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Archive - October 2018
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October 2018

GERMANY-POLAND: Gravely ill man risks interruption of medical care due to extradition to Poland (Fair Trials, link):

"As a result of a chronic disease, Aslan (not his real name) requires hospital treatment on more than a weekly basis. Nevertheless, Aslan is currently facing extradition from Germany to Poland because of a European Arrest Warrant issued for facts that allegedly happened 17 years ago.

(...)

The local court in Hamburg is now due to decide over the next days whether to consent to Aslan’s extradition and put his health and life at risk given the interruption of his much-needed medical treatment and interference with his right to private and family life which he has been running in Germany for more than five years."

ITALY: Beyond closed ports: the new Italian Decree-Law on Immigration and Security (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link):

"Whilst the number of arrivals to Italy is at the lowest level registered in the past few years, the phenomenon of migration has reached the dimension of an emergency in the internal public debate, with the Decree-Law on Immigration and Security representing a major downturn in the architecture of the Italian system of protection.

The implementation of further grounds for exclusion and withdrawal of protection, the reduction of procedural guarantees, and the general restrictive approach on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers adopted in the Decree generate serious concerns. Above all, some of the provisions contained in the Decree may entail a risk of violation of the principle of non–refoulement... What is more, some of the changes introduced with the Decree might have far-reaching practical consequences on the rights of the migrants who are already present or will arrive in the country. In particular, the repeal of ‘humanitarian’ residence permits, which have been widely used in the past years, is likely to have the unintended side-effect of increasing the number of migrants who will find themselves in an irregular situation. The new bill has been presented by the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as ‘a step forward to make Italy safer’ – however it will arguably increase the number of cases of destitution, vulnerability, and exploitation.

It remains to be seen whether the Parliament will confirm the text of the Decree when ultimately converting it into law. However, considering that the time for discussion is limited (60 days only) it is doubtful that the bill will undergo substantial improvement."

European Parliament: Report with recommendations to the Commission on Humanitarian Visas (pdf):

"Parliament started to call for humanitarian visas against the background of the migration crisis and the unacceptable death toll in the Mediterranean. It has expressed its views, among others, in the resolution of 12.4.2016 on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration.

Humanitarian visas were already discussed in the EU context but without any concrete result. Currently, there are a number of targeted national programmes but no legal framework in EU law.

The LIBE Committee has tried to address this legal gap as part of the review of the Visa Code (2014/0094(COD)) but both Council and Commission have opposed the amendments included in this regard in the trilogue negotiations which started in May 2016. In September 2017, after months of deadlock with the Council refusing to continue negotiations if these amendments were not withdrawn, Parliament’s negotiating team withdrew them. Instead the LIBE Committee decided to draw up this legislative own-initiative report.

Despite this step, Council and Commission discontinued the negotiations."

See: Humanitarian visas (European Parliament, link)

UK: Watchdog rules force used on father who died after after Beckton police stop was ‘proportionate’

"An investigation into the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa, known as Edson, who died a week after being restrained by police in Beckton found the use of force by officers was proportionate."

EU: Surveillance exports: How EU Member States are compromising new human rights standards (Netzpolitik, link):

"Since 2016, the European Union has been working on proposals to implement stricter controls on the export of surveillance technology outside the EU. However, internal documents now prove that certain Member States – especially Sweden, Finland, and the United Kingdom – are succumbing to pressure from business interests. As a result, human rights safeguards are being diluted."

GREECE: When Prosecuting Far-Right Violence Fails - An unbelievably drawn-out trial in Greece has shown the dangers of delay (The New Republic, link):

"Five years ago, on September 18, 2013, Golden Dawn member Giorgos Roupakias stabbed and killed Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old anti-fascist rapper, outside a Piraeus café in full view of police officers. Outraged, [Eleftheria] Tombatzoglou became the Fyssas family’s civil suit lawyer in the broader trial the rapper’s slaying helped trigger.

Kicked off on April 20, 2015, the trial was predicted to span 18 months. It includes several civil suits and criminal charges against 69 Golden Dawn members, including the party’s core leadership, accused of operating a criminal organization, murder, racist violence, weapons possession, and money laundering, among other allegations. But with the trial dragging on and a verdict distant, Greek far-right groups, among them Golden Dawn, are reorganizing, carrying out further violence against refugees, migrants, political opponents—and individuals linked to the trial."

Statewatch Analysis: Decriminalising solidarity by promoting the regularisation of migrants (pdf) by Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo (Osservatorio Solidarieta Carta di Milano):

Translation of a speech given by Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo (Osservatorio Solidarieta Carta di Milano) at the session ‘Decriminalizing Solidarity: an ever more topical challenge’, Sabir Festival, Palermo, 13 October 2018.

"The criminalisation of people and organisations that lend assistance to immigrants in Europe is an expression of the closure of legal or humanitarian entry routes and the growing difficulty of residing legally. The distinction between “economic migrants” and asylum seekers, the restriction of possibilities to enter to find employment and of the scope of the “European” right to asylum, and finally the agreements with third countries to externalise collective refoulement practices, produce a proliferation of cases resulting in illegality."

EU: Council Presidency seeks to implement "regional disembarkation centres" in third countries

The Austrian Council Presidency has produced a: Working Paper; Regional Disembarkation Arrangements (LIMITE doc no: WK 10084-REV 1-10, pdf) to launch the "initial phase of outreach" to third states in Africa to be undertaken::

"by interested Member States, e.g. by those who entertain privileged relationships with the respective third country" [emphasis throughout]

In other words for EU Member States to use their colonial past to put into effect the "swift exploration" of creating regional disembarkation "platforms."

Greece: NGO STATEMENT: The implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement is an insult for the human life and dignity (link):

" With regard to the intensification of the problems in the islands of Eastern Aegean, both concerning the inhumane living conditions for refugees and the alarming increase of incidents of racism and intolerance, that are taking place because of the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, we repeat our standing position (...)"

European Parliament study: Brexit and Migration (pdf)

"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’ s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), focuses on the future relationship between the UK and the EU following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the field of migration (excluding asylum), including future movement o f EU citizens and UK nationals between the EU and UK. Moreover, it investigates the role of the Court of Justice of the EU."

CROATIA-BOSNIA: The violent reality of the EU border: police brutality in the Balkans (OpenDemocracy, link):

"As we write this article, refugees are being beaten, robbed and traumatised by Croatian police, while they attempt to claim asylum in the EU. Their clandestine journeys from Bosnia through to Italy, via Croatia and Slovenia, are referred to by refugees here as “the game”.

But for many of the displaced people we talked to in north-west Bosnia, the violence of the border is taking a heavy toll. Thanks to the flagrant human rights violations of Croatian police – with the tacit complicity of EU authorities - “the game” is no laughing matter."

UK: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Policing for the future (pdf):

"This wide-ranging report examines changing demands on policing, and considers the extent to which the service is able to meet the challenges that these create. We look first at changing trends in crime and policing and the overarching problems facing the police service in England and Wales, such as funding and investment; then at three specific areas of growing pressure on policing—online fraud, child sexual abuse, and safeguarding vulnerable people; and finally at the wider, cross-cutting reforms that are required.

Our inquiry has found that police officers across the country continue to perform a remarkable and immensely valuable public service, often in the most exacting of circumstances. However, figures on police welfare paint a picture of a service under serious strain, and we conclude that forces are badly overstretched: the number of traditional volume crimes is rising, but the number of arrests and charges brought by the police is falling."

EU Africa Relations: Tone Down the ‘Newness’ and Revisit History (ECRE, link):

"A potentially positive outcome of the EU’s two recent Summits is the focus on Africa with increased political and financial commitment, primarily through investment. Sometimes branded as a “Marshall Plan” for Africa, the same ideas appeared in President Juncker’s final State of the Union address.

Of course, we know that underlying this new-found interest in Africa is the fear of migration from Africa to Europe which so dominates Brussels debates. Nonetheless, it is happening and could either be shaped to be something positive for Africa and Europe or it could become something damaging to both. There is a lot at stake with the ongoing negotiations on a post-Cotonou framework, the discussion of the EU’s next budget, the review of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy, and the expansion in EU security and defence initiatives in Africa. The way to reach a positive outcome lies not in emphasising the newness but learning from the history of Europe-Africa engagement, which has been taking place for hundreds of years, for good and often unfortunately for ill."

EU: European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2018 on the rise of neo-fascist violence in Europe (pdf)

"1. Strongly condemns and deplores the terrorist attacks, murders, psychological violence, violent physical attacks and marches by neo-fascist and neo-Nazi organisations that have taken place in various EU Member States;

2. Is deeply concerned at the increasing normalisation of fascism, racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance in the European Union, and is troubled by reports in some Member States of collusion between political leaders, political parties and law enforcement with neo-fascists and neo-Nazis;

3. Is especially worried about the neo-fascist violence affecting society as a whole and targeting particular minorities such as black Europeans/people of African descent, Jews, Muslims, Roma, third-country nationals, LGBTI people and persons with disabilities..."

The resolution was passed by 355 to 90 votes, with 39 abstentions. See the results of the vote on VoteWatch (link).

UK: Home Office apologises for illegally demanding immigrants provide DNA samples

"Sajid Javid has apologised after the Home Office illegally demanded immigrants provide DNA samples as part of their visa applications.

The home secretary admitted his department have denied visas or leave to remain in the UK to applicants who failed to provide DNA evidence."

EU camps in North Africa are pointless and illegal (press release, Andrej Hunko, pdf):

""The so-called disembarkation platforms remain nothing but hot air. Not one of the intended countries in North Africa has been asked, there is not even a diplomatic concept or timetable in the relevant EU Council working groups. And the Federal Government now only wants to talk about 'disembarkation agreements'", stated Andrej Hunko, European policy spokesman for the Left Party parliamentary group in the German Bundestag in reaction to a related response from the Federal Ministry of the Interior."

And see: Juncker says N.Africa migrant "camps" not on EU agenda (Thomas Reuters Foundation, link): "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday that a suggestion that the European Union might try to set up migrant camps in North Africa was no longer on the agenda."

ECHR: Slovenia’s Supreme Court rejects the European Court of Human Rights (Verfassungsblog, link):

"On Wednesday 24th of October the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia made a striking, indeed unprecedented, announcement. On its website it published an unsigned press release explaining the Supreme Court’s reaction to the recent decision of the ECtHR in the case of Produkcija plus storitveno podjetje d.o.o. v Slovenia (No. 47072/15).

The ECtHR decision is entirely uncontroversial and the case is on its decontextualized premises completely routine... To the surprise, indeed shock, of the professional, academic and all other observers, the Supreme Court announced that it respects the rulings of other courts that it finds persuasive. Such rulings are also integrated in its case law. This logically and necessarily means, even if the Supreme Court did not put it explicitly in those terms, that other rulings, namely those that the Supreme Court finds unpersuasive, will not be respected and integrated in its jurisprudence."

UK: Poor healthcare in jails is killing inmates, says NHS watchdog (The Guardian, link):

"Almost half of England’s jails are providing inadequate medical care to inmates, whose health is being damaged by widespread failings, the NHS watchdog has told MPs in a scathing briefing leaked to the Observer.

Healthcare behind bars is so poor in some prisons that offenders die because staff do not respond properly to medical emergencies, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) says.

Mental health services for the 40% of inmates who have psychological or psychiatric problems are particularly weak, which contributes to self-harming and suicides among prisoners, according to the care regulator’s confidential briefing to the Commons health and social care select committee."

HUNGARY: Reinforcement of the southern borders because of nonexistent migratory pressure (Hungarian Spectrum, link):

"Since Gergely Gulyás, Viktor Orbán’s new chief-of-staff, has taken over, the so-called “government info” press conferences introduced by his predecessor János Lázár are held only every second Thursday. On the last such occasion, on October 25, Gulyás announced that, according to “the information of the Hungarian and European intelligence services, approximately 70,000 refugees are heading toward Hungary along the old Balkan route, and therefore the Hungarian government has offered assistance” to Croatia and has decided to reinforce the Croatian-Hungarian border.

...I looked high and low on the internet to find the 70,000 refugees heading toward Hungary but was unsuccessful. In fact, according to the UN Refugee Agency, only 26,548 refugees arrived in Greece in 2018. So, I suspect that Gergely Gulyás’s story of 70,000 migrants was another instance of purposeful disinformation intended to mislead Hungarians fearful of migrants...

Of course, this new “danger” requires more money for border defense. On the very same day that Gulyás announced the new danger coming from Croatia, the government approved another 24 billion forints “for the handling of the extraordinary migratory pressure” that had presented itself. Although since the fence was erected in September 2015 Hungary hasn’t had any “migratory pressure” to speak of, just in 2017 the Hungarian government spent 155.1 billion forints on border defense. Given the opacity in which the Orbán government operates, we don’t really know where these large sums of money have been and will be going."

UK: MI5 to take over in fight against rise of UK rightwing extremism (The Guardian, link):

"MI5 is to take the lead in combating extreme rightwing terrorism amid mounting fears that white supremacists are increasing their efforts to foment violent racial conflict on Britain’s streets, The Guardian has learned.

The switch from the police – which has always previously taken responsibility for monitoring far right extremism – to MI5 means that the ideology will now sit in the same portfolio as Islamist terrorism and Northern Ireland-related terrorism, which are both covered by the domestic security service.

The decision also means that extreme rightwing activity will now be officially designated as posing a major threat to national security."

Somali returned to Libya under Italian policy sets himself on fire (The Irish Times, link):

"A Somali man set himself on fire in a Libyan detention centre on Wednesday, according to fellow detainees and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The man, who is in his late 20s, reportedly doused himself in petrol from a generator in the centre and lit it, after telling friends he had lost hope of being relocated to a safe country.

Sources told The Irish Times the man carried out the action after being told he had little chance of evacuation by visiting officials from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UNHCR said it was trying to verify this."

Europe-wide anti-terror exercise coordinated by Europol (link):

"European special units have trained in seven EU member states for terrorist attacks. The aim of the exercise was to harden against "Islamist“ as well as "right-wing or left-wing ideologies“."

Trilogue on interoperable centralised database starts on borders and asylum aspects

The trilogue between the Council and the European Parliament on the interoperable centralised database started last week with consideration of one of the new overall Regulations: Regulation on establishing a framework for interoperability between EU information systems (borders and visa) and amending Council Decision 2004/512/EC, Regulation (EC) No 767/2008, Council Decision 2008/633/JHA, Regulation (EU) 2016/399, Regulation (EU) 2017/2226, Regulation (EU) 2018/XX [the ETIAS Regulation], Regulation (EU) 2018/XX [the Regulation on SIS in the field of border checks] and Regulation (EU) 2018/XX [the eu-LISA Regulation] (pdf). This is the first multi-column document with the Commission proposal, the parliament amendments, the Council's negotiating mandate and the "comprise position."

Are You Syrious (26.10.18, link)

FEATURE: Arrivals increased in 2017, but safety and security continues to plummet in Greece.

"According to Medicins du Monde, the number of people who have arrived in Greece in the first 9 months of 2018 is 17% higher than the same time frame for 2017. More than half of the arrivals were women and children. 76% of these were from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo."

Migrants block Bosnian border, scuffle with Croatian police (euractiv, link):

"Several people were injured on Wednesday (24 October) as migrants demanding to cross Bosnia’s northwestern border threw stones at Croatian police who responded by firing teargas and using batons to push them back, a Reuters photographer at the scene said."

Why refugee numbers in Switzerland are falling (swissinfo.ch,link):

"After a spike in 2016, asylum applications in Switzerland have been in steady decline. The tightening of Europe’s external borders has forced migrants to seek alternative routes to the continent – often more dangerous ones."

Greece: Lesvos: Again – Three individuals removed from the deportation list Posted on 25. October 2018 by dm-aegean (link):

"On October 4th, 2018, the deportation of three migrants from Lesvos to Turkey – who did not get the possibility to exhaust their legal remedies in Greece – was stopped at the last minute.

Only three weeks later, on October 25th, the same three men were yet again transferred from the pre-removal prison of Moria camp to the police station prison of Mytilene in order to be deported.

The police carried out the transfer although several lawyers, the Ombuds Office and the UNHCR had been involved to halt the deportation three weeks before to ensure the right of the three men to file a subsequent asylum application.

Today, lawyers again successfully managed to intervene in the deportation process – after having been informed by activists who witnessed the transfer of the three men. 9 men – who probably did not have a lawyer to assist them at the last minute – were deported to Turkey."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-24.10.18) including:

FRANCE: Crimes of solidarity: freedom for the "7 of Briançon"

They are facing potential incarceration for helping migrants in danger in the French Alps. Bastien, Benoit, Eléonora, Juan, Lisa, Mathieu et Théo will face justice on November 8th in GAP. They are prosecuted for "helping undocument foreign nationals to enter national territory, in organized gang”. The envisaged penalty is 10 years in prison and 750.000 euros fine. What should they amend for? Being involved in a march against the far-right, little band called "Bloc identitaire", which was obstructing the border so as to retaliate against migrants trying to cross it.

Swedish student who stopped deportation flight of Afghan asylum seeker to be prosecuted (The Independent, link):

"Authorities in Sweden are set to prosecute a 21-year-old student who refused to sit down on a passenger plane in protest against the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker who was also on board.

Elin Ersson single-handedly managed to stop the deportation on the 23 July flight from Gothenburg to Istanbul, due to take the 52-year-old man out of the country.

Footage of her defiant stand in defence of the Afghan man has notched up 13 million views online and earned her international praise.

But the Swedish prosecutor’s office announced on Friday that the activist will be charged with “violations of aviation law,” according to Swedish media."

EU: Common European Asylum System (CEAS): Asylum procedures at the border a sticking point for Member States

As the Member States continue to disagree over proposed changes to Common European Asylum System, "the biggest outstanding issue for most Member States" in the Asylum Procedures Regulation is that of the "border procedure" set out in Article 41, according to a recent note sent by the Austrian Presidency to Member States' representatives.

EU: New Asylum Information Database report: Access to protection in Europe: The registration of asylum applications

"The report analyses the legal and practical aspects of registration of asylum claims, with focus on: responsible authorities and content of information collected; locations of registration; time limits; and documentation. It also discusses interplay of the Dublin procedure (following the Court of Justice of the European Union ruling in Mengesteab) and the specific mechanisms for registration of asylum applications made at the border and in detention centres."

UK: Inquiry announced on 20th anniversary of Macpherson report (www.parliament.uk, link):

"February 2019 will mark 20 years since the report of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry chaired by Sir William Macpherson. The Committee has decided to launch an inquiry to revisit the issues that Sir William properly prioritised two decades ago, to assess progress against Sir William’s recommendations on racism and policing over the last twenty years and to consider what more needs to be done - including on police diversity and community confidence. The Committee is currently seeking views on the terms of reference. "

UK: Lift The Ban: Give people seeking asylum the right to work (Refugee Action, link):

"People seeking safety in our country are banned from working. Unable to provide for themselves and their families, they’re often left to live in poverty.

Adding your voice means we can fight harder for change and win over those with the power to make it."

EU: E-evidence: Council pondering issues with the "notification procedure" for cross-border data-gathering; European Data Protection Board issues opinion

As discussions continue on the proposal for a 'Regulation on European production and preservation orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters' (the e-evidence proposal, for short), Member States are currently pondering which Member States should be notified in the case of a request for cross-border evidence-gathering, and how such notifications should work.

Meanwhile, the European Data Protection Board has issued a critical opinion on the Commission's proposal that makes 18 recommendations - including for a change of legal basis and a better demonstration of the need for a new instrument on top of the European Investigation Order and the existing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

Statewatch Viewpoint: Morocco: Wherever EU immigration policy rears its ugly head, violence and abuses follow (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico, October 2018

In the summer of 2018, after concerted efforts since 2014 by the EU and its Member States to block off the eastern (Turkey to Greece) and central (Tunisia and Libya to Italy) routes across the Mediterranean used by migrants and refugees to reach Europe, there was an increase in crossings using the western route (Morocco, and sometimes Algeria, to Spain). This was accompanied by an increase in deaths at sea and, in Morocco, extensive police operations to remove black African migrants from the north of the country, based on racial profiling and flagrant breaches of human rights.

Spain-Morocco: 55 people returned to Morocco from Spain in less than 24 hours

On Sunday 21 October, 208 people managed to reach Spanish territory by climbing over the fences separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Melilla. One man died whilst doing so and another 19 were taken to hospital with "injuries, cuts and some other fractures," according to the Spanish government delegation in Melilla.

55 of the 208 were subject to "express" removal proceedings and returned to Morocco in less than 24 hours, with the Spanish government invoking a bilateral agreement signed with Morocco in 1992 to do so.

Interim Revolutions: the CJEU gives its first interim measures ruling on the rule of law in Poland (EU Law Analysis, link);

"The decision of 19 October of the Vice-President of the Court of Justice, ordering the Republic of Poland to suspend the effects of the Judiciary Reform Act and, in particular, to ensure that no sitting judge is removed as a result of the new retirement age, is revolutionary to say the least. The Court has entered a terra incognita, a place where no previous European court had ever entered into, forcing a sovereign Member State to choose between its membership to the club of European integration, or to walk away and follow the path of authoritarian illiberalism. To do this in an Order of interim measures, without hearing the defendant Member State, and two days before a crucial regional and local election in Poland, is quite a gamble on the part of the Luxembourg court."

Frontexit press release: The unrestrained race to strengthen Frontex at the expense of fundamental rights (11 October 2018, link):

"There is no tangible justification for this repeated revision of the mandate, other than what the EU says – the urgency of the situation. However, this emergency does not exist (the number of arrivals has been slashed in five since 2015 according to IOM), nor does the so-called “migration crisis”. The collapse in the number of arrivals is directly attributable to the increase in border security arrangements and unlimited cooperation with countries where rights violations are widespread.

Frontex, keen to describe Tunisian fishermen who save lives as “smugglers”, and eager to collaborate and even provide training to States where violations of rights are documented, is the image of a Europe sinking into an ever more security logic to the detriment of the rights of exiles and even of the people supporting them

This border closure is also a threat to the respect for the rights of people forced to exercise their right to leave any country using increasingly dangerous routes."

European Parliament study: Oversight and Management of the EU Trust Funds: Democratic Accountability Challenges and Promising Practices (May 2018, pdf) including the Facility for Refugees in Turkey and Emergency Trust Fund for Africa:

"This study provides a comparative assessment of the governance and oversight frameworks of selected EU trust funds (EUTFs) and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT). It explores how these EUTFs and the FRT add to and ‘mix’ the instruments set up under the EU Multiannual Financial Framework. It addresses the issue of their added value in light of the EU Better Regulation guidelines, their impact on the role of the European Parliament as a budgetary authority and the right to good administration. The study recommends reducing the complexity of the EUTF and FRT governance frameworks, and strengthening their consistency with the EU’s cooperation efforts in third countries and EU Treaty values. Finally, it recommends reinforcing the venues for democratic accountability, fundamental rights and rule-of-law impact assessments, which are trust-enhancing."

UK: Julian Cole: Four Bedfordshire Police officers guilty (BBC News, link):

"Four police officers involved in arresting a man left paralysed and brain-damaged have been found guilty of wrongdoing by a misconduct panel.

Julian Cole was involved in a scuffle with door men and police officers outside the former Elements nightclub in Bedford in 2013.

Three officers were found to have made false statements about their involvement in Mr Cole's arrest.

Another failed to "react" when Mr Cole said his neck hurt."

EU: French Gendarmerie and Spanish Guardia Civil develop joint training for cross-border operations

The paramilitary police forces of France and Spain - the Gendarmerie and Guardia Civil - are developing joint training courses to promote common standards. The aim is to "maintain security in Europe through a common and shared operational culture," and to export the training model throughout the EU.

EU: Security research: advisory group report on fundamental rights in a "digital intensive environment"

Earlier this year, the Protection and Security Advisory Group (PASAG), responsible for giving advice to the European Commission on the priorities for security research work programmes, published a report entitled 'Achieving synergies between security and information-related fundamental rights (IRFR) in a digital intensive environment" (e.g. concerning the Internet of Things, big data, mass surveillance, social media).

UK: London police force must act over excessive force claim, says court (The Guardian, link):

"The City of London police force has failed in an attempt to block disciplinary action against an officer who was accused of clubbing a student over the head and causing a life-threatening brain injury.

The force was immediately criticised over its lawyers’ attempt to persuade a judge that the Independent Office of Police Conduct had overstepped its role when it forced proceedings against PC Mark Alston, who is accused of using excessive force against 20-year-old Alfie Meadows in 2010.

...Lawyers for the City of London police had tried to argue that the case had no merit, and that the IOPC was “undermining public confidence” in the police by ordering forces to bring too many officers before gross misconduct disciplinary hearings.

But at a hearing at the high court in London, Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham accepted the IOPC’s case that it was up to a disciplinary panel, not the watchdog, to decide whether a case had merit."

MALTA: PNR: Airline passenger data goes real-time as EU directive takes off (Times of Malta, link):

"Airlines will now be required to send an updated list of passenger information right after planes’ doors close, after a European directive was implemented in Malta.

Passenger name record data contains a wide range of information, such as dates of travel, travel itinerary, contact details, seat number and baggage information.

Prior to the directive being implemented, authorities would have information of those who had booked to go from one country to the other. Now, the country will have real-time information of those sitting in flights.

The directive had been implemented in Malta since May 2018. A new €2 million passenger name record system was now fully commissioned and functioning at police offices, Dr Farrugia said."

EU: Brussels drags out Poland and Hungary rule-of-law probes (Politico, link):

"A European ministers’ meeting about ongoing rule-of-law problems in Warsaw and Budapest ended in no progress on Tuesday.

A visibly uncomfortable Austrian presidency was forced to put both countries’ rule-of-law probes on the agenda for the General Affairs Council, days after Chancellor Sebastian Kurz publicly called for Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party to remain part of the center-right European People’s Party.

Austrian Minister for the EU Gernot Blümel told reporters that discussions at the meeting about the Article 7 probe mandated by the European Parliament into rule of law in Hungary were merely “procedural.” He said that the Hungarian authorities had been invited, and agreed, to provide a written statement. Meanwhile, the European Commission has been asked to give EU countries’ representatives an update on ongoing infringement proceedings against the government in Budapest.

When it comes to Poland, Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said that “sadly, things have not improved, they have deteriorated in our analysis.”"

UK: Three jailed fracking protesters freed on appeal (BBC News, link):

"Three men jailed for a fracking site protest have been freed after judges ruled their sentences were "excessive".

Simon Blevins, Richard Roberts and Rich Loizou became the first UK anti-fracking protesters to be sent to prison, after climbing lorries at Cuadrilla's Lancashire site.

Court of Appeal judges ruled they should not have been jailed and imposed conditional discharges.

The judgement was met by applause and singing from supporters in the court.

A complaint against the original sentencing judge, the details of which are unknown, is being investigated."

See also: Anger and blockades as fracking starts in UK for first time since 2011 (The Guardian, link): "Fracking has begun in the UK for the first time since 2011 despite an attempt by protesters to blockade the entrance to the Lancashire site."

HUNGARY: The Hungarian state is refusing to carry out certain court orders regarding freedom of information requests (Atlatszo, link):

"...several government agencies have refused to carry out court decisions in freedom of information request cases. These offices denied or did not fulfil freedom of information requests and were therefore taken to court. In these cases, the court ordered them to fulfil the FOI requests but they ignored the decisions. The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Human Resources, the Klebelsberg Center for public education, the umbrella organization overseeing public service media (MTVA) and the Budapest 5th district municipality have all ignored such court decisions.

This may constitute a crime according to the Hungarian penal code. Paragraph 220 specifies that if someone does not carry out a court decision ordering him or her to provide data, the person might be sentenced up to two years in prison."

Open Doors, Samos Island, Greece: We Need Your Help (Samos Chronicles, link):

"The autumn of 2018 will see the opening of a new grocery store in Samos town. It will be the first of its kind on the island. It will be for the refugees run by refugees. The shop has been rented and is now in the process of being set up. It is in a very good location on one of the most used routes from the refugee camp into the town centre."

Who also report that: "Situation here looking increasingly grim. Over 360 arrivals this last week alone. 250 the week before. No space in the camp and no tents for new arrivals. Criminal. The weather stays fine but the rain will be here soon. Then disaster."

Greece: Four officers probed for mistreating elderly migrant woman (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Four officers who appear in a video posted on the Internet behaving in an unbecoming manner towards an elderly female migrant at the Moria hotspot on Lesvos were ordered to return to their respective bases on Saturday as an investigation gets under way.(...)

One of the officers, who can be seen verbally abusing the woman in the video, was suspended."

Rescued migrants in limbo while waiting for resettlement in Germany (DW, link)

"More than 100 migrants who were rescued at sea have been waiting months to be transferred to Germany, the German government says. Bureaucracy seems to be the main obstacle."

Council reports that the court finds that nobody in the EU is responsible for the EU-Turkey deal of 16 March 2016

- "General Court's main finding according to which the aforementioned EU-Turkey Statement does not relate to an act of the European Council nor of any other body, office or agency of the Union and hence that the actions fell outside jurisdiction of the Court of Justice, stands."

The Legal Service of the Council has circulated a Note: Cases before the Court of Justice Cases C-208/17 P, C-209/17 P and C-210/17 P - EU-Turkey Statement - Final dismissal of appeals (LIMITE doc no: 12217-18, pdf) concerning who was responsible for the EU-Turkey Statement of 16 March 2016.

Human rights v the European Arrest Warrant? The legality of surrender detention after 90 days (EU Law Analysis, link):

"The Amsterdam District Court, which has the exclusive jurisdiction in the Netherlands to decide on incoming European Arrest Warrants (EAW), currently finds itself stuck between national rules and EU law obligations on detention and provisional release."

Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa (euobserver, link):

"Disagreements over the EU's internal asylum reforms remained entrenched after the EU summit on Thursday (18 October) - with notions of solidarity broadly dismissed as leaders press ahead to offshore migration with the supposed help of north African states.

The Brussels summit, where heads of state and government meet to thrash out solutions, failed to reach any agreement on long outstanding issues over the key EU asylum reforms that seek to better manage administrative bottlenecks and their adjoining political headaches."

And see: Reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is in a mess (Statewatch News)

Northern Africa: Europe’s new border guard? (euractiv, link):

"As another EU summit gets underway, Leïla Bodeux and Davide Gnes wonder what values Europeans are willing to give up in order to stop migration.

Leïla Bodeux and Davide Gnes are policy officers on asylum, migration and development at Caritas Europa. (...)

In fact, EU engagement with countries of origin and transit for the purpose of stopping migration is nothing new. Propositions to enhance cooperation on migration management and border control in order to prevent departures of irregular migrants and to re-admit those returned from Europe have for long been sugar-coated with promises of economic investment, trade cooperation or development aid."

European Council: 18 October Conclusions (pdf) including migration and internal security.

European Data Protection Supvisor (EDPS): The urgent case for a new ePrivacy law (link):

"A swarm of misinformation and misunderstanding surrounds the case for revising our rules on the confidentiality of electronic communications, otherwise known as ePrivacy. It’s high time for some honest debunking."

Europe and US lock horns on transatlantic privacy (Politico, link);

"Washington and Brussels discuss how to police the use of data.

Europe’s effort to export its tough privacy rules around the world is about to run into a wall of U.S. resistance.

Over two days of negotiations with U.S. officials this week in Brussels, the European Union is set to voice concerns about how Washington watches over EU citizens’ data under a transatlantic data protection pact that underpins billions of euros of annual trade, but which has become a lightning rod for how Brussels and Washington differ markedly on digital data protections."

UNHCR: Refugee arrivals in 2018 (16 October): Sea arrivals: 90,562, Land Arrivals 5,288: Greece: 24,999, Italy 21, 631, Spain: 48,807, Cyprus 413. Dead or missing: 1,834.

European Commission: Security Union: List of legislative initiatives (ANNEX COM 690-18, pdf): Summary of legislative measures undertaken in the name of the "Security Union".

CJEU: Advocate General Szpunar proposes that the Court should rule that the ‘Returns Directive’ must be applied to third-country national where internal border controls have been reinstated (pdf):

"The Advocate General therefore concludes therefrom that a Member State must apply the stages of the return procedure laid down in the ‘Returns Directive’ to the situation of a third-country national stopped or intercepted in connection with the irregular crossing of an internal border at which border controls have been reinstated by application of the Schengen Borders Code."

European Parliament Study: Humanitarian visas: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the European Parliament's legislative own-initiative report (pdf):

"it concludes that EU legislation on humanitarian visas could close this effectiveness and fundamental rights protection gap by offering safe entry pathways, reducing irregular migration and result in increased management, coordination and efficiency in the asylum process, as well as promoting fair cost-sharing."

CoE: Romania: Court declares “excessive and unjustified use of force during a police operation in a Roma community” (link):

"Human rights judges have ruled that Romania policeused “excessive and unjustified use of force” against Roma community members, during an anti-crime operation.

In its 16 October committee judgment in the case of Lingurar and Others v. Romania (application no. 5886/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

- a violation of both the substantive and procedural aspects of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights;

- no violation of the substantive aspect of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 3 of the Convention,"

See: Press release (pdf)

The EU and the corporate impunity nexus: Building the UN binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights (TNI, link):

"For decades, affected communities around the globe have been resisting the modus operandi of transnational corporations (TNCs) in their territories and workplaces and documenting systemic human rights violations and the track record of corporate impunity with their lives and their deaths. Corporate impunity is embedded in and protected by an ‘architecture of impunity’ that legitimises and legalises the operations of TNCs. This architecture has been established through free trade and investment agreements, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the structural adjustment policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other financial instruments and the aggressive push for public-private partnerships (PPPs). At the core of this architecture is the infamous investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, a private arbitration system that allows TNCs to sue states whenever they consider that their future profits are threatened by new measures or policies aiming at improving social and environmental protection. Thus, it neutralises the function of the state, whose primary responsibility is to defend public interest and protect the well-being of its citizens and the planet from corporate interests."

EU budgets for the externalisation of migration control: Austrian Presidency seeks Member State views

How do the Member States think EU budgets should be spent on the externalisation of migration control? That was the subject of a questionnaire issued to Member States' representatives in September 2018, in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the EU's budget for the 2021-27 period.

UN experts: concern over EU's attempts to seal borders, close protection space and disregard human rights and humanitarianism

In September eight UN working groups, independent experts and special rapporteurs issued a statement highlighting serious concerns over the ongoing attempts to reform the EU's migration and asylum systems. Their paper was addressed to the informal summit of EU heads of state and government in Salzburg in September, but remains relevant given the ongoing discussions in the EU on the Common European Asylum System and revamping of EU agencies such as Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

FRANCE-ITALY: French police admit taking two migrants over the Italian border 'by mistake' (The Local, link):

"French gendarmes have admitted driving two undocumented immigrants over the Italian border without Italy's permission, in what the French authorities said was a mistake.

The incident took place last Friday, when Italian police spotted a van belonging to their French counterparts near Claviere, a ski resort on the border between south-east France and north-west Italy that runs through the Alps.

The French officers reportedly ushered two men out of the vehicle into some nearby woodland, then drove back towards France."

EU: Solidarity vs ‘securitarian obsessions’ (EurActiv, link) by Progressive Caucus of the European Parliament:

"The sudden and substantial increase of migrants’ flow to Europe over the last years has produced a severe political and identity crisis within the EU, a crisis that risks undermining its basic principles and values, and fostering the rise of xenophobic nationalism, writes the Progressive Caucus of the European Parliament.

For this reason, migration is probably the greatest challenge the EU has to deal with in the near future. It is also a common challenge for all the Progressive forces in Europe.

In recent months, arrivals to the Mediterranean coasts have substantially decreased because of the border externalisation measures taken by the EU and its members, including the agreements with Turkey and Libya. This led certain governments to celebrate the result as a victory.

What they do not mention are the consequences these measures have produced on migrants’ lives: deaths at sea have proportionally increased and crossing the Mediterranean is becoming more dangerous. In addition, migrants are choosing new and routes that are more dangerous and many of them are trapped in Libya, victims of violence and exploitation."

GREECE: Victims of Torture: the invisible side of the refugee population vulnerability (Metadrasi, link):

"Imprisonment in inhuman conditions, extreme tactics of physical abuse, rape, daily psychological violence. In many countries of the world, unthinkable ways of cruel and degrading treatment are still being practiced in order to punish, intimidate, interrogate. Among the refugees arriving in Greece, a high percentage are victims of torture, but they often constitute the “invisible” faces of the vulnerable refugee population.

The act of torture aims to break the resistance of the victims, while leaving as little physical evidence as possible. What is more, victims of torture are naturally reluctant to trust state authorities when arriving in a foreign country and this, combined with the stressful living conditions, makes it very difficult for them to share their stories.

On the other hand, it may prove crucial for a victim of torture to be certified, in order to prevent refoulment or deportation, support their asylum application and/or family reunification claim and be referred to services related to their physical and mental rehabilitation, social support etc. Furthermore, a certification as a victim of torture protects the beneficiary from re-traumatising examinations, while formally acknowledging and recording their experiences is an assertive and empowering act in itself."

UK: Charter flights are brutal and illegal. Support the Stansted 15. (Red Pepper, link) by Zak Suffee:

"15 people are facing possible lengthy prison sentences for allegedly grounding a flight intended to forcibly remove migrants from the country they call home. This, in the eyes of the state constitutes the same risk as a random bomb thrown into a crowd. These scare tactics allows us to forget the real human lives at stake. They are designed to put people off similar actions, defending an indefensible system of deportations.

‘Charter flights’ refer to the Home Office practice of chartering flights to deport large numbers of people to specific countries. The flights don’t contain other passengers and take off late at night from undisclosed locations, hiding these deportations from public view. This was the first time such a flight has been grounded in the UK by people refusing to accept the brutality of the immigration system."

EU: Council: Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans (12411/18, LIMITE, 24 September 2018, pdf):

"Delegates will find attached a clean version of the revised draft Joint Action Plan on Counter- Terrorism for the Western Balkans."

Previous version: EU: Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans to be signed on behalf of the EU with Western Balkans Partners (11848/18, LIMITE, 5 September 2018, pdf)

Hungary's homeless fear they are Viktor Orbán's next target (The Guardian, link):

"Many countries have struggled to deal with the issue of homelessness but Hungary may be the first to put a constitutional ban on living on the streets. From next week, being homeless in Hungary will violate the constitution.

Activists fear the move could be the start of a political campaign against homeless people by the rightwing government of Viktor Orbán, which has previously focused heavily on the apparent threat posed to Hungary from refugees and migrants.

“The government has realised they can’t play the migrant card endlessly because there are obviously no migrants in the country. Migration issues can still be useful for national campaigns but for local issues they need a new scapegoat,” said Gábor Iványi, a Methodist priest who runs homeless shelters in Budapest’s eighth district."

France: Tensions reach boiling point in crowded detention centres (ECRE, link):

"NGOs have denounced the increase of acts of violence and tension between refugees and migrants in detention centres in France- a trend that La Cimade argues is the consequence of repressive policies of confinement which severely endanger detainees.

The number of people detained in France for immigration reasons has continued to rise, according to the annual report compiled by civil society organisations monitoring administrative detention centres (CRA) and other administrative detention places (LRA). Statistics for 2017 reveal that a total of 46, 857 people were detained, in comparison to 45, 937 in 2016. The number of detained children has also risen from 179 to 304 within the same time frame.

La Cimade argues that incidences of violence and aggression between detainees are becoming more frequent, because this prolonged incarceration is leading to reactions that can range from aggression, (directed to one’s self or others) self- immolation, resistance, defence, despair or anxiety."

GREECE: 11 killed as migrants smugglers' car crashes (Irish Independent, link):

"A car carrying migrants collided with a truck in northern Greece yesterday, killing 11 people, police said.

Ten of the victims were believed to be migrants who crossed into Greece from Turkey. The 11th person was the driver and a suspected migrant smuggler, police said.

Police said the car, in which the migrants were packed, had another vehicle's licence plates and is suspected of having been used for migrant trafficking. The car had not stopped at a police checkpoint during its journey, but it wasn't immediately clear how close to the site of the crash that it happened."

And see: Turkey migrants: Lorry crash in Izmir 'kills 22' (BBC News, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3-14.10.18) including: Fears growing in 'unbearable' and overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece as winter approaches, The "hotspots" experiment: removing human rights from the equation and the contested Mediterranean

Fears growing in 'unbearable' and overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece as winter approaches (ITV, link):

"Unbearable, Hell, bad, dangerous - just a few of the words people use to describe the Moria refugee camp to us on the rare access we were given inside.

We visited the camp on the Greek island of Lesbos at what felt like a potential breaking point.

The thousands of refugees living there are traumatised, trapped and the hope they had when they arrived has been replaced with feelings of desolation.

The staff we spoke to in the overcapacity facility admitted to being overwhelmed and at a loss, but desperate for a solution."

European Commission releases data on Funds to Greece to deal with Migration (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"The European Commission has published a list of recipients of funds to Greece to deal with the migration crisis. An amount totaling 1.6 billion euros has been allocated to non-governmental organizations, international organizations and Greek authorities, even though only half of it has been disbursed."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 11-12 October, Luxembourg: Press release (pdf) See also: "B" Points Agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points agenda legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points agenda non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf)

Are You Syrious (11.10.18, link):

"Sea Watch’s reconaissance aicraft Moonbird took off from a new operating base on Thursday to give evidence of Europe’s deadly border policy and to call for rescue where needed. The aircraft had been prevented from continuing search-and-rescue operations by the Maltese government for three months. The death rate in the central Mediterranean sea has never been as high, as the number of active rescue boats has plummeted."

The “hotspots” experiment: removing human rights from the equation (Refugee Support Aegean, link):

"The Greek hotspots have been transformed into areas where human rights are being systematically breached. It is extremely problematic that these breaches continue despite the fact that a number of international organizations supervise and contribute to the hotspot operations."

Greece: Tents and Drones (Samos Chronicles, link)

"On Wednesday October 3rd 2018 over 200 refugees arrived on Samos.

On Thursday, a Palestinian friend living in one of the containers inside the camp was told he had to leave to make space for new arrivals who had more need for his place. Of course he asked where do I go. To the forest around the camp, he was told.

In what do I sleep?

A tent came the reply.What tent? You must go and buy one. On Friday we heard that the Chinese shops which sell small summer style tents had sold out. In the meantime…."

Germany extends border controls with Austria and Denmark (DW, link):

"Germany's Interior Ministry will extend migration controls at borders with Austria and Denmark for another six months. Denmark, Austria and France have also announced their intention to extend border controls."

EU: The European Border and Coast Guard: The Justice and Home Affairs Council is discussing: Policy debate: Doc no; 12768-18 (this is not a LIIMITE document, pdf) which includes proposals for:

"strengthening the cooperation with third countries by giving the agency a wider scope for action (not limiting it to neighbouring countries);

- supporting Member States on a technical and operational level with return operations; Agency staff can communicate directly with third countries."
[emphasis added]

Some "concerns" have been expressed as to the mandate of the standing corps of 10,000 officers.

EU: European Council: Updated Draft Conclusions: European Council meeting (18 October 2018) – Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 11837-18, pdf)

EU:  Reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is in a mess

- disagreement amongst Member States blocking adoption

The Austrian Presidency of the Council has produced a report on the state of play in the while trying to agree its negotiating position: From: Presidency To: Permanent Representatives Committee/Council (LIMITE doc no: 12420-18, pdf). There are no fewer than six previous versions.

Each of the seven measures are held up because a minority of delegations (Member States) in the Council are opposed to changes made or proposed unacceptable changes to the Council's original, agreed, negotiating position on which trilogue talks are based.

On its part the European Parliament - after many trilogue meetings - stands by the agreement reached in June on three measures: the Qualifications Directive, Reception Directive and the Resettlement Regulation.

Hungary’s Orbán thanks Greek far-right Golden Dawn for its support (euractiv, link):

" Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has formally thanked the Greek far-right Golden Dawn party for their support during last month’s vote on the activation of Article 7 against Hungary in the European Parliament. The move is likely to cause new frictions in the European People’s Party, Orbán’s political home in the EU."

Three female migrants found murdered near Greece-Turkey border - Area is known for illegal migrant crossings and police say they suspect foul play (Guardian, link):

"Two women and a girl believed to be migrants have been found dead with their throats slashed near Greece’s north-eastern border with Turkey, Greek authorities said.

The victims appeared to be of North African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin, but their nationalities and identities were unknown, police said. An initial examination of the bodies suggested the three were killed about four days earlier, coroner Pavlos Pavlidis said on Wednesday.

“It is clearly a criminal act,” Pavlidis told Associated Press. “They were found with their hands bound, each body about two or three metres away from the other. Their throats were cut right across.”"

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 11-12 July 2018, Luxembourg: Background Note (pdf) Includes:

"On Friday, home affairs ministers are expected to discuss the Commission proposal on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG), the Commission proposal reforming the return directive and the Commission sectoral proposals for the field of home affairs in the context of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).The Presidency is also expected to report on progress regarding the reform of the Common European Asylum System. (...)

E-evidence package: regulation on European production and preservation orders: The Council will hold a policy debate on the regulation on European production and preservation orders for e-evidence in criminal matters."

EU: The next phase of the European Border and Coast Guard: towards operational effectiveness (EU Law Analysis, link):

"Two years after the establishment, in record time, of the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG), the Commission’s new proposed Regulation opens the way for a standing corps of 10,000 border guards, with its own equipment and greater executive powers."

UK-BREXIT: Can An Article 50 Withdrawal Notice be Revoked? The CJEU is Asked to Decide (verfassungsblog.de, link):

"The legal issue of whether the United Kingdom can change its mind and revoke – unilaterally – its notified intention to withdraw from the European Union has been a matter of academic and professional conjecture since the 2016 referendum. An authoritative interpretation of the issue may be delivered by Christmas following the lodging on 3 October 2018 of a request by the Scottish Court of Session for a preliminary ruling in Case C-621/18 Wightman and Others."

Greek court orders inquiry into use of EU migrant funds (euobserver, link):

"Greek Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou on Monday ordered an investigation of how €570m of EU funds for migrant aid was spent after the sacked head of hotspot reception centres, Andreas Iliopoulos, indicated in a newspaper interview that EU funds for migration were being mismanaged. Iliopoulos was responsible for reception centres on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos and in Evros, northern Greece. He was dismissed last week."

And see: Prosecutor launches probe into alleged mismanagement of EU Funds for refugees (Keep Talking Greece, link)

In Italy’s ‘hospitality town’, migrants fight to save mayor who gave them a new home (Guardian, link):

"Domenico Lucano revitalised his community by welcoming foreigners. He has been detained by the state … and supporters fear a political motive."

Salvini threatens to shut airports over migrant ‘charter flights’ from Germany (euractiv, link):

"Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini threatened Sunday (7 October) to shut the country’s airports after media reported that Germany planned to send charter flights of rejected asylum-seekers to Italy."

CoE: Commissioner for Hunan Rights: Commissioner calls on Croatia to investigate allegations of collective expulsions of migrants and of violence by law enforcement officers (link):

"Commissioner Mijatovic reiterates that all efforts to manage migration should be made strictly in line with the rule of law and binding international legal principles and urges the authorities to ensure that anyone who intends to make an asylum application gets access to a fair and effective procedure."

See: Letter to Croatia PM (pdf) and PM reply (pdf)

The Netherlands won’t send Polish nationals back to face trial (dutchnews.nl/news, link):

"Amsterdam district court has refused to extradite a Polish national to Poland because of ‘major doubts about the independence of the Polish judiciary’. The ‘constitutional right to a fair trial’ could now be in danger, judges said, announcing their verdict on Thursday. The case centres on a Polish national in Limburg said to be involved in drugs."

Hungary’s new law restricting freedom of assembly (hungarianspectrum.org, link):

"As of yesterday Hungary has a new law on the right of assembly which places more restrictions on citizens’ ability to express their dissatisfaction with the state and the government."

GREECE-TURKEY: Unprepared and overwhelmed: Greece’s resurgent river border with Turkey (IRIN News, link):

"Locals in Evros are used to new faces. People have been quietly slipping across the river that forms a natural barrier for all but 12 kilometres of the tense, militarised border between Greece and Turkey since Greece joined the European Union in 1981.

But everyone on the Evros River was puzzled when a crush of hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers began crossing their sleepy riverine border every day in March. Six months later, arrivals have slowed but worries persist that the region is still poorly prepared for any new influx."

EU: ATLAS network of special forces: Council examines ways to improve cooperation

ATLAS is the network of EU Member States' 'Special intervention Units' concerned primarily with anti-terrorism operations. According to a Council document, "the majority of the Member States deems the existing range of legal possibilities in cross-border cooperation available to the Special Intervention Units related to the ATLAS Network sufficient or nearly sufficient," however a number of possibilities for enhancing cooperation are suggested, principally concerning the legal basis for cross-border operations and "mapping" the capabilities of Member States' "special intervention units".

UK: Talking about human rights: how to identify and engage a range of audiences (Equality and Human Rights Commission, pdf)

"Background

We asked ComRes to conduct research to help us understand public attitudes to human rights and to specific human rights issues, and inform our work to promote understanding of the importance of human rights. The research has focused in particular on gaining a more detailed picture of people with mixed views on human rights – a group identified in previous research – and their values and motivations to support human rights. This is a summary of our key findings and recommendations for talking to the public about human rights.

Who is this for?

This summary will be particularly useful for NGOs, public bodies and other individuals and organisations working in areas that relate directly or indirectly to human rights and equality. It will also be helpful to anyone else with an interest in communicating effectively about the importance of human rights."

UK: 'Stopped and searched up to three times a day' - new report says (StopWatch, link):

"The controversial gang matrix, is counterproductive. It leads to continual, heavy-handed policing of young black men and boys labelled as 'gang nominals'. According to a hard-hitting new report published today (Wednesday 19 September) from stop and search campaign group StopWatch.

Being Matrixed, paints a bleak picture of people on the Gangs Matrix being subjected to relentless stop and search encounters sometimes multiple times a day, which seemingly lack an appropriate legal basis.

StopWatch branded constant searching of ‘gang nominals’ without legitimate grounds, an intrusive form of surveillance that directly impacts on the trust and confidence young people have toward the police.

Rather than preventing criminal offences, stop and search has the potential to increase offending behaviour, as people being repeatedly stopped and searched may lose their temper and consequently be arrested for a public order offence, the report warns."

See also: Trapped in the Matrix: Secrecy, stigma and bias in the Met's Gangs Database (Amnesty, link)

EU: Asylum: Austria and Denmark announce their "vision for a better protection system in a globalized world"

A paper published by the Austrian interior ministry and the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration declares that "migration and asylum policy will shape Europe's future", arguing that "many citizens have lost trust in their governments' ability to deal with the challenges of irregular migration" - trust which will only be restored by "an alternative, unifying vision".

Denmark still refusing to accept any quota refugees in 2018 (The Copenhagen Post, link):

"Denmark will not be accepting any quota refugees for 2018, according to the immigration and integration minister, Inger Støjberg.

The decision means Denmark hasn’t accepted any quota refugees since 2015 and remains the only country to halt its intake of the so-called resettlement refugees.

“Even though we’ve seen better control on the flow of refugees, we are still in a situation when we are fighting to integrate the many refugees who have arrived to Denmark in recent years,” Støjberg said.

“Despite more refugees finding work, there are still many who can’t support themselves – particularly among women. So I’ve decided that Denmark won’t be taking in any quota refugees in 2018.”"

UK: A Lord Chamberlain for the internet? Thanks, but no thanks. (Cyberleagle, link):

"This summer marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Theatres Act 1968, the legislation that freed the theatres from the censorious hand of the Lord Chamberlain of Her Majesty’s Household. Thereafter theatres needed to concern themselves only with the general laws governing speech. In addition they were granted a public good defence to obscenity and immunity from common law offences against public morality.

The Theatres Act is celebrated as a landmark of enlightenment. Yet today we are on the verge of creating a Lord Chamberlain of the Internet. We won't call it that, of course. The Times, in its leader of 5 July 2018, came up with the faintly Orwellian "Ofnet". Speculation has recently renewed that the UK government is laying plans to create a social media regulator to tackle online harm. What form that might take, should it happen, we do not know. We will find out when the government produces a promised white paper.

When governments talk about regulating online platforms to prevent harm it takes no great leap to realise that we, the users, are the harm that they have in mind."

UK: Sajid Javid 'taking UK down dangerous road' by expanding citizenship stripping (The Guardian, link):

"The home secretary, Sajid Javid, is taking the UK down a “very dangerous road” with plans to expand powers to strip dual citizens of their British citizenship, a leading human rights group has warned.

Suspected terrorists have previously had their UK citizenship taken away – most often while they are abroad – and the move does not require prior approval from a judge or parliament.

In his speech at the Conservative party conference, Javid proposed extending the reach of the power to cover serious criminals, citing child grooming gangmasters as an example."

EU: Meijers Committee: Note to the Presidency of the Council concerning the General Secretariat draft policy paper on legislative transparency (pdf):

"On 13 July, the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU circulated a draft policy note to the Members of the Council with proposals for reform of the policy on legislative transparency (document 11099/18 LIMITE). An initial discussion on these proposals was held at the Coreper meeting of 18 July. On 20 July, Agence Europe reported on the substance of the document. On 24 August, the document was published on the website of Statewatch (...)

As a general guideline, we propose that any access to legislative documents policy in the Council should meet three standards. It should:

1. Allow European citizens to see who is responsible for decisions made by the Council and in what way, particularly as regards their own national representatives.

2. Allow European citizens to comprehend the main lines of disagreement among Member States, and the reasons that Member States offer for disagreeing.

3. Offer sufficiently detailed and timely information to allow European citizens to participate in ongoing legislative procedures, particularly to make their voice heard concerning proposals that effect their personal situation or significant public interests."

See:Document 11099-18 LIMITE (pdf)

Libya is a war zone. Why is the EU still sending refugees back there? (Guardian, link)

Italian-flagged migrant rescue boat defies anti immigration minister (Guardian, link):

"Vessel Mare Jonio sets out towards Libya despite Matteo Salvini clampdown on rescued migrants entering Italian ports. (...)

The Italian flag on the 38-metre Mare Jonio will make it harder for Salvini to prevent it from docking, though he could still move to prevent people from disembarking. The boat has been bought and equipped by a coalition of leftwing politicians, anti-racist associations, intellectuals and figures in the arts, under the supervision of two NGOs. Its mission has been called Mediterranean."

Europe's migrant rescue boats face uncertain future (DW, link)

"The Aquarius has docked at the port of Marseille, carrying with it uncertainty about the future of migrant rescue missions. But even as the humanitarian vessel ends operations indefinitely, some see hope on the horizon. (...)

"It means the Aquarius is going to be in the port of Marseille for a certain period of time while we go through the administrative details of getting registration for the vessel to be able to head back out to sea," Nick Romaniuk, rescue coordinator for SOS Mediterranee, told DW."

MI5 can authorise agents to commit crimes, tribunal told (Irish Times, link):

"Calls for tribunal to order MI5 to release information about the Third Direction policy.

MI5 officers can authorise agents to commit criminal acts under a secret policy dating back decades that operated without oversight until 2012, an investigative powers tribunal in London has heard. The policy, known as the Third Direction, has no legal basis and its existence has been secret until now.

n November 2012, former prime minister David Cameron wrote to Mark Waller, the intelligence services commissioner, asking him to keep the policy under review. (...)

The letter was sent two weeks before the publication of an independent report into the 1989 murder of solicitor Pat Finucane. Mr Cameron said there were “shocking levels state collusion” in the murder and that agents “in the pay of the state” were involved."

European Council: 18 October 2018: Migration, internal security and Big Brother database

European Council: European Council meeting (18 October 2018) – Draft guidelines for conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 11816-18.pdf) target migration, disinformation and the interoperable centralised database.

A brutal life for migrants in Libya: trafficking, detention or death en route to Europe (pbs.org, link)

The contested Mediterranean (link)

"Private rescue organizations are put on the chain. In the middle of the standoff about the ship „Aquarius“ Frontex starts the surveillance with drones and wants to give the coordinates of refugee boats to Libya."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 11-12/10/2018 (link): Agenda highlights.

Hurriyet: Turkey sets up radars to monitor Aegean vessel traffic (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Turkey has set up eleven surveillance stations on the Aegean coast as part of the first phase of the Coast Surveillance Radar System (SGRS) Project which aims to "halt illegal activities" in the sea, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on Wednesday.

The paper says, when the system testing has been completed, the radars and electro-optical sensors will monitor the sea around the clock."

UK: Police fail to close down undercover relationship case following new revelations (Police spies out of our lives,link):

"Today in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the police failed in their attempt to close down Kate Wilson’s human rights claim about secret political policing and her relationship with the undercover officer, Mark Kennedy.

This was the police’s fourth failed application to limit the extent of the IPT investigation. After seven years of litigation, they still haven’t answered the detailed claims made.

The IPT panel, headed by Lord Justice Singh, ordered the police to provide a fully pleaded defence to all aspects of the claim, supported by witness evidence, within three months."

Greece: "We have found hell': trauma runs deep for children at dire Lesbos camp (Guardian, link):

"Violent and unsanitary conditions in Moria refugee settlement are exacerbating the horror of fleeing conflict for the 3,000 children who live there."

Morocco's foreign minister rejects EU's migrant centers (DW, link):

"Morocco's foreign minister said his country should play a greater role in EU decisions on migration in a newspaper interview. Nasser Bourita said Morocco was opposed to the migrant centers that the EU has suggested."

EU: European Court: Parliamentarian Allowances Are ‘Personal’ (OCCRP, link):

"The European Parliament has no obligation to tell the public what its 751 members do with their tens of millions of Euros annually in tax-free allowances, according to a verdict released Tuesday by the European Court of Justice (EC).

“I don’t know if they realize what they’ve done. To put it mildly, we are shocked,” said Anuska Delic, an investigative journalist affiliated with the OCCRP."

Court press release: The General Court confirms the Parliament's refusal to grant access to documents relating to MEPs' subsistence allowances, travel expenses and parliamentary assistance allowances (25 September 2018, pdf) and: Judgment (Cases T-639/15 to T-666/15, pdf)

French police officer caught selling confidential police data on the dark web (ZDNet, link):

"A French police officer has been charged and arrested last week for selling confidential data on the dark web in exchange for Bitcoin.

The officer worked for Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI, translated to General Directorate for Internal Security), a French intelligence agency charged with counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, countering cybercrime and surveillance of potentially threatening groups, organizations, and social phenomena...

The officer stands accused of selling confidential information such as sensitive documents that made their way into the hands of cyber-criminals, Le Parisien reported last week. Investigators believe the criminals to whom Haurus sold the confidential files used them to create forged documents."

Global Counterterrorism Forum: New 'Terrorist Travel Initiative' to expand global biometric watchlists

The USA and Morocco, acting as part of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), launched on 28 September the 'Terrorist Travel Initiative' designed to identify and address "potential weaknesses and gaps in a country’s capacity to watchlist, share information, and utilize that information for screening purposes."

EU: The shrinking space for solidarity with migrants and refugees: How the European Union and Member States target and criminalize defenders of the rights of people on the move (TNI, link):

"Europe’s “refugee crisis” triggered a wave of solidarity actions by both civil society organisations and ordinary citizens. Their efforts were part of a wave of compassion, as people organised convoys to refugee reception centers, warmly greeted arrivals at train stations and lined highways to provide food and water to those making the journey from Syria and elsewhere. Just a few years later those same activists are treated as criminals and humanitarian search and rescue missions are criminalised.

The current onslaught originated in the intensification of the EU’s restrictive approach to immigration policy from late 2014 and the EU’s treatment of Italy and Greece, front-line states on the EU’s migration routes. Today in Europe, solidarity with migrants and refugees can lead to arrest, legal troubles, or harassment. The actions of national police, judiciaries, political powers and far-right militants have created and compounded hostility to solidarity with refugees and migrants.

This report looks at how EU policy has played out and offers a glimpse into the ways citizens and movements are resisting xenophobic and securitarian policies."

EU: On the fifth anniversary of the Lampedusa shipwreck that took 368 lives: Save the Aquarius, Save Lives - Joint NGO Letter (Human Rights Watch, link):

"Five years to the day after the Lampedusa tragedy in which at least 368 people died, rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea are more vital than ever. It is alarming that the last rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean may be forced to stop operating. We call on European leaders to ensure the Aquarius can continue to save lives at sea.

The decision by Panamanian authorities to strike the Aquarius, a nongovernmental rescue ship operated by SOS MEDITERRANEE and Médécins Sans Frontières (MSF), from its ships’ registry, apparently in response to pressure from the Italian government, is a reprehensible move. It will deny potentially life-saving assistance to vulnerable people at risk, including injured people, pregnant women, torture survivors, people traumatized by shipwrecks and unaccompanied minors.

This is just the latest in a series of moves to delegitimize and block nongovernmental groups performing vital search-and-rescue operations in the central Mediterranean. It risks forcing the last remaining NGO ship away from the deadliest stretch of water in the world, resulting in the end of nongovernmental rescue in the area, which for years, has courageously contributed to saving thousands of lives. All other NGOs are blocked in Italian or Maltese ports by legal actions or have been forced to suspend operations given unconscionable delays or refusals to disembark rescued persons in European ports."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.9-2.10.18) including: Lesvos refugee camp at centre of Greek misuse of EU funds row; migrant aid worker convicted for tweet in France; Frontex begins testing drones

Are You Syrious (30.9.18; link)

Greece

"Horrific conditions in Moria camp are only worsened through the rain. Heavy cold rains are a feature of fall weather and Salam Aldeen has documented the horrifying misery in which thousands are trapped. Most international officials are aware of the situations, yet there are only minor efforts. In the photo below, people are packed into a children’s play centre to stay out of the rain. This was part of the government plan to “protect” people from the storm nicknamed “Zorbas” that moved across Greece this weekend."

Germany agrees on immigration law to tackle labor shortages (Reuters, link):

"Germany’s coalition parties agreed on a new immigration law on Tuesday to attract more skilled workers from countries outside the European Union, in a politically risky push to fill a record number of job vacancies and stabilize the public pension system."

UK: Police used stun guns on mentally ill patients 96 times in a year (Guardian, link):

"Mental health patients have had a stun gun drawn, aimed or fired at them almost 100 times in just over a year, the Guardian can reveal.

Data shows police officers in the UK were called to hospitals and other mental healthcare facilities where a stun gun was used 96 times since 1 April 2017, the date when forces were required to keep data on this.

One patient who had a stun gun fired at them by Greater Manchester police (GMP) was 16 years old. Figures showed the force also pointed a stun gun, with a red dot appearing, on a 14-year-old patient.

The government has said stun guns should be used only as a last resort, but campaigners argue vehemently against their use in such a setting."

German journalist stabbed in Saxony-Anhalt: reports (DW, link):

"Three youths in Saxony-Anhalt allegedly stabbed a journalist and made the Hitler salute outside a supermarket. The victim is reportedly in hospital where he is receiving treatment for a six-centimeter-deep stab wound."

UK: Stansted 15: Amnesty to observe trial amid concerns for anti-deportation activists (Amnesty, link):

"Amnesty International will be observing the trial of 15 human rights defenders set to go on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court next week (Monday 1 October) relating to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted airport.

The protesters - known as the “Stansted 15” - are facing lengthy jail sentences for their non-violent intervention in March last year.

Amnesty is concerned that the serious charge of “endangering safety at aerodromes” may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights. "

And see: Stansted 15 Court Demo (Stop deportation charter flights, link)

German far-right terror suspects detained in overnight raids (DW, link):

"Some 100 police officers raided several properties in the German states of Saxony and Bavaria early on Monday morning as part of an investigation into a terror group called Revolution Chemnitz, named after the eastern German city that was the scene of recent far-right demonstrations following the killing of a German man.

The six men arrested, aged between 20 and 30, are suspected of forming a terrorist organization under the leadership of 31-year-old Christian K., who had already been arrested on September 14.

Later on Monday, authorities detained a seventh suspect.

According to Germany's state prosecutors, the men were planning attacks on "foreigners" and people who did not share their political views. Batons, an air-rifle, and computer hard drives were seized during the raids."

EU: Meijers Committee: Letter to Chair of LIBE Committee: Registration of criminal records of Union citizens in ECRIS-TCN (pdf):

"With regard to the suggested compromise proposal, the Meijers Committee is still not convinced that the ´discrimination´ of dual citizenship is ´solved.´ The negative symbolic effects of the proposed treatment in Article 2(2), which introduces for the first time in Union law the treatment of Union citizens as third-country nationals will negatively affect large numbers of EU nationals of immigrant origin."

Facial Recognition Surveillance a Threat to Law-Abiding Citizens (Liberties.eu, link):

"The use of facial recognition surveillance is becoming widespread across Europe, and those who stand to lose the most are law-abiding citizens, not criminals...

Berliners are in for an Orwellian surprise at the Südkreuz train station, where the government has been testing a new facial recognition surveillance system. It’s the latest instance of the technology’s use in Europe, and it’s already widely used around the world.

But despite its widespread use, facial recognition technology is operating in a legal gray area. As legal challenges arise against the use of mass surveillance, courts are increasingly siding with people’s rights and limiting the use of privacy-invading policing tactics like facial recognition surveillance."

UNHCR concerned over lack of Mediterranean rescue capacity (euractiv, link);

"The Maltese authorities on Sunday (30 September) finally took 58 migrants from the Aquarius to Valletta after they had waited for days in rough seas on the rescue ship that can no longer go to port after its flag was pulled.

The migrants, including Libyans, sub-Saharan Africans and Afghans, boarded two buses at a Malta Armed Forces base in Valletta after being transferred from the Aquarius to a Maltese patrol boat in international waters."

EU: Reconsidering the blanket-data-retention-taboo, for human rights’ sake? Belgian Constitutional Court offers CJEU chance to explain its puzzling Tele2 Sverige AB-decision (European Law Blog, link):

"Compulsory retention, by ICT-providers, of all non-content user and traffic data, to ensure that that data will be available for subsequent use by law enforcement or intelligence, has been a controversial issue in the EU for several years now. On 19 July 2018 the Belgian Constitutional Court requested a preliminary ruling from the CJEU. Basically, it asks the EU Court to further clarify its earlier case law. The Belgian constitutional judges indicate that they find some aspects of the CJEU’s previous decisions puzzling and they also offer a new angle by explicitly linking the matter to the positive obligations of member states under the European Convention on Human Rights. The implied suggestion seems that the CJEU did not give those obligations enough weight when it found blanket data retention obligations disproportionate."

EU defence groups under fire for opacity (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission has implied it will improve the transparency of defence research advisory groups - following criticism from the European Ombudsman - but has stopped short of giving exact details. The ombudsman concluded two investigations this year relating to such groups."

UK: Police super-database prompts Liberty warning on privacy - Human rights group boycotts Home Office consultations on vast cloud system, saying they are a sham (Guardian, link):

"A new super-database being built for the police represents a “grave” risk to privacy, a leading human rights group has said.

Liberty claims the government is glossing over concerns that the database, the largest built for British law enforcement, threatens civil liberties. The group fears it gives massive power to the state at the expense of millions of Britons.

The Home Office has had consultation meetings with groups and experts concerned about privacy ahead of the super-database becoming operational later this year. Liberty said it has quit them in protest, damaging government hopes of neutralising civil liberties concerns."

See: Why we’re no longer taking part in a consultation on the police’s new super-database (Liberty, link): "We can’t be part of a process that gives a free pass to the creeping expansion of digital policing that shows contempt for our privacy rights."

EU: European Parliament factsheets on police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

Two European Parliament factsheets setting out basic information on police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters in the EU: legal basis; objectives; achievements; and the role of the European Parliament.


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