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on the Statewatch website: 2016
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Carries all items that have been added or updated from News Online, News Digest and Observatories.

October 2016

Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Will Consider Legality of Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden (The Intercept, link):

"Human rights groups have launched a major new legal challenge over mass surveillance programs revealed by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Ten organizations – including Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Amnesty International – are taking up the landmark case against the U.K. government in the European Court of Human Rights (pictured above). In a 115-page complaint released on Thursday, the groups allege that “blanket and indiscriminate” surveillance operations carried out by British spy agencies in collaboration with their U.S. counterparts violate privacy and freedom of expression rights."

See: Full-text of NGOs case to ECHR (pdf)

Greece: Tsipras calls Erdogan's questioning of Treaty of Lausanne 'dangerous' (.ekathimerini.com, link):

"Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has described Thursday's comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding the Lausanne Treaty signed between the two countries in 1923 as “dangerous.”

“Questioning the Lausanne Treaty, that clearly and definitively settled Greek Turkish relations, as well as the status of the Aegean and its islands, is dangerous for relations between the two countries and the wider region,” Tsipras said."

UK must protect EU crime prevention links, NCA says

National Crime Agency urges Brexit negotiators not to jeopardise cross-border measures, such as European arrest warrant (Guardian, link):

"Law enforcement chiefs have urged the government to ensure cross-border crime prevention measures are not jeopardised by Brexit negotiations, it has emerged.

The director general and deputy director general of the National Crime Agency said they asked ministers to protect Britain’s arrangements with Europe, including use of the European arrest warrant and membership of Europol, amid concerns about the impact of leaving the union.

Membership of the EU gives the NCA and UK police forces access to tools which allow them to share intelligence quickly and efficiently with European counterparts.Lynne Owens, the NCA’s director general, said at a briefing on Friday that the agency had approached the Home Office and Brexit department to raise its concerns. “We’ve been describing what we need to be in place post-Brexit,” she said. “We’re absolutely clear the policy decisions are not for us but we need to be spelling out the operational case.

“In bluntest form, we must be able to continue to exchange intelligence and we must be able to understand the movement of criminals and criminal behaviour across international borders. We are supplying that information to the Home Office and it’s for them to make the policy negotiation.”"

September 2016

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.9.16)

EU-Afghanistan returns plan: Another "dodgy" deal

- Deal to be signed next week to start immediate refugee "return" flights
- Is Afghanistan a "safe country"?
- Quick return of 80,000 refugees planned
- "effectively implement readmission commitments"
- by-passing parliamentary scrutiny

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"Under the dodgy EU-Turkey deal we have two Letters and a Statement now for the Afghanistan deal there is to be a "Declaration" - yet again by-passing formal law-making and parliamentary scrutiny. Yet again the Council demonstrates its contempt for the rule of law. There is no way Afghanistan, even in Kabul, is a safe country to return refugees to."

See: Dated 22 September 2016: Draft Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU - Adoption (LIMITE doc no: 12191-16, 2016, pdf). And a joint "non-paper" from the European Commission and the European Action Service (EEAS) in March 2016: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted do no: 6738-16, pdf)

Athens: Appalling abuse of 5 refugee children by policemen, Greek Police ordered investigation (Keep TalkIng Greece, link):

"The appalling case of abuse of several refugee children by Greek police has been denounced in social media by several members of solidarity movement. According to the reports, Greek police allegedly detained and abused 5 refugee children, aged 9-14.

The incident occurred on Tuesday, September 27th 2016, at 12 o clock noon, when the refugee children together with two companions (aged 20-22) from the solidarity movement were walking in downtown Athens in order to participate in a theater play.

The police stopped the group, sized plastic toy-guns which were to be used in the play, their mobile phones and one laptop. Police took the children to the police station in Omonoia square and allegedly abused the minors, forcing them to strip, making racist and sexual comments and denying them access to their parents."

EU ‘Inside’ the European Parliament’s Closed Reading Rooms: Transparency in the EU (EU Law Analysis, link):

"What do documents about negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), oversight of the EU’s Food Safety Authority or Tax-Justice have in common? In order to access these documents, (selected) Members of the European Parliament are requested to attend closed reading rooms. This blog post discusses how an exception to open parliamentary oversight is increasingly becoming a regular institutional practice and questions its spillover effect on requests for public access to documents."

No Border Kitchen Lesvos: Arrests and deportations happening on a daily basis

"Repression is high on the island at the moment. We hear from different sources about an increasing number of deportations. According to our information a lot of people were deported in the last days directly from Mytilini to Turkey. We heard about 175 people but cannot confirm this number or the exact way of deportation at the moment. What we are sure about is that there are a lot of arrests and that the people are brought on ferries."

BREXIT: UK releases legal arguments on Article 50 (euobserver, link):

"The British government was forced by a judge to release its legal arguments for refusing to let the parliament decide when and how the UK should trigger the article 50 procedure to withdraw from the EU.

The legal arguments released on Wednesday (29 September) argue that it is “constitutionally impermissible” for parliament to be given the authority to launch the exit procedure."

See: UK government legal case submitted to the court: Full-text (pdf)

UK: What can we expect on immigration and asylum policy post-referendum? (IRR, link) by Frances Webber:

"The round-ups for deportation of elderly people with generations of family in the UK indicate the ruthlessness we can expect from a government all too ready to ‘take back control’."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.9.16)

Brussels pushes Greece for action on migrants sought before Dublin pact reboot (ekathimerini.com, link):

"European officials are calling on Athens to take action by the end of this year ahead of the review and reactivation of the Dublin Regulation, which would lead to EU member-states returning migrants to Greece.

The European Commission on Wednesday asked Athens to improve reception facilities, accelerate the processing of asylum claims and create separate facilities for unaccompanied minors.

European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said there will be no returns to Greece in the months leading up to the review of the pact, which stipulates that migrants lodge their asylum appeals in the first EU country they enter."

Comment: Once it is agreed that refugees, who entered the EU through Greece, can be returned to Greece it is up to each EU Mmber State to activiate the "return" provisions under the Dublin rules.

USA-BELGIUM: Proposed laws would expand travel controls from airlines to passenger railroads (Papers, Please, link):

"Legislation has been introduced in both the USA and Belgium to subject rail travelers to the same sorts of travel surveillance schemes that are already being used to monitor and control air travelers.

If these proposals are enacted into law, passenger railroads would be required to collect and enter additional information such as passport or ID numbers and dates of birth (not currently required or routinely included in US or European train reservations) in Passenger Name Records (PNRs), and transmit rail travel itineraries and identifying information about passengers to the government, in advance.

As is already the case for all airline travel in the USA, including domestic travel, railroads would be forbidden to allow any passenger to board unless and until the railroad receives an explicit, affirmative, individualized, per-passenger, per-flight permission-to-board message (“Boarding Pass Printing Result”) from the government."

Comment: In the UK rail tickets bought online have a PNR assigned to them.

Update: Belgian trains' security plan draws German ire (euobserver, link

EU’s ‘anti-leaks strategy’ leaked (euractiv, link):

"EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission will launch an “anti-leaks strategy” on Friday (30 September) to prevent key policy documents being circulated to the media, and avoid further “reputational damage” to the EU’s flagship institution, EurActiv.com has learned....

The European Commission may at times decide to leak information at its own initiative, to test the waters on a given policy proposal, or when it favours its own political agenda....

The European Commission will launch its anti-leaks strategy on 30 September. During the closed-door meeting of the director-generals, Souka recalled the sanctions that officials could face in the event that they breach their obligations.

The attendees commented that all EU institutions should adopt “a common stance” on how to minimise the risk of leaks. They also suggested raising awareness of the importance of an ‘anti-leak’ stance by organising “ethics days”.

Meanwhile, the anti-leaks strategy was heavily criticised by trade unions, which sees it as “a form of moral harassement” that will put officials under “inquisitorial practices”.

In an open letter sent to Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, the European Civil Service Federation warned that the actions and methods of the strategy are “not only ill-adapted, but also counterproductive and even deceptively pernicious”."

And see: EULEAKS - a European platform where you can submit information in a highly secure and anonymous way (link)

Commission proposes tougher lobbying rules - Proposal would require a transparency register for all three EU institution.(politico, link):

"The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a new push to strengthen the EU’s transparency rules by creating a mandatory lobbying disclosure system for all three of its main institutions.

Under the proposal, the European Commission, Parliament and Council would have the same rules requiring lobbyists to publicly register their activities. The Commission currently allows its members and top staff to meet only with lobbyists who have publicly disclosed their activities on the EU Transparency Register. The European Parliament restricts access to its buildings to lobbyists who have registered. "

Turkey to complete Syria border wall within 5 months, official says (Reuters, link):

"A concrete wall being built to stop illegal crossings along the length of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria will be finished by the end of February, an official at a Turkish state institution with knowledge of the project said on Wednesday.

Ankara has long been under pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the border with Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and is also concerned by the presence of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which controls most of its Syrian border."

EU: Commission: Information Exchange for Security: Commission urges Member States to improve information sharing to combat terrorism and serious crime (link)

"The Prüm Decisions (Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA and 2008/616/JHA) introduced procedures for fast and efficient data exchanges between Member States in specific areas. The Prüm framework lays down rules to allow Member States to search each other's DNA analysis files, fingerprint identification systems and vehicle registration data bases. The Prüm Decisions should have been implemented fully by Member States by August 2011.

The European Commission decided today to address letters of formal notice to Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Portugal for failing to comply with the Prüm Decisions. These Member States have not yet ensured automated data exchanges in at least two of the three data categories of DNA, fingerprints and national vehicle registration data. These are the first infringement procedures initiated for a so-called 'former third pillar instrument' in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The Commission acquired full enforcement powers in this field on 1 December 2014, five years after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The concerned Member States now have two months to reply, after which the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.9.16)

EU's secret ultimatum to Afghanistan: accept 80,000 deportees or lose aid (Guardian, link):

"Memo leaked in advance of Brussels aid summit reveals EU plans to make assistance to Afghanistan ‘migration sensitive’ despite security concerns.

When international donors and the Afghan government convene in Brussels next week, the EU secretly plans to threaten Afghanistan with a reduction in aid if the war-torn country does not accept at least 80,000 deported asylum seekers.

According to a leaked restricted memo (pdf), the EU will make some of its aid “migration sensitive”, even while acknowledging that security in Afghanistan is worsening.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government is also struggling with internal turmoil, and has failed to revive the economy or produce jobs for the young who leave the country in droves.

It would be challenging for Afghanistan to absorb 80,000 deportations. So far, in 2016, about 5,000 Afghans have returned voluntarily from Europe

The EU said in the leaked memo that it is “aware of the worsening security situation and threats to which people are exposed” and that Afghanistan is suffering “record levels of terrorist attacks and civilian casualties”.

The memo added: “Despite this, more than 80,000 persons could potentially need to be returned in the near future.”

An EU official said in an email: “We don’t comment on leaked documents.” He added that the EU and Afghanistan have a “constructive dialogue” on migration." [emphasis added]

Based on a document made available by Statewatch: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted doc no: 6738-16, pdf).

European Commission: EU-Turkey-Greece-Italy-returns-relocation

- EU-Turkey deal: The Commission is today reporting on the progress made on the EU's relocation and resettlement schemes and the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (Press release,pdf)

- EU-Turkey deal: Third Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (COM 634-16, pdf)

- EU-Turkey deal: Implementing the EU-Turkey Statement – Questions and Answers (pdf) includes:

"What is the state of play as regards visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens? As regards the implementation of the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap, the Second Report of 15 June 2016 described seven benchmarks that remain to be met:

- issuing biometric travel documents fully compatible with EU standards;
- adopting the measure to prevent corruption foreseen by the Roadmap;
- concluding an operational cooperation agreement with Europol;
- revising legislation and practices on terrorism in line with European standards;
- aligning legislation on personal data protection with EU standards;
- offering effective judicial cooperation in criminal matters to all EU Member States;
- implementing the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement in all its provisions."

Still negotiating.

And: "there are still shortfalls for both EASO and Frontex experts for the period of September to December 2016."

Also: "Since the Statement entered into force, there have been 578 returns from the Greek islands to Turkey, including 53 Syrians. Other nationalities returned have included Pakistanis, Afghans, Bangladeshis, Iranians as well as people from Iraq, India, Congo, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Nepal, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority." and:

For returns to Turkey: "Frontex has mobilised the following resources for the time being: 1 ferry - 5 buses for transportation from the hotspots to the ports - 1 charter plane - 56 Frontex escort officers."

- Sixth report on relocation and resettlement (COM 636, pdf)

- Annex 1: Relocations from Greece (COM 636, pdf):

Commitment legally foreseen: 63,302: Pledges: 9,776 and Pledges effected: 4,455.

- Annex 2: Relocations from Italy (pdf) Commitment legally foreseen: 34,853: Pledges 3,544, Pledges effected: 1,496

- Annex 3: Resettlement in the EU (pdf)

- Management of the Migration Crisis in Greece since October 2015 and Implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement
since 20 March 2016
(pdf)

Includes general; charts on: Registration rates (now said to be 100%), Assisted Voluntary Returns (AVR): 582 in August 2016, Hotspot capacities, Deaths in Aegean (said to be 11 post EU-Turkey deal 18 March) and returns to Turkey (1,078 post 28 March 2016).

European Commission: Schengen border checks: Report on the application of Council Implementing Decision of 12 May 2016 setting out a Recommendation for temporary internal border control in exceptional circumstances putting the overall functioning of the Schengen area at risk (COM 635, 28.9.15, pdf):

"The present report contains the findings of the Commission after monitoring the manner in which the current temporary internal border controls are carried out, as foreseen by the Council Recommendation. It focuses on whether, as recommended, the reintroduced internal border controls by the above Schengen Member States have been limited to what is strictly necessary and proportionate in light of the serious threat to public policy and internal security posed by the persistent risk of secondary movements of irregular migrants entering via Greece and who might move to other Schengen Member States. It also analyses whether the circumstances have changed so as to require an adaptation of the Council Recommendation." [emphasis added]

See also: Back to Schengen: Commission proposes Roadmap for restoring fully functioning Schengen system (pdf, March 2016 , pdf)

EUROPOL: DENMARK-UK: Timmermans dashes Danish hopes for ‘parallel deal’ on Europol (euractiv, link):

"European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told Denmark’s leaders yesterday (27 September) that they would not get the cross-border policing deal they have been seeking since Danes voted in a referendum to quit Europol.

In a precursor to the much more dramatic vote by the British in June to leave the European Union entirely, Danes last December rejected a government proposal for new laws needed to keep the country inside the European police agency....

If you vote to be out of Europol, you’re out of Europol. I don’t see on the basis of the legal situation any alternative for that,” Timmermanns said."

Greece: Another 70 People Deported To Turkey (News That Moves, link):

"On September 26, Greek authorities returned 70 people from the Greek island of Lesvos to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal.

According to official information (link in Greek only) from the Hellenic government, the group included “70 irregular migrants” – 51 from Pakistan, nine from Sri Lanka, seven from Algeria, and one each from Morocco, Turkey and Afghanistan. All are men.

Out of the total, 63 did not seek asylum in Greece, whereas the remaining had their asylum claims withdrawn or rejected....

Altogether, 578 people of different nationalities have been returned to Turkey from Greece under the EU-Turkey deal."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.9.16)

EU migrant quota idea is finished, Fico says (euobserver, lkink):

"Slovak prime minister Robert Fico, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has declared the idea of migration quotas “politically finished”.

"Quotas today clearly divide the EU, therefore I think they are politically finished," he told journalists in Bratislava on Monday, according to Reuters.

The quotas were introduce last year at the peak of the refugee crisis with an aim to distributing asylum seekers streaming into the continent among European Union member states based on solidarity....

The Visegrad countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - have long opposed the scheme, and presented an alternative proposal at the Bratislava Summit two weeks ago.

It calls for “flexible solidarity”, whereby countries that do not want to take migrants could contribute to the EU’s migration policy with other means, financially, with equipment or manpower, something the Visegrad countries are already doing in the Balkans."

France, Germany to table defence plan at Bratislava ministerial meeting (euractiv, link):

"At the informal defence ministerial in Bratislava starting today (27 September) France and Germany will make the case for the EU’s most ambitious defence plan in almost two decades, aiming to persuade sceptical easterners and avoid a showdown with Britain over its military future outside the bloc.

EU defence ministers, including Britain’s Michael Fallon, will discuss Franco-German proposals in the hope of whittling down a host of ideas into a coherent strategy for their leaders to formally back at a summit in December."

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the refugee crisis

This speech is from the UN high commissioner for human rights a must to read.

"When millions of people see freedom's invitation only through the flapping canvas of a tent. When they carry their children and possessions on their backs, walking hundreds, perhaps thousands, of miles. When they and their families risk drowning, and are kept cramped in appalling detention centers and, once released, risk abuse by racists and xenophobes. There is no cause for comfort here."

New powers for the German Federal Police: undercover agents to combat unwanted migration (link)

"In the future, the Federal Police will also be able to deploy undercover agents. The provision is part of the new “Act to Improve Information Exchange in the Fight Against International Terrorism”, which the Grand Coalition adopted on 24 June 2016 and the parliamentary groups of the opposition voted against."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.9.16)

EU: Council of the European Union: Encryption of data - Questionnaire (LIMITE doc no: 12368-16, pdf):

"Over lunch during the informal meeting of the Justice Ministers (Bratislava, 8 July 2016) the issue of encryption was discussed in the context of the fight against crime. Apart from an exchange on the national approaches, and the possible benefits of an EU or even global approach, the challenges which encryption poses to criminal proceedings were also debated. The Member States' positions varied mostly between those which have recently suffered terrorist attacks and those which have not. In general, the existence of problems stemming from data/device encryption was recognised as well as the need for further discussion.

To prepare the follow-up in line with the Justice Ministers' discussion, the Presidency has prepared a questionnaire to map the situation and identify the obstacles faced by law enforcement authorities when gathering or securing encrypted e-evidence for the purposes of criminal proceedings."
[emphasis added]

A number of questions to Member States concern whether judicial authorities have to agree access including:

"Under your national law, is there an obligation for the suspects or accused, or persons who are in possession of a device/e-data relevant for the criminal proceedings, or any other person to provide law enforcement authorities with encryption keys/passwords? If so, is a judicial order (from a prosecutor or a judge) required? Please provide the text of the relevant provisions of your national law." [emphasis added]

Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Committee calls for the protection of unaccompanied minors in Europe to be harmonised (link):

"PACE Migration Committee today called on European governments to improve the protection of unaccompanied migrant minors and to avoid them going missing. The present migration and refugee crisis, the committee said, has exacerbated the challenges of how to treat and assist these children on the move, and “generated new problems with the realisation that large numbers of children are going missing at different stages of their journey”, especially directly after arrival at reception centres.

Adopting a draft resolution, based on the report prepared by Manlio Di Stefano (Italy, NR), the parliamentarians called on Council of Europe member States to protect children from trafficking and criminal activities to which they are particularly vulnerable, uphold the right to family reunion in the case of separated migrant minors and harmonise the rules concerning the establishment of guardians and legal representatives."

See: Draft report and resolution (pdf)

European Parliament: From 42 MEPs: Letter to Mr Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot First" policy (pdf):

"We are contacting you with reference to a number of incidents reports documenting the recurrent use of weapons by coast guards within Frontex operations to stop boats driven by suspected smugglers, injuring or killing refugees. The documents, published on August 22nd 2016 by the online publication.

The Intercept (“Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show”), show multiple cases of firearms use against boats carrying refugees by the Greek and FRONTEX’s operators leading to severely endangering refugees in the process. The reports cover a 20-month period from May 2014 to December 2015. Each case of firearms use — even if it resulted in someone being wounded — was described “as part of the 'standard rules of engagement' for stopping boats at sea”."

See: Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) also Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf).

Spy agencies launch 'real-time' terror tracker (euobserver, link):

"European intelligence agencies launched a shared "interactive real-time" database over the summer to track suspected jihadists, EUobserver has learned.

The move is part of a broader EU-wide trend triggered by last year's migration crisis, a spate of terror attacks and the threat of Islamist fighters returning to Europe from Syria. Dozens of intelligence agencies at the Dutch-led Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG) in The Hague set up an "interactive operative real-time information system" of people suspected of being "jihadist troublemakers", said Germany's federal ministry of interior in a document seen by this website....

One senior EU official has described it as an IT system with people working on it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. How they access people's details in real time and what details are stored is unclear.

There are also larger questions on oversight and fundamental rights, and the system has echoes of the US-led mass surveillance disclosed in 2014 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The blow-back from the Snowden revelations is still playing out. Despite this, 23 out of 30 European intelligence agencies and services "promised" to participate in Operation Platform. Germany says it has sent one officer from its domestic intelligence agency, the BfV.."

Switzerland votes in favour of greater surveillance - Bill wins almost 70% of vote in victory for government who argued that intelligence agencies relied too heavily on other nations (Guardian, link):

"The proposed law won 65.5% support, final results on Sunday showed. ...

Just 43% of voters took part in Sunday’s poll, a slightly lower mark than recent referendums when flashpoint issues such as immigration were on the ballot.

Overshadowing the vote was a scandal dating back to 1989 and the dying days of the cold war, when Swiss citizens learned that the security services had opened files on 900,000 individuals, detailing their political and trade union affiliations. The revelations sparked outrage in a country where people fiercely guard their privacy and led to significant curbs on police intelligence measures."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24-25.9.16)

European Parliament Study: Overview on the use of EU funds for migration policies (pdf):

"The aim of this document is to give an overview of the use of EU funds on migration policies during the first two years (2014-2015) of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and present a preliminary budgetary outlook for 2016---2017 and the remaining MFF period, taking into account the uncertainties relating to the evolution of the migration situation and pressures on EU funding....

Within the current EU framework, potential changes in policy and practice to deal with the migration crisis are under discussion. Such changes include revisiting legislative instruments on asylum and legal migration, as well as (within an overall vision adapted to the needs of the crisis) the competences of the EU agencies involved in migration management. Any revision of the latter should involve a budget increase accompanied by the necessary staff reinforcements."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.9.16)

Photo Exhibition “Reaching Europe – Refugees arriving on Lesvos” in the European Parliament: Tuesday 27 September at 18:30, in the ASP building (link):

"Ska Keller, spokesperson on migration and Vice-President of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, and Philippe Lamberts, Co-President of the Greens/EFA Group, are hosting the Photo Exhibition “Reaching Europe – Refugees arriving on Lesvos”next week in the European Parliament. The exhibition documents the arrival and the situation of refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos. All photos have been taken by Members of the Mytilini Photo Club.

The opening of the exhibition will take place on Tuesday, 27 September, at 18:30. We will have the great pleasure and honour to welcome the photographers of the Myrtili Photo Club on this occasion, as well as refugees and activists from Lesvos."

If you want to attend the opening, contact us by Monday morning at 10.00, please at: ska.keller@ep.europe.eu

EU/France/Germany: France and Germany: take on "itinerant crime groups" through cross-border cooperation, personal data exchange, predictive policing

The German and French delegations to the Council of the EU have proposed a set of conclusions on "property crimes committed in Europe by highly mobile organised crime groups," which they assert are "attributable to itinerant crime groups originating mainly from South-Eastern and Eastern Europe," who "belong to the field of organised crime or are considered one step away from organised crime." Despite the clear connection between the proposals and the possibility of ethnic profiling and discriminatory police action - "itinerant"=travellers=Roma - the draft conclusions make no reference to fundamental rights issues.

See: NOTE from: German and French delegtaions, 'Draft Council conclusions on organised domestic burglary' (12098/16, LIMITE, 12 September 2016, pdf)

EU: Court of Justice of the European Union: Advocate General Sharpston considers that the Court should annul the measures maintaining Hamas and LTTE on the EU list of terrorist organisations on procedural grounds (Press release, pdf):

"the Council is precluded from relying on a list of terrorist attacks without those being shown in decisions of competent authorities...

the Council cannot rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet, rather than in decisions of competent authorities, to support a decision to maintain a listing." [emphasis in original]

And Adocate General's Opinion - Tamil Tigers (pdf) and Hamas (pdf)

See: EU court recommends removal of Tamil Tigers and Hamas from terrorist list (euractiv, link):

"The European Union’s top court took a step toward confirming the removal of Hamas, as well as the Tamil Tigers, from an EU terrorism blacklist despite protestations from Israel and the Sri Lankan government.

An advocate general at the European Court of Justice, whose advice is usually followed by judges, recommended yesterday (22 September) that they reject an appeal by the Council of EU member states against the lower EU court’s decisions in late 2014 to remove both movements from the sanctions list due to flawed procedures."

EU: Counci of the European Union: Fight against terrorism: EU strengthens its legal arsenal against ISIL/Da'esh and Al-Qaida (Press release, pdf) and see:

- COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2016/1693 of 20 September 2016 concerning restrictive measures against ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaeda and persons, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them and repealing Common Position 2002/402/CFSP (pdf)

- COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) 2016/1686 of 20 September 2016 imposing additional restrictive measures directed against ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaeda and natural and legal persons, entities or bodies associated with them (pdf)

See also: EU targets foreign fighters with sanctions (euobserver, link):

"The European Union will from now on be able to freeze assets and impose travel bans on people associated with the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida jihadist groups, even if they are not on UN blacklists. The move, agreed by the Council on Tuesday (20 September), is primarily targeted against EU nationals.

In particular, people trying to travel to Syria could be stopped from leaving in the first place, or from coming back to another EU country besides than the one they hold the passport of. It will also become easier for EU countries to prosecute their own nationals for terrorist-related activities.

Non-EU nationals with links to Islamic terrorism will be barred from entering the bloc. Their assets in the EU will be frozen, and it will become illegal for EU persons and entities to send them money. "

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): The coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data (Press release,pdf):

"The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Giovanni Buttarelli, has announced that he intends to set up a Digital Clearing House to promote more coherent enforcement of EU rules. In a new Opinion, Coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data, published today, he drew attention to the mounting concern at concentration of market power and personal data in fewer and fewer hands, with the internet experience characterised by ‘walled gardens’ and take-it-or-leave-it data use policies. This means that authorities need to work more closely to protect the rights and interests of individuals, like the right to privacy, to freedom of expression and non-discrimination."

And see: EDPS Opinion on coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data 23 September (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.9.16)

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Migration, security and fundamental rights: A critical challenge for the EU (Press release, pdf):

"it is vital that the reform of the EU’s border policy be further assessed to ensure its full consistency with the respect for the fundamental rights of those who enter and leave the EU.

Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “The EDPS understands the need for the EU to better address the challenges of migration, borders and refugees. However, we recommend considering additional improvements in the revised proposals which will involve a significant collection of data concerning non-EU nationals whose freedoms, rights and legitimate interests may be significantly affected. Border management and law enforcement are distinct objectives and need to be more clearly distinguished. Refugees, asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and ordinary travellers may require separate considerations”.

The EDPS recommendations to enhance data protection in these proposals relate in particular to retention periods, the collection of the facial images of travellers requiring visas, the use of sensitive information such as biometric data, and to security measures.

In his Opinions, the EDPS draws attention to the role of eu-LISA and Frontex performing specific processing operations such as those related to statistics, as well as to the situations of minors when subject to the collection of fingerprints."

See also: EDPS Opinion on the First reform package on the Common European Asylum System (Eurodac, EASO and Dublin regulations) (pdf), EDPS Opinion on the Second EU Smart Borders Package Recommendations on the revised Proposal to establish an Entry/Exit System (pdf) and Commission Press release:Commission launches discussion on future framework for stronger and smarter information systems for border management and internal security (pdf)

EU: Frontexit: A reinforced Frontex agency: EU turns a deaf ear to NGO’s warnings (pdf):

"More powerful than ever and enjoying complete impunity, the EU border management agency has a new name with a reinforced mandate. The European Union has indeed opted for an increase in the means allocated to deportation, control and external cooperation activities, with no regard for the rights of migrants and refugees....

Yet, the agency continues to put a number of rights at risk: first and foremost, the right to leave any country including one’s own; but also the right to seek asylum and the principle of non-refoulement, the right to personal data protection and the right to an effective remedy."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.9.16)

European Parliament Study: Obstacles to the right of free movement and residence for EU citizens and their families Comparative Analysis (pdf):

"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE and PETI Committees, presents a synthesis of in-depth studies in nine Member States in addition to broader EU and national research. Based on an analysis of selected provisions of Directive 2004/38/EC in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK, it identifies the main persisting barriers to free movement for EU citizens and their family members. The study also examines discriminatory restrictions to free movement, measures to counter abuse of rights and refusals of entry and residence rights, in addition to expulsions."

And country Studies: UK (pdf), France (pdf), Spain (pdf) and Italy (pdf)

The United Kingdom will have to withdraw from Europol by next spring (link):

"When opting back in to individual measures, the UK government only opted in to the 2009 Europol Regulation. However, just before the Brexit referendum, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the new Europol Regulation, which will come into force on 1 May 2017 and replace all previous decisions. It seems hardly conceivable following the Brexit vote that the new government would decide to adopt this Regulation. Thus, by next spring at the latest, the UK would need to completely withdraw for the time being from Europol."

TiSA leaks set alarm bells ringing (EDRI, link):

"Despite the rumours and assertions by several Member States that TTIP is dead, the fight for safeguarding citizens’ rights and freedoms via so-called “trade agreements” is far from over. Now it is time to address the threat from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Just days after Wikileaks made public some key negotiating documents concerning TiSA, Greenpeace Netherlands has released another batch of crucial and worrying documents."

See: EDRI Analysis (link)

Greece: Lesvos: Golden Dawn supporters stir up ugly scenes and "Guantanamo-style" Moira detention centre set on fire

Nine arrested after Greek refugee camp burns (BBC News, link):

"Nine people have been arrested after a large fire destroyed parts of the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Up to 4,000 migrants were evacuated from the camp, as the blaze destroyed tents and prefabricated homes. No fatalities were reported, but large areas of the camp, which was already crowded, were left unusable. The Greek government said it would send a ship to hold at least 1,000 people as a temporary overflow area.

Early reports suggested a riot broke out as rumours of imminent mass deportations to Turkey spread. Other witnesses said it was the result of an argument over food.

The nine people arrested under suspicion of starting the blaze included people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Senegal, Syria and Cameroon, the AFP news agency reported, citing a police source. Additional riot police have been dispatched to the island."

See also: Fire At Moria: Thousands of Refugees Flee (News That Moves, link) and see: EU: Migrants to stay on Greek islands despite fire (ekathimerini.com, link).:

"“The EU and Greece cannot carry on stockpiling refugees indefinitely on the Greek islands,” Amnesty International's Giorgos Kosmopoulos said.

“Witnessing the charred remains of Moria camp is shocking but comes as little surprise. Holding thousands of vulnerable people on Lesvos in appalling conditions with no knowledge of their fate inevitably creates an incendiary atmosphere of fear and despondency.”

Also: EU Commission found THE solution: Migrants will remain on Greek islands “as much as possible” (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Finally! The European Commission found a solution for the Migration crisis in Greece and the Greek islands. During a press conference on Tuesday, the EC coordinating spokesperson, Natasha Bertaud, revealed the well-hidden plans:... EU Commission spo Bertaud says migrants will remain on islands "as much as possible"

To avoid secondary movement to the rest of Europe, that means keeping asylum seekers on the islands for the most part,” Bertaud said also and threw the ball in the court of the Greek government. She said “the Greek government had described the situation as being under control. Transfers to the mainland would remain limited,” Bertaud said.

If this is all the EC can say after the ugly incidents of Monday on the island of Lesvos, it is clear that the migrants will remain indefinitely on the Greek islands, the EU Turkey Deal was just a bunch of papers to use for packing Fish & Belgian Fries and that the European Union will send prayers and good vibes."

Statewatch correspondent reports (20.9.16): "Volunteers trying to get in to help. There are a lot of fascists around after weekend fascist rally who stirred up the locals, pretty ugly. The volunteers got in around the back in the end through a hole in the fence. At the weekend people trying to get in were greeted by angry mobs."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.9.16)

Lesvos, Greece: Moria hot spot on fire – 4,000 evacuated, among them 150 unaccompanied minors (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"The hot spot in Moria was set on fire on Monday night after clashes between migrants and refugees groups of different nationalities. Some 3,000 to 4,00 people have been evacuated. Around 150 unaccompanied minors were brought in safety into a state nursery home.

The volume of the damage is not known, some tweet from the area that the camp has burned down. Greek police told foreign reporters that “all tents have burned down and some prefabricated units. A total disaster?

According to official figures, a total of 5,600 refugees and migrants are on the island of Lesvos in the eastern Aegean Sea. Some 4,000 are estimated to be in the Moria hot spot, the rest in the reception center of Kara Tepe."

See also: Thousands flee as blaze sweeps through Moria refugee camp in Greece - An estimated 4,000 people have been forced to leave the camp on Lesbos as strong winds fan the flames (Guardian, link)

Comment: Moira is a closed detention centre with "Guantanamo-style" fencing, razor wire, steel cabins and floodlights. It holds refugees mainly from Afghanistan and Pakistan and over a hundred unaccompanied children. Adjacent to it is the "open" Kara Tepe camp.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.9.16) including Lesvos, Bulgaria, Hungary, EU "flexible solidarity"

Lesvos, Greece: “NGOs Out Of Kara Tepe Camp”

"From ANA-MPA, the Lesvos municipal council has requested all NGOs leave the island’s Kara Tepe refugee camp. Mayor Spiros Galinos accused aid groups working there of “deceiving him,” claiming they were helping create a new refugee camp without his knowledge. The resolution was passed during an emergency council meeting and includes almost all aid groups operating at Kara Tepe, adding that the municipality should have exclusive jurisdiction over the camp, limiting NGOs to support roles. Galinos called the meeting after media reports that a new camp was being built at a former military base. Work was halted after Defence Minister Panos Kammenos intervened." and:

Lesvos in Migration Crisis: Situation at risk of getting out of control with protests, attacks and unwanted NGO’s (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Hundreds of residents of Moria village and surrounding areas on the island of Lesvos took to the streets on Monday morning protesting the presence of refugees and migrants outside the hot spot of the same name....

The protest rally turned really ugly when extremists from the ultra right-wing Golden Dawn who joined the protest attacked three women, one of them a volunteer at a refugees reception center. The woman was transferred to the local hospital for treatment. According to local website Empros.net, the police that was present did nothing to hinder the attack.

According to the same website, the injured were four university student attacked by 15 GD members while others from the same party were shouting “throw them to the sea...

Kara Tepe has been a model refugee camp, often visited by international VIPs who come to Lesvos to express solidarity with the refugees.”

(19.9.16) Report from Mytilene: "Neonazis are having gatherings all over town."

When is "solidarity" not "solidarity"? When Its "flexible": ‘Flexible solidarity’ becomes new tool in response to refugee crisis (euractiv, link):

"The Bratislava summit marks a turning point in the evolution of the EU’s response to the migration crisis, as Germany and other Western nations appeared to accept the Visegrad Group’s alternative to relocation and migrant quotas, called ‘flexible solidarity”.

At the summit, the Visegrad Group (V4), consisting of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, submitted an appropriately-titled Joint Statement consisting of proposals for the future of the Union after Brexit.....

The idea that relocation doesn’t work seems to be accepted by Germany. The European Commission is the only one to religiously promote the concept."

See: Papering over overt racism: Visegard Group: Joint Statement of the Heads of Governments of the V4 Countries Bratislava, 16 September 2016 (pdf):

"Concerning migrations, it is necessary to halt the number of irregular migrants and to guarantee the security of the EU, the Member States and individual citizens. The countries of the Visegrad Group have therefore been underlining that enhanced cooperation with third countries, including with Turkey, whether transit or origin, as well as protection of EU external borders are key tools."

Statewatch: SECILE (Securing Europe through Counter-terrorism: Impact, Legitimacy and Effectiveness): Report Summary: Eine Bestandsaufnahme der EU-Terrorismusbekämpfungspolitik und Überprüfungsmechanismen: Zusammenfassung der Ergebnisse von State-watch für das SECILE-Projekt (pdf)

And see: Taking stock of EU Counter-terrorism policy and review mechanisms: Summary of Statewatch’s findings for SECILE project (pdf)

Council of Europe: Hungary: Experts raise alarm over authorities’ promotion of “benevolent segregation” of Roma school children (link):

"A new expert report takes aim at Hungary’s education system for its “benevolent segregation” of Roma children.

Today’s report from the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, reveals that anti-Roma prejudice in schools is on the increase.

It states: “According to evidence collected by the authorities, segregation of Roma school children has become more widespread in recent years.

“Alarmingly, discrimination of Roma children has deepened, in particular as a result of the approach of “benevolent segregation” promoted by the authorities by which Roma children are expected to ‘catch up’ in separate Roma classes before their supposed inclusion in the mainstream education.”

See: Report: Fourth Opinion on Hungary adopted on 25 February 2016 (pdf) and Government reply (pdf)

ECHR: Greece: Greek conscientious objector did not enjoy the necessary procedural safeguards in having his request for alternative civilian service examined (Press release, pdf):

"In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Papavasilakis v. Greece (application no. 66899/14) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights The case concerned the authorities’ refusal to grant Mr Papavasilakis the status of conscientious objector and to allow him to do alternative civilian work instead of military service."

Bulgaria: Report from the project: Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants (pdf):

"Since 2013, Bulgaria, as an external border of the EU, has experienced an unprecedented for its history number of migrants passing through its territory, primarily asylum seekers and refugees. The majority of the arriving migrants are subjected to administrative detention, where the decisions made by the administrative bodies appear to be dictated by policy rather than by individual and objective assessment.

The current project “Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants” examines this proposition, while aiming to contribute to increasing the transparency in the decision-making process for the administrative detention of migrants in Bulgaria and to the adopting of transparent and just detention practices that are in line with the principles of proportionality and individual assessment defined in international and European law."

Is the EU planning an army - and can the UK veto it? (EU Law Analysis, link):

"Is the EU planning to create an army? If so, can and should the UK veto it - up until Brexit? The issue has been much debated in recent days. But this is the classic example of a debate that has created much heat but shed little light. The purpose of this post is to clear up misunderstandings. In short, the recently announced plans do not amount to an EU army – and so the UK is not able to veto the EU’s plans."

See: UK to veto EU 'defence union' (euobserver, link)

UK: Woman who was engaged to police spy sues Met over 'psychological torture' - Complainant wants apology and list of fake names used by undercover officers, after two-year relationship with man she knew as Carlo Neri (Guardian, link):

"A woman who accepted a marriage proposal from a married undercover police officer has begun legal action against the Metropolitan police, alleging that she suffered “abusive, cold-hearted, psychological torture” from his deception.

The woman, known only as Andrea, had a two-year relationship with the officer, during which time the spy told her that he wanted a baby with her but did not tell her that he already had a wife and child and was an undercover cop.

The policeman, who operated under the fake name of Carlo Neri between 2001 and 2005, has been unmasked after investigations by campaigners, the Guardian and the BBC’s Newsnight programme."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16-18.9.16): news, reports and documents

The Bratislava Declaration - appeasing "extreme or populists" causes?

EU: European Council meeting: The Bratislava Declaration and The Bratislava Roadmap (16.9.16, pdf):

In his "State of the Union" address Commission President Juncker said:

"“The recent terrible events in the Mediterranean have shown us that Europe needs to manage migration better, in all aspects. This is first of all a humanitarian imperative. I am convinced that we must work closely together in a spirit of solidarity.”

In response to "extreme or populists forces", which include a number of EU Member States, the EU promises to try and complete "Fortress Europe".

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "The " principles of responsibility and solidarity" and hunanitarianism have patently failed so the EU answer is to concede to and appease "extreme or populists forces" arguments."

See also: The Bratislava Declaration and The Bratislava Roadmap (16.9.16, pdf):

- Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the Bratislava summit (pdf): "Never to allow for the return of uncontrolled refugee flows of last year and to ensure full control of our external border to get back to Schengen. We are determined to continue our co-operation with Turkey and Western Balkans but also to establish migration compacts with African countries"

- STATE OF THE UNION 2016 by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission 14 September 2016 (pdf)

Brexit: Visegrad Group of EU states 'could veto Brexit deal' (DW, link):

"Hungary, Poland, Czechia and Slovakia have said they're ready to veto any Brexit deal that would limit their citizens' rights to work in the UK. Article 50, which will begin the process, has yet to be triggered. ..

In an interview with Reuters on Saturday, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that having already opposed the EU's efforts to introduce mandatory quotas for migrants, the Visegrad Group (V4) of Central European countries would extend its common interest in protecting citizens' rights to work in the United Kingdom.""

EU: Council of the European Union: EU Border Guard and Maritime Safety Agency

- Extending Frontex's roles: REGULATION on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (176 pages, pdf): Final text as agreed with the European Parliament.

- European Border and Coast Guard: final approval (Council press release, pdf)

- REGULATION amending Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency (pdf):

Final text as agreed with the European Parliament.Involves all EU maritime roles in cooperating with Frontex and other agencies for the purpose of gathering intelligence, border control and search and rescue:

"National authorities carrying out coast guard functions are responsible for a wide range of tasks, which may include maritime safety, security, search and rescue, border control, fisheries control, customs control, general law enforcement and environmental protection.... strengthen their cooperation, within their mandate, both with each other and with the national authorities carrying out coast guard functions, in order to increase maritime situational awareness and to support coherent and cost-efficient action....

providing surveillance and communication services based on state-of-the-art technology, including space-based and ground infrastructure and sensors mounted on any kind of platform...

enhancing the exchange of information and cooperation on coast guard functions including by analysing operational challenges and emerging risks in the maritime domain..."

Push-Backs at the Greek-Macedonian border violate human rights (Pro Asyl, link):

"From Idomeni to Strasbourg: Refugees demand their right to have rights at the ECtHR

Strasbourg/Berlin/Frankfurt, 14 September 2016 – Eight individuals from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are resisting the violation of their human rights on the route across the borders of Europe. They submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against their unlawful push-back from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to the border camp Idomeni in Greece in March 2016. The claimants assert that FYROM’s practice of collective and often violent expulsions breaches the European Convention on Human Rights.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Pro Asyl provide support for the complaints. They see these legal proceedings as an important step in the struggle against push-backs at European borders and for refugees’ fundamental “right to have rights.” The applicants are represented by ECCHR’s cooperating attorney Carsten Gericke from Hamburg."

See: ECHR Case report

  UK Foreign Secretary: Britain says EU mission should turn back migrant boats (Reuters, link):

"A European Union naval force deployed in the Mediterranean should turn back migrant boats after they leave Libya and prevent them from reaching Italy, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday. ...

"I think personally (the boats) should be turned back as close to the shore as possible so they don't reach the Italian mainland and that there is more of a deterrent," Johnson said, speaking alongside his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.

"I think I am right in saying we have turned back about 200,000 migrants," Johnson said, before a nearby diplomat hastily corrected him. "Sorry, saved, saved. Thank you. We have saved 200,000 migrants and turned back 240 boats."

It is illegal to turn back migrant boats once they reach international waters..."

See: Britain’s Foreign Secretary Gets it Wrong on Boat Migration from Libya - Forcing Migrants Back is Uninformed and Inhumane (HRW, link)

Council of the European Union: Eurodac access & Joint Action Days

- Extending LEAS access to Eurodac database: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of [Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person] , for identifying an illegally staying third-country national or stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (recast) - Conditions for access for law enforcement purposes (LIMITE doc no: 11943, pdf):

"It has also been clear during these examinations that many delegations would be in favour of simplified and broader access of law enforcement authorities to Eurodac...

the Presidency would like to seek delegations' views on the following questions:

While there seems to be a broad agreement that the provisions relating to law enforcement access in the proposal should be amended,

• Do delegations agree that the provisions relating to access of law enforcement authorities to Eurodac should be simplified and broadened, and which concrete measures would you suggest?"

• Do you consider that the access of law enforcement should be enlarged to other criminal acts, besides prevention, detection and investigation of terrorism and other serious offences, and if so, how would you define these other acts?"

See also: Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and Security (COM 205-16, pdf)

- Preliminary evaluation of the Joint Action Days 2016 and strategic discussion on the planning of the Joint Action Days 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 12027-16.pdf)

"Delegations will find enclosed a Europol note providing a preliminary evaluation of the Joint Action Days 2016 and requesting strategic guidance from COSI on the planning of the Joint Action Days 2017...[including]

Two crime areas - trafficking in human beings (THB) and facilitated illegal migration - were targeted with actions carried out in dozens of key geographical hotspots (airports, border crossing points, etc.). Law enforcement authorities, immigration services and labour services from 21 countries joined forces for this operation. This was the first time that labour inspectors across the EU cooperated so closely with law enforcement authorities in a coordinated way to identify, safeguard and protect victims of labour exploitation."

And see: Definition of Joint Action Days (JADs) (LIMITE doc no: 8127-16, pdf)

European Parliament Study: Renegotiation by the United Kingdom of its constitutional relationship with the European Union: Issues related to Sovereignty (pdf):

"A key point of the United Kingdom’s renegotiation agreement with the European Union is sovereignty. Historically, the British have been particularly sensitive about this issue. Following the demands of Prime Minister Cameron, five different issues have been tackled: “ever closer union”, subsidiarity, the role of the national parliaments, the British opt-out on matters relating to the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and the issue of national security. They all have different scope and consequences that are analysed in detail."

  Cruelty and care in Chios, Greece (IRR News, link):

"an article by Malcolm James* on a visit he paid to Chios in Greece and what he witnessed while volunteering in early 2016 and the contradictions between caring for refugees and the cruelty meted out to them....

In the everyday actions on the island cruelty and care were also intertwined. Coastal rescue, the registration centre, food provision and the registering of volunteers provided different sites and practices through which these tensions could be understood......

Coastal rescue on Chios has been devolved to the Beach Team which has lookouts at strategic points on the coast and lit safe landing areas (such as beaches) with cars’ headlights to help refugees avoid the rocks. When the boats got close enough, volunteers would wade into the water and help people ashore. The volunteers worked to ensure that those lives, which they valued, could be saved."

Council of Europe: CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF INDIVIDUALS WITH REGARD TO AUTOMATIC PROCESSING OF PERSONAL DATA: Opinion on the Data protection implications of the processing of Passenger Name Records (pdf):

"In view of the special interference with the rights to data protection and privacy that PNR measures may represent, the legality, proportionality and necessity of a PNR system need to be strictly respected and demonstrated, thus implying notably the following including:

- transparent demonstration in a measurable form of the necessity and proportionality of the system in light of the legitimate aim pursued;

- accurate and strict definitions of the legitimate aim pursued are required and processing of PNR data is only allowed for the defined limited grounds (prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and other serious crimes, or in exceptional cases, prevention of serious threats to the public)."

Council of Europe: Human Rights Commissioner: Greece urged to protect the human rights of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and de-institutionalise them (link):

"Today the Commissioner published a letter he addressed to the Greek government noting with interest the efforts made by Greece since the mid-1980s in order to end institutionalisation of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and to develop community care services. However, he is gravely concerned by the instances of deaths and of physical restraint of patients in certain institutions."

and see Letter to Greece (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.9.16)

UK: GCHQ's 'Great British Firewall' raises serious concern – privacy groups - campaigners say giving agency greater surveillance powers to combat hackers is like ‘the fox protecting the chicken’ (Guardian, link):

"Privacy groups have expressed serious concern at the prospect of a “Great British Firewall” proposed by the surveillance agency GCHQ to protect major British companies against malicious hackers.

They said they were worried that it could be used to deny freedom of speech, with the government potentially able to designate sites they disapprove of as “malware”.

There is also concern about the prospect of handing over such power to GCHQ, given its track record of intrusion working in tandem with the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Thomas Falchetta, a legal officer for Privacy International, said: “Given the broad scope of GCHQ’s hacking operations both domestically and abroad, this seems like the fox protecting the chicken.”"

European Parliament Study: The European Council and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Orientation and implementation in the field of crisis management since the Lisbon Treaty (pdf):

"This study assesses the planning, command and control of civilian and military CSDP missions and operations, progress made in developing civilian and military capabilities, particularly rapid response capabilities in the form of the EU Battlegroups, as well as challenges encountered during the force generation process. In recent years, the European Council has repeatedly called for further progress in all of these areas.

The study concludes that, despite recent progress in reviewing crisis management procedures, operational planning remains cumbersome and slow...."

And see Briefing: Control of trade in dual-use items (pdf): "Council Regulation 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items."

CoE: GREVIO receives first state reports from Austria and Monaco (link):

"The Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) initiated its first country-by-country evaluation procedure in March 2016 by requesting Austria and Monaco to report on the implementation of the Istanbul Convention on the basis of its questionnaire, as provided for under Article 68, paragraph 1.

Reports from Austria and Monaco were received by GREVIO on 1 September 2016 and are published today in accordance with Rule 33, paragraph 6 of GREVIO’s Rules of Procedure."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.9.16)

GREECE: Syrian refugee’s wait for asylum in Greece is ‘like death’ (Business Insider, link):

"Life in Greece has become so difficult for Amir and Walaa, teachers from Syria, that they sometimes think about returning to the home they risked everything to flee.

"I know in Syria we have war and bombs every day," says Amir, visibly exhausted. But there, "every Syrian dies once. Here we die every day. Every day is bad."

For the past six months, home is a bleak tent on the Aegean island of Chios, pitched in a dusty medieval castle moat, where they wait without work or money for a verdict on their asylum claims."

EU: Copyright reform: Commission proposes "link tax"

"Today, the European Commission formally submitted its new Copyright Directive to the European Parliament for consideration. Despite opposition from a 100,000-strong network of civil society groups and Internet users, the directive includes plans for a new Link Tax — granting sweeping new powers to publishing giants to charge fees when snippets of text are used in hyperlinks."

The proposed Directive: European Commission, 'Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market', COM(2016) 593 final, 14 September 2016 (pdf)

See: Press Release: New copyright directive fails at every level (EDRI, link)

MALTA: Calls for preventive action against vigilante group Soldiers of Odin (Malta Today, link):

"The Soldiers of Odin, a vigilante group that has been branded as “anti-immigrant”, has found a following in Malta and begun patrolling the streets, according to local media reports.

The group is part of a controversial international network with same name, which proclaims that its goal is to protect people – especially women – from migrants committing crimes.

The first Soldiers of Odin group was set up in Finland during the European migrant crisis last year, and several other groups have sprouted across Europe since."

Edward Snowden: ACLU and Amnesty seek presidential pardon (BBC News, link):

"Two of the most prominent human rights organisations in the United States are about to launch a campaign for the presidential pardon of Edward Snowden.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International are ready to launch the "Pardon Snowden" campaign.

They are urging President Barack Obama to act before he leaves office in January 2017."

See: Pardon Snowden (link): "Snowden should be hailed as a hero. Instead, he is exiled in Moscow, and faces decades in prison under World War One-era charges that treat him like a spy. Ed stood up for us, and it's time for us to stand up for him. Urge President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden, and let him come home with dignity."

UK: Major problems with government's approach to data security

"The UK government has been urged to adopt a "new approach" to data security by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The spending watchdog found that "too many bodies" within government have "overlapping responsibilities" for information security matters and that insufficiently clear information is collected by the government on the way it performs in protecting data or the costs involved...

The way in which personal data breaches are reported by government departments was also described by the NAO as "chaotic". It said different departments operate different reporting mechanisms which render comparisons between the organisations as "meaningless".

According to the report, there were 8,995 data breaches recorded by the 17 largest government departments in 2014/15. Of that number, 14 incidents were reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)."

See: UK government urged to adopt 'new approach' to data security (Out-Law.com, link) and the report: National Audit Office: Protecting information across government (pdf)

EU: Commission: new proposals on data collection and data exchange for "security and mobility"

A new communication published by the European Commission continues to beat the drum for "stronger borders" and new and improved information systems and databases as ways to counter terrorism and irregular migration. Part-summary of existing initiatives, the document also sets out new plans including the announcement of a forthcoming proposal on a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a "possible legislative initiative" on identity documents and residence cards, and greater powers and resources for Europol's European Counter-Terrorism Centre (ECTC). Significant efforts are already going into "enhancing information exchnange and information management" for security, justice and home affairs purposes.

See: European Commission, 'Enhancing security in a world of mobility: improved information exchange in the fight against terrorism and stronger external borders', COM(2016) 602 final, 14 September 2016 (pdf)

France to open first 'de-radicalization' center for potentially violent extremists (Vice News, link):

"As France continues to grapple with terror threats across the country, government officials announced Tuesday its first official de-radicalization center will open at the end of the month in a sleepy town in the west. It's being marketed as a place specifically for people who may be on the verge of carrying out extremist violence, and those who have tried and failed to travel abroad to join terrorist groups.

By the end of September, the Pontourny center will welcome up to 25 young people from ages 18 to 30 who espouse radical ideology in a converted government building in Beaumont-en-Veron, a small town of about 2,800 people located 210 miles southwest of Paris. It's unclear how they will ensure attendance. People are supposed to voluntarily check in to the center, and may return home on the weekends if they choose."

And see: France's first de-radicalisation centre to tackle Islamist threat opens (RFI, link). The institution will be named the "Centre for Prevention, Integration and Citizenship":

"The "volunteers" will wear uniforms, receive medical and psychological support, and take classes in a variety of subjects including history, religion, philosophy and the media. Their day will start with the raising of the French flag at 6:45am."

UK: GCHQ's 'Great British Firewall' raises serious concern – privacy groups (The Guardian, link):

"Privacy groups have expressed serious concern at the prospect of a “Great British Firewall” proposed by the surveillance agency GCHQ to protect major British companies against malicious hackers.

They said they were worried that it could be used to deny freedom of speech, with the government potentially able to designate sites they disapprove of as “malware”.

There is also concern about the prospect of handing over such power to GCHQ, given its track record of intrusion working in tandem with the US National Security Agency (NSA)."

EU: Expel Hungary from EU for hostility to refugees, says Luxembourg (The Guardian, link):

"Luxembourg’s foreign minister has called for Hungary to be thrown out of the European Union over its increasingly hostile approach to refugees, as campaigners accuse Viktor Orbán’s hardline government of whipping up xenophobia to block a European plan to relocate asylum seekers.

Jean Asselborn said Hungary should be temporarily or even permanently expelled from the EU for treating asylum seekers “worse than wild animals”.

In an interview with German daily Die Welt, he said: “Anyone who, like Hungary, builds fences against refugees from war or who violates press freedom and judicial independence should be excluded temporarily, or if necessary for ever, from the EU.”"

EU: Europe Turns the Screws on Former Guantánamo Prisoners (one small window, link):

"The US-run detention centre for “war on terror” prisoners at Guantánamo Bay is truly a collaborative effort; dozens of states worldwide assisted the US in the arrest, detention, torture or transport to torture of the around 800 men who have been held there. In some cases, their home states provided information that led to arrests, or failed to prevent or protest their illegal detention and torture once they became aware of it.

European states have proved no exception, making them complicit in the torture of their own citizens. Several dozen citizens and residents of European states have been held at Guantánamo. With the exception of Russian Ravil Mingazov, who was cleared for release in July 2016, all other European citizens were repatriated by 2005. European residents have also been returned to their countries of residence or origin. None were ever prosecuted at Guantánamo. As with prisoners released elsewhere however, legal problems and harassment have followed them.

(...)

This is not to discount the possibility that former prisoners could engage in such [illegal] activity. Playing the Guantánamo card, however, as the case above illustrates, rules out the need for any factual evidence. It creates an assumption of guilt that needs no proof, adds an international dimension to domestic crime and lowers the bar on what counts as admissible proof. Detention at Guantánamo is evidence enough of guilt."

And: Crime and Punishment? Prosecutions of Former Guantánamo Prisoners in Europe (one small window, link): an overview of ex-Guantánamo prisoners who are citizens of or resident in European states who have been tried, prosecuted and harassed by the authorities after their release from the prison camp.

Statewatch News (14.9.16): 58 stories, reports and documents

UK: New revelations show just how nervous the police are about the undercover policing inquiry (The Canary, link):

"If you think Britain doesn’t have political police, think again. For decades, campaigners and protest groups have been spied upon, infiltrated, and have even been subjected to “abusive and manipulative” relationships. Like it not, the so-called ‘spycops‘ scandal affects everyone. And if it had not been for some very brave individuals, as well as a small number of dedicated journalists and researchers, the inquiry that was set up to examine the extent of this abuse – the (Pitchford) Undercover Policing Inquiry – may never have happened."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.9.16)

CoE: Spain: Commissioner Muižnieks calls for guidance to border police on how to handle migration flows in Ceuta and Melilla (link):

"In a letter to the Minister of Interior of Spain published today, Commissioner Muižnieks has urged the Spanish authorities to adopt a procedural framework to ensure that border police in Ceuta and Melilla have clear instructions on how to handle mixed migration flows in full compliance with human rights."

See: Letter (pdf):

"Given the seriousness of the human rights violations at stake, I should like to request you to provide me with further information on your authorities’ position as regards the adoption of a text regulating the work of border police in Ceuta and Melilla. I would also like to strongly reiterate that the practice of summary expulsions must be stopped."

UK's next EU commissioner 'highly motivated' (euobserver, link):

"Britain's designated EU commissioner for security Julian King says he is "highly motivated" for the job.

In a letter sent to the European parliament ahead of a grilling from MEPs on Monday (12 September), King said his big priorities for the security portfolio would be "to strengthen our defences against terrorism and organised crime, and to build our resilience".

He was appointed to the post following the departure of EU financial services commissioner Jonathan Hill in the wake of the June UK referendum to exit the EU.

EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker created and gave the new security portfolio to King in early August in a move that surprised some given the UK opt-out on EU justice and home affairs laws."

 See: King's answers to questions put by the parliament (pdf) and see also: Letter from Commission President Juncker: New Commissioner for the Security Union (pdf).

UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution: The invoking of Article 50 (pdf): Concludes that:

"co-operation should start now. Parliament and the Government should, at this early stage, take the opportunity to establish their respective roles and how they will work together during the negotiation process. The constitutional roles of each—the Executive and the Legislature—must be respected, beginning with parliamentary involvement and assent for the invoking of Article 50."

UK-EU BREXIT: European Parliament: Renegotiation by the United Kingdom of its constitutional relationship with the European Union: Issues related to “Immigration" (pdf)

"This analysis examines the provisions of the agreement between the UK and other Member States on the renegotiation of the UK’s membership of the EU which relate to the free movement of EU citizens.

It examines in turn: the overall legal framework of the renegotiation deal as regards free movement; the issues relating to the ‘emergency brake’ on in-work benefits; the issues relating to export of child benefits; the issues relating to third-country national family members of EU citizens; and other issues relating to the free movement of persons arising from the renegotiation deal.."

The War on Cash (The Long and Short Society, link):

"The proclaimed Death of Cash is thus an episode in the broader drama that is the Death of Privacy, and the death of informal, unaccounted-for behaviour"

CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: 'Prevention must lie at the heart of the fight against female genital mutilation' (link):

"The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) believes that prevention must lie “at the heart of all efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation” and must involve all the players concerned, whether the communities that practise it, grass roots organisations, social and education services, the police, the justice system or healthcare professionals.....

The draft text, to be put to the vote at the forthcoming PACE plenary meeting in Strasbourg (10-14 October 2016), calls for female genital mutilation to be recognised as violence against women and children, extraterritorial jurisdiction for domestic courts so that criminal prosecutions can be initiated when mutilation has been committed abroad, and public awareness-raising and information campaigns to combat this phenomenon."

See: Draft report to be discussed: Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination: Female genital mutilation in Europe (pdf)

GREECE: Open letter from Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Ritsona camp

A translation of a letter written by Syrian and Iraqi refugees living in the Ritsona camp near Chalkida in Greece, around one hour north of Athens. It was originally published on the website R Project in Greek; the text below is a translation of that in Spanish published by Diagonal on 27 August 2016.

Brexit: EU justice and home affairs without the UK

"On 16 September, the heads of state or government of the 27 will meet in Bratislava. They will continue a political reflection to give impetus to further reforms and to the development of the EU with 27 member countries...

'Based on my consultations so far, I have no doubt that the three main challenges are uncontrolled irregular migration, terrorism, and the fears of globalisation,' said President Tusk before his meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Stockholm. 'My ambition is that in Bratislava we can agree on the main priorities and what we need to do about them in the next few months.'

According to the President of the European Council, these priorities should be:

See: Informal meeting of the 27 heads of state or government, 16/09/2016 (European Council/Council of the EU, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.9.16)

EU-TURKEY: 13 migrants returned from Greece to Turkey with no opportunity to access legal assistance

On 8 September, 13 migrants were returned from Lesvos to Turkey without being given the opportunity to access legal assistance. 10 of the migrants - from Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Palestine and Lebanon - were dismissed at first and second instance while the other three had waived their right to file an application against their return.

UK: Help reunite refugee families, faith leaders urge May (BBC News, link): "More than 200 religious leaders have urged the UK to relax immigration rules so refugees from Syria and other areas can be reunited with their families.

In a letter to the prime minister, they say close relatives of Britons and refugees already in the country are living abroad in "desperate conditions" and should be given a legal route in.

People are now making "unsafe" journeys with "avoidable tragedies", they say.

Ministers say the UK has been at the head of the response to the crisis.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is among representatives from the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths to have signed the letter to Theresa May."

See: REFUGEE CRISIS: Faith Leaders' Open Letter to the Prime Minister (pdf) and: interfaithrefugeeinitiative.org (link)

EU: Council, Europol and "expert group" press on with plans to boost "information exchange and information management"

In May this year the Council of the EU drew up an extensive "roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management" in relation to justice and home affairs policies - principally policing, migration and counter-terrorism. A recent leaked document provides a summary of progress on a number of those actions, including detailed information on how security checks in the "hotspots" in Italy and Greece function.

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Strategic Commitee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum: State of play of the implementation of its actions (Actions 41-50) (11954-16, LIMITE, 8 September 2016)

DENMARK: A Danish school now separates children by ethnicity (The Washington Post, link):

"Nearly a year after the influx of migrants into Europe reached its peak, the repercussions can now be felt in thousands of classrooms across the continent as a new school year begins.

Whereas most other schools are focused on assimilating migrant children, one Danish school in the city of Aarhus has decided to separate them. The idea has drawn criticism from human rights advocates who question the legality of segregating children based on their ethnicity."

UK: Four years on from Hillsborough Independent Panel report - what has happened since? (Liverpool Echo, link):

"Four years ago today, the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) report was published and its revelations shocked the world.

Some of what the report revealed had been known in Merseyside since the tragedy on April 15, 1989, but for the first time families heard that many of the 96 victims could have been saved if there was earlier treatment and the scale of the cover up was exposed to the nation.

In the four years since the panel report was released, two investigations into the disaster were set up and new inquests found the 96 were unlawfully killed and the fans were not to blame.

We look at some of the most shocking revelations from the HIP report and what has happened since."

And see: Hillsborough Independent Panel - Disclosed Material and Report (link)

UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Operation Herne’s concerted efforts to limit the Pitchford Inquiry (Undercover Research Group, link):

"To date, the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into undercover police abuses, Operation Herne, has made publicly available three Reports. Its fourth report, an Update, issued in February 2015, was classified as ‘Restricted’ and only internally circulated rather than being published on the official Herne website.

Following a Freedom of Information request, the Undercover Research Group received a redacted copy, which (as opposed to hidden in the Met’s disclosure log) we are making available for all to read.

Much to our surprise, the amount of redaction was minimal. As set out below, we believe the reason for being restricted is that it has a number of points which cause the Metropolitan Police embarrassment."

In other news: Undercover police: 'Officers won't face charges over evidence' (BBC News, link) and: Letter from Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, to Christopher Pitchford (pdf)

UK: Rendition victims challenge decision not to prosecute MI6 officer (The Guardian, link):

"Lawyers representing a Libyan husband and wife who were kidnapped and flown to one of Muammar Gaddafi’s prisons are seeking to overturn a decision that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute a former MI6 officer for his alleged role.

Mark Allen, the head of counter-terrorism at the agency at the time of the so-called rendition operations, had set out his role in a letter to the Gaddafi government that came to light during the 2011 Libyan revolution.

However the Crown Prosecution Service decided earlier this year that Allen – now Sir Mark – should face no criminal charges, a ruling that the victims said reflected poorly on British justice.

Lawyers for the couple are now seeking a judicial review of the CPS decision, which they have denounced as a “see no evil, hear no evil” ruling that has put the government and its intelligence agencies above the rule of law."

EU: France and Germany propose EU 'defence union' (EUobserver, link):

"Germany and France have drawn up plans for closer EU defence cooperation, including a new military HQ and swifter deployment of overseas missions.

The ideas were outlined by the two countries’ defence ministers, Ursula Von der Leyen and Jean-Yves Le Drian, in a six-page paper sent to the EU foreign service on Sunday (11 September) and seen by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and French daily Le Figaro.

The paper says, according to Le Figaro, that “in the context of a deteriorating security environment … it is high time to reinforce our solidarity and European defence capabilities in order to more effectively protect the citizens and borders of Europe”.

The UK had in the past opposed steps toward the creation of an EU army or duplication of Nato structures."

These ideas were put forward immediately after the 'Brexit' vote in a paper by the German and French foreign ministers: A strong Europe in a world of uncertainties (pdf). And see: EU says "soft power is not enough" as German and French ministers call for "European Security Compact" (Statewatch News Online, 6 July 2016)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-11.9.16)

ECRE-AIDA: New report (link)

"A report launched this week by the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), managed by ECRE, documents the limited and fragmented application of admissibility and safe country concepts in 20 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Serbia and Turkey."

See: Report: Admissibility, responsibility and safety in European asylum procedures (pdf)

UK: Downing Street ‘used police and courts to smear Orgreave miners’ - Documents found at Hillsborough inquest will be used to call for investigation into 1984 strike violence this week (The Observer, link)

"Previously unseen documents suggesting that a politically motivated operation involving the police and courts was launched against miners involved in the 1984 Orgreave confrontation in Yorkshire will be used to put fresh pressure on the home secretary to announce a public inquiry at a meeting with campaigners this week.

A legal case has been lodged with the Home Office which, it is claimed, offers evidence of the “wrongful arrest of 95 miners, the deliberate falsification of a narrative against them from the outset, the immediate presentation of that false narrative by police to the media and its uncritical acceptance by the latter”."

See also:
IPCC announces decision following Orgreave scoping exercise (link) and: Report (pdf)

European Parliament Study: Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty - Improving Functioning of the EU: Foreign Affairs (pdf):

"Foreign Affairs as field of EU action has very distinctive constitutional qualities. Its external powers are broad, encompassing not only traditional foreign policy, but also development cooperation and number of sectorial policies such as trade, transport and environment. The report provides an analysis of the changes in the constitutional and institutional framework brought about by the Lisbon Treaty and assess the implementation of those changes including obstacles to further improvement of its implementation."

EU: Council of the European Union: Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy and Counter-Terrorism Implementation Paper: second half of 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 11001-16,pdf):

"The current document aims at providing a comprehensive overview of actions from the first half of 2016 which are still to be implemented as well as new actions for the second half of 2016. Its annex II gives an overview of the Working Parties and the objectives that are planned to be carried out under the SK Presidency in the second half of 2016....

The present implementation paper contains also an important new annex I which provides an overview of the most relevant counter-terrorism actions that have been agreed by the Council, either politically or legally. In this way, the implementation paper incorporates the so-called master document on counter-terrorism, on the development of which COSI agreed on 18 April 2016. This annex was prepared by the Presidency in close cooperation with the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (EU CTC)."

The Annex contains the objective of: "Implementation of the security aspects of the hotspots" and:

"Ensure coordination between the relevant OAPs [Operational Action Plans] and the European Agenda on Migration as well as with recent developments in the migratory field."

Also: "Objective: debate ways of further improving cooperation between the agencies, in particular Europol and Eurojust and assess remaining obstacles for Europol and Frontex, inter alia as regards direct access to SIS II."

And: "The Presidency will continue the activity of the informal policy group on data retention within the EU."

For background see: EU: Internal security: "common risk indicators", internet monitoring, a European police register, entry bans and more (Statewatch database).

European Parliament: New role given to new Commissioner from the UK: Hearing of Commissioner-Designate Sir Julian King (link):

"On 15 July 2016, in accordance with Article 246 subparagraph 2 TFEU, the Council decided to consult the European Parliament on the appointment to the position of member of the European Commission of Sir Julian KING for the Security Union portofolio.

Pursuant to Rule 118 and Annex XVI of the Rules of procedures, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will proceed to a hearing of Sir Julian King. Guidelines for the hearing are to be adopted by the Conference of Presidents on the basis of a proposal from the Conference of committee Chairs. The hearing will take place on Monday 12 September in Strasbourg from 19.00 to 22.00 in room Louise Weiss S1.4. The meeting will be webstreamed.

LIBE Coordinators will then meet on Tuesday 13 September to assess the hearing so that Mr Moraes, Chair of the LIBE Committee, can inform the President of Parliament in view of a plenary decision in the same plenary week."

See: Letter from Commission President Juncker: New Commissioner for the Security Union (pdf):

"I would like you to support the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship in the following tasks [including]:

• Ensuring the swift implementation of the steps needed to build an effective and genuine SecurityUnion as set out in the Commission Communication of 20 April 2016.
• Identifying where the EU can make a real difference in fighting terrorism, including measures that can address the threat posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters.
• Improving information and intelligence sharing, including through the initiatives to upgrade Europol’s European Counter-Terrorism Centre into a stronger structure and through the development ofefficient and interoperable information exchange systems.
• Reinforcing the security response to radicalisation...
• Ensuring that EU-financed security research targets the needs of security practitioners and develops solutions to forthcoming security challenges...

A Task Force composed by experts from the Commission services and supervised by the Director-General for Home Affairs will support you."

USA-UK: Inside Menwith Hill: The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing (The Intercept, link):

"For years, journalists and researchers have speculated about what really goes on inside Menwith Hill, while human rights groups and some politicians have campaigned for more transparency about its activities. Yet the British government has steadfastly refused to comment, citing a longstanding policy not to discuss matters related to national security.

Now, however, top-secret documents obtained by The Intercept offer an unprecedented glimpse behind Menwith Hill’s razor wire fence. The files reveal for the first time how the NSA has used the British base to aid “a significant number of capture-kill operations” across the Middle East and North Africa, fueled by powerful eavesdropping technology that can harvest data from more than 300 million emails and phone calls a day.....

The disclosures about Menwith Hill raise new questions about the extent of British complicity in U.S. drone strikes and other so-called targeted killing missions, which may in some cases have violated international laws or constituted war crimes. Successive U.K. governments have publicly stated that all activities at the base are carried out with the “full knowledge and consent” of British officials."

Non-EU citizens will pay to enter Schengen area under future ETIAS scheme (euractiv, link):

"The EU’s future passenger registration system could bring in up to €2 billion per year, which could be used to counter EU budget cuts.

British citizens may soon have to pay to visit the continent. As far-fetched as it may seem, this idea may become a reality when the Schengen area introduces a compulsory system of registration, based on the American ESTA.

The EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) would only apply to citizens of countries that do not need a visa to access the Schengen area. Members of the single market would be exempt from the measure thanks to the free movement of workers. But if the United Kingdom leaves the single market, things will not be simple."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8-9.9.16)

Shackled Freedoms : What Space for Civil Society in the EuroMed? (EuroMed Rights, link):

"This report depicts the obstacles and repression against civil society in the region and showcases first-hand accounts from Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories among others. The report also features recommendations by CSOs for joint action and seeks to influence EU policies to that effect. The report also focuses on the impact of security and anti-terrorist policies and lists the growing arsenal of repressive measures – both in law and practice – that CSOs face on a daily basis: judicial harassment, surveillance, arbitrary arrests, torture and assassination....

Despite legal safeguards and the human rights “shared values” rhetoric in the EU, EuroMed Rights argues that European civil society is under increasing pressure. Austerity measures and anti-terrorism laws are increasingly used to legitimise practices that go against individual freedoms and rights of assembly, association and expression, such as in France, Spain or the UK, for instance. The report is the result of a seminar organised in April 2016 as an open dialogue between EU representatives, South Mediterranean activists and Brussels-based CSOs."

See: Report (pdf)

GREECE: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Migrant Children Held in Deplorable Conditions - End Unjustified Detention of Vulnerable Unaccompanied Kids (link):

"Greek police routinely lock up unaccompanied children in small, overcrowded, and unhygienic cells for weeks and months, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The 27-page report, “‘Why Are You Keeping Me Here?’: Unaccompanied Children Detained in Greece,” documents arbitrary and prolonged detention of children in violation of international and Greek law. Children are held in unsanitary conditions, sometimes with unrelated adults, in police stations and detention centers where they have little access to basic care and services. The report is based on interviews with 42 children who were or had been detained, as well as visits to two police stations and two detention centers in mainland Greece."

Also: Conditions for Greece's migrant children shocking, says Human Rights Watch - They are being made to live in filthy, bug-and-vermin-infested cells, sometimes without mattresses or access to showers, claims report (link)

EU-CANADA PNR: CJEU Advocate-General Opinion: According to Advocate General Mengozzi, the agreement on the transfer of passenger name record data, planned between the European Union and Canada, cannot be entered into in its current form: A number of provisions of the draft agreement are incompatible with EU fundamental rights (Press release, pdf)

"Advocate General Mengozzi takes the view that certain provisions of the agreement envisaged, as currently drafted, are contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. More specifically, those are the provisions which:

- allow, beyond what is strictly necessary, the extension of the possibilities for processing PNR data, independently of the public security objective pursued by the agreement, namely preventing and detecting terrorist offences and serious forms of transnational crime;

- provide for the processing, use and retention by Canada of PNR data containing sensitive data;

- confer on Canada, beyond what is strictly necessary, the right to make any disclosure of information without a requirement for any connection with the public security objective pursued by the agreement;

- authorise Canada to retain PNR data for up to five years for, in particular, any specific action, review, investigation or judicial proceedings, without a requirement for any connection with the public security objective pursued by the agreement;

- allow PNR data to be transferred to a foreign public authority without the competent Canadian authority, subject to review by an independent authority, first being satisfied that the foreign public authority in question to which the data is transferred cannot itself subsequently communicate the data to another foreign body."

See: Full text Opinion (pdf) and: European Court Opinion: Canada PNR deal cannot be signed (EDRI, link)

European Parliament Study: Transatlantic Digital Economy and Data Protection: State-of-Play and Future Implications for the EU's External Policies (pdf):

"This study details how digital and data issues will be handled in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; explains how this intersects with the new EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement and the broader implications of the judgment on Safe Harbour; and explores key issues in transatlantic law enforcement cooperation before highlighting a few broader foreign policy issues and laying forth some recommendations for the EU institutions."

European Commission: DG Home: Study on smuggling of migrants: Characteristics, responses and cooperation with third countries - Case Study 3: Pakistan – Turkey – Greece (pdf):

"In this case study, Pakistan was selected as the country of departure, with Turkey chosen as a transit country and Greece as the country of first entry to the EU. This case study covers the land border from Pakistan to Turkey, as well as the sea border from Turkey to Greece. It focuses on the Eastern Mediterranean land and sea routes....

Smuggling along this route is not organised by mafia type organisations, but rather more horizontal networks, which enables flexibility and poses particular challenges for apprehending migrant smugglers...."

Snowden: Privacy Shield won't stop US mass surveillance (euobserver, link):

"Edward Snowden, a former US national security agency intelligence contractor, told an audience in Brussels on Wednesday (7 September) that US government claims surveillance has been narrowed under the new EU-US Privacy Shield data sharing agreement is false.

"It's categorically untrue," he said via video-link from Russia, where he has been granted asylum, at an event organised by German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht....

"They are denying they do mass surveillance, they are saying what we do do is bulk collection, which is in their world something entirely different, but in reality, in our world, it is mass surveillance," said Snowden.

Privacy Shield replaced the 15-year old Safe Harbour pact, which was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice last October over broader concerns linked to US mass surveillance programmes disclosed by Snowden."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (7.9.16)

COE-CPT: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Turkey (link):

"A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Turkey from 29 August to 6 September 2016.

The purpose of the visit was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of persons who have been detained in connection with the recent military coup attempt. To this end, the delegation interviewed in private several hundred persons in various prisons and police establishments in the Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir areas.

On the occasion of the visit, the delegation also raised with the relevant authorities certain issues related to the situation of Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners currently held at Imrali F-type High-Security Prison."

REPORT: Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children (Unicef, link):

"Across the globe, nearly 50 million children have been uprooted – 28 million of them driven from their homes by conflicts not of their making, and millions more migrating in the hope of finding a better, safer life. Often traumatized by the conflicts and violence they are fleeing, they face further dangers along the way, including the risk of drowning on sea crossings, malnourishment and dehydration, trafficking, kidnapping, rape and even murder. In countries they travel through and at their destinations, they often face xenophobia and discrimination."

And see: Nearly half of all refugees are children, says Unicef (Guardian, link): "Report shows child refugee figures have jumped by 75% in five years to 8 million, and calls for urgent action to protect the 50 million child migrants worldwide."

Council of Europe: Austria: First report on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (link):

"Today, the first ever report from Austria is published on the country’s efforts to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence.

Austria joins Monaco as one of the first two countries to undergo a basic evaluation of compliance with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The treaty is more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention.

Its entry into force in August 2014, marked the first time that Europe has defined binding legal norms regarding violence against women and domestic violence."

See: Questionnaire: on legislative and other measures giving effect to the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) (pdf)

EU court allows extradition of citizens outside of bloc (euractiv, link):

"The EU’s top court has ruled that member states are not obligated to grant other EU citizens the same level of protection from extradition that is afforded to its own citizens.

In a judgement on a case involving an Estonian national arrested in Latvia and subject to an extradition order by Russia, the European Court of Justice ruled that Latvia’s decision to comply with Russia’s request did not contravene the principles of non-discrimination."

See CJEU Press release (pdf) and: Extradition to non-EU countries: the limits imposed by EU citizenship (EU Law Analysis, link)

UK-EU BREXIT: UK to seek special arrangement on security and Justice and Home Affairs? David Davis (Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union): House of Commons statement 5.9.16 (link):

"We want to maintain or even strengthen our co-operation on security and defence."

Asked a question by Yvette Cooper MP about whether the UK will stay in Europol Mr Davis replied:

"The right hon. Lady was an eminent member of the Cabinet, and, indeed, an eminent Front-Bench Member and shadow Home Secretary. I therefore take her question extremely seriously, as she does this issue. The simple answer is that the whole justice and home affairs stream is being assessed even as we speak, and the aim is to preserve the relationship with the European Union on security matters as best we can. The right hon. Lady will recall that last year a decision was made which laid aside about 100 measures that we did not want to be part of, but kept some others, including the European arrest warrant and one or two others — controversially, as she will remember. So yes, of course we are on that, and of course we are aiming to maintain it. That is the answer." [emphasis added]

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.9.16)

European Parliament: Studies:

- Reception of female refugees and asylum seekers in the EU Case study Belgium and Germany (pdf):

"Commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, this study provides an overview of the implementation of Directive 2013/33/EU laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection. It outlines the legal framework and examines how gender related aspects and the reception needs of vulnerable groups are considered in practice in Munich (Germany) and Brussels (Belgium)."

- Cyberbullying among young people (pdf):

"An analysis of legislation and policies aimed at preventing and fighting this phenomenon across the 28 EU Member States is also presented. The study outlines the variety of definitions of cyberbullying across EU Member States and the similarities and differences between cyberbullying, traditional bullying and cyber aggression. Moreover, it presents successful practices on how to prevent and combat cyberbullying in nine selected EU Member States and puts forward recommendations for improving the response at EU and Member State levels."

UK: The Met police are using a horrific new weapon, and they don’t want you to know about it (The Canary, link):

"The Metropolitan police are getting a new weapon to use against suspects – but they’re so worried about how it’ll look to members of the public that they’ll only be able to use it behind closed doors, in custody suites.

The controversial ‘spit hood’ – a mesh hood used as a restraint device – has been authorised for use by the Met police, the largest police force in the UK. Under a pilot scheme, the hood will be available for police to use in custody units across the London force."

'Prisoners of Europe': the everyday humiliation of refugees stuck in Greece (Guardian, link)

"Europe’s migration policies are turning the country into a giant holding pen, with the people trapped in it close to breaking point.

But most observers acknowledge the general situation is dire – and has the potential to turn into a long-term tragedy.

The EU relocation scheme and the EU-Turkey deal are collectively meant to see most asylum seekers moved out of Greece. But with both schemes faltering, one of the early architects of the EU-Turkey deal believes many refugees may end up never leaving.

According to Gerald Knaus, the thinktank chief who first envisaged the deal last September, Greece could end up becoming a giant holding pen for refugees, performing the same controversial role for Europe that Nauru and Manus Island perform for Australia in the Pacific."

Greece: IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC): Missing Migrants: Management of Dead Bodies in Lesbos (pdf):

"In this report we seek to survey how the bodies of migrants who die or go missing in their effort to cross the Aegean Sea are managed in Greece, and what laws, policies and practices are in place to ensure that the dead are identified and families informed. Our research focuses on the Greek island of Lesbos, one of the key entry points to Europe for migrants and refugees during the recent crisis, and close to of which a number of deadly shipwrecks have occurred.

Our aim is to both identify apparent deficiencies in current approaches to migrant fatalities in Greece, as well as noting where good practice exists that should be duplicated. We identify a policy vacuum around the problem, marked by a lack of cooperation among different state agencies and the absence of standard operating procedures."

USA: Analysis: How the world's biggest tech companies could wriggle out of privacy rules (Chicago Tribune, link):

"Companies such as Google and Facebook thrive on your personal data — the bits of information that tell advertisers how old you are, what brands you like and how long you lingered on that must-see cat video. Historically, how these companies use this data has been subject to oversight by the Federal Trade Commission, the government's top privacy watchdog.

But a big court defeat for the FTC this week is putting the agency's power to protect your online privacy in jeopardy, analysts say. The ruling could wind up giving Google and Facebook, not to mention other companies in the internet ecosystem, the ability to escape all privacy oversight from the FTC, and possibly from the rest of government, too, critics claim, unless Congress intervenes." and

USA: Amazon, Google, Apple… Fox News join Microsoft in US gagging orders fight - Eclectic bunch supports MS battle against US government's secret requests for user data.(arstechnica.co.uk, link):

"Microsoft's quest to put a stop to the US government's habit of demanding access to customers' digital records in court-ordered secrecy has won dozens of allies in the tech world.

The likes of Apple, Google, and Mozilla—among many others—have put their names to an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit Microsoft filed against the federal government over its controversial and continued use of gagging orders."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.9.16): UN calls on Greece to open camps; Sarkozy wants UK to process Calais asylum claims; Merkel interview on the refugee crisis.

UK: The politics of fear: how Britain’s anti-extremism strategy has failed (The Guardian, link): "An in-depth review of current political rhetoric is imperative. Our politicians are ethicising and Islamising the question of violent extremism in order to avoid dealing with real issues. The politics of fear must be abandoned. To act against violent extremism does not mean snooping on every single “sign of radicalisation”, or criminalising every individual, or group of individuals involved.

The UK government has created an atmosphere of suspicion and stigmatisation of Muslims. An effect of this will ultimately be to nurture the very radicalisation they wish to eradicate. A re-examination of strategy is required, going beyond security and surveillance, and placing greater emphasis on education, partnership, and the social and political factors at play. Unfortunately we are very far from this goal."

GREECE: Hotspots on Aegean islands still massively overcrowded

Latest Greek government figueres on hosting capacity for refugees. 5,388 "guests" are being held on Lesvos, where there is capacity for 3,500 people. On Chios, 3,316 "guests" are being held in a camp intended to hold 1,100; on Samos there are 1,351 people in a centre designed to hold 850; and on Kos 1,531 in a 1,000-person centre. Leros is the only island not suffering from overcrowding, with 719 "guests" being held in a space able to accomodate 1,000.

See: Summary statement of refugee flows at 08.00 05.09.2016 (pdf)

USA-UK: A healthy trade in surveillance equipment: Cobham spy gear catalogue leaked

"A confidential, 120-page catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area.

The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information. The document provides a rare look at the wide range of electronic surveillance tactics used by police and militaries in the U.S. and abroad, offering equipment ranging from black boxes that can monitor an entire town’s cellular signals to microphones hidden in lighters and cameras hidden in trashcans. Markings date it to 2014."

See: Leaked Catalogue Reveals a Vast Array of Military Spy Gear Offered to U.S. Police (The Intercept, link)

UN to Greece: end automatic detention of migrants, improve reception standards

The UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on the Greek government to end the automatic detention of migrants arriving on the Aegean islands, to improve living conditions and ensure the rule of law is upheld in detention centres, and to do more to protect and provide for migrant children.

See: United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 'Concluding observations on the twentieth to twenty-second periodic reports on Greece', 26 August 2016 (pdf)

GERMANY-EU: Angela Merkel's fight against Europe's far-Right begins at home (The Telegraph, link):

"The news that Angela Merkel’s party has been beaten in the German Chancellor’s own backyard by the populist Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) is being taken as yet another bellwether that the far-Right is once again ascendant in Europe.

The simple narrative runs that if the AfD can win even in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, where Mrs Merkel has her constituency, it must surely represent a serious threat to Germany democracy as we approach the next year’s federal election where Mrs Merkel is expected to seek a historic fourth term.

But that misses a fundamental point about the appeal of parties like the AfD, with its nasty, narrow mix of nativist anti-Muslim bigotry and barely coded white supremacism – which is that the more white and mono-cultural the electoral district, the better they perform."

EU: Counter-terrorism specialists team up to take down online terrorist propaganda (Europol press release, pdf):

"1 677 media content and social media accounts in 6 languages containing terrorist and violent extremist propaganda have been processed for the purpose of referral. The content was hosted by 35 social media and online service providers.

This is the result of a Europol coordinated international action involving Internet Referral Units (IRUs) from France, Germany, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

For the first time since its launch, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised and joined forces with the IRUs on a 48-hour joint action to secure the removal of the material as quickly as possible. The teams jointly targeted accounts used by terrorist groups to radicalise, recruit, direct terrorist activity and glorify their atrocities."

EU: Pilots, airlines and others call for rules to keep domestic drones under control

"As drones continue to take the world by a storm, key stakeholders are warning that the safety risks of drone operations may be seriously underestimated and deserve urgent attention. A Joint Statement, signed by the entire spectrum of manned aviation stakeholders – from pilots to airlines, helicopter operators to air traffic controllers – calls for “a robust harmonized EU-wide regulatory safety framework”. ECA, IATA, EHA, ACI EUROPE, ERAA, IACA, A4E, IFALPA, IFATCA and CANSO jointly ask for a number of measures to be taken, including mandatory drone registration, operator/drone pilot training & licensing, built-in performance limitations and robust oversight by the national aviation authority."

GERMANY: Interview with Angela Merkel on the refugee crisis: much left unsaid on safe passage

An interview between German tabloid Bild and the country's chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been translated into English. The interview focuses almost entirely on the arrival in Europe of hundreds of thousands of refugees, and Germany and the EU's response. Although it touches on many aspects of the situation, the interview leaves much unsaid.

UK-EU: People pushed to the margins driven to vote for Brexit (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, link):

"People earning less than £20,000 a year, with lower qualifications and living in low-skilled areas were the driving force behind the vote to leave the European Union, research for the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has found.

In one of the first academic analyses to examine individual and place-based characteristics driving the Leave vote, it shows how a lack of opportunity across swathes of the country led to Brexit. It shows how British votes in the referendum were divided across economic, educational and social lines.

It concludes that groups of voters who have been pushed to the margins of society, who live on low incomes, have few qualifications and lack the skills required to prosper in the modern economy, were more likely than others to endorse Brexit."

Full report: Brexit vote explained: poverty, low skills and lack of opportunities (JRF, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3-4.9.16)

EU: Council of the European Union: European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO)

- Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office - Consolidated text: update of the provisional version (LIMITE doc 11350-REV-1-16,pdf).

"the Presidency has updated the provisional version of its consolidated text of the draft Regulation, as set out in Annex. All modifications in relation to documents 15100/15 and 9799/16 are indicated in underlined or strikethrough...."

- Previous version (LIMITE doc no: 11350-16, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Counter-Terrorism Directive:

- Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating terrorism and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism - exchange of views on the LIBE orientation vote of 4 July 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 11169-16, pdf)

This 4-column trilogue document sets out the Commission proposal, the positions of the Council and the European Parliament and the "compromise" position:

"The Presidency would like to obtain feedback and specific guidance from delegations in particular regarding the provisions on:
• public provocation (Article 5)
• receiving training (Article 8)
• travelling for the purpose of terrorism (Article 9)
• financing of terrorism (Articles 11)
• victims' rights (Article 22 and 23)
• exchange of information (new Article 21c)

In addition, the Presidency invites delegations to indicate their initial views regarding the proposed provisions on fundamental rights and procedural guarantees (new Articles 23a, 23c and 23d), on prevention (new Article 21b) and on measures against illegal terrorist content on the Internet (new Article 14a)."

EU: European Parliament Study: Good Governance in EU External Relations: What role for development policy in a changing international context? (pdf):

"It is by no means automatic that the EU will continue and further increase its engagement in supporting governance reforms. In this context, the objective of this study is to summarise evidence from academic research on why the EU and other donors should support governance reforms and under which conditions EU support positively contributes to governance reforms.

Moreover, the study analyses how the EU has aimed at contributing to governance reforms during the past decade, focusing in particular on the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund. The study puts emphasis on EU development policy, but places the analysis of governance support through development policy in the broader context of EU external relations."

EU-TURKEY "DEAL": A reminder of the conditions Turkey has to meet before visa-free travel becomes a possibility:

Overview: Turkey meets 65 of 72 requirements for visa liberalisation (Statewatch, link):

As part of the EU-Turkey deal on migrants and refugees, signed on 18 March 2016, the EU agreed:

“to accelerate the implementation of the visa liberalization roadmap with all Member States with a view to lifting the visa requirements for Turkish citizens at the latest by the end of June 2016.”

On 4 May the Commission published the ‘Third Report on progress by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap’.

See:
Turkey ‘must meet conditions’ for visa-free travel, says Merkel (ekathimerini.com, link):

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted that Turkey must fulfill all 72 preconditions before the European Union grants visa-free travel to its citizens.

“These 72 conditions have not yet been met, and of course we will insist that agreements are honored by our side and Turkey,” Merkel told private TV network RTL." and

Turkish EU minister says no deal on migrants without visa-free travel (ekathimerini.com,, link)

"Turkey will not apply a readmission agreement with the European Union meant to stem the flow of illegal migrants if it does not get the visa-free travel to Europe it has been promised, its EU affairs minister Omer Celik said on Thursday."

EU-USA: Draft agenda of the EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Senior Officials Meeting, Bratislava, 8-9 September 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 11193-16, pdf) including: Counter-terrorism, Migration and mobility, Transnational crime, Data Protection, Anti-money laundering and terrorism financing, Cooperation in the area of criminal law and Cooperation with third countries.

News Digest: round-up of news stories from across the EU (2.9.16)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.9.16)

BULGARIA: Battle in Refugee Camp Leaves Bulgarian Town Nervous (Balkan Insight, link):

"Following the brawl in Harmanli, the government decided to allow the State Agency for the Refugees to set up refugee camps of a closed kind, or transform existing open camps into closed facilities if they assess that it is necessary.

The decision has drawn criticism from human rights activists, who argue that existing Bulgarian laws should simply be applied to individuals that break them.

Harmanli, the largest refugee camp in Bulgaria, hosts around 1,500 asylum seekers mainly from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan.

While the camp held just over 150 asylum seekers only few weeks ago, the number of refugees stuck in Bulgarian refugee camps has steadily grown since Serbia tightened controls over its border with Bulgaria in July, sending army units to join border patrols."

EU: Europol: report on the first year of the Internet Referral Unit

A recent report by EU policing agency Europol "presents the achievements of the first year of the EU Internet Referral Unit (IRU) and its future priorities, which are in line with its mandate." The IRU is a specialised unit that seeks to ensure the removal from the web of content related to terrorism, violent extremism and migrant smuggling.

See: Europol, 'EU Internet Referral Unit - YEAR ONE REPORT - HIGHLIGHTS' (pdf)

UK: The role of the Judge: Umpire in a Contest, Seeker of the Truth or Something in Between?

Speech by Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court of the UK, on some of the ethical dilemmas raised by the role of the judge in common law systems. Given as part of a panel in Singapore on 'Judicial Ethics and Dilemmas on the Bench', 19 August 2016.

See: The role of the Judge: Umpire in a Contest, Seeker of the Truth or Something in Between? (pdf)

EU: Global fingerprinting: EU database of visa applicants expanding fast

The report: eu-LISA, 'Report on the technical functioning of the VIS', July 2016 (pdf)

EU: ‘The Way People Look at Us Has Changed’: Muslim Women on Life in Europe (New York Times, link):

"The storm over bans on burkinis in more than 30 French beach towns has all but drowned out the voices of Muslim women, for whom the full-body swimsuits were designed. The New York Times solicited their perspective, and the responses — more than 1,000 comments from France, Belgium and beyond — went much deeper than the question of swimwear.

What emerged was a portrait of life as a Muslim woman, veiled or not, in parts of Europe where terrorism has put people on edge. One French term was used dozens of times: “un combat,” or “a struggle,” to live day to day. Many who were born and raised in France described confusion at being told to go home."

UK: Questionable numbers on "sham marriages"

"These latest figures contrast heavily with previous figures relied on by the Government when introducing the Immigration Act 2014. At that time the Minister claimed there were 1,300 interventions in sham marriages (actually in suspected sham marriages) in 2013-14. The figure surely cannot have dropped from 1,300 in 2013-14 to just 54 in 2014-15? Is it possible that the Minister was in 2014 over-egging the statistics in order to secure the introduction of new powers which were in truth unnecessary?

In short, the latest figures suggest there are very few investigations and the Home Office is unwilling to release information on the outcome of the investigations. They may have all turned out to be genuine."

See: New guidance and numbers on sham marriage investigations published by Home Office (Free Movement, link)

EU: One year after the death of Alan Kurdi

One year after three-year-old refugee Alan Kurdi drowned in the Aegean Sea, his father "has urged Europe to keep its doors open to migrants," while his grandfather has made a "plea for world leaders to end the war in Syria." Amnesty International's general secretary said on the anniversary of the child's death: "The outpouring of sympathy for Alan Kurdi seen last year must be extended to the countless other refugee children who are in dire need of help," with the organisation noting the "dismal failure of world leaders to tackle the refugee crisis."

UK: Learning from history on prison reform: new pamphlet following John Howard's footsteps

"The Howard League for Penal Reform is the world’s oldest penal reform charity. We are celebrating our 150th birthday throughout 2016. John Howard, as our namesake, is pivotal to the shape and nature of the charity through the years.

Today, the Howard League for Penal Reform continues to campaign for change in the criminal justice system, acting as an independent voice just like John Howard. This pamphlet by Professor Thomas Vander Beken from Ghent University is based on his research following John Howard’s footsteps travelling to prisons across Europe. This pamphlet is published to correspond with John Howard’s own birthday in September 1726, some 290 years ago. What is salutary for us penal reformers today is how relevant his work and ideas remain."

See: Asking new questions: Lessons relearned from John Howard (link) and the publication (pdf)

French interior minister says Calais camp will be removed (again)

"France is to gradually dismantle the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has vowed.

Cazeneuve told the regional newspaper the Nord Littoral he would press ahead with the closure of the camp “with the greatest determination”, dismantling the site in stages, clearing the former wasteland where record numbers of refugees and migrants are sleeping rough in dire sanitary conditions as many hope to reach Britain."

UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: How Many Spycops Have There Been? (Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, link):

"There are 17 spycops who have been named and well documented. There are strong suspicions about several more. Fifteen of the seventeen have been exposed by their victims. One has been exposed by journalists, one by the officer himself – Peter Francis, the only whistleblower. None have come from the police.

Journalists – notably Rob Evans and Paul Lewis at the Guardian – have substantially fleshed out the activists’ research. The Met recently claimed to be having trouble even sorting their records into order. If that is true then perhaps the best bet would be to allow these tenacious activists and journalists, who have done such sterling work despite police obstructions, to come and have a go."

UK: End the detention of refugee women: Set Her Free: Margaret's Story (YouTube, link):

"This short animation, produced by Women for Refugee Women and directed by Priya Sundram, highlights the experiences of refugee women - many of whom have survived sexual violence and torture - who are detained in Yarl’s Wood."

Via: Women for Refugee Women (link)

EU Commission: Copyright "reform": Directive: Proposal for Copyright in the Digital Single Market (IGEL via IPKat, pdf)

See: It could not be worse: Draft proposal for the copyright directive leaked (IGEL, link)

"We have just received the draft proposal of the European Commission for a new copyright directive. It shall complement – i.e. in general not amend – other directives inter alia the InfoSoc directive from 2001. As it had to be expected from the Impact Assessment that was leaked last week, the draft reads like an answer to the wish list of the publishing industry. Here comes a first assessment."

And: What the heck is ancillary copyright and why do we call it the Link Tax? (Open Media, link)

Also: Commission Staff Working Document: Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules (182 pages, pdf):

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.9.16)

UK: Submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on hate crime and its violent consequences (IRR News, link):

"As the police investigate the murder of a Polish factory worker in Harlow, the Institute of Race Relations publishes today its evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Inquiry into Hate Crime and its Violent Consequences."

And see: Man murdered for being Polish? (IRR News, link):

"On Saturday night, 27 August, Arkadiusz Józwik and two friends were attacked as they ate a pizza outside a Harlow takeaway. Arkadiusz Józwik was knocked out and suffered head injuries. The 40-year-old died two days later in hospital."

EU: Commission: Relocation from Greece and Italy (30.8.16, pdf):

- 1,020 relocations from Italy out of 39,600
- 3,435 relocations from Greece out of 66,400

- Overall: 12,990 relocation places made available out of 160,000 from 24 EU Member States.

Turkish EU minister says no deal on migrants without visa-free travel (ekathimerini.com, link)

"Turkey will not apply a readmission agreement with the European Union meant to stem the flow of illegal migrants if it does not get the visa-free travel to Europe it has been promised, its EU affairs minister Omer Celik said on Thursday."

ECHR: UK breached Art 5 by failing to process immigration detainee's case with due diligence. 3,500 Euros damages: CASE OF V.M. v. THE UNITED KINGDOM (pdf)

UK: House of Commins: Justice Committee report: Restorative justice (pdf):

"In this report we consider the effectiveness of restorative justice (RJ) provision across the criminal justice system. The push from the Ministry of Justice has been for high quality restorative justice to be available to victims at every stage of the criminal justice system irrespective of where they are geographically, the age of the offender or the offence committed against them and we support these objectives in this report. We have focused our analysis on the services currently available to victims."

How algorithms rule our working lives (Guardian, link):

"Employers are turning to mathematically modelled ways of sifting through job applications. Even when wrong, their verdicts seem beyond dispute – and they tend to punish the poor"

Poland: 'Empty Facade' of Human Rights Protections in Poland (LIberties.eu, link):

"A letter to the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers asks her to investigate the current threats to judicial independence in Poland. .

According to the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the constitutional crisis that has lasted for over a year poses a serious threat to the independence of the entire justice system.."


August 2016

EU: European Border and Coast Guard: briefing by European Parliamentary Research Service

"In December 2015, the European Commission proposed setting up a European Border and Coast Guard System (EBCGS), building on the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the EU (Frontex). The proposal would introduce a supervisory role and a 'right to intervene' in situations at the border requiring urgent action; expand Frontex's operational tasks and its prerogatives on processing personal data; and reinforce fundamental rights and transparency safeguards.

Commentators and stakeholders had raised concerns on respect for fundamental rights, division of competences between the EU and Member States and the adequacy of the suggested individual complaint mechanism. The text agreed by the EP and Council expands the Agency’s prerogatives on return operations, on migration management, the fight against cross-border crimes, and search and rescue operations. Fundamental rights safeguards and the Agency’s accountability vis-à-vis the EP and Council have been strengthened. If a Member State opposes a Council decision to provide assistance, putting the Schengen area at risk, other EU countries may temporarily reintroduce internal border controls.

The EP adopted its position at first reading on 6 July 2016, reflecting the compromise agreement reached. The Council is expected to adopt the act by written procedure, enabling it to be signed during the September plenary."

Contents: Introduction - Existing situation - The changes the proposal brings - Preparation of the proposal - Parliament's starting position - Council and European Council - Stakeholders' views - Advisory committees - National parliaments - Parliamentary analysis - Legislative process - references

See: Briefing: European Border and Coast Guard system (pdf)

Turkey: handling of aftermath of coup attempt is a crucial test, say MEPs (European Parliament press release, pdf):

"The respect of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt will be a crucial test for the state of the country’s democracy, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Tuesday. They assessed the results of last week’s fact-finding mission to Turkey by the committee chair and rapporteur and stressed the need for constant monitoring."

EU-BOSNIA: Europol and Bosnia and Herzegovina agree to share information on cross-border crime (press release, pdf):

"Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Security, Dragan Mektiæ, and Europol's Director, Rob Wainwright, signed today an agreement to expand their cooperation in combatting cross-border criminal activities by exchanging information, including personal data of suspected criminals, and jointly planning operational activities."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31.8.16)

USA: The Strategic Costs of Torture: How “Enhanced Interrogation” Hurt America (Foreign Affairs, link):

"Despite their disagreements, all these perspectives share one key assumption: that whether the torture was good or bad depends on whether or not it “worked”—that is, whether it produced lifesaving results. Leaving aside the very real human and legal consequences of torture, a truly comprehensive assessment would also explore the policy’s broader implications, including how it shaped the trajectory of the so-called war on terror, altered the relationship between the United States and its allies, and affected Washington’s pursuit of other key goals, such as the promotion of democracy and human rights abroad. To assess the overall effect of torture on U.S. national security, one should consider not only its supposed tactical benefits but also its strategic impact.

Our team of researchers at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School has begun the first such review, and we’ve found that Washington’s use of torture greatly damaged national security. It incited extremism in the Middle East, hindered cooperation with U.S. allies, exposed American officials to legal repercussions, undermined U.S. diplomacy, and offered a convenient justification for other governments to commit human rights abuses. The takeaway is clear: reinstating torture would be a costly mistake."

And see: Observatory on "rendition": The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners

UK: Killing investigated as hate crime days after UN warning on racism

Police have arrested six teenage boys following the death of a Polish man in Harlow, with the investigation considering "the possibility of it being a hate crime". Arkadiusz Józwik was attacked just days after the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a report noting that the EU referendum campaign "was marked by divisive, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, and that many politicians and prominent political figures not only failed to condemn it, but also created and entrenched prejudices, thereby emboldening individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate."

UK-FRANCE: Response to Calais situation: more security measures

The UK and French governments yesterday issued a joint statement setting out what they plan to do "to strengthen the security of our shared border, to strongly diminish the migratory pressure in Calais and preserve the vital economic link supported by the juxtaposed controls in Calais."

See: Joint statement by the governments of France and the United Kingdom (pdf)

“Nobody is ever just a refugee”: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful speech on the global migrant crisis (Quartz, link): "The Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called on attendees of the United Nation’s World Humanitarian day last week to rethink the refugee crisis.

“Nobody is ever just a refugee,” said the novelist and non-fiction writer, delivering the keynote address at the event in New York. “Nobody is ever just a single thing. And yet, in the public discourse today, we often speak of people as a single a thing. Refugee. Immigrant.”"

UK: #UnisResistBorderControls (Right to Remain, link):

"Five months ago, the Justice4Sanaz campaign launched the #UnisResistBorderControls campaign at SOAS. This urgent campaign brings together grassroots activists and campaigners to oppose widespread abuses against non-EU international students and staff within the British higher education system and by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI).

In the over three years since the Justice4Sanaz campaign was established, I have worked tirelessly campaigning against the racist and xenophobic discrimination I have experienced while as a PhD student at the University of Leeds. At the same time I have also campaigned against the way British universities collude with the Home Office and UKVI to effectively act as border control on campus. This collusion is creating a situation where bureaucratic surveillance is being used to victimise non-EU international students who have experienced unfair dismissals as a result of racism, ableism, and misogyny, thereby preventing them from seeking recourse to justice."

EU: Towards a corporate copyright reform in the EU? (EDRi, link):

"During our copyfails blogpost series we described how badly the EU copyright regime is broken, and how these failures could be fixed if the political will existed. However, after reading the draft IA, our conclusion is that EU policy-makers do not seem to think it is worth the effort to bring copyright to the XXI century. Ignoring the results of the copyright consultation of 2014, and despite not having published the analysis on the results on the public consultation on ancillary copyright and freedom of panorama, the Commission has a plan: Let’s ignore all facts (even those previously identified) and avoid a real reform at all costs."

EU: New rules on net neutrality agreed

"European Union telecoms regulators adopted strict rules on Tuesday limiting how telecoms firms like Vodafone and Orange can prioritize some types of Internet traffic, dealing a blow to an industry hoping to boost revenues.

The guidelines on net neutrality - the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally - were welcomed by Internet activists. The new rules will ensure the web remains an open platform and will not become a two-speed highway, benefiting only companies with deep pockets that can pay for prioritized delivery, they said."

The guidelines: BEREC Guidelines on the Implementation by National Regulators of European Net Neutrality Rules (pdf)

UK: EQUALITY: New investigations welcome, but hostile environment must change (Liberty, link):

"On Sunday Theresa May revealed that the Government is launching an audit of public services to tackle racial disparities. Meanwhile, the Labour Party is launching a consultation on tackling discrimination and promoting racial equality.

Both initiatives should be welcomed.

The Equality and Human Rights Commis sion and Black Lives Matter UK have recently laid bare the scale, pattern and challenge of racial inequality in Britain.

But audits and consultations are only a first step. Successive Governments have ignored evidence and policy recommendations on race discrimination in favour of comforting words and a revolving door of ‘reviews’.

The solutions to entrenched discrimination are, of course, complex and require long-term commitment and strategy. Yet the Government could take a number of easy steps to improve things quickly and send a powerful message that its vision for post-Brexit Britain is an equal and tolerant one.

For one it could repeal its flagship ‘hostile environment’ strategy which encourages racial profiling and discrimination."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.8.16)

EU-MED: Council of the European Union: EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia authorised to start two additional supporting tasks (press release, pdf):

"On 30 August 2016, the Political and Security Committee authorised EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia to begin two additional supporting tasks:

- training of the Libyan coastguard and navy

- contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya
."

6,500 migrants rescued off coast of Libya in one day (euractiv, link):

"Around 6,500 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya on Monday (30 August), the Italian coastguard said, in one of its busiest days of life-saving in recent years....

“The command centre coordinated 40 rescue operations” that included vessels from Italy, humanitarian organisations as well as the EU’s border agency Frontex, saving 6,500 migrants, the coastguard wrote on Twitter."

See also: Dramatic photos show refugees fleeing Libya being rescued at sea (Guardian, link)

Turkish FM warns migrant pact will collapse unless EU meets committments (ekathimerini.com, link):

"In an interview with Kathimerini published on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned the EU that if it doesn’t grant Turkish citizens via-free travel to Europe by October “at the latest,” then Ankara will not continue implementing a deal struck in March with Brussels to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

“Despite the fact that irregular migration in the Aegean is now under control, we do not see the EU keen on delivering its promises,” he said, insisting that Turkey cannot continue on its own to stop irregular migration toward the EU while the latter does not assume its obligations."

See: Full interview (link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27-29.8.16)

GLOBAL MIGRATION DATA ANALYSIS CENTRE: Data Briefing: Dangerous journeys – International migration increasingly unsafe in 2016 (link)

See: The deadliest route (IRIN, link)

"Until quite recently, no international agency tracked how many migrants died or went missing during journeys that often involve crossing deserts and oceans and relying on smugglers. Thanks to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, which launched in 2013, we now have a better idea of how many migrants die before they reach their destination. A report released by IOM this week, covering the first six months of 2016, shows a 28 percent increase in migrant deaths compared to the same period in 2015. Although part of the reason for the increase is probably better reporting, increasingly dangerous smuggling strategies in the Central Mediterranean are also to blame. A staggering one in 29 migrants died attempting the Central Mediterranean crossing between North Africa and Italy in the first six months of 2016. By comparison, the much shorter Eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece claimed the lives of one in 410 who attempted it."

LEGAL CHALLENGE TO EU-TURKEY REFUGEE DEAL:

Interesting Irish case dealing with the legality of the so-called EU-Turkey "deal" raised before an Irish Court on the 24th June 2016 and naming the European Council, the European Union, Ireland and the Attorney General as defendants. All the defendants have now entered conditional appearances (nominated their legal representatives). It has to be seen if the Irish Judge will refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a decision on the legality of the European Council’s actions

See: McGarr Solicitors representing Syrian refugees (link)

Libyan navy admits confrontation with charity's rescue boat - Navy spokesman reportedly says its patrol fired warning shots to MSF refugee vessel, but aid group says attackers fired at boat (Guardian, link):

"The Libyan navy’s claims are inconsistent with MSF’s account. The aid group says the attackers fired at least 13 bullets directly at its boat, some of which hit the ship’s bridge, or control room. MSF also says the attackers boarded the boat for approximately 50 minutes.

Qassim’s claims are further complicated by the fact that the Bourbon Argos has been working openly in international waters off the Libyan coast for over a year, rescuing tens of thousands of asylum seekers. Its activities have long been known to Libyan authorities, it is clearly branded with MSF’s logo, and its identity is visible on the automatic identification system (AIS) to which all ships and naval authorities have access."

UN blames UK politicians for Brexit hate crime spike (BBC News, link):

"Divisive" and "anti-immigrant" rhetoric by UK politicians during the EU referendum helped to fuel a spike in race hate crimes in the weeks before and after the vote, a UN body has said. It said prominent political figures had "failed to condemn" racist abuse and created prejudices during the campaign.

The report expressed concerns at the negative portrayal of immigrants in the UK and a rise of racist online abuse. Some 3,198 hate crimes were reported from 16-30 June - a 42% rise on 2015. The EU referendum was held on 23 June - when the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Abuse peaked on 25 June - the day after the result was announced - when 289 hate crimes and incidents were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A further 3,001 reports of hate crimes were made to police between 1 and 14 July - equivalent to more than 200 every day."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.8.16): more deaths at sea on journeys to Spain; Norway builds a border fence; Parliament raises concerns over Commission's "safe countries of origin" proposal; Turkey threatens to scrap refugee deal (again); and more.

News Digest: round up of news stories from across the EU (26.8.16)

New routes to reach Spain lead to more deaths at sea

In the first half of 2016, more people have died at sea trying to reach Spain than during 2015 as a whole. The reinforcement of border security measures and raids against undocumented migrants by Moroccan gendarmes has led to the development of longer, more treacherous routes, with new ports of departure emerging near the Morocco-Algeria border and the sea route to the Canary Islands re-opening.

At least 208 people are thought to have died during the crossing to Spain in the first six months of 2016, although the true figure is almost certainly higher. In 2015, the total number of known deaths was 195.

EU: Common list of safe countries of origin: Parliament concerns over Commission proposal

The Commission originally proposed adopting a European list made up initially of six "safe countries of origin": Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The report by the civil liberties committee cites a number of concerns and significantly alters the Commission's proposal, including by refusing to include any specific countries before opinions from the European Asylum Support Office have been completed.

See: Explanatory statement (pdf) and full report (pdf) by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

EU: European System for Travel Authorisation on the way

"The European Commission is preparing a proposal inspired by France and Germany to introduce a “European ESTA” modelled on a US scheme requiring international travellers who do not need a visa to apply online – and pay a $14 fee – before entering the territory, EurActiv.com can confirm.

A legislative draft will be tabled “in the autumn”, probably in November, EU sources told EurActiv.

Paris and Berlin have been pushing for the scheme, which would introduce a pan-European system for international travellers wishing to enter EU territory.

The proposal comes amid heightened security concerns following deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last November and subsequent bombings in Brussels in March."

See: Brussels prepares EU-wide scheme for visa-free travel authorisation (EurActiv, link)

And: Migration: discussions on the "Central Mediterranean Route", EU Travel Information and Authorisation System; Visa Code negotiations (Statewatch News Online, May 2016)

UK-EU: Brexit, data protection, and the independence of the Information Commissioner's Office

"Just after the EU referendum vote, the ICO published a bold statement, calling for Data Protection standards in the UK to be equivalent to those in the EU. Shortly after, the statement disappeared. Around a week later, it was replaced by something more bland...

I made an FOI request to the ICO for “Any recorded information on the decision to remove the statement, including who made the decision to remove it, and why it was removed“. Remarkably, the ICO claims to hold just one email that is relevant to my request (I’m not convinced, so I am following this up), but I think it’s reasonable to conclude that the ICO did not change the statement because they “noted the debates“. They changed the statement because the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the government department responsible for Data Protection, asked them to."

See: Any last requests? (2040 Information Law Blog, link)

Norway building fence on border with Russia to deter refugees

Norway has begun building a steel fence on its border with Russia due to the growing number of refugees arriving in the past year. The deision to build the wall has provoked protests by refugee rights groups and has revived fears that relations with its former Cold War rival are deteriorating.

The wall, 200 metres long and 3.5 metres high, has been installed along the length of the frontier in Storskog. The government has defended its decision, citing the need to increase security.

GREECE: Migration Minister: Without EU-Turkey deal, another 180,000 refugees would be in Greece by now (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Greece’s Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas warned on Tuesday that another 180,000 refugees and migrants would have come to Greece in the last three months, if there was no EU – Turkey deal.

During a press conference, Mouzalas stressed that Greece would face an unprecedented wave of refugees and migrants, should the EU – Turkey deal collapse. However, he assured that Greece persists and will persist so that the agreement with Turkey would not collapse. He also denied scenarios about Berlin preparing a Plan B."

EU: Copyright reform proposals: Leaked Impact Assessment on the copyright reform recommends an ancillary copyright on steroids! (Initiative Against an Ancillary Copyright, link):

"Direct attack on the freedom to link

That the new right “would not change the legal status of hyperlinks in EU law” (see p. 147) is nothing but a lip service. Even if turned out that setting a mere hyperlink without description is not covered, any kind of described link (i.e. useful link) that includes a small excerpt of the linked source would be made subject to a license. This would mean the end of the Internet, as we know it."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.8.16)

EU: European Commission: New copyright proposals: Commission Staff Working Document: Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules (182 pages, pdf):

Statewatch has obtained the current version of the Impact Assessment which is out for Inter-Services Consultation within the European Commission. The Commission's proposals are due to be published in mid-September.

Latest: EU Commission: Yes, we will create new ancillary copyright for news publishers, but please stop calling it a “link tax” (communia-association.org, link):

"Well that was quick: just two days after Commissioner Ansip delivered a non-denial denial that “this Commission does not have any plans to tax hyperlinks” Statewatch published a draft of the Commission’s own Impact assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules which clearly states that the Commission will indeed propose the introduction of an EU wide ancillary copyright for news publishers."

And TDM Exception: The Impact Assessment looked so good until we really read it (copyright4creativity.eu, link) also: Dear European Commission, we don’t talk anymore, we don’t talk anymore, (…) like we used to do – The copyright review oddities part 2 (link)

 EU: Council of the European Union: Visa Code and Database border checks

- VISA CODE: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) (LIMITE doc no; 10026-16, 183 pages, pdf): 4-column document with the Commission Proposal, the positions of the Council, the European Parliament position and the "compromise" position. Changes to the original Commission proposal are marked in bold.

This Regulation establishes the conditions and procedures for issuing visas for intended stays on the territory of the Member States not exceeding 90 days in any 180 days period.

- DATABASE CHECKS: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders (LIMITE doc no: 11082-26, pdf) 4-column document with the Commission Proposal, and the positions of the Council, European Parliament and the "compromise" position: Outlines five key issues including only checks on the Schengen Information System and insertion of a "Sunset clause":

"The EP wishes to delete the words “relevant Union and national databases” in Article 7(2)(b), which means that the verification of a person enjoying the right of free movement under Union law would only be carried out in the SIS."

"The EP proposes a the temporary validity of this Regulation “sunset clause” of five years (final provisions, Article 2 (3rd column)."

Amnesty International: France: Upholding burkini ban risks giving green light for abuse of women and girls (AI, link):

"Failure to overturn the ban on the burkini would be a missed opportunity to end an assault on women’s freedoms of expression and religion as well as the right to non-discrimination, said Amnesty International as France’s highest administrative court considers a challenge to the ban."

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Radicalisation: the counter-narrative and identifying the tipping point (pdf)

"In this report we have focused on extremism which affects Muslim communities (while recognising the differences between those communities in terms of integration, segregation and urban or rural status), and arising from the activities of terrorist organisations such as Daesh. We share the concerns about other forms of extremism, including political extremism. We are currently conducting a separate inquiry into anti-semitism. We have also issued a call for evidence on the effectiveness of current legislation and law enforcement policies for preventing and prosecuting hate crime and its associated violence; and the extent of support that is available to victims and their families and how it might be improved....

The Director General of Border Force has assured us that the UK has one of the strongest borders in the world and additional measures have been put in place since the horrific attacks in Paris in November 2015. However, we are not convinced that border exit checks operate at the 100% level which the Home Office has set, which would mean that every person leaving the country by whatever mode of transport was checked."

See: MPs say Facebook, Twitter and YouTube 'consciously failing' to tackle extremism - Action to date by social media companies to remove Isis propaganda and hate speech described as ‘drop in the ocean’ (Guardian, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24.8.16)

UK: Muslims ordered off plane after ISIL accusation - Sisters and brother interrogated on London airport runway after fellow passengers claimed seeing Arabic text on phone (aljazeera.com, link)

"Three British Muslim siblings were left traumatised after being escorted off a plane in London and interrogated on the tarmac as armed police kept watch, after fellow passengers accused them of being members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Sakina Dharas, 24, her sister Maryam, 19, and their brother Ali, 21, were on board EasyJet flight EZY3249 from London's Stansted Airport to the Italian city of Naples on August 17.

Sakina told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that as the plane was about to take off, a crew member ordered the siblings off the aircraft and escorted them down the staircase to the tarmac, where they were met by armed police and an MI5 agent who questioned them for one hour.

Earlier, two passengers - also travelling to Naples - had told authorities that the siblings had been looking at a mobile phone screen that showed either Arabic text or the words "praise be to Allah", Sakina said.

"A passenger on your flight has claimed that you three are members of ISIS," the MI5 agent said to the siblings, according to Sakina, a clinical pharmacist."

European Parliament: Democratic control: Parliament’s powers of investigation (Press release, pdf):

"Parliament is not just there to amend and approve new laws, but also to scrutinise the EU institutions. One of the tools at its disposal are committees that investigate specific issues. In recent months committees have been set up to look into revelations on car emissions cheating and wealthy individuals stashing money offshore. Read on to find out how Parliament uses its investigative powers to address people’s concerns and put important issues on the political agenda....

A committee can invite witnesses and request documents, but it is up to EU countries and European institutions to decide who they send to represent them. They can also refuse cooperation on the grounds of secrecy or public or national security. The rules for this have been set out in a joint decision of the Council, Parliament and Commission"

The parliament has set up a Committee to inquire into the: Panama Papers (link)

And see: Council of the European Union: Legal remarks on the Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA Committee) (LIMITE doc no:10615-16, pdf): The Council Legal Service says that the committee set up by the EP to investigate the Panama Papers leaks has questionable legal competences, and that Member States should coordinate their responses should they be called to appear before it.

Council of Europe: Non-implementation of the Court's judgments: our shared responsibility (pdf)

"In December last year, the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH) published a report on the longer-term future of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”). There were two challenges which particularly struck me: firstly, prolonged non-implementation of a number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and secondly, direct attacks on the Court’s authority."

European Court of Human Rights: General deterioration of security situation in Iraq entails a real risk for the applicants if returned to their country of origin (pdf):

"The case concerned three Iraqi nationals who had sought asylum in Sweden and whose deportation to Iraq had been ordered....

Against a background of a generally deteriorating security situation, marked by an increase in sectarian violence and attacks and advances by ISIS, large areas of the territory were outside the Iraqi Government’s effective control. In the light of the complex and volatile general security situation, the Court found that the Iraqi authorities’ capacity to protect citizens had to be regarded as diminished. Although the current level of protection might still be sufficient for the general public in Iraq, the situation was different for individuals belonging to a targeted group. The cumulative effect of the applicants’ personal circumstances and the Iraqi authorities’ diminished ability to protect them had to be considered to create a real risk of ill-treatment in the event of their return to Iraq."

UK: Big is Better: Court Interpreting Privatisation 2 (One small window, link)

"As the current Ministry of Justice Framework Agreement for court interpreting services in England and Wales comes to an end, a reflection on the current situation and the new framework agreement which takes effect on 31 October 2016.

On an average day, around 700 requests for foreign and sign language interpreters are made by courts and tribunals in England and Wales. Qualified, professional legal interpreters provide a broad range of language services across the civil and criminal courts. Without them, parties would not understand proceedings and would be denied the right to a fair hearing. The role of interpreters in the justice system is not minor."

Statewatch Analysis: The visible hand: The EU's Security Industrial Policy (pdf) by Chris Jones

The European Commission has been working for some time to “enhance growth and increase employment in the EU's security industry” through projects launched under the 2012 ‘Security Industrial Policy’ (SIP).

While estimates of the actual size of the security industry vary, the EU hopes it will provide more “jobs and growth” and help ensure the implementation of EU and national security policies.

The EU’s initiatives in security are wide-ranging, but they frequently dovetail with the interests of major security and defence companies: tools for mass data-gathering and predictive analytics, continent-wide surveillance systems and databases, the increasing use of biometrics in all walks of life, and the closer integration of public authorities and private industry.

In 2012 the Commission argued that: “A competitive EU security industry is the conditio sine qua non of any viable European security policy and for economic growth in general,” and used the SIP to launch a whole host of initiatives.

These include projects aimed at technical standardisation; attempts to bring industrial interests and state agencies together through various forms of public-private partnership; enhancing “synergies” between civil security and defence research; and initiatives aimed at introducing standards for “privacy by design”

For the industry, the benefit is clear – one Commission-contracted study concluded that: “The development of a European public security market is perceived by [large security and defence companies] as a necessary condition for the achievement of profitable business.”

An examination of the paper trail surrounding the SIP and the initiatives it has spawned serves to highlight some of the ways in which the EU is seeking to help these companies achieve “profitable businesses”, and how the foundations for the EU’s security project are being laid.

Chris Jones commented:

“The EU’s duty to level the playing field in the single market coincides neatly with the aim of large security and defence companies to have an entire continents’ worth of governments and businesses to whom they can sell new security systems and products.

The harmonisation of regulatory and technical standards across the continent is the route to developing this “true internal market in security”, and is likely to further empower Europe’s major security and defence companies."

FRONTEX: Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link):

"a Greek court ruled that the coast guard officers, including the one arrested, did nothing wrong; they were shooting to stop a suspected smuggler.

Yet a collection of incident reports from Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, obtained by The Intercept, reveals a broader Greek and European tactic of using weapons to stop boats driven by suspected smugglers — and injuring or killing refugees in the process. (In the Greek islands, Frontex operates alongside the coast guard, patrolling the sea border with Turkey. In many cases, the information in these documents was reported to Frontex by the Greek coast guard as part of their joint operations.)

The documents, which were meant to be redacted to shield operational details but were inadvertently released by Frontex in full, reveal multiple cases of firearms use against boats carrying refugees (The Intercept has elected to publish the unredacted versions to demonstrate how refugees’ lives were endangered during these incidents). The reports span a 20-month period from May 2014, two months after the Chios shooting, to December 2015. Each case of firearms use - even if it resulted in someone being wounded - was described as part of the standard rules of engagement for stopping boats at sea...

After the shooting, Rawan, Amjad, and Akil were taken to the general hospital in Chios to be treated, where they stayed for two weeks. Doctors’ reports from Germany and Sweden, where the three were eventually given asylum, as well as from the hospital in Chios, confirm that the injured refugees were released from the hospital in Chios with bullets still in their bodies. All three victims speculate that the hospital responded to pressure from the coast guard, who, they say,didn’t want evidence of the shooting in Greece.""

See full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) and see Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.8.16)

German minister seeks facial recognition at airports, train stations (The Register, link):

"Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere wants facial recognition systems in the country's airports and train stations to identify terror suspects.

Europe has experienced a wave of attacks, many terror-related, over recent months, which has in turn triggered a heightened state of security.

De Maiziere told the German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag he wants a system to match against intelligence databases of known terror suspects, something the country has resisted. "There are opportunity for individuals to photograph someone and use facial recognition software on the internet to find out if they have seen a celebrity or a politician," De Maiziere says.

"I want to use such face recognition software on video cameras at airports and train stations. "Then the system will show if a suspect is detected."

Wanna be Facebook friends with U.S. Customs & Border Protection? (Papers, Please! link):

"the US government has proposed to ask all visitors to the US for their "social media identifiers" to use in "vetting" travelers. The question would be on the online ESTA application (for citizens of countries in the US Visa Waiver Program) and on the I-94W arrival form for visitors from other countries."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.8.16)

FRANCE: ‘A training in violence’: the connecting line between France’s ‘war on drugs’ and jihadism (openDemocracy, link):

"For two years now, the world has been watching as France is subjected to the most vicious jihadi attacks of any European country. From the murder of the staff of Charlie Hebdo, to the massacre of partying twenty-somethings at the Bataclan, to the driving of a truck into the crowds celebrating Bastille Day, the most obvious question is – why France? Why are such a disproportionate number of their own citizens behaving this way?

Last year, I travelled around France, to research an additional chapter for the French edition of my book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. There are many complex reasons why France is facing more home-grown jihadism than any other western country – but on my journey, it was explained to me by many people that there is one key reason that is barely being debated. France has the most extreme and intense ‘war on drugs’ in western Europe – and there is growing evidence that there is a connecting line from that fact, to this wider crisis."

Hungarian politician suggests hanging pigs' heads along border to deter Muslim refugees (The Telegraph, link):

"Severed pigs’ heads should be hung along Hungary’s border to deter Muslim refugees and migrants from entering the country, an MEP has suggested.

Gyorgy Schopflin, a member of the Right-wing government of Viktor Orban, the prime minister, sparked outrage and disbelief with the suggestion.

He made it during an ill-tempered exchange on Twitter with a human rights campaigner."

Government secrecy in renditions prosecution challenged (Reprieve, link):

"The UK government’s refusal to answer questions about political interference in a decision not to bring charges over British complicity in renditions has been challenged by international human rights group Reprieve.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in June 2016 that it would not bring any charges in Operation Lydd, a police investigation into the UK Government’s role in the 2004 kidnap and rendition to torture of two families, including a pregnant woman and children aged 6 to 12.

This was despite finding that a senior British intelligence official was involved in the operation and had – to a limited extent – sought political approval for it. The CPS took two years to consider the original police investigation which produced a 28,000 page file.

Now Britain’s Information Commissioner will review the government’s refusal of a freedom of information request about possible political interference in the CPS investigation. Reprieve asked if the Cabinet Office contacted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about Operation Lydd. The Cabinet Office, which coordinates intelligence, refused to confirm or deny if it had discussed Operation Lydd with the CPS."

UK: Special prison units for "the most dangerous Islamist extremists"

The UK government has announced new plans to "tackle extremism in prisons," including through the creation of "specialist units" for "the most dangerous Islamist extremists," and a new "directorate for Security, Order and Counter-Terrorism, responsible for monitoring and dealing with this evolving threat."

BULGARIA-TURKEY: Outrage in Bulgaria over secretive transfer of Turkish citizen to Ankara (Fair Trials International, link):

"Bulgarian civil society is currently outraged by the unlawful and secretive transfer on 10th August of Turkish businessman Abdullah Büyük from Bulgaria to Turkey. Mr. Büyük was secretly handed over to a state which has only recently derogated the application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and had expressed the intention to reinstate the death penalty as a possible means to punish everyone suspected of participating in the coup, as Turkey claimed Mr. Büyük was. What is more, the de facto extradition took place despite two Bulgarian courts finding that Büyük was being persecuted on political grounds and that were he handed over to Turkish authorities his human rights, notably his right to a fair trial, would likely be violated."

USA: Problems with predictive policing

An analysis of a predictive policing system used by the police in Chicago argues that it does "not significantly reduce the likelihood of being a murder or shooting victim, or being arrested for murder," but it does lead to "increased surveillance" of those listed on the system.

UK: Drone strikes: the development of the UK's "targeted killing" programme

In August 2015, "British forces... launched a remote air strike against one of its own citizens," Reyaad Khan, "and in a country in which the UK was not at war," Syria. A new analysis from Drone Wars UK examines what is currently known about the UK's "targeted killing" prorgramme, a timeline of its development and the need for openness, transparency and serious debate on the UK's decision follow in the footsteps of the USA.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20-21.8.16)

EU-USA: Mutual Legal Assistance Review: Council of the European Union: The EU-USA Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) entered into force on 1 February 2010 and Article 17 requires a Review no later than five years after its entry into force:

- Seminar on the application of the Mutual Legal Assistance and extradition agreements between the European Union and the United States of America - Outcome Report (LIMITED doc no: 9519-16,pdf) Worth a read, revealing discussions between Member States:

"In terms of refusals, Member States have refused US requests because of issues relating to data protection, death penalty, "fishing expeditions" or logistical problems. Also some identified issues in relation to US application of extraterritorial jurisdiction. The US has refused requests from many MS in relation to probable cause, dual criminality, freedom of expression and de minimis." [emphasis added]

"In relation to the possibility to directly preserve and/or obtain electronic evidence from ESPs [electronic service providers], it was observed that i) for some EU Member States, this is not a viable option to obtain admissible evidence for their criminal proceedings; ii) there is a large and ever growing number of ESPs with different policies on the voluntary disclosure and preservation of data; iii) some ESPs notify users if their data is requested by law enforcement authorities or preserved for them (in that case an MLA request should be issued specifying that the subscriber should not be notified)... It was also observed that i) directly preserving and obtaining from ESPs such data as is possible to obtain in that manner is much more rapid and efficient than going through the MLA channel to do so; ii) directly preserving and obtaining data was the best way to ensure the data is not deleted."

- Review - 5 May 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 9291-16, pdf)

- Review - 13 May 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 8707-16, pdf)

- Review of the 2010 EU-US MLA Agreement - Examination of draft texts (7403-16, pdf)

"According to the survey, the five EU Member States from which the greatest number of requests went to the U.S. in 2014 were Greece, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Portugal. U.S. records disclose that over the five year period the greatest number of incoming files (potentially with multiple requests) originated from Greece, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and Poland.

According to the Commission survey, the number of annual requests sent to the U.S. by individual Member States ranged from several hundred to fewer than 10. That corresponds with U.S. figures. According to the Commission survey, the five EU Member States that received the largest number of requests from the U.S. in 2014 were the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and France. The U.S. figures, covering the five year period, show a slightly different pattern, identifying the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France receiving the greatest number of requests."

Background: EU: JHA Council authorises signing of EU-USA agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance (Statewatch database) and see Full-text of MLA and extradition Agreements

PRIVACY SHIELD: Privacy Factsheet (Big Brother Watch, pdf)

EU: Commission Opinion of 1 June 2016 regarding the Rule of Law in Poland: Full text now available (EU Law Analysis, link):

"Rule of law aficionados among the readers of this blog may be interested in getting access to the full text of the yet unpublished Commission Opinion regarding the Rule of Law in Poland adopted on 1 June 2016, which is published as an Annex to this blog post. "

UK: Bulk data collection by security agencies is needed, says government terrorism watchdog

The UK's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation has said that the bulk collection of data by the security agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ plays "an important part" in countering terrorism and that "there is a proven operational case for the three powers already in use," while there is "a distinct (though not yet proven) operational case" for a fourth proposed power. All the powers are contained in the Investigatory Powers Bill that is currently before parliament.

The review undertaken had no remit to examine whether the powers in question - bulk interception, bulk acquisition, bulk equipment interference and the collection of bulk personal datasets - are "desirable, or should be passed into law, or [to comment] on the safeguards that should be applied to them," nor to examine whether they were compatible with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights or EU law.

See: Bulk Powers Review – Report (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, link) and: Report of the Bulk Powers Review (pdf)

UK: Undercover policing inquiry: The Met’s Chaotic and Dysfunctional Record Keeping (COPS, link):

"Storage facilities with most documents missing or misfiled, systems repeatedly described as ‘chaotic’ by the police themselves – internal documents reveal that the Met is having big problems sorting out its records management before it can even tell the Pitchford Inquiry what’s gone on.

Guest blogger Peter Salmon of the Undercover Research Group unpicks recent statements from the force."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.8.16): including Hungarian state of emergency to be extended; new Fundamental Rights Agency update; new report on women living in Calais camps; Egypt as an alternative to Libya for migrants trying to reach Europe.

HUNGARY: State of emergency introduced due to "illegal immigration" will be extended

"György Bakondi, Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, told public television channel M1 that the Government will extend the state of emergency introduced because of illegal migration. Originally the state of emergency was supposed to remain in force until 9 September, but the current situation definitely justifies its extension, Mr. Bakondi added.

The Chief Security Advisor explained that partly because of the establishment of new routes, the pressure of migration has yet again increased in Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia. The number of migrants arriving on the Greek islands has doubled, but countries along the Balkan route are making serious efforts to protect their borders."

See: State of emergency to be extended (Daily News Hungary, link)

Greek government rebuffs suggestion to strengthen approach to ill-treatment by law enforcement agents

A suggestion from the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner that new powers for the Greek Ombudsman should go beyond simply "issuing non-binding recommendations" in relation to allegations of ill-treatment by law enforcement agents has been rebuffed by the country's officials.

The Greek justice minister, Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos, said in response to a letter from the commissioner, Nils Muižnieks, that new powers for the Ombudsman are foreseen as "an additional mechanism, apart from the imposition of disciplinary and criminal sanctions" by internal bodies and the justice system.

See: Council of Europe to Greek government: Letter from Nils Muižnieks to Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos and Nikolaos Toskas, 25 July 2016 (pdf) and Greek government reply:Letter from Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos to Nils Muižnieks 17 August 2016 (pdf)

UK: Dalian Atkinson's death 'legalised murder by police' says family after ex-footballer Tasered (Mirror, link):

"Dalian Atkinson’s furious family yesterday accused police of “legalised murder” after the former Aston Villa legend died after being Tasered.

Witnesses claim he was stunned by the 1,200-volt device several times after drunkenly staggering towards police after they were called to a row at his father’s house.

Cousin Fabian Atkinson, 31, said: “What it boils down to is one man killing another man. It’s legalised murder.

“Everybody sugarcoats it but they shouldn’t. The police killed him. The story is murder.”"

UK: Undercover policing inquiry: dead babies’ names stolen by police may be kept secret

"Parents of dead babies whose identities were stolen by undercover policemen might not be told if their children’s names were abused.

A ruling by the Pitchford Inquiry, set up to examine undercover policing in England and Wales, says that anonymity and protection for police officers might preclude parents being told the truth."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-18.8.16)

European Parliament: Martin Schulz steps in to stop a speaker on transparency - Parliament president intervenes to prevent testimony from former staffer who is suing the institution.(politico, link):

"A European Parliament committee chairwoman said Thursday the assembly’s president, Martin Schulz, had intervened to prevent a former parliamentary staffer from speaking in a hearing on transparency.

Cecilia Wikström said the Parliament’s petitions committee had invited the former head of the Parliament’s civil liberties secretariat, Emilio De Capitani, to speak Tuesday at a debate entitled “Transparency and Freedom of Information within EU Institutions.” .....

But in a letter sent to Wikström before the hearing, Schulz said he would not authorize the hearing with De Capitani, citing an ongoing legal dispute.

“I would like to express my astonishment at the proposal of your committee,” Schulz wrote. “I regret to inform you that the hearing cannot be authorized given the possible prejudice of the dignity of the Parliament.”"

Letter from Martin Schulz, President of the European to the Chair of the Petitions Committee banning Emilio de Capitani - former EP employee - from attendng hearing (pdf)

A new EU Security Strategy: towards a militarised Europe? (link):

"“Europe has never been so prosperous, so secure nor so free”. It was 2003 and those were the words introducing the self-congratulatory EU Security Strategy that set the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) guidelines for the next 13 years. The former High Representative (HR), Javier Solana, drafted it to tackle indirect and external threats, as almost none existed at home. Now, the current HR, Federica Mogherini, faces very different circumstances and so the strategy does too."

See also: EU says "soft power is not enough" as German and French ministers call for "European Security Compact" (Statewatch)

Long Read: Minor Miracle or Historic Failure Ahead for U.N. Summit? ((Refugees Deeply, link):

"In the lead-up to September’s U.N. summit on refugees and migrants, Jeff Crisp, associate fellow at Chatham House, warns that growing isolationism will prevent a successful initiative and further weaken refugee protection."

UK: 'He was agitated and upset': Former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson's last moments revealed by his father after Telford Taser death (Shropshire Star, link): "The father of former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson, who died in Telford after being Tasered by police, has spoken of his son's 'agitated' last moments."

See also: Dying for Justice (IRR News, link): "On Monday 23 March, the Institute of Race Relations published Dying for Justice which gives the background on 509 people (an average of twenty-two per year) from BAME, refugee and migrant communities who have died between 1991-2014 in suspicious circumstances in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated."

NETPOL: Police refuse to rule out using undercover officers at anti-fracking protests (link):

"National Police Chiefs Council insists using controversial covert undercover tactics is a matter for local police commanders

In July 2015, the National Police Chiefs Council published new guidance on operations targeting anti-fracking protests. In response, Netpol produced a detailed briefing raising eighteen questions about the scale and tactics of policing operations and the necessity of undertaking significant intelligence-gathering targeting opponents of fracking. Now, nearly a year on, we have finally received a reply from Norfolk Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Sarah Hamlin, of the NPCC’s National Protest Working Group."

See: Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Guidance: (pdf) and see Netpol response (link)

European divisions ‘hardening’, warns German think tank (euractiv, link):

"The refugee crisis and social hardship resulting from the eurozone crisis are putting the European project under unprecedented strain, with populism gaining ground in many EU countries – from Hungary, Poland, and France to the UK and Germany, warns the Bertelsmann Foundation, an eminent German think tank....

While climate change, terrorism, and migration flows are best tackled internationally, the political responses are still rooted at the nation-state level, damaging the trust and legitimacy of national governments.

This has favoured hardline political parties which have risen to power in places like Hungary and Poland, eroding democratic standards and press freedom along the way. In France, the far-right extremist party Front National is “enormously popular among voters” and in Germany, the new party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is “exploiting the refugee issue for purposes of a right-wing smear campaign”.

“In light of these developments, the EU faces the greatest test in its history and is miles away from finding mutual solutions,” the Bertelsmann Stiftung concludes."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16.8.16)

EU to crack down on online services such as WhatsApp over privacy - Europe will publish draft law to ensure that online messaging services have privacy rules like those for texts and calls (Guardian, link):

"WhatsApp, Skype and other online messaging services face an EU crackdown aimed at safeguarding users’ privacy, in a move that highlights the gulf between Europe and the US in regulating the internet.

The European commission will publish a draft law on data privacy that aims to ensure instant message and internet-voice-call services face similar security and privacy rules to those governing SMS text messages, mobile calls and landline calls."

Documents Confirm CIA Censorship of Guantánamo Trials (Intercept, link):

"during the military trial of five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks, a defense lawyer was discussing a motion relating to the CIA’s black-site program, when a mysterious entity cut the audio feed to the gallery. A red light began to glow and spin. Someone had triggered the courtroom’s censorship system.

The system was believed to be under the control of the judge, Col. James Pohl. In this case, it wasn’t."

UK: IPCC investigation launched into death of Dalian Atkinson - Tributes paid as independent police investigation begins into death of former Aston Villa striker after being Tasered by police (Guardian, link):

"The world of football paid tribute to one of the mercurial stars of the Premier League’s early years after former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson died after being Tasered by police. The 48-year-old died around 90 minutes after being Tasered in an incident with two officers in the Trench area of Telford, Shropshire, where he grew up and lived, at around 1.30am on Monday outside his father’s home."

Migration: Cracks widen in “impossible” Italian asylum system (IRIN, link)

"Closed borders in the Balkans and the EU-Turkey deal have drastically reduced arrivals of migrants and refugees to Greece, but arrivals to Italy have continued at a similar rate to last year. The key difference is that fewer are able to move on to northern Europe, leaving Italy’s reception system buckling under the pressure and migrants paying the price.....

Yasha Maccanico, an Italian researcher for civil liberties monitoring organisation Statewatch, says Italy has been placed in an “impossible and unsustainable” position.

“Relocation was meant to be the justification for the hotspot system, but it simply has not happened,” he told IRIN. “And no matter what effort the state makes in providing adequate reception facilities, it will not be enough to match the numbers of migrants arriving.”"

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.8.16)

EU: Counter-terrorism: new laws passed in Bulgaria and proposed in Germany

The ongoing implementation of new counter-terrorism laws across Europe continues, with the German government announcing last week plans for new measures and the Bulgarian parliament approving the first reading of a new bill at the end of July.

EU: Reports on implementation of EU cybercrime policies in Cyprus and Italy declassified

The Council of the EU has published declassified reports on Cyprus' and Italy's implementation of EU cybercrime policies. Initially produced as RESTREINT/RESTRICTED documents, their contents have now been made public in full.

The reports cover "general matters" such as national cybersecurity and cybercrime strategies and priorities; national structures such as law enforcement agencies and the judiciary; the relevant legal framework (including sections on investigative techniques and human rights); operational aspects; training; and recommendations.

Report on: Cyprus (9892/1/16 REV 1 DCL 1, pdf) and Italy (9955/1/16 REV 1 DCL 1, pdf)

More border fences in Bulgaria

"Meanwhile, a 30 kilometer long, 3.5 meter (12 foot) high fence has been erected along the Bulgarian border with Turkey. Now the fence is to be extended along the entire length of that border.

Officials want to secure the country's 484 kilometer southern border to Greece with a fence as well. This is because the Bulgarians have witnessed an increase in the numbers of refugees attempting to cross their border to get to the EU as a result of Macedonia having closed its border with Greece."

Poland pushes back thousands of refugees, many fleeing crackdown in Tajikistan

"With the election of a right-wing government in Poland in late 2015 boasting an openly anti-migrant platform, things are looking increasingly bleak for Tajik refugees headed to Europe. While the Polish Border Guard insists that it is merely upholding Schengen regulations and “fighting illegal migration,” Polish NGOs and human rights organizations accuse the Polish authorities of engaging in illegal push-backs of Tajik asylum seekers in particular in the buffer zone between the Polish and Belarusian checkpoints, away from the eyes of UNHCR and other outside observers..."

GERMANY: New far-right group comes under gaze of state spies (The Local, link):

"The far-right Identitarian Movement is growing in popularity in Germany to the extent that the main federal intelligence agency has started watching them.

Up until this point, the movement, which originated in France and has been present in Germany since 2012, had been observed by spy agencies at the state level.

“We are seeing in the Identitarian Movement indications of efforts to undercut the democratic order,” said Hans-Georg Maaßen, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution - Germany's domestic security agency."

POLAND: Justice Paralyzed: Polish President Signs New Constitutional Tribunal Bill (Liberties.eu, link):

"After the adoption of the bill by the Sejm (the lower house of Poland's Parliament), members of the Helsinki Committee in Poland and the board of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights issued a statement saying that the new bill is "a backslide against the separation of powers rule and it opens the path to a dictatorship of the ruling majority that is not bound with Constitution.""

NETHERLANDS: Counter-terror demands lead to community tensions

"Vorthoren finds herself in a difficult position. A convert to Islam, she now directs the Platform for Islamic Organisations in Rijnmond (SPIOR), based in the Dutch city port of Rotterdam. It is a prestigious role that she is passionate about – but as she attempts to strengthen the organisation’s community work, the Dutch government is demanding Muslim leaders provide more information about that community.

The Netherlands has been praised across Europe for anti-radicalisation strategies which emphasise community dialogue. Aimed mainly at the country's Muslim minority (around four percent of the population), their focus has been on local initiatives implemented by municipalities, rather than those handed down from national government.

But the country has also led strategies intended to increase co-operation and information-sharing across the continent.

For several months, top intelligence officials from 30 European countries have secretly met every week in the Netherlands to share information on suspects, including children as young as nine."

See: Dutch Islamic groups resist becoming informers in surveillance drive (Middle East Eye)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.8.16)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.8.16)

EU: In pictures: Where have all the migrants gone? (Politico, link): "While the migration crisis that has gripped Europe is far from over, hotspots that attracted thousands of refugees (and scores of photojournalists) in the last half of 2015 look very different a year on.

On the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos, the mountains of discarded orange life vests are gone — but so are the tourists. “It’s a catastrophe,” one hotel operator told the Financial Times. “Bookings for the high season are the worst we’ve seen in two decades of operating.”"

The changes noted in the article are due to the "closure" of the route from Turkey to Greece (although arrivals in Greece are rising again) and the closure of the "Balkan Route". The article does not mention the "Central Mediterranean Route", from northern Africa to Italy, where arrivals so far this year are broadly consistent with those of 2015.

According to the UNHCR weekly report on 28 July: "Between 18 and 24 July, 8,157 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea which is a significant increase to the previous week’s arrivals of 2,148. However, overall sea arrivals to Italy remain consistent with those of 2015. As of 24 July, 88,009 persons arrived by sea to Italy in 2016, compared to 93,540 persons whom disembarked at the end of July 2015."

HUNGARY-SERBIA: In the long crossing to Hungary refugee families get stuck in transition (New Internationalist, link): "‘The journey has been so difficult, especially for my child,’ Noor*, a 27-year-old woman from Afghanistan tells us. ‘I have had to watch her be scared every day, dry her tears every day.’

Noor is in Horgoš on the Serbian-Hungarian border, a tented pre-transit camp beside a high barbed-wire fence. Each morning she joins hundreds of others, crowding around anxiously to look at a list, to see where their name is and how much longer they have to wait. It is a document which directs the fate of hundreds of people – some of them months into their journey, some of them years. This is the waiting list for refugees and asylum seekers trying to move on to Hungary and the European Union.

Noor asks to speak to us away from children who have, she says, already seen and heard too much."

EU: External migration projects: Council to approve auditors' recommendations

In March 2016 the European Court of Auditors (ECA) published a report examining EU spending on migration-related projects in Algeria, Georgia, Libya, Moldova, Morocco and Ukraine between 2007 and 2013. The report found that the total amount spent by the EU could not be established, nor was it clear whether spending took place in line with the EU's "geographical and thematic priorities". The ECA also argued that the "complex governance" involved "required stronger coordination, at all levels, and better involvement of EU delegations in migration issues."

The Council has responded to the report by drafting a set of conclusions - which have been discussed by the Permanent Representatives Committee, but have yet to be approved by ministers - that accept the ECA's findings.

EU-US: Europe must go beyond security and focus on neighborhoods to fight extremism (EurActiv, link) by Jeffrey Brown:

"Following a spate of deadly attacks in Western Europe, governments have adopted a largely military-oriented response to secure the homeland and counter violent extremism.

The Belgian government has pledged €298 million in additional funding to bolster the police, intelligence services and the judiciary; France has deployed ten thousand soldiers to the streets; and President François Hollande has declared that France must “use the arms of war” to check extremists.

Although the deployment of troops may temporarily restore the public’s confidence, recent lone wolf attacks in Nice and Normandy have laid bare the limits of a security-centric response in which the line between policing and counterterrorism has become blurred.

Amid renewed calls for yet more security measures, and with Germany considering the deployment of soldiers to its streets for the first time since World War II, governments at the national and city level must not discount the efficacy of targeted, long-term countermeasures that seek to systematically demobilize radicalized citizens through policies that promote employment, social inclusion and mental well-being."

French interior minister wants global effort against encryption

"Messaging encryption, widely used by Islamist extremists to plan attacks, needs to be fought at international level, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Thursday, and he wants Germany to help him promote a global initiative.

He meets his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, on Aug. 23 in Paris and they will discuss a European initiative with a view to launching an international action plan, Cazeneuve said."

See: France says fight against messaging encryption needs worldwide initiative (Reuters, link)

How things change - from January 2016: Encryption backdoors by law? France says 'non' (ZDNet, link)

GERMANY: German proposals could see refugees' phones searched by police (The Guardian, link):

"Refugees moving to Germany may in future have to give police permission to search their social media accounts for suspicious posts, the interior minister has announced.

Presenting a raft of anti-terror measures at a press conference on Thursday, Thomas de Maizière announced that border police would pilot a scheme whereby refugees resettled in Germany under the deal between Turkey and the EU would have to hand over their smartphones for security checks if they did not have passports.

“If you want to come to Germany, we have to make safety checks on you. And to make safety checks, we will ask you to show us your Facebook contacts from the last few months, which are public in principle anyway,” he said. However, De Maizière admitted that it remained to be seen whether the time and cost would justify the effort."

And see: German intelligence warns of ISIL ‘hit squads’ among refugees (Politico, link)

HUNGARY-ECHR: Anti-Roma racism, hyperlinks and freedom of expression

A case pending before the European Court of Human Rights will add to the collection of European case law on freedom of expression and the world wide web.

Magyar Jeti Zrt v Hungary concerns the liability of a news website owner for publishing an article containing a link to a video containing statements about far-right group Jobbik which were found to be defamatory by a Hungarian court.

The video was of a September 2013 interview with a resident of a town in which a group of football supporters had arrived by bus at a predominantly Roma school and subsequently "made racist remarks; waved flags; and one of them allegedly urinated on the school."

The complainant's submission to the ECHR argues that "by finding that embedding in an article a hyperlink that leads to a defamatory content is equivalent to disseminating this content, the domestic courts [in Hungary] unduly restricted its freedom of expression and the freedom of press."

UK: Exclusive: Trusts fail to report hundreds of mental health patient deaths to coroners (INQUEST, link): "Hundreds of patients who died while being detained under the Mental Health Act could have been denied inquests, it has emerged after HSJ uncovered discrepancies in official data.

By law all deaths in state detention should be examined by a coroner. However, inconsistencies between official data on deaths reported to coroners in England and Wales and notifications sent to health regulators by NHS trusts, suggest coroners may not have conducted inquests into every death.

Between 2011 and 2014 a total of 373 deaths of people detained under the Mental Health Act were reported to coroners in England and Wales, according to data held by the Ministry of Justice. In contrast, data compiled over the same period by the Care Quality Commission and Health Inspectorate for Wales, and supplied to the government’s Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody, show a total 1,115 deaths – 742 more than was reported to coroners."

UK: Investigatory Powers Bill: the issues at stake

"Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand and others have introduced powers to give security services and police far-reaching surveillance powers. No country, however, is going quite as far as the UK in creating laws that give government agencies the ability and the right to gather information. Adding to traditional forms of targeted surveillance, security services will soon have new powers to mine information about individuals via the explosion in data generated by smartphones and tablets.

The UK’s investigatory powers bill — which is due to complete its final stages of parliamentary scrutiny in the autumn — formalises existing powers for security services to hack smartphones and computers, and trawl vast data sets. It also provides new powers to force internet companies to hand over, without a warrant, details of every website an individual visits and every app they use, and to hold that information for up to 12 months. The companies must also create systems so that the information can be accessed on demand via a single searchable database.

It will give government agencies powers beyond those in the US and most other western democracies. If it becomes law, the UK would be alone with Russia as the only two countries in the world that force companies to keep track of customers’ browsing histories."

See: Surveillance: Taking liberties? The UK is set to legislate to allow security services to hack phones and trawl browsing histories (Financial Times, link, paywall or limited free subscription)

BREXIT: New legal challenge in Northern Ireland

"A campaigner for the rights of victims of the Troubles has launched the first legal challenge in Northern Ireland to the UK leaving the European Union.

Raymond McCord lodged papers at the High Court in Belfast on Thursday seeking a judicial review of the British government’s move towards Brexit.

His lawyers claim it would be unlawful to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without parliament voting on the move.

They also contend it would undermine the UK’s domestic and international treaty obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, and inflict damage on the Northern Ireland peace process."

See: Belfast rights campaigner begins legal challenge to Brexit (Irish Times, link)

For more on the legal situation regarding Northern Ireland: Brexit - another legal challenge (Law and Lawyers, link)

UK-EU: The complexities of Brexit

"There really are no easy answers here. The idea that we can just walk away from the EU is utter nonsense but all the other options are complex. The length of time they will take and the resources needed to bring them to a conclusion are impossible to forecast.

Which brings us to the final piece of the problem – resources. As anyone who has ever run a major project will know, being clear on the objectives, tasks, dependencies and sequencing is only half the battle. You then have to secure the resources to do it."

See: Enough David Brent, this is serious! (Flip Chart Fairy Tales, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.8.16)

Migrant children are living on their own in the streets of Sicily after risking their lives in the Mediterranean

The story of a group of at least 15 children, most of whom are Eritrean, struggling to survive in the station in Catania as they attempt to put together the 38 euros they need to travel to Rome, sometimes by washing cars as they hope to reach northern Europe. A recent UN report claims that Eritrea "systematically commits crimes against humanity".

ITALY: Unaccompanied foreign minors between dispersal and criminalisation (by Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo, 20.5.16)

This article notes that the media are increasingly reporting cases of unaccompanied foreign minors who are disappearing in Italy, linked to alarming phenomena including people trafficking, the trade in organs and exploitation. While traffickers exist and the trade organs does not appear to be especially relevant at the moment, the author argues that other important issues are not being spoken about or reported.

UK: New powers to cut off illicit mobile phones used in prisons (Guardian, link)

"Jails in England and Wales can seek orders requiring mobile network operators to blacklist handsets and disconnect sim cards

The use of mobile phones by prisoners has long been banned but enforcement measures have so far proved ineffective, with more than 15,000 mobile phones and sim cards recovered in jails last year.

In recent years, one prisoner used his illicit mobile to arrange the murder of a rival gang leader from his cell; another organised huge shipments of cocaine from South America. A third even managed to import a consignment of submachine guns into Britain from Germany.

The new powers, introduced this week, will enable prison authorities to secure civil court orders requiring mobile network operators to blacklist handsets and disconnect sim cards."

ITALY: 15 Years After Genoa G8, It's Still Too Early for Torture Crime (Liberties.eu, link):

"Italy still doesn't have the crime of torture in its criminal code, despite strong condemnation from courts and human rights activists for the severe abuses that occurred during the Genoa G8.

Fifteen years ago, back in July 2001, the G8 summit was held in Genoa. It was a complete disaster for Italy. "The biggest suspension of democratic rights in a Western country since World War Two," was how Amnesty International described those days."

Germany: Burka ban to be proposed in security clampdown (BBC News, link)

Germany's interior minister will back plans to ban the burka as part of a raft of anti-terror measures, local media say.

Thomas de Maiziere also proposes deporting criminals more quickly and relaxing doctor confidentiality rules."

Police Scotland told to pay journalist £10,000 over illegal intercepts (Guardian, link)

"Tribunal rules force breached freelancer Gerard Gallacher’s human rights by accessing his communications data.

Police Scotland has been ordered to pay a journalist £10,000 in damages after it illegally intercepted his communications data in an investigation into a botched murder case.

The investigatory powers tribunal ruled the force had breached the human rights of Gerard Gallacher, a former police officer turned freelance journalist, who had spent 18 months investigating a cold murder case in which a prime suspect had been released without charge.

Gallacher said he suffered “invasion of privacy, familial strife, personal stress and strain and loss of long-standing friendships” after detectives accessed 32 days of his communications data, ignoring clear court rulings to protect journalists and their sources."

PANAMA PAPERS & the European Parliament: EU: Council of the European Union: Legal remarks on the Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA Committee) (LIMITE doc no:10615-16, pdf): The Council Legal Service says that the committee set up by the EP to investigate the Panama Papers leaks has questionable legal competences, and that Member States should coordinate their responses should they be called to appear before it.

See: Section IV. Conclusions:

"The EP decision on setting up a committee of inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion:

- does not specify with a sufficient level of precision the facts that are the subject matter of the inquiry, nor the provisions of Union law that have been implemented in a manner constituting contravention or maladministration;

- as such, does not allow Member States, nor the Council, to assess their obligation to participate in the works of the committee, neither to ensure a due preparation of any such participation;

- institutes a general power of control on the application by Member States of their national laws and of the policies of the Union as regards taxation, beyond the framework of Article 226 TFEU and of the competences of the Parliament as laid down in Article 14 TEU;

- risks altering the inter-institutional balance laid down in the Treaties that confer upon the Council, acting as sole legislator, the power to harmonise national laws and regulations in the field of taxation."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10.8.16)

UK: Press release: No faith in new undercover policing guidelines

Eight women who were affected by relationships with undercover officers, and who started Police Spies Out of Lives, have issued the following statement in response to the new guidelines for undercover policing issued by the College of Policing. These guidelines are out for consultation until midnight Wednesday 10th August 2016:

“It is only through the actions of women such as ourselves, political activists, whistleblowers and journalists that abusive undercover relationships have been exposed, the police would have covered them up forever if they could get away with it – as witnessed by their continuing stance of ‘neither confirm nor deny‘ in the face of all the evidence and despite the serious abuses committed."

HUNGARY: Budapest detention facility “unsuitable for human habitation” (Budapest Beacon , link):

"Hungarian prisons have never met European standards, but a recent OPCAT study conducted by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights found that conditions of incarceration in Hungary are even worse than thought.

According to data provided by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the overcrowding rate of penitentiaries has been constantly increasing in Hungary in the past few years, resulting in the country’s prisons being among the most crowded in Europe. The average overcrowding rate was 143% at the end of 2013. It reached 200% in certain institutions, with pre-trial detainees constituting almost a third of the prison population."

European intelligence database seen aiding fight against suspected militants (Reuters, link):

"A European counter-terrorism intelligence database designed to generate greater intelligence sharing among allies to avert deadly Islamist attacks has gone online after overcoming traditional reluctance by spy agencies to sharing information.....

The database enables European intelligence agencies to share real-time information about suspected Islamist militants collected by members of the Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG), which groups all 28 European Union countries, Switzerland and Norway."

Background: NOTE from: United Kingdom and French delegations Subject: Data and Information Sharing (pdf)

"Member States’ security services already work closely together to combat the terrorist threat and the Members of the CTG committed in 2015 to going further still in enhancing their cooperation. In this regard we are fully supportive of the ground-breaking CTG initiative to establish a multilateral information exchange platform."

Europol first in line for life after Brexit - Britain looks likely to decide that the political challenges of staying in Europol outweigh the security benefits (Politico, link):

"Europol is on track to become the first EU body to get a taste of life without the U.K. as a direct result of Brexit.

Britain must decide in the coming months if it wants to sign up to new rules expanding the European law enforcement agency’s powers to fight terrorism, or opt out — and lose access to hundreds of databases, which hold information ranging from vehicle license plates, guns and organized crime to foreign fighters and terrorism suspects."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9.8.16)

Out of sight, out of mind: Externalisation of migration and refugee policies (Pro Asyl, link):

"Position paper by PRO ASYL, medico international and “Brot für die Welt” about european policy of externalisation of border controls that lead to massive violations of human rights."

UNHCR weekly Update (5.8.16): Update on Relocation

"Last week, Netherlands pledged an additional 100 places for relocation candidates from Greece in addition to the previous 450. A total of 6,961 places have been pledged by 22 countries for those in Greece. As of 28 July, a fast decreasing number of only 211 places, were left open for relocation candidates, in relation to those who have been referred for relocation. The number of actual relocations and scheduled departures remains low at 3,018 - only 4.5% of the 66,400 people who are supposed to be relocated from Greece by September 2017.." [emphasis added]

Italy: ASGI: Unaccompanied foreign minors: the new temporary reception measures are discriminatory and unconstitutional (pdf):

"In a letter sent on 28 July 2016, ASGI’s president Lorenzo Trucco intervened in the ongoing debate on the approval of “Extraordinary reception measures for unaccompanied foreign minors” envisaged by article 1-ter of the bill to convert law decree no. 113 of 24 June 2016 into law which details urgent financial measures for the territorial bodies and the territory, approved by the Chamber of Representatives [the lower house of parliament] on 21 July 2016, which is currently being discussed in the Senate."

Greece: Arrivals rise as Lesvos officials monitor activists (ekathimerini.com, link):

"There was a notable rise Monday in the number of refugees reaching the Greek islands over the previous 24 hours, as local officials on the island of Lesvos attempted to convince a small group of “No Borders” activists to leave.

According to data provided by the Greek government, a total of 126 migrants and refugees crossed the Aegean between Sunday and Monday morning, which was higher than the average of around 80 on previous days. The majority of new arrivals landed 99 on Chios, while 27 reached Samos....

On Lesvos, local officials continued efforts to convince a group of 30 to 40 pro-immigration activists to abandon a self-administered camp they had set up in the island’s Epano Skala area. The activists moved to the open-air camp after being forced out of an abandoned building owned by Alpha Bank. They are making food for refugees at the new site but local officials argue that they have taken over public land without permission...."

EU-Turkey: Turkey won't reform terrorism law to conform with EU deal (euobserver, link)

"Turkey won't amend its anti-terrorism law, a blow which could upend the EU-Turkey migrant-swap deal signed off with Ankara in March. In an interview with the Financial Times on Monday (8 August), Turkey's EU minister Omer Celik said it would be "impossible" to overhaul the law in the immediate future.

EU imposed conditions require Turkey to narrow its definition of terrorism in the law, as part of a broader deal to free-up short term visas for Turkish nationals to travel in the European Union. But the initial plan to ease visa waivers following the migrant deal over the summer failed, Ankara unable to meet all 72 visa liberalisation benchmarks."

Note: The granting of a visa waiver scheme for Turkey requires the agreement of the European Parliament.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.8.16): including migration fact vs. migration fiction; suspicion's over German press articles on Greece and the EU-Turkey deal; letter to UK government on child refugees in Calais.

UK: Medway child jail inspectors find further serious failings (The Guardian, link):

"Access to pornography and “very high and growing” levels of violence are among the latest “serious and widespread failings” uncovered by official inspectors at the scandal-hit Medway child jail, which had been run by G4S.

An inspection report into Medway secure training centre, published on Monday, reveals that behaviour management has deteriorated significantly in the seven months since BBC Panorama undercover filming exposed staff assaulting children and revealed that staff had deliberately falsified records."

See the report: Inpsection of Medway Secure Training Centre (pdf): "Overall effectiveness: Inadequate".

TURKEY: Erdogan vows to reintroduce death penalty ‘if Turks want’ (EurActiv, link):

"Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday (7 August) hinted at the return of death penalty which he said was a matter of “people’s will”.

Speaking to more than 1 million supporters in Istanbul, Erdogan stressed that if the nation made such a decision (in support of death penalty), then “political parties will abide by this decision”.

“It is the Turkish parliament that will decide on this (death penalty) given the sovereignty rests with the nation… I declare it in advance, I will approve the decision made by the parliament,” Erdogan noted."

Accession of Serbia to the EU: draft EU negotiating position on the judiciary and fundamental rights

"[T]he Commission notes that Serbia has reached a partial level of alignment and implements some of the acquis, European standards and EU best practices in this chapter. Considerable and sustained efforts are still needed to ensure that the necessary administrative and enforcement capacity will be in place before accession. Issues of particular importance are the independence, impartiality, accountability and efficiency of the judiciary, including on handling war crime cases. The entire system of investigating, prosecuting and trying war crime cases requires further improvements so as to tackle impunity. Furthermore, the effective prevention and fight against corruption and the full respect of the rights of persons belonging to minorities, in particular the Roma minority, remain also of particular importance."

See: European Commission, Accession negotiations with Serbia - Draft common position - Negotiating chapter 23, Judiciary and fundamental rights (in LIMITE Council documents 9821/16 and 9821/1/16 REV 1, pdfs)

SERBIA: Afghan Exodus: In transit through Serbia (Afghanistan Analysts Network, link): A detailed account of how changes in border regimes and policy in Serbia and, more widely, the Balkans, have affected refugees in Serbia and the civil society groups working to support them:

"The unprecedented flow of people through the Western Balkans in late 2015 and early 2016, and the opening of a humanitarian corridor, provided a brief and unique opportunity for people from war-torn countries to reach the European Union. When the corridor closed in March 2016 many people, including many Afghans, found themselves stranded and, again, at the mercy of smuggling networks. In this second dispatch of a three-part series, Jelena Bjelica and Martine van Bijlert discuss how the migration flows have impacted Serbia, a key transit country on the way to Europe, and how the situation for Afghans, and others, is becoming ever more precarious."

Is Germany trying to set Migration “Plan B” Agenda using Greece? (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Greek Migration Ministry denied the report of German daily Bild that an alternative Plan B is needed should Turkey walk out of the EU-Turkey Migration Deal to stem flows to Europe.

“The minister denies Bild’s translation of his comments,” the immigration ministry said in a statement, publishing what it said were Mouzalas’s answers in Greek to Bild’s questions.

According to the statement, Mouzalas had actually said: “Greece is committed to the EU-Turkey deal, which depends on both the EU’s support and on Turkey’s duty to respect it.”

“Clearly we are concerned, but for now the number of people arriving on the Greek islands (since the deal was enforced in March) does not indicate that the deal is not being respected,” he said."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.8.16): including migration fact vs. migration fiction; suspicion's over German press articles on Greece and the EU-Turkey deal; letter to UK government on child refugees in Calais.

EU: Project on free movement looking for interviewees

"The IALS is working on a new research project - ON THE MOVE: The reality of free movement for young European citizens migrating in times of crisis.

The project objective is to look into the reality of free movement from the viewpoint of young Europeans (age 25-35). We are especially interested in real and perceived obstacles and barriers when moving to another EU country, in practices that promote or hinder the enjoyment of this right and in barriers of EU internal mobility. As a project result we want to propose solutions (legislative and non-legislative) for making the right to free movement effective."

GERMANY: PETITION: Prevent foreign journalists from German intelligence spying (Reporter Ohne Grenzen, link): "The German Parliament is currently debating a bill on the activities of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) which allows the surveillance of foreign journalists. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) leads an alliance of NGOs, organizations and media outlets, urging for an amendment to protect reporters from spying. By will of the ruling party coalition, the BND would have the explicit right to spy without restrictions on non-EU journalists, as long as this is deemed to serve Germany’s political interests.

Global mass surveillance conducted by the BND is an infringement on human rights and the surveillance of journalists is as a stark violation of press freedom. In passing this law, Germany, a leading European democracy currently ranked 16th in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, would set a dangerous precedent, encouraging other countries in restricting special protection for journalists. In September, we intend to present our petition to leaders of the German governing parties SPD and CDU/CSU."

FRANCE: The Enduring Emergency (The Atlantic, link):

"France is now nine months into a state of emergency set to last for an unprecedented 14-and-a-half months. The measures involved are supposed to make the country safer. But after a bloody July mourning more than 80 deaths in Nice on Bastille Day, then the killing of a priest in the middle of mass on July 26, the question seems inevitable: Are they working?

The emergency laws enabling heightened army and police presence, warrantless searches, house arrests, and restrictions on freedom of movement and assembly have retained broad political support since first imposed after the November 2015 Paris attacks. But two security analysts and one human rights-advocate I talked to suggested that, whatever the perception, the state of emergency likely won’t do much on its own—in fact, to combat terrorism in France and elsewhere in Europe, coordinating existing procedures might be more effective than these temporary measures suspending elements of due process."

UK: Domestic drones: massive rise in complaints to police

"Police are having to investigate a fourfold rise in the number of crime reports involving shop bought drones – including allegations they are being used by paedophiles over children's playgrounds, peeping toms spying through bedroom windows, burglars scoping out people's properties, and even cash point scammers recording PIN numbers.

EU: Beyond the borders: overview of "external migration dialogues and processes"

An official overview of the EU's "external migration dialogues and processes" demonstrates the sprawling nature of the EU's efforts to manage and control migration and provides some details on the recent history of different processes, as well as forthcoming events.

It was presented to Member States' officials at a meeting of the Council of the EU's High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration in mid-June and was drawn up by the European Commission and the European External Action Services.

See: Annex to High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration on: 13 June 2016, Summary of discussions (10349/16, LIMITE, 22 June 2016, pdf) Includes detailed GAMM (Global Approach to Migration and Mobility) update 21 pages

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-7.8.16)

UK: BBC to deploy detection vans to snoop on internet users (Telegraph, link):

"The BBC is to spy on internet users in their homes by deploying a new generation of Wi-Fi detection vans to identify those illicitly watching its programmes online.

The Telegraph can disclose that from next month, the BBC vans will fan out across the country capturing information from private Wi-Fi networks in homes to “sniff out” those who have not paid the licence fee.

The corporation has been given legal dispensation to use the new technology, which is typically only available to crime-fighting agencies, to enforce the new requirement that people watching BBC programmes via the iPlayer must have a TV licence."

Greece: Official figures on refugee arrivals (pdf): Lesvos, Chios and Samos have more "guests" than capacity in camps/detention centres. A total of 57,015 refugees are in Greece.

UK: CPS upholds decision not to charge over MI6 role in Libyans' rendition - Families’ lawyers claim ‘stitch-up’ after failure to overturn decision not to bring charges over abduction of dissidents (Guardian, link):

"rosecutors have rejected an attempt to overturn their decision not to charge anyone over the involvement of the British intelligence agency MI6 in the kidnapping of two Libyan dissidents in a joint operation with the CIA.

Lawyers for the two families accused prosecutors of a “complete stitch-up” after failing to quash the decision not to bring any charges over the abduction of the dissidents and their families, including a pregnant woman and children."

UK: Protesters march on fifth anniversary of death of Mark Duggan - Demonstrators shout ‘no justice, no peace’ five years after police shooting that sparked 2011 riots (Guardian, link):

"Protesters have marched through north London to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan in a police shooting that sparked riots across the capital. Members of the Justice for Mark Duggan campaign shouted “no justice, no peace” and chanted that police were “murderers” as about 300 people joined a demonstration at the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham. They also accused the police of racism and demanded justice for people who died in controversial circumstances, including Jermaine Baker, Smiley Culture and Cynthia Jarrett.

Among the protesters were Duggan’s mother, Pamela, and his aunt Carole, who marched alongside Baker’s mother.

The demonstrators said there was no sign of institutional racism changing in the Metropolitan police. Tottenham Rights campaigner Stafford Scott told the crowd that instead of being in a “post-racial society”, it is one in which racism is still creeping in. He suggested the Met’s new counter-terrorism units may target people in Tottenham when they are not fighting terrorism."

News Digest: round-up of news stories from across Europe (5.8.16)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.8.16): Greek refugee squats; Nansen passports as a solution to refugee legal status; death after push-back from Bulgaria; and more.

Welcome to Greece’s refugee squats (Washington Post, link): "Welcome to School Squat 2. This is one of seven major squats in the city where approximately 1,500 refugees have found an alternative to government camps that have rampant health and safety issues.

Many of the roughly 57,000 refugees now stuck in political and physical limbo in Greece never expected to spend more than a season here, but they found themselves still sweltering in tents at a makeshift camp at Piraeus Port this spring and summer. Camps were usually either full or host to a range of problems: scabies, knife fights, food poisoning, inadequate facilities, snakes and scorpions. In response, frustrated local activists and refugees started teaming up to house people in abandoned schools, hotels, apartment buildings and hospitals."

Evictions of a number of refugee squats in Greece have recently been undetaken by the authorities. See: “Solidarity is being criminalised”: Anger as Greek police raids refugee housing squats and camps (Ceasfire magazine, link)

UK has granted over 100 export licences for surveillance technology since 2015

"Since 2015, the UK government has granted over 100 export licenses for “off the air” interception devices such as IMSI-catchers, figures show...

UK companies have successfully applied to export interception tools to countries such as Turkey, Turkmenistan, Russia, Bangladesh and China. The data lists 64 different recipient countries. In all, 113 applications were successful, according to the data provided by Privacy International.

Most granted licenses were for Indonesia, which had 19, followed by Qatar and Singapore, with 17 and 16 licenses respectively."

See: Data Shows How the UK Grants Licences to Export Interception Tech (Motherboard, link)

EU: The Nansen Passport – A Solution To The Legal Statuses Of Refugees (Social Europe, link): "More than 1.2 million migrants have come to Europe in the past year – most of them from Syria. One year after the ‘long summer of migration‘ in 2015, Europe is still facing two severe problems: first, the lists of safe countries of origin differ in many states of the EU and secondly, further large-scale deaths by drowning of migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean. The reintroduction of the Nansen passport – a EU-wide ID card for refugees guaranteeing asylum – at the European level might be a useful and even necessary instrument to solve this legal uncertainty for refugees and to promote a common migration policy."

SERBIA: Refugees mount hunger strike and march to protest closed borders (Waging Nonviolence, link): "A seven-day hunger strike organized by refugees along the Serbian-Hungarian border came to an end last Friday, when the strikers were disbanded by authorities. Many wore silver duct tape over their mouths, while holding signs that said “Fleeing war is no crime,” “Stop wars if you want to stop refugees,” and “Prove that humanity is still alive.” At least 12 required medical attention after refusing food, blankets and tents from humanitarian agencies.

The demonstration — which began on July 22 by mostly young men from Afghanistan and Pakistan — reached around 300 people at its height, but was down to 60 men by the end of the week. Specifically, the strikers were demanding that higher numbers of refugees be allowed to enter the European Union through Hungary, but they were also expressing a generalized outrage at the mistreatment and inhumane conditions they’ve experienced while trying to pass through the Balkan countries."

SPAIN: Austerity against human rights

Press release from The Center for Economic and Social Rights, Amnesty International, Médicos del Mundo, Red Acoge, la Red de Denuncia y Resistencia al RDL 16/2012 (REDER) and the Spanish Society for Family and Community Medicine (semFYC): Constitutional court ruling on exclusion of undocumented migrants from health services ignores human rights obligations.

UK: A day in the life of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (Computer Weekly, link): "Over the course of four days at the end of July, three barristers from Blackstone Chambers and a small army of solicitors represented Privacy International in a case against the intelligence services at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

Privacy International claims the intelligence agencies – MI5, GCHQ, the Secret Intelligence Service, as well as the home secretary and the foreign secretary – have been using loopholes to indulge in limitless snooping on the citizens of the UK, and possibly everywhere else.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) is the most secretive court in the land. It pronounces upon matters of national security and the treatment of people under anti-terrorism legislation. It is the only avenue available for anyone wishing to make a complaint about the behaviour of the intelligence services and government surveillance."

See also: Obfuscation and work arounds: How the intelligence agencies have been obtaining communications data (Privacy International, link)

UK: Black Lives Matter movement 'needed in UK' (BBC News, link): "Activists have voiced hopes that a strong Black Lives Matter movement can be built in Britain following the growth of the campaign in the US.

The movement has grown over the past three years in protest at police killings of black people in America.

Organiser Joshua Virasami told the BBC black people should come together "to achieve justice and equality in Britain and all over the world"."

See also: Black Lives Matter protest sparks Heathrow traffic chaos (The Guardian, link)

Some context: Criminal justice system statistics (IRR, link): "People from BAME [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] communities are over-represented at almost all stages of the criminal justice process, disproportionately targeted by the police, more likely to be imprisoned and more likely to be imprisoned for longer than white British people."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.8.16)

UK: Post-referendum racism and the importance of social activism (IRR News, link):

"A new report by social media activists on the spike of hate crimes immediately after the referendum on EU membership should prove uncomfortable reading for the Home Office....

Post-referendum racism and xenophobia: the role of social media activism in challenging the normalisation of xeno-racist narratives (download here, pdf file, 5.8mb) is a factual account of the lived experience of racism felt keenly, post-referendum, by BAME communities, whether born in the UK, long-settled or from newly-arrived communities, up and down the country."

UK: Home Office forced to reveal pregnant women kept in immigration detention centres (politics.co.uk, link):

"The Home Office is only supposed to lock up pregnant women in immigration detention centres in very exceptional circumstances. But if you try to find out how many of them satisfy this criteria, things get difficult very quickly.

The information started being centrally collected last year, but it wasn't made public. So in February, campaign group Women for Refugee Women sent off a Freedom of Information request. The Home Office waited until the final day of the 20-day time limit and then refused, citing a commercial interests defence.

By April, the commercial interest argument had disappeared and the Home Office was now refusing on the basis that it was 'management data' - in other words, of an insufficient quality for publication. This is also nonsense. Women for Refugee Women complained to the Information Commissioner's Office. They ruled against the Home Office."

See: ICO respone to FOI request (pdf)

Can surveillance and innovation coexist? (IFEX, link) by Gus Hosein:

"While one approach would be to say that privacy is a norm and that with modern technologies the norm must be reconsidered and if necessary, abandoned; I think there's an interesting idea around the question of protecting privacy as a protection of innovation....

The future has to be bright: if we want all the things we want, we need the frameworks to provide them and prevent the things that will undermine them. At best, we will be able to develop a new discourse and new safeguards. At worst, we continue the cycle we have long been stuck in: we build it, we take it to market, we promote it, and we act aghast when abuse arises."

SPAIN: Franco’s ghosts (New Internationalist, link):

"18 July marks 80 years since the coup d’état which led to the Spanish civil war and Franco’s 40-year dictatorship. Yet its survivors are still waiting to see their torturers on trial. Mira Galanova reports."

UK: Rough handling and restraint: UK forced removals still a nasty business (openDemocracy, link):

"A support group gathers disturbing testimony from people deported by commercial contractors...

Eight private security guards restrained and physically forced a fearful man onto a recent Home Office removal flight at Stansted Airport, a fellow passenger has reported.

The charter flight on Titan Airways departed Stansted for Nigeria and Ghana on May 24. It was staffed for the UK Home Office by the private security company Tascor, a subsidiary of Capita, who claim to achieve the “safe and secure escorting and removal of more than 18,000 individuals from the UK each year”.

The Unity Centre in Glasgow, a voluntary group that offers support to people seeking asylum and anyone affected by border controls, has taken witness statements from three men who expressed concerns about the treatment meted out to the restrained detainee we’ll call Jack. The three witnesses were forcibly removed from the UK alongside Jack."

UK: Criticism of undercover policing inquiry's limited scope continues

Theresa May accused of snubbing Scotland over police spies inquiry (Guardian, link):

"Theresa May, the prime minister, has come under criticism for excluding the scrutiny of undercover operations in Scotland from a public inquiry....

Police have said undercover police who monitored political activists in England and Wales collaborated with Scottish police forces. For example, Mark Kennedy, the undercover officer who infiltrated environmental groups for seven years, visited Scotland 14 times during his time as a spy."

See also: Pitchford Inquiry: Claire Sugden wants undercover police investigation extended to NI (BBC News, link):

"Northern Ireland's justice minister has backed calls for an extension to an inquiry into controversial undercover police units working for Scotland Yard.

The Pitchford Inquiry is investigating allegations of misconduct by undercover officers in England and Wales. Some are accused of miscarriages of justice and having sex with women who did not know they were police officers.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden said the units' activities may have implications for investigations in Northern Ireland."

EU: Council of the European Union: EUBAM Libya: mission extended, budget approved (Press release, pdf):

"On 4 August 2016, the Council extended the mandate of the planning mission EUBAM Libya until 21 August 2017. It also approved a budget of €17 million for the period from 22 August 2016 to 21 August 2017....

The mission is currently located in Tunis and has established contact with the relevant Libyan authorities. The mission's budget approved by the decision provides for the activities and staff in Tunis as well as for the possibility to deploy to Libya as soon as the security situation allows.....

The decision was adopted by written procedure."

FRANCE-UK Armed police deployed on French ferries after terror attacks - Marine gendarmes placed on ferries in Channel and North Sea as talks with British authorities decide on extent of security (Guardian, link):

"The first such patrol took place on Monday, with French officers flown in by helicopter on to the Mont Saint-Michel ferry, just as it entered French waters from southern England at about 5pm local time (1500 GMT), and remained on board until the vessel reached its final destination in the northwestern French town of Caen."

USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report: FACE RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY: FBI Should Better Ensure Privacy and Accuracy (pdf):

"The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System (NGI-IPS)— a face recognition service that allows law enforcement agencies to search a database of over 30 million photos to support criminal investigations....

GAO is making six recommendations, including, that the Attorney General determine why PIAs [privacy impact assessment] and a SORN [System of Records Notice] were not published as required and implement corrective actions, and for the FBI director to conduct tests to verify that NGI-IPS is accurate and take steps to determine whether systems used by external partners are sufficiently accurate for FBI’s use. DOJ agreed with one, partially agreed with two, and disagreed with three of the six recommendations."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3.8.16)

Amnesty International: Greece: address inhumane conditions for refugees now (link):

"As Europe drags its heels on providing solutions to move refugees and asylum-seekers on from Greece, thousands of men women and children are staying in filthy and unsafe old warehouses or tents, or simply sleeping rough and under the relentless summer heat. The Greek Government must act swiftly to improve their living conditions and well-being.

Elderly people, heavily pregnant women and new-born babies are sleeping on the floor. People with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities are stuck in unsuitable locations, far away from hospitals.

Thousands of children are out of school for yet another year."

UK: House of Common Select Committee on Home Affairs, Report: Migration Crisis (pdf):

Covers a wide range of issues like border security and terrorism. Observes that:

"The initial prompt for our inquiry was the issue of border security in relation to Calais and Dunkirk that arose in summer 2015. However, our concerns range much more widely that that. That there are unofficial migrant camps at the border of two of Europe’s wealthiest nations is a matter of serious regret and concern. A wide range of the evidence submitted to us by experts and volunteers confirms that the conditions in the camps are absolutely atrocious and are directly causing suffering and ill health for many residents....

It is clear that there are many people in these camps entitled to humanitarian protection or refugee status, including some who should have their claims processed in the UK....

Europol estimates that there are 85,000 unaccompanied minors amongst the migrant population in the EU. We were astonished to hear reports that large numbers of these children go missing from reception centres shortly after arrival and that they then face abuse, sexual assault and discrimination."

See also: UK unlikely to reach target of resettling 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 - MPs condemn response to refugee crisis as a ‘Europe-wide failure’ in which ‘too little, too late’ was done (Guardian, link)

UK court rules against decision to accept Calais migrants (euractiv, link):

"The British government on Tuesday (2 August) won its legal appeal against a decision to let four Syrian refugees living in France’s “Jungle” camp come to Britain, but they will not be deported. A British immigration tribunal in January ordered the interior ministry to allow the four to enter Britain while their asylum claims were considered.

However, three Court of Appeal judges on Tuesday upheld a challenge by the interior ministry, saying they were “not entirely persuaded” by the justifications used by the tribunal. The three teenagers and a 26-year old with mental health problems had been living in the sprawling Calais camp for over two months."

See: Judgment: Full-text (pdf)

Greece asks for EU-Turkey migration deal ‘Plan B’ (euractiv, link)

"Greece’s migration minister has warned that a back-up strategy – a Plan B – is needed in case the EU-Turkey refugee deal collapses amid escalating tensions between the bloc and Ankara.

In an interview with the German daily Bild, Yannis Mouzalas said, “We are very worried. We need a Plan B in any case”."

UK: Immigration centre staff told: Put 'disobedient' detainees in solitary confinement - even if it could kill them (Independent, link):

"People held at Britain’s immigration removal centres can be thrown into solitary confinement against medical advice and held for hours without any explanation, according to new guidance set to be issued to guards by the Home Office.

A draft “detention services order”, spelling out guidance to staff at the immigration prisons on the use of solitary confinement, says the sanction can be applied even if medical advice explicitly warns that it would be “life-threatening”.

The practice, described by campaigners as “cruel”, can also be handed out by guards to anyone who is judged to be “stubborn” or “disobedient” – despite concerns by official watchdogs that vulnerable people with mental health problems are being being seriously affected. "

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.8.16)

EU: Council of the European Union: EU & ECHR, Greece/Italy relocations, Violence against women, Legal Aid and the EAW

- Outcome of the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens' Rights and Free Movement of Persons (RESTRICTED doc no: 10891-16, pdf):

"The Commission representative emphasised the commitment of the Union to EU accession as evidenced by the lunch discussions of the Justice Ministers on 9 October 2015 as well as the recent appearance of President Juncker in PACE where he explained that accession remained a top priority for COM. At the same time due regard needed to be given to the legal difficulties raised."

This explains the Commission's plans to revive the idea of the EU joining the European Convention on Human Rights. It is now waiting for just one CJEU judgment before it restarts the talks.

- Draft Council Decision amending Decision (EU) 2015/1601 of 22 September 2015 establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10177-16, pdf):

Shows that the Council was still intending to implement the EU/Turkey deal despite criticisms of its effect and legal challenges - this was the position before the Turkey "coup" and the further crackdown on freedoms, journalists and many others:

"At the Asylum Working Party on 14-15 June, the Presidency suggested a further change to the text of the draft Decision, in order to enable Member States to apply the Decision to all persons admitted to their territories as from 1 May 2016. This change, reflected in new paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 2, has been agreed by delegations in the subsequent silence procedure." [emphasis added. The "silent procedure" is where a proposal is circulated to Member States and is approved unless one of them objects] ..

"Member States may choose to meet their obligation by admitting to their territory Syrian nationals present in Turkey under national or multilateral legal admission schemes for persons in clear need of international protection... The number of persons so admitted by a Member State shall lead to a corresponding reduction of the obligation of the respective Member State."

That is to say to reduce their obligations under the failed relocation scheme.

- VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Proposal for a Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and Proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion, by the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (LIMITE doc no: 10778-16, pdf):

Concerns whether the EU should sign the Istanbul Convention on violence against women:

"In view of requests by a number of delegations, Cion presented its views on the existence and the extent of exclusive external EU competences in relation to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (‘Istanbul Convention’) in greater detail whilst re-iterating its position that the EU should accede to the full extent of its competences (both shared and exclusive) to maximise the (political and legal) impact of the accession...

On the basis of the mapping exercise of the last FREMP meeting, as well as the above elaboration of the Cion MSs are invited to take a political position on whether the EU should accede to the Istanbul Convention and if so, what the scope of accession should be."

- LEGAL AID AND THE EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings = Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 10665-16, pdf)

"This file was discussed in Coreper on Tuesday 22 June in view of the 9th trilogue on 23 June. The final compromise text as it was discussed at the 9th trilogue is set out in the Annex to this note. Refinements made at the trilogue have been marked with bold in the text (and with underlining in the title of Article 9 and in recital 15b)...

The European Parliament has informed the Presidency that a large majority of its political groups can accept this text."

Bar Human Rights Committee publishes report on police violence and access to justice in Calais migrant camps: Report: Camps at Calais and Grande-Synthe (France): Policing and Access to Justice (pdf):

"highlighting allegations of police violence, police failure to protect residents within the camps, and a lack of access to justice.

BHRC representatives visited the Jungle and Grande-Synthe camps in March 2016, meeting with residents and NGOs working within the camps, including Médicins San Frontières, the UN and Help Refugees UK.

The report highlights specific allegations of police violence documented by the Legal Advice Centre in Calais...

Speaking on behalf of BHRC, Chairwoman Kirsty Brimelow QC said:

“The lack of effective legal protections in the Jungle and Grand Synthe for vulnerable refugees, including women and children, should be of huge concern.

The UK and French governments must jointly ensure accountability for all human rights violations inflicted on camp residents. The treatment of refugees is one of the historic wrongs of our time. It is happening on the shores of Europe. Urgent action is required.”

UK CHANGES EU COMMISSIONER: President Juncker consults the European Parliament on Sir Julian King as Commissioner for the Security Union (link) and see: Letter setting out role (pdf)

"I would like you to support the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship...

A Task Force composed by experts from the Commission services and supervised by the Director-General for Home Affairs will support you. This Task Force will in particular include experts from Units B4 (Innovation and Industry for Security) and D1 (Terrorism and Crisis Management) of the Directorate-General for Home Affairs (DG HOME), from Units A2 (Aviation Security) and A4 (Land and Maritime Security) of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) and from Unit H1 (Cybersecurity) of the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) as well as the relevant experts from Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER)."

See also: Juncker names new UK Commissioner as EU anti-terror boss (euractiv, link)

AP: "The Big Story": Snapping up cheap spy tools, nations 'monitoring everyone' (link):

"It was a national scandal. Peru's then-vice president accused two domestic intelligence agents of staking her out. Then, a top congressman blamed the spy agency for a break-in at his office. News stories showed the agency had collected data on hundreds of influential Peruvians.

Yet after last year's outrage, which forced out the prime minister and froze its intelligence-gathering, the spy service went ahead with a $22 million program capable of snooping on thousands of Peruvians at a time. Peru — a top cocaine-producing nation — joined the ranks of world governments that have added commercial spyware to their arsenals.

The purchase from Israeli-American company Verint Systems, chronicled in documents obtained by The Associated Press, offers a rare, behind-the-scenes look into how easy it is for a country to purchase and install off-the-shelf surveillance equipment. The software allows governments to intercept voice calls, text messages and emails."

EU-TURKEY: Turkey to back out of EU migrant deal if no visa-free travel (EurActiv, link):

"Turkey would have to back out of its agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc if the EU does not deliver visa-free travel for Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

Visa-free access to the EU – the main reward for Ankara’s collaboration in choking off an influx of migrants into Europe – has been subject to delays due to a dispute over Turkish anti-terrorism legislation and Ankara’s crackdown after a failed coup.

Cavusoglu told Germany’s daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in an interview to be published today (1 August), the agreement on stemming the refugee flow had worked because of “very serious measures” taken by Ankara.

“But all that is dependent on the cancellation of the visa requirement for our citizens, which is also an item in the agreement of 18 March,” Cavusoglu said in a release in advance of comments to be published in the newspaper’s Monday edition."

UK: Home Office refuses request to include Scottish operations in undercover policing inquiry

"The Scottish government has been urged to set up its own inquiry into undercover policing after the UK government refused to extend an existing probe north of the border.

Calls to expand the Pitchford Inquiry to Scotland were backed by representatives of all parties.

But policing minister Brandon Lewis said this was "not possible".

Scottish Labour now wants Holyrood to conduct its own probe into the conduct of undercover police officers.

A spokesman for the Scottish government said it was "extremely disappointed" that Pitchford would not be extended, and is now considering the next steps."

See: Call for Holyrood to mount undercover policing inquiry (BBC News, link) and: UK: Growing calls to extend undercover policing inquiry remit beyond England and Wales

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.8.16)

UK: Equality and Human Rights Commission: research reports on prejudice and unlawful behaviour; hate crime

The UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission has recently published two reports, looking at research on "the relationship between prejudiced attitudes and behaviours" and "hate crime in Great Britain, what causes it and what we know about who commits it."

EU: Commission awards €11 million in emergency funding to Greece and Italy

"The European Commission has today awarded an extra €11 million in emergency funding to Greece and Italy under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) to strengthen the reception and registration capacity in Greece and support search and rescue activities by Italy at sea."

TURKEY: Council of Europe warning over post-coup conditions

"Detention conditions and allegations of torture are among the concerns noted by Nils Muižnieks, in the aftermath of Turkey’s failed coup attempt.

The country’s authorities have informed the Council of Europe of Turkey’s derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECtHR).

Now the Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed his fears that new legislative provisions enable an “extremely wide and indiscriminate administrative powers affecting core human rights.”

He added: It is with profound concern that I examined the first decree with the force of law (Kanun Hükmünde Kararname, KHK/667) adopted within the framework of the state of emergency declared in Turkey last week.

“It is particularly striking that the present decree authorises detentions without access to a judge for up to thirty days. This period is exceptionally long and will apply not only to those suspected of involvement in the coup attempt, but all persons suspected for involvement in terrorist offences and organised crime, during the validity of the state of emergency.

“I fear that the combination of extremely wide and indiscriminate administrative powers affecting core human rights and the erosion of domestic judicial control may result in a situation where the very foundations of rule of law are put in jeopardy and where the ECtHR will have to face a huge number of new cases coming from Turkey.""

See: Turkey: Nils Muižnieks expresses fears over state of emergency measures (Council of Europe, link)

UK: Prisons are becoming more dangerous more quickly

"Deaths, assaults and self-injury are rising in prisons, with safety deteriorating at a faster rate year after year, figures seen by the Howard League for Penal Reform reveal today (Thursday 28 July).

Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that, across England and Wales, 321 people died in prison custody during the 12 months to the end of June 2016 – an increase of 30 per cent.

They included 105 people who are thought to have taken their own lives. The total number of deaths classed as “self-inflicted” rose by 28 per cent compared with the 12 months to the end of June 2015."

See: press release: Prisons are becoming more dangerous more quickly (Howard League for Penal Reform, link)

See also: growing prison population, longer sentences handed down, people spending more time in prison: Story of the Prison Population: 1993-2016: England and Wales (Ministry of Justice, pdf)

UK: LONDON: Statement on Hyde Park “disturbances” – Tuesday 19th July 2016 (London Campaign Against Police and State Violence, link):

"In spite of the scant detail available about the events on the evening of Tuesday 19th, the consistent line to be pulled from the hyperbole of media reporting on the incident is that this was a peaceful gathering of young people who had organised a free event in an easily accessible public place. Again, these reports state that it was only when the police arrived in order to disperse the group that the disturbances began. We believe there is a direct causal link here. On one side the peaceful gathering of young people in order to enjoy a public park on the hottest day of the year at the start of their school holidays. On the other side the arrival of riot police to forcefully disperse this group, using their full array of weaponry."

EU-IRELAND: PNR: travel surveillance comes to Ireland

Passengers entering, departing or travelling within Ireland by plane will soon be automatically screened and profiled by a new 'Passenger Information Unit' (PIU) to be set up by the government in compliance with the EU Passenger Name Record Directive. According to reports, the Irish PIU will involve the gardai (the Irish police force), customs officials and the revenue office.

SPAIN-MOROCCO: Presentation of the new Migreurop report: Ceuta and Melilla, open-air migrant sorting centres at the gates of Africa

On 25 July 2016, Migreurop published a joint report resulting from cooperation and missions conducted in 2015 in northern Morocco in the proximity of Nador and in the Spanish north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The missions were carried out by GADEM, La Cimade, Migreurop, and Migreurop Spain. These fact-finding missions included visits to detention centres and border fences in Ceuta and Melilla, as well as interviews with institutional actors, activists, members of associations and migrants themselves.

July 2016

EU: Statewatch Analysis: A missed opportunity to open up secret trilogue decision-making in the EU (pdf) by Tony Bunyan

The “EU legislature” to continue meeting in secret
“Space to think” in secret maintained
Ombudsman: “trilogues are not expressly foreseen in the Treaties”
No legal basis under the Lisbon Treaty for trilogues

"One of the fundamental principles of a democracy is that its legislatures should carry out their proceedings in public. When the Council and the European Parliament meet to decide on legislative matters the trilogues are in effect the “EU legislature”.

Trilogue meetings must be open and access to all the documents under discussion be made available to the public and civil society as they are produced. It is these principles that define a democracy worthy of the name."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30-31.7.16)

EU: Council of the European Union: Eurodac Regulation (revised text)

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of [Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person] , for identifying an illegally staying third-country national or stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (recast) (LIMITE doc no: 10531-16, 112 pges, pdf)

Council developing its negotiating position:

"The text of the proposal in Annex contains modifications suggested by the Presidency on the basis of these discussions. Other comments made by delegations appear in the footnotes.

All delegations have general scrutiny reservations on the proposal. New text to the Commission proposal is indicated by underlining the insertion and including it within Council tags, deleted text is indicated within underlined square brackets."

See also: Compulsory fingerprinting of migrants (Statewatch database, link)

Turkey-Greece: More Than 33,000 Apprehensions In Turkey (News That Moves, link):

"Since January until July 21, 33,396 people were apprehended or intercepted while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece.

According to data from the Turkish Coast Guard, Turkish Armed Forces and UNHCR, 79 per cent of interceptions and rescues occurred at sea, 21 per cent on land borders. Of the total, 68 per cent of people intercepted were Syrians and 20 per cent were from Afghanistan"

See: UNHCR report on interceptions and death/missing (pdf)

Lesvos, Greece (UNHCR) Arrival of refugees in last week:

22/07/2016: 108
23/07/2016:  114
24/07/2016:    51
25/07/2016:    60
26/07/2016:    43
27/07/2016:    35
28/07/2016:  104

And see: Islands appeal for measures to deal with influx of migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As the influx of migrants from neighboring Turkey continues – with a slight but noticable increase – regional authorities and tourism professionals are calling for measures to support communities on the Aegean islands.

Over the past two weeks, following a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, the influx of migrants has increased, according to government figures. Overall, more than 1,000 migrants landed on the five so-called hot spots: Lesvos, Chios, Kos, Samos and Leros since the failed coup....

In a letter to Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas and Alternate Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas, the governor of the northern Aegean region, Christiana Kalogirou, asked for immediate steps to decongest the islands.

“We are seeing a constant and apparently increasing flow of migrants and refugees toward the islands of the northern Aegean,” she wrote, noting that the maximum capacity of state reception centers has been exceeded on all the islands."

Greece: The dangers of reporting on the refugee crisis: Mapping Media Freedom correspondent Christina Vasilaki looks at the treatment of journalists covering the refugee crisis in Greece (Index, link)

"As Greece tries to deal with around 50,000 stranded refugees on its soil after Austria and the western Balkan countries closed their borders, attention has turned to the living conditions inside the refugee camps. Throughout the crisis, the Greek and international press has faced major difficulties in covering the crisis.

“It’s clear that the government does not want the press to be present when a policeman assaults migrants,” Marios Lolos, press photographer and head of the Union of Press Photographers of Greece said in an interview with Index on Censorship. “When the police are forced to suppress a revolt of the migrants, they don’t want us to be there and take pictures.”"

News Digest: round-up of news stories from across the EU (29.7.16)

EU: Over 3,000 migrants dead or missing in 2016

The latest figures from the IOM show that 3,034 migrants have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe in 2016. The organisation has recorded 251,557 arrivals by sea this year so far. May was the deadliest month so far, with 1,138 people dying.

See: IOM: Mediterranean Update: Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities (29 July 2016, pdf)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.7.16): including Turkish coup increases migration to Greece and analysis of EU relocation and resettlement schemes.

UK: Burger chain holds fake training day to shop immigrant workers to the Home Office (The Canary, link):

"Burger restaurant chain Byron has come under fire after it has been reported that in early July its London managers held a training exercise that served as a front for immigration control to interview and arrest a number of its migrant staff members.

The Spanish language website El Iberico quotes a source from within Byron that says on 4 July, Byron migrant workers from as many as 15 of its branches were brought to a secret location under the belief that they were undergoing training. Within minutes, immigration officers arrived with photographs and names of migrant staff members, predominantly from Latin America."

And see: Protests taking place across London over Byron Burgers treatment of migrant employees (Migrants' Rights Network, link)

Turkish coup ‘increases’ migration flows to Greece (EurActiv, link): "Since the failed 15 July coup attempt, increased numbers of new arrivals have been recorded from across the Aegean Sea in the last ten days, according to Greek coastguard sources.

“It seems that the routes have re-opened, so the chasing game has started again,” sources said.

The island of Lesvos is currently hosting 3,495 migrants and refugees, Chios 2,509, and Samos 1,030.

Reports in Athens suggest that it is the first time since the EU-Turkey migrant deal that the number of refugees has exceeded 7,000 in the North Aegean Sea alone."

UK: Annual figures released on deaths following police contact and police use of firearms

There were 200 deaths during or following police contact in England and Wales between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, according to the latest figures released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. There were 21 road traffic fatalities; three fatal police shootings; 14 deaths in or following police custody; 60 apparent suicides following police custody; and "102 other deaths following police contact that were independently investigated by the IPCC."

EU: Policy cycle on serious and organised crime: "illegal immigration" report and other documentation

The EU's policy cycle on serious and organised crime is supposed to coordinate the actions of Europol and Member States' law enforcement priorities in order to deal with a series of cross-border "threats", identified by Europol and subsequently approved by the Council of the EU. Amongst the current priorities is "facilitated illegal immigration". A leaked Europol report gives an overview of work undertaken during 2016.

See: NOTE: EU Policy Cycle: Monitoring of the Operational Action Plans 2016 - Priority "Illegal Immigration" (9931/16, EU RESTREINT/EU RESTRICTED, 9 June 2016, pdf)

UK: Post-Brexit racism: incidents of hate across the country, proposed government response criticised

"The full extent and true nature of the “blatant hate” that has beset post-Brexit Britain is today detailed for the first time after The Independent was given exclusive access to a database of more than 500 racist incidents compiled in the weeks since the EU referendum.

The hatred that has divided British society in the past month features “F*** off to Poland” letters in Tunbridge Wells, wealthy London diners refusing to be served by foreign waiters, dog excrement shoved through letter boxes in Rugby, and racist abuse from children as young as ten."

UK: Security services spied on 20 high-profile people in questionable operations (The Guardian, link)

"British security services snooped on 20 high-profile individuals in operations that were either unjustified, or may have been unjustified, according to previously withheld information.

The disclosures came during an investigatory powers tribunal hearing brought by Privacy International against bulk data collection by the intelligence agencies.

Information released on Wednesday by government lawyers on behalf of GCHQ and MI5 shows that between 2009 and 2013 there were three searches into high-profile individuals by three intelligence officers that were “not operationally justifiable”.

In the same period there were another 17 searches, by five officers, “which may not have been operationally justifiable”. The lawyers for the security services said there were no records of conversations with those officers, making it “not possible to ascertain whether they were in fact operationally justifiable”."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.7.16)

UK-EU: Brexit Begins: an overview of the legal issues (EU Law Analysis, link):

"The nature of the future relationship between the UK and the EU, the question of Scottish independence and membership of the EU, increasing calls for unifying Ireland, the risk of Eurosceptic contagion affecting the rest of the EU and the nature, scope and focus of the new 27 member bloc EU are all huge existential questions, the implications of which will reverberate for years to come.

The more immediate legal question to address, and one that has been largely side-lined by the bigger picture problems, is that of the actual process of extricating the UK from the EU legal system.

The process for withdrawal is not without uncertainty. The new process for withdrawal is set out in article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and has only been in force since 2009, when the Treaty of Lisbon came into force. Thus, the process is nascent, without legal precedent and ambiguous."

Statewatch News Online, 28.7.16 (pdf): Collection of recent coverage. Fifty stories and refugee crisis news (daily list).

Council of the European Union: Exit-Entry, Discrimination, Equal treatment, Maritime Security and Banned exports, capital punishment, torture etc

1. EXIT-ENTRY SYSTEM (EES): Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data and refusal of entry data of third country nationals crossing the external borders of the Member States of the European Union and determining the conditions for access to the EES for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 and Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 (LIMITE doc no: 10880-16, pdf):

"Delegations will find in the Annex to this Note compromise suggestions submitted by the Presidency on the operative part of the draft Regulation setting up the Entry/Exit System. The compromise suggestions reflect the discussions and the relevant contributions by delegations put forward during the first reading of the draft Regulation.

The new changes are highlighted in bold/underline and bold/strikethrough. The changes already included in the previous version of the text (doc. 9578/16) are highlighted in underline/strikethrough."

Includes extending access to "designated authorities" not just law enforcement agencies:

"This Regulation also lays down in its Chapter IV the conditions under which Member States' designated (law enforcement - deleted) authorities and the European Police Office (Europol) may obtain access for consultation of the EES for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences or of other serious criminal offences."

2. EQUAL TREATMENT: Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (LIMITE doc no: 9332-REV-1.16, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position prior to entering trilogue with the European Parliament:

"At its meeting on 24 May 2016, the Working Party on Social Questions continued its work on the above proposal. The discussion focused on a set of drafting suggestions prepared by the Presidency. PL reaffirmed its general scrutiny reservation and its parliamentary scrutiny reservation."

3. As above: Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (LIMITE doc no: 10561-16, pdf): "Delegations will find attached a set of drafting suggestions prepared by the Presidency."

4. As above: Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (LIMITE doc no: 9729-16, pdf) Consolidated Council negotiating text with Member States' position.

5. MARITIME SECURITY: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency (LIMITE doc no: 10545-REV-1.16, pdf):

"The Presidency therefore suggests to include the modifications to that proposal, which were agreed with the Parliament at the trilogue on 21 June 2016, in this proposal without changes. For ease of reference, those modifications are marked in bold/ strikethrough italics."

"The Agency shall, in cooperation with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the European Fisheries Control Agency, each within their mandate, support national authorities carrying out coastguard functions at national and Union level, and where appropriate, at international level."

See also: Securing the high seas: Maritime Security Strategy progress report (Statewatch News):

"There seems to be significant interest in the CISE (Common Information Sharing Environment Initiative), which is supposed to join up all maritime surveillance systems operated by EU and national agencies - for example EUROSUR, maritime safety systems, fisheries monitoring systems, military surveillance tools and beyond."

6. EXPORTING BANNED GOODS: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (First reading) - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 10562-16, pdf). Amends Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005.

Final "compromise" text and: "It has been signaled that the European Parliament might be in a position to adopt its position at first reading in the plenary session on 12-15 September 2016."

EU: Council rotating presidencies: decision on revised order (link):

"Following the UK decision to relinquish the Council presidency in the second half of 2017, the Council decided to bring forward by six months the order of presidencies, starting from 1 July 2017.

It also decided to add Croatia, which was not yet a member state at the time of the original decision, for the period January-June 2020."

UK: Parliament: Justice Committee: Prison reform inquiry (link)

"Inquiry status: open - accepting written submissions - Accepting written submissions; the deadline is Friday 30 September 2016.

As details of the reforms are still emerging, we pose high-level questions in our inquiry's terms of reference. In doing so we wish to seek overall views initially which will be followed up in greater detail with a series of sub-inquiries following the publication of the White Paper expected in October 2016."

Terms of reference (link) and Send a written submission (link)

Dispatches: Italy Illegally Returning Migrant Children to Greece - Children Held Arbitrarily in Degrading Conditions (HRW, link):

"“Akram,” a 17-year-old Kurdish boy from Iraq, hid under a truck on the ferry from Greece to Italy for 18 hours without food or water. When he arrived in Italy, the police locked him in a small room on the ferry and sent him right back to Greece.

“I showed my passport and that I’m under 18 but the Italian police told me to ‘go back, go back.’”

This unlawful practice is not new. In 2013, Human Rights Watch documented the failure of Italian border police to screen adequately for people in need of protection, including unaccompanied children, who stow away on ferries from Greece to Italy’s Adriatic ports. Placed in the custody of the captains of commercial ferries for the return journey to Greece, adults and children were sometimes subjected to abusive confinement and treatment. Back in Greece, unaccompanied children faced police abuse, degrading detention conditions, and xenophobic violence."

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The work of the Immigration Directorates (Q1 2016) (pdf):

"The Home Office releases immigration statistics on a quarterly basis. The statistics provide an overview of the Home Office’s work on immigration control, entry clearance, asylum and enforcement, and provide a platform for us to assess the performance of the Department, and particularly the UK Visas and Immigration, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force directorates."

France, Turkey and human rights: is a state of emergency the new normal? (The Conversation, link):

"Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency in the wake of the failed coup of July 15. It’s not yet clear how the President intends to interpret the powers awarded to him in this situation but there are ongoing concerns that his government will clamp down on human rights.

Indeed, explaining the decision, deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus said: "Turkey will derogate the European convention on human rights insofar as it does not conflict with its international obligations."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7.16)

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Greece (link):

"Strasbourg, 26.07.2016 - A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Greece from 19 to 25 July 2016.

One of the primary purposes of the visit was to examine the situation in the “Reception and Identification Centres” (so-called “hotspots”) on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos and to evaluate any developments since the Committee’s April 2016 visit. The delegation also visited a number of police stations and holding facilities for irregular migrants in Athens, Thessaloniki and on the Aegean islands. A further focus of the visit was to look into the treatment of criminal suspects held in police custody and the safeguards afforded to them."

EU: UK House of Lords, European Union Committee: Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU (94 pages, pdf):

"The current refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian challenge to have faced the European Union since its foundation. Although the outcome of the referendum on 23 June 2016 was that the UK should leave the EU, the UK remains a full member of the EU, with all the responsibilities that entails, until the final withdrawal agreement is ratified. It is vital, both on moral grounds and in order to help maintain good relations with the other 27 Member States, that the UK Government should participate fully in EU action to resolve this humanitarian crisis.

It has become increasingly clear that children, many of them unaccompanied by a parent, relative or guardian, are in the forefront of the crisis. In 2015 88,245 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU, including 3,045 in the UK. In May 2016 alone, 3,133 unaccompanied migrant children arrived in Italy. Many children do not even reach the EU’s shores: at least 137 children have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of 2016."

See: Migrant children are being failed by UK, says Lords committee report - Government accused of dismissing its responsibility to care for unaccompanied minors as ‘somebody else’s problem’ (Guardian, link)

  Greece: GISTI report on Greek hotspots in Lesbos and Chios after the EU/Turkey deal

"On 25 July 2016, GISTI published a report on its fact-finding mission to the hotspots set up on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios and on the effects the EU/Turkey deal, entitled "Accord UE-Turquie: la grande imposture. Rapport de mission dans les hotspots grecs de Lesbos et Chios, juillet 2016....

The facts speak for themselves: in order to put an end to the serious violations of the rights of migrants detained in the Greek "hotspots" under threat of an expulsion to Turkey, it is indispensable for the EU and its member states to, at the very least:

Give up on the idea of implementing the 18 March 2016 Statement;

Conduct an in-depth review of the system for allocating responsibility to an EU member state (the "Dublin III" regulation) to evaluate an asylum application in order for the asylum application to be examined in the applicant's country of choice."

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: diversity in police forces

Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“This is a complacent, perfunctory and rushed response from the Home Office. The lack of progress on ethnic diversity in police forces is a serious and embarrassing problem and we made strong, practical recommendations about how this must improve.

As our Report stated, the current position is lamentable, and has so far failed to achieve any significant progress. That is why our Report called on the Home Office and Ministers to show leadership by requiring innovation and rapid action from those directly responsible for delivering change."

See: Government response (pdf) to the Committee's Report (pdf)

European use of military drones expanding (Drone Wars UK, link):

"Two weeks ago a new coalition of European civil society groups (including Drone Wars UK) launched a Call to Action on Armed Drones at a meeting in Brussels attended by, amongst others, US drone whistleblowers Cian Westmoreland and Lisa Ling.

The European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD) launch was on the eve of an important European Parliament meeting, jointly organised by the subcommittee on Human Rights and the Subcommittee on Security and Security and Defence, focusing on the human rights impact of armed drones in counter-terrorism operations."

UK: New trials for delivering goods by drones (BBC News, link):

"The government's getting together with the retail giant Amazon to start testing flying drones that can deliver parcels to your door. Amazon's paying for the programme, which will look at the best way to allow hundreds of robotic aircraft to buzz around Britain's skies safely.

The company claims it'll eventually mean small parcels will arrive at your house within 30 minutes of ordering them online. Ministers say they want to pave the way for all businesses to start using the technology in future, but they will still have to convince the public that having automated drones flying around is both safe and won't invade people's privacy."

Passeurs d'hospitalités – English ~ Exiles in Calais and at the British border: Destruction of the northern part of the shantytown: statement of the Defender of Rights (link):

"While early July the pressure for the destruction of the northern part of Calais shantytown was increasing, the mayor of Calais had been to announce the imminence of it (and it is probably for respond to these pressures that the police operation against the restaurants and shops of the slum is conducted – see here, here, here and here), the Defender of Rights issued a statement reminding the conditions so that this destruction can be respectful of human rights. It also stresses the precariousness in which the risk of expulsion maintains people, and that previous destructions have only worsened their living conditions."

UK: Hate crime policing to be reviewed after spike in reports (BBC News, link):

"Police handling of hate crime is to be reviewed after a sharp rise in incidents following the EU referendum, the home secretary is to announce.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) will analyse how forces in England and Wales respond, Amber Rudd will say. It comes after figures showed there have been more than 6,000 reports of hate crime to police since mid June."

UK: CONTEST: Annual report for 2015 on the UK's counter-terrorism strategy

The annual report of the UK government on its counter-terrorism strategy, covering the year 2015, was published on 21 July. Amongst other things, the report includes statistics on the "effective use of proportionate counter-terrorism powers," noting that the power to cancel or refuse to issue passports to British passport holders was used 23 times; powers to seize and temporarily retain travel documents at ports have been used 24 times; and that two Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (essentially a form of internal exile) were in force "in the last quarter of 2015".

See: CONTEST: The United Kingdom's Strategy for Countering Terrorism: Annual Report for 2015 (pdf)

EU: The future of national data retention obligations – How to apply Digital Rights Ireland at national level? (European Law Blog, link):

"On 19 July, Advocate General (AG) Saugmandsgaard Øe delivered his much awaited opinion on the joined cases Tele2 Sverige AB and Secretary of State for the Home Department, which were triggered by the Court of Justice’s (CJEU) ruling in Digital Rights Ireland, discussed previously on this blog. As a result of this judgment, invalidating the Data Retention Directive, many Member States which had put in place data retention obligations on the basis of the Directive, were confronted with the question whether these data retention obligations were compatible with the right to privacy and the right to protection of personal data, guaranteed by Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Charter). Hence, without a whisper of a doubt, several national legislators eagerly await the outcome of these joined cases, in the hope to get more guidance as to how to apply Digital Rights Ireland concretely to their national legislation. The large number of Member States intervening in the joined cases clearly shows this: in addition to Sweden and the UK, no less than 13 Member States submitted written observations. The AG’s opinion is a first – important – step and thus merits a closer look."

See: the Advocate-General's Opinion (pdf) and press release (pdf)

UK: Protester, 91, goes to European court over secret police files (The Guardian, link):

"A 91-year-old whose political activities were covertly recorded by police has won the right to take his legal case to the European court of human rights.

John Catt, who has no criminal record, has fought a six-year battle to force the police to delete their surveillance records of his activities at 66 peace and human rights protests.

The police had noted descriptions of his appearance and clothes at the demonstrations and how he liked to draw sketches of the protests.

The case in front of the European court could help to determine how much information police are permitted to record on law-abiding individuals taking part in protests."

Background: A BAD DAY FOR DEMOCRACY (Statewatch News Online, March 2015) and: Files on politicians, journalists and peace protestors held by police in "domestic extremist" database (Statewatch News Online, November 2013)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.7.16): migrants march to Serbia-Hungary border, Council wants EU migration budget increase, new detention centre to open in Spain.

UK: Appalling situation in prisons laid bare in latest annual report of chief prisons inspector

The new Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales issued his first annual report last week, noting that the "grim situation" highlighted by his predecessor has "not improved, and in some key areas it has, if anything, become even worse."

The number of assaults within prisons in 2015 grew to 20,000, a 27% increase on the previous year, while incidents of self-harm between April 2015 and March 2016 grew by a quarter to reach more than 32,000. In the same period there were 100 suicides, a 27% increase.

EU: Policing the internet: 91% of Europol's 11,000 requests for content removal successful

"Since its launch one year ago, Europol’s European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) has assessed and processed for the purpose of referral towards concerned internet service providers over 11 000 messages across some 31 online platforms in 8 languages. The content had been put out by criminals to spread violent extremist online content materials.

91.4% of the total content has been successfully removed from the platforms by the social media and online service providers.

Additionally, EU IRU has expanded its open-source and internet monitoring activities in order to contribute to the disruption of illegal migrant smuggling networks. Content advertising smuggling services for migrants and refugees was referred for the purpose of removal."

EU: Council pushes for big increases in EU migration and security budgets

With the Council and the Parliament moving towards negotiations on the EU's budget for 2017, the Council has agreed its position and is calling for "€5.2 billion in commitments for specific migration-related expenditure" and increases of millions of euros in both commitments and payments from the Internal Security Fund.

GREECE: State punitiveness and political "transitions": the long view

"Extant research on the relationship between political systems and state punitiveness has so far paid little attention to the impact that transition from one political system to another may have upon levels and patterns of state punitiveness. This risks not only exaggerating the degree to which given trends in state punitiveness are distinct to particular political systems but also overlooking the legacy that punitive policies, practices or experiences under a prior political system may bequeath its successor. With a view to advancing a better understanding of the relationship between political systems and state punitiveness, we draw on the case of Greece, taking a long historical perspective to chart the trajectory of punitive state policies and practices in the country before, during and after its dictatorship of 1967–1974."

See: Punishment and political systems: State punitiveness in post-dictatorial Greece (link to pdf), from the July 2016 issue of Punishment & Society (link)

BELGIUM: Former Guantanamo prisoners convicted in "rather peculiar" case

"Two former Guantánamo prisoners were convicted in Belgium by the Brussels Criminal Court on Monday, July 18 2016, one on terrorism-related charges...

The case involved nine defendants, three of whom were charged with terrorism-related offences. One of the three was acquitted in full. [Abbar] Huwari was sentenced to 12 years in prison for running a terrorist group. One other person was sentenced for membership of a terrorist organization. Other sentences, including [Moussa] Zemmouri’s for conspiracy, related to the thwarted burglary only.

Huwari’s name only emerged when the case went to trial in June 2016; he became the main suspect. In a country where there is a constant threat of terrorism the case has surprisingly attracted little attention. From the few details made public, the case is rather peculiar."

See: Former Guantánamo Prisoners Convicted in Belgium (one small window, link)

And: Statewatch Observatory on "rendition": The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners

UK-GREECE: European Arrest Warrant: judgments recognise that "certain Greek prisons are failing to protect prisoners' fundamental rights"

"The appalling conditions in certain Greek prisons have long been a concern of Fair Trials International and of lawyers representing those whose extradition has been sought by Greece... [In many cases] the courts in the United Kingdom refused to recognise that there was a real risk that extradition to Greece would give rise to inhuman treatment within the meaning of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Prohibition of torture).

"That has changed with the decision of the High Court in Marku v Nafplion Court of Appeal Greece and Murphy v Public Prosecutor’s Office to the Athens Court that was delivered on the 20th July 2016. With this decision the Court has recognised that certain Greek prisons are failing to protect prisoners’ fundamental rights and that the Greek Government appears to be unable to bring about the improvements that are needed to make these institutions safe."

EU: Review of the ePrivacy Directive: opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor

The European Data Protection Supervisor has said that the EU's forthcoming new legal framework on ePrivacy "must be extended... to take account of technological and societal changes."

UK: Growing calls to extend undercover policing inquiry remit beyond England and Wales

One of the targets of exposed British undercover police officer Mark Kennedy has taken the first steps towards legal action in an attempt to have the remit of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing expanded to cover officers' activities outside England and Wales.

EU: Council of the European Union: New EU "returns" document & Turkey visa "benchmarks"

- EU Returns document: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (first reading) - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 10638-16, pdf)

This draft Regulation replaces the Maastricht era Council Recommendation of 30 November 1994. The Council reached its negotiating position on 23 May 2016 and the European Parliament did the same on 30 May. At the trilogue meeting on 23 June a "compromise" text was agreed. The parliament will formally adopt the measure at its plenary session of 12-15 September.

The document will be valid for a single journey to the country of origin or transit for refugees and migrants who have been found to be "illegally staying" in the EU and is "essential for increasing rates of return, which are unsatisfactory."

The Regulation states that the 1994 Recommendation is not widely accepted by authorities of third countries, for reasons including its inadequate security standards - the unstated primary reason is that third countries do not accept the idea of the return by the EU of maybe thousands of its people who fled the country or who have transited through it - and there is an understandable fear that most refugees do not want to be returned to the country they have fled from. It does not apply to the UK or Ireland.

- TURKEY: Visa Working Party/Mixed Committee (EU/Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, Liechtenstein): Summary of discussions: (LIMITE doc no: 11065-16. pdf)

Minutes from a meeting held on 14 June 2016. For visa waivers with Turkey to be agreed:

"COM confirmed that there are still seven benchmarks to be fulfilled, and gave a brief update on the ongoing discussions. This file would be followed up at the next meeting, depending on the progress achieved." [emphasis added]

No doubt there will be a few more after the Turkish government's reaction to the coup.

EU: H v Council: Another Court breakthrough in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (EU Law Analysis):

"This summer alone, the Court of Justice (‘the Court’) has issued two important decisions that will further shape the legal dimension of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Despite this largely intergovernmental sphere of law (the former Second Pillar) being merged into the unified ‘EU’ at the Treaty of Lisbon, the pillar’s shadow still lives on. Lasting evidence of CFSP as a separate but integrated sphere of law allow for it to be titled ‘CFSP law’, with judgments of the Court arising from interinstitutional and direct action litigation, permitting its legal development.

The two judgments, Tanzania (Case C-263/14) and H v. Council (Case C-455/14 P) address different questions, and with a third, Rosneft (Case C-72/15), being delivered later in the year. This sequence of judgments demonstrates the fluidity of CFSP dynamics. In this blog post, analysis will focus on the H v. Council judgment, and specifically, given its peculiarity, the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice in CFSP."

IRELAND: Negative Legacy of Direct Provision (Trinity College Dublin, link): "A report which was co-authored by the School of Social Work and Social Policy, looking at the difficulties faced by former asylum seekers in attempting to transition from Direct Provision to life in the wider community, has just been launched.

Having endured years of living in the Direct Provision system, known to negatively affect mental health, the research highlights the multiple challenges faced by former asylum seekers. Once they receive their status, people must then navigate a complex array of systems as they attempt to move out of institutions that have systematically disempowered them for many years."

See: Irish Refugee Council: Transition: from Direct Provision to life in the community (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.7.16)

EU: Commission and High Representative "playbook" on "countering hybrid threats"

At the beginning of July the European Commission and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published a 'Joint Staff Working Document' on "countering hybrid threats".

See: European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: EU operational protocol for countering hybrid threats - 'EU Playbook' (SWD(2016 ) 227 final, Council document number 11034/16)

BALKANS: Sharp increase in violence against migrants since border closures in the Balkans - MSF consultations for violent trauma doubled since March

On 9th March 2016, European leaders announced that the so-called "Balkan route" was closed after Croatia, FYROM and Slovenia completely shut their borders to people trying to pass through to seek asylum in northern Europe. For thousands of people fleeing, this route represented one of the few ways to reach safety and protection in Europe. Through their medical and mental health work, MSF teams in the region have seen an increase in the level of violence against migrants since the route was "closed".

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.7.16)

News Digest: round-up of news stories from across the EU (22.7.16)

EU: Proposals for EU intelligence-gathering abroad and "civmil convergence and synergies"

A paper published by the European External Action Service calls for EU missions, officials and representatives abroad to be used for more information- and intelligence-gathering, and makes a number of proposals in relation to "civmil convergence and synergies" in security operations and activities overseas.

See: Working document of the European External Action Service: CMPD Food for Through Paper: "From strengthening ties between CSDP/FSJ actors towards more security in EUROPE" (EEAS(2016) 909, Council document 10934/16, pdf)

EU-ITALY: Refugee relocation scheme "has clearly failed", says Italy's immigration chief

The European Union's relocation scheme for refugees in Greece and Italy "has clearly failed", the Italian interior ministry's head of immigration, Mario Morcone, told a recent press conference hosted by the Italian Council of Refugees. The most recent European Commission report on the relocation scheme, published on 13 July, records a total of 843 people being relocated from Italy to other Member States since the scheme was put in place in September 2015. The Commission's aim is to relocate 6,000 people from Greece and Italy per month.

UK: Delayed "counter-extremism" plans denounced again

The UK government's plans for countering "non-violent extremism" have again been denounced, this time in a "pre-legislative scrutiny" report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. Despite announcing on a number of occassions that it will introduce a Counter-Extremism Bill, the government is yet to do so - but given the numerous problems with defining "extremism", and the harsh criticism that has been directed at the Prevent programme, it may be better for any such bill not to be published at all.

The report: House of Lords/House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights: Counter-Extremism (pdf)

EU: Implementation of the European Agenda on Security: Questions & Answers (European Commission, pdf)

A useful summary: "The European Commission adopted the European Agenda on Security on 28 April 2015, setting out the main actions envisaged to ensure an effective EU response to security threats over the period 2015-2020. Since its adoption, significant progress has been made in its implementation.

The period since the adoption has been marked by tragic terrorist attacks around the world, notably on European soil in Paris in November 2015, in Brussels in March 2016 and in Nice on 14 July.

This Memo highlights the actions already completed as well as the steps that still need to be taken as a matter of urgency in view of the current challenges, to pave the way towards a genuine and effective Security Union as proposed by the European Commission on 20 April 2016."

Background: Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones, May 2015

GREECE: Detention condition in the Malakasa camp: fit for children?

The camp described below by Shala Gafry is where the Greek government intended to hold the unaccompanied minors involved in the forthcoming Sh. D. v Greece case, which was communicated to the European Court of Human Rights on 24 March 2016.

"I wish I could tell you today was a better day. It wasn't. We, a group of 15 Greeks, Afghan-Greeks and Americans, visited Malakasa camp today, 50 km north of Athens. We spent some time speaking with people individually and collectively to learn about their experiences on the camp. Although I had visited the camp while I was there in April and it was terrible then, what we heard was shocking."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.7.16)

Council of the European Union: From: Greek Delegation: Temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory (LIMITE doc no: 10008/26, 8 June 2016, pdf):

"We kindly ask you to take note of the Joint Ministerial Decision dated 12.05.2016 and published on issue 1373/17.05.2016 of the Official Journal... on the temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory via the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos and the airports of Karpathos and Chios accordingly by the date of its entry into force (17.05.2016) until the 31st of October 2016.

We therefore wish to inform you that according to the aforementioned Decision, the relevant checks at the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos will be conducted under the full responsibility of the Police Departments of Kalymnos, Kalloni, Leros and Karlovasi/Samos. With reference now to the airports of Karpathos and Chios, the relevant Police Department of Karpathos and the Security Subdivision of Chios aretasked to carry out those checks."
[emphasis added]

UK: Post-Brexit racism update (IRR News Service, 21.7.16, link): "Below we present an update of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive."

Council of Europe: Turkey to suspend European Convention on Human Rights

"The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, has been informed by the Turkish authorities that Turkey will notify its derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights under the Convention’s Article 15....

There can be no derogation from the following articles: Article 2 (Right to life), Article 3 (Prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment), Article 4 para. 1 (prohibition of slavery), Article 7 (No punishment without law). It is important to note that the European Convention on Human Rights will continue to apply inTurkey.

Where the Government seeks to invoke Article 15 in order to derogate from the Convention in individual cases, the European Court of Human Rights will decide whether the application meets the criteria set out in the Convention, notably the criteria of proportionality of the measure taken.

The Turkish Government will inform the Secretary General about measures taken."

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments: "Emergency derogation *can* be used to extend pre-trial detention and limit fair trials. Turkey has invoked it before."

See: Secretary General receives notification from Turkey of its intention to temporarily suspend the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf)

And: Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the declaration of the State of Emergency in Turkey (link): "The declaration of State of Emergency gives the executive far reaching powers to govern by decree. Under the terms of the Turkish Constitution, core fundamental rights shall be inviolable even in the State of Emergency. "

Also: ECHR Factsheet: Derogation in time of emergency (pdf)

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance: No Hiding Place for Spycops in Scotland (COPS, link):

"Support is growing for a Public Inquiry into the activities of undercover police in Scotland. Victims of blacklists, fellow trade unionists, environmentalists, Amnesty International, and politicians across the spectrum believe there should be some kind of Inquiry.

The main demands from campaigners are for an expansion of the Pitchford Inquiry (which is currently limited to England and Wales); or, for the Scottish government to launch a parallel Inquiry. Even the Scottish Tories support the call!"

Europol: TE-SAT report 2016 (pdf):

"This new edition of the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT), which Europol has produced on an annual basis since 2006, provides an overview of the failed, foiled and completed terrorist attacks that took place in the EU during 2015, and of arrests, convictions and penalties issued. It has become clear that Europe currently faces a shifting and increasing range of threats emanating from jihadist groups and individuals"

And under: "Left-wing and anarchist terrorism": "In recent years, Marxist-Leninist terrorist groups have carried out no attacks in the EU. Members of such groups – active in the 1980s, the 1990s, early 2000s, and now dismantled – currently engage in propaganda and ideological indoctrination but not in violence. Terrorist groups active in the EU largely adopt an anarchist, antiauthoritarian ideology and some of them occasionally use Marxist-Leninist propaganda elements."

TURKEY: President Erdogan: Ready to reinstate the death penalty (Al Jazeera, link):

"Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is ready to reinstate the death penalty if the Turkish people demand it and parliament approves the necessary legislation."

And see: Mogherini on Turkey: ‘No country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty’ (euractiv, link): "EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini stressed on Monday (18 July) that “no country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty”, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the country should reintroduce capital punishment after last week’s attempted coup.

“Turkey is an important member of the Council of Europe and, as such, is bound by the European Convention of Human Rights that is very clear on death penalty,” Mogherini added, in a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Speaking about the role of NATO, Kerry said that it “has a requirement with respect to democracy and NATO will indeed measure very carefully what’s happening.”"

Also: Hunt Turkey’s Coup-Plotters: Greece deploys 6 Apache attack helicopters to Eastern Aegean Sea (Keep Talking Greece, link)

UK: Met puts extra police on patrol to curb spread of London disturbances - More officers to be deployed through to weekend and leave requests refused after Tuesday’s violent clashes with youths (Guardian, link):

"Scotland Yard said on Wednesday that it would put extra officers on the streets as it tried to stop a spread of disturbances that included violent clashes with youths at three events across London.

The extra officers would be deployed throughout London after the clashes on Tuesday night amid sweltering summer heat appeared to catch police by surprise."

The Metropolitan Police will be mindful of: UK-LONDON: A variety of articles discussing the outbreak of the London riots on 6th and 7th August 2011 (Statewatch database)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.7.16)

Bulk data collection only lawful in serious crime cases, ECJ indicates - Initial finding from top EU court backs David Davis and Tom Watson and could have serious impact on snooper’s charter (Guardian, link):

"Retaining data from telephone calls and emails is legal only if law enforcement agencies use it to tackle serious crime, the EU’s highest court has indicated.

The preliminary finding by the advocate general of the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg came in response to a legal challenge that was brought initially by David Davis, when he was a backbench Conservative, and Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, over the legality of GCHQ’s bulk interception of call records and online messages.

Davis, one of the most vociferous critics of the state’s powers to collect data on its citizens, quietly withdrew from the case after his appointment to the cabinet. Many had commented on his involvement in the case at the EU’s highest court after he was appointed secretary of state for leaving the EU."

See: According to Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe, a general obligation to retain data imposed by a Member State on providers of electronic communication services may be compatible with EU law - However, it is imperative that that obligation be circumscribed by strict safeguards (Press release,pdf)

And: Advocate General: Opinion (pdf)

Also: Human Rights and National Data Retention Law: the Opinion in Tele 2 and Watson (EU Law Analysis, link): "The Advocate General goes beyond endorsing the principles in Digital Rights Ireland: even regimes which satisfy the safeguards set out in Digital Rights Ireland may still be found to be disproportionate."

TURKEY: ‘Graveyard for traitors’ to be built in Istanbul for coup plotters: Mayor (Hurriyet Daily News, link):

"Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas has said the city ordered a space which will serve as a graveyard for the plotters of the July 15 failed coup attempt as no cemetery would accept their corpses, calling the plot “the graveyard for traitors.”

“I ordered a space to be saved and to call it ‘the graveyard for traitors.’ The passersby will curse the ones buried there. ‘Everyone visiting the place will curse them and they won’t be able rest in their graves,’ I said,” Topbas told a group of coup protesters gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square late on July 19, while adding that the mayor of the Black Sea province of Ordu had refused to provide a burial place for the coup plotters."

Günther Oettinger: No visa waiver for Turkey this year (politico, link)

‘Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,’ the digital commissioner told German media.

European Commissioner Günther Oettinger has ruled out visa-free travel to Europe for Turks this year, after Friday’s failed coup prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch a purge in the administration, the army, the police and the judiciary, German media report.

“Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,” Oettinger, the EU’s commissioner for the digital economy and society, told Funke Mediengruppe. “It is not possible to strip MPs of their immunity to bully them. It is not possible to intimidate journalists. And it is not possible to withdraw thousands of unwanted judges from service.”"

Referendum on Irish reunification is a ‘possibility’ after Brexit (euractiv, link):

"Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, said on Sunday (18 July) that Northern Ireland could vote to become part of a united Ireland if they want to stay in the European Union. But the topic is highly divisive."

US government allowed to plead in Facebook data case (euobserver, link):

"The US government can take part in a case against Facebook on data transfer from Europe to the US, the Irish high court said on Tuesday (19 July).

The case was brought by Austrian activist Max Schrems. It was formally opened last October after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down an EU-US data protection agreement known as Safe Harbour.

It will determine whether European internet users' data is sufficiently protected from US surveillance."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.7.16)

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Data protection and Whistleblowing in the EU Institutions (press release, pdf):

"Confidentiality is the most effective incentive to encourage staff to report wrongdoing at work said the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) today as he published his Guidelines on Whistleblowing Procedures. Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Assistant EDPS, said:

"Whistleblowing procedures are meant to provide safe channels for staff or other informants to report fraud, corruption or other serious wrongdoing in organisations. Given that the information processed in whistleblowing procedures is sensitive and that leaks or unauthorised disclosure may have adverse consequences both for the whistleblowers and the accused, special care must be taken over that information. The EDPS Guidelines can help the EU institutions and bodiesto mitigate the risks."

See: EDPS Guidelines (pdf)

TURKEY: Aftermath of the attempted coup

The Turkey coup looks like the most incompetent undertaking imaginable (euractiv, link): "Whatever happened on Friday 15 July, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged stronger than ever and can now arrest anyone he wants on charges of treason, writes George Friedman."

Erdogan says coup was ‘gift from God’ to reshape country, punish enemies (euractiv, link): "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Friday’s failed coup (15 July) was a “gift from God”, giving him the chance to re-shape the country, and purge the country’s elite from enemies, who accuse him of creeping Islamisation in the traditionally secular state....

Erdogan promised “a new Turkey” after Friday’s failed coup. He has made clear that the country he plans would be different in two fundamental ways: power would be concentrated in the hands of the president, and the old secular elites would have a lesser political role."

And: Turkey's Erdogan vows talks on death penalty for coup plotters (DW, link): "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he'll discuss the possibility of capital punishment for those involved in an attempted coup against his government."

See also: Council conclusions on Turkey (18.7.16, pdf): there is a striking omission of asylum or visa issues.

GREECE: Anti-authoritarian son of SYRIZA Minister sentenced for “disturbing public peace” outside Golden Dawn offices (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"An Athens Misdemeanors Court imposed a 14-month imprisonment to the son of a SYRIZA Minister for attacks that occurred last month outside the offices of far-right Golden Dawn in Maroussi suburb of northern Athens. The 21-year-old man and each of three other defendants were sentenced to 14-month imprisonment with 3-year suspension.

The defendants were charged for offenses of “disturbing public peace” and “refusal to allow fingerprinting.” They were acquitted for the offenses of “unprovoked dangerous physical harm against police” and “aggravated damage.”"

Race and class: the colour of struggle (IRR, link):

"The latest issue of Race & Class is devoted to black political struggle in the UK 1950s-1980s.

Race and class: the colour of struggle, 1950s-1980s, edited by Jenny Bourne, brings together the voices of unsung political heroes of the time, groundbreaking new research, and campaigning material from the archives, providing readers with key resources on Britain’s history of black anti-racist activism – especially relating to policing, racial violence, workers exploitation and immigration controls. Those who speak from its pages – mothers, workers, students, exiles – testify to the common experience of colonialism and racism which made Black the colour of their fight."

UK: Post-Brexit racism (IRR News, 7.7.16, link):

"We present an overview of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive."

Council of Europe: Annual Activity Report 2015 (pdf)

"2015 was a year of fear and insecurity in Europe. In such an atmosphere, governments tend to neglect their human rights obligations and public opinion sometimes encourages this trend. Recurrent fears about possible military escalation in eastern Ukraine and ongoing economic malaise were increasingly overshadowed in 2015 by a growing sense of vulnerability to new terrorist threats and panic at the apparent inability of European governments to cope with the influx of asylum seekers.

The instinctive response in many quarters was to retreat back into one’s “national fortress”, to build fences, to grant enhanced powers to security services and to restrict freedoms. European co-operation faltered and European institutions struggled to formulate a response, as the divergent stances of member states often proved irreconcilable."

EU-NATO Declaration (pdf): Joint Declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of NATO (pdf)

Including: "Broaden and adapt our operational cooperation including at sea, and on migration, through increased sharing of maritime situational awareness as well as better coordination and mutual reinforcement of our activities in the Mediterranean and elsewhere."

FATF rules on civil society and "terrorist financing" rewritten

Most people have never heard of “Recommendation 8,” the regulation intended to protect the nonprofit sector from abuse through terrorist financing. It’s a technical section of an esoteric regulatory system that governs the global flow of money.

Until this month, it was also a flawed regulation that left civil society vulnerable to illegitimate government crackdowns.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.7.16)

Case Watch: Discrimination Dressed up as Neutrality in European Headscarf Bans (OSF, link):

"The Court of Justice of the European Union has been asked to interpret this law in two cases, each about a Muslim woman dismissed by a private sector employer because she wore a religious headscarf at work. In the first cases to reach the Court of Justice on the question of religious discrimination, national courts in Belgium and France have asked whether the dismissals were direct discrimination or whether exceptions to Directive 2000/78 allow such dismissals. In our legal briefing on the issue , we argue that the Court should rule that targeting clothing because it is religious is direct discrimination not allowed by EU law."

See also: Religious discrimination in the workplace: which approach should the CJEU follow? (EU Law Analysis, link)

EU-USA: Commission Implementing Decision of 12.7.2016 pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (pdf)

And see: Privacy Shield – Press Breakfast by MEP Jan Albrecht European Parliament, Brussels, July 12th 2016 - Statement by Max Schrems, Summary (pdf):

"Schrems: “Privacy Shield is the product of pressure by the US and the IT industry – not of rational or reasonable considerations. It is little more than an little upgrade to Safe Harbor, but not a new deal. It is very likely to fail again, as soon as it reaches the CJEU. This deal is bad for users, which will not enjoy proper privacy protections and bad for businesses, which have to deal with a legally unstable solution. The European Commission and the US government managed to make everyone miserable, when they could have used this opportunity to upgrade the protections that are crucial for consumer trust in online and cloud services."”

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting under the Slovakia Council Presidency, 7 July 2016

Minimalist background documents provided:

- Schengen Borders fit for the future (pdf):

"Ministers will discuss the implementation of the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation as well as interaction of the new Agency with neighbouring countries....

The Presidency attaches great importance to the Smart Borders project and is committed to bringing it closer to reality. A proposal on the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is expected to complete the picture in a not too distant future. Ministers will discuss how the system should look like."

- European Asylum Policy, addressing common challenges (pdf)

"The Commission’s legislative proposals, both those already adopted and those expected in the nearest future, aim at improving many aspects of the CEAS. One of the leading concepts of the proposals is solidarity."

Comment: There has not been much solidarity between Member States on the refugee crisis.

"Reforming the Common European Asylum System - the way ahead: The package of asylum proposals submitted by the Commission is one of the most important elements of the legislative work ahead."

Germany: About the exposure of three undercover policewomen in Hamburg (link):

"In three successive years, undercover policewomen from the Hamburg Criminal Police Office have been unmasked by activists. Their assignments included cases with international connections.

At least two of the officers also maintained sexual or intimate relationships with their targets or informers. This was the subject of several meetings of Hamburg’s internal-affairs authorities and of internal police enquiries."

European Parliament: Draft Report: On the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2015 (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.7.16)

European Commission: Asylum, relocation, resettlement, legal channels - package

European Commission: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy (Press release, pdf)

"The Commission is proposing to replace the Asylum Procedures Directive with a Regulation establishing a fully harmonised common EU procedure for international protection to reduce differences in recognition rates from one Member State to the next, discourage secondary movements and ensure common effective procedural guarantees for asylum seekers."

- Proposal for a: Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection and for the content of the protection granted and amending Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (COM 466, pdf)

- Proposal for a: Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 467, pdf)

- Reforming the Common European Asylum System: Frequently asked questions (pdf)

- Proposal for a Directive: laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast) (COM 465, pdf)

- Reforming the Common European Asylum System: Frequently asked questions (pdf)

- Enhancing legal channels: Commission proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework (Press release, pdf)

- Proposal for a Regulation: establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council (COM 468, pdf)

EU: Trilogues: Again citizens and civil society get half the cake: Institutional "space to think" (in secret) defended by EU Ombudsman

"The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has called on the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission to further increase the transparency of law-making in the EU by publishing key documents related to their informal negotiations known as “trilogues”.

Prevent: UK anti-terror plan 'harms children's rights' - Prevent policy limits freedom of expression in the classroom and leads to Muslims self censoring, rights group says (Al Jazeera, link):

"The UK's counterterrorism strategy is stifling children's freedom in school classrooms, infringing young people's right to privacy and causing Muslim pupils to self-censor out of fear of being reported to authorities, according to a new human rights report.

Rights Watch UK called on Wednesday for the programme known as Prevent, which aims to stop people "becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism", to be abolished. Prevent is "leaving a generation of young Britons fearful of exercising their rights to freedom of expression and belief," said Yasmine Ahmed, the NGO's director."

See report: Preventing education? Human Rights and UK counter-terrorism policy in schools (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.7.16)

European Commission: Relocation and Resettlement, 13 July 2016

"Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed... During the reporting period from 14 June to 11 July, the number of relocations increased with an additional 776 persons being relocated...

EU: Police chiefs: nine-point programme on keeping the 'Balkan Route' closed

The declaration was adopted following a meeting on 30 June in Vienna of police chiefs from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. It was circulated on 5 July by the Austrian delegation to the Council of the EU to other Member States' representatives.

See: Joint Declaration on Managing Migration Flows - Police Chiefs Meeting in Vienna on 30 June 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 10933/16, 5 July 2016, pdf)

EU: Implementing the Internal Security Strategy: May 2015 update

A May 2016 version of the "living document" maintained by the Presidency of the Council giving an overview of the implementation of the EU's Internal Security Strategy. It outlines "results achieved" between December 2015 and May 2016; sets out work for the current Slovenian Presidency of the Council; and gives an overview of the work of the different Council working parties dealing with internal security issues (covering areas as diverse as "organised property crime", border control and wildlife trafficking).

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI): Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy Implementation Paper: first half of 2016 (8587/16, 13 May 2016, pdf)

Background: Implementing the Internal Security Strategy: planning documents (Statewatch News Online, August 2015)

EU: Money laundering and terrorist financing: Commission set to adopt first EU-wide list of "high-risk third countries"

The European Commission is due to adopt this Friday a list of 11 "high risk [non-EU] countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering/countering terrorist financing", establishing for the first time a common EU list of countries to which financial institutions will have to apply "enhanced customer due diligence measures when establishing business relationships or carrying out transactions with natural persons or legal entities established in listed countries."

See: Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) .../... of XXX supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies (pdf) and: Annex to the Commission Delegated Regulation (pdf)

UK: Mass surveillance mandated in secret

"There are 15 secret “directions” in force under the Telecommunications Act enabling the intelligence services to collect bulk data about online and phone traffic, a surveillance watchdog has revealed."

UK: Older prisoners set up to fail by lack of support on release (Prison Reform Trust, link): "Older people released from prison are being set up to fail by a lack of adequate provision to meet their health and social care needs, according to a report published today by the Prison Reform Trust and Restore Support Network.

Limited and inconsistent support to help sort out housing, employment, personal finances and debt, drug and alcohol dependence, and re-establish family relationships is also undermining the effective resettlement of older prisoners and increases the risk of future offending.

The report, Social care or systematic neglect?, calls for the creation of a cross-government national strategy for meeting the health, social and rehabilitative needs of older people in prison and on release in the community."

See the report: Social care or systematic neglect? Older people on release from prison (link to pdf)

EU-US: Privacy Shield gets the go-ahead

The much-maligned "Privacy Shield" has been approved by EU governments, putting in place a new framework for EU-US data-sharing that - just like its predecessor, the Safe Harbour agreement - is likely to face legal challenges. Safe Harbour was struck down by the European Court of Justice in October 2015.

EU: New counter-terrorist financing rules: the "threat has grown and evolved recently"

The European Commission has published a proposal for new rules aimed at countering terrorist financing and money laundering that will amend the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, agreed in May 2015.

Proposed changes include obligations for "virtual currency exchange platforms" and virtual currency wallet providers to conduct due diligence checks on customers; limiting the anonymity of pre-paid cards by lowering the threshold (from 250 to 150 euros) at which sellers of cards will be obliged to undertake due diligence checks; strengthening the powers of Financial Intelligence Units; improving the ability of authorities to find out who owns bank and payment accounts; and introducing a harmoised EU approach towards "high-risk third countries".

EU: New handbook on alternatives to prison

"Severe overcrowding and bad conditions are common features of prisons in all the eight states involved in this, the latest European Prison Observatory project: Italy, France, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Community-based sanctions and controls are quite new in some of these countries, but long part of the criminal justice system in others (notably France and the UK). Latvia, the biggest per capita user of imprisonment, stands alone among these eight states, in having recently legislated to end the use of imprisonment across a large group of offences. By contrast the UK, another high per capita user of prison, has seen sentences grow longer and the imprisonment net widen: the state of our prisons is now widely acknowledged as a national disgrace.

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (the Observatory’s UK partner) has long argued for an end to our over-reliance on prison, based as it is on the false premise that punishment and control can address social problems like poverty, substance dependency and mental ill-health. This project gave us the chance to compare the UK with other EU countries and assess the role that alternatives to custody have played in changes to prison populations. We found a complicated picture."

See: Alternatives to imprisonment in Europe (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link) and the handbook: Alternatives to imprisonment in Europe: A handbook of good practice (link to pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.7.16): EU safe third country list and new rules for visa waiver suspension on the way; report on Greek asylum system; amendments to asylum law in Hungary; news round-up.

GREECE: Asylum policies and practices impairing the access to international protection in Greece (Greek Forum of Refugees, pdf): "As a result of regular interactions with refugee communities, GFR has continuously observed a number of obstacles preventing asylum seekers in the country from accessing the asylum procedures and receiving the international protection they are entitled to, according to international law.

Drawing on the implementation of the law and the practices adopted by the authorities, the present report mainly aims at pointing out the gap between the de jure situation, as it is defined by international law, and the de facto situation in Greece, as up to the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016. In doing so, the privileged point of view and focus of research are represented by the series of testimonies provided by asylum seekers, refugees and communities and collected by GFR over 2015."

HUNGARY: Latest amendments “legalise” extrajudicial push-back of asylum-seekers, in violation of EU and international law

The amendments to the Asylum Act and the Act on State Border that entered into force today allow the Hungarian police to automatically push back asylum-seekers who are apprehended within 8 km (5 miles) of either the Serbian-Hungarian or the Croatian-Hungarian border to the external side of the border fence. Legalising push-backs from deep within Hungarian territory denies asylum-seekers the right to seek international protection, in breach of relevant obligations emanating from international and EU law.

EU: Legal response to migration continues: safe third country list and visa waivers

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has approved texts on a common European list of "safe third countries" and the possibility of suspending visa-free travel for certain nationalities, with a view to reaching swift agreements with the Council. Plans to establish an EU-wide list of safe countries of origin were included in the May 2015 European Agenda on Migration, which also hinted at changes to visa waiver rules.

UK: Government condemned for overseas police training secrecy

"Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee has condemned the Government for the secrecy surrounding the approval of overseas police training, saying the current policy to guard against the human rights risks of such training may not be “fit for purpose.”

The Committee’s report, focused on the UK College of Policing, found that the College “has been put under pressure” by government departments “to raise revenue, including through providing overseas training”, and that some of this training been provided “on the basis of opaque agreements, sometimes with foreign governments which have been the subject of sustained criticism.” In a statement, the MPs warned that some of these programmes “threaten… the integrity of the very brand of British policing that the College is trying to promote and smacks of hypocrisy.”"

See: Government secrecy on overseas police training “unacceptable”, say MPs (Reprieve, link)

Home Affairs Committee news item: "Alarming" inconsistencies in policing across forces must be addressed (parliament.uk, link) and the full report: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: College of policing: three years on (pdf)

EU: Procedural rights "package" completed with agreement on legal aid Directive

"After seven years the EU has reached political agreement on the final element of a package of laws to improve defence rights across the Union. Yesterday the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament (LIBE) voted by 44 votes to 1 to approve the text of the Directive on Legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings, agreed in trilogue negotiations between the Council, Parliament and Commission.

Speaking after the vote, Mr Mark Kelly, consortium leader for the JUSTICIA European Rights Network, welcomed the new Directive saying,

"Already we have seen European leaders strengthen criminal justice systems across the EU by setting down minimum standards for countries to provide access to a lawyer when people are accused of crimes. The truth is that having access to a lawyer is meaningless if you do not have the money to pay for one. Particularly, this new law will make a huge difference to people who are detained in police stations, conferring them the absolute right to seek legal aid.""

See: EU COMPLETES PACKAGE OF LAWS TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACROSS THE UNION (JUSTICIA, link)

News Digest (8.7.16)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.7.16)

French government to ignore parliament for second time to pass labour law

"France's government has used a special measure to force through a divisive labour bill in the lower house of Parliament without a vote - for a second time.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls invoked a special constitutional article to approve the controversial bill Tuesday, prompting lawmakers to storm out of the National Assembly in anger.

This is the second time he has bypassed the legislature on this issue amid stiff opposition from members of his own party."

See: French PM Valls bypasses parliament to force through labour reforms (France 24, link) and: French government to bypass parliament to introduce controversial labour law (Statewatch News Online, May 2016)

UK: Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war: case closed?

"The long-awaited Chilcot Report was finally released today, examining the UK’s involvement in the Iraq War and occupation. Unfortunately, on the most important question, the report’s conclusions are all but silent: why did the UK go to war?

Chilcot takes at face value the Blair government’s claim that the motive was to address Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and limits its criticism to mistakes in the intelligence on WMD, and on insufficient administrative and military planning. He shows a remarkable lack of curiosity about the political factors behind the move to war, especially given the weakness (even at the time) of the WMD case."

See: Chilcot's blind spot: Iraq War report buries oil evidence, fails to address motive (OpenDemocracy, link) by David Whyte and Greg Muttitt

And: Take it from a whistleblower: Chilcot has only scratched the surface (The Guardian, link) by Katharine Gun: "Following the damning Chilcot report, much will be said about the decision to go to war in Iraq. But one thing will be missing: the information I leaked in the runup to the war. It won’t get an airing because I was never questioned or asked to participate in the Chilcot inquiry"

The full, 12-volume, 2.6 million word report of the Inquiry is available on its website: The Iraq Inquiry (link)

EU: Decision establishing 'High-Level Expert Group on Interoperabilty and Information Systems'

"(1) With a view to structurally improve the Union's data management architecture for border control and security in particular by addressing the current shortcomings and knowledge gaps of information systems at Union level, in accordance with the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled 'Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and security'1, the Commission needs to call upon the expertise of high level experts in an advisory body.

(2) It is therefore necessary to set up a group of high level experts in the field of Information Systems and Interoperability and to define its tasks and its structure."

See: Commission Decision of 17.6.2016 setting up the High Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability (C(2016 3780 final, pdf)

Background: Fingerprinting for all? Inclusion of all travellers in new border database to be discussed by 'High Level Expert Group'

Industry calls for the repeal of the e-Privacy Directive to "empower trust and innovation"

After the approval of new EU rules on data protection in general and with regard to law enforcement agencies, the next step is the revision of the 2002 e-Privacy Directive. Civil society groups are hoping to see the existing legal framework strengthened, while industry has its own ideas - scrapping the rules altogether in the name of "empowering trust and innovation".

FRANCE: Intelligence services should be merged, says parliamentary inquiry: 40 recommendations

"A French parliamentary commission of inquiry into the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks published a report recommending a fusion of the country's intelligence services. France currently has six different intelligence units answering to the interior, defense and economy ministries...

The main proposals include creating a new domestic intelligence agency working specifically in the suburbs with the task to monitor radical Islamists. It also promotes better coordination between existing intelligence and security agencies and the creation of a coordinating agency that directly reports to the Prime Minister."

EU: Council documents: responses to offensive cyber operations; "cyber capacity building" in non-EU countries; implementation report on Cyber Defence Policy Framework

UK: Getting off lightly: police and personal data breaches

Police staff in the UK were responsible for at least 2,315 data breaches between June 2011 and December 2015, according to a new report by Big Brother Watch. More than 800 staff accessed personal data "without a policing purpose" while data was shared with third parties over 800 times, with organised crime groups amongst the recipients. More than half of the cases led to "no disciplinary or formal disciplinary action being taken."

UK: Post-Brexit policing: special treatment, please

"The head of London's Metropolitan Police Service has sought assurances from political officials that the UK police will still have access to European biometric and DNA databases following the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

Speaking to the London Assembly, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met commissioner, said he wants Europol crime-info sharing, European Arrest Warrant scheme & DNA profile exchange to continue post-Brexit.

That would mean that the UK keeps access to Europol/Interpol, and all arrest warrant and biometric database despite not being politically tied to the continent."

See: UK police want post-Brexit access to EU biometric database (Planet Biometrics, link)

UK: Racism after Brexit: overview and organising meeting

"Below we present an overview of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive."

See: Post-Brexit racism (IRR, link). And: MEETING in LONDON, SATURDAY 9 JULY: Brexit, racism and xenophobia (The Monitoring Group, link): "Brexit represents a new, unlike any other, dangerous phase for people of colour and migrants in our country.

There is a glaring absence of political leadership in this present crisis. We believe that all of us – Black, Asian and Minority communities together with progressive people – need to develop a new plan and a common strategy to tackle the present surge of rising racism and inequality. Its impact will be long- lasting."

NATO to expand role in Mediterranean migration operations?

"Turning to the Middle East, the Secretary General said Alliance leaders will this week approve the deployment of NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to counter ISIL. He also said he expected NATO to agree on a new training and capacity building effort in Iraq and a role for NATO in the Central Mediterranean to complement the European Union’s Operation Sophia" (emphasis added). See: NATO Secretary General outlines Warsaw Summit agenda (NATO, link)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also noted during a press conference (link) that NATO expects to "build on our effective cooperation in the Aegean to cut lines of human trafficking."

EU: Law enforcement efforts against "migrant smuggling" stepped up with new international bureau in Vienna

"On 4 May 2016, the Austrian Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Sobotka opened the “Joint Operational Office against Human Smuggling Networks” (JOO) in Vienna. In a statement, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior stated that the institution was an “international investigative bureau against human smuggling”. The centre has an initial complement of 38 staff members, Europol intends to second additional personnel. It is intended to be a point of contact for investigations of authorities also from the migrants’ countries of origin."

See: International investigative bureau in Vienna to combat “migrant smuggling” (Matthias Monroy, link)

Technology of control? New remote camera disabling technology patented by Apple

"Imagine: You pull out your phone to record police misconduct—suddenly, your camera just doesn’t work. Turns out, your phone’s camera has been disabled by an infrared emitter. Apple’s newly patented technology may make this possible. The technology places an infrared sensor in your phone that has the potential to be disabled remotely. While the technology is being promoted as a tool to prevent the filming of copyrighted material, we think it has the potential to undermine efforts to hold law enforcement accountable."

EU: Rush to pass new terrorism law continues with LIBE vote

"Today, on 4 July 2016, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) waved through a compromise text for a Directive on “combating terrorism”. The compromise comes after a series of secret negotiations between a handful of parliamentarians.

Our freedoms and security are being threatened by unclear provisions on key issues like internet blocking and encryption. The text also includes undefined terms, such as “radicalisation” and the “glorification of terrorism” which can be subject to abuse. Due to political pressure, there was “exceptionally” no assessment of alternatives to the far-reaching measures contained in the proposal. This political expediency risks undermining the values on which the European Union is founded."

EU: European Parliament: thumbs up for beefing up Frontex

On Wednesday 6 July the European Parliament approved a proposal to turn the EU border agency Frontex into a 'European Border and Coast Guard Agency', with new powers that have been heavily criticised by some of the Parliament's political groups as well as civil society organisations. The new agency is expected to start operations in the autumn.

The text of the new Regulation - which was agreed in secret trilogue meetings between Council, Parliament and Commission negotiators before being voted on by the full Parliament - was adopted with 483 votes in favour, 181 votes against and 48 abstentions.

Statewatching Europe Conference 2016: Plenary speech by Gareth Peirce (mp3)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.7.16): Hungarian border guards undertake shoot-to-kill practice; number of children in detention in France in 2015 doubles; refugees smuggling themselves in shipping containers; and more.

UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Core Participant? Your Name’s Not Down, You’re Not Coming In (COPS, link):

"When the [Pitchford] Inquiry was established there were over 200 applications for CP status. Most were accepted. A judgement made in October 2015 illustrates the open character of the Inquiry.

Based on this initial ruling we felt that the Inquiry was going to do two things, listen to those of us who were spied upon and investigate undercover policing of political groups who were engaging in their right to protest.

It was also said that there would continue to be an open door for those who wish to seek Core Participant status. We now question that initial promise, as recent refusals have thrown it into doubt."

EU: Securing the high seas: Maritime Security Strategy progress report

A recent joint report by the European Commission and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy provides an overview of progress made in implementing the EU's Maritime Security Strategy, adopted in 2014 and supposed to ensure: "effective and cost-efficient responses to the protection of the maritime domain, including borders, ports and offshore installations, in order to secure sea borne trade, address potential threats from unlawful and illicit activities at sea, as well as to make optimal use of the sea’s potential for growth and jobs, whilst safeguarding the marine environment."

EU says "soft power is not enough" as German and French ministers call for "European Security Compact"

The new 'Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy' issues the same demands that some leading EU officials have been making for years: that greater unity in defence and security issues is required, not just politically but also financially. "Member States must channel a sufficient level of expenditure to defence," says the report, because "soft power is not enough." A statement issued by the German and French foreign ministers following the British referendum on EU membership makes some similar demands.

EU: Frontex: Annual Report 2015, Western Balkans risk analysis January-March 2016

At the end of June the EU's border control agency, Frontex, presented its Annual Activity Report 2015 to the Council of the EU. The report provides an overview of the agency's work during 2015 - for example, through the coordination of joint operations and joint return operations - as well as information in budgetary and management issues. Frontex has also recently published its Western Balkans "risk analysis" for the first three months of 2016.

FRANCE: Number of children in detention doubles

The number of families with children locked up in detention in France doubled in 2015 compared to the previous year, finds a new report entitled 'Centres and Sites of Administrative Detention' by La Cimade and four other organisations

In 2015, 48,000 people were held in detention, among them 52 families with 105 children. More than half were in mainland France (58%), with the rest in the overseas territories.

"Does it need to be recalled that the best interests of the child must take precedence over arrest and confinement which, however brief, can be deeply traumatic for children?" ask the authors of the report, five French NGOs: Assfam, Forum Réfugiés, France terre d'asile, l'Ordre de Malte and La Cimade.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.7.16): new report on the companies profiting from Europe's border control industry; report on Softex camp in northern Greece.

EU: Fingerprinting for all? Inclusion of all travellers in new border database to be discussed by 'High Level Expert Group'

The possibility of subjecting all travellers entering and leaving the EU to the proposed Entry-Exit System - which would mean mandatory fingerprint checks and facial scans at the EU's external borders - is to be discussed by a new 'High Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability', which counts numerous law enforcement and security agencies amongst its members, but seemingly no data protection officials or authorities.

See: Roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management including interoperability solutions in the Justice and Home Affairs area (LIMITE doc no: 9368-REV-1, pdf),

Rendition: ECHR hearings continue; CIA officer could be imprisoned in Italy

Last week the European Court of Human Rights held confidential hearings on two cases concerning the CIA's rendition programme, Al Nashiri v Romana and Abu Zubaydah v Lithuania. Both men are currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. An ECHR news item said: "Both cases concern the alleged “rendition” of the applicants, suspected of terrorist acts, to CIA secret detention sites, where, according to their submissions, illegal interrogation methods amounting to torture were used."

UK: Call for information on racist incidents in order to "build a national picture"

"After years and years of struggle against racial hostility to new migrant communities, we are back there again – albeit post Brexit, which, seemingly, has taken the shame out of racism. And now, just like in the 1970s, communities up and down the country are experiencing an upsurge in racist and fascist violence. The IRR wants to help organisations at the grassroots by building up a national picture. Can you help us by sending regular updates about what is happening in your community?"

See: Brexit and xeno-racism – help us to build the national picture (IRR, link)

UK: Undercover policing guidance: contradictions made clear

Last week the College of Policing launched a six week consultation on guidance regarding the use of undercover policing for intelligence and evidence-gathering in England and Wales. An article in online newspaper The Canary makes clear some of the problems with the draft guidance.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2-3.7.16)

USA: Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists (Intercept, link):

"Secret FBI rules allow agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval from two internal officials - far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures.

The classified rules, obtained by The Intercept and dating from 2013, govern the FBI’s use of national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. They have previously been released only in heavily redacted form.

Media advocates said the documents show that the FBI imposes few constraints on itself when it bypasses the requirement to go to court and obtain subpoenas or search warrants before accessing journalists’ information."

See: DOMESTIC INVESTIGATIONS AND OPERATIONS GUIDE CLASSIFIED APPENDIX G (pdf)

UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Library: Leaving the EU: Parliament’s Role in the Process (pdf):

"Following a vote in the referendum on 23 June 2016 in favour of the UK leaving the European Union, the Prime Minister said that this decision “must be accepted”, adding that “Parliament will clearly have a role in making sure that we find the best way forward”. Drawing on parliamentary material and recent legal and constitutional comment, this Library briefing examines what Parliament’s role would be in the process of withdrawing from the European Union in several key areas."

European Parliament Study: Cross-border traffic accidents in the EU - the potential impact of driverless cars (pdf)

"this study provides an analysis of the potential legal impact of the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles on rules of private international law determining jurisdiction and applicable law in the EU Member States in the event of a cross-border traffic accident."

UK: Howard League for Penal Reform: The Carlile Inquiry 10 years on: The use of restraint, solitary confinement and strip-searching on children (Press release, link) and Report (link):

"Force that causes the deliberate infliction of pain on children account for over a third of all approved ‘techniques’ that can be used on children. Pain is being used illegally to secure children’s compliance."

Irish EU minister: Post-Brexit North-South hard border ‘not acceptable’ (euractiv, link):

"Ireland’s EU minister has told EurActiv.com that any post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and the Republic should allow status quo in terms of movement of goods or people, and a ‘hard border’ would be “unacceptable." ...

Well we said throughout the campaign and we continue to say now that any measures to restrict the movement of goods or people with border-related measures would be regretted as backward moving steps. That’s our position with respect to the movement of goods and people notwithstanding the UK vote, but as far as at all possible the status quo should be maintained."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.7.16): Hungary jails migrants for "violating the border fence"; warning over new Frontex powers; UNHCR statistics on June arrivals in Greece; and more.

News Digest: round-up of news stories from across the EU (1.7.16)

SCOTLAND: After the EU referendum - SACC Policy Statement (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, link): "SACC stands against repressive legislation and policies that criminalise the daily lives of minority communities; criminalise dissent; and institutionalise, legitimise and promote racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. Resistance to these policies is more important than ever in the aftermath of the EU referendum. It must become a priority for all progressive political movements and parties."

EU: European Parliament study on reintroduction of border controls in the Schengen area

"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizen’s Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, analyses the Schengen area in the wake of the European ‘refugee crisis’ and other recent developments. With several Member States reintroducing temporary internal border controls over recent months, the study assesses compliance with the Schengen governance framework in this context. Despite suggestions that the end of Schengen is nigh or arguments that there is a need to get ‘back to Schengen’, the research demonstrates that Schengen is alive and well and that border controls have, at least formally, complied with the legal framework. Nonetheless, better monitoring and democratic accountability are necessary."

UK: Decriminalise sex work, says House of Commons Home Affairs Committee

A report from the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons calls for changes to the law on sex work in England and Wales, recommending that "the Home Office change existing legislation so that soliciting is no longer an offence and so that brothel-keeping provisions allow sex workers to share premises, without losing the ability to prosecute those who use brothels to control or exploit sex workers."

UK: Unaccompanied child asylum seekers: Home Office age assessment policy unlawful

"The High Court has ruled that the Home Office policy on judging the age of unaccompanied children seeking asylum is unlawful. Ministers have, up until now, allowed immigration officers to treat as an adult anyone they believe seems to be ‘significantly over the age of 18’."

EU: Warning over new Frontex agency's data-gathering powers, lack of accountability and overseas deployments without oversight

With the full European Parliament due to vote on the proposed new Frontex Regulation on 6 July, the Frontexit campaign has called on MEPs to reject the text, warning that it provides new powers to gather and exchange personal data without the necessary safeguards; establishes a new complaint mechanism that does not meet the required standards of independence; and permits increased overseas deployments by the agency "away from any oversight by the European Parliament or national parliaments."

LITHUANIA: Lithuanian court prevents secret detention and rendition victim from participating in investigation into CIA secret prisons in Lithuania

Press release from REDRESS: London, 1 July 2016 – Vilnius Regional Court has issued its final rejection of REDRESS’ application for victim status for Mustafa al-Hawsawi in a pre-trial criminal investigation into CIA secret prisons (also known as black sites) in Lithuania. This status would have allowed Mr. al-Hawsawi to participate in the ongoing investigation, including to request access to pre-trial investigation material and to make requests to expand the investigation’s scope.

EU: Crime pays well, says Europol report

A new report by European policing agency Europol estimates that between 2010 and 2014, just "2.2% of the estimated proceeds of crime were provisionally seized or frozen, and 1.1% of the criminal profits were finally confiscated at EU level." Thus: "98.9% of estimated criminal profits are not confiscated and remain at the disposal of criminals."


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