....
Data transfers to authorities and courts in third countries require stronger control! In the wake of the recent data protection scandals, better protection of the European citizens personal data vis-à-vis third-country institutions is urgently required."
GERMANY-NSA: A Dubious Deal with the NSA (Zeit Online, link): "Internal documents show that Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, received the coveted software program XKeyscore from the NSA and promised data from Germany in return." and XKeyscore - the document: Document pertaining to the agreement between the NSA and Germanys domestic intelligence agency BfV (link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: GREECE & ITALY: Commission close to disbursing 30 mln euros to Greece as refugee aid (Athens News Agency, link):
"The European Commission is very close to disbursing financial aid totaling 30 million euros to Greece to help the country deal with the refugee and migrant influx of recent months, Natasha Bertaud, spokesperson for the European Commission, said on Tuesday.... The spokeswoman also noted that the European Commission has identified two hotspots of migration one in Sicily and one in Piraeus. In the coming days, visiting staff from Europol, Frontex and the European Support Office (EASO) are expected to travel to these two towns to help authorities fast track actions which record, fingerprint and authenticate incoming migrants.
Asylum seekers will immediately go through an asylum procedure with support groups from EASO helping in the processing of asylum cases as fast as possible, she added. " [emphasis added]
Note: All the boats from the Greek islands bring migrants to Pireaus, the designated "hotspot".
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "In Greece for at least six months this year what has been needed is humanitarian aid and the EU has been conspicuously absent and, until very recently, so to have been the international agencies. Help for those arriving has been dependent on NGOs, local and visiting volunteers. Now when 30 million euros of "aid" does arrive it is to be used for creating "hotspots", Europol and Frontex, fingerprinting and the "immediate processing of asylum cases as fast as possible."
Human rights groups face global crackdown 'not seen in a generation' - Laws affecting funding, requiring registration and prohibiting protest are among controls that are making it difficult for NGOs and other campaign groups (Guardian, link):
"Human rights organisations and campaign groups are facing their biggest crackdown in a generation as a wave of countries pass restrictive laws and curtail activity. Almost half the worlds states have implemented controls that affect tens of thousands of organisations across the globe.
Over the past three years, more than 60 countries have passed or drafted laws that curtail the activity of non-governmental and civil society organisations. Ninety-six countries have taken steps to inhibit NGOs from operating at full capacity, in what the Carnegie Endowment calls a viral-like spread of new laws under which international aid groups and their local partners are vilified, harassed, closed down and sometimes expelled....
James Savage, of Amnesty International, says: This global wave of restrictions has a rapidity and breadth to its spread weve not seen before, that arguably represents a seismic shift and closing down of human rights space not seen in a generation. There are new pieces of legislation almost every week on foreign funding, restrictions in registration or association, anti-protest laws, gagging laws. And, unquestionably, this is going to intensify in the coming two to three years. You can visibly watch the space shrinking."
EU: MED-CRISIS: (26.8.15)
UNHCR: Greater support in countries of first asylum needed to stem refugee outflows (link): "According to recent figures, the 4,089,023 Syrian refugees in host countries neighbouring Syria includes 1,113,941 in Lebanon, 629,245 in Jordan, 250,408 in Iraq, 132,375 in Egypt, and 1,938,999 in Turkey where registration is carried out by Turkish authorities. In addition, some 24,000 Syrian refugees are registered in other countries in North Africa."
Italy hits back at Merkel in migrants row (The Local.it, link): "Italy's Foreign Minister has scathingly dismissed criticism from France and Germany over its handling of the tens of thousands of migrants arriving on its southern shores. "Italy is doing what it has to do ... and even much more by saving thousands of lives and by taking in refugees," Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in an interview published in Wednesday's Corriere della Sera, describing his country as a "a positive model on the international stage." and see: Italy saves lives even if it costs votes says Renzi (ANSA, link): "Commenting on the migrant emergency in the Mediterranean, where Italy is in the front line along with Greece, the premier said: "First we'll save human lives even at the cost of losing votes. "It's a question of civilisation." "
Czech finance minister: NATO should be engaged in guarding EU against migrants (FOX News, link): "The Czech Republic's finance minister has called for NATO to get involved in helping protect the European Union's external border against the influx of migrants. Andrej Babis says "we have to defend the Schengen (borderless) zone. We have to engage NATO." Talking on Czech public television on Tuesday, Babis called the migrants, most of whom are fleeing bloody conflicts, "the biggest threat to Europe."" and Czech Republic advocates use of army to protect borders (euobserver, link): "The EU could better protect itself from migrants if it had a common army, Czech president Milos Zeman said Tuesday (25 August), while the Czech finance minister, Andrej Babis, called for the closure of the Schengen area's external borders and for Nato help."
Hours of Waiting in No Man's Land as Greek-Macedonian Borders Open (demotix.com, link): "As the Greek-Macedonian borders have re-opened, refugees are allowed in. Yet hundreds have to wait for hours in the Greek side till the moment they are allowed to cross. The Macedonian military and Greek organisations co-ordinate the flow."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Charles University opens doors to asylum seekers (Radio Praha, link): "Charles University is aware of the humanitarian tragedy of immigrants seeking asylum in European countries. And in this situation, where a number of political forces are trying to misuse the situation, Charles University wants to show some positive action to help people in need. We are trying to help by what we are best in, which is education. "
WATCH THE MED: Alarm Phone in contact with 6 vessels in distress in the Central Med, 4400 people rescued in total in one day (link)
Germany suspends Dublin agreement for Syrian refugees (euractiv, link): No returns to state of first entry to EU: "Germany has ceased applying the rules of the Dublin system to Syrian refugees. All deportations to other EU countries have been halted."
Balkan states snub Greece in talks on immigation (ekathimerini.com): "Greece has been left out of an unfolding campaign by Balkan countries to forge a coordinated response to a torrent of migrants and asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, Kathimerini understands.... Thinly disguised criticism of Athens came from FYROM Foreign Minister Mitko Cavkov, too, who noted it was absurd that the problem is caused by an EU member-state. Cavkov said that interior ministers from FYROM, Austria, Hungary and Serbia will soon meet in Skopje to decide further action."
Macedonia to face thousands of EU-bound migrants (euobserver, link): "Up to 3,000 migrants are expected to cross into Macedonia on a daily basis throughout the next several months, as the European Commission eyes court action against over a dozen member states for violating asylum rules..... Hungary, along with 17 other member states is on the European Commissions hit-list for committing various violations against EU asylum laws.[link].. The Common European Asylum System is composed of the Dublin regulation, the asylum procedures directive, the reception conditions directive, the qualification directive, and the long-term residence directive. Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden are all under scrutiny."
Everyday People Put Solidarity Into Action Helping Refugees in Greece (Global Voices, link): "Almost 1,000 lives reach Greek shores every day, of which 60% are from Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The Eastern and North Aegean Islands of Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Chios and Lesbos have become temporary shelter for thousands arriving in dinghies from the sea..... Nevertheless, the deus ex machina in this case is not the government, but local residents and activists from near and far who are gathering food, medicine, clothes, toys and other equipment for the refugees."
Europe's migrant crisis will not slow and EU nations must share duties, says UN (Guardian, link): "The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said all EU member states should share the burden of Europes worst refugee crisis since the second world war, with an equitable redistribution of families seeking asylum.":and UN predicts 3,000 refugees a day will pass through Balkans - Refugee agency says Europe can handle numbers if correct measures taken (Irish Times, link)
GERMANY: Nauen refugee shelter fire 'an attack on everyone' (DW, link): "It may have joined the list of German towns to witness violence aimed at refugees. This time, though, the suspected arson of a sports hall is being felt as an attack on the whole community."
Dispatches: Volunteer Lifeline for Asylum Seekers in Hungary (HRW, link): "Tuesday, 8:07 p.m. at the Nyugati train station in Budapest, the latest train arrives from the Hungarian border town of Szeged carrying migrants and asylum seekers who came via Serbia. Volunteers from the nongovernmental group Migration Aid are standing by to greet them and offer food, clothing, and advice.... its shameful that Hungary and other European governments have failed to ensure proper reception conditions for people fleeing war and persecution, as European Union rules require. In Hungary, the government has instead spent millions building an anti-migrant fence."
EU: MED-CRISIS: First step in coercive response to migrants crisis: Italy, Greece must act now on migrants says Merkel 'Set up registration centres by year's end' (ANSA, link):
" Italy and Greece must act as soon as possible to open migrant registration centres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday. "We have established with the heads of government that there should be registration centres in the countries particularly hit by the first arrivals, like Greece and Italy," she said after a summit with French President Francois Hollande. "This must happen quickly, by the end of the year, we cannot accept delays," she said."
and Italy and Greece must act now on migrants: Merkel (The Local.it, link): "Italy and Greece two countries which have borne the brunt of the migrant crisis - must set up registration centres to help identify asylum-seekers and illegal migrants as soon as possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday... Merkel stressed that the centres must be set up at the first ports of call to be administered and staffed by the EU as a whole by the end of the year. "We cannot tolerate a delay," she said."
This will almost certainly involve: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
EU: MED-CRISIS (25.8.15)
LESVOS/Mytilene: A Good Samaritan in Greece: Papa Stratis needs oxygen pumped to his lungs but that's not stopping him from joining the ranks of Greeks helping refugees arriving in Europe (UNHCR Tracks, link): "Papa Stratis, along with other local volunteers in the village of Kalloni, has been helping refugees since 2007 through the NGO Agkalia. In all these years he reckons that he has helped some ten thousand people, including a few locals fallen on hard times. But never before has he seen so many refugees looking for help.... Every day between one and two hundred people come to Kalloni, the 57-year old Orthodox priest says. The local people tell them to come to us for help. We give them food, water, milk for the babies, shoes, clothes. They can stay here too: we have blankets, mattresses on the floor.... With local authorities overwhelmed by the 64,000 refugee arrivals to Greece since the beginning of the year, local activists like Papa Stratis and the network of volunteers Village All Together, are often taking on the sole responsibility of caring for the refugees on the Greek islands. We have no external funding, he explains with a smile. We depend completely on the generosity of the local people."
Angela Merkel meets with François Hollande: Common asylum policy in the EU (German Missions in the UK, link): " In Italy and Greece, reception centres are to be set up swiftly for refugees. There should be uniform EU standards for registration, accommodation and health care."
ITALY: Asylum-seekers protest over living conditions (The Local.it, link)
French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Monday for a unified response to Europes biggest migrant crisis since World War II, as the German leader condemned vile protests against refugees (France 24, link)
GREECE: MYTILENE: Refugees Welcome Party in Pikpa (lesvos.w2eu, link): "Last night w2eu and JOG hosted a welcome party in the selforganized space PIKPA to welcome and exchange with the refugees staying there. Over the last three year this became a PIKPA w2eu JOG Tradition." Historical Note: 2013: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up (Statewatch report)
GERMANY-EU: A ten-point plan for a European refugee policy response (diplo.de, link) and 10 Point Plan (pdf)
GERMANY: Fire destroys another refugee home in Germany (DW, link): "A refugee home has caught fire in Germany, raising concerns over anti-migrant attacks. Meanwhile Chancellor Merkel faces tough questions during her visit to a problematic immigrant neighborhood in the country's west."
AUSTRIA: Austria draws on army in migrant crisis (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian army is to deploy more than 500 troops to help overstretched authorities deal with the large number of migrants arriving from Hungary and Italy, the defence minister said on Tuesday."
GREECE: Efforts continue to locate migrants from capsized boat (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greek coast guard patrols and volunteer fishermen on Tuesday were continuing the search for a group of migrants believed missing after their boat capsized off the coast of the island of Lesvos on Monday, killing two of the passengers on board.... Reports on Monday suggested that there were four or five passengers still missing from the rubber dinghy that capsized in choppy waters between the coast of Turkey and the eastern Aegean island.... The Greek government has come under fire from its European Union partners and international organizations for failing to speed up the process of registering incoming migrants and identifying those with legitimate asylum claims."
Migrant crisis: Lets not pretend Europes response is working UN rights expert warns (UNHR, link): "United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, today called on the European Union to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy* which makes mobility its central asset. It is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants, he said. Lets not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay, Mr. Crépeau stressed. Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe. "
Search and Rescue in Central Mediterranean Sea (migreurop, link): "Report of an observation mission in Sicily carried out, between the 1st of February and the 8th of June 2015, by Sabine Llewellyn, volunteering for the network Migreurop within the NGO ARCI to support the activities of Watch the Med, in the frame of the programmes of Echanges et Partenariats." and see: Report (pdf) and Report - French (link)
Greece: Mytilene (Lesvos): Chaos and squalid conditions face record number of refugees on Lesvos (AI, link): "Overloaded, under-resourced authorities are failing to cope with the dramatic increase in the number of people arriving on the island (33,000 since 1 August) and must rely on local volunteers, NGO activists, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and tourists to step into the massive breach. The vast majority are fleeing conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria - 90% of those arriving in 2015 according to UNHCR."
GREECE: Help Refugees Arriving in Mytilene, Greece This list is for: Eric & Philippa Kempson: Dispatch to: Eric Kempson, Eftalou (Amazon, link): "All donations go directly to refugees arriving on the north coast of Mytilene. If you have other ideas (specific medical stuff, baby gear, toys, etc), feel free to add them to your shipment! People have access to food through other means, but other supplies for camping, long walks, general sun exposure all appreciated."
Destination Europe: Migrant Stories (WSJ, link)
GREECE: One dead, six missing after refugee boat capsizes off Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link) and see: 2 Refugee Boats Capsize Off Greece, Turkey; 5 Dead (INYT, link)
Europe's migrant surge: How to cope with record numbers? (France 24, link): "Europe's record wave of would-be asylum seekers and migrants continues unabated and the scramble is on to cope with the crisis" with Marie Martin, Migration and Asylum Officer, Euromed Rights and Nic Conner, Senior Research Fellow, The Bow Group.
The European Unions migrant emergency is entirely of its own making (Guardian, link): "We could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era....The emergency is not inevitable: we could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era. The choice is political. We can keep militarising the borders or bank on mobility. We can opt for ferries, visas and aeroplane tickets instead of sinking rubber boats, squalid detention centres and makeshift camps."
Hungarys migrant fence is simply a pointless PR exercise (Guardian, link): "Short-term measures like walls and fences in Europe wont solve a migration crisis of this size. People who have risked so much will just find another way."
UNHCR assists refugees at Greece-FYR Macedonia border, where calm is returning (link): "The UN refugee agency has been helping refugees and migrants amid chaotic scenes in the past few days at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as thousands of people tried to cross into FYR Macedonia. The situation was noticeably calmer and more orderly on Sunday, when almost 2,000 people crossed into FYR Macedonia, and Monday. The majority told UNHCR staff that they had fled the war in Syria, passed through Turkey and crossed by boat to Greece. Among them were many young families with small children."
The vital difference between human trafficking and migrant smuggling (Open Democracy, link): "Human smuggling is a crime in as much as it constitutes an illegal border crossing. But it is not innately a crime against people or an abridgement of their human rights. This can never be said of human trafficking."
Germany and France want unified asylum response (euobserver, link): "France and Germany are pushing for a more unified asylum system, as Berlin opens its doors to Syrians. Hollande said in a statement that a unified system for the right to asylum is needed." and: Influx grows as Germany, France eye unified response (ekathimerini.com): "According to police estimates, between 8,500 and 9,000 refugees on the island of Lesvos were Monday awaiting transfer to the Greek mainland. A ferry charted by the Greek government the Eleftherios Venizelos was expected to pick up another 2,500 Syrians from the island at 2.30 this morning and bring them to Athens. The foreigners that leave the island every day are replaced by the same number of people arriving from the Turkish coast, Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos told Kathimerini."
Germany challenges EU to agree on refugee plan (The Local.se, link): ""Never before have so many people fled political persecution and war as today, many of whom seek refuge here with us in Europe," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote in an opinion piece, identify a 10 point plan for a European refugee policy response."
UK: Asylum seekers fight deportation to Afghanistan - Lawyers challenge Home Offices proposed charter flight, thought to be departing Stansted on Tuesday, following court victory for Afghans last week (Guardian, link): "Lord Justice Clarke rejected home secretary Theresa Mays application to overturn the order on the basis that a significant number of people due to board the flight could be affected by an ongoing case about the dangers of forcibly returning failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan."
Denmark considers citizenship rule changes (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish government is considering changes to the nations citizenship laws that may make it harder to get citizenship in the future and pull the rug out from under 1,950 foreigners who have already satisfied the current requirements.
Germany suspends Dublin III transfers for Syrians (freemovement.org.uk, link): "Germany has taken the extremely welcome step of suspending the transfer of Syrian asylum seekers under the Dublin III Regulation. As long ago as November 2013 UNHCR called for countries not to return Syrian nationals to their first point of entry in the EU. As the war has worsened and more people have fled, the situation has continued to deteriorate both for the people fleeing and in the countries on the periphery of Europe, such as the Balkan states and Greece and Italy, that are struggling to provide adequate reception conditions."
EU: Overstayers: Government reply to questions in the Bundestag at point 16 gives Statewatch as the "public" source::
"With regard to the information from other Member States of the EU is in particular the evaluation regularly published Products made by FRONTEX, which also illicit Include stay. Furthermore, Latvia has under its Presidency in the first half 2015, an EU-Polizeioperation called "Amber Light" initiated, focusing on the theme over-stayer moved. The results are also available to the public
(http://www.statewatch.org/news/2015/jul/eu-council-lithuania- presidency-Amberlight-final-report.pdf)" [emphasis added]
And see: AMBERLIGHT: Joint Police Operation detects 1,344 "overstayers" but only 10 using forged documents
UK: DETENTION: A Joint Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees & the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration: The Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom (pdf):
There should be a time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be held in immigration detention.
Detention is currently used disproportionately frequently, resulting in too many instances of detention. The presumption in theory and practice should be in favour of community-based resolutions and against detention.
Decisions to detain should be very rare and detention should be for the shortest possible time and only to effect removal.
The Government should learn from international best practice and introduce a much wider range of alternatives to detention than are currently used in the UK".
and see: Border Criminologies: An Assessment of the Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom (Refugee Archives, link)
Germany: Halt on Dublin procedures for Syrians (AIDA, link):
"The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has issued internal instructions suspending the Dublin procedure in respect of Syrian nationals. According to the instructions, dated 21 August 2015, Dublin procedures that have already been initiated in relation to Syrians are to be cancelled, in order for Germany to become the Member State responsible for processing their claims."
EU: PUTTING IN PLACE A RETURNS POLICY: Juncker: "In September, the Commission will thus submit a common list of safe countries of origin to the Member States." New Europe inteview, link) and see: Press release of Justice and Home Affairs Council on 20 July 2015 (pdf):
"STRONGLY RECOMMENDS therefore that, without delay, Member States assess which third countries could be designated at national level as safe countries of origin."
And see: No need for new EU summit on immigration, says Juncker (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker dismissed calls for a new EU summit on immigration, saying member states should stop dragging their heels and implement existing agreements on the matter..... Juncker added that the European Union should draw up a uniform list of "safe countries" to which migrants could be returned." [Comment: All the evidence is that most migrants are coming from Syria and Afghanistan together with Eritrea, Somalia]
EU: MED-CRISIS (24.8.15)
Welcome to EU - Greece (link)
Al Jazeera will not say Mediterranean 'migrants', but we should (Migrants Rights Network, link): "By rejecting the term and using refugee instead as a means of arousing the empathy and compassion we should be feeling towards these people, Al Jazeera gives credence to the illiberal voices telling us that migrants are not worthy of our compassion."
UK-EU: The Observer view on Britains shameful response to refugees (link)
German ministers call for joint EU policy to cope with refugee crisis (DW, link): "Two leading Social Democrat members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet have called for an EU-wide asylum policy as a way of coping with an unprecedented influx of refugees. "
Swedish tolerance questioned as attacks on migrants rise (euractiv, link):"A series of attacks on beggars and Roma has highlighted a dark side to a country considered a bastion of tolerance, but where the far right has been gaining support by claiming society is under threat from immigrants.... Since most come from Romania and Bulgaria, they are free to travel to Sweden as EU citizens, but their presence has fuelled claims by the Sweden Democrats the country is a soft-touch for migrants and is being swamped."
New one-day peak for Italy migrant rescues (The Local, it, link): "Italy's coastguard picked up another 300 migrants from stricken boats in the Mediterranean on Sunday, a day after overseeing the rescue of 4,400 people in one 24-hour period with help from British, Irish and Norwegian ships."
GERMANY: Gabriel visits Saxony after weekend of violence (The Local.de, link): "Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is to visit the Saxon town of Heidenau on Monday after far right demonstrators clashed with police outside a refugee home in the town over the weekend."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Number of lone underage refugees rising in Czech Republic (Prgaue Daily Monitor, link): "The Czech Education Ministry must deal with a rising number of lone underage refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan aged from 15 to 18 years, who fled their countries alone or lost contact with their families during their long journey, daily Pravo writes Saturday.Under Czech law, people under 18 are considered underage and such refugees cannot be sent to detention facilities for adults."
Hollande to meet Merkel on migration, Ukraine (euobserver, link): "French president Francois Hollande is travelling to Berlin on Monday (24 August) to discuss the growing migrant crisis with German chancellor Angela Merkel. The visit, originally planned to cover the Ukraine conflict, comes as thousands of people - many of them fleeing the war in Syria - keep trying to enter the European Union."
Macedonian army allows migrants to cross border - Migrants head towards EU border in southern Hungary after being penned for days in Macedonia (Guardian, link): "There is a human catastrophe here, and all the EU, the European countries, are to be blamed for this, said German politician Annette Groth while on a visit to the neutral zone between Greece and Macedonia. The refugees are not leaving their homes for fun."
HUNGARY: Volunteers step in as Hungary tries to shut out illegal migrants - Strange and random happenings await the recent arrivals in an ill-prepared Europe (Irish Times, link):
UK Home Office Humanity Crimes Against Africans and Asians part 1 (Detained Vocies, Stories from inside UK Immigration Detention, link): An account of immigration detainees in UK: "We hope that something will come out of detainees plight and maybe a legal challenge from those who wants to see justice being practiced by the UK Home Office. Detention must have time limit and out of country appeal for asylum seekers must be abolished, asylum seekers should not be in continuous detention.".
EU: MED-CRISIS (22-23.8.15)
GREECE-MACDEONIA: Syrians despair amid filth as way to north blocked (ekathimerini.com, link):"The pressure further back along the refugee route shows no sign of easing, meaning more thousands are likely to arrive at the FYROM border in the next few days and weeks." and Migrants cross unhindered into Macedonia; trains, buses await (Reuters, link): "The state eventually laid on extra trains, and buses arrived from across the country to take the migrants swiftly north to Serbia and the next step of a long journey from the Middle East, Africa and Asia."
GREECE-EU: Greek president wants EU summit on refugee crisis (ekathimerini.com, link): "President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has proposed that a European Union leaders summit be called to discuss a mounting migrant and refugee crisis and called for a closer cooperation with the United Nations."
Migrants crisis: More than 2,000 people rescued near Libya coast (BBC News, link): "More than 2,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued from boats off the coast of Libya in one of the biggest single-day operations mounted, Italy's coastguards have said. Distress calls came from more than 20 vessels, AFP reported."
GREECE: Overcrowded and bad conditions at Greek Refugee Centre in Lesbos (YouTube, Molyvos for Refugees, link): "Endless waiting hours on the queue for the refugees from Afghanistan, in order to obtain a portion of food, during August at the Moria First Reception Centre in Mytilene, Lesvos island, Greece . Mohammed who is 24 years old from Kunduz Afghanistan and describes his bad experience during his staying there. The drinking water from the tap was hot and of low quality. So mainly for the children, they had to daily buy bottled water, at an expensive price from the one and only canteen on the area."
SWEDEN: 'Nazi-inspired' anti-immigration group becomes Sweden's most popular party (Independent, link)
GREECE: FYROM loosens border as migrants get restless (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Friday relaxed a crackdown along the countrys border with Greece as crowds of desperate migrants and refugees seeking to enter the Balkan nation grew larger and more restless..... On Friday afternoon, another ferry docked at Piraeus with around 2,300 refugees from the islands of the eastern Aegean. Lesvos, Kos and other islands are under increasing pressure as the influx from Turkey is relentless. Authorities on Lesvos said there were some 11,000 migrants on the island on Friday."
Germany condemns violent anti-refugee protest in Heidenau (DW, link): "The German government has condemned the violence that broke out ahead of the arrival of asylum seekers at a temporary shelter in the east of the country. Several people were injured in scuffles with police." and: Police clash with far-right over refugees (The Local.de, link): "Several hundred people turned up in Heidenau, near Dresden, to demonstrate against the expected arrival of hundreds of refugees in a protest called by the far-right National Democratic Party." and Fresh clashes in Heidenau as de Maiziere condemns anti-refugee violence - German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has condemned violent protests against a refugee shelter in the eastern town of Heidenau. At the same time, he highlighted a spirit of giving demonstrated by other Germans. (DW, link) and German neo-Nazi protesters clash with police at new migrant shelter - Two consecutive nights of violence force police to seal off shelter near Dresden as Germany prepares for biggest influx of asylum seekers since second world war (Guardian, link)
Greece ferries thousands of refugees from islands to the mainland (Macedonian Information Agency, link)
Why are NGOs so reluctant to help Greece? (New Internationalist, July 2015, link): "nternational observers are left wondering: how bad do conditions in Lesvos need to be before refugee aid agencies stop hiding behind the EU and start rolling up their sleeves?"
GERMANY: Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out' (Independent, link): "Peaceful demonstrations began after news spread that the town was welcoming a large number of refugees who are set to be housed in an empty building. The protest was hijacked by a group of far-right radicals, many belonging to the militant National Democratic Party (NPD), considered a neo-Nazi organisation."
Mediterranean migrant crisis: Irish naval vessel LÉ Niamh rescues 225 people (BBC News, link): "The migrants, including 12 children, were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea on two inflatable vessels."
AI: MACEDONIA: Macedonia: Calm at the border but uncertain fate for refugees and asylum-seekers onward journey (link) and Macedonia: Stop Police Violence Against Migrants (HRW, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (21.8.15)
UNHCR-MACEDONIA: Concern about developments at border with Greece (pdf): UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres spoke with FYR Macedonia Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki about the situation, and received assurances that the border will not be closed in the future. "UNHCR is particularly worried about the thousands of vulnerable refugees and migrants, especially women and children, now massed on the Greek side of the border amid deteriorating conditions," UNHCR said in a statement."
Macedonia allows migrants entry from Greece (Channel 4 News, link): "Macedonia allows a limited number of migrants to enter from Greece, hours after police drove back crowds by firing tear gas.... The United Nations refugee agency has urged Macedonia to allocate more space for migrants in its side of the border"
MACEDONIA: GREECE: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Macedonia: Thousands trapped and at risk of violence as border sealed (link): "A witness on the Greek side of the border told Amnesty International that Macedonias Rapid Reaction Unit, an anti-terrorist police unit, had been beating refugees and asylum-seekers who were trying to enter Macedonia, and firing over their heads. A local NGO confirmed the use of rubber bullets.... "Every country has the power to patrol its own borders, but this kind of para-military response is an unacceptable push-back in violation of international law. Macedonian authorities are responding as if they were dealing with rioters rather than refugees who have fled conflict and persecution."" And see: AI: Europes Borderlands: Violations against refugees and migrants in Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary (link) and see: Report: Europe's Borderlands: Violations against refugees and migrants in Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary (pdf)
Macedonian riot police fire teargas to disperse thousands of migrants - video (Guardian, link) and Macedonian police fire tear gas to drive back migrants, refugees on border (Reuters, link): "Riot police behind barbed wire fired tear gas to drive back an angry crowd demanding passage into Macedonia and north to Hungary and the European Union's borderless Schengen zone, the Reuters reporter said." also: Macedonian Riot Police Use Teargas to Hold Off Migrants at Border With Greece. (Slate, link) and Irish Times Video (link): "We expect the involvement of the army will bring two desired effects - it will increase security among our citizens in the two regions and will allow for a more comprehensive approach toward people expressing their interest in applying for asylum, Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski was quoted as saying." and Migrants try to charge Macedonian police lines at Greek border - Medical workers race to treat injured amid reports of people fainting as hundreds try to break through to the north (Guardian, link)
And see: FYROM: Macedonia declares state-of-emergency (euronews, link): "A state of emergency has been declared in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as crowds of migrants continue to gather on its southern border. The Army has been brought in to maintain security as thousands wait,hoping to travel on to Serbia and Western Europe."
Update on airlines offering free luggage with items for refugees (Help for refugees in Molyvos, link)
Peter Sutherland critical of Europe on migrant crisis - UN special envoy on migration tells Knock faithful of EU shortcomings on response (Irish Times, link)
GERMANY: Arsonists attack refugee shelter in southern Germany (Reuters, link)
FRANCE-GERMANY: Merkel and Hollande to press EU to move faster on asylum policy (euractiv, link): "Germany and France will press the European Union to move faster and with more unity to deal with the worsening refugee crisis, amid complaints from Germany that it is shouldering too big a burden." and see: Germany 'can't cope' with 800,000 refugees per year - Germany cannot continue accepting refugees at its current pace of 800,000 per year, its interior minister warns. The country could reinstate border controls if other EU states fail to pull their weight (DW, link)
EU ministers to hold migrant talks: France (The Local.fr, link) and see: Council of the European Union: Valletta Conference on Migration (Malta, 11-12 November 2015) - Orientation debate (pdf):
CZECH REPUBLIC: Integration expert says migration issue should not be reduced to security (Radio Praha, link)
GREECE: Refugees head for the north despite border crackdown (ekathimerini.com, link)L "KTEL intercity bus services linking the capital to the northern port of Thessaloniki were inadequate so additional vehicles were added to the route. Instead of the 11 usual daily connections linking Athens and Thessaloniki, there are now 42, with a bus leaving the capital for the northern port city every half-hour...... Train services linking FYROM and Serbia were also suspended as large numbers of migrants camped out in the no-mans land between the two countries." and Car ferry arrives for second time in Piraeus to disembark Syrian refugees (ANA, link)
HUNGARY: Socialists criticize border police units (BBJ, link): "Socialist immigration expert Richárd Barabás told the press that plans to set up border police units to guard the fence being built along the Serbian border show a "complete lack of goodwill" and may go against the Geneva convention, according to reports today, while deputy leader Bertalan."
Fences in Calais protect ministers not refugees (The Conversation, link) by Heaven Crawley
Refugee Chaos in Macedonia: 'Life-Threateningly Dangerous for Women and Children' (spiegel.de, link): "A dangerous bottleneck has formed in the Macedonian border town of Gevgelija, an important hub for refugees traveling to Western Europe. Those trying to reach the trains here face extreme heat, dangerous crowds and police bullying."
To quota or not to quota? The EU facing effective solidarity in its Asylum Policy (EASFJ, link)
UK: Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show (Independent, link):
"The allegation of brothel keeping, which Scotland Yard later begrudgingly admitted was baseless, was just one episode in a near 20-year operation by MI5 and British intelligence to keep Lessing, one of Britains most influential novelists who became the oldest recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007, under surveillance as a suspected subversive.
Documents released on 21 August at the National Archives in Kew, west London, reveal how the novelist, who spent her formative years in Southern Rhodesia, was monitored and her mail intercepted for at least 18 years after she was adjudged to have formed a deep hatred of apartheid-style policies in the British colony and become a Communist sympathiser."
UK-FRANCE AGREEMENT: Managing migratory flows in Calais: Joint Ministerial Declaration on UK/French Co-operation (pdf) and see: Commission: Joint statement by First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Avramopoulos on Calais and European migration priorities (pdf)
And: 'Fences won't put anyone off': migrants dismiss new Calais security crackdown - People in New Jungle camp say Theresa Mays attempts to tackle crisis at French port will not deter those fleeing war from trying to reach UK (Guardian, link) and Motorway blocked! The jungles answer to Theresa Mays visit to Calais (Calais Migrant Solidarity, link)
UK-EU: Compulsory fingerprinting of migrants: Government Explanatory Memorandum: EM: Commission Staff Working Document (SWD, 150-15) (pdf). The UK is not bound by this proposal but totally backs the compulsory fingerprinting of all, and observes that when faced with "non-compliance" there will be consequences:
"including the use of detention or coercion to obtain fingerprints. In our experience the appropriate use of detention... can have the effect of bringing behavioral change" [emphasis added]
See: European Commission: Staff Working Document on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints(pdf)
And: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
EU: European Parliament Study: Enhancing the Common European Asylum System and alternatives to Dublin (pdf):
"It argues that as long as it is based on the use of coercion against asylum seekers, it cannot serve as an effective tool to address existing imbalances in the allocation of responsibilities among Member States.".
FINLAND: Report to the Finnish Government on the visit to Finland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (pdf)
"During the visit, the CPTs delegation examined the situation and treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in police establishments, immigration detention, prisons and in a psychiatric hospital. Despite on-going efforts in a number of areas, the CPT was concerned by the lack of sufficient progress in the implementation of many of its long-standing recommendations, for example those regarding the practice of holding remand prisoners in police establishments and the practice of slopping out in prisons, on the regime for prisoners segregated in high-security and closed units, and on the legal safeguards in the context of involuntary psychiatric hospitalisation."
EU: MED: CRISIS: (20.8.15)
UK in talks with Holland and Belgium to close off new migrant routes to Britain (Guardian, link): "Speaking during a visit to the Eurotunnel terminal at Coquelles which is now surrounded by two razor-wire fences after a £7m cash injection from the UK May said other northern French ports such as Dunkirk were being assessed amid fears smugglers could shift their efforts elsewhere."
SLOVAKIA: Migrants crisis: Slovakia 'will only accept Christians' (BBC News, link): "Slovakia says it will only accept Christians when it takes in Syrian refugees under a EU relocation scheme. The country is due to receive 200 people from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece under the EU plan to resettle 40,000 new arrivals. Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Netik said Muslims would not be accepted because they would not feel at home."
Council of Europe: Without papers but not without rights: the basic social rights of irregular migrants (link): ""Those who think that irregular migrants have no rights because they have no papers are wrong. Everyone is a holder of human rights regardless of their status. It is easy to understand that the prohibition of torture protects all people but we should also be aware of the fact that basic social rights are also universal, because their enjoyment constitutes a prerequisite for human dignity. Therefore, member states of the Council of Europe should stand by their obligations to protect the basic social rights of everyone under their jurisdiction,
and this includes irregular migrants."
Calais migrant crisis: Theresa May in Calais as 'command centre' announced (BBC News, link)
Serbia says migrants in Macedonia should go to Bulgaria, Croatia (euractiv,link): "Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that Serbia will not put fences on its border with Macedonia, and that Hungary's new fence along its border with Serbia would redirect refugees to Croatia and Bulgaria, the Belgrade press reported "
GREECE: More than a third of migrants not fingerprinted, officials say (ekathimerini.com, link): "As part of efforts to decongest overburdened islands, Greek authorities have been registering the personal details of thousands of migrants arriving on Lesvos, Kos and other islands. But they lack the equipment to fingerprint the migrants, who are issued with documents and instructed to visit the Aliens Bureau in Athens on their arrival.More than a third issued with papers on the islands fail to visit the bureau, however, Greek Police (ELAS) sources told Kathimerini. It is thought the majority continue their journeys further into Europe."
ITALY: Response to migrants is mercy says pope (ANSA, link)
GERMANY: Germany refugee riot injures 15 after Koran defaced (DW, link) "A brawl among asylum seekers in a German town injured 15 after an Afghan tore pages from the Koran. Around 100 refugees took part in the riot at the shelter in Thüringen, which was previously criticised for overcrowding." and Germany's media blitz to discourage Balkan migrants (DW, link): "Germany's migration agency is taking out newspaper and online ads warning would-be refugees - especially from the Balkans - against seeking asylum in Germany. Experts say the approach will likely have little effect."
NORWAY: UN: Norway doing too little to fight racism (The Local, link): "Norway's authorities are doing too little to combat the threat of racism and far-right extremist violence, a damning new report from the UN has concluded."
UN: Sweden is bearing brunt of migrant crisis (The Local.se, link): "Sweden and Germany cannot continue to take in the majority of refugees seeking new lives in the EU, a top UN official has said... Antonio Guterres, the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees called on Tuesday for other EU nations to play a greater role in helping asylum seekers who travel to Europe."
DENMARK: Danes publish pro-refugee advertisement (The Local.dk, link): "The initiative, which has over 18,000 followers on Facebook, ends the ad by saying that the group wants refugees to hear another voice in Denmark - a voice representing peace, solidarity and human decency. In response to:Denmark to run anti-refugee advertisements (link)
AUSTRIA: Ministers pay surprise visit to refugee camp (The Local.at, link)l "he severely overcrowded refugee camp in Traiskirchen, Lower Austria, received a surprise visit ... He [said] that conditions at the camp are unacceptable and appealed to Austrias states to provide decent accommodation as soon as possible so that conditions like those at Traiskirchen are a thing of the past""
GERMANY: Asylum 'could cost Germany 10bn' in 2015 (The Local.de, link): "Based on new projections for the number of asylum seekers expected to arrive in Germany this year, the country may have to find 10 billion to fund its already creaking system."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Hysteria over asylum seekers completely exaggerated, says minister (Radio Praha, link): "The minister for human rights, Jirí Dientsbier, says hysteria surrounding asylum seekers in the Czech Republic is completely exaggerated and not based on any rational risks." and New parties profit from Islamophobia (Prague Post, link)
GREECE: Update: 19.8.15: "The situation is getting worse. Lot of the refugees have no tents, some have no shoes/clothes. There is not enough food and no soap. People have to stay here longer as there are no seats free on the ferry to Athens and some have waited for 7 days for papers."
Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf)
"While going from tent to tent, interacting directly with refugees in their shelters and listening to their stories, we have observed in detail the living conditions of refugees in Kara Tepe camp and noticed that the humanitarian situation there is catastrophic.
Depending on the boats coming every day from Turkey, Kara Tepe camp houses an average of 1,000 to 2,000 mainly Syrian refugees (and from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea). The stay in this transit camp is supposed to last until 2 or 3 days. Our findings on site, however, reveal that some refugees (in July) would have waited their papers up to 11 days.
Thanks to numerous discussions with refugees, volunteers, NGOs and the UNHCR, we have drawn up this paper and hope the recommendations presented here will be found worthy of consideration."
EU-MED-CRISIS: Hungary Plans to Impose Prison Terms for Border Fence Violators (bloomberg.com, link):
" Hungarys government wants to impose prison terms of as long as four years on those who damage a fence thats being built along the Serb border to repel hundreds of thousands of migrants, a senior minister said.
The government is calling for an extraordinary session of parliament to pass the legislation, which would also tighten penalties for smuggling people, Janos Lazar, the minister in charge of the Prime Ministers office, told reporters on Tuesday. The cabinet will send thousands of police to patrol a barbed-wire fence, thats being built along the 175-kilometer (109-mile) border shared by Hungary and Serbia."
UK-EU: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Commission Communication: European Agenda on Migration and associated documents (72 pages, pdf) including European Agenda on Migration, European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean, Relocation of migrants in need of international protection. On EUNAVFOR MED the report comments:
"unlike piracy, migration does not pose the sort of threat envisaged in chapter 7 of the UN Charter, and that there is thus a difficulty in finding an appropriate legal base; successful anti-illegal migration operations in the Caribbean and Australasia are based on repatriation, which is not envisaged in the EU plan;
the EU plan addresses symptoms, not causes; there is no internationally-recognised and domestically-accepted government in Libya"
See also: Five Reasons Why Militarising the EU Migration Plan Will Not Work (RUSI, link): "With news of regular tragedies involving migrants awash on Europes shores, the European Union is promising to respond to these through military means. But the political will just does not exist in Europe; neither can the hurdles be overcome easily." and Militarising the EU Migration Plan: A Flawed Approach (RUSI, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (19.8.15)
EU: Massive arrival of refugees in Greece dwarfs EUs relocation initiative (euractiv, link): "Greece appealed to its European Union partners yesterday (18 August) to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with a growing migrant crisis as new data showed 21,000 refugees landed on Greek shores last week alone.... Greek officials said they needed better coordination within the European Union. "This problem cannot be solved by imposing stringent legal processes in Greece, and, certainly, not by overturning the boats," said government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili."
Uk-FRANCE: Theresa May set to sign new deal with French government to tackle migrant crisis (Independent, link)
GERMANY: Where racism and xenophobia are manifest in Germany - Official statistics show that most racist crimes in Germany last year occurred in the country's eastern-most states and Berlin. A civil society expert says that's no surprise. (DW, link)
GREECE: Europe struggles to respond as migrants numbers rise threefold (ekathimerini.com, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Zeman's spokesman against scientists' solidarity with refugees (Prague Monitor, link): "President Milos Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek criticised yesterday a call by hundreds of Czech scientists for toleration of immigrants, saying it deepens the gap between Czech society and the elites.
Researcher Pavel Jungwirth told CTK in reaction to Ovcacek's words that the call should bridge the gaps, on the contrary. The call "Scientists against Fear and Indifference" has been signed by more than 1500 personalities, the authors say on their web page."
CYPRUS: 75 million from the EC into a bottomless pit (KISA, link): "the management of the European funds granted to Cyprus for the 2007-2013 programming period raises questions as to whether the available funds for the 2014-2020 period will be used in a way that will improve the integration of migrants into Cypriot society * while making the asylum system fairer and more efficient..... "KISA considers that for the strengthening of the process of migrants integration and the improvement of the asylum system, Cypriot state, must first of all change the current migration model and contribute towards combating the racism and discrimination which prevail in Cypriot society." see aslo: EU allocates 74.9 million to Cyprus for migration (Cyprus Mail, link):: "Cyprus will continue the recently established voluntary return programme and will also support forced return.... n relation to border management, Cyprus continues the development of EUROSUR and plans to introduce Automated Border Control gates."
The Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) 5 Point Test For Hate Speech (link): "How can journalists determine what is hate speech? The EJN gives five points which media professionals should review before they publish."
EU-MED-CRISIS: (18.8.15): Frontex, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Greece
FRONTEX: Number of migrants in one month above 100 000 for first time (link): "In the month of July, the number of migrants detected at EUs borders more than tripled to 107,500 compared to the same month of last year, surpassing the 100,000 mark in a single month for the first time since Frontex began keeping records in 2008.... Syrians and Afghans accounted for a lions share of the record number of migrants entering the EU illegally. Most of them, fleeing instability in their home countries, initially entered Greece from Turkey... the most detections were reported in the Aegean Sea (nearly 50 000), mainly on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos. "
Germany unnerved by scores of xenophobic attacks against refugees (Washington Post, link): "On a cool night six weeks ago, suspected right-wing arsonists struck the building, scorching its interior and rendering it uninhabitable days before the &SHY;asylum-seekers were to move in. The attack added Meissen, a gothic castle town of 30,000 on the Elbe River, to a string of German cities caught up in an escalating rash of violence against refugees..... The incidents in Germany include at least six cases of arson and the beating of a 23-year-old African refu&SHY;gee by five Germans that left him with serious injuries"
GERMANY: Smartphone app launched to help asylum seekers in Dresden - App offers practical assistance to refugees arriving in the eastern German city and comes in response to recent anti-immigrant hostility (Guardian, link): "A smartphone app has been launched to help asylum seekers find their feet in Dresden, which became the epicentre of anti-immigrant hostility in Germany earlier this year. The Welcome to Dresden app, developed by two IT companies based in the eastern German city, gives refugees information on how to register with the authorities, get health insurance and find their way around."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Academics warning of growing xenophobia (Prague Monitor, link): "Over 740 Czech academics and other staff of scientific and research institutions have signed a petition Academics against Fear and Indifference to face the increasingly xenophobic atmosphere in Czech society that was posted online yesterday. They feel alarmed at the activities of extremist groups that are not contained enough, the petition said. Radicalisation of society by fear is one of the biggest dangers threatening Czechs in connection with the immigration crisis, it added."
Austria set to force towns to take refugees (euractiv, link): "Austrian towns that balk at taking in refugees can be forced to accept migrants under draft legislation agreed by the two ruling parties and the opposition Greens on Monday (17 August)."
SWITZERLAND: Steinmeier urges EU-Swiss talks on planned immigration quotas (euractiv, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier yesterday (17 August) urged the European Union to negotiate with Switzerland on Bern's plans for new quotas on immigration from the bloc.... Switzerland has been scrambling to find a way to implement the wishes of the people - who narrowly voted in February, 2014 to dramatically rein in immigration from the EU - without ripping up a range of decade-old treaties governing Switzerland's ties with the bloc."
AUSTRIA: Europe migrant crisis: 80,000 will seek asylum in Austria in 2015 - and for many, this former barracks in Traiskirchen is the end of the road (Independent, link): "Ahmed has his face up against the iron bars of the asylum reception centre in the village of Traiskirchen in Austria. He fled Iraq when Isis told his family to leave. They were fishmongers, and had sold their wares to Americans, among others. They told us that we were sinners, that we had to leave, says Ahmed. It gave my father a stroke and now he is dead. My sister is in Greece. My brother is in Serbia. I am here.
GREECE: More ferries to help take migrants from Aegean islands ( (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities are planning to add more ferries to the route linking the islands of the eastern Aegean to the port of Piraeus and elsewhere on the mainland in a bid to ease pressure on the islands which are on the front line of an influx of migrants....The situation remained particularly difficult on two islands which are busy tourist resorts: Kos and Lesvos. Around 3,000 migrants were unable to leave Lesvos on Monday, despite having undergone police identification procedures, as there are no places on ferries." and: Park refugees moved to center at Elaionas (ekathimerini.com, link): "A new reception center for migrants in Elaionas, near central Athens, was fully operational on Monday after more than 200 refugees left a makeshift settlement at Pedion tou Areos park for the air-conditioned containers of the Elaionas plot."
Germany expecting 650,000 refugees this year: report: Germany is to raise its prognosis for the number of refugees expected to come to the country this year drastically, a paper says. The UN has called on all European states to do their share in looking after the migrants (DW, link).
ITALY: UN must address migrant 'human tragedy' - Bagnasco (ANSA, link): " Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) chief Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco said after meeting 50 refugees in Genoa Monday he wondered whether "these international organs like the UN in particular that gathers political and financial power have ever seriously addressed this human tragedy".
Mediterranean Update: Missing Migrants Project (iom.int, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (17.8.15)
GREECE: MYTILENE/LESVOS: Masked 'Commandos' Are Attacking Refugee Boats Off This Idyllic Greek Island (Huffington Post, link):
"out of nowhere came a nightmare -- a speedboat with four masked men charging toward them as they bobbed in international waters. Clad in all black and armed with guns and whips, the men bellowed at terrified passengers to stop the motor, Mohamed recalled.
"They shot at the boat with three bullets," Mohamed later recounted as he stood in a crowded parking lot in the beach town of Molyvos hours after arriving, against all odds, at the island. Hundreds of refugees sat around him, exhausted and caked in sea salt and sweat, as tourists slowed their pace to stare. "They hit us with six-meter-long sticks," he said, a few men sitting with him nodding in agreement. "They circled around us trying to flip our boat." "
KOS: Body of Syrian boy, 16, found at base of Greek island cliff (News Republic, link)
Greece sees risk of bloodshed in migrant-crowded island (euractiv, link): "Greece dispatched extra police on the island of Kos after its mayor warned of bloodshed if the tensions created by the massive arrival of immigrants worsen, the Greek press reported. Meanwhile, human rights groups denounced the disgraceful conditions in other EU countries trying to cope with the surge in refugees."
EC, Greece have 'game plan' for migrant influx (ekathimerini.com, link): "As thousands of undocumented migrants continue to arrive on the islands of the eastern Aegean, the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos has indicated that Greek and European authorities have a game plan to tackle the mounting crisis. Avramopoulos, who met with several ministers during a visit to Athens last week, told reporters in Brussels on Friday that they have drafted a game plan... a plan for how we can work together to address a problem that is not Greek, a problem that is European."
Greek authorities begin to move refugees out of Athens park (ekathimerini.com, link)
Europes Front Door: The Refugee Crisis on Lesvos Island (fletcherforum.org)
GERMANY: Opinion: Feed asylum applicants - don't give them money (DW, link)
EU: At least 2,300 Mediterranean deaths in 2015 - IOM - Over 250,000 asylum seekers have landed in Europe (ANSA, link)
UK: The exploitation of migrants has become our way of life (Guardian, link)
ITALY: Migrants' 49 bodies, 416 survivors reach Catania (ANSA, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: National Democracy protests against accepting refugees (Prague Monitor, link): "More than 200 demonstrators protested against the accepting of refugees and criticised the Czech government's migration policy at a rally convoked by the extremist National Democracy organisation at Prague-Vysehrad Saturday."
EU: MED-CRISIS: "La Guardia costiera greca affonda un gommone di migranti": la video denuncia di un pescatore turco (Source R.it, link)
"The Greek Coast Guard sank a boat of migrants": the video report of a fisherman turkish:
A raft of migrants from Turkey sinking after being pierced with a spear voluntarily by a patrol boat of the Greek Coast Guard and then left without providing relief. This complaint accompanying the video, taken by many Turkish media, shot by a fisherman off the coast of Kos. The author of the video would lend him the first aid shipwrecked and then called the Turkish coast guard them have recovered. The dynamics of events has not been confirmed nor denied by the Coast Guard Island." [automated translation]
EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR warns of deepening refugee crisis in Greece and calls for urgent and bold action (link): The UNHCR Directors of the Bureau for Europe and of Emergency, Security and Supply, visited Greece last week to assess the refugee crisis in the country, where some 124,000 refugees and migrants have arrived by sea this year as of 31 July" and: EU leaders will use military against refugees, warns leading MEP (euractiv, link)
Emergency funds sprout up to temper storm of refugee crises (euractiv, link) See also Statement by Commissioner (pdf)
And: Europe shouldnt worry about migrants. It should worry about creeping fascism - The greatest threat to our way of life is not migration. It is that we will swallow the lie that some human lives matter less than others. (New Statesman, link): "The behaviour of the British and wider European elite towards migrants is not simple inhumanity. It is strategic inhumanity. It is weaponised inhumanity designed to convince populations fracturing under hammer-blows of austerity and economic chaos that the enemy is out there, that there is an us that must be protected from them"
Kos migrants: 'They said they'd give us papers, then locked us in like a prison' - After being held in a stadium on the Greek island, refugees tell of their ordeal as immigration officials bemoan Kos mayors alleged lack of cooperation (Guardian , link)
Media should speak out against hate speech (European Fegeration of Journalists (link): "The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined the Italian organisation on Carta di Roma welcoming the new initiative launched by the Italy newspaper La Stampa to counter hate speech. The EFJ has called on media professionals to be aware of the danger of discrimination being furthered by the media through hate speech following recent debates and media coverage on migrant crisis in Europe."
How EU countries handle the refugee crisis: Overcrowded registration centers or welcome courses? Integration or deportation? Refugees arriving in Europe are hoping for support, but depending on where they go, theyre treated very differently. (DW, link)
Greece: Migrants still struggle in Kos detention center: No roof, few toilets, hours of waiting in the blazing sun - that's how the EU receives migrants on the Greek island of Kos. The humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders is trying to help. (DW, link)
Countering terrorism or constraining civil society? The impact of Financial Action Task Force recommendations on non-profit organisations in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia (pdf)
"This study is concerned with the implementation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendation 8 on combating the potential abuse of non-profit organisations (NPOs) for the purpose of terrorist financing in Central and Eastern Europe (CCEE) and Central Asia. Its aim is to ascertain the impact of this Recommendation on the regulatory framework for non-profits in selected countries, and how this in turn affects the freedom of association and expression of NPOs. This is done by examining two regional formations of the FATF: MONEYVAL, encompassing the CCEE, and the Eurasian Group covering central Asia."
Background: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf). And see: The Non Profit Platform on the FATF (link)
EU: MED CRISIS: New report addresses "dangerous and misleading simplifications" over migration to Europe; plus latest news reports
A new report by Medici per i dirriti humani (Doctors for Human Rights) is based on information and testimonies collected by doctors working on a project to stop the torture of refugees travelling from sub-Saharan to northern Africa.
See also: PRESS RELEASE: Doctors for Human Rights (Italy)
UK: Yarl's Wood: Migrant detention centre condemned again
A recently-published report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons on the Yarl's Wood detention centre says that "in some important areas the treatment and conditions of those held at the centre had deteriorated significantly, the main concerns we had in 2013 had not been resolved and there was greater evidence of the distress caused to vulnerable women by their detention."
NSA: "In for a penny, in for a pound": a philosophy of surveillance
A recent article published by The Intercept (11 August) examines the work of the NSA's in-house "surveillance philosopher" - the "Socrates of SIGINT" - and his willingness to be "constantly and completely monitored". His columns, from an internal NSA internal newsletter, were included amongst the files leaked by Edward Snowden.
EU: Documents: Europol on terrorism in Europe; Terrorism Working Party; report from EU human trafficking conference; evaluation of the Eurojust Decision
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Councils exceptions from the Data Protection Regulation degrade the privacy protection below Directive 95/46/EC (Hawktalk, link): "This blog explains, in detail, how the Council of Ministers text of the Regulation, in particular the exceptions specified in Article 21 (A.21) and the flexibility granted to Member States to enact variations to the obligations under the Regulation, are very likely to result in a level of data protection below the standard established by Directive 95/46/EC."
See also: EU: Data Protection Regulation: documents from the secret 'trilogues'
EU: MED CRISIS: Billion-euro budgets to be distributed to Member States; plus latest news reports
The European Commission has announced the approval of 23 more national programmes for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, paving the way for the release of up to 2.4 billion to Member States to "improve migration management, foster cooperation and make Europe safer".
UK: Government continues work on "hostile environment" for migrants
In 2013 it was revealed that the UK government had drawn up plans to create a "hostile environment" for irregular migrants. Two recent developments - a reduction of financial support for asylum-seeking families and the targeting of specific nationalities for deportation - show that the government is continuing its efforts.
UK: Tell Parliament to launch an Inquiry into Theresa Mays aid for executions (Reprieve, link): "Theresa Mays Home Office is Europes biggest backer of aggressive overseas raids which send drug mules to death row. By funding such raids the Home Office has enabled hundreds of death sentences and executions in countries like Iran and Pakistan." And see: Joint letter: Call for an urgent Inquiry into Home Office involvement in overseas drug enforcement (pdf)
EUROZONE: Germany government gained from Greek crisis - IWH study (BBC News, link): "The Greek debt crisis has saved the German government some 100bn (£70bn; $109bn) in lower borrowing costs because investors have sought safety in German bonds, a study has found."
See: Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftforschung Halle: Germany's benefit from the Greek crisis (pdf)
EU: MED CRISIS: Greece calls for help, the Commission does too
The "humanitarian crisis within a crisis" for migrants and refugees in Greece has led Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to call for more help from the EU institutions and EU Member States: "These dimensions exceed our countrys capabilities, they are European dimensions.
The European Commission has said "more planes and 'technical assistance' including personnel and patrol cars are needed for Greece and Hungary," and has called for "a new, more European approach. The European Agenda on Migration we presented in May sets out this European response."
EU: Visas and law enforcement
The Council of the EU will continue its work on revised EU visa rules in September, when its Visa Working Party discusses a draft text put together by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council.
Meanwhile the Council is moving towards adopting a new legal basis for access by law enforcement agencies to the Visa Information System, which contains the personal details (including biometrics) of all visa-holders. This will meet the requirements of an April 2015 court judgment that required the drafting of a new legal text.
UK: Black people still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police than other ethnic groups (The Independent, link): "Black people are still far more likely than other ethnic groups to be stopped and searched in almost every part of England and Wales despite concerted efforts to tackle the problem."
The full stop-and-search dataset can be download at data.police.uk in a 1.5 gigabyte file.
See also: StopWatch factsheet on Schedule 7 stops under the Terrorism Act 2000 (pdf): "Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 provides powers for examining officers at ports and airports,to stop, question and/or detain people to investigate if they are engaged in acts of terrorism, without the need for any reasonable suspicion."
European Court of Human Rights demands explanations from Spanish government on "hot returns" in Melilla
The European Court of Human Rights has called on the Spanish government to explain itself in the case of two "hot returns" conducted at the border between Spain and Morocco in Melilla. At the end of July, the Court issued a decision demanding a response from the Spanish government to two applicants' claims that their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights were violated.
Documents: EU moving towards new terrorism laws; Europol on organised crime and terrorism
The Council of the EU is preparing to sign a new protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism that requires states "to outlaw various actions including intentionally taking part in terrorist groups, receiving terrorism training or travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism. It also provides for a round-the-clock network of national contact points to rapidly exchange information."
Meanwhile, Europol has produced a brief report on 'The nexus between organised crime and terrorism in the EU'.
EU: An incomplete European cybersecurity agenda (EurActiv, link): "The EU is starting to pay more attention to cybersecurity, but it still lacks a process to make it easier for police to share information across borders, writes Paul Rosenzweig. Paul Rosenzweig is a senior adviser to The Chertoff Group and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the US Department of Homeland Security."
- Council conclusions on the Cybersecurity Strategy of the European Union: An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace (July 2013, pdf)
- EU: Cybersecurity strategy (Statewatch News Online, February 2013)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Latest coverage of the migration crisis in the Mediterannean and its impact within Europe
Almost 400 refugees saved after crammed fishing boat sank off Libya (UNHCR, link)
AUSTRIA: Austria: overwhelmed refugee centre closes to new arrivals (euronews, link)
EU: Record numbers of migrants enter Europe in 2015 (France 24, link)
FRANCE-UK: Women in Calais camps: 'I have to focus on how I can stay alive' (The Guardian, link)
GREECE-TURKEY: Distress at sea and endangered lives due to coastguard actions? Evidence shows attacks on migrant boats in the Aegean Sea where engines were removed and boats punctured by coastguards (Watch the Med, link)
IRELAND: Up to 12 additional direct provision centres to open (Irish Times, link)
EU: Implementing the Internal Security Strategy: planning documents
Two new leaked documents outline the work being undertaken in the Council of the EU to attempt to implement the EU's 'Renewed Internal Security Strategy', adopted in June 2015 and which will run from 2015 to 2020.
EU: AMBERLIGHT: Joint Police Operation detects 1,344 "overstayers" but only 10 using forged documents
AMBERLIGHT, an EU-wide Joint Police Operation aimed at detecting visa "overstayers" and in particular those "travelling with forged documents", led to the detection of 1,344 people staying beyond the time permitted by their visa. However, just 10 were using forged documents.
EU: Data Protection Regulation: documents from the secret 'trilogues'
Statewatch has obtained two recent documents relating to the ongoing secret 'trilogue' discussions (between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission) on the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation.
London - Calais Migrant Support Convoy (link)
EU: Give me your tired, your poor the Europeans embracing migrants - Away from the xenophobic hysteria aimed at desperate immigrants are people taking steps to help newcomers and promote the good things they bring (Guardian, link): "Judging from the headlines, it sometimes seems no one in Europe wants to help refugees..... But on a local level, there are thousands of people across the continent who are braving the vitriol of their peers, and filling the void left by the politicians. Many Europeans back their governments stance but their xenophobia masks another phenomenon that of a huge drive by ordinary citizens to welcome refugees, rather than reject them."
Italy counts 90,000 sea migrant arrivals so far this year (euractiv, link) and More migrants land in Italy, adding to EU-wide crisis (ANSA, link)
Slovakian town votes 'No' to asylum seekers (euobserver, link)
EU offers aid to France for migrants, shows little sympathy for UK (euobserver, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Unrest at asylum facility sparks fresh concerns over migrant crisis (Radio Praha, link)
Landlords' Visa Checks Responsibility Would Create 'Two-Tier State', Government Was Warned (Huffington Post, link)
ITALY: Quelle strane morti dietro le sbarre [Those strange deaths behind bars]
Repubblica newspaper published a special report by Alberto Custodero on 27 July 2015, investigating deaths in custody in Italy's prisons (over 50 per year on average, 1,304 in 25 years from 1990 to 2014, when 43 people died). Beyond the fact that once they are imprisoned people are in the state's duty of care, it highlights that these deaths are often recorded as suicides in spite of the presence of elements that make such a conclusion difficult to believe. The article includes statistics on suicides and case details of some suspicious suicide cases.
EU: New transnational undercover policing structure cloaked in secrecy
In November 2014 Europol, the EU's policing agency, hosted a "Covert Surveillance Conference" entitled "Meeting the Challenges to Surveillance across Europe". It was attended by all 28 EU Member States and numerous other countries but, like almost all detail about the conference, their identity has been shielded from public view by Europol. Issues discussed included "Recruiting the Best Profiles" and "Advantages of Interagency Surveillance & Management".
The conference was made up of two meetings: on 26 November, of the Cross-Border Surveillance Working Group (CSW), and on 27 and 28 November, the first meeting of the Assembly of Regional Groups on Surveillance (ARGOS)....
In the UK, calls have recently been made by German MP Andrej Hunko and campaigners for cross-border undercover police operations to be included in the remit of a new official inquiry that will "report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968." Exposing the development of and ongoing secrecy over pan-European undercover policing structures to some sunlight would go some way to meeting those calls.
EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Vienna Declaration - Tackling Violent Extremism and Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 7500-rev-1-15, pdf): declaration of the Ministerial Conference of Foreign and Interior Ministers Tackling Jihadism Together held in Vienna on 20 March 2015.and see earlier version: 7500-15 (LIMITE: pdf)
Councils exceptions from the Data Protection Regulation degrade the privacy protection below Directive 95/46/EC (HAWKWALK, link): "The blog explains, in detail, how the Council of Ministers text of the Regulation, in particular the exceptions specified in Article 21 (A.21) and the flexibility granted to Member States to enact variations to the obligations under the Regulation, are very likely to result in a level of data protection below the standard established by Directive 95/46/EC."
UK: Illegal immigrants to UK face eviction without court order under new plans - Landlords who fail to check tenants immigration status face five-year jail terms as part of government crackdown to reduce UKs appeal as a migrant destination (Guardian, link)
Immigration bill will mean public sector workers 'must speak fluent English' (Independent, link)
Italian coastguard rescues 1,800 migrants as five found dead - Almost 2,000 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far this year, on top of 3,500 last year (Guardian, link)
4 vessels in distress, 2-3 intercepted, 1-2 rescued by Spain (Watch the Med, link)
Zeman: Refugees should respect Czech rules or leave (Prague Monitor, link): "No one has invited refugees to the Czech Republic, but once they are here, they should respect the rules of this country or leave, President Milos Zeman said in an interview,,, "If you do not like it, just go away," he called on refugees."
Cuatro subsaharianos ahogados al intentar llegar a nado a Ceuta ["Four sub-Saharan drowned while trying to swim to reach Ceuta"] (elpais, link)
Monitoring of externalization policies on immigration (Facebook, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Evaluation of the implementation of the Eurojust Council Decision - Final Report (10 MB, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Dangerous Offenders, Global PNR, Operation Amberlight,
Polish delegation: Proposal for an expert group on the exchange of information on dangerous offenders (LIMITE doc no: 11196-15, pdf)
"The free movement of persons and the abolition of controls at the internal borders of the EU are among the greatest achievements of European integration but are, at the same time, a major challenge to efforts to safeguard security and public order.
The proposed action should not just be confined to certain types of judgment (e.g. the abovementioned bans on travel to certain States). It should also cover (at least at the risk assessment stage) the broadest possible range of criminal offenders."
Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries - a global approach? (LIMITE doc no: 10838-15, pdf):
"1. Up to now, the European Union has taken a bilateral approach concerning the transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data from EU airline companies to third countries; the three current PNR-agreements with the USA, Canada and Australia oblige airline companies to transfer PNR data to authorities relating to all passengers flying to, from or through those countries. All existing PNR transfers to third countries are hence governed by a bilateral agreements and have been negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
2. More and more third countries, among others Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand are (considering) using PNR data for law enforcenment purposes, and have requested or are expected to request entering into bilateral agreements with the Union.".
See also from the European Commission:: On the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries (COM 492-10, pdf)
Joint Police Operation (JPO): Council: Presidency activity AMBERLIGHT 2015 (LIMITE do no 5195-15, pdf) and Presidency Activity: AMBERLIGHT 2015: Final Report (pdf). See: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps (Statewatch)
Historical note: Tony Bunyan: My brush with the D-Notice Committee: Committee concerned that book:
"might wander unwittingly into areas of sensitivity from a security point of view"
In 1976 when I was completing the "History and practice of the Political Police in Britain" (published first in hardback in 1976 by Julian Friedmann Publishers) the D-Notice Committee under Rear Admiral Kenneth Haydn Farnhill CB OBE was a shadowy body - the press could not even print stories published overseas without his say-so. At the time the 1971 D-Notice no 10: British Intelligence Services (pdf) was in force and the book dealt substantively with these "no-go" areas. The Journalist magazine (NUJ) reported in June 1976 what happened:.
Revealed: Police Scotland did break law on spying on journalists (Herald Scotland (link):
"The Sunday Herald can reveal that forces Counter Corruption Unit (CCU) dubbed a secret police force by critics is being probed by a surveillance watchdog over a violation criticised by the Prime Minister.
The revelations prompted the Interception of Communications Commissioner Office (IOCCO), which monitors the use of the RIPA, to investigate the extent of the snooping on reporters across the UK. IOCCO became aware of 34 police investigations over a three-year period, covering the relationship between 105 journalists and 242 sources. A majority of the applications, the Commissioner concluded, failed to justify the principles of necessity and proportionality. In March, the RIPA was amended to require that a revised Code of Practice protected the public interest in the confidentiality of sources,"
UK: D-NOTICE PRESS CENSORING CHANGES: D-Notices replaced by: DSMA (Defence and Security Media Advisory notices (link) and see The Five new NOTICES (pdf)
" Public discussion of the United Kingdom's defence and counter-terrorist policy and overall strategy does not impose a threat to national security and is welcomed by Government. It is important however that such discussion should not disclose details which could damage national security. The DSMA-Notice System is a means of providing advice and guidance to the media about defence and counter-terrorist information the publication of which would be damaging to national security. The system is voluntary, it has no legal authority and the final responsibility for deciding whether or not to publish rests solely with the editor or publisher concerned."
See: The D-notice system: a typically British fudge that has survived a century - This collaboration between state and media has offered a compromise between national security and press freedom yet sometimes has been tested to the limit (Guardian, link)
GERMANY: UPDATED: 31.7.15: Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests - For the good of media freedom, Germanys prosecutor general suspends investigation into reporters who said state planned to boost surveillance (Guardian, link)
Statewatch coverage: Investigative journalism under attack
The Federal Prosecutor General is investigating two German journalists suspected of treason for releasing information classified as "confidential" online. Charges have been filed against Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, the two reporters who run the blog netzpolitik.org.
"That the Federal Prosecutor General who failed to investigate charges against the NSA is now investigating journalists and their whistleblowers is a deeply disturbing assault against journalism critical of the intelligence agencies' activities and an assault against the freedom of press."
EU-USA: Full-text of draft:Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (52 pages, pdf):
"This document is the European Union's proposal for services, investment and e-commerce text. It was tabled for discussion with the US in the negotiating round of 12 -17 July 2015 and made public on 31 July 2015. The actual text in the final agreement will be a result of negotiations between the EU and US."
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): Facial Recognition Technology: Commercial Uses, Privacy Issues, and Applicable Federal Law (pdf)
"No federal privacy law expressly regulates commercial uses of facial recognition technology, and laws do not fully address key privacy issues stakeholders have raised, such as the circumstances under which the technology may be used to identify individuals or track their whereabouts and companions. Laws governing the collection, use, and storage of personal information may potentially apply to the commercial use of facial recognition in specific contexts , such as information collected by health care entities and financial institutions." [emphasis added]
This report above recommends a response to an earlier report which refers to key privacy standards missing: Information Resellers: Consumer Privacy, Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace (2013 report, pdf):
"No overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information among private-sector companies, including information resellers. Instead, a variety of laws tailored to specific purposes, situations, or entities governs the use, sharing, and protection of personal information." [emphasis added]
Burgenlands red-blue coalition of shame (IRR, link): "The Labour Party is debating how to win back votes from UKIP. Meanwhile, in Austria, the Burgenland Social Democrats have set a worrying precedent, entering into a coalition with the extreme Right in the provincial legislative assembly." and Deaths in custody news round-up (IRR, link): "The last month has seen a number of developments in relation to deaths in custody: a misconduct hearing, the ten-year anniversary of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, an inquest, new deaths in custody and a new government review of deaths in police custody. Jean Charles de Menezes remembered." also: Charlie Hebdo backlash the unredacted story (IRR, link): "A new report by Le Collectif Contre lIslamophobie en France (CCIF) documents the intensification of violence against Muslims following the Paris attacks in January 2015."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs cooperation: an honest and equal relationship? (pdf):
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
The USA role in justice and home affairs is like that of the 29th EU state. Year after year since 2001 there have been regular meetings of Ministers and Senior Officials in Brussels and Washington - it also attended the six-monthly G6 meetings of EU Interior Ministers (and its preparatory meetings)
The USA is a major, unseen, influence on EU justice and home affairs policies and practices and uses the meetings to lobby for direct access to EU and Member State databases.
These meetings take place on the oft-repeated assumption that the USA and the EU share common values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental values. However, there are many people, in Europe and the USA, who do indeed believe we share these common values, but not the policies and practices of our governments.
Asylum seeker death toll rising (IRR, link): "In the last two months, at least thirteen people, two of whom were teenagers, have died trying to reach the UK, and countless others have been injured."
The Calais crisis: which Member State is responsible? (EU Law Analysis, link)
UK-FRANCE: JOINT ACTION: ARRANGEMENT ADMINISTRATIF (pdf) [The Joint Action: Government of France and the UK to secure the common border and combate illegal immigration, 2009]
UK: House of Commons: Letter from Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration, to the Committee Chair, 21 July 2015 (pdf)
Germans greet influx of refugees with free food and firebombings - With up to 450,000 asylum-seekers expected this year, a wave of xenophobic attacks has swept Germany, though many others are welcoming the foreigners (Guardian, link)
GREECE: Two groups in distress in the Aegean Sea near Lesvos, rescued by Turkey, one boat punctured by Greek coastguard! (Watch the Med, link): " person contacted us and reported that he had knowledge of a vessel that sought to reach Lesvos but was intercepted by the Greek police. He said that the police boarded their vessel and took away their engine. They then punctured the vessel and left them behind at sea. They were now, of course, in a situation of distress."
What the Calais crisis reveals about racism - The deaths we have seen in Calais are not the first, and until Britain can come to terms with race and racism, they wont be the last (Red Pepper, link)
SERBIA: Fears of humanitarian crisis in Serbia as refugees stream in (euractiv, link): "At the crack of dawn hundreds of refugees, most of them Syrians, stream into Serbia's southern valley of Presevo after a perilous journey they hope will lead to a new life in the European Union."
The Hungary PM made a rivers of blood speech and no one cares - All the attention has been on Europes neo-Nazi fringe groups, when its those in national governments who should be scrutinised (Guardian, link)
EU: Statewatch Briefing: Preparing the ground for smart borders: EU action on overstayers (pdf) by Zakeera Suffee:
"Quiet preparations for the EUs ambitious smart borders proposals are ongoing. This will require the fingerprinting of all non-EU residents entering the Schengen area, and is made up proposals for an Entry/Exit System intended to detect visa overstayers; a Registered Traveller Programme for the vetting of selected individuals before they arrive at EU borders; and proposals for relevant legal amendments to the Schengen Borders Code....
The multiple efforts to ensure ever-greater capture, storage and sharing of information suggest that people on the move are increasingly seen as a threat that needs to be regulated and managed through high-tech surveillance combined with on-the-ground information-gathering and police operations. All of these initiatives pose significant challenges to fundamental rights, in different ways. The fact that they are, for the most part, discussed and prepared in secret only adds to the concerns that they raise."
EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps
The EU wants to replace ink-on-paper passport stamps with a digital alternative as part of its plans for an Entry/Exit System supposed to detect visa "overstayers". Member States are not convinced by the idea.
A proposed new database known as the Entry/Exit System (EES) would require the fingerprinting of all non-residents entering the Schengen area, with the aim of making it easier to calculate and detect who has "overstayed" their visa entitlement. A Registered Traveller Programme (RTP), for the vetting of certain travellers before they reach EU borders, would also be introduced, along with amendments to the Schengen Borders Code.
However, the Commission's plan has raised concerns amongst the Member States. Documents obtained by Statewatch show that a majority of Member States consider passport stamps to be the most effective way of detecting overstayers
EU: MED-CRISIS: Morocco: The forgotten frontline of the migrant crisis (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link):
"It's late afternoon on the forested slopes of Mount Selouane. In single file or knots of friends, young West African men are trudging down the hillside to the dusty, dishevelled outskirts of the Moroccan village of Shadia.
Nearly everyone is carrying an empty water bottle, part of their daily routine to fill them for free from standpipes outside the few general stores. They come as well to get a better network connection, to check their Facebook, make calls home, or catch up on friends who have made it to Europe."
And: Four reasons Syrian safe zone unlikely to work ( (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link):
Also: The only 'migrant madness' is the tabloid pretence about events in Calais - Analysis: It is time to end the lie that a few hundred migrants trying to enter the UK via the Channel tunnel amount to a mass invasion (Guardian, link) and Calais migrant crisis: David Cameron branded 'disgraceful' for Mediterranean 'swarm' remark (IBT, link): "Cameron calling Calais migrants a 'swarm' is nothing short of disgraceful. [It] confirms there's no dog-whistle these Bullingdon Boys won't blow. - Andy Burnham"
EU: European Parliament Study: The General Principles of EU Administrative Procedural Law (pdf):
"Upon request by the JURI Committee this in-depth analysis explains what general principles of EU administrative procedural law are, and how they can be formulated in the recitals of a Regulation on EU administrative procedure."
SPAIN: Statewatch Analysis: ECtHR: Spain guilty of not investigating allegations of torture in incommunicado detention by Yasha Maccanico:
On 5 May 2015, the third section of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg unanimously found Spain guilty of violating the procedural aspects of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Arratibel Garciandia applied to the ECtHR on 6 September 2013, complaining about the failure by Spains internal jurisdiction to effectively investigate allegations that he was subjected to ill-treatment following his arrest at 3 a.m. on 18 January 2011 in his home in Etxarri Aranatz (Navarre). He was placed in incommunicado detention until 22 January and transferred to the Guardia Civils general directorate in Madrid, after his fingerprints and a DNA sample were taken in the Pamplona audiencia provincial (province court) in the Navarre region.
And see :Statewatch Analyses: Resources for researchers (from 1999 - ongoing)
EU: MED-CRISIS:: WHERE IS THE EU GOING?: Channel Tunnel: '2,000 migrants' tried to enter (BBC News, link): "Some 2,000 migrants tried to enter the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais on Monday night in an attempt to reach the UK, operator Eurotunnel has said."
Emergency measures on Kent roads to combat Channel tunnel gridlock - Police reintroduce Operation Stack and close the M20 between junctions eight and nine to non-freight traffic after continued disruption in Calais (Guardian, link) and HMS Bulwark's replacement yet to rescue any migrants in Mediterranean - HMS Enterprise was sent out in place of much larger vessel that saved nearly 5,000, as David Cameron insisted UK would continue to play full role (link).
GERMANY: Amid attacks on refugee homes, explosion destroys Left politician's car near Dresden - A local politician who supported a plan to house refugees in the town of Freital outside Dresden has been the victim of an arson attack. The Left party said that Michael Richter was the target of right-wing threats. (DW, link) and Refugees: German state of Baden-Württemberg sets up refugee task force - To deal with an influx of refugees, the wealthy south-western state of Baden-Württemberg plans to set up a task force and build more shelters. It also wants to speed up the deportation of migrants from "safe" countries. (DW, link)
GREECE: Seven children from makeshift refugee camp in Athens receive treatment (.ekathimerini.com, link)
Czech Republic and Austria to re-enforce border patrols in view of growing number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Latest state of play in secret trilogue meetings at summer break: Chapter II, preparation of trilogue (LIMITE doc no 10790-15, pdf): Developing the Council's position: "With a view to preparing the next trilogue, the Presidency invites delegations to discuss Chapter II . Principles (Articles 5-10).... While underlining that the General Approach reached by Council on 15th June 2015 constitutes the basis of the Presidencys negotiation mandate, and taking into account the position of the European Parliament on Chapter II, the Presidency invites delegations to share their views on the different questions and suggestions listed below (points 7 and 8)." [emphasis added]
and Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue on 14 July 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 10680-15, pdf): 93 pages with multi-column positions. Summary of discussions including: "discussed in a trilogue on the General Data Protection Regulation the provisions related to Chapter V on transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations and on the territorial scope of the Regulation." (emphasis added)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opening a new Chapter for Data Protection (Press release, pdf):
"Today, as the European Data Protection Supervisor sent his recommendations to the EU co-legislators negotiating the final text of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), he launched a mobile app to compare the latest texts from the Commission, the Parliament and the Council more easily on tablets and smartphones.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: Privacy and data protection matter more than ever to people. For the first time in a generation the EU has an opportunity to modernise, harmonise and simplify the rules on how personal information is handled. These rules must be relevant for the next generation of technologies. As part of my remit to be proactive and constructive, my recommendations aim to support the co-legislators to get a better deal for the individual, to make safeguards more effective in practice and enable them to benefit from technological innovation."
And see: EDPS Opinion on the new Regulation (32 pages, pdf) and Annex to Opinion 3/2015: Comparative table of GDPR texts with EDPS recommendations (520 pages, pdf) Multi-column document.
EU PASSENGER NAME RECORD (PNR): Council of the European Union: Preparation for internal trilogues (LIMITE doc no 11105-15: pdf): Multi-column document, 507 pages.
For full background and documentation see Statewatch Observatory: EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record: 2011: ongoing
UK: Scotland Yard shut down undercover police unit because it broke rules - A secret review found that the Special Demonstration Squad ignored ethical issues and gathered information that had no crime-fighting value (Guardian, link):
"The SDS was run by the Met and collected what the review called high-grade intelligence on protesters during deep infiltration operations. Established in 1968, the unit planted more than 100 undercover officers in more than 460 political groups, until it was wound up in 2008. The undercover officers adopted intricate fake personas and pretended to be campaigners for spells of usually five years.
The SDS spies were deployed to gather information about protests organised by campaigns including those of grieving families seeking the truth about police misconduct, environmentalists and anti-racist groups."
Background: Investigation into links between Special Demonstration Squad and Home Office (pdf) and Mark Ellison QC and Allison Morgans: Review of possible miscarriages of justice: Impact of Undisclosed Undercover Police Activity on the Safety of Convictions Report (57 pages, pdf) plus: Special Demonstration Squad: Tradecraft Manual (pdf).
LONDON: PUBLIC ORDER: Metropolitan Police: Guidance documents for Mass or multiple arrests (pdf): A fair bit of it is censored. Contains: Briefing Note Prisoner Transport - Mass Arrest SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] - Briefing Note Good Practice - Supervisors guidance card S12 & S14 (sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986)
Follow the Spycops Across Borders (COPs, link): "German MP Andrej Hunko, who has taken great interest in Mark Kennedys deployment in Germany, has written to the Home Secretary insisting that the forthcoming inquiry into undercover police includes UK officers actions abroad. It comes after Mays announcement last week which, whilst scant on detail, did specify that it will cover operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales. Its known that officers from the political police units have been going abroad for about twenty years. Conversely, their foreign counterparts work over here." See also: Secrets and lies: undercover police operations raise more questions than answers (Statewatch database, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Adopted text: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece - General approach (pdf): "Delegations will find attached a document on the above issue as agreed by the JHA Council on 20 July 2015." and see:
Frontex´ Annual Report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders (pdf)
UK-USA-GCHQ-NSA: Speech by Tony Bunyan Statewatch Director, Cardiff University, 18 June 2015: Surveillance and democracy: the EU and civil liberties (YouTube, link). Tony talks about surveillance with respect to the European Union and the effect the EU has on our civil liberties. He details that what has happen in terms of mass surveillance is nothing new, but what is new is the political and legal framework which allows it to happen. And gives an overview of the relationships between each of the following: 1) Gatherers of data (NSA, GCHQ), 2) Users of data (CIA, FBI), 3) Suppliers of data (Corporations) and 4) Targets of surveillance (Suspected terrorists, protests and dissenters, refugees and asylum seekers, migrant communities, general public)
This talk was given as part of the plenary session entitled State-Media-Citizen Relations in the Surveillance Society. It was part of the 2015 Surveillance and Citizenship Conference held at Cardiff Universitys School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
ITALY: Strage di piazza della Loggia, ergastolo per Maggi e Tramonte 41 anni dopo [Life sentences for Maggi and Tramonte, 41 years after the piazza della Loggia massacre]: 41 years after an attack using explosives against a trade union antifascist demonstration in Brescia in which eight people were killed and more than 100 people were injured on 28 May 1974, Carlo Maria Maggi of the far-right Ordine Nuovo group, and Maurizio Tramonte, a former intelligence service source, were convicted and received life sentences.
UK: What is "The Wilson Doctrine" (House of Commons, pdf) that says MPs must not be put under surveillance by the state?
and see: MPs can no longer remain exempt from surveillance, lawyers concede - James Eadie QC tells investigatory powers tribunal the Wilson doctrine is unworkable in era of bulk interception by intelligence agencies (Guardian, link) and see: What is the Wilson doctrine? The story behind MPs' protection from snooping - The convention, outlined by former Labour PM Harold Wilson, says intelligence agencies should not bug MPs, but that hasnt stopped such behaviour occurring (link)
UK. Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists (The Intercept, link): "A secretive British police investigation focusing on journalists working with Edward Snowdens leaked documents remains ongoing two years after it was quietly launched, The Intercept can reveal.
Londons Metropolitan Police Service has admitted it is still carrying out the probe, which is being led by its counterterrorism department, after previously refusing to confirm or deny its existence on the grounds that doing so could be detrimental to national security. The disclosure was made by police in a letter sent to this reporter Tuesday,
The admission that the investigation remains ongoing triggered criticism from the U.K.s largest journalists organization. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, called on the police to stop attacking press freedom. Journalists who reported on the Snowden documents are not criminals, they are not a threat to national security, Stanistreet said"
GREECE: PRESS RELEASE: Alarming humanitarian crisis at Pedion tou Areos park: The Greek Forum of Refugees, following the Press Release from Afghan Community in Greece, seeks to raise awareness concerning the situation of hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers. Fleeing the war in Afghanistan and seeking for protection and safety in Europe, they arrived in Lesvos Island and ended up in Athens.
- GERMANY: Attacks against Germany's refugee homes on the rise - The rate of violence perpetrated against refugee homes in Germany in 2015 has already outstripped the whole of 2014. The Interior Ministry has warned that right-wing violence is on the rise in the west of the country. (DW, link)
- Calais crisis: Teenage migrant found dead on top of Eurotunnel train (Independent, link)
- Bavarias tough asylum policy gains support across Germany (euractiv, link): "Horst Seehofers confrontational policy against asylum seekers from Balkan states sparked protest in Berlin. But now a growing number of Germany states and municipalities are calling for a tougher approach."
- The Latest: NYC mayor denounces EU over immigration (Yahoo News, link): "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has denounced the European Union for leaving Italy to deal with waves of immigrants coming from North Africa, saying the EU must come up with a Europe-wide immigration policy."
- For them, there is no Schengen - In Europe, freedom of movement is suspended for those who look like migrants" (Politico, link)
- ITALY: Amnesty stages flash mob for migrants in central Rome - Group hands over petition to prime minister's office (ANSA, link)
- GREECE: Minister mulling open facility for migrants in city (ekathimerini.com, link)
- CZECH REPUBLIC: Foreigner police detain 20 to 50 illegal migrants daily (Prague Monitor, link)
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): COMBATING TERRORISM: State Should Evaluate Its Countering Violent Extremism Program and Set Time Frames for Addressing Evaluation Recommendations (pdf):
"Without specific time frames, it will be difficult for the bureau to ensure timely implementation of programmatic improvements. In addition, despite identifying its CVE program as a priority and acknowledging the benefit of evaluating it, the bureau has postponed evaluating it each fiscal year since 2012."
EU-USA: ECCHR and CCR: Former Detainees and Human Rights Groups Appeal Spains Decision to Discontinue Guantánamo Investigation (pdf):
"The Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York, together with their cooperating lawyer in Madrid, Gonzalo Boye, have lodged an appeal against the Spanish National Courts decision to halt the long-running investigation into torture at the U.S. detention center in Guantánamo."
UK: Independent Review into Deaths and Serious Incidents in Custody must be effective and lead to real change (INQUEST, link):
"Responding to the announcement, Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST, said: For the review to be effective bereaved families, their lawyers and INQUEST will need to play an integral role in the review, and the Reviewer will need to take full account of their views and experiences. It must also address why so many previous recommendations from reviews, inquiries and inquests have not been acted upon. It is too early to tell if this is more about a public relations exercise than a real attempt to bring about effective systemic change and the necessary accountability of police officers."
And see: Theresa May to launch independent review of deaths in police custody - Home secretary will state desire to rebuild public confidence in police in speech that comes after tensions between ministers and force under Tory-led coalition (Guardian, link): "Theresa May will announce plans on Thursday to launch an independent review of deaths in police custody as she vows to stamp out the evasiveness and obstruction suffered by families at the hands of the authorities."
EU: SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Amendments 1-125 to Draft motion (pdf) and Draft Motion for a Resolution: On the Follow up to the European Parliament Resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens: Claude Moraes (pdf)
See Statewatch Observatory (June 2013 - ongoing): EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance
COE: Convention on cybercrime: Protocol on xenophobia and racism (280 pages, pdf)
SPIEGEL Interview with Julian Assange: 'We Are Drowning in Material' (Der Spiegel, link): "In an interview, Julian Assange, 44, talks about the comeback of the WikiLeaks whistleblowing platform and his desire to provide assistance to a German parliamentary committee that is investigating mass NSA spying."
UK: MINERS STRIKE 1984-1985: ORGREAVE: We were fed lies about the violence at Orgreave. Now we need the truth - This pivotal event in the miners strike led to a police cover-up. Only an inquiry can correct history and repair broken trust (Guardian, link)
See: Despite finding evidence of assault, police withholding evidence and committing perjury the IPPC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) decides not to investiage any further: IPPC Decision (pdf) and IPPC Review (pdf)
"the IPCC found support for the allegation that three senior police officers in command at Orgreave had made up an untrue account exaggerating the degree of violence (in particular missile throwing) from miners to justify their use of force and the charges of riot. The report said one of these most senior officers had his statement typed and witnessed by another officer who led a team of detectives which, the IPCC said, dictated those identical opening paragraphs of junior officers statements" (Guardian report)
And see: Orgreave: Truth and Justice Campaign (link)
IRELAND: Welcome to Ireland: Migrants who crossed Med face flawed direct provision system (Irish Times, link): " the people who will be prima facie entitled to refugee protection will be forced to endure direct provision, is yet another condemnation of the isolating and punitive direct provision system. The Working Group on the Protection Process and Direct Provision, chaired by Dr Bryan McMahon, suggested a range of practical measures to improve Irish law, policy and administration of the Irish protection system..... A core issue that the McMahon Report examined is the length of time that individuals have to remain in the status determination system for their protection claim."
AUSTRIA: Vienna hotel a model project giving refugees hope - One NGO has found an innovative way to help refugees find employment and hope (aljazeera.com, link)
Gov't prepares campaign to dispel Czechs' fears of refugees (Prague Post, link)
GERMANY: Bavaria under fire for Balkan migrant 'deportation camp' plans (DW, link): "The Bavaria cabinet has announced plans to set up two centers close to its borders specifically to expedite the deportation of Balkan asylum seekers. Human rights groups have dismissed the plans as 'right-wing populism.' "
New York mayor attacks EU migration policy (euobserver, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: COMPULSORY FINGER PRINTING OF MIGRANTS including: "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" including on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" AGREED WITHOUT DISCUSSION at: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels:
Not released until 21.7.15: "A" Points agenda: Non-legislative activities - Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints 11013/15 ASIM 60 EURODAC 8 (adopted without discussion, pdf)
See: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (EU doc no: 11013-15, pdf) agreed at the Council::
"On 16 June 2015, the Commission held an ad-hoc technical meeting with Member States and Associated Countries. The main focus of the meeting was to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges Member States face when taking fingerprints and to agree on a common best practice approach to taking fingerprints in circumstances where the migrant refuses to cooperate. At that meeting, participating Member States reiterated their different practices when fingerprinting asylum seekers and irregular migrants and talked about different ways to deal with non-cooperation and damaged fingertips. The meeting concluded with the unanimous agreement of all Member States present that the best practices put forward in the above Commission document should be followed...
All delegations welcomed the [Commission] document, which, based on existing EU law, provides useful guidance to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints in full respect of fundamental rights and more specifically of the right to data protection... Coreper is therefore requested to recommend that the Council, at its meeting on 20 July 2015, invite the Member States to follow the mentioned 10-step approach." [emphasis added]
There is no reference to the "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" in the Commission proposal (below)
See: European Commission: Staff Working Document on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints(pdf)
See: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
EU states fall short on asylum targets (euobserver, link): "Interior ministers in Brussels on Monday (20 July) fell short of a European Commission-proposed target to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers arriving in Greece and Italy over the next two years. Instead they agreed to relocate 32,356 with Austria and Hungary refusing to take any asylum-seekers, despite the plan being billed by EU leaders last month as a demonstration of European solidarity."
UPDATED 21-7-15: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels: Asylum, Agreements on relocation, resettlement and safe countries of origin: Final press release (pdf)
- Background Note (pdf) The "non-legislative": Agenda (pdf) is solely concerned with:
Resettling 20 000 displaced persons from outside the EU in clear need of international protection
Relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection
Provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece
Designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin
See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:
Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)
Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)
Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)
See also Working Documents from the European Parliament: Developing safe and lawful routes for asylum seekers and refugees into the EU, including the Union resettlement policy and corresponding integration policies (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf) and On Article 80 TFEU Solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including search and rescue obligations (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf)
UK: City of London police put Occupy London on counter-terrorism presentation with al-Qaida - Anti-capitalist campaigners described as domestic extremism and put on slide with pictures of 2005 London bombing and the 1996 IRA bombing (Guardian, link) and see: NETPOL (link)
EU: "FREE MOVEMENT OF [LEA] DATA": Council of the European Union developing its negotiating position on the: Proposed Directive on the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the EU:
- Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data (LIMITE doc no: 10335-15, pdf) 149 pages with 629 Member State position/amendments: "All changes made to the original Commission proposal are underlined text, or, where text has been deleted, indicated by ( ). Where existing text has been moved, this text is indicated in italics. The most recent changes are marked in bold underlining."
- Chapters I, II and V (LIMITE doc no: 10133-15, 63 pages, pdf) Chapter 1: General, Chapter II: Principles and Chapter V: Transferring of personal data to third countries or international organisations. With 219 very detailed Member State positions/amendments including:
"DE, supported by FI, wanted it to be possible to transfer data to private bodies/entities, for cybercrime this was important. NL, SE and SI agreed with DE on the need for a solution on transfer to private parties in third countries...."
- Discussion on questions suggested by the Presidency (LIMITE doc no: 10208-15, pdf)
See Statewatch Observatory: Observatory on data protection and law enforcement agencies - the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and new proposals 2011 ongoing with full-text documentation on all the secret discussions in the Council - Last updated 19 July 2015
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): European Parliament PNR negotiating resolution (pdf) and see: MEPs back surveillance and profiling of air passengers as Council discusses "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states
UK: Public order broadcasting: The Met and the press (IRR News Service, link):
"Embedded journalism and police power
This programme shows how far the gains of the landmark 1999 Macpherson report have been rolled back. The media now considers racism something to be consigned to Britains past; it has been dealt with. As community anger continues in case after case the media, faced with interpreting this dissent, proves incapable of scrutinising the actions that cause it. Left with effect without cause, it has turned to the same institutions that generate anger to fill the gap in the narrative."
FRANCE: Report on detention centres for 2014 - Increased use of detention, including of children and EU nationals
The fifth report on French detention centres, published jointly by the associations ASSFAM, Forum Réfugiés - Cosi, France terre d'asile, La Cimade and Ordre de Malta France, provides a wealth of official data, statistics and critical analysis concerning detention centres and places of detention for migrants on the French mainland and overseas territories for 2014.... [and] a practice initially introduced to target third-country nationals was later extended to Romanians and Bulgarians, and is now being used to deal with citizens of several EU member states..
UK: Universities will be allowed to host extremist speakers within limits: External speakers at campuses must share platform with opponents under compromise on governments Prevent counter-extremism strategy (Guardian, link) and see new: Prevent Duty Guidance:for further education institutions in England and Wales (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: IRELAND: State will take 600 extra migrants in EU initiative - Government agrees to relocation scheme as part of bid to tackle crisis in Mediterranean (Irish Times, link) and Czech Republic expects about 400 asylum seekers to be accepted by end of year (Prague Post, link)
Google pulls controversial map showing German refugee homes - The US search giant deleted an online map that showed the location of homes for asylum seekers and planned shelters across Germany. Activists had urged Google to get rid of the map amid fears it could fuel violence. (DW, link): "Activists fear an online map apparently created by a neo-Nazi group and which shows the locations of refugee homes and planned shelters across Germany could lead to more attacks against asylum seekers."
ITALY: Anti-immigrant protests break out in Rome, Treviso - Fourteen cops injured in clashes in the capital (ANSA, link)
UK: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: The United Kingdom opt-in to the proposed Council Decision on the relocation of migrants within the EU (pdf): "We understand that the Government is minded not to opt into the proposed Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece. Nevertheless, we believe that it is in the United Kingdoms interest to take part in the negotiation of this proposal, and that, should an amended or a new proposal be brought forward giving effect to the European Councils Conclusions in April and June 2015, the Government should reconsider its position and opt in."
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission's positions: "safe countries of origin", "Hotspot pre-removal centres" & Frontex as a "removal Agency
- Information note on safe countries of origin (18 pages, pdf): Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments:
"The CJEU ruled back in 2006 that the Council could not give itself special power to adopt a common list of supposed safe countries of origin, but had to follow the full EU legislative process. When EU law on asylum procedure was revised in 2013, the power to adopt such a common list was deliberately left out. But the Council now plans to draw up a de facto common list, with no democratic accountability whatsoever, in clear contempt for the rule of law."
- Explanatory note on the Hotspot approach (pdf): "structured border zones" are now referred to as "first reception facilities".or "pre-removal centres"
- Support to be provided by Frontex to frontline Member States on the return of irregular migrants (pdf) emphasises Frontex's role as a "returns" Agency rather that a Border Agency: "The Commission has announced its intention to propose to amend the Frontex Regulation to strengthen the role of Frontex, notably so that it can initiate return missions." [emphasis added]
- Letter from Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS to Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (pdf):
"The aim of the "Hotspot" approach is to provide comprehensive and targeted support by the EU Agencies to frontline Member States which are faced with disproportionate migratory pressures at the external borders.... Frontex will provide prompt support for the identification of irregular migrants, the acquisition of travel document for their return, as well as carrying out return operations to bring them back to their home countries... . establishment of a common EU list of "safe countries of origin" [emphasis added]
See below documents on the Council's positions
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015: Background Note (pdf) This will be a Mixed Committee (with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland attending) meeting discussing:
"Home affairs ministers will discuss the implementation package of the European Agenda on Migration as regards the resettlement and relocation of 60 000 persons in clear need of protection in the member states. Ministers are also expected to adopt conclusions on the designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin within the meaning of the Asylum Procedures directive."
Statement from Informal JHA meeting on 9 July (pdf)
See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:
Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)
Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)
Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)
Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (euractiv, link):
"The German Institute for Human Rights has criticised the repurposing of the EU's fingerprint database, Eurodac, for registering asylum seekers. Tagesspiegel reports. Biometric information, to which the police will soon be given access, will be stored there for ten years, just because an individual has fled their country, activists have warned.
The German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR) has come out strongly against the biometric registration of asylum seekers at Europe's external borders. The new regulation on Eurodac, scheduled to take effect on 20 July, is a misuse of the EU database and allows for "considerable interference into fundamental rights", said Eric Töpfer, a research associate at the institute."
and see: ECRE expresses concern over the European Commission's guidance on Eurodac fingerprinting (aida, link): "ECRE has published comments on the European Commissions Staff Working Document on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints, issued on 27 May 2015 as part of the first round of implementing measures announced by the European Agenda on Migration. These comments point to some alarming elements in the Commissions guidance that challenges several underlying principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights."
Also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
Joint statement by European Roma Rights Centre, Idea Rom Onlus and Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione on convictions for an attack on a Roma camp in Turin On 17 July 2015, the ERRC, Idea Rom Onlus and ASGI issued a statement which welcomes the conviction of six people for a violent attack in December 2011.
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICE: Attorney-General: Mark Ellison QC and Allison Morgans: REVIEW OF POSSIBLE MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE: Impact of Undisclosed Undercover Police Activity on the Safety of Convictions Report (57 pages, pdf).
Convictions of 83 political campaigners in doubt over undercover police failings - Report finds officers deployed to infiltrate groups appeared in trials using fake personas and allowed false evidence to be presented in court (Guardian, link) and Doreen Lawrence calls for undercover police who spied on family to be named - Mother of murdered teenager Stephen says officers who infiltrated political groups should be named at public inquiry (Guardian, link)
See: Home Secretary announces terms of reference for undercover policing inquiry - Theresa May also establishes miscarriages of justice panel to sit alongside inquiry following Mark Ellison's review (Home Office, link)
And see: National Undercover Scrutiny Panel more minutes released (Undercover, link)
UK: SURVEILLANCE: High court rules data retention and surveillance legislation unlawful - Victory for Tory MP David Davis and Labours Tom Watson, who said there were insufficient privacy safeguards, as judges find Dripa inconsistent with EU law (Guardian, link):
"The high court has found that emergency surveillance legislation introduced by the coalition government last year is unlawful. A judicial challenge by the Labour MP Tom Watson and the Conservative MP David Davis has overturned the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (Dripa) 2014. The judges ruled that data retention powers in the legislation were inconsistent with EU laws. The government has been ordered to pass new legislation that must come into effect by the end of next March..... they argued, were there adequate safeguards against communications data leaving the European Union." and: Davis and Watson DRIPA challenge: Government surveillance law is unlawful, High Court rules (Liberty, link)
See Judgments by HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE: DRIPA Davis (pdf) and DRIPA Davis-Watson Order (pdf)
Also: Statewatch: Analysis: Mass surveillance of communications in the EU: - CJEU judgment and DRIPA 2014/RIPA 2000 in the UK (pdf)
EU-MED CRISIS: European Parliament: MEPs want a binding and permanent scheme to distribute asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "A binding emergency mechanism to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states was backed by civil liberties MEPs on Thursday. An upcoming permanent scheme, on which Parliament will decide jointly with the Council, must be based "on a more substantial contribution to solidarity and responsibility-sharing among member states", MEPs say."
Refugees face harsh plight in Greece (euractiv, link)
Arson attack on Bavarian building due to house asylum seekers - Police in Bavaria are investigating an arson attack on a building in the town of Reichertshofen, north of Munich, scheduled to house asylum seekers from September. Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control. (DW, link)
Police clash with anti-refugee protestors in Rome - Police on Friday clashed with a group of protestors who had set up a road block against the arrival of a group of refugees in a northern suburb of Rome as they broke through the cordon.(ANSA, link):"Four police officers were hurt in scuffles with residents in the northern Rome suburb of Casale San Nicola who were trying to stop 19 migrants being moved into a centre in the area Friday, the Rome police HQ said."
Asylum for refugees to be paid for by EU (Radio Poland, link)
EU: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean 15 July 2015 (pdf): 14 new key documents and 21 news stories
EU-PNR: MEPs back surveillance and profiling of air passengers as Council discusses "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has approved a proposed text for the EU PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive, by 32 votes to 27. The legislation will be finalised later in the year through secret trilogue discussions between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Jan Phillip Albrecht, a Green MEP, has long been a critic of the proposed scheme. Remarking upon the deal, he said: "If these proposal do not infringe constitutional or treaty provisions, then civil rights in the EU is meaningless."
And: other developments: the text of a secret Council discussion document on a "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states; EU and Mexico open negotiations on PNR agreement: See: Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries: a global approach? (LIMITE doc no: 10838/15, pdf)
Greek Lawmakers Approve Bailout as Angry Protesters Clash With Riot Police (Vice News, link): "After five hours of heated debate, Greek lawmakers voted to approve tough new austerity measures on Wednesday, allowing an 86 billion euro bailout deal to go ahead despite dissent within the ruling Syriza party and a tense atmosphere outside Parliament in Athens, where protesters gathered in Syntagma Square in a show of opposition."
- Greek MPs pass austerity bill as Athens police clash with protesters (The Guardian, link)
- What Greece must do to receive a new bail-out (The Economist, link)
- Spain's Podemos distances itself from Greece (Ekathimerini, link)
EU: FRONTEX: Latest statistics and analysis from EU border agency Frontex
The publication is divided into two sections.
1. A "situational overview" covering risk analysis indicators; surveillance; border checks; "situation in the EU"; and fraudulent documents.
2. A series of "featured risk analyses" on: South-Eastern Europe: Migrants from Kosovo ranked first in Q1; Eastern Mediterranean route: Increasing flow of migrants arriving in the Eastern Aegean Sea; Central Mediterranean route: Winter low followed by spring increase; and Effective returns: Comparison with other indicators shows different patterns.
The annex contains statistical tables.
See: Frontex Risk Analysis Network Quarterly: Quarter 1, January-March 2015 (pdf)
MED CRISIS: House of Commons Library: Briefing paper: Mediterranean boat people (pdf): "Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The numbers safely reaching their destination are creating problems for the recipient countries... The EU has also launched a military operation called EUNAVFOR MED, to disrupt the smuggling business that would include destroying boats used by the smugglers. The UK has contributed HMS Enterprise to the operation. There are, however, significant legal and practical problems with this approach."
Cybercriminal Darkode forum taken down through global action (Europol press release, pdf): "This week, law enforcement and judicial authorities worldwide have taken down the most prolific English-speaking cybercriminal forum to date: Darkode. In an international coordinated action against the hacking forum and its users, investigators from all over the world targeted cybercriminals that were using the Darkode forum to trade and barter their hacking expertise, malware and botnets, and to find partners for their next spam runs or malware attacks."
See also: Criminal hacking bazaar Darkode is dismantled and 70 members are busted (Ars Technica, link) and Dozens Nabbed in Takedown of Cybercrime Forum Darkode (Wired, link): "So far at least 12 people have been arrested in the US, and another 28 are known to have been arrested on Tuesday in Denmark, Germany, India, Israel, Romania, Sweden, and the UK."
EU: EUROJUST: Judicial cooperation agency dealing with growing number of cross-border criminal cases
"Eurojusts Annual Report 2014 reveals that the number of serious organised crime cases registered with Eurojust has grown steadily every year since 2002, when Eurojust had 202 cases. In 2014, the number of cases increased to 1 804, an increase over 2013 of 14.5 %, and demonstrates the increased demand by the Member States for Eurojusts cross-border judicial support."
- Press release: Eurojusts Annual Report 2014 demonstrates increasing number of criminal cases from Member States (pdf)
- Eurojust Annual Report 2014 (pdf)
EU-PNR: Travel surveillance and profiling: European Parliament voting on PNR proposal today
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee will today (15 July) vote on whether or not to approve the proposed PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive. This will establish an EU-wide legal basis for handing air passengers' data to national law enforcement units, which will process and analyse the data in the name of combating terrorism and crime. The European Parliament's political groups are divided on the proposal.
GERMANY: Germany's Leading Digital Rights Blog Netzpolitik.org Accused Of 'Treason' After Leaking Bulk Surveillance Plans (Techdirt, link):
"Netzpolitik.org is arguably the most influential German blog in the realm of digital rights. It played a key role in marshalling protests against ACTA three years ago. You'd think the German government would be proud of it as an example of local digital innovation, but instead, it seems to regard it as some kind of traitor: "
See also: Criminal Charges From Domestic Secret Service: Federal Prosecutor Investigates our Publications, Leaks and Sources (Netzpolitik.org, link)
UK: Domestic drones: does the government take public debate seriously?
Does the UK government take public debate on domestic drones seriously? It hasn't yet set a date for a parliamentary debate on domestic drones, says its planned "public dialogue" will likely be "a series of drop-in events around the UK later in the year," and has recently been forced to agree to greater transparency over official plans for drones.
Belgium exposed vulnerable Serbian asylum seekers to extreme poverty in breach of ECHR
ECRE's weekly bulletin reports that: "In a judgment delivered this week, the European Court of Human Rights held that the conditions of extreme poverty faced by a Serbian family of asylum seekers following their eviction from an accommodation centre in Belgium amounted to degrading treatment, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)."
ECHR press release: The conditions of extreme poverty faced by a family of asylum seekers following their eviction from an accommodation centre constituted degrading treatment (pdf)
Judgment: AFFAIRE V.M. ET AUTRES c. BELGIQUE (pdf)
GERMANY: New anti-terrorism laws come into force
"On June 20 and on June 30, 2015, new anti-terrorism legislation entered into force in Germany. The new law makes it a crime to travel outside the country with the intent to receive terrorist training, adds a new section on terrorism financing to the Criminal Code, and creates national identity card and passport restrictions on foreign fighters."
USA: Congressional Research Service: Dark Web (pdf):
"The furthest corners of the Deep Web, segments known as the Dark Web, contain content that has been intentionally concealed. The Dark Web may be used for legitimate purposes as well as to conceal criminal or otherwise malicious activities. It is the exploitation of the Dark Web for illegal practices that has garnered the interest of officials and policy makers."
See also: How Did The FBI Break Tor? (Forbes, July 2014, link): "Global law enforcement conducted a massive raid of the Dark Web this week."
EU: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes
Today the JHA Counsellors, a secretive working party of the Council of the EU, is discussing draft agreements between the Member States that concern the ongoing migration crisis. On the agenda are a set of conclusions on "designating certain third countries as safe countries of origin", and recommendations on resettlement programmes for 40,000 people currently in Italy and Greece and 20,000 people outside of the EU.
GERMANY: Authorities abandon comprehensive fingerprinting due to refugee numbers
Deutsche Welle reports that: "Border authorities in Bavaria have given up trying to take the fingerprints of all the refugees entering the country, reported "Der Spiegel" on Monday."
UK: Privacy campaigners win concessions in UK surveillance report (The Guardian, link): "Privacy campaigners have secured significant concessions in a key report into surveillance by the British security agencies published on Tuesday. The 132-page report, A Democratic Licence To Operate, which Nick Clegg commissioned last year in the wake of revelations by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, acknowledges the importance of privacy concerns."
However: "Despite its concessions to the privacy lobby, the report overall is more favourable to the police and intelligence services than to the campaigners." The panel that wrote the report included "three former heads of UK intelligence agencies," and "also calls for an overhaul of existing legislation."
Full report: A Democratic Licence to Operate: Report of the Independent Surveillance Review (pdf) and Statements by Panel Members (pdf)
GREECE: Court awards 132,000 to HIV-positive inmates after prison hospital human rights breaches (Human Rights Europe, link): "Detention conditions for 13 HIV positive inmates in a Greek prison hospital's psychiatric wing, breached European human rights law, judges ruled today the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights; a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention."
Documents from the ECHR: Press release: Inadequate physical conditions and sanitation facilities for HIV-positive persons in Korydallos Prison Hospital (pdf) and judgment: AFFAIRE MARTZAKLIS ET AUTRES c. GRÈCE (pdf, French)
UK Home Affairs Committee begins inquiry into the situation in Calais
The first evidence session will be held today (14 July). Evidence is to be provided by Alan Pughsley QPM, Chief Constable, Kent Police; Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association; James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association; John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, Eurotunnel; Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration.
See: Immigration: the situation in Calais
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after informal Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg (pdf):
"Although a national competence, the European Commission and the EU Agencies can play a crucial role in supporting Member States and facilitating information exchange among EU actors. At European level we need to continue to increase cooperation and intelligence sharing between national authorities.,,,
on the 1st of July, Europol launched the Internet Referral Unit (IRU). This Unit, which will become fully operational in the next 12 months, will support Member States in identifying and removing online terrorist material. It is also essential to have strong public-private cooperation in the field of security. To this end, the Commission will establish an Internet Forum that will bring together Member States and Internet Service Providers. The aim is to reduce the accessibility of online terrorist material and to counter the terrorist narrative and propaganda." [emphasis added]
See: Fight against terrorism: Follow-up to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) of 12-13 March 2015 - Implementation of Counter-Terrorism measures (LIMITE doc no: 9418-15, pdf) which says:
"Europol is expected to establish a European response concerning internet content referral activities with concerned private industry companies, with Member States envisaging support to the EU IRU by appointing national EU IRU contact points. Referral activities will not constitute an enforceable act, thus the decision and related implementation of the referral is taken under full responsibility and accountability of the concerned service provider." [p8, emphasis added]
EU: European Parliament Resolution: European Agenda on Security: European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2015 (pdf): Adopted (by 250 votes to 204, with 184 abstentions).
Agence Europe reported that: " Monika Hohlmeier (PPE) regretted... that the link between irregular immigration and terrorism was rejected by MEPs. This approach to security is, in her view "reckless and unacceptable".... [the Resolution] condemned any lumping together of terrorism, immigration and Islam, and also serious violations of fundamental rights, epitomised by the secret CIA prisons in Europe."
See: Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones and European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf)
UK: Former girlfriend of undercover spy sues corporate security firm - Environmental activist who had a relationship with spy Mark Kennedy is taking legal action against Global Open thought to be first lawsuit of its kind (Guardian, link): "The woman is taking legal action against Global Open, a commercial firm hired by companies to monitor protesters. She alleges in the high court case that Mark Kennedy pursued her to start the relationship, while, she says, he worked undercover for Global Open."
See "Global Open" (link)
Caspar Bowden Legacy Fund for privacy advocacy and technology (link): "Caspar Bowden worked for over 20 years to protect fundamental freedoms on-line and off-line, and in particular the right to privacy and freedom from mass surveillance... In the hospital Caspar Bowden asked that we work to ensure equal protection regardless of nationality. Privacy is a universal human right."
Hacking Team Leaks Reveal Spyware Industry's Growth, Negligence of Human Rights (EFF, link): "This weeks document leak from surveillance software vendor Hacking Team provided new details on the burgeoning growth of a private surveillance industry which has spread globally without any meaningful oversight. While revealing many new and concerning aspects of Hacking Teams activities, it also confirmed a number of theories weve long suspected about their operations." With global map.
EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR says Greece faces 'unprecedented' migrant emergency (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Greece is facing an "unprecedented" emergency as migrants fleeing war and poverty stream into the country's islands in huge numbers, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The UNHCR said 77,100 people have arrived in Greece by sea this year, an average of 1,000 per day, overwhelming local authorities. The country's precarious economic situation is putting severe strain on small islands that are unable to cope, the agency said.
"Greece is part of the European Union and this is happening in Europe," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said in Geneva. "We would like the European Union to have a much more active role in responding to the situation in Greece.""
UK: Government deradicalisation plan will brand Muslims with beards as terrorists, say academics (Indpendent, link)
And see Letter: "PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent - The latest addition to the United Kingdoms counter-terrorism framework remains fixated on ideology as the primary driver of terrorism" (link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION - TRILOGUE -Latest: 8.7.15: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (LIMITE doc no: 10391-15, 683 pages, MB4.4, pdf):
"Delegations will find in annex the 4 column table on the General Data Protection Regulation which comprises the Commission proposal, the first reading Position of the European Parliament and the General Approach of the Council." [New text is highlighted]
Previous versions: (dated 2.7.15): Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE Council doc no: 10366-15, 93 pages, pdf): Run-up to the trilogues are: LIMITE doc no 9985-REV-2-15 (26 June 2015, 79 pages, pdf) and LIMITE doc no 9565-15 (201 pages, 11 June 2015, pdf)
EU: Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting
Two new reports on EU databases have been released by the EU's Agency for Large-Scale IT Systems (eu-LISA), which is responsible for managing and developing the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS) and Eurodac (used by Member States to compare the fingerprints of migrants and asylum seekers). The new reports concern SIS and Eurodac.
SURVEILLANCE: Interesting historical review: Editorial - Before and After Snowden (pdf):
"In retrospect, it seems somewhat premature to have issued a call on Surveillance and Security Intelligence after Snowden.
At the time of writing, despite his enforced exile in Russia, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, seems almost ubiquitous as a participant in debates on transnational surveillance, even appearing virtually on one occasion in a Canadian High School (Bradshaw 2015). And, as with all such impromptu historical periodizations, there is always also a case to be made to say that Snowdens revelations didnt change as much as we thought it might, or at least, rested on a legacy of former events or long-standing processes.
In the case of surveillance and security intelligence, the latter is certainly true. The former remains open as revelations and discussion resulting from both the documents taken by Snowden continue in the broader context of the changed climate of transparency resulting from his revelations and other major initiatives like Wikileaks."
And see: Surveillance & Society (link)
Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Self defence or a licence to kill? (link): "When we look at the figures of young African Americans shot dead, some might comfort themselves with the mantra thank goodness our police forces, unlike those of the US, are not routinely armed - But look at our record of BAME killings when they are armed."
EU: European Parliament: Copyright reform: promote cultural diversity and ensure access to it, say MEPs (Press Release, pdf) and Adopted text: Harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights (pdf)
See: Press Release: European Parliament shows little ambition on copyright reform (EDRI, link)
UK: Outspoken privacy campaigner Caspar Bowden dies after battle with cancer - Tributes pour in after well respected anti-surveillance campaigner and former Microsoft privacy chief who warned of NSA snooping before Snowden dies (Guardian, link):
"Microsofts former head of privacy and respected independent privacy campaigner Caspar Bowden has died after a battle with cancer. A popular and outspoken figure in privacy advocacy, Bowden was particularly active after the Snowden revelations of government surveillance, advising the European parliament among others. He was a co-founder of the UK-based Foundation for Information Policy Research."
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg, 9-10 July 2015:
- A brief update on the state of play of cooperation between security and intelligence services in the fight against terrorism (pdf)
Contains an extraordinary proposal to consider giving intelligence and internal security agencies right to intervene in policy-making by finding: "ways in which policy initiatives at the EU level could take into account the concerns, opinions and suggestions from security services at an early stage in the legislative process." and allowing: "access by security services to information such as the PNR, SIS, and call detail records, as essential tools in the fight against terrorism"
- Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (pdf)
- Reflections on a revision of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000 (pdf)
Background: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf): There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)
CoE: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): Dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech: annual report from Council of Europes anti-racism commission (link):
"Strasbourg, 9 July 2015 With conflicts in the Middle East, acts of Islamist violence in Europe and incidents of unprecedented mass arrivals of migrants, the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), published today, identifies a dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech and xenophobic political discourse as main trends in 2014."
And see: Annual Report (pdf)
:UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere (pdf): "Racial and ethnic profiling, defined as a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity, has been a persistent and pervasive issue in law enforcement, and its use has often arisen in connection with policies on national security and immigration."
See: UN Racism Rapporteur Presents Road Map to End Ethnic Profiling (Liberties.eu, link).
VERY SAD NEWS: [Privacy activist Caspar Bowden has died]: Datenschutz-Aktivist Caspar Bowden ist gestorben (netzpolitik.org, link):
"Data protection activist Caspar Bowden has died. He is co-founder of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), a British NGO, which has been very active earlier. From 2002-2011 he was Privacy Officer of Microsoft for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After its end at Microsoft, he was a harsh critic of US surveillance programs, and warned before the start of the Snowden revelations before the FISA courts and the powers as PRISM, who can give this secret court the US intelligence agencies. He was also involved for Anonymisation infrastructures, including the board of the TOR project. For the Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament (LIBE) he had written the report "The US Surveillance Program and Their Impact on EU citizens' fundamental rights" (PDF) last year."
MET POLICE: Is it a criminal offence to watch a video? (Jack of Kent Blog, link):
"The Metropolitan Police put out an alarmist statement this week that, in certain circumstances, merely viewing a video could constitute a criminal offence under terrorist legislation. This is, of course, false. There is no such terrorism offence for viewing a video, and the Met could not substantiate their claim when challenged. It seems to me that the Met press office simply invented a viewing offence. My full post on the Mets alarmist and false statement is at the FT (free to access, but registration required). The conclusion of my FT post (which should be read in full for context) reads: "It would appear that the [Met] press office, which had produced and promoted the bold statement that that viewing a video could itself be a criminal act under terrorism legislation, could not substantiate it when challenged."
EU: European Asylum Support Office (EASO): Annual Report for 2014 (pdf)
Agence Europe reports: "The latest annual report - for 2014 - from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published on Wednesday 8 July confirmed the record rise in asylum requests. More than 660,000 requests for international protection were received by the 28 EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland. Of these, 128,000 were from Syrian nationals. The 660,000 asylum applications is a 43% increase on 2013 and a record number since data were first gathered in 2008, EASO states."
EU: European Parliament study: Adoption without consent (pdf):
"At the request of the PETI Committee and on the basis of petitions submitted on the matter of adoption without parental consent in England and Wales, this study examines the law and practice in England and Wales, in comparison to other jurisdictions within the European Union. It further details the procedures followed by the English courts in relation to child protection proceedings involving a child who has a connection to another EU Member State, and gives recommendations for cooperation between States in future proceedings."
EU: The Missing Piece in the European Agenda on Migration: the Temporary Protection Directive (EU Law Analysis, link): "The EUs Temporary Protection Directive entered in force in 2001 and was the first EU directive on international protection adopted after the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force in 1999.... Lack of implementation of the Directive in the past 14 years"
USA-GERMANY: ALL THE CHANCELLOR'S MEN (Wikileaks, link): "Wednesday 8 July at 1800 CEST, WikiLeaks publishes three NSA intercepts of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with a list of 56 National Security Agency (NSA) target selectors for the Chancellor and the Chancellery. It lists not only confidential numbers for the Chancellor, but also for her top officials, her aides, her chief of staff, her political office and even her fax machine. The combined German NSA target lists released by WikiLeaks so far shows the NSA explicitly targeted for long-term surveillance 125 phone numbers for top German officials and did so for political and economic reasons, according to its own designations."
And see documents: NSA high priority targets for Germany - All The Chancellor's Men (link)
Also: WikiLeaks says NSA spied on top German politicians 'for decades': "Documents released by WikiLeaks appear to show the US spied on close aides of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other officials for years. The leaks show Merkel's private and professional opinions on a range of issues." (DW, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf)
There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble.
and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)
SURVEILLANCE: Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Technical Report, pdf):
"we set out in detail the questions for which policymakers should require answers if the demand for exceptional access is to be taken seriously. Absent a concrete technical proposal, and without adequate answers to the questions raised in this report, legislators should reject out of hand any proposal to return to the failed cryptography control policy of the 1990s."
See also: UK and US demands to access encrypted data are 'unprincipled and unworkable' - Influential group of international cryptographers and computer scientists says proposals will open door to criminals and malicious nation states (Guardian, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Migrant dies on UK-bound freight train near Calais - Death is second in two weeks amid migration crisis at French port, causing delayed passenger services and freight traffic (Guardian, link)
Greek island of Lesbos struggles to cope with migrant influx (BBC News, link): "Record-breaking numbers of migrants are arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos, overwhelming local authorities, local police say. About 1,600 landed on the island on Saturday alone, the island's chief of police said."
Hungary MPs approve border fence and anti-migrant law (BBC News, link): "Hungary's parliament has passed new legislation tightening asylum rules, and backed plans to erect a border fence to keep out migrants. The new law allows the detention of migrants in temporary camps, the speeding up of asylum assessments and limiting the possibility for appeal. The move was criticised by the UN and human rights groups."
Balkans: Refugees and migrants beaten by police, left in legal limbo and failed by EU (AI, link): "Thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants including children making dangerous journeys across the Balkans are suffering violent abuse and extortion at the hands of the authorities and criminal gangs and being shamefully let down by a failing European Union (EU) asylum and migration system which leaves them trapped without protection in Serbia and Macedonia, said Amnesty International in a new report."
Morpho wins Estonian API deal (Security Document World.com, link):
"Morpho has been awarded a major contract from the Estonian government to supply an Advanced Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API-PNR) system." Estonia was awarded nearly 5 million by the European Commission in 2012 for the setting up of a national PNR processing and analysis system. Given the ongoing development of national PNR systems with a view to interconnecting them, the following paragraph is noteworthy. According to Morpho:
"This latest contract reinforces our already established partnership with the Estonian government. Morpho also advocates a holistic view of data sharing and interface across borders, developing solutions which will ultimately facilitate data exchange on the European level."
See: EU: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database) and More recently, the Commission has made funds available specifically for
the interconnection of national PNR systems. Page 10 of this document: Commission Implementing Decision: Annual Work Programme for 2015 for support to Union Actions under the Internal Security Fund Police cooperation and crime prevention (pdf)
EU Council of the European Union: Combating racism, Protecting Public Figures, Cybersecurity, DAPIX, Piracy, Europol/Customs & Visa Code
- Combating racism - state of play of work in the Council (EU: doc no: 9499-15, pdf). The Council adopted a Framework Decision in 2008 (pdf) and Report on the Framework Decision (2014, pdf). Historical reminder: European Parliament: Report drawn up on behalf of the Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia on the findings of the Committee of Inquiry (Rapporteur: Glyn Ford: 1991, pdf)
- Law Enforcement Working Party (European Network for the Protection of Public Figures - ENPPF) Subject: ENPPF work programme (LIMITE doc no: 9742-15, pdf) among the concerns are: "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles".
- EU Cybersecurity Strategy: Road map development (LIMITE doc no: 6183-Rev-2-15, pdf) Detailed six-column document (23 pages)
- Working Group on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Subject: Future of DAPIX expert meetings (CM 2886-15, LIMITE, pdf): "During the LV Presidency, some Member States emphasised the need to maintain expert meetings on DNA, FP, VRD topics. However, the incoming Presidency estimates that such meetings should only take place if a substantial agenda is available."
- Results of the European Firearms Experts (EFE) meeting held on 14-15 April 2015 in Helsinki (Finland) - Assignment of commercial security staff - Piracy against vessels (LIMITE doc no: 9718-15, pdf): "The spiralling incidents involving piracy are causing shipping companies to also assign armed private security forces on their vessels in order to better fend off attacks by pirates. New questions which impact the control of weapons crime and the prevention of arms trafficking are therefore arising where government action and police co-operation are concerned."
- Strategic review: Europol and Customs LIMITE doc no: 9572-15, pdf): "Europol has access to only a fraction of the information and expertise available at national level as Europol is generally not the preferred channel of communication for Customs."
- Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) (LIMITE doc no 9450-15, pdf) and Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) (LIMITE doc no 9029-15, pdf) With Member States' positions. See also: EU visa policy: A dash for growth? (EU Law Analysis (link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Commission Recommendation of 8.6.2015 on a European resettlement scheme - Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece = Main outstanding issues (LIMITE doc no 10524-15, pdf)
And see: Draft Report on the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf): Rapporteur: Ska Keller MEP
The discussion paper for Coreper (Member States' representatives to the EU) confirms that the Council is still intending to adopt the Commission's proposal to relocate 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece. There seems no prospect of increasing the numbers to 50,000, to take account of the increased numbers coming to the EU, as the draft Keller report suggests. Nor is it clear yet what the Council will do if Member States do not offer voluntarily the full 40,000 places, given that the Commission's idea of mandatory quotas will be dropped.
However, the Council is considering amending the rules on which nationalities are covered by the rules. This would mean that not only Syrians and Eritreans would be covered by the Decision; nationalities could be added or removed depending on refugee recognition rates (for instance, Afghans and Somalians also have a fairly high rate of successful claims).
The draft Council document shows great concern to avoid 'secondary movements', ie refugees or asylum-seekers moving between Member States. However, it says nothing about the part of the draft Keller report which would most obviously address this issue: allowing refugees to express a preference over which country they go to, and giving them a veto over their relocation. If refugees are only sent to countries which they prefer to and/or agree to be in, they are much less likely to move to another Member State.
See also: EU Naval Force EUNAVFOR MED sets sail in troubled waters (CEPS, link)
EU: European Commission: Commission Staff Working Document - Report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries (SWD 132-15, pdf):
"The principal objective of the survey is to identify those third countries in which the state of IPR protection and enforcement gives rise to the greatest level of concern, and thereby to enable the Commission to focus its activities and resources aiming at the improvement of IPR protection worldwide by establishing an updated list of so-called "priority countries"."
Defiant Greeks vote 'No' in victory for Tsipras (France 24, link). And see: Greek referendum no vote signals huge challenge to eurozone leaders - Victory by Syriza party of 60% to 40% in polarising referendum presents nightmare for eurozone elites, particularly Germanys Angela Merkel (Guardian, link)
UK: Walk down the wrong street and you're back in prison: the Kafkaesque life of a terror suspect in Britain - Since Algerian asylum seeker Y was arrested in 2003, he has spent years behind bars or unable to move more than a few miles, yet he has never been convicted of a crime. What is it like to exist under such extraordinary restrictions? (Guardian, link):
"By order of a court, the Guardian cannot publish Ys real name. We may identify him only as Y. If we breach the order, I may be sent to jail. All this is happening in Britain in 2015".
UK: Report of the Intelligence Services Commissioner for 2014 (pdf): Bulk data collection, the Commissioner reports that:
""I oversee how the intelligence services store and use bulk personal data (BPD). There is no statutory definition of BPD, but in essence BPD refers to data belonging to a range of individuals acquired by or held on one or more analytical systems in the intelligence services. The majority of these individuals are unlikely to be of intelligence interest." [emphasis added]
In 2014 a total of 2,032 surveillance/operations warrants were issued for: the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). No breakdown of the global figure is given - some warrants are for individuals/groups others are open-ended/general warrants. They cover Intrusive Surveillance, Directed Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS). There are also Property Interference Warrants (Intelligence Services Act), Section 5:
"A property warrant may be used for remote interference with a computer in order to obtain information from the computer"
Plus "class authorisations" for GCHQ and MI6 under "Section 7 of ISA the Secretary of State (in practice normally the Foreign Secretary) may authorise SIS or GCHQ to undertake acts outside the United Kingdom.... Section 7 authorisations can be used for highly intrusive activities"
EU: Council of the European Union: Europol: To: Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security Subject: Proposals from Europol: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7272-15, pdf)
"Europols experience, supported by the figures below, is that the expectations generated by these political decisions have not been generally met, with the potentials for the full and proper use of Europols information management capabilities not realised in the area of counter terrorism."
Europol's new roles on counter-terrorism derive from political direction given by the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 12 March 2015 and the Paris and Riga statements. The legal basis for Europol's new role such as Check the Web, Focal Point Travellers and using existing mechanisms like SIENA and the Europol Information System is the Council Decision 2005/671/JHA of 20 September 2005 on the exchange of information and cooperation concerning terrorist offences (pdf). This Decision states all information concerning terrorist investigations should be sent to Europol and Eurojust (Article 2) and sent, under Article 6 to "other interested Member States". The Decision makes no provision for the correction of the data/intelligence files provided nor for its deletion should an investigated or detained person(s) be released, not charged or acquitted. It should be noted that most terrorist investigation files will concern more than one person (the suspect), possibly involving their family and friends.
UK: Annual Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner for 2014-2015 (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Valletta Conference on Migration (Malta, 11-12 November 2015) - Orientation debate (pdf):
"Delegations will find enclosed at annex a note issued under the responsibility of the Cabinet of the President of the European Council, in close cooperation with the European External Action Service and the Commission services....
The Summit will bring together the leaders of the most concerned countries of origin, transit and destination as well as regional organisations to identify, agree and launch actions to jointly address immediate and long term migration challenges as well as to reinforce the current mechanisms to implement and follow up high level political decisions on migration. Therefore, the aim is to invite the Heads of State and Government of the European Union Member States and of the countries parties to the Khartoum Process and the Rabat Process, as well as the African Union Commission and the ECOWAS Commission.
Libya is central to irregular migration to Europe but its participation to the summit will depend on the evolution of its internal political situation....
Making progress on return and readmission agreements (actions for both the EU and the countries of origin to facilitate returns of irregular migrants, with particular attention to assisted voluntary return and integration and the establishing of readmission agreements with countries of origin)"
EU: MED-CRISIS: ECRE has expressed its disappointment following the Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 25 June and is particularly concerned about the incapacity of EU leaders to reach an agreement on a mandatory scheme to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers and resettle 20,000 refugees. In ECREs view, even these numbers are insufficient, notwithstanding the complete failure to achieve solidarity and trust between Member States on asylum policies; at the expense of asylum seekers.(link)
EU Military in Our Waters Only if Were in Control Libya PM (Migrant Report, link): "We expect that if there is such an intervention to stop smugglers or illegal immigrants from crossing to Europe, it should be under the supervision, guidance and coordination of the new national government we would only (would it be accepted) if it is under the control of the new government he said in an exclusive interview in Malta, where the Prime Minister is currently on an official visit."
UN agency worries as Hungary rushes to tighten asylum rules (Yahoo News, link)
NEW: EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: New document from trilogue (dated 2.7.15): Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE Council doc no: 10366-15, 93 pages, pdf). Multi-column document giving the Commission proposal, the European Parliament and Councils (amended) positions and the "compromise" column: Comments from Council:
"On 1st July 2015, the Presidency also received compromise proposals from the European Parliament on these issues which are reflected in the 4th column of the document in annex...
Taking into account the General Approach reached on 15th June 2015 which constitutes the basis of the negotiation mandate for the Presidency, and taking into account the discussions at the DAPIX meeting of 1st July 2015, the Presidencys suggestions are included in the 4th column. These suggestions are indicated in [brackets, italic and bold]."
Earlier versions in the run-up to the trilogues are: LIMITE doc no 9985-REV-2-15 (26 June 2015, 79 pages, pdf) and LIMITE doc no 9565-15 (201 pages, 11 June 2015, pdf)
UK: Police facing claims that senior officers knew about spying on Stephen Lawrence family - Officers have said that information about Stephen Lawrences family gathered by an undercover operation reached senior levels in Scotland Yard (Guardian, lnk):
"The police watchdog has recently widened its investigation into claims that five officers were involved in spying on the family of Stephen Lawrence, the teenager murdered by a racist gang. The investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is examining allegations that the Metropolitan Police planted an undercover officer in the Lawrence family camp.
At the moment, however, it is unclear how far up the Mets chain of command knowledge of the espionage went - a question that presumably the IPCC is looking at.Two officers involved in the polices covert work have said that information about the Lawrences that had been gathered by the Mets undercover unit was passed to, or requested by, the senior echelons of Scotland Yard."
See: THE STEPHEN LAWRENCE INDEPENDENT REVIEW: Possible corruption and the role of undercover policing in the Stephen Lawrence case Summary of Findings (link) and Report and summary of findings from Mark Ellison's independent review (link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch intel bill proposes non-specific (bulk) interception powers for any form of telecom or data transfer, incl. domestic, plus required cooperation from providers of communication services (link): "Notably, the bill removes the current restriction that non-specific interception can only be used against communication that has a foreign source and/or destination -- thus expanding the power to domestic communication."
London: Summer Conference: Drones and Forever War: "The summer conference has become an annual event for the Drone Campaign Network. It is open to everyone and free! It provides an excellent opportunity to update drone knowledge and to plan campaigns, inspiring each other as we share ideas and experience." Date / Time: Saturday 11th July 10.30 4.30: Location: Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ Programme: Download here (link)
EU: EUROPOL: Terrorist propaganda: SITES TO BE REFERRED TO INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS TO TAKE DOWN: European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) to combat terrorist propaganda and related violent extremist activities on the internet (pdf):
"European Union (EU) Member States decided to implement a coherent and coordinated European prevention approach. On 12 March 2015, the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union mandated Europol to establish a dedicated unit aimed at reducing the level and impact of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda on the internet. The European Union Internet Referral Unit at Europol will identify and refer relevant online content towards concerned internet service providers and support Member States with operational and strategic analysis." [emphasis added]
See: Fight against terrorism: Follow-up to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) of 12-13 March 2015 - Implementation of Counter-Terrorism measures (LIMITE doc no: 9418-15, pdf) which says:
"Europol is expected to establish a European response concerning internet content referral activities with concerned private industry companies, with Member States envisaging support to the EU IRU by appointing national EU IRU contact points. Referral activities will not constitute an enforceable act, thus the decision and related implementation of the referral is taken under full responsibility and accountability of the concerned service provider." [p8, emphasis added]
Report: After Spying Operation in Germany, CIA Outed Suspected Leaker to Retaliate Against Journalists (The Intercept, link):
"In the summer of 2011, the CIA station chief in Berlin asked one of the most powerful intelligence officials in Germany to go on a private walk with him, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reports. The American spy had an important message to convey: one of Germanys own senior officials was leaking information to the press."
European Parliament: FREEDOM TO TAKE PICTURES? Debate: should the freedom of panorama be introduced all over the EU? (Press release, pdf):
"Should people have the right to create and share images and photographs of public buildings without having to compensate for the use of copyright? The so-called
freedom of panorama already exists in some EU countries, but MEPs are now considering whether it should be extended to all member states. As they will debate it on 9 July, we asked two MEPs on opposing sides of the issue why they think it would be a good or a bad thing."
USA: Supreme Court Rejects Unlimited Government Access to Hotel Records (pdf): "The default rule under the Fourth Amendments prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures is that the government must get a warrant to compel an individual to turn over his or her papers, unless an exception applies. One such exception is for so-called administrative searches, which generally must have a regulatory, as opposed to criminal, purpose."
EU: MED-CRISIS: Update from Boukhalef: large-scale evictions and mass deportations (No Borders Morocco, link):
"For several years already, migrants, mainly subsaharans, have found refuge in Boukhalef, a district in the periphery of Tangier. Some just live their lives, others have been regularized or are being hosted by their respective community while trying to cross to Europe. Subsaharans get harassed in the quarter or beyond on a regular basis, sometimes violently, by Moroccans reproducing racist ideologies. Regularly, the authorities decide to evict migrants violently, which has provoked several tragedies. On 1st of July 2015 more than 200 police officers and soldiers were deployed to the district Boukhalef in order to evacuate all the blacks....
Hundreds of people were deported further South, others are now on the streets, hiding in the Tangier medina, and need urgent support. A delegation of migrants' NGOS from Tangier and Rabat is calling for funds to support the evicted inhabitants of Boukhalef. The priority would be to provide at least some shelter for the most vulnerable people for the coming days, as they have lost all their possessions and are just staying in the streets! Please let us know if you can donate any sum of money to buy some blankets, plastic sheets, some cooking utensils, food and medicine. Please email to email@example.com and we will give you the account details. Any sum is welcome!"
Serbia receives assistance to stem illegal migrant flows (euractiv, link): "Police chiefs from Germany, Austria and Hungary have agreed to help Serbia crack down on waves of illegal migrants transiting its territory heading for the European Union. Meanwhile, Budapest said it will forge ahead with plans to erect a fence at its border with Serbia."
AUSTRIA: 'No let-up' in asylum seeker crisis (The Local.at, link): "Tent cities for 400 asylum seekers are being set up in Carinthia and Burgenland - with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner saying that she sees no end in sight for the refugee crisis."
Hungary government condemned over anti-immigration drive - Activists accuse Fidesz party of stoking xenophobia to divert attention from escalating poverty and corruption scandals (Guardian, link)
EU parliament's largest political groups split over fundamental rights (The Parliament, link): "Parliament's 'grand coalition' between its centre-right and centre-left groupings is divided over a report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU for the years 2013 and 2014..... The European People's Party (EPP) group voted against the report in parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee, dismissing most of its content as "plain absurd and nonsense". The report, however, was passed on Thursday and is due to go before parliament's Strasbourg plenary session in September."
EU: Important challenge to secrecy of EU decision-making: How the EU legislative triangle is becoming a Bermudes, triangle (EASFJ, link):
Emilio de Capitani applied to the European Parliament for documents summarising negotiations between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament is secret trilogue meetings, namely:
"multicolumn tables (describing the Commission proposal, the Parliamentary Committee orientation, the Council internal bodies suggested amendments and, if existing, suggested draft compromises) submitted to trilogues for the current pending co-decision procedures"
The parliament refused access largely on the grounds that multi-column documents in its position had been produced by the Council and therefore could not be released. They also claimed that there are a large number of such documents - exactly!.
Race & Class: Transnational capital and the technology of domination and desire (link): "The July issue of Race & Class takes up three topical themes: the monetarisation of private information, the politics of film and the demonisation of anti-racism."
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EU Data Protection Reform: a historic opportunity for Europe (pdf):
"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: Europe has long been the flag bearer with its data protection law and there are great expectations for this to continue with the reformed rules. As the European Union grapples with a range of economic difficulties facing its member countries, the EU Data Protection Reform is an opportunity for hope. Europe must seize the opportunity to be at the forefront in shaping a global standard for privacy and data protection, a standard centred on the rights and the dignity of the individual."
See also: Launched today EDPS: Annual Report for 2014 (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR: "A large majority of the thousands of people who made dangerous sea journeys across the Mediterranean into Europe in the first six months of 2015 were fleeing war, conflict or persecution": UNHCR Tracks: The Sea Route to Europe People risking their lives to reach Europe are often called migrants, but the current Mediterranean crisis is primarily a refugee crisis (llink)
See: ITALY: Renzi says suspending Schengen won't stop migrants (ANSA, link) and EU: MED-CRISIS: Seeking Refuge: Central Europe balks at refugees. But then there's Ukraine.- Central Europe, and Poland in particular, could be key to easing the EU's migrant crisis. The region has been cold to the idea of taking in refugees but Ukraine conflict could force the issue.(Yahoo News, link): "The most deadly and pressing elements of the current migration crisis are focused on the southern Mediterranean. But pressure is coming from the east, too. And Poland could emerge as a key powerbroker for the region &SHY; not just if a refugee crisis takes shape in Ukraine, butt also by setting the example in the region as the EU scrambles to get all 28 members of the bloc to see the refugee problem as their concern."
UK: Police publish secret training manual telling undercover cops to have 'fleeting, disastrous' affairs with targets (Mirror, link)
"The Metropolitan Police have released the 'tradecraft' manual for the Special Demonstration Squad, who infiltrated protest groups,,,The Metropolitan Police have published the manual used to train undercover spies to infiltrate protest groups for the first time. The so-called 'tradecraft' manual, given to members of the Met's Special Demonstration Squad, instructs new recruits on how to steal the identities of dead babies using methods inspired by a Frederick Forsyth novel. The document, finally published yesterday after numerous Freedom of Information requests, also suggests agents should: "try to have fleeting, disastrous relationships" with group members."
See: Special Demonstration Squad - Manual (pdf) 60 pages, massively censored.
European Digital Rights asks the European Commission to investigate illegal data retention laws in the EU (link): "European Digital Rights (EDRi) this morning sent a letter to European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, asking the European Commission to investigate the data retention laws in EU Member States which appear to be illegal in light of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling on this issue from 8 April last year."
UK.gov spied on human rights warriors at Amnesty International - Snooping could cost lives, group claims (The Register, link):
"The British government has admitted that its spook agency GCHQ spied on Amnesty International, according to campaigners at the human rights group.
Amnesty said on Wednesday that it had received an email from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) the organization responsible for policing the UK's surveillance of its own citizens revealing that the government intercepted, accessed and stored its communications for an unspecified period of time"
And see: UK was illegally spying on Amnesty International, 'mistakenly' forgot to tell human rights group (Independent, link): "The UK government was illegally spying on civil rights group Amnesty International and neglected to tell it the surveillance was going on, after a mistake.".
GERMANY-NSA: WikiLeaks: US spied on Angela Merkel's ministers too, says German newspaper - The NSA did not just tap German chancellor Angela Merkels phone but also listened in on finance, economy, agriculture and other ministers (Guardian, link):
"The United States did not just tap chancellor Angela Merkels phone but also eavesdropped on several of her ministers, the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung has reported, citing documents from WikiLeaks."
and see: Wikileaks (link) and also: Wikileaks: 'Massive' NSA spying on top German officials (DW, link): "Wikileaks says its latest release of documents shows the wide reach of economic espionage conducted by the NSA in Germany. Documents released by the whistleblowers suggest an intense interest in the Greek debt crisis."
Council of Europe: PNR: Passenger Name Records, data mining & data protection: the need for strong safeguards (pdf): Prepared by Douwe Korff
Emeritus Professor of International Law, London Metropolitan University, Associate, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, with advice, comments and review by Marie Georges, Council of Europe Expert:
"Much has been said and written about Passenger Name Records (PNR) in the last decade and a half. When we were asked to write a short report for the Consultative Committee about PNR, in the wider contexts, we therefore thought we could confine ourselves to a relatively straightforward overview of the literature and arguments.
However, the task turned out to be more complex than anticipated. In particular, the context has changed as a result of the Snowden revelations. Much of what was said and written about PNR before his exposés had looked at the issues narrowly, as only related to the identification of known or [clearly identified] suspected terrorists (and perhaps other major international criminals). However, the most recent details of what US and European authorities are doing, or plan to do, with PNR data show that they are part of the global surveillance operations we now know about."
USA-NSA: XKEYSCORE: NSAs Google for the Worlds Private Communications (The Intercept, link): "The Intercept is publishing 48 top-secret and other classified documents about XKEYSCORE dated up to 2013, which shed new light on the breadth, depth and functionality of this critical spy system one of the largest releases yet of documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden."
GREECE: Migrants 'attacked' at sea between Greece and Turkey (France 24, link): "Migrants trying to sail from Turkey to Greece are increasingly reporting being attacked by gunmen trying to prevent them from reaching Europe, according to multiple sources.... Nawal Soufi, and Italian activist who has handled numerous distress calls from Syrian refugees at sea, said she had heard of around 20 boats whose passengers had been attacked in recent months. "The migrants speak of commandos -- some say they (were confronted by EU border agency) Frontex, others by the Turkish or Greek coastguard -- others by militias or pirates," Soufi told journalists, adding that such cases have rocketed in recent months."
HUNGARY: Letter from Hungarian PM Orban to Commission President Juncker (pdf) stating that Dublin provisions will be adhered to but "technically temporarily not capable of receiving people sent back from the Western direction"
EU: MED CRISIS: HUNGARY: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after his visit to Budapest (pdf) He:
"offered the possibility to deploy ''hotspot teams'' to help in the swift processing of asylum requests and help with the return of irregular migrants. These teams will include experts from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Frontex and Europol in order to improve the capacity of fingerprinting, identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."
See: European Council Conclusions: European Council meeting (25 and 26 June 2015) Conclusions (pdf). For "hot spots" the term "structured border zones" is now referred to as "first reception facilities".
It is not all clear what the legal powers the Commissioner is referring to for Europol, Frontex or EASO [European Asylum Support Office] to ensure the "swift identification, registration and fingerprinting" of migrants or for EASO and Europol to: "identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."
See also: Denmark to impose controls on border, risking EU ire (Reuters, link): "Denmark will impose controls on its border to stop smugglers and illegal migrants, its new foreign minister said on Tuesday, in a move likely to worry the European Union but please a right-wing party on whose support the government now depends. More police, machines screening number plates and other measures would increase security without breaking EU rules guaranteeing freedom of movement through the bloc, Kristian Jensen told Reuters."
GERMANY: MASSIVE RISE IN RECORDED RACIST ATTACKS: 2014 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution Facts and Trends (pdf):
"Two aspects should be noted:
a rise in the number of violent offences motivated by right-wing extremism (the largest number since 2008) and xenophobia (highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001); and
an enormous increase in the number of crimes and violent offences in the category of politically motivated crime by foreigners."
'Euphoria' among jihadists in Europe, says German security agency (euractiv, link):
"The number of violent acts committed by right-wing extremists increased by 24% last year. A total of 990 violent crimes were recorded. De Maizière said now one in two right-wing extremists is considered to be violence-oriented, indicating that the 512 attacks against foreigners are troubling.
Attacks on refugee camps motivated by right-wing extremism also increased from 55 recorded in 2013 to 170 last year. This year, the number could be even higher. In the first half of 2015, there were already 150 crimes of this kind, according to de Maizière. There should be no silent understanding and especially no silent consent for this, he said."
UK: G4S and Serco continue to dominate criminal justice market (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): "Controversial security companies G4S and Serco received more than seven pounds in every ten spent by the government on prison and probation-related contracts in the four years to April 2014, according to new research by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies" See: Report (link)
SLOVAKIA: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION UNLAWFUL: Full version of the decision invalidating the data retention in Slovakia - the legislator has 6 months to come up with compliant provisions (link) and Judgment: Full-text (link):
"The Constitutional Court denounced mass and preventive collection of data data about the location, duration, and the participants involved, based on the provisions of the Electronic Communications Act (Act No. 351/2011 Coll.) - as an extensive infringement of the fundamental right to privacy. According to the Constitutional Court, the extensiveness of the infringement was demonstrated by the very fact that collected data concerned a huge and unpredictable number of communicating parties and such collection could have induced a feeling of constant surveillance."
UK: CHILDRENS' RIGHTS: Report of the UK Childrens Commissioners UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Examination of the Fifth Periodic Report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (pdf)
See: Government is stripping UK children of rights, says report to UN - Childrens commissioners review asks for welfare cuts and repeal of Human Rights Act to be reconsidered, and warns children will be denied justice in courts (Guardian, link)
UK: Watershed moment - INQUEST welcomes call for radical change in report on deaths of young people in prison (link) and Harris Review: Changing Prisons, Saving Lives: Report of the Independent Review into Self-inflicted Deaths in Custody of 18-24 year olds (pdf)
Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST said: This important report is a devastating indictment of a flawed system that is systematically failing. That its findings echo what has been said repeatedly and that so many deaths could have been avoided if already-known lessons had been acted upon is all the more shocking.
Government can either ignore this report at its peril or do something radically different that could be a lasting legacy. Already this year eight young people have taken their own lives in prison."
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