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Archive - March 2019
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March 2019

The new issue of Race and Class from the Institute of Race Relations contains a seminal lead article: "Digital colonialism: US empire and the new imperialism in the Global South" by Michael Kwet:

"This article proposes a conceptual framework of how the United States is reinventing colonialism in the Global South through the domination of digital technology. Using South Africa as a case study, it argues that US multinationals exercise imperial control at the architecture level of the digital ecosystem: software, hardware and network connectivity, which then gives rise to related forms of domination.

The monopoly power of multinational corporations is used for resource extraction through rent and surveillance – economic domination. By controlling the digital ecosystem, Big Tech corporations control computer-mediated experiences, giving them direct power over political, economic and cultural domains of life – imperial control. The centrepiece of surveillance capitalism, Big Data, violates the sanctity of privacy and concentrates economic power in the hands of US corporations – a system of global surveillance capitalism (...) :"

Last Breath of Operation Sophia Should Push Coalition of the Willing (ECRE, link):

"The main focus of the Mission, and that which will continue, is “destroying the smugglers’ business model”, that weaselly expression which covers so much. In practice, for this CSDP Mission it has meant destroying boats, leading to ever more rickety crafts setting sail. It has also contributed to training the Libyan Coastguard, activities widely criticized, including by ECRE."

Citizens of Somewhere Else? EU citizenship and loss of Member State nationality (EU Law Analysis, link):

"Member States’ rules on the acquisition or loss of nationality are in principle a national competence. But this issue is nevertheless central to EU law, because citizenship of the EU is based on having the nationality of a Member State, according to Article 20(1) TFEU: "

Border Violence Monitoring (link):

"A project documenting illegal push-backs and police violence inflicted by EU member state authorities, mainly on the borders of Serbia/Croatia, Serbia/Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia."

How a Serbian war criminal became an icon of white nationalism (The Washington Post, link):

"Throughout the 1990s, men like Radovan Karadzic, the Serbian politician and convicted war criminal who faces final sentencing at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia today, and Slobodan Milosevic would briefly appear on the American evening news. They would ramble about avenging medieval losses to Muslim invaders only to segue into sanitized talk of territorial partitions, population exchanges and European values. These men directed the horrors that my family fled from. And as touchstones for anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant movements, they continue to inspire white supremacist violence to this day.

To understand the current wave of global extremism, we need to understand how national movements fuse with transnational ones — how calls of America First or Australia First are part of a global White People First movement. And to understand that, there is no better place to begin than the place where I was born: Bosnia."

UK: Majority of immigration removals called off amid concerns thousands of people wrongly targeted (The Independent, link):

"More than half of deportations from the UK are called off, The Independent can reveal – raising concerns that thousands of people are being unfairly targeted for forcible removal.

Figures obtained through freedom of information law show that of the 24,674 removal directions issued last year, 15,200 were cancelled. Of these, more than two-thirds were called off within a week of the scheduled removal and 45 per cent within just one day.

Lawyers and campaigners said the cancelled removals were a waste of public money and a "damaging" symptom of the Home Office’s “detain first, ask questions later” approach."

UK: Duncan Lewis’ challenge to £1 per hour wages for immigration detainees dismissed by High Court: to appeal in pursuit of fair pay (Duncan Lewis, link):

"Mr Justice Murray, in the High Court, has on 26 March 2019 dismissed our clients’ Judicial Review claims challenging the decision of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to pay immigration detainees £1 per hour for work carried out while in detention. Our clients are understandably very disappointed by this decision. We continue to be of the view that this policy is unlawful and will be seeking permission to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeal.

By way of factual background, the Secretary of State for the Home Department (“SSHD”) has been allowing immigration detainees to work in immigration detention since 2006. This is after the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 was amended to exclude immigration detainees. In 2008, the SSHD first introduced a blanket policy to pay immigration detainees £1 per hour for their work (or £1.25 for specified projects). In 2013, the SSHD introduced a new detainee pay policy but maintained the rate of pay. The specified project rate is rarely used and the vast majority of work done by immigration detainees is paid at the rate of £1 per hour."

Study: Sexual torture widespread for migrants seeking Europe (Miami Herald, link):

"Migrants trying to reach Europe face routine rape and sexual torture throughout their journey and especially in Libya, with men facing abuse nearly as routinely as women, according to a study based on dozens of interviews with aid workers and migrants.

The graphic study released Monday by the Women's Refugee Commission comes as Europe has blocked rescues at sea and outsourced its migration policy to Libya's coast guard instead. With European Union funding, the Libyan coast guard retrieves migrants from the Mediterranean Sea and returns them to detention centers nominally run by the Libyan government, where migrants say the abuse resumes.

Smugglers torture migrants and film it to extract ransom payments from their families, and to thin the number of people in their unofficial prisons, according to the study. Previous studies have found that nearly all women who cross from North Africa have been raped or sexually abused along the journey; this one found that the danger was likely nearly as prevalent among men. A mental health worker described graves filled with men with their genitals sliced off — a description corroborated by the account of a survivor of a mass mutilation."

EU: Press Release: Censorship machine takes over EU’s internet (EDRI, link):

"Today, on 26 March, the European Parliament voted in favour of adopting controversial upload filters (Article 13/17) as part of the copyright Directive. This vote comes after what was an intense campaign for human rights activists, with millions of signatures, calls, tweets and emails from concerned individuals, as well as Europe-wide protests.

Despite the mobilisation, 348 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) gave their support to the proposed text which includes concerning restriction to freedom of expression. Noticeably, 274 stood up with citizens and voted to reject upload filters. The proposal to open the text for amendments was rejected by five votes difference. The amendments proposing the deletion of Article 13 were not even subject to a vote."

See also: EU backs controversial copyright law (BBC News, link): "The European Parliament has backed controversial copyright laws critics say could change the nature of the net. The new rules include holding technology companies responsible for material posted without proper copyright permission."

And: European Parliament approves new copyright rules for the internet (EP press release, link)

Germany eligible to deport refugees to EU countries with poor living conditions (DW, link):

"Berlin is within its rights to deport asylum-seekers to other countries in the bloc, even if they'll encounter poor living conditions there, according to the EU's highest court. Exceptions apply only in extreme cases."

See the judgment: Case C-163/17: REQUEST for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Verwaltungsgerichtshof Baden-Württemberg (Higher Administrative Court, Baden-Württemberg, Germany) (pdf)

You Can’t Detain The Stubbornness of Freedom (PLAN C, link):

"Liberté, liberté! This chant – belted out by 49 refugees and migrants in the moment of their landing at Lampedusa last Tuesday – contains the real meaning of what has happened around the Mare Jonio over the last few days, Mediterranea‘s ship."

And in: Italian (link)

I spy: How Android phones keep tabs on our every move (El País, link):

"A study by two Spanish academics reveals the scope and lack of control over pre-installed apps.

As a consumer, you buy a new Android cellphone. It could be any brand, but it is likely to be an Android as they account for more than 80% of today’s cellphone market. You open the box, press the “On” button and the phone connects to the internet. Without further ado, you have just triggered the most sophisticated surveillance machine to date for monitoring your routines."

European Network Against Arms Trade: PRESS RELEASE: EU Defence Fund provisional agreement sets dangerous precedent against democratic functioning of the EU (ENAAT, link):

"Yesterday the Industry & Research Committee (ITRE) of the European parliament (EP) adopted the provisional agreement reached with the EU Council on a European Defence Fund for 2021-2027. The final vote in Plenary session is planned on April 17. As it currently stands, this compromise text sets a dangerous precedent against the democratic functioning of the EU and in particular against the oversight role of the Parliament."

EU foreign policy normalises totalitarianism in the Middle East (Middle East Eye, link):

"Recent summit in Egypt highlights the hypocrisy of EU discourse on democracy and human rights,

Last month, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made it crystal clear to European leaders, who pride themselves on democracy and the universality of human rights, that his regime rejects these values. His actions underscored this, as Egypt carried out executions after a “grossly unfair” court process and advanced a bill that would amend the constitution to entrench Sisi’s power."

A look back at the European Migrant Smuggling Centre activities in 2018- Same routes, new dangers as the EU continues to be a target for migrant smugglers and human trafficker (Press release, link):

"At times of reduced migration flows at EU external borders, the facilitation of illegal immigration within the EU poses a particular growing challenge. Law enforcement agencies across Europe also have to cope with increasingly exploitative criminal activities, associated with violence and serious harm to the life of irregular migrants. These are some of the findings of the European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC)’s Annual Activity Report, released today on the occasion of the Annual Conference of Heads of Counter Migrant Smuggling Units, hosted by Europol at its headquarters in The Hague."

See: European Migrant Smuggling Centre Activity Report - 2018 (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.3.18) including:

EU: "Policing in a Connected World": Council looks to help police deal with "Novel Actionable Information"

A recent document produced by the Romanian Presidency of the Council takes up the issue of "Policing in a Connected World" and calls for the establishment of new networks and tools so that police forces across the EU can better make use of the "Novel Actionable Information" generated by the "explosion in the number of digital devices used, each generating more data, more diverse and complex types of data, and connections between data."

UK: House of Commons Library briefing: Brexit: contingency planning and powers (pdf):

"Media reports have speculated on whether the Government might be preparing to use its emergency powers conferred by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to manage various problems commentators have suggested may emerge after Brexit, particularly if there is no deal.

This briefing looks at emergency planning in the UK and specifically at the how emergencies are defined, how the Government may deploy its emergency powers to deal with them, and how this relates to no-deal planning."

NETHERLANDS: Dutch populist wins provincial elections after Utrecht attack (Reuters, link):

"An upstart populist party shocked the Dutch political establishment by winning the most votes in provincial elections after a preliminary count in the early hours of Thursday, boosted by a possible terrorist attack this week in the city of Utrecht.

...The most important short term impact is that Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right coalition will be forced to seek outside support to win Senate approval for laws passed by parliament. Provincial votes determine the composition in the Senate, where Rutte’s government has lost its majority.

The big winner in the vote was the Forum for Democracy party, led by 36-year-old Thierry Baudet, which holds just two seats in parliament after entering politics in 2016. On current projections it will have an equal number of seats in the Senate as Rutte’s VVD."

See also: The New Dutch Disease Is White Nationalism (Foreign Policy, link): "An upstart far-right party in the Netherlands threatens to entrench xenophobia in one of Europe’s most progressive countries."

EU: Customs cooperation: Review of the legal framework to exchange information with (in) Member States, European Commission, Europol and Frontex - Evaluation report (15280/1/18 REV 1, LIMITE, 27 February 2019, pdf):

"Delegations will find in Annex the evaluation report on the review of the legal framework to exchange information with (in) Member States, European Commission, Europol and Frontex, which now includes comments from the Member States, the Commission, Europol and Frontex."

Reimagining refugee rights: addressing asylum harms in Britain, Denmark and Sweden (University of Bristol, link):

"This report outlines findings from a study based in Britain, Denmark and Sweden from 2016-2018. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, it documents the harms increasingly embedded in the lives of people seeking asylum. In particular, this study focuses on the gendered implications of seeking asylum.

It highlights that hostile attitudes and environments compound - or make worse - the impacts of violence, torture and sexual abuse. At the same time, social and psychological support is reduced, leaving many people in an unsupported limbo, and women survivors of violence on the periphery of societies. Overall, this report shows that the rights of women seeking asylum are diminishing in all three countries, and calls for a significant relaxation of social controls in the lives of people seeking asylum."

Full report: Reimagining Refugee Rights: Addressing Asylum Harms in Britain, Denmark and Sweden (pdf)

EU-HUNGARY: Systemic Error – On Hungary’s Extension of European Voting Rights to Non-Resident Citizens (Verfassungsblog, link):

"Last December, the Hungarian legislator adopted a rule that allows non-EU-resident Hungarian citizens to vote at the European Parliament elections. The law specifically refers to Council decision 2018/994 amending the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, adopted last summer. The new Article 9a allows Member States to grant their citizens residing outside the EU the right to vote, in line with their national electoral rules. Implementation done, EU conformity secured, nothing to see here. Or is there? This post illustrates how the hidden assumption of normality behind EU regulations can end up legitimizing illiberal moves."

The European Refoulement Industry at Sea (Alarm Phone, link):

"In February 2019, Fabrice Leggeri, the director of the European border agency Frontex announced that there was “no burning crisis with the irregular crossing at external borders”, pointing to the drop in arrivals between 2017 and 2018. And yet, he suggested, stronger border controls were needed.[1] As the crossings to Greece and Spain have in fact increased over the past year, the overall decrease in arrivals via the sea in 2018 stems from Europe’s offensive against migrants leaving from Libya. With only about 23,000 arrivals via the Central Mediterranean route, the number of arrivals dropped by nearly a hundred thousand people to the year prior. This dramatic decrease is not due to a reduction in the need and willingness of people to cross but simply the effect of a vicious containment and deterrence practice that Europe carries out together with its allies. Currently, burning crises produced by the European border regime take place not only at the external sea borders, but also elsewhere, such as in the gruesome detention camps of Libya.

We can speak of a veritable ‘refoulement industry’ that has emerged in the Central Mediterranean, where a range of authorities collude to abduct those escaping at sea and to return them into inhumane camps where severe atrocities are being committed daily."

UK: Spycops Victims Use Privacy Laws in Bid to See Files (COPS, link):

"...last year, the NPSCPs raised the point that under the new GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation]... they did actually have rights over their data in the hands of the Inquiry, and such rights were over all such data, not just what the Inquiry decided was important. What matters is not what the Inquiry wishes but what are the rights protected in law.

The Inquiry clearly realised there was an issue as they quickly ordered a hearing. That took place at the end of January, and it was a bit of a shambles. Only the NPSCPs’ lawyers effectively grasped the issues, necessitating a second hearing to address the legal points that had been raised.

The rest of this article sets out the legal points which will be discussed (links to all submission documents are here). Hopefully, it will assist anyone seeking to follow the arguments on the day and give a quick reference to the various paragraphs and articles which will be cited."

And see: How long will the undercover policing inquiry take? (BBC News, link)

Are You Syrious (20.3.19, link):


"In Greece, since last night, six boats arrived with 239 people altogether, according to the Aegean Boat Report.

The first boat arrived last night on Farmakonisi, and 19 people were transported to Leros. The next one arrived on Lesvos and was picked up outside Korakas with 44 people; the second boat landed on Lesvos at Neon Kydonion with 41 people; two boats arrived on Samos during the night, carrying a total of 118 people.(...)

NoBorder Greece have kept track of recent attacks and mobilizations by racists and neo-Nazis in Greece at Samos, Lesvos (two) Konitsa (two), Metaxourgio, Athens (the police against a refugee), Villa, Salamina Island."

Brexit and Extending EU Membership: The Legal Issues (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers:

"This blog post was updated following the approval of the official decision extending EU membership. (...)

Apart from the legal issues directly related to the extension, next week is likely to see a number of crucial votes relating to the UK’s imminent and future relationship with the EU. Time will tell what indirect effect they may have on the length and circumstances of the UK’s extended EU membership – and in particular whether the UK government and parliament is able to agree upon a way forward in the event that the withdrawal agreement is not approved."

Time for truth, recognition and reconciliation for Roma in Europe (euractiv, link):

"EU leaders must show that they take Roma rights and anti-Roma discrimination seriously. That means recognising their cultural identity and contribution to Europe, truth and reconciliation, argue a group of political leaders and campaigners. (...)

Approximately 10 to 12 million in number, the Roma constitute Europe’s largest ethnic minority, yet in many countries they are still viewed as second-class Europeans."

Who facilitated the Christchurch terrorist’s journey through hate? (IRR News, link):

"The context of war and the influence of the New Right intelligentsia cannot be left out of the reckoning when it comes to understanding the making of the New Zealand terrorist."

Migrants fail German tests in increasing numbers (DW, link):

"The number of migrants and refugees failing Germany's integration and language classes has risen. Germany's migration office has been under fire for the quality of the courses."

UK: Home Affairs Committee Report: “Utter failure” of Home Office has led to serious problems with every part of the immigration detention system, Committee warns (pdf):

"The Home Office has shown a shockingly cavalier attitude in its approach to immigration detention and overseen serious failings in almost every area of the immigration detention process, a new report by the Home Affairs Committee has found."

Spain's migration agreements with Morocco have grave consequences for Mediterranean shipwrecks, warn trade union and human rights group

Andalusia, 16 March 2019 - The General Work Confederation (Confederación General del Trabajo, CGT) and the Andalusian Association for Human Rights (Asociación Pro-derechos Humanos de Andalucía, APDHA) have said in a press conference that the consequences of the recent agreements between Spain and Morocco on migration will have serious consequences for the human beings risking their lives in the Mediterranean.

EU: "Eliminating blind spots": customs data could be checked against SIS and Europol under interoperability plans

Plans to join up the EU's databases and information systems in the field of policing and migration are well underway, with the European Parliament and the Council having recently reached agreement on the basic rules for the "interoperability" initiative.

Now officials are discussing a new report on the "interoperability of security and border management systems with customs systems" which proposes interconnections between a new EU-wide customs database, the Schengen Information System (SIS) and Europol data.

3 years on, what’s become of the EU-Turkey migration deal? (Washington Post, link):

"ATHENS, Greece — In March 2016, European governments breathed a sigh of relief as the European Union reached a deal with Turkey designed to stop hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants heading into the heart of Europe. For many of those who had fled war, hunger and poverty hoping for a bright future on the continent, the deal shattered their dreams.

Three years on, here is a look back at the agreement and the effect it’s had on migration."

NETHERLANDS: 100 Teens Chant ‘Geert Wilders,’ Attack Moroccan Family in Netherlands (Morocco World News, link):

"Being barged in on and beaten by nearly 100 teenagers in their own home was not how the Boukhizzou family imagined spending Monday evening.

The Moroccan family experienced a vicious attack at their home in Urk, the Netherlands. As the mother tried to defend her family, the attackers hit her and injured her daughter, throwing rocks and fireworks. But their main target was the Moroccan family’s 18-year-old son, Soufyan.

The attackers shouted “Geert Wilders” while they attacked the family."

UK: Immigration removals stopped by injunction (BBC News, link):

"Hundreds of immigration removals are in doubt after the High Court ordered the Home Office to stop using a controversial "no warning" tactic.

A charity defending detainees has won an injunction after saying the policy breached the right to access justice.

Medical Justice said the policy prevented immigrants having a fair chance to put their case before they were put on a plane out of the country.

It said the policy had affected a huge range of people living in the UK.

These include members of the Windrush generation and victims of torture, it said."

See: Home Office’s Removal Notice Windows Policy Suspended (Public Law Project, link) and the order: CO/543/1029 (pdf)

EU: Names of national authorities that drafted "interoperability" plans published following Statewatch complaint

The names of the authorities that made up the EU high-level expert group on information systems and interoperability, which was responsible for outlining the plans that have led to the interconnection of EU policing and migration databases, have been published by the European Commission following a successful complaint by Statewatch.

The “Mare Jonio” rescued 49 people from a shipwreck: now Italy must indicate a safe haven! (Mediterranea, link):

"The “Mare Jonio,” a ship flying an Italian flag and run by “Mediterranea Saving Humans,” has rescued 49 people on a rubber boat in distress while engaged in a monitoring mission in the Central Mediterranean, 42 miles off the Libyan coast. The warning, alerting to a boat adrift in international waters, came from the spotter plane “Moonbird,” run by the NGO “Sea Watch.”"

UK: Pro-Palestine students denied university access during Queen's visit (Middle East Eye, link):

"Pro-Palestine students at one of the UK's top universities have said they were denied university access over security concerns during a visit by the Queen on Tuesday.

Students at King's College London said they were barred from attending classes and sitting exams because of their political activity, a claim which appears to be supported by comments made by a senior university official, who said that students were blacklisted based on CCTV footage.

Coming one day into Israeli Apartheid Week, a range of actions in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, the incident raises fresh questions about the increased securitisation of universities and tolerance of dissent on campus."

Greece: Three years of "cruel, inhumane and cynical" treatment of migrants and refugees (Doctors Wiithout Borders, link):

"Thousands of people remain trapped in overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary Greek island camps three years after the implementation of the European Union-Turkey deal, said Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today, calling on European leaders to immediately evacuate children and other vulnerable people from these locations.

The European Union (EU) and Turkey deal, signed three years ago today, is a set of policies aimed at preventing refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers from crossing irregularly from Turkey to Greece. These policies now trap about 12,000 men, women, and children in unsafe and degrading conditions in five Greek island camps, where they have little access to basic health services and suffer widespread misery."

In troubled waters: What does the the future hold for Operation Sophia? (Jacques Delors Institute, link):

"In a row over the disembarkation of migrants rescued at sea, the Italian government has brought the EU’s maritime military Operation Sophia to the verge of collapse. As its current mandate expires on 31 December 2018, Lucas Rasche explores what the trouble about Operation Sophia is really about. In this policy brief he argues that a lack of responsibility sharing among EU member states has been responsible for the stalemate in negotiations over a new mandate and outlines three options for the future of Operation Sophia."

Italian charity ship defies Rome to rescue 50 off Libyan coast (Guardian, link)

"Rescue could spark showdown with government after order not to bring migrants to Italy. An Italian charity ship has rescued about 50 people from a rubber boat off the coast of Libya, prompting Rome to warn it is ready to stop private vessels “once and for all” from bringing rescued migrants to Italy."

And see: NGOs saving lives in the Mediterranean: MEPs take stock of the situation (European Parliament, link): "Members of Sea Watch, Solidarity at Sea, Sea Eye, Seebrücke Germany, Open Arms, Médecins sans Frontières and Migrant Offshore Aid Station objected to MEPs that their activities are being unjustly criminalised. They regret that the media and authorities are focussing their attention now on NGOs carrying out these rescue operations, and not on the humanitarian crisis taking place in the Mediterranean."

The woman in you…is the woman in me (Detained Voices, link)

"What I see in Yarl’swood
Is greatly misunderstood
You say you care – oh oh oh
You are right you do but you don’t really know
How grave an injustice to perceive
Cos the woman in you…is the woman in me" (,,,)

EU asylum applications fall to pre-2015 levels (DW, link)

"The number of first-time asylum applications in the European Union has fallen to 580,845, Eurostat has reported. At the height of the migrant movements into Europe in 2015, asylum applications exceeded 1.2 million."

Council of Europe: Romania: anti-torture committee concerned about abuse of prisoners by staff, inter-prisoner violence and allegations of police ill-treatment (link):

"The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has expressed concern about several persistent problems in Romanian prisons - including the abuse of prisoners by staff and inter-prisoner violence - as well as about numerous allegations of police ill-treatment.

In a report published today on a visit to the country in February 2018, the CPT says that it received a considerable number of allegations of physical ill-treatment of prisoners by prison staff, notably by members of the masked intervention groups based in four of the five prisons visited."

London: Launch of the Crispin Aubrey Archive on the ABC Official Secrets Act prosecution in 1977

On Thursday 28 March 2019 the Crispin Aubrey Archive on the ABC Official Secrets case is being launched by Crispin Aubrey Legacy Fund (CALF) and Statewatch. Place: May Day Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1DH Time: 18.00 - 20.00

On Friday 18 February 1977 John Berry, an ex-soldier who had worked for British SIGINT (signals intelligence) in Cyprus, met two journalists - Crispin Aubrey and Duncan Campbell - at his home. When Crispin and Duncan left the flat all three were arrested by the Special Branch under the Official Secrets Act. Their trial lasted for two years.

If you would like to come please send an email with "Crispin's ABC Archive Launch" in the subject line to:office@statewatch.org

See also: 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" (Statewtch News)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-18.3.19) including:

The globalisation of border control and peoples’ resistance (TNI, link):

"Forced to leave their homes to flee violence, war or poverty and invisible because they are vulnerable, large numbers of migrants disappear while travelling. This analysis of border control looks at the power and impunity of transnational corporations, militarisation, the externalisation of borders, Israel’s role as a laboratory for the wall industry and the criminalisation of international solidarity, among other issues."

UK: Changes to police bail has led to further delays and more uncertainty (The Telegraph, link):

"A landmark legal move introduced to prevent suspects spending months languishing on police bail, has backfired with people now spending even longer in limbo, official data has revealed.

Two years ago the Government changed the rules meaning police forces could only keep a suspect on pre-charge bail for a maximum of 28 days, unless there were exceptional circumstances.

It followed controversy over a number of high profile cases in which people were forced to live under a cloud of suspicion for long periods - sometimes years - before eventually being exonerated."

Guide to International Law and Surveillance (2.0) (Privacy International, link):

"This guide covers an array of topics, including the legality of mass surveillance operations, the law surrounding data retention, the extraterritorial application of human rights law and digital surveillance, and the international law on hacking for surveillance purposes. It is a handy reference tool not only for lawyers, but also for anyone engaging in campaigning, advocacy, and scholarly research.

Originally published in 2017, the guide has been updated to reflect the most relevant legal developments since then. This includes:

- New resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council;
- Extracts from the most recent reports of different UN bodies; as well as
- Extracts from the most recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

It also has a new section dedicated on the safety of journalists."

Italy delivers 50 off-road vehicles to fight irregular migration in Tunisia (InfoMigrants, link):

"The Italian government said it has delivered 50 off-road vehicles to the Tunisian National Guard, which it donated for use in operations to fight irregular migration in the North African country.

In a ceremony on March 13, the Italian Embassy in Tunis confirmed the donation of 50 4x4 off-road vehicles by the Italian Interior Ministry to the Tunisian National Guard for use in the fight against irregular migration. The embassy said the donation of the 50 off-road vehicles was "made possible thanks to financing from the foreign ministry's Africa Fund, and is part of a framework of fruitful operational and security collaboration between the governments of Italy and Tunisia.""

See also: EU: Council Presidency: "progress" in migration cooperation with Libya should be repeated across North Africa

REVEALED: British Army deployed interrogators to Abu Ghraib despite abuse concerns (Middle East Eye, link):

"Britain’s defence ministry covertly deployed a team of interrogators to Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison at the height of the scandal over the torture and humiliation of inmates, a parliamentary oversight body has found.

The operation remained hidden for years until documentary evidence was discovered during an investigation into Britain's involvement in the CIA's rendition programme and the mistreatment of detainees."

Added to: Statewatch Observatory on "rendition"

Bloody Sunday: One former British soldier to be charged over Northern Ireland massacre (Sky News, link):

"One former British soldier is to be charged with the murders of two men and the attempted murders of four others over the Bloody Sunday shootings in Londonderry.

There was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction for the other 16 ex-soldiers, said Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service.

Families and friends of the dead and injured said they were "disappointed" with the decision."

See also: Bloody Sunday: What happened on Sunday 30 January 1972? (BBC News, link) and: How Bloody Sunday prosecution punctures myth of British state as ‘honest broker’ in Northern Ireland (The Herald, link)

Suspected neo-Nazis behind bomb threats across Germany: reports (DW, link):

"A suspected neo-Nazi extremist or extremists are responsible for a series of bomb threats across Germany in recent weeks, according to media reports.

More than 100 threatening emails signed off with "National Socialist Offensive," "NSU 2.0" — short for National Socialist Underground — or "Wehrmacht" have been sent to prominent politicians and state institutions since the end of 2018, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and public broadcaster NDR reported late Wednesday."

EXCLUSIVE: EU in talks with Egypt and other states over police data-sharing (Middle East Eye, link):

"European Union officials have begun talks with counterparts in several Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt and Turkey, about proposed data-sharing deals that would allow Europol to exchange personal information about suspects with local law enforcement authorities.

In some circumstances, the deals could allow the transfer of data concerning a person’s race and ethnic origin, their political opinions and religious beliefs, trade-union memberships, genetic data and data concerning their health and sex life.

The deals are being sought by the EU as part of efforts to bolster counter-terrorism policing across the continent despite concerns being raised about the human rights records of the countries by the bloc’s own data protection watchdog."

Background and documentation: Warnings over proposed new Europol partners in Middle East and North Africa (Statewatch News, 14 May 2018)

Moroccan Navy Rescues 21 Migrants, 45 Die at Sea (Morroco World News, link):

"Rabat – The Royal Moroccan Navy has rescued 21 migrants, including 13 women, who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Spain. However, 45 migrants, all sub-Saharan Africans, died at sea.

The Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) collective, which alerts naval authorities about migrant boats in distress at sea between Morocco and Spain told the Associated Press on Thursday that there were pregnant women among the migrants who drowned.

“There was also one young girl, between 12 and 14 years old, who didn’t survive,” said Helena Maleno, the Tangier-based NGO’s spokesperson."

Are You Syrious (15.3.19, link):

Amnesty and HRW Propose Sea Rescue Action Plan to EU

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have sent an action plan to the European Council detailing 20 steps that offer a fair and predictable rescue system in the Mediterranean in order to put an end to deaths at sea and in detention.

The action plan is separated into four distinct actions which are summarized below."

EU-UK BREXIT: Extension and elections: We need to talk about Article 50 (EU Law Analysis, link):

"Its 261-word text is now infamous. It is brief, at times laconic, and leaves many things unsaid or uncertain. So, what does - and doesn’t - Article 50 permit?"

States should enable NGOs to access funding foreign funding, say Venice Commission experts (link):

"In the wake of recent challenges to the independent functioning of associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Council of Europe's constitutional legal experts today adopted a report on standards with respect to foreign funding of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Council of Europe member states."

See Press release (link)

EU: Security Union: new measures agreed to introduce biometric identity cards and a new database for convicted non-EU nationals

MEPs approved this week new measures that will introduce mandatory fingerprinting for national identity cards and a controversial new database to make it easier for the authorities to find information on any previous criminal convictions handed down against non-EU nationals. The Parliament also agreed its position for a revamped Visa Information System that will permit the profiling of all short-stay Schengen visa applicants.

ECHR: Three judgments: detention of and lack of care for unaccompanied minors in Greece and France violated rights; UK terrorism powers lacked safeguards

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) recently handed down three important judgements concerning the unacceptable detention of unaccompanied foreign minors in Greek police stations; the failure of the authorities to provide care for an unaccompanied foreign minor living in a camp in Calais; and a lack of safeguards in UK legislation that gave "immigration officers the power to stop, search and question passengers at ports, airports and international rail terminals."

UK: London: activists take action against former Italian Minister of Interior (Freedom News, link):

"On the 12th March 2019 students, activists and academics have taken action against the visit of the former Italian Minister of Interior, Marco Minniti, the architect of Italy’s policy to externalisation of the EU border to Libya and the sealing of the Mediterranean route.

During a scheduled talk at the London School of Economics (LSE) on “the situation of the Mediterranean Sea, migration and security” Marco Minniti largely praised himself for his diplomatic ‘achievements’ during his mandate, without mentioning the tragic and inhuman conditions faced by migrants and refugees trapped there. Students, activists and academics eventually challenged him on this point, by asking if the human rights of migrants were ever taken into account when it came to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with Libya, in February 2017."

EU: CCBE recommendations on the establishment of international rules for cross-border access to electronic evidence (link to pdf):

"This paper is the CCBE’s [Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe] response to a number of recent developments concerning the establishment of international rules for cross-border access to electronic evidence for the purpose of criminal investigations, especially as regards so-called direct cooperation between law enforcement authorities and service providers.

...The creation of mechanisms which no longer require an MLAT to enable law enforcement authorities to compel international data transfers has, as a consequence, the removal of the checks and balances that are built into MLATs regarding the exchange of data between the EU and the U.S. or the countries who are parties to the Budapest Convention.

In the context of the negotiation of the proposed EU-U.S agreement as well also as the negotiations concerning a Second Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, the CCBE therefore strongly calls upon the EU institutions to adhere to the following principles so as to prevent any potential conflicts with European law, to create sufficient safeguards and legal remedies against third country surveillance measures and to ensure the protection of legal professional privilege and professional secrecy:"

EU: Biometrics, extended travel surveillance, internal-external "synergies": Presidency note outlines future counter-terrorism priorities

A note produced by the Romanian Presidency of the Council sets out the EU's response to terrorism since 2015, highlights the main measures adopted and calls for a "reflection process on the way forward" in a number of areas including: "interoperability and extended use of biometrics"; implementing the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive and possibly extending its scope beyond air travel; and "synergies" between internal and external policies, amongst other things.

EU: Saving lives in the Mediterranean: human rights organisations propose plan for "a fair and predictable rescue system"

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have sent an action plan for "a fair and predictable rescue system in the Mediterranean Sea" to Carmen Daniela Dan, the internal affairs minister of Romania, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Western Mediterranean: Nearly Half of Recent Spain Migrant Arrivals Report Exploitation, Abuse (IOM, link):

"Madrid – According to an International Organization for Migration (IOM) flow monitoring survey of over 1,300 migrants and refugees in Spain last year, nearly half (48%) of those interviewed indicated having at least one direct experience related to human trafficking, exploitation or abuse while traveling on the Western Mediterranean Route. Men – who outnumber women nine to one among those surveyed – reported a higher percentage (49%) of incidents than women (40%).

The survey findings are based on 1,341 interviews with migrants and refugees from 39 countries of origin who arrived in Spain in 2018. The surveys were conducted between July and October 2018 in transit and reception centres in more than 40 Spanish municipalities across four autonomous regions to shed more light on the profile and experiences of those who arrived in the country by sea and by land via the Western Mediterranean route."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5-12.3.19) including:

EU: Council Presidency: "progress" in migration cooperation with Libya should be repeated across North Africa

The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU has called for increased cooperation with North African countries on migration control, arguing that the "progress achieved in Libya" means "the EU should provide - on a much larger scale and over a longer period - targeted assistance" to other countries in the region.

EU: Commission's latest report on the Agenda on Migration praises "progress" and calls for further work

Last week the European Commission published its latest report on the European Agenda on Migration, praising work that has "brought irregular arrivals to Europe down to the lowest level recorded in 5 years." At the same time, it highlights the need for further work as part of the EU's "comprehensive approach", putting particular emphasis on cooperation with Morocco.

UK: Chagos Islanders treatment leads to fears of new Windrush scandal (The Telegraph, link):

"Chagos Islanders are at risk of becoming the next Windrush scandal, lawyers have warned after third generation families were threatened with deportation.

Lawyers acting for the families say hundreds are being subjected to the Government's "hostile" environment policy and have accused the Home Office of unfairly deporting children, who have been educated and raised in Britain, once they turn 18.

Many of the families first moved to Britain in 1967, when they were forcibly removed from their Indian Ocean home by the British government.

However, although first and second generation Islanders are entitled to British citizenship, the problem arises for third generation children if they are born overseas."

SPAIN-MOROCCO: Criminal investigation against Spanish human rights activist Helena Maleno closed

The Moroccan criminal investigation into alleged human trafficking by Spanish human rights activist Helena Maleno has been closed. The Tangiers Court of Appeal last week confirmed that there is no evidence of criminal activity by Maleno, against whom the Moroccan authorities opened an investigation in December 2017. She was accused of trafficking in persons due to her alarm calls to the Spanish authorities concerning vessels in distress on the journey between Spain and Morocco.

UK: Policing: use of force against children increases and disproportionately affects ethnic minorities

The use of force by police officers against children has increased significantly in recent years and disproportionately affects those who are black or from other ethnic minority groups, according to a new report by the Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE).

Racist crime up sharply in east Germany's Saxony state (France 24, link):

"Far-right and racist crime rose sharply last year in eastern Germany's ex-communist state of Saxony, new data showed on Thursday.

Reported offences -- including mainly assaults but also threats and arson attacks -- increased by 38 percent to 317, with a total of 481 victims, said victim's support group RAA Sachsen.

Saxony is home to the city of Chemnitz where a German man's fatal stabbing, allegedly by asylum seekers, sparked mass protests in September which saw neo-Nazis rampaging through the streets targeting people of foreign appearance."

UK: Ministers woo foreign cops accused of heavy-handed tactics at British arms fair (Mirror, link):

"Senior ministers have attended a British arms fair for foreign police forces, many of whom face criticism for human rights abuses and heavy-handed policing.

Both Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Security Minister Ben Wallace spoke at the three-day Security and Policing fair in Farnborough.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid was scheduled to attend the Home Office-run event, but had to pull out of the event due to the escalating knife crime crisis.

British-made small arms, surveillance and border security equipment were on show for overseas governments."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 7-8 March - documentation

Final press release (pdf) Background Note (pdf) "B" Points agenda for discussion (pdf) "A" points:legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) an "A" Points non-legislative adopted without discussion, pdf)

EU: Open letter to MEPs: oppose mandatory fingerprinting for national identity cards

An open letter from five NGOs calls on MEPs in the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) to oppose the introduction of mandatory fingerprinting for national identity cards, as required by the proposed Regulation on strengthening security standards for identity cards and residence documents.

See: Open letter to the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee: Oppose mandatory fingerprinting for national identity cards (pdf)

AI: Europe’s shameful failure to end the torture and abuse of refugees and migrants in Libya (link):

"Catastrophic impact of Europe’s migration policies

Most of the people currently held in Libya’s detention centres were intercepted at sea by the Libyan coastguard, which has enjoyed all kind of support from European governments in exchange for preventing refugees and migrants from reaching European shores.

Through the donation of ships, the setting up of a Libyan search and rescue zone, and the construction of coordination centres, among other measures, European taxpayers’ money has been used to enhance the Libyan capacity to block people attempting to flee Libya and hold them in unlawful detention. And this was done with no conditions attached, even if such cooperation results in gross human rights violations like torture."

No agreement on asylum possible before EU elections, EU member states admit (euractiv, link):

"EU interior ministers on Thursday (7 March) failed to conclude an overhaul of the bloc’s migration policy, meaning that under the Juncker Commission, no further progress can be expected on a dossier expected to take centre stage at the European elections.

After the proposal of a package of laws to overhaul the European asylum system, five of the seven laws have been agreed.

However, EU member states have been deadlocked for more than a year on the most important one: the planned harmonisation of the bloc’s asylum procedures and the controversial question of relocation quotas for refugees across the bloc."


"EU interior ministers gathering in Brussels today are expected to make it clear: The planned reform of the EU’s asylum rules is dead. “It’s the official day to conclude that there’s no agreement on asylum,” one EU diplomat told our own Jacopo Barigazzi. We’re talking about seven items that compose the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), spanning from resettlement to taking (and exchanging among EU countries) fingerprints at borders, to new powers for the EU’s asylum agency EASO."

Greece: Three dead in migrant boat sinking off Samos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"One man and two children died on Thursday after a boat they were on sank off the east coast of the Greek island of Samos, in the eastern Aegean, state-run news agency ANA-MPA reported."

EU declares migration crisis over as it hits out at 'fake news' - European commission combats ‘untruths’ over issue after row with Hungary’s Viktor Orbán (Guardian, link):

"The European commission has declared the migration crisis over, as it sharpened its attack on “fake news” and “misinformation” about the issue.

Frans Timmermans, the European commission’s first vice-president, said: “Europe is no longer experiencing the migration crisis we lived in 2015, but structural problems remain.”"

Bulldozers demolish migrant camp in Italy (euobserver, link):

"Bulldozers and paramilitary police demolished a migrant camp near Gioia Tauro, in Calabria, in southern Italy, on Wednesday, putting at risk of homelessness the mostly African people who lived there and who worked on local farms for low wages, local charities warned."

Border controls in Bavaria and Austria: Police to extract mobile phones (Matthias Monroy, link):

"With the takeover of the sovereign border security, the Free State is also using new technology. The extraction of telephones is supposed to help in the detection of „smuggler networks“. Another application is „contactless identity verification“. The projects are perfecting the expansion of biometric EU databases."

No choice: Migrants kidnapped for ransom (Info Migrants, link):

"'Travel now, pay later' schemes offered by smugglers seem to be increasing the risks to migrants and refugees, especially in parts of Africa. One of the dangers is being kidnapped for ransom, a business that thrives in lawless regions and traps migrants with no way out."

Hungary in Focus (Green European Journal, link):

"The past decade has seen Hungary, with prime minister Viktor Orbán at the helm, on a steady course to become one of the most substantial threats to democracy and rule of law in the European Union today. While right-wing populists wax hysterical about immigration, fundamental European Union values are being corroded from within. In an increasingly polarised Hungary, political divisions have come to represent the gaping divide between open and closed society."

UK: Macpherson, twenty years on: Diversifying the police won’t end institutional racism (Northern Police Monitoring Project, link):

"In this article, Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Laura Connelly of the Northern Police Monitoring Project discuss institutional racism and the limits of calls to diversify the police force (estimated read time: 6 minutes).

It’s twenty years since the publication of the Macpherson report into the police handling of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Macpherson’s key finding was that the Metropolitan Police were ‘institutionally racist’, a charge that has been levelled at other forces, including Greater Manchester Police. Last month, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, lauded the ‘transformative effect’ the report had on policing but lamented that ‘we still have much more to do.’ But the truth is, little has changed.

At every level of policing, racism endures as a problem. From stop and search and inclusion in ‘gang’ databases, to the use of tasers and deaths following police contact, Black people are disproportionately likely to be harmed by the police."

UK: Secret document reveals police 'blacklisting' (BBC News, link):

"A secret police document has revealed how the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch helped the illegal blacklisting of trade unionists - preventing them from getting jobs because of their political views.

In one case, detectives suggested one individual was a terrorist, despite the claim being wrong.

The illegal practice - exposed ten years ago - involved major construction firms accessing secret files on 3,000 workers and their union activities."

Background: “Every Man a Capitalist”: The long history of monitoring ‘unsuitable’ workers in the UK (August 2013)

EU: Commission promises transparency for all groups influencing EU policy

The European Commission has agreed to publish documents on the work of a high-level group that shaped the EU's military research programme and has said that any future such groups should be subject to the same transparency rules as other Commission-appointed expert bodies.

EU:  Identity cards: there is still time to oppose the EU's 'fingerprinting Regulation'

On 11 March the European Parliament's civil liberties committee (LIBE) will vote on the proposed 'fingerprinting Regulation', which will make it mandatory for all national identity cards in the EU to include two fingerprints and a biometric photograph.

The full-text of the Regulation as agreed between the Parliament and the Council in secret trilogues: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on strengthening the security of identity cards of Union citizens and of residence documents issued to Union citizens and their family members exercising their right of free movement - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (Council document 6402/19, LIMITE, 22 February 2019, pdf)

MEPs in the LIBE committee, who are due to vote on the text on the evening of 11 March, can be contacted via the European Parliament website (link).

EU: NGOs, EU and international agencies sound the alarm over Frontex's respect for fundamental rights

The Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights has expressed "serious concerns about the effectiveness of Frontex's serious incident reporting mechanism," saying that it should be revised and that the border agency must "take additional measures to set up an effective system to monitor respect for fundamental rights in the context of its activities."

The inadequacy of the serious incident reporting (SIR) mechanism is raised in the latest annual report of the Consultative Forum (pdf), which is made up of nine civil society organisations, two EU agencies and four UN agencies and other intergovernmental bodies. It was established in October 2012 to provide independent advice to the agency on fundamental rights.

European Parliament Study: Understanding algorithmic decision-making: Opportunities and challenges (pdf):

"This study reviews the opportunities and risks related to the use of ADS. It presents policy options to reduce the risks and explain their limitations. We sketch some options to overcome these limitations to be able to benefit from the tremendous possibilities of ADS while limiting the risks related to their use."

Rethinking refugee support: Responding to the crisis in South Eastern Europe (pressenza.com, llink):

"The migration crisis that began in 2015 has had a major impact on countries in South Eastern Europe.

Outlining findings and recommendations from a new project, Amanda Russell Beattie, Gemma Bird, Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik and Patrycja Rozbicka explain that the EU’s response to the crisis has resulted in the outsourcing of refugee settlement and care to states such as Serbia, Greece and Bosnia which were previously described as ‘transit’ countries. This is leading to overcrowding in refugee camps and reception centres, as well as difficulty in ensuring adequate standards of care and accommodation."

EU-MED: Sophia in limbo: political games limit sea rescues (euobserver, link):

"There are only few weeks left until the mandate of the EU's naval mission in the Mediterranean, EUNAVFOR Med [Operation Sophia], will expire on 31 March (...)

And, indeed, the mission which has rescued about 49,000 people so far has picked up only 106 refugees since July 2018."

Stop Soros Law Left on the Books – The Return of the “Red Tail”? (verfassungsblog.de, link):

"The Hungarian Constitutional Court ruled on 28 February 2019 that the criminalization of “facilitating illegal immigration” – introduced by the so-called Stop Soros legislative package targeting human rights NGOs – does not violate the Fundamental Law.

Shocking as it may seem at first glance, the judgment seems to mitigate the effects of the law by giving it a specific interpretation largely compatible with international human rights standards. This case, however, reminds us again how difficult it is to evaluate the judgments of a constitutional court operating in an illiberal political regime."

UK: Celebrities call for change to ‘unjust’ rules on asylum seekers working in UK (Daily Echo, link):

" A group of actors, authors, lawyers and film-makers have called on the Government to lift a ban on people seeking asylum in the UK taking on paid work.

The joint letter, signed by 39 people including actor Jude Law, sculptor Antony Gormley, film-maker Ken Loach and former archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, said the issue is “urgent, so plainly unjust and so easy to reconcile that we have been compelled to speak out”.

Under current Government rules, asylum seekers are not normally permitted to work while they are waiting for their application to be processed."

After crackdown, what do people employed in migration market do? (Aljazzera, link)

"Thousands in Niger were employed as middlemen until the government, aided by the EU, targeted undocumented migration."

Greece: Moria 8 declared innocent (aegean.bordermonitoring.eu, link):

"After 11 months of unjust detention, the Moria 8 have finally been declared innocent and will be released. On the 22nd of February 2019, they were brought to the High Court in Chios where it took the three judges and the four person jury only an hour and a half to acquit them of all charges."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.2-4.3.19) including:

ITALY: The measure of a minister: Salvini paints a racist death threat as a demand for security

A racist death threat directed at a young Senegalese man has been described by the Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini as a request for "security and legality."

New Danish assessment makes future uncertain for Syrian asylum seekers (The Local, link):

"An assessment by the Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen) of the security situation in Syria’s Damascus province could affect refugees from that region who seek asylum in Denmark, and those already granted it.

For the first time since 2013, the Danish immigration agency does not consider the situation across all of Syria to automatically qualify refugees from the Middle Eastern country for temporary asylum status.

Specifically, this could affect the cases of persons from the Damascus province, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration stated in a press statement Thursday evening."

UK: Sean Rigg: Sister Marcia Rigg-Samuel vows to continue fight (Sutton & Croydon Guardian, link):

" The sister of Sean Rigg has vowed to continue her fight for justice after a police misconduct panel dismissed allegations against five officers involved in his fatal detention.

Marcia Rigg-Samuel has fought an 11-year battle since her brother, a 40-year-old with schizophrenia, died after being restrained by Metropolitan Police officers.

But on Friday (March 1) a disciplinary panel dismissed all allegations against police constables Andrew Birks, Richard Glasson, Matthew Forward, Mark Harratt and Sergeant Paul White."

See: Officers involved in Sean Rigg arrest and detention cleared of gross misconduct (IOPC, link)

UK: Right to Rent breaches human rights law and fuels racism, High Court rules

"The Right to Rent scheme is a vehicle for racism and xenophobia, a High Court judge has ruled."

European Parliament study: Access to legal remedies for victims of corporate human rights abuses in third countries (pdf):

"European-based multinational corporations can cause or be complicit in human rights abuses in third countries. Victims of corporate human rights abuses frequently face many hurdles when attempting to hold corporations to account in their own country. Against this backdrop, judicial mechanisms have increasingly been relied on to bring legal proceedings in the home States of the corporations. This study attempts to map out all relevant cases (35 in total) filed in Member States of the European Union on the basis of alleged corporate human rights abuses in third countries. It also provides an in-depth analysis of 12 cases and identifies various obstacles (legal, procedural and practical) faced by claimants in accessing legal remedy. On the basis of these findings, it makes a number of recommendations to the EU institutions in order to improve access to legal remedies in the EU for victims of human rights abuses by European based companies in third countries."

Drone Surveillance Operations in the Mediterranean: The Central Role of the Portuguese Economy and State in EU Border Control (Border Criminologies, link):

"While the Portuguese government does not currently have a single helicopter operating in order to control and fight forest fires that have caused more than 100 deaths in the past two years, much EU and national public funding goes into technology aimed at the control of racialized bodies and the observation of earth from space. At the same time, there is considerable concern among experts that surveillance technology used for military means and border security will be rolled out over the entire population in the future for general policing purposes. For this reason, it remains important to keep an eye on which technologies are receiving large public funds and what are its possible uses."

Diego Garcia, Chagos Islands – legacy of displacement and torture (Cage, link):

"The torturous history of some 2000 Chagossian people was finally recognised this week by the United Nations, who issued a statement insisting that the UK return the island territory to its residents, to enable them to go back home and administer the island as is their right.

But what has been missed by mainstream media outlets, is how closely the shameful history of Chagos Island – renamed ‘Diego Garcia’ by the UK after early Spanish explorers, and as an echo of a Catholic invocation – mirrors its current function as a US military base, administered by the UK, and leased to the US, to run operations as part of the ‘War on Terror’."

See: ICJ Advisory Opinion of 25 February 2019: Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 (pdf)

GREECE: Athens: suspicious death of a Nigerian man in Omonia police station

On Tuesday 26 February several anti-racist collectives and migrant associations organised a demonstration in downtown Athens to demand truth over the death of Ebuka Mamashoubek, a 34-year old Nigerian father-of-two, at the police station of Omonia.

EU: Global approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) update report

The Commission Services together with the EEAS (European External Action Service) have produced the latest: GAMM update (LIMITE doc no: 6363-19, 43 pages, pdf):

"GAMM UPDATE: 11 February 2019

This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogues and processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."

European Parliament: Study: Disinformation and propaganda – impact on the functioning of the rule of law in the EU and its Member States (pdf):

"The study formulates recommendations on how to tackle this threat to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It specifically addresses the role of social media platform providers in this regard."

And: Briefing: Reform of the Dublin system (pdf):

"An agreement on the balance between responsibility and solidarity regarding the distribution of asylum-seekers will be a cornerstone for the new EU asylum policy. Although Parliament’s LIBE committee adopted its positon in autumn 2017, the Council has been unable to reach a position on the proposal."

EU declines to match UK’s citizens’ rights guarantee (euractiv, link):

"The European Union will not match the UK government’s decision to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, and a Commission spokesperson insisted on Thursday (28 February) that the bloc would not negotiate ‘mini deals’."

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