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What's New on the Statewatch website: 2016
Carries all items that have been added or updated from News Online, News Digest and Observatories.
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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.
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: Parliaments 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 peoples 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 Europes 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 Courts 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 Governments 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 EUs 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 EUs security project are being laid.
Chris Jones commented:
The EUs 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 Europes 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 Unions 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,didnt 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 Frances 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 Hungarys 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 governments 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 Governments 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 Britains Information Commissioner will review the governments 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 Mets 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 whats 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 Muinieks, 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 Muinieks to Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos and Nikolaos Toskas, 25 July 2016 (pdf) and Greek government reply:Letter from Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos to Nils Muinieks 17 August 2016 (pdf)
UK: Dalian Atkinson's death 'legalised murder by police' says family after ex-footballer Tasered (Mirror, link):
"Dalian Atkinsons 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 fathers house.
Cousin Fabian Atkinson, 31, said: What it boils down to is one man killing another man. Its legalised murder.
Everybody sugarcoats it but they shouldnt. 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 childrens 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 assemblys president, Martin Schulz, had intervened to prevent a former parliamentary staffer from speaking in a hearing on transparency.
Cecilia Wikström said the Parliaments petitions committee had invited the former head of the Parliaments 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 Septembers 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 NPCCs 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 CIAs 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 courtrooms censorship system.
The system was believed to be under the control of the judge, Col. James Pohl. In this case, it wasnt."
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 Leagues 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 fathers 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 Italys 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 organisations 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. Its a catastrophe, one hotel operator told the Financial Times. Bookings for the high season are the worst weve 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 weeks 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 Horgo 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 publics 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 governments 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 UKs 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 governments 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 UKs 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 Gallachers 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 countrys 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 agencys 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, ASGIs 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 islands 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):
"Turkeys President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday (7 August) hinted at the return of death penalty which he said was a matter of peoples 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 Bilds translation of his comments, the immigration ministry said in a statement, publishing what it said were Mouzalass answers in Greek to Bilds questions.
According to the statement, Mouzalas had actually said: Greece is committed to the EU-Turkey deal, which depends on both the EUs support and on Turkeys 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 Germanys 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 Germanys 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 RSFs 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 wont do much on its ownin 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 Duggans mother, Pamela, and his aunt Carole, who marched alongside Bakers 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 Mets 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 Greeces 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 theyve 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: Francos ghosts (New Internationalist, link):
"18 July marks 80 years since the coup détat which led to the Spanish civil war and Francos 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 well 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 Justices (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 FBIs 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 Europes 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 Frances 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)
"Greeces 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 Britains 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 Ankaras 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 Ankaras crackdown after a failed coup.
Cavusoglu told Germanys 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 newspapers 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 Muinieks, in the aftermath of Turkeys failed coup attempt.
The countrys authorities have informed the Council of Europe of Turkeys 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 Muinieks 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.
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:
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.
Its 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 dont 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 Im 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 Italys 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 Offices 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. Its 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 Committees 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 EUs 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 elses 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 Justices (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 AGs 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, Europols 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 19671974."
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] Zemmouris for conspiracy, related to the thwarted burglary only.
Huwaris 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 Prosecutors 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 pillars 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 Conventions 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 weeks 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 whats happening."
Also: Hunt Turkeys 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 Tuesdays 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 snoopers charter (Guardian, link):
"Retaining data from telephone calls and emails is legal only if law enforcement agencies use it to tackle serious crime, the EUs 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, Labours deputy leader, over the legality of GCHQs bulk interception of call records and online messages.
Davis, one of the most vociferous critics of the states 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 EUs 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 wont be able rest in their graves, I said, Topbas told a group of coup protesters gathered in Istanbuls 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 doesnt 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 Fridays 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 doesnt look like it is happening now, Oettinger, the EUs 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 Fridays failed coup (15 July) was a gift from God, giving him the chance to re-shape the country, and purge the countrys elite from enemies, who accuse him of creeping Islamisation in the traditionally secular state....
Erdogan promised a new Turkey after Fridays 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 Britains 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 ones 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. Its 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 Commissions 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 Hamburgs 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 Observatorys 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
"Parliaments 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 Committees 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 UKs involvement in the Iraq War and occupation. Unfortunately, on the most important question, the reports conclusions are all but silent: why did the UK go to war?
Chilcot takes at face value the Blair governments claim that the motive was to address Iraqs 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 wont 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
- Developing a joint EU diplomatic response against coercive cyber operations - final revised text (5797/16, 5797/5/16, 5797/6/16, pdfs)
- Cyber capacity building: towards a strategic European approach (8732/1/16 REV 1, pdf)
- Six Monthly Report on the Implementation of the Cyber Defence Policy Framework (9701/16, pdf)
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 countrys 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 Unions 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 misconductsuddenly, your camera just doesnt work. Turns out, your phones camera has been disabled by an infrared emitter. Apples 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 Parliaments 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 Names Not Down, Youre 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 seas 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 FBIs 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: Parliaments 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 Parliaments 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 childrens compliance."
Irish EU minister: Post-Brexit North-South hard border not acceptable (euractiv, link):
"Irelands 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. Thats 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 Parliaments Policy Department for Citizens 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 investigations 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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