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Archive - July 2019
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What's New archives: carries all items that have been added or updated from News Online and Observatories.

July 2019

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

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

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

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

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Police kicks foreign passenger at Athens International Airport (video) (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Greek police has ordered an urgent internal investigation into an incident where a police officers kicks a foreign passenger at the Athens International Airport ‘Eleftherios Venizelos.’

The incident was captured on a video and posted on social media by the brother of the harassed passenger.

Arash Hampay has reportedly complained to the airport authorities before posting the video."

Outsourcing European Border Control: Recent Trends in Departures, Deaths and Search and Rescue Activities in the Central Mediterranean (law.ox.ac.uk, link):

"In our previous blog post ‘Border Deaths in the Mediterranean: what we can learn from the latest data?’ on Border Criminologies (March 2017) we discussed the existing data sources on Mediterranean Sea migration and provided an analysis of key patterns and trends. We found that Search and Rescue (SAR) has little or no effect on the number of arrivals, and it is rather the absence of SAR that leads to more deaths. These results, which are in line with other research, were covered by various European media outlets and also resulted in a peer reviewed publication in Sociology (also available as a free preprint)."

UK: Anti-Deportation Activists Are Blocking Coaches to Charter Flights (VICE, link):

"We watched Reclaim the Power members blockade the depot of a coach company that transports people due to be deported on charter flights.

At around 5AM this morning, activists began a blockade of Hallmark Connect coach depot, just south of Heathrow airport, to demonstrate against the company's involvement in the transportation of detainees due to be deported on controversial charter flights."

Migrants: contacts with states on Gregoretti - EU Germany says it is available to host some (ANSA, link):

"A European Commission spokesperson, speaking about the coast guard ship Bruno Gregoretti, said that ''following Italy's request'' for a refugee redistribution plan, the Commission ''has started contacts to support and coordinate all those member states who intend to take part in efforts of solidarity concerning the migrants on board'', who are 140. ''These contacts are still ongoing'', the spokesman added.

''We are not in the position to say how many and which countries'' are taking part in solidarity efforts ''but it will be up to the single states to communicate their availability'', the spokesperson added,"

EU gives Greece blimp to monitor migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Authorities say European Union border agency Frontex has provided the Greek coast guard with a crewless blimp to help combat illegal immigration and to augment search and rescue operations in the eastern Aegean Sea.

Greece's Shipping Mministry says the 35-meter (115-foot) airship can fly as high as 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) and will be tethered to the ground on the island of Samos, which is close to Turkey's coast."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dozens of migrants still stuck on coastguard vessel in Italy port (euractiv, link):

"An Italian coastguard vessel stranded in the Mediterranean with more than 130 migrants aboard has been allowed to dock in the Sicilian port of Augusta but Rome on Sunday (28 July) refused to let them disembark until a deal is struck with the EU."

Suspension of EU-Turkey Deal and Mass Deportations from Turkey (Deportation Monitoring Aegean, link):

"Turkey started mass expulsion of Syrians and at the same time refuses to take back migrants from Greece under the EU-Turkey readmission deal."

And see: Home page (link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up to 150 feared dead as boats capsize off Libya - About 137 people were rescued and returned to Libya, according to coastguard (Guardian, link):

"Up to 150 people attempting the perilous sea crossing from Libya to Europe are missing and feared drowned after two migrant boats capsized on Thursday.

If the toll is confirmed, it would be the highest from a shipwreck in the Mediterranean this year.

Ayoub Gassim, a spokesman for Libya’s coastguard, told Associated Press that two boats carrying about 300 people capsized about 75 miles (120km) east of the capital, Tripoli. About 137 people were rescued and returned to Libya, he said. The coastguard had recovered one body so far."

GREECE: Refugees wanted to be heard, so they started the Migratory Birds newspaper (neoskosmos.com, link):

"Mahdia Hosseini, 28, and Fatima Sedaghat, 16, are two young women from the Network for Children’s Rights youth centre in Kolonos, a working class district of Athens. The centre serves the needs of young refugees, migrants as well as low-income Greek people from morning until night.

It’s newspaper, Migratory Birds, is one of the few refugee-led initiatives in Greece and has a circulation of 13,000, and is printed in five languages: Greek, English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu. Recent funding cuts have meant an uncertain future for the publication that has given voice to dozens of migrant and refugee communities since it got off the ground in 2017."

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

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

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

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

EU coalition of the willing agrees new migrant ‘solidarity mechanism’ (euractiv, link):

"Fourteen member countries of the European Union have agreed to a new “solidarity mechanism” proposed by Germany and France to allocate migrants across the bloc, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday (22 July).

in addition to France and Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland had also signalled a clear intention to move forward with a new system. (...)

Italy’s Interior minister Matteo Salvini, whose country is at the forefront of the migrant influx in Europe, did not take part in the meeting."

See: Full-text: Réunion informelle sur les migrations en Méditerranée (Paris, 22 juillet 2019) Chair’s summary (pdf)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Libya: Europe-bound migrants sent to bombed detention centre (aljazeera.com, link):

"Coastguard spokesperson says 38 migrants were sent to the Tajoura detention centre that was bombed last month.

Libya's coastguard has intercepted a Europe-bound boat off its Mediterranean coast and taken all migrants on board to a detention centre that was bombed earlier this month."

Italy's government wins confidence vote on decree targeting migrant rescue ships (Reuters, link):

"The Italian government won a parliamentary confidence vote on Wednesday on a security and immigration decree, in a victory for Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the far-right League party.

The government, which has been riven by internal strife in recent weeks, won the vote by 325 to 248."

EU: Frontex - New Cooperation Plan signed with EASO

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

The updated Cooperation Plan can be viewed here

Italy receives more asylum seekers from Germany than from Libya - Why Rome is the winner of the EU’s Dublin regulation (Politico, link):

"in reality, in part because of the government’s hard-line approach, the number of people arriving by sea has plummeted, from over 180,000 at its peak in 2016 to a little over 3,000 so far this year.

Instead, the greatest influx of people seeking asylum is now coming from the north — from other European countries, who are sending migrants back to Italy in accordance with the EU’s so-called Dublin regulation."

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

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

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

TURKEY: EU Commission reacts to Cavusoglu comments on migration deal (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The European Commission on Wednesday reacted to comments by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who earlier this week suggested that Ankara will cancel a migrant readmission agreement with the European Union should the bloc fail to deliver on its promise of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens."

And see: Readmission agreement with EU suspended, Turkish FM says (turkishminute.com, link):

"Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavusoglu has announced that Turkey’s readmission agreement with the European Union has been suspended, the Evrensel newspaper reported on Monday."

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU PNR extended to internal flights and only a matter of time before PNR is extended to sea, rail and road traffic too

The Council of the European Union: Monitoring the implementation of Directive (EU) 2016/681 on use of passenger name record (PNR data - State of Play and Way Forward (LIMITE doc no: 6300-19, pdf).

Spain’s model for saving lives at sea should be emulated in the EU (The Conversation, link):

"Clearly, we are witnessing the transfer of search-and-rescue responsibilities to the military.

But if the EU and its member states really want to address their responsibilities, the military is not the answer. Neither are NGOs. Instead, they must carefully consider Spain’s previous approach — a professional, safe and cost-efficient way of saving lives at sea."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Report (link)

Cruise ship rescues 111 migrants off Greece (DW, link):

"The Marella Discovery picked up 111 migrants, including 33 children, near Greece's Peloponnese peninsula. Despite a large fall in migrants crossing the Mediterranean, six people die each day making the journey."

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

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

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

Are You Syrious (19.7.19, link):


"Sudanese minors who had been at the UNHCR refugee camp in Agadez/Niger have left the refugee camp yesterday, 18th of July, and are presently marching towards Libya. The are now on their way through the desert, Alarme PHONE Sahara reports. Their criticism is that their asylum procedures are not advancing and the UNHCR representative so far has not kept her promises to provide solutions. Meanwhile, some of them have been brought to hospital.(...)

Sudanese minors are part of the numerous refugees and migrants who are presently blocked in Niger as a result of European policies to close down borders to force people to stay on African soil at any cost."

Frontex operation along Albania-Greece border deemed a success (infomigrants.net, link):

"Germany’s government says the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has helped Albania prevent cross-border crime, among other things. The operation with 66 border guards from 12 member states was launched two months ago. It's the first time that Frontex exercises its powers in a non-EU member state.(...)

Andrej Hunko, who represents Die Linke party in Germany’s parliament, criticized the Frontex operations as being an expression of an “expansion of the fortress Europe.”"

MSF to resume Mediterranean migrant rescue operations - NGO had suspended operations in December (Politico, link):

"The SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charities have relaunched migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, seven months after they suspended efforts using their ship Aquarius citing "sustained attacks on search and rescue by European states."

"We view the return to search and rescue as a duty, fueled by the humanitarian need to prevent people from drowning while they seek safety from Libya," the organizations said Sunday in a press release. "The new ship Ocean Viking will sail to the Central Mediterranean Sea at the end of the month.

Complaint by Croatian police officers who are being urged to act unlawfully (borderviolence.eu, link):

"After the Croatian president Grabar-Kitarovic confirmed a couple of days ago that Croatian authorities are involved in illegal pushback of migrants to Bosnia & Herzegovina (“a little bit of force is needed”), another complicit voice speaks up: Croatian Ombudswoman presents an anonymous complaint by police officers that were ordered to “return everyone without papers, no traces, take money, break mobile phones or take for ourselves, and forcefully return refugees to Bosnia.” Read the whole letter and a rough English translation (thanks to Centre for peace studies Zagreb."

The theatre of Lampedusa - 19 Luglio 2019: From the spectacularisation of NGO disembarkations to the silence on the day-to-day management of arrivals by sea (ASGI, link):

"Last weeks events have brought the island of Lampedusa back into the centre of the media debate on sea arrivals. The events around the SeaWatch 3, the courageous choice of its Captain and the recent and equally courageous docking of the sailing ship Alex by Mediterranea Saving Humans, have been an opportunity to reflect on the use of political power by the current government, on the relationship between the different sources of law and, above all, on the possibility of opposing and resisting political decisions and normative acts perceived as illegitimate and seriously unjust.

In the aftermath of these events, it is necessary to propose some additional elements to the public debate: what happens following the disembarkation of people rescued after these events which are so much under public attention? Are the mediatised disembarkations the only ones that characterise the island at the moment? How is the daily flow of migrants managed at this stage? Which kind of institutional reception is provided to foreign citizens in Lampedusa?"

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

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

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

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

UK: Special Branch Files Project (link):

"…where released files are shared

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

Greece: labor minister criticized for 'racist' refugees move (Ansa,link)

"Newly-appointed official revokes National Health Insurance law.

Greece's newly-appointed Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis has been labelled "heartless and inhumane" after he revoked a recent law passed by the previous Syriza-lead leftist government which granted National Health Care services to all foreigners from non-EU countries, refugees included, without exceptions.

Just three days into his new role Vroutsis revoked the circular, which had been voted on and published on June 20.

It provided additional guidelines that AMKA numbers (Greece's national insurance program) could be given to foreign nationals of third world countries, and meant that refugees would be treated the same as those residing in the country, as the Constitution states.".

EU interior ministers fail to find compromise on Mediterranean refugee rescue (DW, link):

"Interior ministers from across the European Union have failed to agree on temporary measures to manage increased migration across the Mediterranean. Officials have told DW that the future of the bloc is at stake."

Spain will give Morocco €30 million to curb irregular immigration (El Paus, link):

"The funding is on top of the €140 million the EU has pledged to provide the North African country."

Sea-Watch captain Rackete urges EU action on migrant rescues (France 24, link):

"A German humanitarian ship captain who eluded an Italian effort to block her from docking at an Italian port with migrants onboard has called for the European Commission to do its best to avoid new political standoffs.

Carola Rackete, captain of the Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3, was questioned by Italian prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Agrigento on Thursday for allegedly aiding illegal immigration."

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

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

UN expert describes Hungarian migrant camps as places of detention and deterrence (link):

"A United Nations human rights expert has expressed concerns about the detention conditions of migrants in Hungarian transit zones, urging authorities to move families and children to other centres with better health and sanitary facilities.

UN expert Felipe González Morales spent eight days in Hungary to monitor the human rights situation of migrants. According to him, migrants in Hungary are being instrumentalised for political purposes.

“Migrants are portrayed as dangerous enemies in both official and public discourses in this country,” Morales said, calling on Hungarian authorities to end their “crisis” approach."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the streets of Barcelona have become a refuge for unaccompanied migrants (El Pais, link):

"Rising numbers of minors and young adults who are homeless and in some cases are committing crimes have left the local authorities overwhelmed."

Are You Syrious (16.7.19, link):

GREECE: The new government’s priorities

"The new Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Monday with the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and later chaired a meeting with government ministers concerned with migration issues. He presented a plan with six priorities for the situation of migration in Greece (...)"

Saved from distress, accused of smuggling

"Not only European sea rescue organizations are criminalized. Hundreds of migrants seeking protection in Europe are immediately arrested after their arrival by boat on the Greek Islands. They are accused of human smuggling. In order to curb any future attempts, regardless of whether that was the case in the given situation, the people accused are reportedly usually given an average sentence ofabout 44 years in prison that is to be served for about 19 years. The average fines imposed are over 370.000 Euros."


"people were placed in “administrative detention”, after the brief occupation of the Pantheon in Paris on Friday by people who came to claim regularization of their status in the country. These 21 people were put under 24-hour administrative detention, presumably for the purpose of verification of their right to stay.

In addition, a protester was arrested and placed in custody for “willful acts of violence against a person in charge of public authority”.(...)

Documenting Migration: From A Lampedusa Outpost To A National Level

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

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

Greek Hotspots: Deaths Not to Be Forgotten (Pro Asyl, link):

"In an extensive policy paper, the team of Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) in Greece has observed that in numerous cases of refugee deaths at the hotspots on Greek islands, the Greek authorities have undertaken little or no investigation, turning the hotspots into an institutional gray zone."

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

"Complaints during the past two years

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

Incidents against Turkish citizens during the past 2 months:

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

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

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

ASGI: The "Emergency Transit Mechanism" program and the resettlement from the Niger. Legal analysis, current and future concerns (pdf):

"This document was drafted as a result of a survey carried out at Niamey, in Niger, from 15th to 20th
November 2018, attended by ten legal experts (lawyers and university professors). The survey focused primarily on the mechanism of resettlement for the people who submit the application for asylum in Niger."

EUROMED RIGHTS: Executive summary (pdf) and EU-Egypt migration cooperation: At the expense of human rights (pdf):

"This study aims to provide a mapping of the cooperation between Egypt and the EU/Member States in migration and border management and its impact on the rights of migrants and refugees in Egypt in order to provide concrete recommendations for action to the EU and its Member States."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Croatia: President Admits Unlawful Migrant Pushbacks - Halt Abusive Operations; Justice Needed (HRW, link):

"Croatia should immediately stop summarily returning migrants and asylum seekers to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in some cases with force, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. The president’s recent admission during an interview on Swiss television that Croatian officials are engaged in these pushbacks triggers a responsibility by Croatian authorities to investigate and to hold those responsible for any unlawful action to account."

and see: In Croatia, EU border guards use 'a little bit of force' (DW, link): "Croatia has consistently denied illegally deporting refugees to neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina. But in a recent TV interview, the Croatian president admitted border guards were forcing migrants back over the border."

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

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

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

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

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

ECHR: The Court decides not to indicate an interim measure requiring that the applicants be authorised to disembark in Italy from the ship Sea-Watch 3 (pdf):

"The European Court of Human Rights has today decided not to indicate to the Italian Government the interim measure requested by the applicants in the case of Rackete and Others v. Italy (application no. 32969/19), which would have required that they be allowed to disembark in Italy from the ship Sea-Watch 3.

The Court also indicated to the Italian Government that it is relying on the Italian authorities to continue to provide all necessary assistance to those persons on board Sea-Watch 3 who are in a vulnerable situation on account of their age or state of health."

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

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

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

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

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

Should the EU sanction its Member States for breaches of rule of law and human rights? Part 1: The Legal Framework (link) by Professor Steve Peers:

"I’ve taught EU law and human rights for over twenty years now, and the issue of sanctions against Member States for human rights breaches used to be the easy bit. Why? Because the procedure to enforce such sanctions (set out in Article 7 TEU) had never been used – and there was no apparent prospect that it ever would be.

So there was no need to discuss it in any detail. A more theoretical sort of academic might have spent time counting the angels on the head of this constitutional pin, but I was anxious to move on to the real world issues of arrest warrants and asylum seekers."

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

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

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

And then someone did."

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

Should the EU sanction its Member States for breaches of rule of law and human rights? Part 1: The Legal Framework (link) by Professor Steve Peers:

"I’ve taught EU law and human rights for over twenty years now, and the issue of sanctions against Member States for human rights breaches used to be the easy bit. Why? Because the procedure to enforce such sanctions (set out in Article 7 TEU) had never been used – and there was no apparent prospect that it ever would be.

So there was no need to discuss it in any detail. A more theoretical sort of academic might have spent time counting the angels on the head of this constitutional pin, but I was anxious to move on to the real world issues of arrest warrants and asylum seekers."

PUSH BACK MAP: “Bridges not Fences!”: (link):

"“This map documents and denounces systematic push-backs. They are a daily reality at the many borders of Europe and worldwide. Returning people across borders against their will is a violent state practice that has to end."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Restart Mediterranean migrant rescue missions, UN bodies tell Europe (DW, link):

"UN agencies have appealed to European countries to restart government rescue operations for migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. More needs to be done to improve inhumane conditions for displaced people in Libya as well."

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

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

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

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

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

Europe puts its good Samaritans on trial (Politico, link):

"Authorities across the Continent are cracking down on volunteers working with migrants and refugees.(...)

Italian, Maltese and Greek authorities have used anti-smuggling laws to prosecute volunteers."

European Data Protection Board (link):

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

Italy's Matteo Salvini shuts what was Europe's biggest migrant center (DW, link):

"The Italian interior minister toured the Sicilian center with politicians and reporters, calling it a haven for drugs, prostitution and violence. Salvini has said he wants to deploy military ships to keep migrants away."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rescue boat captain: Don't let my case distract from refugee crisis (DW, link):

"Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete has pleaded with authorities not to be distracted from the humanitarian crisis off the coast of Libya. She said the EU needs to stop cooperating with the Libyan coast guard."

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

"EL PAÍS has had access to video, audio and written reports showing that the WikiLeaks founder was the target of a surveillance operation while living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.(...)

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

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

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

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

Germany’s rescue drone will not fly in the Mediterranean (link):

"Unmanned systems could help to rescue shipwrecked boats in the Mediterranean. However, a new German sea rescue drone is only used in the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Under the name „LARUS“, the German Government develops drones for the rescue of ships in distress. The abbreviation of the drone stands for „Situation support during sea rescue operations by unmanned aeronautical systems“. The system is financed from civil security research funds, for which the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is paying 2.8 million euros."

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

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

European Commission: Remarks by Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on the solution found with regards to the disembarkation of NGO vessels and progress under the European Agenda on Migration (Press release, pdf):

"I would also like to commend the Member States that agreed to receive the migrants disembarked in Malta. Germany, France, Portugal, Malta, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Romania, and Ireland have shown European solidarity (..)

The European Border and Coast Guard will support Member States to organise the swift return of those that have no right to stay."

The press release make mention of EU complicity in the running of appalling detention centres in Libya.

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

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

The delegations will discuss the following topics:

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

Sea-Eye rescues 44 migrants off Libya's coast (DW, link):

"A German rescue boat has picked up 44 people that were stranded off the Libyan coast. The rescue comes a day after the same boat handed over 65 migrants to Malta."

ECHR: Press release (pdf)

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

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

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

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

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

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

German minister calls on EU to launch migrant rescue missions (Politico, link):

"Development minister Gerd Müller urged action both in the Mediterranean and in Libya.

Germany's development minister has urged the EU to launch missions to rescue migrants both in the Mediterranean and "on Libyan soil."

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

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

‘Saving lives is no crime’: migrants rescuer facing jail would do it again - A Spaniard who went to sea to save refugees could go to prison in Italy for 20 years. He talks about why humanity must come before politics (Guardian, link):

"Despite trying to navigate Italy’s legal territory, Roldán and his six other crew members are now facing up to 20 years’ imprisonment after being accused by authorities of aiding illegal immigration and assisting human traffickers. Italian police seized the Iuventa in August 2017 using anti-mafia laws, with a judge ordering an investigation that could result in a trial later this year."

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

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

Rescued refugees land in Sicily as another ship defies Salvini - Charity vessel carrying 41 docks in Lampedusa after two days stranded at sea (Guardian, link):

"Forty-one refugees and migrants disembarked overnight at the port of Lampedusa after a charity vessel that rescued them off Libya defied an attempt by Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, to close ports to NGO boats.

The Italian-flagged Alex, run by the NGO Mediterranea, was escorted by the Italian coastguard and on Saturday the ship was seized by police, the captain was put under investigation for allegedly aiding illegal immigration, and the rescuees eventually disembarked. Mediterranea was fined €16.000 (£14,300)."

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

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

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

Malta to relocate 65 migrants after rescue ships defy Italy ban (euractiv, link):

"Malta’s prime minister said Sunday (7 July) his country would relocate to other EU nations 65 migrants from the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, after two other boats defied efforts to stop them landing in neighbouring Italy.

All 65 were transferred to a Maltese navy ship on Sunday evening, the German charity Sea-Eye which operates the boat said in a statement, adding that its vessel had been refused entry to Valetta port.

Premier Joseph Muscat tweeted earlier that “following discussions with the EU Commission and the German government”, the 65 people would be transferred from the Alan Kurdi to a Maltese military “asset which will then enter a Maltese port”.

“All rescued persons on board will be immediately relocated to other EU member states,” he added".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Libya: EU first sends migrants back, then deplores deaths (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission was on Wednesday (3 July) mute on how an EU-trained Libyan coast guard returns people rescued at sea to Libya - while at the same time condemning an attack that killed at least 40 at a detention centre in Tripoli."

Starved, tortured, bombed: the fate of refugees trapped in Libya (standardmedia.co.ke, link):

"Acute malnutrition, forced labour, torture: NGOs have sharpened their tone against the shocking conditions endured by refugees and migrants in Libya, where over 40 people were killed in an air strike on a detention centre."

Death at sea or under the bombs : is there no other alternative for the thousands of migrants trapped in the hell of Libya? (migreurop, link):

"An air strike on the Tajoura migrants’ detention centre, in the eastern suburbs of the Libyan capital city, was reported on 2 July evening. Two days later, the death toll keeps increasing with so far at least 66 dead and over 80 wounded. Late April 2019 already, many migrants died in the attack of Gasr Bin Gashir by armed groups about 30km away south of Tripoli."

Are You Syrious (4.7.19, link):

Feature: “Alex” rescues 55 in distress. But will it become the next stranded ship?

“Alex” from the rescue group Mediterranea rescued 54 people in distress of a raft, according to the group. The NGO sent the coordinates of the distress call they received to MRCC Rome earlier in the morning, who replied that the information was forwarded to Libyan authorities. Given the often violent record of Libyan Coast Guard “rescues,” and the fact that it is unacceptable to return refugees to such conditions, the group decided to carry on with the rescue. “These people must be saved, not sent back to die in Libya,” wrote the group in a public post."


"Over 400 people arrive on the Greek islands in one day (numbers via Aegean Boat Report)

Today, at least 12 boats have arrived on the Greek Aegean Islands, carrying over 400 people. 5 boats arrived on Lesvos, 3 on Chios, 2 on Samos, 1 on Kos and 1 on Rhodes."

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

Sink Without Trace: migrant deaths in the Mediterranean (IRR News, link):

"An exhibition that bears witness to migrant deaths in the Mediterranean challenges us to confront the UK’s complicity in Europe’s war on asylum."

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

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

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

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

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

"Proactiva Open Arms risks huge penalties if it defies ban on saving refugees in Mediterranean.

The Spanish authorities have threatened Catalan NGO, Proactiva Open Arms, with fines between 300,000 and to 900,000 euros for defying orders confining its migrant rescue ship to port in order to save refugees stranded in the Mediterranean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sink Without Trace presents work by eighteen artists on the subject of migrant deaths at sea. The exhibition includes artists from Denmark, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraqi Kurdistan, Israel, Italy, Slovakia, South Africa, Sudan and the UK- currently living in France, Germany, Italy and the UK.

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

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

European activists fight back against ‘criminalisation’ of aid for migrants and refugees (The New Humanitarian, link):

"More and more people are being arrested across Europe for helping migrants and refugees. Now, civil society groups are fighting back against the 17-year-old EU policy they say lies at the root of what activists and NGOs have dubbed the “criminalisation of solidarity”.

The 2002 policy directive and framework, known as the the “Facilitators’ Package”, establishes the parameters of European policy when it comes to tackling illegal immigration.

The package leaves it up to individual member states to decide whether people providing humanitarian assistance should be exempt from prosecution for helping undocumented migrants enter or cross through EU states. It does not include a requirement that profit be a motive for a charge of human smuggling, nor is there an automatic exemption for humanitarians."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU: Report: Decrease in Applications and Negative Public Attitudes in Visegrád Four (ECRE, link):

"A report from the project, Visegrád Countries National Integration Evaluation Mechanism (V4/NIEM) reveals a stagnating number of beneficiaries of international protection (BIPs) in Visegrad 4 countries, and a significant drop in applications in Hungary and Poland since 2016. Further, the report confirms that negative public attitudes towards foreigners prevail.

The Visegrad 4 countries have seen a stagnation or decrease of granted international protection statuses and in 2018 the modest numbers were: Slovakia (5 excluding Subsidiary protection), Czech Republic (165), Poland (404) and Hungary (349). Further, the number of new applications in Hungary and Poland continue to drop significantly – in Hungary from 29,432 in 2016 to 671 in 2018 and in Poland from 12,350 in 2016 to 4141 in 2018."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UN urges resettlement of nearly 1.5 million refugees (DW, link):

"From Turkey to the Horn of Africa, refugees are in dire need of permanent resettlement. The UNHCR said "there "simply has to be more equitable sharing of responsibility for global crises."

'Inhumane conditions' at Bosnian refugee camp in Vucjak (DW, link):

"Within eyeshot of the Bosnian-Croatian border, thousands of refugees are camping in squalor on a former garbage site. Their supplies are scarce. Photographer Dirk Planert was among them.

Forced removals

It's estimated that 8,000 refugees live in Bihac. The camps are overcrowded and every day there is talk of burglaries. There was a stabbing in front of the kindergarten. Next to Camp Bira, there were about 500 people not registered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In mid-June police picked them up and drove them to a site called Vucjak."

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

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

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

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

The Effect of Anti-Discrimination Policies on Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in 24 European Countries (mipex.eu, link):

"In light of the new wave of immigrants and asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to Europe, this article investigates some of the challenges of the previous phases of immigration of MENA immigrants in order to propose how best to address the needs of the new one. In particular, this article looks at the relationship between different types of anti-discrimination policy and the levels of perceived discrimination among first- and second-generation MENA immigrants to Europe. "

Lack of data on missing migrant children leads to gaps in protection (University of Bristol, link):

"A new report highlights the need for better data on migrant deaths and disappearances, particularly those of missing migrant children.

This year's Fatal Journeys 4 report, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and co-edited by University of Bristol academic Ann Singleton, focuses on missing migrant children, giving the growing number embarking on dangerous migrant journeys.

According to IOM data, nearly 1,600 children have been reported dead or missing since 2014, though many more go unrecorded."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Berlin, Paris fume at Italy over Sea Watch case (euractiv, link):

"Row over Sea Watch 3. High-ranking politicians in Germany and France have strongly criticised the Italian government for arresting Carola Rakete, the captain of the ship Sea-Watch 3 who rescued migrants at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean."

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