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30/5/06
Statewatch News Online, 30 May 2006 (13/06)
 

Full contents see: www.statewatch.org

1. EU-US PNR deal annulled by Court of Justice
2. EU: Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights: “Extraordinary rendition”
3. EU: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor: exchange of criminal records
4. EU: The Odysseus Academic Network
5. EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 1-2 June 2006
6. EU: The Future of Europol – Options paper
7. Turkey: New proposals to amend anti-terrorism law
8. UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights on “extraordinary rendition”
9. EU: Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Implementation of the Action Plan to Combat Terrorism
10. Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: criticises government attack on human rights
11. EU: European Commissionners divided on which states go on list of “safe countries of origin”
12. EU: Europol: Terrorist activity in the European Union
13. EU: European Commission: Green Paper: The presumption of innocence
14. EU Data Protection Authorities: proposed Framework Decision on the protection of personal data
15. UN: Committee against Torture: United States of America – Guantanamo Bay report:
16. Crete: International Workshop: “State and civil society

1. EU-US PNR (passenger name record) Treaty annulled by Court of Justice in case brought by the European Parliament – but is it a “pyrrhic” victory?
Full-text of Court judgment:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/coj-judment-eu-us-pnr.pdf
Court of Justice press release (pdf):
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/coj-judment-eu-us-pnr.pdf

The treaty conclusion and Commission decision have clearly been annulled because (following the opinion of the Advocate-General, see below) their subject-matter fell outside the scope of the data protection directive, as they concerned essentially the processing of data by law enforcement authorities.The other pleas by the EP, in particular the privacy plea, are therefore not considered at all (the Advocate-General had considered them for the sake of argument, but rejected them). The EP has therefore won a “pyrrhic” victory, as the agreement will now be replaced either by national agreements, or by a third pillar agreement with the US. Either way the EP
has no power over approval of the treaty/treaties or even the power to bring legal proceedings against them. The press may describe this as a victory for the EP or for privacy but they will be mistaken.

Moreover, there is a risk that if an EU treaty or purely national treaties are signed with the US that the standard of privacy protection could actually be worse than in the original PNR deal. The treaty is still valid for 3 months after being denounced, so access to the airline reservation databases would only be illegal if there are no replacement measures by that point.

a) Opinion of the Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice (delivered on 22 November 2005):
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/feb/ecj-pnr-opinion.pdf

b) See Statewatch’s Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA
www.statewatch.org/pnrobservatory.htm

2. EU: Opinion of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights on: The Human Rights Responsibilities of EU Member States in the context of CIA activities in Europe (”Extraordinary rendition”)” sent the European Parliament’s Inquiry, see: Observatory on “rendition:
www.statewatch.org/cia/cia.html

3. EU: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the draft Directive on the exchange of criminal records
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/edps-opinion-criminal-records.pdf

4. EU: The Odysseus Academic Network has been selected by the European Commission to conduct in partnership with UNHCR the comparative study on the implementation by the Member States of the directive on reception conditions for asylum seekers. Practitioners who are interested can contribute to this study by completing a practical questionnaire. The final conference will take place in Brussels on Tuesday 26 September. Interested persons can send an email to: odysseus@ulb.ac.be or consult our website www.ulb.ac.be/assoc/odysseus/ to get more information. Call for contributions:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/imm-call-for-contribution.pdf

5. EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 1-2 June 2006:
Background Note:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/jha-council-1-2-June-06-back.pdf

Draft agenda:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/jha-council-1-2-June-06.pdf

6. EU: The Future of Europol – Options paper: reflecting the outcome of the discussion on the future of Europol held during the Austrian Presidency May 2006:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/eu-fop-future-of-europol-06.pdf

plus Draft Council Conclusions – which are only comprehensible if you read the first document:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/eu-future-of-europol-concl-06.pdf

7. Turkey: New proposals to amend anti-terrorism law (antennae-hr, link):
www.antenna-tr.org/mevzuat_devam.asp?feox=2&lgg=en
and A note (link):
www.antenna-tr.org/guncel.asp?feox=166&lgg=en

8. UK: Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights has issued highly critical comments on “extraordinary rendition” in its report on UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT): JCHR extraordinary rendition:.
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/uk-jchr-rendition.pdf

The report concludes that: “we do not accept the Government’s view that… it has adequately demonstrated that it has satisfied the obligation under domestic and international human rights law to investigate credible allegations of renditions of suspects through the UK to face torture abroad” and that: “Where there are credible allegations arising from previous records that a particular civil aircraft transiting UK airspace has been involved in renditions, and where the aircraft is travelling to or from a country known to practise torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, it should be required to land. Where such an aircraft lands at a UK airport for refuelling or similar purposes, it should be required to provide a full list of all those on board, both staff and passengers. On landing, it should be boarded and searched by the police, and the identity of all those on board verified. Wherever appropriate, a criminal investigation should be initiated.”

See also: Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, speech to the European Parliament hearing in Brussels on 23 January 2006:
www.statewatch.org/cia/documents/Statewatch-tony-bunyan-speech-inquiry.pdf

9. EU: Counter-Terrorism Coordinator report on: Implementation of the Action Plan to Combat Terrorism Useful summary on implementation by member states:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/eu-terr-measures-implementation-May-2006.pdf

and Six month report on counter-terrorism:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/eu-terr-measures-six-months-May-2006.pdf

10. Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Commission criticises government attack on human rights culture
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/nihr-human-rights-culture.pdf

11. EU: It is reported that European Commissionners are divided over which states should be on the list of “safe countries of origin” to which people can automatically be returned: euobserver: euobserver.com/9/21687/?print=1
and eupolitix: www.eupolitix.com/EN/News/200605/0427410f-8d2b-46f8-ac0b-0b3fa1877b42.htm

The list under discussion covers seven African countries: Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Senegal, Mali and Mauritius – the same seven countries discussed by the Council of the European Union in 2004. See for full background:

a) Statewatch Analysis: EU divided over list of “safe countries of origin” – the list should be scrapped (pdf)
www.statewatch.org/news/2004/sep/safe-countries.pdf

b) Appendix to this report with full details of all the EU member state responses (pdf):
www.statewatch.org/news/2004/sep/safe-countries-Appendix.pdf

c) Sources/documents, including member state responses:
www.statewatch.org/news/2004/sep/safe-countries-links.htm

d) The Council’s amended proposal of September 2004 – which despite all the evidence declares all seven “safe” to send people back to: EU doc no: 12118/04 (pdf)
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/eu-safe-countries-12118-rev1-04.pdf

e) The Council’s decision to put off agreeing a list under the aslyum procedures Directive was in place: 14383/04 (pdf)
www.statewatch.org/news/2004/nov/14383.pdf

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

“To determine the fate of people fleeing from poverty and persecution on the basis of such a shallow process by the Council was an insult to any sense of humanity or moral responsibility, let alone legal obligations. In 2004 the Commission opposed the inclusion of these countries – what has changed, where is the evidence that they
are now safe?”

12. EU: Europol: Terrorist activity in the European union: Situation and trends report (TE-SAT) – October 2004 ? October 2005:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/europol-terr-rep-2004-2005.pdf

13. EU: European Commission published Green Paper on: The presumption of innocence:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/apr/com-innocence-174-06.pdf

14. EU: Declaration by the Conference of European Data Protection Authorities in Budapest:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/eu-dp-budapest-declaration.pdf

Opinion of the Conference of European Data Protection Authorities on the proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/eu-dp-opinion-24-01-06.pdf

15. UN: Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture: United States of America – Guantanamo Bay report:
www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/un-19-05-06-torture.pdf

16. Crete: International Workshop: “State and civil society – national, European and global challenges”, 2-3 June, 2006 “Xenia” Cultural Student Centre, Rethymno, Crete, Greece. Agenda: www.statewatch.org/news/2006/may/crete-workshop.pdf

BOOKMARK

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www.statewatch.org/monitor/monitor.html

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