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What's New on the Statewatch website: 2019
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Carries all items that have been added or updated to News Online and Observatories.

December 2019

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3-9.12.19) including:

LIBYA: Accountability for Serious Crimes under International Law in Libya: An Assessment of the Criminal Justice System (International Commission of Jurists, pdf):

"The upsurge in hostilities in Libya since April 2019 has highlighted the devastating impact that impunity for crimes under international law committed by State actors and armed groups has engendered.

Civilians taking no part in hostilities are being displaced en masse, unlawfully killed and subject to other violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and gross human rights violations, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, enslavement, and rape and other acts of sexual violence.

...despite the scale and magnitude of the violations and abuses committed by State and non-State actors, only a handful of investigations and prosecutions of such violations have been undertaken, resulting in a situation of near total impunity.

...The present report provides concrete law, policy and practical recommendations with a view to initiating such a process [to establish the rule of law] and enhancing the ability of the Libyan criminal justice system to deliver genuine accountability."

UK: Mobile fingerprint scanners bring a dangerous new front to the hostile environment (Liberty, link):

"Police technology is being used to draft frontline officers into the Government’s hostile environment, undermining access to vital police services for countless people, Liberty research has found.

In England and Wales, more than half of police forces have deployed mobile fingerprint scanners – devices that carry out on-the-spot ID checks against immigration databases, turning officers into border guards.

Liberty obtained detailed information about police use of mobile fingerprint scanners through a series of freedom of information requests. So far more than 4,000 people have been matched against immigration databases after coming into contact with frontline police."

Croatia Is Abusing Migrants While the EU Turns a Blind Eye (Foreign Policy, link):

"BIHAC, Bosnia and Herzegovina—Cocooned in a mud-spattered blanket, thousands of euros in debt, and with a body battered and bruised, Faisal Abas has reached the end of the line, geographically and spiritually. A year after leaving Pakistan to seek greener pastures in Europe, his dreams have died in a rain-sodden landfill site in northern Bosnia. His latest violent expulsion from Croatia was the final straw.

(...)

Near the Vucjak landfill, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders runs a small clinic opposite a church where sick and wounded migrants line up every day. Such is the sheer number and pattern of the reports that the project coordinator, Miroslav Ilic, believes the violence to be systemic and contends that the EU is complicit in a policy designed to render migrants physically incapable of crossing the border."

See also: Croatia: violence at the border no barrier to Schengen accession

Germany sets out plan for automatic relocation of asylum seekers (Politico, link):

"Germany has proposed an automatic relocation scheme for asylum seekers in which their applications would be examined at the EU's external borders.

A four-page document, seen by POLITICO, was distributed to member countries by Berlin last week in an effort to make progress on asylum reform ahead of the German presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of next year. European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, a former German defense minister, is expected to put forward her migration proposals in February.

The German proposal is presented as a so-called non-paper, which means that it's meant merely for discussion — as is made clear in the title, which contains the words “food for thought.”"

See the document: FOOD FOR THOUGHT (13 November 2019) Outline for reorienting the Common European Asylum System (pdf)

SERBIA: Unlawful video surveillance with face recognition in Belgrade (SHARE Foundation, link):

"The installation of smart video surveillance in Belgrade, with thousands of cameras and face recognition software, has raised public concern. Three civil society organisations (CSOs) – SHARE Foundation, Partners for Democratic Change Serbia (Partners Serbia) and Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCSP) – published a detailed analysis of the MoI’s Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) on the use of smart video surveillance and have reached a conclusion that the document does not meet the formal or material conditions required by the Law on Personal Data Protection in Serbia.

The Commissioner on Personal Data Protection in Serbia also published his opinion on the DPIA, confirming the findings of the aforementioned organisations According to the Commissioner, the DPIA was not conducted in line with the requirements of the Personal Data Protection Law."

Secret document: "Club de Berne" criticises member in Austria for possible extremism (link):

"An audit report of the "Club de Berne" finds serious deficiencies in the Austrian domestic intelligence service. Its IT systems were not approved for secret information. The authority should also ensure that it is not infiltrated by "extremist organisations“.

The Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism (BVT) is regarded as a security gap for European intelligence cooperation. This is the conclusion reached by the European "Club de Berne" in an audit report. The document classified as "secret" was leaked to the daily newspaper "Österreich" and published."

Afghan refugee dies in container fire in Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A 27-year-old refugee from Afghanistan died in a fire that started in the makeshift Kara Tepe migrant camp on Lesvos, state-run news agency ANA-MPA reported.

The incident happened at dawn on Thursday when a fire broke out inside the container where the woman lived with her 28-year-old husband and their three children aged 5, 2 and an infant.

The 28-year-old man managed to save the three children before he passed out from the smoke. He was transferred to Mytilene’s hospital where he is being treated for breathing problems."

Migration control: Drones now fly across the English Channel (link):

"1,700 migrants are said to have crossed the strait between France and Great Britain in small boats this year. Both governments therefore requested patrols with drones from the European Union next year. Until then, the border authorities will fly with their own aircraft.

The British Coast Guard will observe the English Channel with drones in the future. This is reported by the British BBC with reference to the British Ministry of the Interior. The government in London wants to prevent the crossing of migrants from France across the 30 kilometre wide strait to Great Britain. However, it is unclear which unmanned aerial vehicles will be used and which company was awarded the contract. The Ministry of the Interior refused to provide any information to the BBC."

'Oval Four' men jailed in 1972 cleared by court of appeal in London (Guardian, link):

"Lord chief justice expresses ‘regret that it has taken so long for injustice to be remedied’

Three men who were convicted nearly 50 years ago on the evidence of a corrupt police officer have finally had their names cleared by senior judges.

Upholding an appeal against conviction by Winston Trew, Sterling Christie and George Griffiths – who, with Constantine Boucher, were part of the “Oval Four” – the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett, told them: “Our regret is that it has taken so long for this injustice to be remedied.”

The men were arrested in March 1972 by a group of undercover police officers at Oval Underground station and accused of “nicking handbags” on the tube. They were beaten in the police cells and then charged with attempting to steal, theft, and assault of the police."

58 dead as migrant boat capsizes off Mauritanian coast - Mauritanian officials rescued the Gambian migrants from the shore (International Business Times, link):

"A vessel carrying 150 migrants from the Gambia capsized off Mauritania Coast on Wednesday killing at least 58 in the incident said the UN Migration Agency. This route has been used for the movement of migrants from the West African countries to Europe for a very long time. The sinking is being seen as one of the deadliest incidents to happen to migrants who were relocating."

Grenade thrown at migrant children's centre in Madrid (Guardian, link):

"Property in Hortaleza had previously been singled out for criticism by far-right Vox part.

Bomb squad officers in Madrid have carried out a controlled explosion after a practice hand grenade was thrown over the wall of a centre for unaccompanied foreign minors in the north-east of the Spanish capital.

A spokeswoman at the Madrid headquarters of the national police force said the grenade carried a small amount of explosive. There were no reported injuries."

Greece: Camp Conditions Endanger Women, Girls - Asylum Seekers Lack Safe Access to Food, Water, Health Care (HRW, link):

"Women and girls face relentless insecurity in Greece’s overcrowded Moria “hotspot” for asylum seekers and migrants on Lesbos island, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a video that shows the dire conditions. The Greek government should take immediate action to ensure safe, humane conditions for women and girls in line with their international human rights obligations and standards for humanitarian emergencies.

As of December 2, 2019, the Moria Reception and Identification Center was holding nearly 16,800 people in a facility with capacity for fewer than 3,000. Overcrowding has led authorities, as well as some asylum seekers and migrants themselves, to erect shelters outside Moria’s fenced boundaries, first in the adjacent area called the Olive Grove and now in a second olive grove, which has no water and sanitation facilities. In all areas."

All EU security and defence missions to adopt access to documents policies - but enforcement will be voluntary

All the missions and operations launched under the EU's common and security and defence policy (CSDP) have been ordered by the European External Action Service (EEAS) to adopt policies on public access to documents by February 2020, but their enforcement will be voluntary and lie beyond the reach of the Court of Justice of the EU.

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 2-3 December 2019

Including: press release, agendas and background note

EU: Ministers call for renewed migrant smuggling crackdown on "Eastern Mediterranean" route

The EU should put a "stronger focus" on "the fight against human smuggling" along the Eastern Mediterranean route, according to the interior ministers of almost two dozen central and eastern European states, who have called for joint investigations and enhanced cooperation with Turkey and Western Balkan countries.

EU-NIGERIA: Europe wants to send migrants home—but what happens when they get there? (Prospect, link):

"A huge experiment is underway in reversing migration and thousands of Nigerians represent the vanguard. But what are "Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration" programmes—and what are the human consequences?

...Calling for the removal of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants used to be the preserve of nativist politicians such as Italy’s Matteo Salvini. But there is less than there used to be between the far-right and an EU leadership that makes no secret of its intention to ramp up returns."

FRANCE: Preventing Violent Extremism in France: from a society of vigilance to a society of suspicion? (CIDOB, link):

"The French government has called for a general detection of “early signs” of radicalization. But, what does it mean exactly and how the listing of these considered “early signs” can avoid generating a climate of generalized suspicion? In the field of preventing violent extremism (PVE) policies, the use of such indicators is not only questionable in theory but dangerous in practice.

...indicators that are presented as a reliable means of detecting violent radicalization and thus promoting a “society of vigilance” are in fact a tool whose design is not based on science and whose practical use can encourage suspicion and denunciation. In such a context, the authorities’ action may encourage the marginalization of certain segments of the society, and work against the inclusion that would make vulnerable communities more resilient to radicalization."

Report on illegal pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border

On 15th of November Mobile Info Team published its first report about illegal pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border. In several newsletters we have already informed you about our efforts to document and collect human rights violations at the Greek border, especially about so called pushbacks to Turkey. These pushbacks are very problematic on a lot of different levels: asylum seekers are denied their human right to apply for asylum, as well as the possibility to receive protection in Europe.

UK: JUSTICE FOR ALFIE MEADOWS: Two weeks discplinary hearing of PC Mark Alston beings 11AM on 4 December 2019 at 21 New Street, London, EC2M 4TP (DTRTP, link):

"On 9 December 2010 Alfie Meadows was a 20 year old philosophy student from Middlesex University when he joined student protests against the tripling of tuition fees.

At around 3:30pm police officers kettled thousands of protesters inside Parliament Square. At the same time police officers temporarily opened up their police lines to facilitate mounted police charges into the crowd. As Alfie tried to leave the containment he was struck around the head with a police truncheon.

...The disciplinary hearing of PC Alston is expected to last until 17 December 2019. The officer faces two charges: one for using his baton dangerously and the other for causing Alfie’s head injuries."

Conclusions of the joint international press freedom mission to Hungary: Hungary dismantles media freedom and pluralism (ECPMF, link):

"Since 2010, the Hungarian government has systematically dismantled media independence, freedom and pluralism, distorted the media market and divided the journalistic community in the country, achieving a degree of media control unprecedented in an EU member state.

While avoiding the physical violence or the jailing of journalists common in autocratic regimes elsewhere, the Hungarian government has pursued a clear strategy to silence the critical press through deliberate manipulation of the media market – engineering the forcible closure or effective government takeover of once-independent media – and through the delegitimization of journalists. The construction of a pro-government media empire serves as a vast propaganda machine for the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, insulating large parts of the public from access to critical news and information so as to maintain the Fidesz party’s hold on power."

GERMANY: The Lingering Trauma of Stasi Surveillance (The Atlantic, link):

"BERLIN—It has been 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, but this group-therapy session for victims of the East German dictatorship still meets every two weeks. Seated at the table in a cozy room off a peaceful cobbled street is a tall, sturdily built man who wears a thick gold chain and heavy boots. It was his penchant for edgy dressing that first got him in trouble with the secret police: He refused to cut his hair and wear a government-approved scarf to school exams. To his left is a woman who also protested the state-administered school uniform. Opposite is a man who made the mistake of applying to leave the country.

...It was an unashamed police state, one in which extreme measures, even by authoritarian standards, were taken to curtail freedoms, until it finally fell and was subsumed into a newly reunified Germany. Yet the impact of the GDR’s measures did not end then. Indeed, that impact continues to be felt today. And if its efforts serve as an example to modern surveillance states—China, North Korea, Belarus, and Uzbekistan among them—its legacy serves as a warning, an insight into how such vast systems of control can affect our minds and societies."

European Data Protection Supervisor: Leading by Example: EDPS 2015-2019 (pdf):

A report looking at the last five years of work by the EDPS: "This report provides an overview of the activities carried out by the EDPS from 2015-2019. In particular, it focuses on how the EDPS has worked towards implementing the objectives set out in the EDPS Strategy 2015-2019, which relate to digitisation, global partnerships and the modernisation of data protection. This involved not only contributing historical pieces of legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation and Regulation 2018/1725, but also bringing the concepts of ethics and accountability to the forefront of data protection discourse and application."

French parliament backs resolution calling anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism (Middle East Eye, link):

"The French parliament backed a resolution on Tuesday labelling anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism.

The motion proposes to adopt the definition issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which states that some criticism of Israel could be antisemitic.

“Criticising the very existence of Israel as a collective composed of Jewish citizens is tantamount to hatred towards the Jewish community as a whole,” the resolution states.

The resolution has passed with 154 votes for and 72 against. It was drafted by Sylvain Maillard, a Paris lawmaker from French President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique en Marche (The Republic on the Move) centrist party."

GAMM UPDATE (Limite doc no: 13452-19, pdf) 6 November 2019: 63 pages:

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

See also: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) update report (Statewatch News)

Holidaymakers in Gran Canaria help 24 migrants after boat lands on beach (El Pais, link):

"The bathers were enjoying the warm weather when they saw the small vessel approach the rocky coast with three babies and three children on board."

GREECE: Samos Refugees: A reluctant update on enduring cruelties (Samos Chronicles, link):

"On Samos, as with the other frontier islands, it has now become widely seen as a ‘bad thing’ for refugees to be detained for so long on the islands. But on Samos at least the reality is more paradoxical. Today increasing numbers of refugees on Samos would prefer to stay here rather than be moved to the mainland. Many know that camps such as Nea Kavala in northern Greece – an isolated former airfield- are far worse than Samos."

Commissioner seeks information from the Greek government on its plans to set-up closed reception centres on the Aegean islands (CoE, link):

"Today the Commissioner published an exchange of letters with the Minister of Citizen Protection of Greece, Michalis Chrysochoidis, and the Alternate Minister for Migration Policy of Greece, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, concerning the plans to transfer migrants from the Aegean islands to the mainland and set up closed reception centres on those islands, as announced by the Government a few days ago."

See: Letter from CoE to Greek government (link) and its Reply (link)

EU commissioners to visit Greece and Turkey for migration policy overhaul (ekathimerini.com, link):

"he European Union’s new commissioners responsible for issues related to migration and the refugee crisis will be visiting Greece and Turkey this week.

Commissioners for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas and for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will be in Athens on Thursday, before traveling to Ankara the following day, Schinas said following a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Monday."

Aegean Boat Report: 25 November - 1 December (pdf):

"A total of 74 boats started their trip towards the Greek Islands, carrying a total of 2873 people. However, 47 boats were stopped by TCG/police, and 1032 people arrived on the Greek Islands."

EU: The political proxy war driving the race for EU citizens’ champion (Politico, link):

"Emily O’Reilly defends her record as she campaigns for reelection as European Ombudsman."

La France renonce à la livraison de bateaux à la Libye : une victoire qui doit marquer un tournant dans la coopération sur la politique migratoire! (Migreurop, link);

"In the context of the appeal brought by our associations before the Paris Administrative Court of Appeal, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, has just announced that she is renouncing the delivery of six boats to the Libyan coastguard, a delivery that we were challenging. We welcome the abandonment of this initiative, which would have made France the official accomplice to the crimes committed against migrants and refugees in Libya."

Africa relations are ‘not equal’, leaders warn EU (euractiv, link):

"As the field of competitors for investing in Africa becomes more crowded, the EU will have to quickly improve its offer. The challenge for Ursula von der Leyen’s new European Commission will be to turn the so-called ‘partnership of equals’ promised by her predecessor into something concrete."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.11-2.12.19) including:

Med: Mounting Death Toll while NGOs Struggle to Keep up with Rescues (ECRE, link):

"Over the course of the last week at least 41 people have died in two separate shipwrecks, one off Lampedusa and one between Morocco and Spain. After disembarking a total of 353 people in Italian ports in the beginning of the week, NGO ships rescued another 213 people since Thursday.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) confirmed that at least 21 people lost their lives in a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, on November 23. The boat, carrying 170 Europe-bound people, capsized 1.6km from the island as it was being escorted by the Italian coast guard. Efforts to Recover and identify the dead bodies are still on-going. 149 people were rescued.

Another 20 people are feared dead after a boat carrying 78 people got into difficulties while travelling from Morocco to Spain. After being alerted by an NGO, Spain’s maritime rescue service rescued 58 people, recovered four dead bodies and continued to search for those missing."

“How the hostile environment creates sites without rights": Evidence presented to the London Hearing of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the violations with impunity on the rights of migrants and refugees (pdf)

"On 3-4 November 2018, a number of organisations, under the umbrella of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT, Basso Tribunal), came together to put the ‘hostile environment on trial’ at the London Hearing of the PPT on violations with impunity of the rights of migrant and refugee peoples...

The testimonies (oral and written) included evidence from Spain, Italy and Germany as well as the UK. We wanted to present all the evidence, and the rapporteurs’ contextualising reports, as fully as possible here, in an attempt to spread as widely as we can the knowledge contained in them, and to encourage groups around the country to organise local tribunals. During the PPT hearings we saw how the shameful hostile environment policy has legitimised racism and fostered a toxic social environment. We commend the courage of the witnesses and the commitment of the migrants’ organisations who participated. They are building a world that is better for everyone."

EU: Lisbon Treaty: Commission marks ten years of judicial and police cooperation between Member States of the European Union (press release, link)

"Today in the House of European History, President of the European Commission Ms Ursula von der Leyen marked the ten-year anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. The 1st of December 2019 also marks ten years since EU cooperation on borders, migration, justice and internal security is a fully-fledged Union policy.

With the Treaty of Lisbon, Member States created an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, one in which people can move around freely and yet remain safe from crime, as well as have their interests protected by the courts."

UK: EU citizens will need US-style visa clearance after Brexit as Tories unveil 'take back control' border pledges (PoliticsHome, link):

"Under a raft of promises the party claims will improve border security if it wins the election, the Tories said a new visa waiver scheme called Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) would be brought in for EU citizens wanting to travel to the UK.

Under current EU free movement rules, travellers from the bloc only need an ID card to gain entry.

But the new regime will see them asked to bring passports and fill in an online form before travelling, a move the Conservatives said would allow officials to "to screen arrivals and block threats from entering the UK"."

ECHR-BULGARIA: A civilian tried by military courts for an ordinary criminal offence did not have a fair trial (press release, pdf):

"In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Mustafa v. Bulgaria (application no. 1230/17) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights

Mr Mustafa, a civilian who had no links to the army, was tried and convicted by military courts for an ordinary offence because one of the other defendants in the case was serving in the army at the time it was committed. Mr Mustafa argued that those courts were neither independent nor impartial.

The Court found in particular that Mr Mustafa’s doubts about the independence and impartiality of the military courts could be regarded as objectively justified."

Judgment: Mustafa v. Bulgaria (French only, pdf)

EU: Guarding the Fortress. Frontex role in the militarisation and securitisation of migratory flows in the European Union (Centre Delas, link):

"The new report “Guarding the Fortress: the role of Frontex in the militarization and securitization of migratory flows in the European Union” intends to study and analyze the context in which the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, is developed and implemented in the European Union, as well as its operation, mechanisms and main operations carried out. The research addresses the context that is built with respect to security policies in the EU, and specifically with regard to border and migration policy. As well as, the development of Frontex in this context.

The report analyzes the role that Frontex has in helping to build walls around the European Union, building what is called the “Europe Fortress”, through maritime, area and land operations that criminalize people who have to flee their homes for force, whether from war or economic inequality. It is in this context that migratory flows are approached as a threat, so that they are approached with the same instruments as border crimes."

 

November 2019

Enforcement of EU Values and the Tyranny of National Identity – Polish Examples and Excuses (Verfassungsblog, link):

"Professor A. von Bogdandy in his recent piece published at Verfassungsblog analyzes difficulties regarding enforcement of the EU values. He argues that the application of Treaty provisions relating to EU fundamental values should be cautious in order to avoid controversy or pressure.

However, the ‘national identity argument’ is not convincing in the Polish case. It cannot be used by a Member State in an arbitrary or blanket way without being checked and confirmed. Otherwise, it is only an excuse. Unfortunately, the Polish rule-of-law saga offers a number of such excuses, which eventually allowed the rule of law backsliding to flourish."

Women human rights defenders under attack: Amnesty (DW, link):

"Activists continue to be sexually assaulted, threatened, intimidated, criminalized and even killed, the rights watchdog has said. Women human rights defenders even face hostility from members of their own family."

Over 1000 cases set to be dropped against Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested during October’s International Rebellion (Pressenza, link):

"The Metropolitan Police has admitted to the unlawful use of Section 14 of the Public Order Act during the first week of the October protests, following a threat of further legal action by Extinction Rebellion’s lawyers

- The news follows Extinction Rebellion’s landmark victory in the High Court earlier this month in which the Met’s blanket Section 14 ban from the second week of the International Rebellion was ruled to be an unlawful overreach of Police powers

- Extinction Rebellion now expects police investigations and charges against over 1000 of its activists to be dropped."

Refugees being 'starved out' of UN facility in Tripoli (Guardian, link)

"Aid worker claims refugees are being denied food to motivate them to leave.

The UN has been accused of trying to starve out refugees and asylum seekers who are sheltering for safety inside a centre run by the UN refugee agency in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.(...)

Internal documents seen by the Guardian show that the UNHCR is also planning to withdraw food from 600 other refugees and migrants in the centre – who include survivors of bombings, torture, forced labour and other human rights abuses. The majority have already tried to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean, but were returned to Libya by the EU-backed Libyan coastguard."

European leaders: Stop punishing asylum seekers on the Greek islands (MSF, link):

"Dear European leaders

I have just come back from the Greek islands, and I was shocked by what I saw and by the accounts I heard from my colleagues on the ground.(...)

Dr Christos Christou, MSF International President “The situation is comparable with what we see in war zones in other parts of the world. It is outrageous to see these conditions in Europe and to know that they are the result of deliberate political choices.” (...)

Stop this deliberate collective punishment of people in search of safety in Europe. Urgently evacuate the most vulnerable people from these centres to safe accommodation in other European states. End the policy of containment."

UN refugees chief urges Greece to improve 'miserable' camp conditions (ekathimerini.com, link):

"plans to shut overcrowded refugee camps and replace them with detention centres to be used both as an ante-room for deporting failed asylum seekers and as a reception and processing centre for new arrivals. (...)

The government wants to move up to 20,000 people to the mainland by the end of the year and expects the new facilities to be ready by July 2020. State authorities believe that more than 80,000 migrants and refugees are currently in Greece."

Four dead, 10 missing from migrant boat found adrift near Melilla (El País, link):

"Rescue services took 55 survivors to the Spanish exclave city, where the holding center is over capacity."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 2-3 December 2019: Background Note (pdf)

HUNGARY: The legacy of the Orbán era: anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia (Hungarian Spectrum, link):

"At just about the same time that Hungarians witnessed an anti-Semitic assault by Fidesz journalists on “alien-hearted” Jews who are unable or maybe even unwilling to “melt” into the majority, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) concluded a global survey of 18 countries on the state of anti-Semitism in today’s world. As a result, it was ascertained that what we have suspected all along is in fact the case: while in Western Europe anti-Semitic attitudes have held steady, hateful notions about Jews have been rising in Eastern and Central European countries. The rapid rise of anti-Semitism in recent years is especially striking in Poland, where four years ago 37% of the population held anti-Jewish views but today 48% do. As for Hungary, where the Orbán government ran an anti-immigrant billboards campaign featuring George Soros, only 25% of the population believe that “Jews want to weaken our national culture by supporting more immigrants coming to our country.” That particular campaign, it seems, did not hit its target, but the overall nationalistic tenor of the Orbán regime has had a measurably negative impact. Hungary’s overall anti-Semitism score today is 42%, compared to 40% in 2015."

UK: Netpol launches ‘Restricting the Rebellion’ report (Netpol, link):

"New Netpol report says the Metropolitan Police were far more interested in preventing October’s Extinction Rebellion protests than in facilitating it.

On 20 November, Netpol launched “Restricting the Rebellion”, a report on the policing of Extinction Rebellion protests in London in October 2019, at an event at Doughty Street Chambers hosted by Green Party peer Jenny Jones.

The report found that the police systematically discriminated against disabled protesters by failing to meet their needs. It also questioned the police’s controversial use of Section 14 powers to limit the protests –ruled unlawful by the High Court on 6 November. It found the use of these powers was disproportionate and unreasonable and sought to criminalise what the police saw as an “illegal” movement, rather than judging protesters on their individual actions."

General Court Rules on Frontex: Less Transparency at EU Borders (Frag Den Staat, link):

"The first lawsuit against Frontex by a civil society organisation was not successful: the European Court in Luxembourg, following a joint lawsuit by freedom of information activists Luisa Izuzquiza and Arne Semsrott, decided that the European Border Police do not have to disclose any information about their ships in connection with operations at the EU's external borders.

Frontex itself had published some of its vessels’ names on Twitter, thus showing that there can’t be a harm to public security. The information in dispute is also regularly published by other EU naval missions in the Mediterranean on a regular basis. It is not comprehensible that Frontex shall not be ordered to disclose these details, and to comply with a basic standard of transparency."

Judgment: Case T-31/18: Izuzquiza and Semsrott v European Border and Coast Guard Agency (pdf)

GREECE: History repeating itself: Winter warnings for Europe’s largest refugee camp (The New Humanitarian, link):

"With winter approaching, aid workers and refugee advocates on Lesvos are worried: there doesn’t appear to be a plan in place to prepare Moria – Europe’s largest refugee camp – for the rain, cold weather, and potential snow that winter will bring.

The road leading to Moria runs along the shoreline on the Greek island of Lesvos, passing fish restaurants and a rocky beach. On sunny days, the water sparkles and dances in the 20-kilometer stretch of the Aegean Sea separating the island from the Turkish coast. But in the winter, the weather is often grey, a strong wind blows off the water, and the temperature in bitingly cold."

EU: Parliament elects the von der Leyen Commission (European Parliament, link):

"New Commission approved by 461 votes to 157 against, with 89 abstentions

College of Commissioners to take office on 1 December for five years

Hearings process established suitability of candidates

First woman Commission President and the largest proportion of female Commissioners to date"

See: EPRS: An analysis of the portfolios of the von der Leyen Commission (pdf) and: Ursula von der Leyen's speech in the EP plenary session (pdf)

Home Office reverses attempt to deport Jamaican man 'to Iraq' (The Guardian, link):

"The Home Office has made a U-turn in the case of a man caring for his terminally ill partner who was told he was going to be deported to Jamaica because officials had concluded that he “failed to demonstrate that his life would be at risk in Iraq”.

The Guardian reported last month that O’Neil Wallfall, 49 – who has never been to Iraq – received a refusal letter that appeared to indicate his case had been confused with that of someone else.

The government also said in the same document that it would not be “unreasonable” or “unduly harsh” to expect his British partner, Karen McQueen, 56, to relocate to his homeland of Jamaica with him. McQueen has a diagnosis of terminal cancer and is awaiting a transplant after kidney failure."

European Data Protection Supervisor: Report on the inspection of Europol's compliance with Article 4 of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (pdf):

"Overall Europol manages well the verifications of the US DoT requests. The different actors complement each other and pay close attention to details.

The EDPS has identified good practices when Europol analyses the US requests. Europol takes into account other information than what is provided in the request to assess the necessity, such as the work experience of Europol staff, trends, statistics and intelligence provided for example in the TE-Sat. In addition, they receive regular training by the Designated Provider (DP) in order to keep staff members up to date as regards the message types and related data categories."

MEPs choose Wiewiórowski to be the EU’s data protection watchdog (EP, link):

"Mr Wojciech Wiewiórowski was selected by the Civil Liberties Committee as their top choice to become the next European Data Protection Supervisor.

MEPs chose their order of preference of the candidates for the position of European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) in a secret ballot on Tuesday morning:

Wojciech Wiewiórowski from Poland was selected as the top candidate with 36 votes, Yann Padova from France gained 25 votes and Endre Szabó from Hungary obtained 3 votes. (...)

The European Data Protection Supervisor will be jointly appointed by common accord of the European Parliament and the Council for a term of five years."

Frontex expands operations in EU neighbouring countries (link):

"After Albania and Montenegro, the EU Commission has concluded a Frontex status agreement with Serbia, to be followed by Northern Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. A first deployment of the EU border troops has meanwhile been increased."

Aid groups condemn Greece over 'prison' camps for migrants (Guardian, link):

"Greece is poised to create “prison” island camps, say aid groups amid growing criticism of government plans to overhaul refugee reception centres on Aegean outposts facing Turkey.

As the UN refugee agency’s top official, Filippo Grandi, prepared this week to fly to Lesbos, where almost 16,000 people are crammed into a single facility, Athens was criticised for adopting legislation in contravention of basic human rights.(...)

Greece is poised to create “prison” island camps, say aid groups amid growing criticism of government plans to overhaul refugee reception centres on Aegean outposts facing Turkey.

As the UN refugee agency’s top official, Filippo Grandi, prepared this week to fly to Lesbos, where almost 16,000 people are crammed into a single facility, Athens was criticised for adopting legislation in contravention of basic human rights."

Greece makes course change in its approach to the refugee crisis (new Europe, link):

"When Alkiviadis Stefanis was appointed as Deputy Defence Minister of Defence in the cabinet of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis some months ago it went relatively unnoticed. Stefanis, a 60-year-old ex-Chief of the Greek Army was not elected, but was placed in the Ministry of Defence as a “technocrat” due to the fact that he had good knowledge of military conduct. (...)

After weeks of deliberation and a slow adjustment to its migration management policy, the Greek government appointed military-man Stefanis as the coordinator for the management of the ongoing crisis."

EU: Berlin and Paris outline plan for EU makeover - Two-page document aims to show Franco-German partnership overcoming recent tensions (Politico, link):

"Germany and France have drawn up a blueprint for a two-year "Conference on the Future of Europe" aimed at overhauling nearly all aspects of how the EU functions, including possible treaty changes if need be, with a goal of making the bloc "more united and sovereign," according to a document seen by POLITICO."

A number of documents are this theme are being circulated: Conference on the Future of Europe: Franco-German non-paper on key questions and guidelines (pdf) and Resolution: EPP, S&D, Greens/EFA AFCO (pdf)

Questions surround Greece's stricter course on refugees (DW, link):

"Athens has announced tougher action against migrants and refugees. New deportation camps are to be set up, while asylum applications are to be processed more quickly. But some doubt the efficacy of the planned measures."

Italy; At least 20 migrants feared dead after boat capsizes near Lampedusa (Guardian, link):

"Five reported dead and 149 rescued from vessel attempting to carry group from Libya to Europe.

At least 20 people were feared dead after a boat carrying hundreds of migrants to Europe capsized in stormy seas near the Italian island of Lampedusa, according to authorities.

Following the accident on Saturday, 149 migrants have been rescued, including 13 women and three children, but dozens were still missing, the Italian coastguard said in a statement."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.11.19) including:

EU: 'Roadmap' for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead

A 'roadmap' sets out the actions needed for "rapid and full operationalisation of the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) 2.0 Regulation," described as a "top priority for the EU."

EU-AFRICA: Eurafrica: History of European Integration, “Compromise” of Decolonization (EuropeNow, link):

"After the war, European states actually scrambled to preserve their empires and use them to claim geopolitical leverage vis-à-vis the dominant superpowers to the east and the west, the Soviet Union and the US. In fact, rather than a postcolonial project, the EU (or the European Economic Community, EEC, as it was called at its foundation) was from the outset designed, among other things, to enable a rational, co-European colonial management of the African continent.

The relationship between the history of European integration and the history of colonialism is best understood through a compelling geopolitical entity once known as Eurafrica. As we have shown in a recent book by that title, most efforts to unify Europe from 1920 to 1960 systematically coincided with efforts to develop and stabilize the colonial system in Africa."

Western intelligence services tracked Russian spy in Catalonia (El País, link):

"General Denis Sergeev, the Russian spy who traveled to Barcelona in 2017 on the eve of the October 1 illegal referendum in Catalonia, carried out subversive operations in a dozen or so countries in Europe and Asia. Using the false name Sergey Fedotov, this agent linked to so-called “Unit 29155” was detected in the United Kingdom and Bulgaria, where Western Intelligence services have linked him with a number of assassination attempts. The Spanish High Court is currently investigating him, as EL PAÍS revealed on Thursday.

Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeev is a veteran of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU, as it is known in Russian by its initials), Russia’s largest foreign intelligence agency. With the rank of general, the agent operated for at least a decade in different countries. At the start he did so with his true identity, and later as Sergey Fedotov. Using this name, he was detected in Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. Now, Spain’s High Court is investigating this agent – who has been classed as “dangerous” – and his alleged relationship with events in Catalonia, within the framework of Russian attempts to destabilize other countries.

GREECE: Deportation of Legal Centre Lesvos client halted by intervention of the European Court of Human Rights (Legal Centre Lesvos, link):

"On 21 November 2019, in the case of Z.B. vs. Greece, ECHR?LE2.2bR, the European Court of Human Rights granted an interim application preventing the Greek authorities from deporting an Afghan man, ‘Z.B’, to Turkey from Lesvos. Z.B, who is represented by Legal Centre Lesvos, was due to be deported the next morning had it not been for the intervention of the Court. Amongst the various arguments raised in the application to the ECHR, was the concern that Z.B would be subjected to various serious violations of his human rights, including the very real possibility that he be subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment in Turkey.

The Court agreed to further examine Z.B.’s case, requesting further information regarding Z.B’s claim that the Greek State’s failed to consider the risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 prior to his scheduled deportation."

Italian coast guard: migrant bodies washed ashore or in sea (AP, link):

"The bodies of five migrant women, two of them washed ashore, were recovered Sunday, the Italian coast guard said, as search efforts continued in rough seas near the tiny island of Lampedusa for around another dozen people feared missing in the capsizing of a fishing boat.

Three of the bodies were retrieved from the sea, where waves as high as three meters (10 feet) complicated the coast guard search by boat and helicopter.

The Italian news agency ANSA, reporting from the Italian Mediterranean island, had said that a total of seven bodies had been brought ashore by mid-day. Later, ANSA said the number of recovered corpses had been confirmed at five."

GERMANY: Hamburg: Social Democrats and Greens plan new police law (World Socialist Web Site, link):

"The “modern” police law planned by the red-green Senate will extend the powers of the police even further. The new law will permit police to use electronic ankle bracelets to monitor so-called “threats” around the clock. In common with other police laws, the new Hamburg law uses the vague term “imminent danger.” This means that persons who have committed no crime, but are considered by the police to be potentially dangerous, can be forced to wear an electronic ankle bracelet for up to three months.

In addition, paragraph 49 of the red-green bill allows automated data analysis on a large scale. Extensive databases can be analysed automatically to facilitate the “preventive combatting” of crimes or to avert threats—including for “issues of significant value.” Surveillance software can then be used to allow police databases to research “relationships or connections between individuals, groups of people, organisations, institutions, objects and property.”"

UK: Doctors tell UK authorities Julian Assange 'could die' in jail (Al Jazeera, link):

"More than 60 doctors have written an open letter saying they feared Julian Assange's health was so bad that the WikiLeaks founder could die inside a top-security British prison.

The 48-year-old, who spent seven years holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London before he was dragged out in April, is wanted in the United States to face 18 counts including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades in prison if convicted.

The 16-page letter, published by WikiLeaks on Monday, said Assange suffers from psychological problems including depression as well as dental issues and a serious shoulder ailment."

See also: UN expert on torture sounds alarm again that Julian Assange’s life may be at risk (UN, link)

EU aid and development funding has provided €215 million for border security in Morocco since 2001

Since 2001, almost €215 million has been provided to Morocco by the EU to finance border security projects. Human rights abuses against migrants and refugees committed by Moroccan authorities call into question whether financial support from the EU to Moroccan border security should continue.

See Statewatch Analysis: Aid, border security and EU-Morocco cooperation on migration control (pdf)

EU-USA talks on the exchange of e-evidence reveals major differences - USA-UK deal muddies the water

The Commission has produced a report on the second round of talks on the EU-USA exchange of electronic evidence held in Washington on 6 November 2019. It shows that many differences need to be sorted out and reveals that a UK-USA bilateral agreement in the US legislative pipeline takes a contradictory line to that of the Commission. See:

Report of the Commission services on the second round of negotiations in view of an agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on cross-border access to electronic evidence for judicial cooperation in criminal matters, 6 November 2019 (Council Restricted doc no: 13713-19, pdf).

New Detention Centres Planned on Greek Islands Despite Ruling Against Island Conditions (Are You Syrious, link):

"While the European Court of Human Rights has informed the Greek Government that they are in breach of the Human Rights Act and that the hotspot of Samos poses an “imminent risk of irreparable harm” to pregnant people, they have decided to further contain people seeking asylum within closed detention facilities.

The Greek government announced to replace the camps on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros in July 2020. The new so-called “pre-departure centres”, in fact once again closed detention centres, will be designed for at least 5000 people on Lesvos, Chios and Samos, 2000 on Kos and 1000 on Leros, local media reports. Presented pictures showed container villages instead of tents.

These will likely be isolated spots, far from media and NGO attention. Aegean Boat Report states that one may be placed on the uninhabited island of Levitha south west of Leros another will be in an isolated region of Chios."

USA: Ban Face Surveillance (EPIC, link):

"Over the past decade, a powerful identification technology has emerged that will create the engineroom for a new era of mass surveillance across the world. This technique has the capacity to scan and identify the faces of thousands or even millions of people in real time. It must be stopped."

EDRI: ePrivacy: EU Member States push crucial reform on privacy norms close to a dead end (link):

"The ePrivacy Regulation aims to strengthen users’ right to privacy and create protective measures against online tracking. Instead, EU states turned it into a surveillance toolkit,” said Estelle Massé, Senior Policy Analyst at EDRi member’s Access Now. “Today’s rejection should not be a signal that the reform cannot happen. Instead, it should be a signal that states must go back to the negotiating table and deliver what was promised to EU citizens: stronger privacy protections.”"

Croatia: Border Violence Monitoring Network (pdf):

"On Saturday 16th November 2019, a group of people-in-transit were fired upon by Croatian police with live rounds. The shooting occurred on Tuhobiæ mountain, Gorski Kotar ( HR ), an area close to the Slovenian border. One man was shot in the stomach and chest area and remains in a critical condition in a hospital in Rijeka ( HR ). The Croatian Ministry of Interior have stated this potentially fatal shooting to be an accidental outcome of regular border protection work. However, The Border Violence Monitoring Network are sharing their dataset of firearms incidents, proving the regular and systematic use of guns by the Croatian police during pushback operations. The statistics, drawn from the common database."

New agreements: European Union wants to expand use of passenger data (link):

"The EU Parliament is to deal with a new agreement on the exchange of passenger data with Canada. So far, PNR agreements exist only with the USA and Australia, but now the EU Commission also wants to negotiate with Japan. Others could follow after the International Civil Aviation Organization adopts new standards."

#PrivacyWins: EU Border Guards Cancel Plans to Spy on Social Media (for now) (PI, link):

"As any data protection lawyer and privacy activist will attest, there’s nothing like a well-designed and enforced data protection law to keep the totalitarian tendencies of modern Big Brother in check.

While the EU’s data protection rules aren’t perfect, they at least provide some limits over how far EU bodies, governments and corporations can go when they decide to spy on people.

This is something the bloc’s border control agency, Frontex, learned recently after coming up with a plan to monitor the internet use of migrants and civil society. After publishing a tender inviting surveillance companies to bid for the project, they mysteriously cancelled it less than a month later while facing questions as to whether such spying was even allowed under data protection regulations."

CoE: Commissioner publishes observations on alleged human rights violations of migrants returned from Italy to Libya (link):

"Today, the Commissioner published her written observations submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the case of S.S. and others v. Italy. This case concerns the interception and rescue operation of a boat in distress in the Mediterranean Sea, carrying around 150 persons who had left Libya, and the alleged human rights violations resulting from this operation.

The Commissioner underscores that changes adopted in member states’ migration practices in the Central Mediterranean, in particular certain types of assistance provided to the Libyan Coast Guard, have resulted in increased returns of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to Libya, despite the fact that member states knew, or should have known, about the risk of serious human rights violations they would face in the country."

See: Third party intervention by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: S.S and others v Italy (pdf)

MEPs shut out of Hungary Council hearing as rule of law situation worsens (euractiv, link):

"MEPs are reeling after being shut out of a Council hearing under the Article 7 procedure against Hungary for systemic breaches to the rule of law, as the situation in the country further deteriorates.

The Council will hold a hearing on Article 7 proceedings against Hungary on 10 December, Finnish Council presidency representative told the European Parliament’s (EP) committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

Several MEPs expressed their disappointment that Parliament representatives will not attend the hearing, despite the EP’s request to participate. The decision to continue proceedings over determining whether Hungary is in serious breach of the EU’s core values comes amid reports of new rules undermining judicial independence."

Why UK’s refusal to name new commissioner is headache for EU (euractiv, link):

"The European Union is due to relaunch its powerful executive arm under the new leadership of the German conservative Ursula von der Leyen from 1 December but faces legal risks after Britain refused to name its representative for the European Commission."

Greece migrant crisis: 'Horrible' camps to shut amid influx (BBC News, link):

"Overcrowded, open camps that have become home to 33,000 asylum seekers on five Aegean islands are to be shut down and replaced with closed centres.

Four or five new sites will be set up to house 1,000 to 5,000 people. (...)

The proposed sites are being described as "closed pre-departure centres""

See also: Migration plan foresees new restrictive facilities on islands, closure of Moria camp (ekathimerini.com, link)

Comment: It appears that the current free movement of refugees on the islands after registration will end and they will be locked in the new detention centres until their return to Turkey has breen agreed.

Greece: Turkey needs to end ‘blackmail’ for migrant aid (euractv, link):

"Greece’s migration minister said that Turkey needs to stop “blackmail” if it wants more EU aid, saying its loaded language had prompted a spike in movement toward Greek shores.

Speaking to AFP on a visit to Washington, Giorgos Koumoutsakos voiced alarm over threats by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials to “open the gates” to Europe if it does not provide more support.

When Turkey “keeps repeating that we’re going to open the floodgates, what they (migrants) do is they move closer to the floodgates waiting for them to open,” said Koumoutsakos, citing a 240% increase in migrant arrivals on Greek shores since May."

UN: Experts of the Committee against Torture express concern about racially motivated police violence and detention conditions in dialogue with Portugal (link):

"The Committee against Torture this afternoon concluded its consideration of the seventh periodic report of Portugal on measures taken to implement the provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Committee Members raised concerns about detention conditions, including the use of solitary confinement for juveniles. They also broached racially-motivated police violence. In that regard, the outcome of the Cova da Moura trial was flagged. "

Italian Air Force MQ-9A Predator B Drone Allegedly Shot Down In Libya. Images Surface on Social Media (The Aviationist, link):

"One of the Italian UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) has crashed in Libya. It’s not clear whether it was shot down (as claimed by some Libyan reports) or crashed for other reasons.

Images showing the wreckage of an Italian Air Force Predator drone have started circulating on the social media networks in the afternoon on Nov. 20.

While showing an Italian Air Force drone, the photographs don’t show an MQ-1 as some sources have reported: they actually show what remains of an MQ-9A Predator B, operated by the 32° Stormo (Wing) of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), based at Amendola Air Base, in southeastern Italy."

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee holds talks in Greece (CPT, link):

"The main objective of the talks was to discuss the action being taken by the recently elected Greek Government to address the long-standing concerns of the Committee regarding prison, police and immigration detention issues. In particular, the need to tackle the crisis in the prison system and to improve the treatment of persons detained by the police, including as regards investigating allegations of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, was discussed.

In this context, the delegation was keen to learn about the measures already taken or being considered by the new Government to tackle the serious problems encountered by the CPT in the course of its most recent visits in 2018 and 2019. The talks were carried out in a spirit of openness and all parties expressed their desire to improve the current situation of persons deprived of their liberty."

The hostile environment confuses unlawful with undocumented, with disastrous consequences (Migration Mobilities Bristol, link):

"If a policy that deprives residents of jobs, homes and money is going to be introduced, one would hope it would be targeted using the best available data with strong failsafe mechanisms in place to reverse any errors. It would, you would have thought, be a disaster if innocent individuals ended up being forced into penury and out of the country as a result of incorrect information."

EU countries warned of 'lost generation' of young refugees (BBC News, link):

"Europe is in danger of creating a "lost generation" of young refugees who have fled war and persecution in their countries, the EU's rights agency says.

The Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) said it had identified serious challenges in integrating people aged between 16 and 24 across the EU.

It has urged member states to speed up asylum procedures, simplify family reunification and provide more housing."

See: Integration of young refugees in the EU: good practices and challenges (FRA, pdf)

Facebook and Google’s pervasive surveillance poses an unprecedented danger to human rights (AI, link):

"Facebook and Google’s omnipresent surveillance of billions of people poses a systemic threat to human rights, Amnesty International warned in a new report as it called for a radical transformation of the tech giants’ core business model."

European Parliament: Rule of Law in Hungary: Council to update the Civil Liberties Committee (link):

"MEPs will discuss the Article 7(1) process, initiated by Parliament due to concerns about the rule of law in Hungary, on Thursday with the Council.

This is the first substantial discussion on the subject in the current legislative term. The Finnish Presidency of the Council will report to the Civil Liberties Committee on how the first hearing in the General Affairs Council of 16 September went."

EU: UK to join police fingerprint database network, but other member states want broader data access

EU member states have recommended that the UK join the 'Prüm' network of police fingerprint databases, but they are also demanding that the country "review its policy of excluding suspects' profiles from automated dactyloscopic [fingerprint] data exchange".

EU: Brussels, 3 December 2019: Workshop on defence and security: How to forge a peace and rights-based EU answer to security threats (pdf):

"This workshop will present the conclusions of three recent reports of the Centre for Peace Studies J.M. Delàs, addressing in particular EU funding for the defence sector,external borders control, and European arms exports; altogether these reports showcase the current trends of EU defence and security policies.

The reports’ outcomes and other experts’ contributions will be the basis for a discussion between civil society and political representatives on how to influence the current EU defence, security and migration policies and what an alternative peace and rights-based approach could be."

Sea rescue NGOs : a pull factor of irregular migration? (European University Institute, link):

"The argument that maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) operations act as a ‘pull factor’ of irregular seaborne migration has become commonplace during the Mediterranean ‘refugee crisis’. This claim has frequently been used to criticize humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) conducting SAR off the coast of Libya, which are considered to provide “an incentive for human smugglers to arrange departures” (Italian Senate 2017: 9). In this policy brief, we scrutinise this argument by examining monthly migratory flows from Libya to Italy between 2014 and October 2019. We find no relationship between the presence of NGOs at sea and the number of migrants leaving Libyan shores. Although more data and further research are needed, the results of our analysis call into question the claim that non-governmental SAR operations are a pull factor of irregular migration across the Mediterranean sea."

Why return from Europe is causing problems for The Gambia (The Conversation, link):

"The government is frequently suspected to play an active role in returns and is accused of witholding information about their dealings with the EU and member states like Germany. Incidentally, President Barrow is currently seeking to extend his rule beyond the three-year transition period originally agreed upon, ending in January 2020. Opposition to these plans is widespread.

In these politically tense times, pressing a pause button on returns fulfilled a symbolic function by defending Gambians against foreign national interests. The recent lifting of the moratorium is politically very risky. It paves the way for more of the deeply unpopular chartered return operations."

UK: Deaths of people following release from prison (INQUEST, link):

"In 2018/19, ten people died each week following release from prison. Every two days, someone took their own life. In the same year, one woman died every week, and half of these deaths were self-inflicted.

This report, co-authored by Dr Jake Phillips of Sheffield Hallam University and Rebecca Roberts of INQUEST provides an overview of what is known about the deaths of people on post custody supervision following release from prison. It highlights the lack of visibility and policy attention given to this growing problem and calls for immediate action to ensure greater scrutiny, learning and prevention."

See: Freed prisoners killing themselves at a rate of one every two days (The Guardian, link)

Emerging Technologies and International Security in the Mediterranean Region (PRIO, link):

"The third TRANSAD workshop will focus on the topic Emerging Technologies and International Security in the Mediterranean Region. Co-organised by PRIO, the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College, and the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Security Technologies and Societal Values (NordSTEVA), the workshop will take place in Barcelona on 21 and 22 November 2019."

EU: Deportations: Council Presidency proposes systematic monitoring of readmission cooperation and sanctions for non-compliance

The Finnish Council Presidency wants EU member states to consider new methods for encouraging 'third countries' to accept their own nationals deported from the EU, according to a note (pdf) sent to the High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration and the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA).

NOTE from: Presidency: Policies and tools to enhance readmission cooperation - Presidency discussion paper (LIMITE document 13190/19, 8 November 2019, pdf)

Greece: New closed centers, 1,700 hirings to improve response to migration challenge (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As part of its plans to implement a stricter legal framework regarding asylum and border controls, the government aims to create between six and 10 closed pre-departure centers and is planning to recruit 400 border guards in the Evros region, 500 new asylum officers on the islands and mainland, as well 800 officers to guard sea borders and the centers.

These pre-departure centers will hold migrants who are slated for deportation until their departure and will hold a minimum of 5,000 and a maximum in some cases of 10,000."

International Criminal Court may investigate UK 'war crimes cover-up' (BBC News, link):

"The International Criminal Court could open its first investigation into the British military following a BBC programme about alleged war crimes.

Panorama found evidence the state had covered up killings of civilians by UK troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.The ICC said it took the findings very seriously. The MoD has said the allegations are unsubstantiated."

All but last resort: The last reform of detention of asylum seekers in Greece (http://eumigrationlawblog.eu, link):

"The Commission has directly encouraged Member States to widely resort to detention to effect returns by laying down lengthy detention periods in domestic law and by bringing “detention capacity in line with actual needs”. There is thus little reason to believe that (the continuation of) Greek efforts to increase returns through more coercion will be met with anxious scrutiny, at least not without sufficient pressure on the Commission from accountability mechanisms in Greece and elsewhere."

Rules for a New Surveillance Reality (HRW, link):

"If you’re worried about how facial recognition technology is being used, you should be. And things are about to get a lot scarier unless new regulation is put in place.

Already, this technology is being used in many U.S. cities and around the world. Rights groups have raised alarm about its use to monitor public spaces and protests, to track and profile minorities, and to flag suspects in criminal investigations. The screening of travelers, concertgoers and sports fans with the technology has also sparked privacy and civil liberties concerns.

Facial recognition increasingly relies on machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to sift through still images or video of people’s faces and obtain identity matches. Even more dubious forms of AI-enabled monitoring are in the works."

Balkan Region - Report October 2019 (pdf, link) :

"The Border Violence Monitoring Network just published it's October report, covering pushbacks and police violence from Croatia (and Slovenia), into Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Highlighted by the trend analysis of this."

GREECE: Aegean Boat Report 10-17 November 2019 (pdf):

"A total of 164 boats started their trip towards the Greek Islands, carrying a total of 6097 people. However, 91 boats were stopped by TCG/police, and 2444 people arrived on the Greek Islands.

So far this year 2849 boats have been stopped by The Turkish Coast Guard and Police, 95244 people. 50194 people have arrived on the Greek islands on 1523 boats, so far in 2019."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.10-18.11.19) including:

EU: New report: Data Protection, Immigration Enforcement and Fundamental Rights: What the EU's Regulations on Interoperability Mean for People with Irregular Status

A new report published by Statewatch and the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) explains the EU's new rules on interoperable information systems and databases and examines the potential implications for people in an irregular migration situation.

World stumbling zombie-like into a digital welfare dystopia, warns UN human rights expert (UN Human Rights, link):

"A UN human rights expert has expressed concerns about the emergence of the "digital welfare state", saying that all too often the real motives behind such programs are to slash welfare spending, set up intrusive government surveillance systems and generate profits for private corporate interests.

"As humankind moves, perhaps inexorably, towards the digital welfare future it needs to alter course significantly and rapidly to avoid stumbling zombie-like into a digital welfare dystopia," the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, says in a report to be presented to the General Assembly on Friday."

See: Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (pdf)

The West’s Obsession With Border Security Is Breeding Instability (Foreign Policy, link):

"An obsession with protecting the border—and with escalating the fight against migration—is actually an ideological choice that sets up a dangerous game. If policymakers and voters really want to be “realistic,” then it is essential to appreciate the full future costs of the path on which they are currently set and to acknowledge the dangerously perverse incentives for escalating violence, extortion, and authoritarian rule that it entrenches. Meanwhile, the fantasy of protecting Western democracies through the outsourcing of migration controls feeds the damaging delusion that these countries can seal themselves off from problems such as conflict and global warming to which they are themselves strongly contributing.

The next step is to propose another frame. Instead of feeding instability abroad and normalizing shrill nationalist politics at home through obsessing over more short-term border security, there’s a better choice to be made—a choice that involves protecting people, not borders. Enlightened citizens and political leaders must start making the case for it."

Berlin wall´s 30th anniversary: the businesses booming from Europe’s new walls (TNI, link):

"On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, a new report reveals the European businesses profiting from the construction of new walls across Europe. It identifies three key players – the arms firms Thales, Airbus and Leonardo – as well as a whole host of construction, shipping, technology and security firms from across Europe winning border militarisation contracts.

The report, ‘The Business of Building Walls’, examines the industry involved in building the many different kinds of walls constructed - especially since 2015 - to keep refugees and migrants out of Europe. It looks at those involved in the construction of the walls and fences and the technology that accompanies them, as well as the ‘maritime wall’ built across the Mediterranean and the ‘virtual’ walls of surveillance and biometrics that extend across Europe. It argues that these are all walls as their primary objective is to keep people out, with often deadly consequences."

Greek protesters mark 1973 student uprising (DW, link):

"Some 20,000 people marched under heavy police guard through the capital, Athens, on Sunday, commemorating 46 years since the student-led uprising against the junta.

Around 5,000 police were deployed to prevent clashes with anarchists and other extreme leftist groups, but the march remained mostly peaceful.

It was the first major protest under the conservative administration of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was elected in July after pledging to strengthen law and order."

UK: IPP sentencing regime in England and Wales called 'deeply harmful' (The Guardian, link):

"Justice officials in England and Wales are facing renewed calls to deal with thousands of prisoners still jailed under an abolished Kafkaesque sentencing regime that a report has branded “deeply harmful” for families.

The imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence, scrapped in 2012, was a form of indeterminate sentence in which offenders were given a minimum jail tariff but no maximum for a range of crimes.

Those given an IPP sentence are placed on licence indefinitely after release, and are only eligible to have their licence removed after 10 years."

EU: The Atlas of Migration in Europe: A Critical Geography of Migration Policies

The Migreurop network, of which Statewatch is a member, has published a new edition of The Atlas of Migration in Europe, a book which "follows the journeys of those fleeing war, poverty or political crises, risking their lives as they attempt to find sanctuary in Europe."

Council of Europe: Integrating human rights into drug policies (link):

"According to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, meeting in Berlin, member States should “optimise human rights protections in the implementation of drug control policies”.

The report by Hannah Bardell (United Kingdom, NR), adopted today by the committee, highlights that purely repressive policies have generated many human rights abuses, such as discrimination, the use of excessive force, disproportionate sentencing, prison overcrowding, with detrimental impact on public health.

The committee also recommends the adoption of evaluation mechanisms, with the identification of indicators based on international human rights standards and the implementation of data collection methods on the effects of drug policies on health, crime and equality."

See: Drug policy and human rights in Europe: a baseline study (pdf) and: Replies to questionnaire (pdf)

Asylum-seekers in Greece, Italy hotspots face ‘years of limbo’

"Asylum-seekers crowded into “hotspots” in Greece and Italy face limbo that can drag on for years because of legal bottlenecks and poorly performing EU schemes, a report said Wednesday.

The document, by the EU’s European Court of Auditors, also found that two agencies meant to assist the two countries with their overflowing camps and caseloads were failing in their missions, partly because of insufficient support from member states."

UK: Here to fight: building communities of resistance (IRR News, link):

"Two new anthologies of pieces from the magazines Race Today and Race & Class recall important struggles on the streets, the factory floors and in communities, linking them to both class and global internationalism.

It is salutary that at a time when racism is getting redefined in some sectors and official investigations as identity loss, unconscious bias and microaggression, we are reminded just how connected the struggle against racism was in the 1970s and ‘80s to class, to exploitation, state power and to liberation movements. It is significant that two new collections, A. Sivanandan’s Communities of Resistance: writings on Black Struggles for Socialism (Verso, 2019) and the new Race Today anthology, Here to Stay, Here to fight (Pluto press, 2019), come from magazines that were radicalised into political tools during the heydays of the 1970s."

Greece illegally deported 60,000 migrants to Turkey: report (DW, link)

"Greece illegally deported 60,000 migrants to Turkey, documents released by Turkey reportedly show. The process involves returning asylum seekers without assessing their status."

EU: Fair Trials: Consultation Paper on e-evidence (pdf):

"Faced with increasing use of electronic evidence in the context of criminal investigations, both the US and the EU have expressed the willingness to modernise the tools enabling cross-border access to electronic data for law enforcement authorities, and to cooperate further in the exchange of electronic data. This is an opportunity for the EU and the US to set a gold standard for the world.

It is proposed that the new form of cooperation would, effectively, enable law enforcement authorities directly to seek the preservation or production of electronic data held by private companies overseas. Given the impact of cooperation measures on human rights, it will be crucial for the fair long-term functioning of any future mechanism that it is underpinned by human rights protections. To date, this has been recognised by vague and uncertain principles, but any failure to ensure adequate human rights protections is likely to have a negative impact on the fairness, effectiveness and long-term sustainability of the new mechanism."

EPRS: Situation of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina (pdf):

"Recently, local authorities in the Una-Sana Canton (Bihaæ), which have been shouldering most of the burden of migration management, have resorted to action such as restricting movement and forcibly transferring migrants to the Vuèjak site, which is unsuitable for human occupation on account of severe health and safety risks for its residents. The government of Croatia has meanwhile been accused by some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international organisations of pushing migrants back into BiH, in violation of international norms on non-refoulement."

ECHR: Finnish decision to deport an Iraqi man who was killed when he arrived back in his country of origin violated the Convention (Press releaase, pdf):

"In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of N.A. v. Finland (application no. 25244/18) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights owing to decisions to deport the applicant’s father to his country of origin, Iraq, where he was subsequently killed."

See: Judgment (pdf)

Refugee chaperones are accessories to traffickers, German court rules (DW, link):

"A refugee who was told by a smuggler to look after several women and children during the perilous journey to Europe also committed a crime, the court ruled. "The defendant is both victim and perpetrator," the judge said."

"Welcome to Europe. Now Go Home." (The Atlantic, link):

"The overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece is where Europe’s ideals—solidarity, human rights, a haven for victims of war and violence—dissolve in a tangle of bureaucracy, indifference, and lack of political will."

The End of Parliamentary Government in Europe (Verfassungsblog, link):

"Has parliamentary government, after almost two hundred years of honoured service, come to an end in Europe? The fact that Spain had two elections in seven months and is still nowhere near a stable government is just the latest of many signs that it is indeed so – and I wonder what the ruling classes in the European countries, excluding France, are waiting for in order to take note of the fact and to do, night and day, in order to put in place the necessary remedies."

ICJ and others intervene in Mediterranean Sea search and rescue case before European Court (link):

"Today, the ICJ, the AIRE Centre, ECRE and DCR have submitted a third party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of a 2017 rescue operation of migrants, including refugees, in the Mediterranean Sea that involved the SeaWatch rescue vessel.

The case, S.S. and Others v. Italy, concerns the facts occurred during a rescue operation coordinated by the Maritime Research and Rescue Centre of Italy in Rome in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea."

European Court of Auditors: Special report No 20/2019: EU information systems supporting border control - a strong tool, but more focus needed on timely and complete data (ECA, link)

"The abolishment of border checks at the internal Schengen borders reinforced the importance of effective control and surveillance of the Schengen area external borders. To help border guards control these, the EU has set up a number of information systems. Our audit examined whether the main EU information systems for internal security support border controls efficiently. We found that border guards are increasingly using and relying on the systems when performing border checks. However, some data is currently not included in the systems, while other data is either not complete or not entered in a timely manner."

See: Press release (pdf) and: Report (pdf)

The era of killer robots is upon us (Pax, link):

"Turkey’s state-owned arms manufacturer produces the Kargu, a kamikaze drone that can select targets based on facial recognition. Some reports suggest Kargu will soon be deployed on the Turkish-Syrian theater. The 'Mini Harpy' from Israel can also independently detect, attack and destroy enemy targets."

Europe’s Unauthorized Immigrant Population Peaks in 2016, Then Levels Off (Pew Research, link):

"New estimates find half live in Germany and the United Kingdom .

Europe has experienced a high level of immigration in recent years, driving debate about how countries should deal with immigrants when it comes to social services, security issues, deportation policies and integration efforts. Among these recently arrived immigrants are many who live in Europe without authorization. Coupled with unauthorized immigrants who were already in Europe, their numbers reach into the millions, though together they make up a small share of Europe’s total population."

Update on the current situation at the borders to Greece and Turkey (Bordermonitoring Bulgaria, link):

"In the first 10 months of 2019, the Bulgarian Border Police officers prevented 2,122 attempts at ‚illegal‘ entry at the Bulgarian-Turkish border and 3,795 attempts at the border with Greece. This was statet by the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior (MoI). In September 2019 the number of people who were trying to attempt the Greek-Bulgarian border was rising. Due to the Bulgarian MoI Mladen Marinov further police units were installed at the border. The Bulgarian premier Boiko Borissow stated that at the moment around a daily amount of 150 migrants are being caught in the border region."

Border checks in EU countries challenge Schengen Agreement (DW, link):

"As large numbers of displaced people arrived in 2015, some Schengen countries reintroduced border checks. Six are extending controls. That's illegal, EU observers say, and it undermines the idea of freedom of movement."

Denmark reinstates border checks at crossings to Sweden after bombings (Guardian, link):

"Spot checks at ferry ports and on trains and vehicles follow attacks in Copenhagen area.

Denmark has temporarily reinstated checks at its border crossings with Sweden after a spate of bombings and shootings in the Copenhagen area that authorities say were carried out by members of Swedish gangs.

The spot checks at ferry ports and on trains and vehicles crossing the Øresund bridge separating the Danish capital from Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city, were aimed at “preventing serious and organised crime from spreading”, the police said. All travellers should be prepared to show identification, they added."

Poland: Independence march of nationalism (euractiv, link);

"Thousands of Poles took part in a nationalist march through the capital Warsaw on Monday (11 November), chanting “God, Honour, Fatherland”, with the march leaders protesting against same-sex liberties, globalism and abortion.

11 November marks the National Independence Day of Poland and yesterday was the 101st anniversary of regaining sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic, after 123 years under the rule of German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires.

But the holiday has become divisive for many in the country, which has become increasingly polarised since the right-wing Law and Justice party came to power in 2015."

Rule of Law in the EU: lost and found? (verfassungsblog.de, link):

"Ursula von der Leyen’s promotional tour before her election did not turn out well. She failed to point to substantive rule of law issues, rather she traced back the division between Eastern and Western European state to emotional components. This text takes a look beyond the political rhetoric and explores what the new Commission might entail for the rule of law in the EU."

Border controls 'the norm' in some EU states since 2015 (euobserver, link);

"Despite the guarantee of free movement of people within the 26 countries of the Schengen area, some countries have introduced permanent border controls since 2015, Yves Pascouau, a senior adviser at the European Policy Centre (EPC) notes in a new study. Although border controls within Schengen cannot exceed a duration of two years, four-year old controls are now into place in Germany, Austria, France, Norway, Sweden and Denmark."

Dear President Macron, being a migrant is not a crime (euobserver, link):

"President Emmanuel Macron,

I am writing to convey my intense shock and horror at the wilful, remorseless neglect of universal human rights, the frank disregard for humanity and the wanton abuse of European law at your country's border with Italy.

During my heart-wrenching trip to Menton and Ventimiglia with Refugee Rights Europe, I saw refugees and displaced people of all ages and from all corners of our planet - compelled to flee poverty, persecution, war, ecological breakdown and compelled to traverse great distances in unimaginably traumatic journeys - dehumanised and demeaned, disregarded and discarded, and dealt with delay and disdain."

Greek islands: Aegean Boat report: 4 -10 November 2019 (pdf)

"A total of 105 boats started their trip towards the Greek Islands, carrying a total of 3740 people. However, 74 boats were stopped by TCG/police, and 1078 people arrived on the Greek Islands.

So far this year 2754 boats have been stopped by The Turkish Coast Guard and Police with 91591 people (and). 47548 people have arrived on the Greek islands on 1450 boats, so far in 2019."

AYS Digest 9–10/11/19: Bosnian police now beats and robs people, too (link):

"FEATURED

- 10 000 border guards
- Meter-high fences
- Border fortifications, 1000 kilometres long
- The deadly moat of the Mediterranean Sea
- Thousands dead

30 years ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall raised hopes for an open Europe; today we are surrounded by more walls than ever before."

News highlights: Italy and Libya prolong coast guard arrangement; Eritrea accuses CIA of plot against government; Greece formalises new law on deportation (EEPA, link):

"In this week’s news highlights: Eritrea claims CIA has plot to overthrow the government; Eritreans protest against the regime in London; UN official allegedly spreads propaganda; South Sudan calls state of emergency; New measures for protection Kenyan domestic workers questioned; Greece formalises new law on deportation of rejected asylum seekers;

Report urges the UK to change its migration policies; EU funds €663 million to support refugees in Turkey; Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland accused of breaking EU law in 2015; Refugees and migrants participate in local entrepreneurship;

Deal between Libyan Coastguard and Italy continues; People from Libyan detention centre are released but left outside of rescue centre overnight; And Spain’s Prime Minister praises the efforts made by Morocco to lower number of illegal migrants."

New report examines the brutal human costs of 'necroborders'

"Over 1,000 people died or went missing whilst attempting to reach Spanish soil between January 2018 and April 2019, the result of 70 shipwrecks and 12 missing boats on routes crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, traversing the Alboran Sea and travelling to the Canary Islands.

The figures - and the human stories behind them - are recounted in the report Vida en la Necrofrontera (Life on the Necroborder), which was published by the collective Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) in June this year (Caminando Fronteras, link)"

Exposed: Malta’s secret migrant deal with Libya - Office of the Prime Minister official Neville Gafà acted as intermediary in deal (Times of Malta, link):

"Malta has secretly negotiated an agreement with Libya that sees the Armed Forces of Malta coordinating with the Libyan coastguard to intercept migrants headed towards the island and returned to the war-torn North African country.

The agreement for “mutual cooperation” was struck between members of the AFM and the Libyan coastguard, with government official Neville Gafà acting as an intermediary.

Mr Gafà, who works out of the OPM in an undisclosed position, has faced repeated allegations of bribery linked to the issuing of medical visas to Libyan nationals, claims he denies."

Belgian asylum centre set on fire (euobserver, link):

"During the night of 10 November a planned asylum centre in the city of Bilzen, in the Belgian province of Limburg, was set on fire. According to fire services and the police it was an arson attack. The federal government was planning to use the building as a new asylum centre in December. There were no victims."

Turkey starts ‘sending home’ detained foreign fighters (euractiv, link):

"Turkey said on Monday (11 November) it had deported two captives from Islamic State, a German and an American, starting a programme to repatriate detainees that has caused friction with its NATO allies since it launched an offensive in northern Syria."

See also: Deportation of suspected IS fighters forces Germany to take action (DW, link)

Migrations in Latin America and the Mediterranean compared: Violence, State cruelty and (Un-)Institutional Resistance (pdf):including: Presentation of the English version of the Atlas of Migration 2019.

Convened by Véronique Beneï (IIAC Paris), Thomas Lacroix (MFO) and Eduardo Posado-Carlo (Latin American Centre Oxford):

Tuesday 12 November, 2.45pm, Latin American Centre, Oxford and Wednesday 13 November, 9.15am, Maison Française d’Oxford.

Erdogan: refugees will enter Europe unless EU does more (Vestnik Kavkaza, link):

"Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again used the millions of refugees hosted in the country as a bargaining chip against the European Union. As EU Observer reports, speaking alongside Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban on Thursday (7 November), he told reporters the refugees will be allowed into Europe unless the EU provides more support. "Whether we receive support or not, we will continue to aid the guests we are hosting. But, if this doesn't work out, then we will have to open the doors," he said."

Shots fired at sea rescuers: EU supports competing militias in Libya (link):

"A German public prosecutor’s office is investigating the shooting of the ship "Alan Kurdi". Its crew could be caught between the fronts of two coastguards equipped and trained by different EU missions.

With the General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS) and the Libyan Coast Guard and Port Security (LCGPS), two authorities with overlapping functions exist in Libya. The Ministry of Interior Coast Guard is a law enforcement agency operating within the 12-mile zone and along the coast, while the Ministry of Defence Coast Guard is responsible for territorial waters."

Italy to renew 2017 bilateral deal with Libya to stem migration (New Europe, link):

"Italy is calling for government-run migrant centres in Libya be taken over by UN agencies, public news agency ANSA reported on Wednesday. Rome wants to review a 2017 deal with Libya for combatting immigration.

However, Rome wants the closure of centres criticised for human rights violations and their replacement with new facilities run by UN agencies. According to ANSA, the UN-backed government in Tripoli had voiced willingness to modify the terms of the 2017 deal accordingly."

Turkey starts repatriating IS jihadists (DW, link):

"An "Islamic State" fighter from the US has already been deported and plans are on to repatriate a German and a Danish citizen later on Monday. Ankara is also preparing to return scores of other Europeans. (...)

The move comes days after the Turkish interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, said his country was "not a hotel for IS members from any country." He also warned that Ankara would begin repatriation even if the prisoners had their citizenships revoked."

Human Rights Watch letter to Frontex (HRW, link):

"I am writing in relation to a July 9 statement made by Croatian President Gabar-Kitarovic during an interview with Swiss channel SRF, where she admitted knowledge of pushbacks of migrants by Croatian border officials from Croatia to Bosnia Herzegovina and that sometimes force is used. The president’s acknowledgement is consistent with findings by Human Rights Watch, UNHCR, and other organizations.

It calls into question the effectiveness of European Border and Coast Guard Agency operations on the Croatia-Bosnia borders, and in particular European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s mandate to ensure the protection of human rights through detection activities."

According to the European Court of Human Rights, all is well in the Greek hotspots: Joint Press Release (migreurop.org, link)

"The European Court of Human Rights has rejected for the most part the request made on 16 June 2016 by 51 persons (including many minors) from Afghanistan, Syria and Palestine, who were forcibly maintained in a situation of extreme distress in the hotspot of Chios, Greece [1].

The 51 applicants, supported by our organisations, were identified during an observation mission led by the Gisti in the Greek hotspots in May 2016 [2]. These persons were deprived of their freedom and detained on the island of Chios, which had become an open prison since the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement of 20 March 2016, just like the neighbouring islands of Lesbos, Leros, Samos and Kos. The requestees invoked the violation of several provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights [3]".

See ECHR: Judgment (French, pdf)

European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): E-evidence: DRAFT REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Production and Preservation Orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters (COM(2018)0225 – C8-0155/2018 – 2018/0108(COD)) Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Rapporteur: Birgit Sippel (148 pages, pdf)

EU: Croatia: violence at the border no barrier to Schengen accession

The European Commission’s decision to give the green light to Croatia’s membership of the Schengen area has been condemned by human rights groups who say that it ignores “illegal and violent push-backs of migrants” at Croatia’s borders that violate EU and international law.

UK: Information Commissioner’s Opinion: The use of live facial recognition technology by law enforcement in public places (pdf):

The main outcome was to assert that existing data protection laws not only already apply to live facial recognition, but that as facial data is "sensitive" data.

Question marks over third country participation in EU military projects (euractiv, link);

"The EU is inching towards an agreement on the conditions under which third countries will be allowed to participate in the bloc’s military projects, which would allow US and UK companies to take part in joint defence projects, potentially removing a source of friction in transatlantic ties."

Migrants in Malta transferred after EU deal (euobserver, link):

"Migrants were transferred on Thursday from Malta to Germany, Lithuania, and Romania after they were rescued by the NGO vessel Ocean Vikings last August, the Times of Malta writes. This follows an EU-brokered agreement reached between these member states before the migrants could disembark on Malta. However, the numbers of migrants transferred and those who remain in Malta are still unknown, according to the Maltese daily."

THE ATLAS OF MIGRATION IN EUROPE: A critical geography of migration policies (Migreurop and Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung, Brussels, pdf):

Presentation evening: 11 November 2010: 19.00 - 21.00: Rm G3, main College Building, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1H OXG.

Data-driven policing: The hardwiring of discriminatory policing practies across Europe (European Network Against Racism, pdf):

"We, as activists, as anti-racist organisations, and as racialised communities in Europe, know too well what it means to be over-policed and under-protected. Still, in 2019, we feel the need to evidence racial profiling, to contest narratives placing us as a threat to ‘security’ and essentially to unsettle presumptions as to our criminality.

We are still mastering the techniques with which we contest over-policing, brutality and racial profiling. We must now contend with another challenge. When law enforcement resorts to new technology to aid their practice, we find ourselves at further risk. Not only must we consider our physical safety in our relations with the authorities, we also need to be informed about the security of our data."

EU-USA: Meeting on 6 November 2019 discussed agreement on exchange of electronic evidence
- including life imprisonment without review, death penalty and freedom of speech

The European Commission produced: Note ahead of the second negotiating round for an EU-US Agreement on cross-border access to electronic evidence, 6 November 2019 (Restricted document 13369-19, pdf):

The key issues discussed included the "categories of data" to be covered including "both content and non-content data" and the "types of offences and criminal proceedings, including both pre-trial and trial state"

EU governments ignore Greek request to help 4,000 child refugees (euractiv, link):

"Greece’s migration minister Michalis Chrisochoidis sent a letter to his EU counterparts asking them to help share the burden of 4,000 unaccompanied minor refugees on Greek islands, but just one responded.

Speaking today (6 November) at the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), the Greek minister said they are 4,000 unaccompanied minors on Greek islands who live in conditions that “do not honour the EU”.

Chrisochoidis recently sent a letter to the EU-27 asking them to volunteer to share the burden, but received little response.

“One member state responded. It’s not a matter of rules or solidarity, it’s a matter of civilisation,” he said."

The European Union (EU) will pay Turkey 50 million euros to reinforce its coast guard, as increasing numbers of migrants attempt to travel from this country to Europe, according to a senior EU official.

The Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Maciej Popowski, said that part of the money would help 'improve the capacities of the Turkish coast guard to perform search-and-rescue operations,' for migrants trying to reach the bloc through the Greek islands.

He noted that the rest of the funding would be used to improve conditions in migrant detention centers and to help those people allowed to stay in Turkey to better integrate into its society."

EU: Commission hosted a High-Level International Conference on countering the threats posed by drones (link):

"On 17 October 2019, Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos, Violeta Bulc and Sir Julian King spoke during a High-level International Conference on countering the threats posed by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), more commonly referred to as drones. The conference, which was co-organised by DG Migration and Home Affairs (HOME) and DG Mobility and Transport (MOVE), brought together a wide range of stakeholders from EU Member States, third countries, international organisations, industry, academia and civil society."

See: Chair’s Statement on the outcome of the High-Level International Conference and subsequent EU-internal meeting oncountering the threats posed by unmanned aircraft systems (pdf)

EU: PNR: The Belgian Constitutional Court refers ten preliminary questions to the Court of Justice concerning the obligation to transfer passenger information (pdf)

"The Belgian Constitutional Court refers ten preliminary questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union in light of the review of the law requiring transportation providers and travel operators to communicate passenger information.

The Court inquires whether the system of the PNR Directive, transposed by the contested law, is compatible with the right to respect for private life and the protection of personal data. In addition, the Court asks several questions regarding the interpretation of the Directive.

Lastly, the Court refers a question to the Court of Justice on the applicability of the API Directive, also transposed in Belgian law, that requires air carriers to communicate certain passenger data to combat illegal immigration and to improve border control.
With respect to flights within the European Union, the question arises as to its compatibility with the free movement of persons."

EU: Creation of centralised Justice and Home Affairs database key aim in security plans

The European Commission has published its: Twentieth Progress Report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 552, 2019, pdf).

One of the key sections concerns "Stronger and smarter information systems for security, border and migration management." [emphasis added]

This covers: "The EU has stepped up information exchange, making it easier to tackle identity fraud, strengthening border checks, modernising Europe-wide law enforcement databases, closing information gaps and reinforcing the EU law enforcement agency Europol. Central to this is the interoperability of EU information systems." [emphasis in original]

Migrants, the Libyan government issues a decree to neutralize NGOs (news1.news, link):

"The decree, issued by the Presidential Council of the Libyan national agreement, bears the date of September 14 and has as its object "the special treatment of international and non-governmental organizations in the Libyan area of ??maritime search and rescue".

He has also been sent to Italy and is a grotesque and dangerous attempt to hinder even more the work of humanitarian ships but above all to attack them with police operations with the threat of leading them and seizing them in Libyan ports."

Greece: Pork 'barbecue protest' plan near refugee camp raises hackles (DW, link):

"A Greek nationalist group's plan to throw a pork barbecue near a refugee camp has led to a debate in the country's parliament. Critics want to do something, but some say that would mean attacking the Greek way of life."

European Commission: Answer given by Mr Avramopouloson behalf of the European EU Commission: The objective of regional disembarkation arrangements is to establish predictable disembarkation and post-disembarkation procedures in line with international law (pdf)

France to set migrant worker quotas in bid to appeal to rightwing voters - Policy seen as part of tougher stance by Emmanuel Macron as he prepares to take on Marie Le Pen (Guardian, link):

"France will start setting quotas for migrant workers from next year as Emmanuel Macron toughens his stance on immigration in an apparent attempt to appeal to rightwing voters.

The French labour minister, Muriel Pénicaud, said on Tuesday that France would set quotas for the first time, with the government working with employers to identify industries lacking qualified candidates and where foreigners could fill the gap."

UK ignores warnings of digital election interference - Despite repeated calls for new electoral rules, British politicians and regulators have dragged their feet (Politico, link):

"As the U.K. general election gets underway, the government has done little to protect voters from malicious and foreign influence online.

Despite a slew of warnings from regulators and politicians, British ministers have not acted to fix vulnerabilities in the U.K.'s antiquated electoral laws. That has raised fears that the December 12 poll will once again be marred by clandestine digital political interference." 

EU: Meijers Committee: Opinion of the Meijers Committee on interstate procedures and the rule of law (pdf):

"The Meijers Committee hopes that the newly installed Commission and Parliament will pursue the protection of the rule of law in the EU with equal rigor. Our Committee also calls on the Member States, however, to take serious their own responsibility to protect human rights and democracy in fellow Member States. Crucially, all EU Member States are empowered to bring interstate complaints under both the European Convention on Human Rights (Art. 33 ECHR) and the EU Treaties (Art. 259 TFEU). Although interstate procedures before both the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU are rare, they deserve serious consideration in the current political context for the following reasons (....)"

Number of unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece rises to 4,800 (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"They are the most vulnerable group among the refugees: unaccompanied minors in Greece. 4,800 children, aged 2 -17. A real challenge for those in and outside Greece dealing with their protection.

30 percent of them are orphans. Seven out of ten have families in Europe and need to be reunited.

The protection of unaccompanied minors is a major issue for the government, the creation of appropriate accommodation structures is imminent, their transfer from the overcrowded islands an urgent necessity.

The number of unaccompanied children in Greece is increasing: while they are approximately 2,500 unaccompanied children in 2017, their number has reached 4,800 in 2019, according to data released by the National Center for Social Solidarity on October 15."

UK fears stoked over data harvesting ahead of general election (euractiv, link):

"UK political parties have been warned by the country’s data protection watchdog that they must comply with relevant laws concerning the storing and safeguarding of data in the run up to the country’s general election on December 12.

The news comes amid growing pressure to release a report examining purported Russian infiltration in the UK elections, a move which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far been reluctant to make.

The UK’s Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, wrote to all political parties on Tuesday (November 5), reminding them of the importance of “of the continuing need to comply with data protection and electronic marketing laws.”

See also: Information Commissioner reminds political parties they must comply with the law ahead of General Election (ICO, link)

'Repatriation' of Syrians in Turkey needs EU action (euobserver, link):

""I was deported with about 35 Syrians on a large bus. They handcuffed us and…they beat some of the men on the bus with truncheons when they asked to go to the toilet or for water. We all spoke with each other [and] no one wanted to go back to Syria."

Do those sound like the words of refugees who freely signed papers asking Turkey to return them to an active conflict zone in northern Syria?"

European Court of Justice: Polish rules relating to the retirement age of judges and public prosecutors, adopted in July 2017, are contrary to EU law (pdf):

"In today’s judgment the Court, upholds the action for failure to fulfil obligations brought by the Commission against the Republic of Poland and held that that Member State had failed to fulfil its obligations under EU law, first, by establishing a different retirement age for men and women who were judges or public prosecutors in Poland and, second, by lowering the retirement age of judges of the ordinary courts while conferring on the Minister for Justice the power to extend the period of active service of those judges."

And see: European Commission statement on the judgment of the European Court of Justice on Poland's Ordinary Courts law (Commission press release, pdf)

European Parliament: Refugees in Turkey: MEPs to assess use of EU funds and cooperation with Ankara (European Parliament, link):

"MEPs will assess on Wednesday the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and the results of the budgetary support provided by the EU to the Turkish government."

Briefing: How will Greece’s new asylum law affect refugees? ‘There's no justification for what we're seeing.’ (The New Humanitarian, link):

"Nearly 44,000 asylum seekers have crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Greek islands so far this year, compared to fewer than 32,500 in all of 2018 – an annual increase of more than 30 percent, but still far below 2015 and 2016 levels.

In response, the Greek government passed a new asylum law on Thursday, 31 October aimed at speeding up procedures and facilitating the return of more people to Turkey under the terms of the EU-Turkey deal signed in March 2016 to curb migration across the Aegean."

Netherlands: Persisting delays in the procedure put strain on reception (asylumineurope.org, link):

"Asylum seekers in the Netherlands are confronted with a shortage of reception places, in addition to long delays in accessing the procedure.

As of 28 October 2019, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) counted 26,975 accommodation places. The Agency estimates that as many as 10,000 additional reception places will be needed as of January 2020 for the country to be able to house asylum seekers."

Land migration in Africa twice as deadly as Mediterranean, says UNHCR (DW, link):

"Even as a migrant rescue ship disembarks 88 asylum-seekers in an Italian port, a UN official says the Mediterranean isn't the most dangerous place for migrants. Many more die trying to reach the coast than in the sea.

While the Mediterranean Sea remains a deadly route for migrants attempting to reach the European Union, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has warned that the African land journey to reach the Mediterranean coast remains far more lethal.

Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR's special envoy for the central Mediterranean, said in an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that around twice as many migrants die crossing Africa as crossing the Mediterranean."

Call for Croatia to Be Kept out of Schengen Until it Improves Asylum Practices (liberties.eu, link):

"Croatia has received the green light from the European Commission to enter the border-free Schengen Area, but nine organisations and initiatives working with the victims of border violence have made their objections clear."

AYS Weekend Digest 02–03/11/2019: Italy-Libya deal renewed without changes (link)

Feature Story: Italy-Libya deal renewed without changes

"On Saturday 2nd of November the agreement between Italy and Libya which regulates the “cooperation in the fields of development, the fight against illegal immigration, human trafficking and fuel smuggling and on reinforcing the security of borders”, will be automatically renewed. Saturday was the deadline for proposing an annulment or any changes to the deal, but despite a lot of talk in the media, no official proposal was advanced. The deal is now valid for three more years."

GREECE: Arrivals

"Aegean Boat Report state that from Saturday to Sunday 8 boats arrived on the Greek Aegean islands, carrying 263 people, 7 of the boats arrive on Lesvos and the remaining one to Chios. However, in the last 3 days, a total of 97 boats carrying 3,519 people began the journey towards the Islands from Turkey, but only 28 % arrived — 27 boats carrying 1,098 people. 72 % were stopped."

Full breakdown of arrivals and more detailed statistics here (link)

European Parliament must push for safeguards for journalists in ‘e-evidence’ proposal (cpj.org, link):

"The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern today that a proposed European Union regulation on law enforcement access to electronic data lacks sufficient safeguards for journalists. The Regulation on European Production and Preservation Orders is known as the “e-evidence proposal.”

Under the proposal, prosecutors from one EU member state could order internet service providers in another EU state to store or produce data without oversight from a judge in the target country, and a short timeframe for compliance, according to German news website netzpolitik.org."

CoE: Lord Foulkes: ‘Impunity for crimes against journalists must end (CoE-PA, link):

"Speaking on the eve of the UN International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November), he said: “There is no effective right to information and no accountable policy-making without media freedom and the opportunity for journalists to look into how public money is spent or investigate corruption and the abuse of power. However, attacks on journalists are continuously on the rise, including threats, harassment, physical aggression, arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances and even murder. Unfortunately, our member States do not always ensure thorough investigations into these crimes.”

GREECE: Residents of Chios block access to migrant camp in symbolic protest (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Residents of Chios early on Monday blocked the road leading to the island's Vial reception facility in a protest against the camp's growing migrant population.

The residents have said that they will scale up their protests if central government authorities do not extend an operation to decongest the camps on Lesvos and Samos to their island too.

Some 5,000 migrants are currently being hosted at the camp which is several times above its maximum capacity."

Germany: Vigilante patrols pose far-right 'terror threat' (DW, link):

"Right-wing vigilante patrols claiming to fill gaps in state security have popped up in several German states. The government has warned there's not a big leap between these groups and far-right terrorism.

Self-proclaimed citizen militias patrolling German towns are the "beginnings of right-wing terrorist potential," according to the German Interior Ministry."

Outrage in Calais over death of Nigerian man in tent - Man tried to light a fire to keep warm and died from smoke inhalation (Guardian, link):

"Aid groups have protested over “inhuman” conditions for migrants and refugees sleeping rough in Calais after a 25-year-old Nigerian man died from smoke inhalation in his tent. He had tried to light a fire in a tin to keep warm and prepare food.

Police in Pas-de-Calais confirmed that a man had died from intoxication from smoke fumes at the end of last week and said an autopsy would take place. The man was the third migrant or refugee to die in Calais this year."

Migrants continue to suffer as reception centres remain overcrowded and violence against migrants surges (FRA, link):

"Significant increase in arrivals in Greece, overcrowding of reception centres and violence against migrants at the borders are some of the fundamental rights concerns FRA identifies in its latest migration quarterly report. It also highlights the situation in the Mediterranean, where boats with migrants were still being forced to remain at sea, waiting for weeks or days until they were allowed to disembark."

Dresden: The German city that declared a 'Nazi emergency' (BBC News, link):

"A city in eastern Germany has declared a "Nazi emergency", saying it has a serious problem with the far-right.

Dresden, the capital of Saxony, has long been viewed as a bastion of the far-right and is the birthplace of the anti-Islam Pegida movement.

Councillors in the city - a contender for the 2025 European Capital of Culture - have now approved a resolution saying more needs to be done to tackle the issue."

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

UK-BREXIT: Add data sharing to list of no deal UK Brexit bumps (gulf-times.com, link)

"The smooth transfer of personal data between the European Union and the UK — from bank details to Uber bills — is vital for almost every British business. A no-deal Brexit threatens to disrupt that relationship and leave companies at risk of fines and lawsuits for breaching the EU’s strict data protection rules."

UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights: Right to privacy “may exist on paper” – but not in online “Wild West”, says JCHR (press release, pdf):

"- Individuals are giving away “vast amounts of data” and are expected to be risk-aware when using web based services

“The consent model is broken”: Committee calls for robust regulation to govern how personal data is used and stringent enforcement of the rules

- “Deeply troubling” evidence that data being used to discriminate in job and housing ads online

The Committee today reports serious grounds for concern about the nature of the “consent” people provide when giving over an extraordinary range of information about themselves, to be used for commercial gain by private companies."

See: Report (pdf)

MP calls for review into police handling of journalists' data as Northern Ireland pair continue battle (Press Gazette, link):

"A Conservative MP has urged the Government to review police handling of journalists’ data as two investigative journalists in Northern Ireland fight to have their seized material deleted from police databases.

Trevor Birney (pictured left) and Barry McCaffrey (pictured centre) were arrested and had their homes raided last year over an allegation that they had stolen confidential material used in their 2017 film No Stone Unturned."

The FBI Spends a Lot of Time Spying on Black Americans (The Intercept, link):

"The FBI has come under intense criticism after a 2017 leak exposed that its counterterrorism division had invented a new, unfounded domestic terrorism category it called “black identity extremism.” Since then, legislators have pressured the bureau’s leadership to be more transparent about its investigation of black activists, and a number of civil rights groups have filed public records requests to try to better understand who exactly the FBI is investigating under that designation."

German migrant rescue boat carrying 88 people allowed to dock in Italy (DW, link):

"After nearly a week stranded at sea, Italy granted permission for migrants on board a Sea-Eye rescue ship to disembark. The standoff ended after Germany and other EU countries agreed to take in the migrants."

GREECE: AEGEAN BOAT REPORT: October 2019 (link to pdf):

"In 2019, people arriving is up 66%, compared to 2018. In October 270 boats made it to the Greek islands, carrying a total of 9251 people. Arrivals has decreased 13.8% compared to September, boats arriving is down 12.6%. Demographics on the islands: Men 44%, Women 21% and Children 35%."

CJEU: Advocate General Sharpston: the Court should rule that, by refusing to comply with the provisional and time-limited mechanism for the mandatory relocation of applicants for international protection, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have failed to fulfil their obligations under EU law (pdf)

"These Member States cannot invoke their responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of law and order and the safeguarding of internal security in order to disapply a valid EU measure with which they disagree."

See also: Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland ‘breached EU law’ by refusing refugees (euractiv, link)

GREECE: Leros turns away boat with migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Residents and local officials on the Aegean island of Leros on Friday blocked a passenger ferry carrying 40 migrants from Symi from disembarking.

Leros Mayor Michalis Kolias has protested against plans to move more migrants to the island where facilities, originally designed for 800 people, allegedly now hold around 3,000. The vessel was redirected to Kos."

AYS Daily Digest 31/10/19: Ventimiglia, illegal pushbacks as a daily reality at the French-Italian border (Medium, link):

"Illegal pushbacks at the French-Italian border are happening on a daily basis since few years, with an alarming increase in the past months, reaching a total number of 1.855 (sometimes the same person is counted multiple times) just in the month of October. More and more unaccompanied minors are being pushed-back by French authorities, in addition to adults, who are forced to spend the night imprisoned in containers and held in inhumane conditions. People are being denied any legal support and advice."

Trustworthy AI requires solid Cybersecurity (ENISA, link):

"At the third annual ENISA-Europol Internet of Things (IoT) Security Conference, it was Artificial Intelligence (AI) that was the newcomer on the scene. The rise of AI technologies requires a new dialogue and awareness of the related cybersecurity challenges."


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