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

September 2019

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24-30.9.19) including:

Spanish-Moroccan borders upgraded with new cameras, facial recognition and a barbed wire 'swap'

The Spanish government is seeking a 50% reduction in illegal immigration and to achieve this goal is deploying new surveillance cameras and facial recognition technology at its borders with Morocco in Ceuta and Melilla. The Spanish government also plans to remove the barbed wire fences at those borders - but the Moroccan government is constructing its own.

UK: New report calls for root and branch reform of Home Office decision-making following Windrush scandal (Refugee Council, link):

"A new report out today from Freedom From Torture, the Refugee Council and six other leading organisations exposes the historical and systematic failures of asylum-decision making in the UK and makes the case for root-and-branch reform of the asylum and immigration system.

By examining 50 reports from 17 different organisations, including parliamentary committees, the United Nations, nongovernmental organisations, academics and independent inspectorates, Lessons Not Learned charts a 15-year history of criticism levelled at the Home Office. It identifies trends in the mishandling of asylum claims, and asks the crucial question as to why lessons have still not been learned."

UK: Police chiefs criticise £10m Taser rollout (The Guardian, link):

"The government is to spend £10m on arming more officers with electric stun guns, despite police chiefs and human rights groups voicing strong concerns about the impact the weapons have on trust in the police.

...The announcement was welcomed by the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers. It said additional funding could put stun guns into the hands of 10,000 police officers, roughly 10% of the total employed in England and Wales.

The move has been criticised by police chiefs, the Guardian understands, and is likely to expose a rift between rank-and-file officers and their superiors, with the former calling for a rollout for years and the latter understood to oppose it."

See: Home Office announces £10 million for Taser uplift (Home Office press release, pdf)

EU drone operations: Israeli military firm Elbit amongst maritime agency's subcontractors

Seven EU member states have been provided with drone "services" by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) since 2018, and EMSA has also "supported the [European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex] in 2018 and 2019 with surveillance along the Portuguese coast."

EU-JAPAN: PNR: Security Union: The Commission recommends opening negotiations with Japan on the transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data (press release, pdf):

"...the European Commission has recommended that the Council authorise the start of negotiations for an EU-Japan Agreement to allow the transfer and use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data in order to prevent and combat terrorism and serious transnational crime. The Agreement will set out the framework and conditions for the exchange of PNR data, in full respect of data protection safeguards and fundamental rights, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights."

See: Recommendation for Council Decision to authorise negotiations for an Agreement between the European Union and Japan for the transfer and use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data (pdf) and: Annex (pdf)

Greece: Deadly fire triggers protests at Moria refugee camp (BBC News, link):

"At least one person has died after a fire broke out at an overcrowded refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, local officials say.

They say the charred body of a woman was found at Moria camp. But unconfirmed reports say there was another victim, a child.

Police fired teargas against protesting migrants who said firefighters were too slow to respond to the blaze.

The camp houses about 12,000 people in tents and shipping containers.

But it only has an official capacity of 3,000 - leading to severe overcrowding."

The Drone Databook (Bard College, link):

"The Drone Databook is an in-depth survey of the military drone capabilities of over 90 countries around the globe that are known to possess and operate unmanned aircraft. This study includes information about each country’s active drone inventories, drone units, training programs, active acquisition and development efforts, infrastructure, drone exports, and operational experiences."

EU extends Operation Sophia, Libyan coast guard cooperation despite hefty criticism (InfoMigrants, link):

"The European Union has extended Operation Sophia, its anti-migrant-smuggling mission along the Libyan Mediterranean coast, by six months to the end of March 2020. Actual naval operations remain halted, however; the mandate now mainly consists of air support and training Libya’s controversial coast guard, Europe’s go-to partner to stem migration.

European Union member states resolved to extend the naval mission Operation Sophia for another six months. The mandate was due to expire at the end of September, According to a press release by the European Council, the core aim of the operation, which was set up four years ago, is to "disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers" in the southern central Mediterranean. Albeit not an official goal, the desired result is fewer migrants successfully crossing the Mediterranean Sea from northern Africa to Europe."

Widow of Pat Finucane launches High Court proceedings against Northern Ireland Secretary (Irish Legal News, link)

"The widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane has launched proceedings against the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in the High Court in Belfast following a landmark UK Supreme Court ruling earlier this year.

The Supreme Court ruled in February that the state has failed to deliver an Article 2 compliant investigation into the death of her husband, who was shot and killed by loyalist paramilitaries in collusion with UK security forces.

Mrs Finucane has now lodged proceedings as a result of the Secretary of State’s failure to make a decision on how the UK Government will proceed in light of the Supreme Court’s findings."

See: Supreme Court judgment: In the matter of an application by Geraldine Finucane for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) (February 2019, pdf)

Sweden: Deportations on the Rise and Self-harm Widespread (ECRE, link):

"2600 rejected asylum seekers have been deported from Sweden by plane between January and August 2019. In September 50 Afghan nationals were deported to Kabul in a single day. Information from the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) reveals that self-harm is wide-spread among asylum seekers in Sweden.

With 2,600 deportations in the first seven months of 2019 the number of deportations from Sweden is likely to increase despite a significant decrease of arrivals since 2015, when a total of 2,810 people were deported. The number of escorted deportations is also rising – cases where rejected asylum seekers are reported to the police as at risk of disappearing or refusing deportation."

EU: 'Inhumane' Frontex forced returns going unreported (EUobserver, link):

"On a late evening August flight last year from Munich to Afghanistan, an Afghan man seated in the back of the plane struggled to breath as a German escort officer repeatedly squeezed his testicles.

The man, along with another Afghan who had tried to kill himself, was being forcibly removed from Germany and sent back to a country engulfed in war.

The EU's border agency Frontex coordinated and helped pay for the forced return operation, as part of a broader bid to remove from Europe unwanted migrants and others whose applications for international protection had been rejected.

...The flight journey from Munich highlights a stunning omission from Frontex responsibilities - adding to concerns the EU agency is failing to maintain standards when it comes to coordinating forced-returns in a humane manner. "

EU: The "temporary solidarity mechanism" on relocation of people rescued at sea - what does it say?

Germany, France, Italy and Malta have drafted a declaration (pdf) establishing a "predictable and efficient temporary solidarity mechanism" aimed at ensuring the "dignified disembarkation" of people rescued at sea in the Mediterranean. If those rescued are eligible for international protection they will be relocated to a participating EU member state within four weeks, while ineligible persons will be subject to "effective and quick return."

State Repression and Police Intimidation in Catalonia (Bella Caledonia, link):

"On Monday morning nine pro-independence activists in Catalonia were arrested in a swoop by the Spanish Guardia Civil. They are charged with ‘rebellion’ and ‘sedition’, the same offenses that the 12 Catalan political prisoners are currently accused of.

The operation was conducted under the instruction of the Audiencia Nacional, the Spanish central court that deals with ‘offences against the Crown’ and ‘terrorism’. Two have now been released, but seven remain in custody in Madrid where they will be held incommunicado and brought before judges this week."

IRELAND: Rights group to bring ‘mass action’ against State over PSC (Irish Examiner, link):

"A digital rights advocacy body is to bring the country’s first “mass action” against the State regarding alleged infringements of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the case of the Public Services Card (PSC).

Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) has launched its #no2psc campaign, which will see the group make a complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner on behalf of citizens that cardholders’ rights have been breached en masse under GDPR."

Asylum seeker denied cancer treatment by Home Office dies (The Guardian, link):

"An Ethiopian woman who was denied potentially life-saving cancer treatment for six weeks amid confusion about whether she should be charged by the NHS has died aged 39.

Kelemua Mulat, who had advanced breast cancer, was refused chemotherapy last year after Home Office and NHS officials decided that she was not eligible for free care."

Austria: Far-right ex-leader Strache investigated for reported misuse of party funds (DW, link):

"Authorities in Austria have launched a probe against far-right politician Heinz-Christian Strache over a suspected graft scheme involving him, his former bodyguard and the woman who worked as his one-time office manager.

Vienna prosecutors said the group was suspected of taking money from the far-right FPÖ during Strache's time as party leader. They reportedly handed in fake receipts to reimburse Strache's private expenses, amounting to over €5,000 ($5,460) over several years.

Officials said the procedure was still in the early stages, with evidence gathering still ongoing."

UK: Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament was unlawful, judges rule (BBC News, link):

"Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Mr Johnson suspended - or prorogued - Parliament for five weeks earlier this month, saying it was to allow a Queen's Speech to outline his new policies.

But the court said it was wrong to stop Parliament carrying out its duties in the run-up to the Brexit deadline on 31 October."

Judgment Full-text (pdf)

EU court: Google need not apply 'right to be forgotten' outside EU (DW, link)

"The European Court of Justice has ruled the US internet giant doesn't have to apply an EU law requiring the removal of search engine results upon request, outside of EU borders. The decision is a victory for Google. "

Council of the European Union: Note from the Council Presidency: Accession of the European Union to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) (Doc no; 12349-19, pdf):

Accession has been the subject of lengthy negotiations. This document sets out the: "Synthetic Overview of the required Amendments to the negotiated Instruments."

Sassoli: Migration agreement respects fundamental principles of Parliament’s proposal (EP News, link):

"“Finally we move in the direction outlined by the European Parliament.”

This was the first reaction by European Parliament President David Sassoli on the agreement reached today in Valletta between four EU countries: France, Germany, Italy and Malta, on the redistribution of asylum seekers arriving in Europe across the Mediterranean"

Five EU interior ministers want quotas for shipwrecked refugees (DW, link):

"At a meeting in Malta, the three largest countries in the EU want to find a solution to the issue of distributing migrants. Will other countries follow their lead? Bernd Riegert reports. (...)

Maltese Interior Minister Michael Farrugia to invite his new Italian colleague, as well as interior ministers from Germany, France and Finland, to come to Malta in hopes of establishing new rules laying out how the EU will deal with migrants rescued while crossing the Mediterranean from Libya."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-23.9.19)

Third Time Lucky? The new law on extension of UK membership of the EU (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers:

"One of the many recent controversies about the Brexit process has been about the ‘Benn-Burt bill’, a new Act of Parliament that was fast-tracked through the legislative process earlier in September against the government’s wishes. It requires the Prime Minister to request a further extension of the UK’s EU membership; he has said that he will not do so. Some believe (wrongly) that the new law bans a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU. "

LESVOS: Journey back to the borders - melody and rhythm of freedom for all (w2eu.net, link)

"Small concert and musical activities in memory with welcome to europe

We would like to look back on migrant struggles and we want to face the reality today on the island. A reality of an organized permanent crisis, with the hot-spots like Moria made to deter people and break their will to move freely – but people continue moving. 10 years after Noborder ‘09 on Lesvos we want to celebrate continuity and stubbornness we have learned together in these migrant struggles."

See: Lost at border (pdf):

"We want to give back a piece of dignity, to those who died – right here – into the senselessness of the European borders – and we want to thank those who risk their lives to rescue.

All of these dead people have a face, a name. All of them leave behind relatives and friends. Besides the bodies also their hopes and dreams are lost."

Sudanese migrant killed after disembarking in Tripoli (ansamed.info, link):

"A Sudanese migrant was killed by gunshot on Thursday in Tripoli, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM), whose staff witnessed the tragedy. It said the death occurred at the Abusitta Disembarkation point in Tripoli, where 103 migrants had just disembarked and were resisting being taken back to detention centres. A group of armed men began shooting in the air when several migrants tried to run away from their guards. The Sudanese migrant was hit in the stomach and died despite receiving immediate medical care on site from IOM staff.

The man was part of a group of migrants who had just been brought back to shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, (...)"

European Parliament: Briefing: EU guidelines on ethics in artificial intelligence: Context and implementation (pdf):

"In the EU, there are strong calls for clarifying the EU guidelines, fostering the adoption of ethical standards and adopting legally biding instruments in order to, inter alia, set common rules on transparency, set common requirements for fundamental rights impact assessments and provide an adequate legal framework for face recognition technology."

EU ministers in Malta to thrash out new migrant system (euractiv, link):

"Interior ministers from four EU countries meet Monday (23 September) in Malta to try to work out an automatic system to determine which countries will welcome migrants rescued in the central Mediterranean.

The ministers from France, Germany, Italy and Malta hope to end the long, drawn-out negotiations that have seen vulnerable asylum seekers including babies stranded at sea, sometimes for weeks."

Hundreds of migrants reach Lesvos; Moria bursting at the seams (ekathimerini.com, link):

"nother 408 migrants reached the island of Lesvos by Friday noon, of which 73 arrived by sailboat, the general police directorate of the Northern Aegean said in a press release.

The new arrivals raise the total number of migrants living in the overcrowded identification center of Moria to 12,000, when the camp's capacity is for 3,000."

And see: Greek PM to seek international help with migration problem (ekathimerini.com, link

Here we go again! EU seeks to "balance" privacy and rights against the demands of law enforcement agencies
Here we go again! In the aftermath of 11 September 2001 in each new measure we were told that they had "balanced" fundamental rights and the demands of EU security. In practice the latter almost always won the day.

The emergence of new technologies presents a whole new era of demands which are the subject of a Note from the Council Presidency: The future direction of EU internal security: new technologies and internal security - Preparation of the Council debate (LIMITE doc no: 12224-19, pdf).

RTÉ to broadcast acclaimed Loughinisland Massacre documentary (RTE, link):

"RTÉ One has announced that it will broadcast Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney's No Stone Unturned, a feature-length documentary on the 1994 Loughinisland massacre.

On 18 June 1994, in the small village of Loughinisland, Co Down, three gunmen burst into a pub with assault rifles and fired on the customers, killing six people and wounding five others. (...)

Belfast journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey were arrested following the making of the film, over the alleged theft of a Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland document, with the charges ultimately being dropped. (...)

No Stone Unturned will air on RTÉ One on Wednesday 2 October at 9.35pm."

Northern Ireland: PRESS RELEASE: The Court of Appeal have ruled this morning that the treatment endured by the hooded men is torture, and an effective criminal investigation is necessary (pdf):

"Francis McGuigan, the applicant, said:

“Todays Judgment makes it expressly clear that the treatment that I suffered at the hands of Ministers was torture and should be investigated by an independent police force.”

“This treatment cannot be forgotten, it has had lasting and terrible effects on my mental health to this day and I can only hope that this judgment will assist someone somewhere in the world that suffers torture at the hand of their Government”

The Court said at Para 116 of the Judgment that they were satisfied that “the treatment to which Mr mcGuigan and Mr McKenna were subject would if it occurred today properly be characterised as torture.”"

See also: 'Hooded Men': PSNI's appeal over inquiry dismissed (BBC News, link): "A group known as the Hooded Men have won the latest stage of a legal battle to force an investigation into alleged torture by the security forces in 1971 ".

Niger: Has Securitisation Stopped Traffickers? (ispionline.it/itispionline.it, link):

"In the past five years there has been an increase in border controls and foreign military presence in Niger; paradoxically this has only diversified and professionalised the criminal networks operating there. In fact, this development was to be expected. "

Fastest-growing UK terrorist threat is from far right, say police (Guardian, link)

"Counter-terror police vow to thwart rise in violence driven by extreme-right ideologies.

Police have vowed to thwart the rise of the far right, which they have said is the fastest-growing terrorist threat in the UK, as they try to stop race hate ideologues from bringing violence to the country’s streets."

See also : Counter-Terrorism Coordinator wants EU to target right-wing extremism and terrorism

Live facial recognition surveillance 'must stop (BBC News, link):

"UK police and companies must stop using live facial recognition for public surveillance, politicians and campaigners have said.

The technology allows faces captured on CCTV to be checked in real time against watch lists, often compiled by police.

Privacy campaigners say it is inaccurate, intrusive and infringes on an individual's right to privacy."

See: Joint statement on police and private company use of facial recognition surveillancein the UK (pdf, link)

EU: Fair Trials: Pre-trial detention: It’s time for EU action to end excessive use (pdf):

"Across the continent, there are over 100,000 people who have not been convicted of any crime being held in pre-trial detention. They are imprisoned and trapped in a legal limbo for months or years. The human toll can be immense."

Far right Britain First patrolling beaches to ‘catch migrants’ (Metro link):

"It says it is determined to stop people who undertake the dangerous journey from Britain to France on small boats ‘from landing on our shores’. Calling it ‘Operation White Cliffs’ the far right group focuses on the beaches of South England. Wearing high vis jackets and carrying torches and binoculars, they search the area looking for migrants."

Using latest tech for border management (geospatialworld.net,link):

"While a lot of tasks performed by people in border management must not be replaced by Artificial Intelligence, it is important to use new and emerging technologies to prepare for those tasks, emphasizes Berndt Körner, Deputy Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex."

Met boss Cressida Dick: More Met Police officers will carry tasers (ITN News, link)

"The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said more officers in London will carry a Taser, but a fifth do not want to use them."

Counter-Terrorism Coordinator wants EU to target right-wing extremism and terrorism

The EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC) has distributed two papers to national delegations in the Council's Terrorism Working Party calling attention to the threat of right-wing extremism and terrorism: "Attacks in Western countries such as Norway, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, as well as foiled attacks in France, have shown that there is a need to further strengthen the EU approach in tackling right-wing extremist violence."

See: NOTE from: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to: Delegations: Right-wing violent extremism and terrorism in the European Union: discussion paper (11756/19, LIMITE, 30 August 2019, pdf) and: background information (11756/19 ADD 1, pdf)

The CTC (since 2007 a Belgian official, Gilles de Kerchove) underlines that "right-wing extremism is a problem in Europe" - not exactly news, but it is now deemed urgent to address the issue at EU level.

Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life' (euobserver, link) by Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

"What is the "European way of life"?

In a continent as geographically, linguistically and culturally diverse as ours, this is very difficult to answer.

The way that Europeans live their lives is informed by centuries of history, enriched by overlapping traditions and the shared experience of different peoples, from long-settled communities to new arrivals, living side by side.

In today's turbulent times, we believe it is more fruitful to reflect on what constitute European values, and how these can be applied and strengthened in an era of globalisation and mass migration."

French Dunkirk camp cleared as migrants try to reach UK (BBC News, link):

"French police have begun an operation to evacuate a gymnasium and a tent camp near the northern port of Dunkirk amid an increase in migrants trying to cross the Channel.

Some 1,000 people, many of them Iraqi Kurds, have been living on the Grande Synthe site."

Italy, France agree on 'automatic' distribution of migrants (DW, link):

"France and Italy have agreed on a new system to distribute migrants across the European Union. It comes ahead of an interior ministers meeting in Malta next week."

Arrests made after migrants identify 'torturers' in camp in Sicily (The Guardian, link):

"Detectives in Sicily have arrested three men who allegedly raped and tortured dozens of migrants in a detention centre in the north-west of Libya.

Prosecutors in Agrigento have collected testimonies from numerous asylum seekers from north Africa who allegedly recognised their former captors at a migrant registration centre in Messina, Sicily.

The three alleged captors, a 27-year-old Guinean man and two Egyptians aged 24 and 26, are accused of torture, kidnapping and human trafficking."

See: The ongoing disasters in Libya

Turkey stops 300,000 irregular migrants en route to EU so far this year (Daily Sabah, link):

"According to the migration authority's most recent data, the authorities have intercepted some 269,059 irregular migrants between the period of Jan. 1 and Sept. 12. The number is expected to rise until the end of the year. Last year Turkey intercepted 268,003 illegal migrants. The number was 146,485 in 2015, 174,466 in 2016 and 175,752 in 2017 – meaning the number has almost doubled over the last three years."

Hungary: Government extends the “state of crisis due to mass migration” (AIDA, link):

"On 6 September 2019, the Hungarian Government announced it would extend the “state of crisis due to mass migration” until 7 March 2020 to protect the country's security and borders.

To justify this extension, the Government referred to the 7,000 irregular border crossing attempts that have been registered since the beginning of the year as well as to the “critical situation in Serbia and the thousand illegal migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and some 30,000 migrants in Greece”. It further argued that, without Hungary’s southern fences and border control activities, the country would face a similar scenario to the so-called 2015 “migration crisis” and become the main transit route of irregular migration."

EU: ‘They are already citizens’: What will it take to bring Europe’s undocumented out of the shadows? (Horizon Magazine, link):

"Innovative ways of supporting undocumented migrants so that they can access vital health, social and emergency services are required so that European countries can properly assist these vulnerable people.

Undocumented or irregular migrants live in Europe’s shadows. They are some of the most vulnerable people in society, often exploited by others but also the least likely to seek help."

UK: The Black Power movement and Special Branch: Special Branch Files in context (SBFP, link):

"The British state took the threat of Black Power very seriously, both at home and across the Commonwealth. When an international conference on Black Power took place in British Protectorate Bermuda on July 10-13 July 1969, the British government sent a warship full of marines to anchor off the coast in case civil disorder broke out and Special Branch officers attended, submitting a 133pp report afterwards.

Beforehand, the option to ban the entire conference had been discussed up to the level of the PM in the UK. The fact that there was no law to do such thing, and that it would be impossible to enforce a ban, was seen as a minor issue set against the risks of UK military involvement should disturbances occur.

While both Special Branch and the government’s Joint Intelligence Committee did not believe that Black Power would ever become widely supported by black people in the UK, they did worry about its potential to inspire civil unrest."

The ongoing disasters in Libya

- There are between 700,000 and 1 million migrants in Libya

- "migrants and refugees rescued or intercepted at sea being transferred to detention centres [with a] lack of traceability, transparency and accountability"

- "The government’s reluctance to address the problems raises the question of its own involvement."

See: Note from the Council Presidency to national delegations; Libya and the surrounding area: current situation and need for immediate action (LIMITE doc no: 115381, pdf)

Edward Snowden: Germany a 'primary example' of NSA surveillance cooperation (DW, link):

"In his new book, Edward Snowden describes how US intelligence agencies collect vast amounts of data around the world. Foreign governments often help facilitate the collection, and Germany is no exception.(...)

In his new book Permanent Record, he describes working at "America's premier signals agency" as being "a dream job." He also writes of how he uncovered STELLARWIND, which he calls "the deepest secret of the NSA.""

EU grills Hungary over rule of law concerns (euractiv, link):

"EU affairs ministers grilled Hungary on Monday (16 September) over Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s tightening of restrictions around free media, judges, academics, minorities and rights groups, which the bloc worries weakens democracy in the ex-communist country."

See also: Hungarian minister grilled by EU about 'threats to rule of law' - Judit Varga called to account for erosion of press freedom and judicial independence (Guardian, link)

EU: 5 policy suggestions for the ‘European way of life’ commissioner (Politico, link):

"Greece's Margaritis Schinas is the EU's new migration commissioner — except he's not.

Instead of giving him a title that makes sense, President-elect Ursula von der Leyen named him "the vice-president for protecting our European way of life," which led to outrage and accusations that she has kowtowed to populist rhetoric. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen hailed Schinas' title as an "ideological victory.""

Aid workers warn of catastrophe in Greek refugee camps (Guardian, link):

"At least 24,000 people are trapped in vastly overcrowded Aegean island camps in squalid conditions.

"Children being bitten by scorpions, rats and snakes; hundreds being forced to use a single shower; the stench of human excrement never far away; and food shortages becoming the norm. One by one, Sophie McCann lists the degradations of life for refugees detained on Lesbos, the Greek island on the frontline of a new surge of asylum seekers desperate to reach Europe.

McCann, a British advocacy manager with Médecins Sans Frontières, like other aid workers, is now raising the alarm: at least 24,000 men, women and children trapped in vastly overcrowded Aegean island camps are being subjected to conditions so harrowing they bear all the hallmarks of humanitarian catastrophe. Four years after the greatest migration crisis in modern times, there are fears history is repeating itself."

Refugee Support Aegean (RSA): The systematic rejections of family reunification requests from Greece by Germany and their detrimental impact upon the right to family life and the best interest of the child (pdf, link):

"While the Dublin Regulation - the “cornerstone” of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) - has been repeatedly and not unjustly criticized as an unfair and ineffective mechanism for the allocation of responsibility for the examination of asylum applications submitted in different European member states, its family reunification procedure remains until today one of the scarce safe legal routes to fulfill the rights and core principles of family unity, the best interest of the child and the right to family life."

Ireland should more than double intake of refugees to meet 'fair share', migrant group says (Irish Examiner, link):

"Ireland should more than double its annual intake of refugees over the coming three years to meet its “fair share” of the projected global refugee resettlement need, a migrant umbrella group has said.

The Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition said Ireland had taken in almost 2,600 people under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) in the four years since September 2015, averaging at 650 people per year."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-16.9.19)

EU: Joint Press Statement from Commissioner Vìra Jourová and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on the Third Annual EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Review (pdf):

"Gender Equality Vìra Jourová made the following statement regarding the third annual joint review of
the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework:

“Senior officials from the United States Government, the European Commission, and EU data protection authorities gathered in Washington, DC on 12 and 13 September to conduct the third annual joint review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. The broad and senior level participation from both sides underscored the shared and longstanding commitment of the United States and the European Union to the Framework."

The reports on the first and second review can be found here (link) See: Snowden: Privacy Shield won't stop US mass surveillance (Statewatch database)

Ocean Viking: Rescued migrants disembark in Italy (BBC News, link):

"Eighty-two migrants have disembarked on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa after six days at sea.

Italy says it is allowing the ship, the Ocean Viking, to offload the migrants as most of those on board will be relocated to other EU countries."

FRONTEX: Migratory situation in August – Slight increase on main migratory routes (pdf, link):

"There were nearly 9 300 detections in August 2019* on the Eastern Mediterranean route accounting for nearly three-quarters of the total number of irregular migrants reaching Europe. This was double the figure from the same month of last year due to a large number of boats reaching the Greek islands in eastern Aegean, especially Lesbos, in late August.

In the first eight months of this year, the total number of detections in this region was up 10% from a year ago to more than 38 300." [emphasis added]

Greece says time for EU to step up and deal with migration issue (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greece's migration policy minister says the European Union's Mediterranean states are in a better position to convince other EU partners to help them cope with migrant arrivals.

Giorgos Koumoutsakos says the incoming European Commission's priority to forge a new EU migration policy affords Mediterranean states the opportunity to underscore their own concerns.

Koumoutsakos says that between 4,500 and 5,000 migrants entered the EU from its eastern Mediterranean frontier last month, nearly four times more than anywhere else in the Med."

WEST BALKANS: Illegal push-backs and border violence report: August (Border Violence Monitoring Network, pdf):

"- Torture: Recurrence of extreme violence and abuse
- Pushback from Italy
- Beyond police: Actors within the pushback framework
- Further dispersion of pushback sites in NW Bosnia
- Trends in pushback sites to and from Greece."

Poland’s ruling party plans to allow arrests of MPs and judges (euractiv, link);

"Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS/ECR) announced its election programme at the weekend, under which there would no longer be immunity for judges and prosecutors and it would be possible to detain parliamentarians at the request of the prosecutor general."

Child Immigration Detention is Not Only Wrong, It Is Ineffective (link):

" Today, the United Nations Network on Migration strongly reiterates its position that child immigration detention must be ended in every region of the world. Detention of children for immigration purposes - whether they are traveling alone or with their families – has been recognized as a child rights violation and can be highly damaging to their physical and psychological health and wellbeing. Detention of children based on their migratory status is thus never in their best interests.

Community-based programmes, case management and other human rights-based alternatives have proven highly effective and all governments should work to replace immigration detention for children and families with appropriate reception and care arrangements."

Prorogation of Parliament: Conflicting judgments in England and Scotland (EU Law Analysis, link):

" The outcome of the conjoined appeals at the Supreme Court of the UK on Tuesday the 17th of September is far from certain. The Scottish judgment is a constitutional first: the first time a serving Prime Minister has been found guilty of acting illegally in relation to the proroguing of Parliament.

What is certain is that the 11 justices of the Supreme Court will once again make UK constitutional history after the hearing on Tuesday week."

MSF: 3 migrant children attempted suicide, 17 had injured themselves (Keep Talking Greece,link):

"Children are the real victims of the Migration policy, many of them are not in position to comply with the harsh realities. According to a press release by Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Greece, in the summer months of July and August, three children attempted suicide and 17 had injured themselves. Ten of a total of 73 children referred to MSF were under the age of six, the youngest being just two."

Ex-CIA spy readies to publish book about undercover exploits without agency approval (nbc, link):

"Some former CIA agents question the veracity of "Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA," by Amaryllis Fox, which hits stores in October. (...)

A former CIA officer who says she spent years under deep cover has written what appears to be one of the most revealing memoirs ever put to paper by an American intelligence operative — a book so intriguing that Apple bought the television rights even before its October publication date."

GREECE: Migration exploited for leverage, says former police inspector general (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Turkey is exploiting the migrant crisis as a form of leverage in its relations with the European Union, but also on a bilateral level, with our country,” she stressed.

She also revealed that three meetings between Greek and Turkish officials that had been scheduled to take place in April, May and June at the Evros border between the two countries had been canceled by Turkey."

CJEU hearings on four data retention cases: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS, pdf):

On 9 and 10 September, the Court of Justice of the European Union held hearings on four data retention cases involving several Member States (United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, France, Spain, Sweden, etc.) and civil society actors such as Privacy International and La Quadrature du Net. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) was also present and shared its point of view.

EU: The College of Commissioners: What’s in a Name? (ECRE, link):

"A furore has erupted over the unfortunately named “Protecting Our European Way of Life” portfolio, with concern centring on the rather, let us say, fascistic connotation of the expression. (...)

the Home Affairs Commissioner’s mission, the talk is of “challenges” and “concerns” of Europeans. This framing is immediately othering in that it sets up oppositions between Europeans and migrants, security and the threat of people on the move (...)

Over 3,400 migrants reached Greece in September (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A total of 3,469 migrants arrived at Greece's northern Aegean islands from the start of September till Friday morning, according to figures published by the region's general police directorate.

Breaking down the numbers, 2,078 foreign nationals arrived on Lesvos, 589 on Chios and 802 on Samos since September 1."

UNHCR reports that so far this year refugee arrivals have been: 36,386 to Greece, 19,782 to Spain, 5,796 to Italy, 1,585 to Malta and 794 to Cyprus.

Some Dutch police using excessive force against immigrants: report (Daily Sabah, link):

"Some Dutch police centers, especially those located in the Hague, use excessive force against immigrants, according to a report published Friday by Dutch public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS).

The NOS report said that the discriminative incidents and the cases in which police used excessive force against immigrants are especially related with the Hoefkade Police Station in Schilderswijk – a district known for its large immigrant population."

Germany prepared to take in 25% of migrants who arrive in Italy by sea (DW, link):

"Interior Minister Seehofer has made the gesture ahead of EU talks on migration later this month. The issue has been one of hot debate in recent years following a spate of arrivals in the Mediterranean."

Italy's new government says migrants can disembark from rescue boat (Guardian, link)

"Rome’s new left-leaning government breaks from era of hardline immigration measures pushed by Matteo Salvini."

'Protecting the European way of life’ from migrants is a gift to the far right (Guardian, link):

"EU technocrats still believe tougher border controls will defang their populist rivals – but they are fuelling a dangerous new nationalism. (...)

Yet Europe’s rightwing populists did not make Von der Leyen president of the commission, and her clumsy debut is another example of a broader trend: politicians of the centre adopting the nationalist demands of their far-right challengers in an attempt to keep them at bay.(...)

The plan, it appears, is to co-opt the demands of the far right – and thus neutralise their appeal – rather than take them on."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"In the EU bubble lexicon this strategy is known as "triangulation" - you adopt the policies of the populists, fascists and racists in the hope they will go away. Whereas history tells that appeasement only legitimates these political forces."

EU-UK-BREXIT: The annotated draft agenda (pdf) for the European Council meeting (the Heads of state) on 17-18 October 2019 does not - as yet - include a discussion on BREXIT.

EU extends Operation Sophia for 6 months, still without ships (Politico, link):

"spokeswoman declared that "Sophia is a maritime operation and it's clear that without naval assets, the operation will not be able to effectively implement its mandate." (...)

Four diplomats told POLITICO the decision to extend the mandate on its current terms was taken on Thursday by the EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC), which is composed of member countries' ambassadors and deals with defense and foreign policy issues.

Despite the six-month extension, one diplomat said the PSC could "revert to the matter much earlier if needed” — a hint that naval assets might return to the mission sooner."

See also: Operation ‘Sophia’ is Given Six More Months Without Ships (ECRE, link)

The Brief – Don’t ‘protect’ the EU way of life. Improve it! (euractiv, link):

"The reactions were caused by the Commission’s new name for the migration portfolio, “Protecting our European Way of Life”, which was assigned to the former chief EU spokesperson, Greece’s Margaritis Schinas.

The title itself is complex and open to different interpretations. One could argue that it’s another effort to construct Europe’s identity. Critics, though, talk about a very careful wording which implies an ultra-conservative or even a xenophobic turn worth of Donald Trump.

However, the problem lies in the mission letter von der Leyen wrote for Schinas, which explicitly describes his role in finding “common ground” on migration. This practically means that the anti-migration rhetoric of several member states, led by Hungary, is allowed into the mainstream, after having being ostracised and strongly opposed."

Inside Lampedusa, the Front Line of Europe’s Migration Crisis (The Global Post, link):

"recent shakeup in the Italian government, Salvini is now out of power, making the future of the migrant situation in Lampedusa unclear. To help shed light on the situation, The Globe Post spoke to Alberto Mallardo of Mediterranean Hope, a project of the Federation of protestant Churches in Italy created in 2014 to analyze migration flows in the region and assist migrants and asylum seekers who arrive on Lampedusa.

Mediterranean Hope also includes the Observatory on Mediterranean migration, based in Lampedusa and coordinated on the field by Mallardo."

Lesvos: Head of Moria hot spot submits his resignation (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"The head of the hot spot of Moria on the island of Lesvos submitted his resignation to the political leadership of the Ministry for Citizens’ Protection on Wednesday afternoon.

Citing personal reasons, the Manager of the Reception and Identification Center, Ioannis Balbakakis said that he was “tired” and he had to go.

“I leave with my head up at doing what I needed to do in difficult situations. I am neither leaving as a thief nor leaving as a protesting politician. I’m leaving because I have to leave. I’m tired."

Deportations to Turkey – overview: August 2019 (Deportation Monitoring Aegean, link)

Germany pressures Greece to step up migrant deportations to Turkey (DW, link):

"Germany has also called on Turkey to accept the repatriations as part of a 2016 agreement between Ankara and the EU. A recent upswell in illegal crossings has led to rapidly deteriorating conditions in Greek camps.

Germany's Interior Ministry on Thursday called for Greece to step-up deportations to Turkey, as well as for stronger efforts to stem the flow of illegal crossings to Greek islands in the first place.

Stephan Mayer, the parliamentary secretary in the Interior Ministry, said, "We urgently need to make progress in small repatriations to Turkey, to improve the deteriorating conditions at certain hot spots on the islands."

Speaking with the Funke Mediengruppe news publisher, Mayer described the situation on the Greek destinations closest to Turkey as "very difficult."

Are You Syrious (11.9.19, link)


"On 1 September a group made up of three women, and six men experienced a violent group expulsion by the Romanian border police, volunteers active in Serbia have reported.

The policemen asked who in the group spoke English, and then proceeded to beat up each of the English speakers. One of the girls tried to move, but they beat her with their boots and batons. She fainted briefly and did not regain consciousness for five minutes. Then she helped her friend and was beaten again as punishment."


"For the second time in a week, people detained at the Malta migration center protested and demanded their release. After disembarking on Malta from NGO boats, people are held in detention until they have undergone a health check, the official reason given by authorities. As former detainees report, the conditions in this center are grave and people are not told how long they have to stay there."

Aegean Boat Report (link):

"Total number of refugees on the islands: 25,484."

Claude Moraes: ‘Protecting our European Way of Life’ is ‘anachronistic and insulting title’ (EP, link):

"UK MEP Claude Moraes has joined a growing chorus of scathing criticism of the European Commission’s new portfolio for "Protecting our European Way of Life.

Moraes, a Socialist member, told this website on Wednesday, “The European Commission have either deliberately played to the populist right in naming this or they have made a serious mistake.”

EU Commission Wants the Fox in Charge of the Henhouse - European Parliament Should Block Appointment of New Enlargement Commissioner (HRW, link):

"Yesterday, the new European Commission president, Ursula Von der Leyen, proposed Hungarian politician László Trócsányi as enlargement commissioner. Given his background, it’s a move that threatens the credibility of the Commission’s role to promote human rights, rule of law, and fundamental values in the European Union and third states."

UK government accused of ‘harvesting citizen data’ ahead of Brexit (euractiv, link):

"UK opposition parties have hit out at the government for allegedly harvesting user data, surreptitiously obtaining information from individuals accessing the official Gov.uk website, ahead of the UK’s scheduled withdrawal from the EU at the end of October.

A leaked memo seen by the Buzzfeed news website details private messages that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson shared with government ministers in the cabinet committee dealing with no-deal preparations, in which he informed them of the importance of gathering user information in order to facilitate exit preparations."

UK-BREXIT: Yellowhammer: no-deal chaos fears as secret Brexit papers published (Guardian, link):

"Ministers forced to publish documents predicting public disorder, rising prices and disruptions to food and medicines.

A no-deal Brexit could result in rising food and fuel prices, disruption to medicine supplies and public disorder on Britain’s streets, according to secret documents the government was forced by MPs to publish on Wednesday.

The content of the document was strikingly similar to the plan leaked to the Sunday Times in August, which the government dismissed at the time as out of date.

That document was described as a “base case”; but the new document claims to be a “worst-case scenario”. (...)

On law and order it warns: “Protests and counter-protests will take place across the UK and may absorb significant amounts of police resource. There may also be a rise in public disorder and community tensions.”

See: New Yellowhammer document (pdf)

EU to discuss boatless Operation Sophia (euobserver, link):

"Ambassadors representing member states will meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss extending the mandate of the defunct and boatless Naval Operation Sophia. Sophia is mandated to crackdown on migrant trafficking, but had all its boats pulled following an Italian backlash over where to disembark people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea."

ENAR: Justice gap: racism pervasive in criminal justice systems across Europe (Press release, link):

"Brussels, 12 September 2019 – Institutional racism prevails in criminal justice systems across the EU and impacts how racist crimes are (not) recorded, investigated and prosecuted, according to a new report published by ENAR today.

“Twenty years after the Macpherson Report revealed that the British police was institutionally racist, we now find that criminal justice systems across the European Union fail to protect victims of racist crimes – this despite the increase in violent racially motivated crimes”, said Karen Taylor, Chair of the European Network Against Racism."

The report and key findings are available here

EU: New EU deportation law breaches fundamental rights standards and should be rejected

A proposed new EU law governing standards and procedures for deportations would breach fundamental rights standards, massively expand the use of detention, limit appeal rights and undermine 'voluntary' return initiatives. It should be rejected by the European Parliament and the Council, argues a new analysis published today by Statewatch: Analysis (pdf)

The original Returns Directive was agreed in 2008, but a proposal for a 'recast' version was published by the European Commission in September 2018 as one a number of measures aiming to crack down on "illegally staying third-country nationals" in the EU.

EU chief under fire over 'protecting way of life' portfolio (BBC News, link):

"Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has found herself under fire for nominating a commissioner responsible for "Protecting our European Way of Life".

Critics say the portfolio, which will oversee migration and security, taps into right-wing rhetoric.

One Dutch MEP described the move as "grotesque" while Amnesty International said it was "worrying"."

NGO rescue ship barred from Italy despite new government (Guardian, link):

"Alan Kurdi vessel awaits safe port as leaders promise to revise Salvini’s hardline law.

An NGO rescue ship with five people onboard has been barred from landing in Italy, despite the new left-leaning government in Rome vowing to change the hardline immigration laws of the former interior minister Matteo Salvini.

The Alan Kurdi, operated by the German NGO Sea-Eye, has been awaiting a safe port since 31 August after rescuing 13 people fleeing Tunisia."

National Day protest registrations up to 400,000 (Catalan News,link):

"Organizers of annual pro-independence demonstration call on more to sign up with verdict on jailed Catalan politicians and activists soon due"

Switzerland: Former local MP must not be punished for aiding asylum-seekers (AI, link):

"Ahead of tomorrow’s appeal against the conviction of former local MP, Lisa Bosia Mirra, fined almost 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000 US) for helping 24 Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers to cross the Italian border into Switzerland, Amnesty International Researcher, Rym Khadhraoui said:

“Lisa Bosia Mirra’s actions were examples of humanity rather than criminality. By helping asylum seekers, who were mostly unaccompanied minors, to access protection in Switzerland, she committed no crime but instead showed compassion to desperate people – some of who had suffered torture."

New database at Eurojust: Who’s a terrorist? (link):

"The EU has a Criminal Record Information System since 2012, but last week a second database was introduced only for "terrorist threats“. Its added value is unclear and may be the search for "interconnections“. The system also includes "right-wing and left-wing extremist groups“ in Europe."

EU facial recognition (link):

"Police and secret services can currently search facial images only in individual EU Member States. The EU wants to change that

The European Union wants to make it much easier for police to cross-check facial images. In the future, it will be possible to compare search photos with corresponding databases in all member states. Such a search could be carried out with still images from surveillance cameras in order to identify an unknown person. At present, each country in the EU must be contacted individually for this purpose."

See also: Automating the exchange of police data: Council looks to national databases (Statewatch News)

Greek PM urges talks, rejects Turkish refugee ‘threats (euractiv, link):

"Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis rejected on Sunday (8 September) Turkish “threats” to let Syrian refugees come en masse to Europe unless more international aid was provided and called for neighbourly dialogue instead."

Viktor Orbán’s choice for EU commissioner faces 'rough ride': As justice minister, László Trócsányi oversaw laws that put Hungary and EU in conflict (Guardian, link):

"Viktor Orbán’s choice for Hungary’s EU commissioner faces “a very rough ride” in the European parliament, as MEPs warned that the Hungarian government’s record on the rule of law could not be ignored.

The nominee, László Trócsányi, described as an executor of Orbán’s will, was Hungary’s justice minister from 2014 until elected to the European parliament in May. (...)

He oversaw laws criminalising NGOs for helping refugees and setting up Hungary’s container camps for asylum seekers, as well as measures that led to the Central European University being forced to quit Budapest."

EU: Open letter to Members of the European Parliament: The EU peace project is under threat (pdf) signed by over 60 organisations including Statewatch:

"As a coalition of 61 organisations we are writing to express our deep concern about a number of policy proposals which, taken together, call into question the EU’s founding values of human rights, peace and disarmament."

EU: Over 200,000 persons, vehicle and premises "checked" during transnational police operation: 30 countries team up to combat crime in the Western Balkans (Europol, link):

"The Joint Action Day (JAD) Western Balkans 2019 is an international operation, involving 6 758 law enforcement officers: 6 708 officers on the ground and 50 officers in the Operational Centre at Europol’s headquarters. Law enforcement officers from 30 countries, as well as 8 agencies and international organisations teamed up to tackle the 4 EMPACT (European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats) priorities: firearms trafficking, illegal immigration, document fraud and drugs trafficking."

EU: Automating the exchange of police data: Council looks to national databases

The EU's recently-agreed plans for interconnecting its migration and policing databases are still being implemented (two Regulations were approved in July), but national delegations in the Council are looking to the future - in particular, how to make national law enforcement databases 'interoperable' with EU systems and with one another.

„Obstacles to surveillance“: How authorities insecure 5G telephony (Matthias Monroy, link):

"Following the auction of frequencies, mobile operators are building the new 5G network. This fifth generation of mobile phones is considered particularly secure because of its concept of „Privacy by Design“. Connections can be encrypted end-to-end, which makes interception much more difficult. The device numbers of the telephones and the unique identification of the SIM cards are also transmitted in encrypted form. Under 5G, the registered mobile phones also recognize suspicious mobile cells. This makes the IMSI catcher currently in use unusable for locating and listening to telephones in the vicinity.

The new possibilities for encryption and anonymisation are causing police forces and secret services headaches. The German Federal Ministry of the Interior complains of „additional technical hurdles in the monitoring of telecommunications and the implementation of technical investigation measures“ and announces „adjustments“ of the telecommunications legislation."

See: Statewatch Analysis: A world without wiretapping? Official documents highlight concern over effects 5G technology will have no "lawful interception" (pdf)

UK: Defence secretary under fire for appearing to condone torture (The Guardian, link):

"Defence secretary Ben Wallace was accused of appearing to condone the use of mock executions after comments he once made that soldiers “might pretend to pour petrol” over prisoners taken on the battlefield resurfaced.

The former Scots Guard captain and future cabinet minster had declared that “battlefield short sharp interrogation where the prisoner is manhandled fairly roughly … is absolutely the norm” to a newspaper in 2003.

Trying to obtain information at the point of capture was critical, Wallace told the Scotsman in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq war. “It’s taught to soldiers that’s how it’s done. You might pretend to pour petrol over them, when it’s actually water.”"

Europe Keeps Asylum Seekers at a Distance, This Time in Rwanda (New York Times, link):

"Under the agreement with Rwanda, which is expected to be signed in the coming weeks, the east African country will take in about 500 migrants evacuated from Libya and host them until they are resettled to new homes or sent back to their countries of origin.

It will offer a way out for a lucky few, but ultimately the Rwandan center is likely to run into the same delays and problems as the one in Agadez.

“The Niger program has suffered from a lot of setbacks, hesitation, very slow processing by European and other countries, very low numbers of actual resettlements,” said Ms. Sunderland of Human Rights Watch. “There’s not much hope then that the exact same process in Rwanda would lead to dramatically different outcomes.”"

Morocco Cracks Down on Migrants as Spain and EU Pay Out (The Globe Times, link):

"The number of migrants arriving by sea in Spain has plunged with Morocco clamping down on boat departures since signing lucrative agreements with Madrid and Brussels, experts say.

While Madrid praises its cooperation with Rabat, human rights groups accuse Morocco of forcibly preventing migrants form boarding boats to Spain.

So far this year 15,683 migrants have arrived by sea, 45 percent down on the first eight months of 2018, according to Spanish interior ministry figures."

See also: Statewatch Analysis: "Migration control, not rescue": squeezing search and rescue in the Mediterraneaane by Jane Kilpatrick.

Roma ghettos in the heart of the EU (El Pais, link)

"Despite slight improvements in recent years, there is still deep-rooted discrimination against the community in Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe.

The Romani community represents around 2% of the Czech Republic’s 10.6 million inhabitants. This is similar to the European average and to Spain, though far lower than in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. There are six million Romanis altogether in the European Union and a number of studies show that there is not one country where they are not discriminated against."

See: Roma integration in the EU (European Commission, link)
BELGIUM: PNR: 94 terror suspects caught when booking airline flights, says report (Brussels Times, link)

"The system of Passenger Name Record (PNR) in operation in Belgium since January 2018 has managed to track down 94 suspected terrorists and suspects involved in a variety of crimes, according to the government’s crisis centre.

...The centre qualifies its results, however, by pointing out that 40 of the 94 terrorism suspects were on an existing register of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF), and that none of the suspects captured by PNR is actively wanted or has ever been the subject of a conviction. As a result, the men in question were detained, questioned and investigated further and then released.

The 54 men and women were flagged on PNR after being named in a case of terrorism or radicalisation, but were otherwise unable to be traced by police. They were identified with the help of BelPIU."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2-8.9.19) including:

Middle East Eye journalist refused entry to cover UK arms fair (Middle East Eye, link):

"A senior Middle East Eye journalist has been denied access to a British government-backed arms fair for unspecified reasons on the advice of the event’s security team.

Ian Cobain, a veteran reporter and author who has previously worked for The Guardian and The Times newspapers, was told on Wednesday that his application to cover next week’s DSEI arms fair in London had been rejected by the security team.

Cobain was initially told that his accreditation was being held up because the event's "security team" wanted to check that he was a suitable journalist to be covering an arms fair."

Britain and France to strengthen joint action against small boats (gov.uk, link):

"The Home Secretary and her French counterpart have agreed to intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel.

Priti Patel met French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner in Paris yesterday evening to discuss what more can be done to deter migrants making the perilous journey across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world."

See also: Action plan on small boats crossing the Channel published: more information-sharing, €3.6 million for new security equipment, joint return operations (Statewatch News)

Turkey's Erdogan threatens to 'open the gates' for migrants to Europe (euronews.com, link):

" Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will "open the gates" for migrants to Europe if international support for a refugee safe zone in northern Syria fails to materialise.

Turkey's president said on Thursday (September 5) he plans to resettle one million refugees in northern Syria."

The Commission’s Rule of Law Blueprint for Action: A Missed Opportunity to Fully Confront Legal Hooliganism (Verfassungsblog, link):

"n its first Communication entitled “Further strengthening the Rule of Law within the Union” published on 3 April 2019, the Commission offered a useful overview of the state of play while also positively inviting all stakeholders to make concrete proposals so as to enhance the EU’s “rule of law toolbox”. In reply to this invitation, the present authors put together along with other colleagues a submission on behalf of the RECONNECT project which was subsequently published as a RECONNECT Policy Brief. On 17 July 2019, the Commission released a comprehensive follow up Communication in which it sets out multiple “concrete actions for the short and medium term” having first recalled the extent to which the rule of law must be understood as a shared value and a shared responsibility within the EU."

GREECE: One dead as 13 migrants rescued off Samos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Samos coast guard officials on Friday rescued 13 migrants near the seaside village of Kokkari along the northeastern coast of the eastern Aegean island.

Officials also discovered the body of a 65-year-old woman who, fellow occupants said, died during the crossing from Turkey. Officials said the woman appeared to have died of natural causes."

Boris Johnson seeking to rewrite EU defence pledges (Guardian,link):

"Exclusive: Move sparks fears PM will use European security as Brexit bargaining chip.

Boris Johnson has told Brussels he wants to rewrite the defence pledges in the current Brexit deal, sparking EU fears that he will use the security of European citizens as a bargaining chip."

EU admits some countries infringed EU arrest warrant (euobserver, link):

"The EU has recognised that there are member states which do not comply with the procedures of the European arrest warrant, reported Spanish newspaper El Mundo."

UK: Johnson’s immigration policies: hostile chaos? (IRR News, link): Written by Frances Webber:

"If Boris Johnson’s government survives, the chaos of the immigration system it plans to impose will lead to untold misery."

Irish border will see checks after no-deal Brexit, EU warns (euobserver, link):

""All the checks will have to be carried out, it will be disruptive because the backstop would have been the only way that could have avoided disruptions," an EU official said."

European Coimmission: Press release: Brexit ‘no-deal' preparedness: Final Commission call to all EU citizens and businesses to prepare for the UK's withdrawal on 31 October 2019 (link)

"With 8 weeks to go until the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union on 31 October 2019, the Commission has today – in its 6th Brexit preparedness Communication – reiterated its call on all stakeholders in the EU27 to prepare for a ‘no-deal' scenario. In light of the continued uncertainty in the United Kingdom regarding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement – as agreed with the UK government in November 2018 – and the overall domestic political situation, a ‘no-deal' scenario on 1 November 2019, remains a possible, although undesirable, outcome."

France: Immigrant Children Being Denied Protection - Flawed Procedures in Alps Region Mirror Those in Paris, Elsewhere (HRW, link):

"Unaccompanied children arriving in France’s Alpine region undergo flawed age assessment procedures that deny many access to needed protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 80-page report, “Subject to Whim: The Treatment of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in the French Hautes-Alpes,” found that examiners whose job is to certify a child’s status as a minor – that is, under age 18 – do not comply with international standards."

UK court backs police in facial recognition lawsuit (Politico, link):

"Ruling is a blow for privacy advocate who led legal challenge. In a battle over the limits of high-tech police surveillance, Big Brother has just won a round.

On Wednesday, a U.K. court dismissed a case brought against the South Wales Police over its use of live facial recognition technology, which allows police to scan the faces of thousands of individuals in real time and match their likenesses against a database of suspects."

Launch of Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register at Eurojust - Speeding up and strengthening the judicial response to terrorism (link):

"A Counter-Terrorism Register (CTR) has been launched at Eurojust to reinforce the judicial response in Member States to terrorist threats and to improve security for citizens. The CTR, which entered into force on 1 September, centralises key judicial information to establish links in proceedings against suspects of terrorist offences.

The CTR is managed by Eurojust in The Hague on a 24-hour basis and provides proactive support to national judicial authorities. This centralised information will help prosecutors to coordinate more actively and to identify the suspects or networks that are being investigated in specific cases with potential cross-border implications."

Google siphoning personal data to advertisers, new evidence suggests (euractiv, link):

"Google is using a “surreptitious mechanism” to leak personal data to advertisers, according to new evidence presented to the Irish Data Protection Commission as part of an ongoing investigation.

The evidence, sourced by Brave, a competing web browser to Google’s Chrome, “gives the Irish DPC concrete proof that Google’s ad system did broadcast personal data” belonging to Johnny Ryan, the chief policy officer at Brave."

EU countries extend welcome to Eleonore migrants without Italy (DW, link):

"Five EU member states have said they agree to receive the 104 migrants aboard the German charity rescue boat. The EU will schedule a special meeting in autumn to discuss possible migrant distribution mechanisms."

UK: Two members of far-right Generation Identity group ‘serving in royal navy’ (The Independent, link):

"Two alleged far-right extremists were able to join the royal navy in spite of their white nationalist views, it has been claimed.

The men are accused of being active in the UK branch of Generation Identity, a pan-European group which spreads a conspiracy theory that motivated the alleged Christchurch mosque attacker in New Zealand."

UK: Police investigate officer who infiltrated environmental groups (The Guardian, link):

"A former undercover police officer who infiltrated environmental groups for seven years is under investigation by police for deceiving women into sexual relationships and allegedly leaking secrets.

Police chiefs are conducting a criminal investigation into Mark Kennedy, whose covert deployment was exposed principally by one of the women he had deceived.

The investigation is examining whether Kennedy conducted “inappropriate sexual relationships” and whether he broke the 1989 Official Secrets Act, according to police."

EU: The political reform agenda of Ursula von der Leyen (EPC, link):

"Ursula von der Leyen is looking to strengthen her support among pro-European forces. Her agenda for democratic reform of the EU is central to her mission. Only she, and not the European Council, is capable of setting an ambitious political agenda for the next five years. Andrew Duff argues that the Conference on the Future of Europe, which von der Leyen supports, is the best way to prepare for the next round of EU treaty revision. But the top priority must be to reform the electoral procedure of the European Parliament to introduce a real transnational element and to salvage the controversial Spitzenkandidat concept."

UK: 'Hundreds of stories going untold' at city magistrates' court every week, study finds (Press Gazette, link):

"A study of a single magistrates’ court based in a major UK city found there were “hundreds of potential stories left untold” every week, painting a “grim picture” of the state of court reporting.

Just three articles were published about proceedings at Bristol Magistrates’ Court during one week in January 2018, according to research published by journalism and law academics at the University of the West of England.

The study, published this month, said 240 cases passed through the court over the period, but its observers spotted only one working journalist."

See: It is criminal: The state of magistrates’ court reporting in England and Wales (Journalism, link)

UK: Hairdressing college closed for failing to keep students "safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism": Disastrous Ofsted inspection forces city centre college to close (Liverpool Echo, link):

"A city centre hairdressing college has shut down just months after being slammed with a disastrous Ofsted inspection.

Michael John Academy in the city centre was given an 'inadequate' rating in May, for failing to keep students "safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism."

...One of the main issues outlined in the report, was that apprentices at the college "do not have an adequate awareness of the dangers associated with radicalisation and extremism.""

UK: Leaving the War on Terror: A Progressive Alternative to Counter-Terrorism Policy (TNI, link):

"This report offers an account of the failures of current counter-terrorism policies, an analysis of the reasons why they do not work and an outline of a progressive alternative that we hope will be the basis for a future Labour government’s approach."

Neither fair nor realistic? How the EU deals with Afghan asylum seekers (Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration, link):

"Over the past ten years, almost 580,000 Afghan nationals have applied for asylum in the European Union. Afghanistan was the second most important country of origin among asylum seekers in the EU, after Syria. The way the EU Member States deal with them is subject to much controversy. Despite a worsening security situation in their country of origin, on average more than half of all asylum claims by Afghans are rejected. They are also confronted with severe injustices as their recognition rates vary greatly, depending on where in the EU their claims are examined. Among the many who are rejected, a majority risk ending up in protracted legal and social limbo situations as they are required to leave the EU, but are in reality rarely returned to their country of origin."

UK: Court rules police use of facial recognition is legal; survey finds majority of public want restrictions on the technology

"The high court in Cardiff has ruled that the legal regime governing South Wales Police's use of facial recognition "is adequate to ensure the appropriate and non-arbitrary use" of the technology. The judgment comes two days after the publication of survey results showing that the majority of the British public are willing to accept facial recognition technology in certain circumstances, "but want the government to impose restrictions on its use."

PRESS RELEASE: Legal Centre Lesvos denounces the Greek governments proposed changes to the Asylum procedure .(pressenza.com, link):

"On Saturday 31st August, the Spokesperson for the Greek Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence announced that a meeting had taken place with the Prime Minister and that seven measures of immediate action would be implemented in order to address the increasing number of people arriving on the Greek Islands.

We express serious concern that one of the measures announced is the intention of the Greek government to abolish the appeal stage of the asylum procedure, so that if an asylum application is rejected, they will proceed immediately with the return of the applicant to their country of origin."

Ankara rejects EU claim of increasing migration from Turkey to Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):

"urkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has refuted recent claims by EU officials that there has been an increasing migrant flow from Turkey to Greece, the country’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported Wednesday.

The Greek government recently announced emergency measures to tackle the arrival of “huge waves of refugees” on its islands, who it claimed to have come from Turkey. The EU has voiced “deep concern” over recent developments."

Statewatch Analysis: Spain-Morocco: "Migration control, not rescue": squeezing search and rescue in the Mediterranean

As the EU's member states continue to discuss half-hearted plans for search and rescue and the disembarkation of migrants, they are also putting in place measures to prevent their own maritime safety authorities from carrying out rescues. At the same time, they are pressuring under-resourced and unwilling non-EU states to take on rescue tasks. As reports from Spain show, the results are deadly.

Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown (The Atlantic, link):

"UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, and the European Commission have not said whether they believe Turkey is deporting Syrians. But one senior EU official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the issue, estimated that about 2,200 people were sent to the Syrian province of Idlib, though he said it was unclear whether they were forcibly deported or chose to return. The official added that, were Turkey forcibly deporting Syrians, this would be in explicit violation of the principle of non-refoulement, on which the EU-Turkey deal is conditioned."

The myth of the free speech crisis (The Guardian, link) by Nesrine Malik:

"Freedom of speech is not a neutral, fixed concept, uncoloured by societal prejudice. The belief that it is some absolute, untainted hallmark of civilisation is linked to self-serving exceptionalism – a delusion that there is a basic template around which there is a consensus uninformed by biases. The recent history of fighting for freedom of speech has gone from something noble – striving for the right to publish works that offend people’s sexual or religious prudery, and speaking up against the values leveraged by the powerful to maintain control – to attacking the weak and persecuted. The effort has evolved from challenging upwards to punching downwards."

USA: DHS to store tens of thousands of refugee biometric records from UNHCR (Biometric Update, link):

"The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) began sharing records including fingerprints, iris scans, and facial biometrics of refugees it is recommending for resettlement consideration in the U.S. with the country’s Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), Nextgov reports.

The UNHCR sends tens of thousands of profiles to federal agencies each year, according to the report, and the Department of Homeland Services (DHS) is retaining the data for all of them, including those who do not actually come to the U.S." (emphasis added)


"After a German court questions legality of controversial “Seehofer Deal” betweenGreece and Germany,the undersigning organisationsdemand the immediate implementation of the judicial order."

 Croatian police uses electroshock torture on a migrant minor (h-alter.org, link):

"In another one in a series of cases of mistreatments and beatings of migrants that are being pushed back from the border, officials of the Croatian border police brutally attacked K.S., a minor from Afghanistan, according to the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia. The boy, who survived severe physical and psychological torture, was first separated from a group of 16 migrants and beaten up at the border. After that he was detained in a dark room where he was beaten by four border police officers and subjected to electroshock torture.

According to the Commissariat, the police seized the boy's phone and money and physically injured him. After they caught him at the border, he was locked in a dark room, where the officials questioned him. They forced him to take his clothes off, made him get into water, where they The Commissariat expressed concern and outrage over these practices, and warned representatives of the international community about the enormous use of violence by the Croatian border police, as well as flagrant human rights violationsreleased electricity through a shocker, which led to him losing consciousness.

In this horrific "incident", the 16-year old boy suffered a rib fracture and internal bleeding, a hematoma of the head and lost a lot of blood, it is explained in the statement of the Commissariat published by N1 Serbia."

Turkish sailors save refugees off Canary Islands (hurriyetdailynews.com, link):

"A Turkish ship has rescued 24 African refugees stranded on a boat off the Canary Islands.

The crew members of the ship Ekmen Trans spotted a boat carrying refugees some 60 miles off Spanish island Gran Canaria.

The refugees, including three children, a pregnant woman and 20 other adults, were taken up to the ship."

Home Office planning to end family reunion for children after Brexit - Exclusive: Current system for asylum-seeking minors set to end the day after UK leaves EU (Guardian, link):

"The Home Office is preparing to end the current system of family reunification for asylum-seeking children if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Guardian has learned.

The government has privately briefed the UN refugee agency UNHCR and other NGOs that open cases may be able to progress, but a no-deal Brexit would mean no new applications after 1 November from asylum-seeking children to be reunited with relatives living in the UK."

Greece moves hundreds of asylum-seekers from crowded island camp (in-cyprus.com, link):

"Some 635 people, mostly families, boarded a passenger ship on Monday for facilities in northern Greece, and more were due to leave later in the day."

Italy: Salvini is out, but migrants still endure his policies (DW, link)

"The outgoing interior minister closed Italy's refugee camps and its ports. But even with Matteo Salvini out of government, asylum-seekers are still trapped in a cycle of homelessness, harassment and frustration (...)

We have to be careful — we've been hindered by the police a dozen times," says Marlene Micheloni. She explains that while they can't arrest volunteers for handing out food, they have tried their best to intimidate them out of doing so."

ABR: Aegean Boat Report (link):

"Aegean Boat Report is an independent Norwegian NGO, volunteer-run media site, determined to provide neutral, detailed and correct information on boats and arrivals in the Aegean Sea.

Aegean Boat Report has proven to be the most detailed source of information, used by organizations, volunteers and journalists, in search of a better understanding of the ongoing refugee crisis." Donate (link)

Refugee Lessons: Let us Free Like the Birds ! (Samos Chronicles, link):

"My life has been turned upside down amd inside out. My brain has never had to work so hard to make sense, to survive and to live. For some of my hardest years, the system saw me and treated me as illegal. That is a big experience. I learnt much. But above all I thought about being human and being free. Syria: Now 24 years old I was born in Aleppo in northern Syria (...)

And: For Whom Do You Fly ? Zeppelin over Samos (link):

"The Zeppelin was launched six weeks ago with much fanfare about protecting and hardening European borders. The Samos authorities were so proud to be the first EU country to deploy an airship for this purpose. BUT since taking to the skies on the end of its 1000 metre tether, the flow of refugees here has increased significantly! It is wonderful to see as their arrivals torpedoes the stupidity of deterrence."

EXARCHIA area under police attack by the new right government in Greece (voidnetwork.gr, link):

"The famous rebel and solidarity district of Athens is completely surrounded by huge police forces: many riot police buses (MAT), anti-Terrorism Police (OPKE), motor bike policemen (Dias), members of the secret police as well as a helicopter and several drones.

Unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-managed spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and solidarity with the precarious and migrants, Exarchia has been in major focus of the right government since its election on July 7th."

UK: Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper (Guardian, link):

" Exclusive: leaked report says at present there is no deliverable alternative to the backstop.

All potential solutions to the post-Brexit Irish border are fraught with difficulty and would leave smaller businesses struggling to cope, experts have said, as leaked government papers outline major concerns just two months before Britain is due to leave the EU."

UK: U-turn over plan to end freedom of movement on 31 October (Guardian, link):

"Legal experts warned against Priti Patel’s decision to change law immediately after Brexit deadline."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.8.19-1.9.19)

UK: House of Commons report: The Role of Parliament in the UK Constitution: Authorising the Use of Military Force (pdf):

"We found a consensus in the inquiry concerning the post-2003 convention; that the Government is expected to seek prior authorisation from the House of Commons before taking military action, subject to certain exceptions where public debate before military action would not be possible or appropriate. The exceptions to the convention are important as the Government requires discretion in relation to the most effective means of protecting the UK’s security and interests.

There is, however, a legitimate concern that the Government remains the sole arbiter of what military action requires prior approval under the post-2003 convention, something which could create uncertainty." [emphasis added]

"Following the killing of an Afghan boy in the Moria reception center in Greece, the ICJ calls on the Greek authorities to effectively implement measures of protection prescribed to Greece this May by the European Committee on Social Rights.

According to information by the UN High Commissioner for refugees, the 15-year-old Afghan boy was killed and two other boys injured after a fight broke out at the Moria reception centre on the Greek island of Lesvos.

The safe area at the Moria Reception and Identification Centre, RIC, hosts nearly 70 unaccompanied children, but more than 500 other boys and girls are staying in various parts of the overcrowded facility without a guardian and exposed to exploitation and abuse."

Switzerland: Suspension of Dublin transfer to Croatia due to summary returns at border with Bosnia-Herzegovina (EDAL, link):

"On 12 July 2019, the Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland ruled to suspend the transfer of an asylum applicant to Croatia under the Dublin Regulation 604/2013 (the Dublin Regulation) due to the current situation of summary returns at the Croatian border with Bosnia-Herzegovina (E-3078/2019, 12 July 2019)."

UK: Notting Hill Carnival: New Data Reveals Crime Should Not Be The Story Of The Weekend (Huffington Post, link):

"An investigation into the policing of UK festivals has revealed arrest rates at Notting Hill Carnival are almost identical to Glastonbury, suggesting controversial crime narratives surrounding the London event are misplaced.

More than a million people will take to the streets of west London this weekend for the world-famous celebration of Caribbean music and heritage, as colourful floats and sound-systems parade the streets.

But Notting Hill organisers have long claimed the focus on crime by the media and police unduly taints what should be a gem in the country’s cultural calendar."

UK: BREXIT: Government asks Queen to suspend Parliament (BBC News, link):

"The government has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September - and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.

Boris Johnson said a Queen's Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his "very exciting agenda".

But it means MPs are unlikely to have time to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October."

See: House of Commons Library briefing paper: Prorogation of Parliament (pdf): "This briefing paper explains what it means to "prorogue" Parliament, under what authority it is done, and what its consequences are. It also provides historical and international context for prorogation, and explains its relevance to the Brexit process."

Italy grounds two planes used to search for migrant boats (The Guardian, link):

"Italy has grounded two planes used by NGOs to search for migrant boats in distress in the Mediterranean.

The planes – Moonbird and Colibri – are operated by the German NGO Sea-Watch and the French NGO Pilotes Volontaires respectively and have been flying reconnaissance missions over the Mediterranean since 2017.

For the past month neither has been able to take to the skies after the Italian civil aviation authority said they could “only be used for recreational and non-professional activities”."

And see: Dozens feared dead after boat capsizes off Libya coast (Al Jazeera, link): "Rescue operation under way as Libyan coastguard says it rescued 60 people after the Europe-bound vessel capsized."

UK: Serco slammed over profits drive at arms trade show while trying to evict asylum seekers fleeing war (Daily Record, link):

"The firm evicting hundreds of asylum seekers from their homes has been condemned over plans to exhibit at a controversial arms trade show.

Serco, which holds the Home Office contract to house about 300 people in Glasgow, has dozens of defence contracts around the world.

The private multinational will be touting for business at DSEI 2019 next month in London’s ExCeL arena."

AYS SPECIAL: Outsiders’ perspective - The Bosnian Frontier (Are You Syrious, link):

"The passage between Bosnia and Croatia is one of the most difficult on the Balkan route. Usually people cross it on foot, walking and sleeping in the woods, far away from urban centres, invisible and silent. Because of the continuous and increasingly violent expulsions by Croatian border police, those who arrive in Bihac and Velika Kladuša remain blocked in this area for months in a temporary status, constantly attempting the long mountain walk that connects the two cities to the Croatian border. ‘The game’ is all a matter of chance and few make it at the first attempt. We met people who have been trying for a year and could count more than 20 attempts…"

MEDITERRANEAN: Military vessels accused of scrambling emergency communications in the Libyan SAR zone [Ong. La Mare Jonio: «INTERFERENZE MILITARI ZITTISCONO I SEGNALI DI SOS DEI MIGRANTI»] (Bocche Scucite, link):

"The Mediterranean mission ship is reporting a blockage of reception equipment in the Libyan rescue area. And in silence, the number of cases of shipwrecks being sent back to Libya is increasing.

...From the ship, the operators reiterate that "now the European military command and coordination centres do not relay the reports of vessels in distress as they should do, through the radio and messaging communication channels provided for by maritime law and the international SAR protocols, but seem to talk only with the Libyan authorities."

Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden (Common Dreams, link):

"The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech."

"Discover, identify and interfere": The MUROS from Meckenheim (link):

"A German company builds special vehicles with surveillance technology. They film demonstrations, wiretap telephones or coordinate swarms of drones at EU external borders.

In the EU security research project ROBORDER, European border authorities are testing various drones for controlling land and sea borders."

EU: Centre for European Reform: The EU’s Security Union: A bill of health (link):

"The Security Union has had a mixed record. In two years, the EU has achieved more on thorny issues like border controls and counter-terrorism than in the previous decade. It has also led to the EU’s actions on security and migration becoming more open and accountable. But the Security Union’s use of technology and data to prevent incidents before they happen risks upsetting the delicate balance between public security and personal liberty. For example, plans to fight cyber crime may clash with the fundamental right to free speech; and some EU counter-terrorism measures, like tracking suspects, can endanger the fundamental right to be presumed innocent – and hence the rule of law."


Barred by EU, Refugees, Migrants Still Coming to Greek Islands (thenationalherald, link):

"There are more than 75,000 in detention centers and camps in Greece, including more than 22,700 on islands near Turkey and the numbers keep swelling if slower than before, leaving the government unable to handle the number of asylum applications."

France: G7 Summit clouded by crackdown on protesters (AI, link):

"From the beginning of this G7 Summit in Biarritz, it was clear that the French authorities had a plan to restrict freedom of assembly and movement, with the announced presence of more than 13,000 police to man the area."

German right-wing extremists planned 'hunt' of migrants: reports (DW, link):

"A police report seen by German media has found that extreme right protesters explicitly tried to violently chase down foreigners. Disagreement over whether such a "hunt" took place nearly toppled the German government."

Greek police raid Athens squats and arrest migrants (Guardian, link):

"About 100 people held after new prime minister vows to bring ‘order’ to Exarcheia area.(...)

Dozens of officers cleared four sites in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of the capital. Helicopters flew overhead and the neighbourhood was flooded by police during the operation.

The conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took office as prime minister last month, had vowed to bring “order” to the district, promising regular police patrols."

No End in Sight for Child Refugees In Greece (link):

"Greece has been condemned for years by human rights organisations and even the European Court of Human Rights for failing to protect these children and allowing them to live in an environment manifestly unsuitable for children.

Europe is also to blame, having found Greece legally responsible for their treatment of child refugees this year, and making a legal decision that Greece had breached Europe’s human rights convention forbidding inhuman or degrading treatment, their ‘consequence’ for the Greek authorities was a paltry 4000 euros to be paid to the kids."

GDPR could obstruct AI development, MEP says (euractiv, link):

"The EU’s digital agenda over the next mandate is set to be marked by a series of broad-ranging reforms, from artificial intelligence and data protection to cryptocurrency regulation and digital tax. EURACTIV talked to Greek MEP Eva Kaili about how she hopes the EU’s digital agenda over the next five years will play out."

Nearly 900,000 asylum seekers living in limbo in EU, figures show (euobserver, link):

"Backlog of claims persists despite number of arrivals almost halving in two years.

Eurostat figures have revealed a backlog of 878,600 requests at the end of 2018, with Germany having the largest share of pending requests (44%), ahead of Italy (12%). The figure comes despite the number of migrant arrivals in Europe practically halving in the last two years.

Factors leading to the continuing backlog include new laws from right-leaning governments and an increase in the number of rejections, leading to lengthy appeals processes.(...)

The rejection rate for asylum requests in Europe has almost doubled in three years, from 37% in 2016 to 64% in 2019. In Italy, rejections were at 80% at the start of 2019, up from 60% the previous year as the populist government also removed key forms of protection."

See also: Asylum applications in the EU+ up by 10 % in the first half of 2019 from the same period in 2018 (EASO, link)

The European Union Is Worried That 300,000 People Could Flee Libya If Things Get Any Worse (Buzzfeed, link):

"An internal report from the EU's Operation Sophia, obtained by BuzzFeed News, warns that the number of potential refugees at sea could require "an immediate intervention."

That prediction was made in the latest semiannual report from Operation Sophia, the EU's military mission aimed at halting people from being smuggled across the sea into Europe. But, according to the report, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News, the mission is drastically unprepared for such an event."

Comment: The report also shows the low effectiveness of Libyan rescue efforts and that they only answered the phone in 50% of cases.

OPINION: So used are we to a borderless Europe we’re not ready for the coming shock (Guardian, link)

"The UK has enjoyed the privileges of the single market. Things are tougher outside it. (...)

The argument gets more traction than it deserves because of a confusion about borders. In particular, there seems to be a common assumption that the absence of checks on goods crossing frontiers is the default state of the world and that the existence of border controls is a weird aberration.

The assumption is false. As even a cursory glance at border arrangements across the globe reveals, border controls are entirely normal: it is their absence that is the aberration."

EU: Leaked document: EU Commission mulls new law to regulate online platforms (netzpolitik.org, link):

"The EU Commission is considering the creation of a new authority for the regulation of online services. This is part of a possible legislative proposal by the Commission to regulate platform companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Under the proposed scheme, the e-Commerce Directive is to be replaced by a new law, the Digital Services Act, according to a leaked Commission note. (Click here for full document.). (...)

The seven-page note gives only a rough outline of the Digital Services Act. It mentions the need for harmonised guidelines on how platforms should moderate speech and handle illegal content across the EU, stating that the Commission’s recommendations for tackling illegal content should become mandatory."

GREECE: No End in Sight: The mistreatment of asylum seekers in Greece (pdf): Report by 13 NGOs:

"This report finds evidence of sweeping human rights violations of displaced people and refugees on mainland Greece and the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos, violations that could amount to cruel and unusual treatment and torture. As a result of the so-called Containment Policy, bought into effect following the EU-Turkey Statement in 2016, thousands are currently trapped on the islands without access to shelter, healthcare or education, including many women and children.

Those living on the islands, often in severely overcrowded camps, face dire living conditions, including unhygienic conditions and inadequate housing and bathing facilities."

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS): Undercover Policing & Trade Unions Conference, London - November 16, 10:30-17:30 (link):

"We’re pleased to announce our Trade Union Conference on Saturday November 16th in London.

The one-day event will increase understanding of the impact of political policing on trade unions and movements for social change since 1968.

Over three thousand workers were blacklisted, over one thousand organisations were spied on by undercover police, and tens of thousands of citizens have files held on them by Special Branch."

Russia, United States attempt to legitimize killer robots (pressenza.com, link):

"Russia and the United States are continuing their losing fight against the inevitable treaty that’s coming for killer robots.

Most states participating in the diplomatic talks on lethal autonomous weapons systems have expressed their strong desire to negotiate a new treaty to address mounting concerns. At this week’s Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting, Jordan joined the list of 29 states urging a ban on killer robots, in order to retain human control over the use of force."

What happens when trafficking survivors get home (euobserver, link):

"For years, international media have been full of horrifying stories of Nigerian women and girls trafficked to Libya and Europe for sexual and labor exploitation.

The world now also knows very well that many refugees and migrants seeking to reach Europe instead find themselves trapped in Libya in slavery-like conditions, and that for women and girls those conditions often involve sexual violence or exploitation."

Inside Europe: Turkey extends deadline for Syrian refugees (DW, link):

"Turkey hosts around 4 million Syrian refugees. But in a recent opinion poll over 80% of Turks said they want the refugees to leave the country. The government appears to be getting the message. In Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and home to around a million Syrians, a looming deadline for all unregistered refugees to leave the city has been extended to October. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul."

Captain Who Rescued Migrants At Sea Refuses Paris Medal, Calling It Hypocritical (link):

"The captain of a controversial ship that saved migrants in the Mediterranean Sea has refused to accept a medal for her work. (...)

In a Facebook message published Tuesday night, Klemp announced that she was rejecting the Grand Vermeil Medal, which the city of Paris awards for bravery. She told Mayor Anne Hidalgo that the city was brimming with hypocrisy."

Regional and International Benchmarks on Surveillance, Cybercrimes and Computer Crimes (pdf): Co-authored by Arthur Gwagwa and Kuda Hove:

"Surveillance, cyber espionage, cybercrimes and computer crimes transverse various regional and international standards and norms as set by the relevant standard setting, norm sharing bodies as well as security forums. They also implicate technical rules, for example relating to internet protocols and the management of internet infrastructure, critical resources such as internet assigned numbers and letters This report will confine itself to the examination of the standards and norms that have a direct bearing on the exercise of human rights online."

EU: Council of the European Union: Internal Security, Interoperability & Visas and Europol & private partners

Implementation of the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy: joint Presidency paper (LIMITE doc no: 10991-19, 87 pages, pdf): "Delegations will find attached a revised version of the joint paper of the outgoing Romanian Presidency and the Finnish Presidency on the implementation of the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy."

Interoperability and the visa procedure - Possible implications of Interoperability on the daily work of the consulates - Presentations (LIMITE doc no: WK 8371/2019, pdf): "Delegations will find attached the presentations made by the Commission services, eu-LISA and the Presidency on the abovementioned subject at the Visa Working Party meeting on 10 July 2019."

Europol's cooperation with strategic partners: strengths and possible inefficiencies in cooperation with Private Parties (LIMITE doc no: 10494-19, pdf): "Member States authorities, Europol cooperates with the following partners: Union bodies, third country authorities, international organisations and private parties. This cooperation is regulated in the Europol Regulation Chapter V."

Less "Silent SMS“ from German police, but more secrecy for domestic intelligence (link):

"The blog Netzpolitik.org graphically displays the sending of "Silent SMS“ every six months. This shows the extent to which police forces and secret services use mobile phones as tracking bugs. Because of this „condensation“ of information worthy of protection, the figures for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution are classified as "secret."

Migrants in limbo again after landing in Italy (euractiv, link):

"One hundred and forty seven migrants who disembarked on Italy’s Lampedusa island were again in limbo Wednesday (21 August) as a European deal to redistribute them failed to materialise and Madrid said it could hit the Spanish charity with a huge fine for rescuing them."

Greece: Samos: Cruelties - This man is Hisham Mustafa from Aleppo, Al Sfir (Samos Chronicles, link):

"Turkish police transferred him 25 days ago from Istanbul to Syria ( Idleb). He was given no choice but to return to a place where the war continues. In Istanbul he left behind his wife and their three children."

Are You Syrious (19.8.19, link):


"On 21 August 2019, the so-called ‘Orderly Return Bill’ will come into force and change the life of many refugees and migrants in Germany for the worse. There might also be some ‘improvements’, but these are mere cosmetic corrections and cannot obscure the fact that the bill is made to get ‘illegal’ migrants out of the country and make the life of those who remain as uncomfortable as possible. The most serious changes are the following:(...)


"Ahead of tomorrow’s appeal against the conviction of Anni Lanz, a 73-year-old woman convicted and fined with 800 Swiss francs ($820 US) for giving a rough-sleeping frost-bitten Afghan asylum seeker a lift over the Italian border into Switzerland"

German experts discuss migration with Greek officials (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greek officials met on Wednesday in Athens with a delegation of German specialists on issues of migration to discuss arrivals of third-country nationals and find ways of collaborating.

According to a Citizen Protection Ministry statement, the focus of the meeting was the process of receiving migrants from non-EU countries, examining their requests for asylum in Greece and returning those who do not qualify."

Syrian migrants in Turkey face deadline to leave Istanbul (BBC News, link):

"Thousands of Syrian migrants have until Tuesday to leave Istanbul or face expulsion from Turkey's biggest city.

Authorities have told unregistered migrants to return to the province they are registered in, as part of a bid to relieve pressure on the city.

But some Syrians told the BBC many were being deported to Idlib, inside Syria, where fighting is escalating."

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

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

UK: As Brexit looms, UK still hopes to join EU fingerprint exchange network

After a long and rather tortuous process, the UK joined the 'Prüm' network of EU member states' DNA databases in June. Despite the current government's apparent preference for some variety of hard Brexit, the UK is also hoping to connect to other EU member states' fingerprint databases - but first it must pass a data protection and a technical evaluation. Its responses to both questionnaires were submitted to the Council at the end of June for consideration.

UK: The Johnson Government: Working for the Brexit Clampdown (CCSE, link) by Joe Sim and Steve Tombs:

"As the country teeters on the brink of the chaos of an impending no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson’s administration has entered electioneering mode. The administration is following a familiar path that has a history of at least 40 years in the Tory party: first, that attitudes and actions towards the EU are not at all about any ‘national’ interest but are about party interests and, specifically, keeping a Tory Government in power at all and any costs; and, second, invoking a tough on crime, law and order discourse to capitalise on popular anxieties to offer false certainties around security and a sense of protection."

EU: External aspects of counter-terrorism policy: overview of Council working party discussions in first half of 2019

The COTER working party within the Council of the EU is "the main advisory body to the Council in the field of CT [counter-terrorism] and P/CVE [preventing/countering violent extremism] external aspects". A document circulated to delegations by the outgoing Romanian Presidency of the Council at the end of June outlines the work undertaken by the group in the first half of the year, concerning "strengthening the links between the internal and external dimensions of security", "bringing partners with the EU closer together" and "promoting the mainstreaming of the counter-terrorism issue".

People on rescue ship off Italy at breaking point, say doctors (The Guardian, link):

"The medical and psychological condition of people onboard a rescue boat anchored off the Italian island of Lampedusa for 18 days has reached breaking point, doctors have said.

The vessel operated by the Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms has been refused permission to dock by Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini. On Monday Open Arms suggested chartering a plane to fly the 107 migrants onboard to Spain.

A group of doctors who visited the vessel last week said sanitary and hygienic conditions were very poor and the boat was not fit to hold such a large number of people."

UK: Statement: Live facial recognition technology in King's Cross (ICO, link):

"Facial recognition technology is a priority area for the ICO and when necessary, we will not hesitate to use our investigative and enforcement powers to protect people’s legal rights.

We have launched an investigation following concerns reported in the media regarding the use of live facial recognition in the King's Cross area of central London, which thousands of people pass through every day.

As well as requiring detailed information from the relevant organisations about how the technology is used, we will also inspect the system and its operation on-site to assess whether or not it complies with data protection law."

Germany's Merkel calls for restarting EU migrant rescue mission (DW, link):

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called for the resumption of European naval missions to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.

Since 2015, tens of thousands of migrants were rescued by European naval ships as part of the bloc's anti-smuggling "Operation Sophia," which suspended activity earlier this year.

"It would certainly be good if today we had Operation Sophia and national navies that would carry out rescues," Merkel said in Berlin. She added that it would help with rescuing migrants as well as combating trafficking."

UK: REVEALED: The 'woke' media outfit that's actually a UK counterterror programme

"A social media network for young people that has been launched around the term “woke” is actually a covert British government counterterrorism programme, security officials have admitted.

A Facebook page and Instagram feed with the name This Is Woke describes itself as the work of a “media/news company” that is engaging “in critical discussions around Muslim identity, tradition and reform”.

In fact, it was created by a media company on behalf of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) at the UK Home Office."

Six EU countries agree to take some of the 147 migrants stranded on Opens Arms ship, Italy says (The Journal, link):

"SIX EU COUNTRIES have agreed to take in some of the 147 migrants stranded on a rescue ship near the Italian island of Lampedusa, Rome announced today.

The mainly African migrants aboard Open Arms had been plucked from boats in the Mediterranean this month with weather conditions encouraging more departures from Libya."

CYPRUS: Arrest of KISA Director reflects wider European trend of criminalising support for migrants (Fair Trials, link):

"Earlier this month, the Executive Director of KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Anti-racism, a member of the JUSTICIA network coordinated by Fair Trials, was arrested for allegedly “obstructing police work” and “attempting to escape lawful arrest,” after offering assistance to a young man, a foreign national, who was being questioned aggressively by the police outside of KISA’s offices in Nicosia, Cyprus. This is the sixth arrest of KISA’s Executive Director over the past two decades, and it is part of a broader crackdown on NGOs assisting refugees and migrants in the context of rule of law backsliding and shrinking space for civil society in the European Union."

UK: The police know what you’ll do next summer (New Statesman, link):

"...Last month, the Home Office pledged £5m in funding to West Midlands Police to develop a system that will identify individuals at risk of committing future crimes. Elsewhere, Durham police have developed an algorithm for use in custody decisions; Avon and Somerset Police, meanwhile, use predictive technology to map where violent crime might occur.

...The development of machine-learning algorithms, allied with cuts to police budgets, is propelling a version of the future long feared by privacy advocates and revered by technology companies. The question is no longer whether artificial intelligence will dramatically change policing, but how – and for whose benefit. "

Libya: ongoing atrocities reveal the trouble with international military intervention (The Conversation, link):

"Events in Libya show what can happen when international players claim to do good things through military action. To prevent future atrocities, the international community must recognise the absurdity of dropping bombs to protect people while also detaining migrants in the centre of war zones, dealing arms, and preventing rescue missions.

Military intervention does not protect civilians. We should call on the international community to change their callous policies that kill every day. We should demand that they stop fuelling atrocity crimes. And we should support non-violent forms of protection such as unarmed civilian peacekeeping, which have proven effective in Colombia, South Sudan, Kosovo and Sri Lanka.

To support military intervention gives further licence to the militarism of those already fanning the flames of atrocity. This will only result in more of the violence seen in Libya today."

EU: MEDEL statement on the Italian security decree of June 2019 (MEDEL, link):

"The introduction in Italy of draconian measures in relation to vaguely defined violations adds a further dimension to the pressure on volunteers, who already have to face the risk of being subject to investigations for violations of national immigration laws.

The effect is to reverse the order of the values enshrined in the Constitutions and Charters of fundamental rights, prioritizing alleged security reasons over the protection of human lives.

MEDEL has several times recalled the responsibility of all member states and of the European Union, stressing the distance between the current migration policies and the commitment - enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights - towards the human community and the future generations to ensure the enjoyment by everyone of fundamental rights.

The future of Europe and of European democracies depends on this pledge."

Revealed: This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops (Vice, link):

"Through a public record request, Motherboard has obtained a user manual that gives unprecedented insight into Palantir Gotham (Palantir’s other services, Palantir Foundry, is an enterprise data platform), which is used by law enforcement agencies like the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. The NCRIC serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is known as a "fusion center," a Department of Homeland Security intelligence center that aggregates and investigates information from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as some private entities, into large databases that can be searched using software like Palantir."

See: Palantir Gotham User Manual (pdf, as published with the Vice article)

Future of EU criminal law - editorial by Peter Csonka, DG Justice and Consumers (eucrim, link):

"Faced with the evolution of crime, globalisation, and technological innovations, there is a clear need to adapt the Union’s acquis to the actual needs of practitioners and citizens and thus enable appropriate responses to new developments, including those linked to digitalisation and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). A primary challenge is the establishment of a solid EU criminal law framework capable of coherently tackling serious and/or cross-border crime (“euro-crimes”) and other areas of crime in which the approximation of offences or sanctions is essential for the enforcement of EU law (“accessory crimes”) in full respect of Member States’ legal traditions. It is important to strike the right balance between EU action and respect for Member States’ legal traditions, in particular in the area of sanctions. This particular issue of eucrim is dedicated to helping the reader understand how or in what specific areas of sanctions, whether criminal or administrative, financial, or otherwise, the Union can achieve better results."

See also: EU criminal law could cover "crimes relating to artificial intelligence" (Statewatch News Online,1 May 2019)

EU: Europol Strategy 2020+ (pdf)

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

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

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

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

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

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

IRELAND: Migrant rescues help naval recruiting (Irish Examiner, link):

"The positive publicity surrounding the Naval Service’s role in saving trafficked migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea was responsible for an increase in people joining the force.

That’s according to recruitment figures released by the Naval Service showing the years leading up to the operations and while they were underway.

However, concerns have been raised by Naval Service sources that without such missions, and with still no pay increases coming from the Government, it will prove hard to attract the same numbers as witnessed when Operation Pontus and Operation Sophia were in full flow."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Partners in crime? The impacts of Europe’s outsourced migration controls on peace, stability and rights (Saferworld, link):

"Migration into Europe has fallen since 2015, when more than one million people fleeing conflict and hardship attempted sea crossings. But deaths and disappearances in the central Mediterranean have shot up, exposing the ‘fight against migration’ as flawed and dangerous.

While leaders in Europe and elsewhere claim that clamping down on migration saves lives by deterring people from undertaking dangerous journeys, the reality is that European governments’ outsourced migration policies are feeding into conflict and abuse – and reinforcing the drivers of migration.

Drawing on extensive research, this report analyses the European Union’s and European governments’ outsourcing of migration controls in ‘partner’ countries such as Turkey, Libya and Niger. It explores who benefits from this system, exposes its risks and explains who bears the costs. It also provides recommendations for European leaders on how to move toward a humane model for migration that refocuses on EU commitments to human rights, conflict prevention and sustainable development."

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

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

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

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

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

The Rendition Project: Researching the globalisation of rendition and secret detention (link):

"The Rendition Project is a collaborative research initiative run by Prof Ruth Blakeley at the University of Sheffield (and previously, the University of Kent) and Dr Sam Raphael at the University of Westminster. The Rendition Project is at the forefront of efforts to investigate and understand the use of rendition, secret detention and torture by the CIA and its allies in the "war on terror". Through this website users can access:

Our major report, CIA Torture Unredacted, published in July 2019, presents the combined findings from a four-year joint investigation by The Rendition Project and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. It is, without doubt, the most detailed account of the CIA torture programme ever published. The report can be accessed for free on this site, and is supported by other material contained here."

And see: Statewatch Observatory on "rendition"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greece’s New Government Is Cracking Down on Anarchists, Drug Dealers and Refugees (Novara Media, link):

"Following a landslide election win last month, Greece’s new centre-right government is cracking down on a “lawless” Athens neighbourhood known for leftwing activism and migrant solidarity networks. With backing from prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, police have used the prevalence of illegal drugs and an alleged terrorism threat to justify a series of raids and evictions across the Exarchia area of the Greek capital. But instead of routing out terrorists and dealers, residents say the authorities are targeting refugee housing, leaving hundreds of vulnerable people with nowhere to go."

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

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

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

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

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

MSF has returned to the Central Mediterranean because people are dying at sea (MSF, link):

"Our new search and rescue ship, Ocean Viking, has launched while European governments are failing to fulfil their basic legal obligations or protect vulnerable people fleeing from north Africa to southern Europe – the world’s deadliest migration route."

Italian law increases penalties related to protests and criminalises NGOs’ rescue of migrants at sea (ECNL, link):

"The new law introduces harsher provisions regulating assemblies taking place in public places or private spaces open to the public (...)

The new law grants new powers to the Ministries of the Interiors, Defence and Transport, who will now jointly be able to restrict or prohibit the entry, transit or docking of ships in the territorial sea, except for military or government non-commercial vessels, for security reasons, when there are reasons to believe that the crime of aiding and abetting illegal immigration has been committed (Article 1)."

See: New Law (Italian, link)

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

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

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

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

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

Cyprus asks Brussels to relocate 5,000 asylum seekers (Politico, link):

"Cyprus has asked the European Commission to help relocate 5,000 asylum seekers to other EU countries as the island nation struggles to accommodate an influx of migrants.

In a letter sent on Monday to Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and other EU members, Cyprus' Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides described the gravity of the migration situation on the island and said that a lack of cooperation from nearby Turkey has made finding a solution more difficult."

Ocean Viking migrant rescue ship 'not allowed' to refuel in Malta (aljazeera.com, link):

"Ocean Viking, operated by SOS Mediterranee and MSF, started its rescue mission in the Mediterranean earlier this week.

Maltese authorities have refused the Ocean Viking rescue ship to refuel in their harbours while on its search and rescue mission off the coast of Libya, according to SOS Mediterranee, the rescue organisation operating the ship.

According to SOS Mediterranee, which operates the ship with Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, the Ocean Viking was originally allowed to refuel on open waters."

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

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

UN warns Italy over tough law on migrant rescue boats (euractiv, link):

"The UN voiced concern on Tuesday (6 August) over a law approved by Italy’s parliament that imposes stiffer penalties on NGO migrant rescue boats in the Mediterranean, demanding humanitarian work “not be criminalised or stigmatised.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caritas Europa: Position paper: The “criminalisation” of solidarity towards migrants (pdf):

"In a context of stricter migration policies, activities carried out by NGOs and volunteers to ensure migrants get access to basic services and rights when the state is not delivering, are increasingly being portrayed by politicians as colluding with human smuggling and trafficking. A trend has emerged to pose obstacle, demonise, stigmatise, and criminalise humanitarian assistance to migrants throughout Europe, creating a chilling effect that results in discouraging solidarity. We refer broadly to this phenomenon as the “criminalisation” of solidarity, as it extends beyond mere judicial actions."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And see: Annex (pdf)

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

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

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

EU border force Frontex accused of allowing abuse of migrants (euractiv, link):

"The EU’s border force Frontex has allegedly been turning a blind eye to ill treatment of refugees by guards at EU external borders, according to media reports on Monday (5 August)

A joint investigation by German public broadcaster ARD, non-profit investigative journalism website Correctiv and British newspaper The Guardian also accused Warsaw-based Frontex of violating the human rights of refugees during deportations.

Citing internal documents, the report said Frontex had allowed guards to use dogs to hunt down migrants, as well as to deploy pepper spray and batons, particularly along EU borders in Bulgaria, Hungary and Greece.

The investigation accused local guards of using force or threats to return migrants back across the EU’s external borders, thus obstructing the basic right to seek asylum."

And see: Once migrants on Mediterranean were saved by naval patrols. Now they have to watch as drones fly over Experts condemn move to aerial surveillance as an abrogation of ‘responsibility to save lives’ (Guardian, link) and "The expansion of the deportation machine" (link)

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

Italy-Malta "Non Paper" wants compulsory relocation mechanism rather than the voluntary one

The Italian and Maltese: Non-Paper (pdf) is presented as being in opposition to the solidarity mechanism and plan to organise orderly relocations and disembarkation in compliance with the law of the sea and the principle of the nearest safe harbour or place of safety.

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

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

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

Migration Mobilities Bristol - New thinking on people and movement (migration.blogs.bristol.ac.uk, link):

"Memorials to people who have died and to those missing during migration - Reflections on the first WUN-funded workshop By Martin Preston, University of Bristol:

Memorials form one way in which public memory is created and reproduced (Dickinson, et al, 2010). The shores of Lesvos and the water around it serve as the final resting place for many of those lost. Initiated by ‘Welcome to Europe’ a purpose-made physical recognition of the dead and missing of the ongoing migration ‘crisis’, a monument at the shores at Thermi on the East of the island was destroyed by unknown perpetrators. However the spot remains a focal point to remember those who have died, as happens annually since October 2013."

Migrant crisis: Self-immolation exposes UN failures in Libya (BBC News, link):

"After a horrific two-year ordeal across three countries - being bought and sold by people traffickers and surviving running out of fuel on an inflatable boat while trying to cross the Mediterranean - Mohamed finally gave up hope.

The Somali man's wife Leyla, 21, recalls the day he burnt himself to death after hearing that they were not on a UN refugee list."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link to: Report (pdf)

How the media contributed to the migrant crisis (Guardian, link):

"Disaster reporting plays to set ideas about people from ‘"over there’"

Europe’s refugee crisis, or more properly, a disaster partly caused by European border policies, rather than simply the movement of refugees towards Europe, was one of the most heavily mediated world events of the past decade."

Probe opened into Gregoretti coast guard-ship case - EU asks members to take in migrants,Berlin says willing to do so (ANSA.it, link):

"The Siracusa prosecutor's office has opened an investigation regarding the case of the coast guard ship Gregoretti, which has been in the Augusta port since Saturday evening with 115 migrants still onboard. The ship's captain, according to reports, is at the prosecutor's office to be questioned. Meanwhile, the European Commission is contacting member states to understand which countries would be willing to take in some of the migrants."

Italy lets in stranded migrants after striking EU deal (euractiv, link):

"Italy allowed 116 rescued migrants to disembark from a coastguard ship Wednesday (31 July) with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s backing after five EU countries and the Church agreed to share responsibility for looking after them."

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