9 September 2019 — Statewatch
Also available as a pdf file: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/email-9-9-19.pdf
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1. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.9.19-8.9.19)
2. UK: Court: Police use of facial recognition is legal; survey finds majority of public want restrictions
3. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.8.19-1.9.19)
1. Middle East Eye journalist refused entry to cover UK arms fair
2. Britain and France to strengthen joint action against small boats
3. Turkey’s Erdogan threatens to ‘open the gates’ for migrants to Europe
4. Commission’s Rule of Law Blueprint: Missed Opportunity to Fully Confront Legal Hooliganism
5. EU admits some countries infringed EU arrest warrant
6. UK: Johnson’s immigration policies: hostile chaos?
7. Irish border will see checks after no-deal Brexit, EU warns
8. France: Immigrant Children Being Denied Protection – Flawed Procedures
9. UK court backs police in facial recognition lawsuit
10. Launch of Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register at Eurojust
11. Google siphoning personal data to advertisers, new evidence suggests
12. UK: Two members of far-right Generation Identity group ‘serving in royal navy’
13. UK: Police investigate officer who infiltrated environmental groups
14. UK: ‘Hundreds of stories going untold’ at city magistrates’ court every week, study finds
15, UK: Hairdressing college closed for failing to keep students “safe from the dangers of extremism
16. UK: Leaving the War on Terror: A Progressive Alternative to Counter-Terrorism Policy
17. Neither fair nor realistic? How the EU deals with Afghan asylum seekers
18. Legal Centre Lesvos denounces the Greek governments proposed changes to Asylum procedure
19. Ankara rejects EU claim of increasing migration from Turkey to Greece
20. Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown
21. The myth of the free speech crisis
22. USA: DHS to store tens of thousands of refugee biometric records from UNHCR
23. Greece: NGOs statement: LESS THAN 48H FOR AN ILLEGAL DEPORTATION
23. Croatian police uses electroshock torture on a migrant minor
24. Turkish sailors save refugees off Canary Islands
25. Home Office planning to end family reunion for children after Brexit
26. Greece moves hundreds of asylum-seekers from crowded island camp
27. Italy: Salvini is out, but migrants still endure his policies
28. ABR: Aegean Boat Report
29. Refugee Lessons: Let us Free Like the Birds!
30. EXARCHIA area under police attack by the new right government in Greece
31. UK: Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper
32. UK: U-turn over plan to end freedom of movement on 31 October
33. GREECE: Gov’t council decides on seven measures to respond to migration crisis
34. Greece resumes migrants deportations to Turkey
35. GREECE: 547 migrants land on Lesvos in largest single-day arrival since 2015-2016
36. Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown
37. UNICEF sounds alarm over lone migrant minors in Greece
38. EU split on migration widens
39. Council of the European Union: Eurojust: Launch of Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register
40. German journalists demand more protection from far right
41. On International Day of the Disappeared: IOM Notes Plight of Families of Disappeared
42. Sweden bans facial recognition technology in schools
43. Migrants jump fence at Spain’s enclave in Africa
44. Stranded migrant vessel receives water and food as standoff enters second day
45. Spanish coastguard rescues 208 migrants crossing from Africa to Spain
46. From Rome to Athens, squatting is under attack
47. Immigration panic: how the west fell for manufactured rage
48. Death of 15-year-old boy in Greek reception centre after failure to implement protection measures
49. Switzerland: Suspension of Dublin transfer to Croatia due to summary returns at border
50. UK: Notting Hill Carnival: New Data Reveals Crime Should Not Be The Story Of The Weekend
51. Italy grounds two planes used to search for migrant boat
52. UK: Serco slammed over profits drive at arms trade show while trying to evict asylum seekers
53. AYS SPECIAL: Outsiders’ perspective – The Bosnian Frontier
54. MEDN: Military vessels accused of scrambling emergency communications in the Libyan SAR
55. Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden
56. “Discover, identify and interfere”: The MUROS from Meckenheim
57. EU: Centre for European Reform: The EU’s Security Union: A bill of health
58. Human Rights at Sea: Briefing Note
59. Barred by EU, Refugees, Migrants Still Coming to Greek Islands
60. France: G7 Summit clouded by crackdown on protesters
61. German right-wing extremists planned ‘hunt’ of migrants: reports
62. Greek police raid Athens squats and arrest migrants
63. No End in Sight for Child Refugees In Greece
64. GDPR could obstruct AI development, MEP says
65. Nearly 900,000 asylum seekers living in limbo in EU, figures show
66. The European Union Is Worried That 300,000 People Could Flee Libya If Things Get Any Worse
67. OPINION : So used are we to a borderless Europe we’re not ready for the coming shock
68. EU: Leaked document: EU Commission mulls new law to regulate online platforms
1. European Commission: Press release: Brexit ‘no-deal’ preparedness
2. UK: HoC :The Role of Parliament in the UK Constitution: Authorising the Use of Military Force:
3.: BREXIT: Government asks Queen to suspend Parliament
As the EU’s member states continue to discuss half-hearted plans for search and rescue and the disembarkation of migrants, they are also putting in place measures to prevent their own maritime safety authorities from carrying out rescues. At the same time, they are pressuring under-resourced and unwilling non-EU states to take on rescue tasks. As reports from Spain show, the results are deadly.
1. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.9.19-8.9.19)
“The high court in Cardiff has ruled that the legal regime governing South Wales Police’s use of facial recognition “is adequate to ensure the appropriate and non-arbitrary use” of the technology. The judgment comes two days after the publication of survey results showing that the majority of the British public are willing to accept facial recognition technology in certain circumstances, “but want the government to impose restrictions on its use.”
3. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.8.19-1.9.19)
1. Middle East Eye journalist refused entry to cover UK arms fair (Middle East Eye, link):
“A senior Middle East Eye journalist has been denied access to a British government-backed arms fair for unspecified reasons on the advice of the event’s security team.
Ian Cobain, a veteran reporter and author who has previously worked for The Guardian and The Times newspapers, was told on Wednesday that his application to cover next week’s DSEI arms fair in London had been rejected by the security team.
Cobain was initially told that his accreditation was being held up because the event’s “security team” wanted to check that he was a suitable journalist to be covering an arms fair.”
“The Home Secretary and her French counterpart have agreed to intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel.
Priti Patel met French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner in Paris yesterday evening to discuss what more can be done to deter migrants making the perilous journey across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.”
” Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will “open the gates” for migrants to Europe if international support for a refugee safe zone in northern Syria fails to materialise.
Turkey’s president said on Thursday (September 5) he plans to resettle one million refugees in northern Syria.”
“n its first Communication entitled “ Further strengthening the Rule of Law within the Union” published on 3 April 2019, the Commission offered a useful overview of the state of play while also positively inviting all stakeholders to make concrete proposals so as to enhance the EU’s “rule of law toolbox”. In reply to this invitation, the present authors put together along with other colleagues a submission on behalf of the RECONNECT project which was subsequently published as a RECONNECT Policy Brief. On 17 July 2019, the Commission released a comprehensive follow up Communication in which it sets out multiple “concrete actions for the short and medium term” having first recalled the extent to which the rule of law must be understood as a shared value and a shared responsibility within the EU.”
5. EU admits some countries infringed EU arrest warrant (euobserver, link):
“The EU has recognised that there are member states which do not comply with the procedures of the European arrest warrant, reported Spanish newspaper El Mundo.”
6. UK: Johnson’s immigration policies: hostile chaos? (IRR News, link): Written by Frances Webber:
“If Boris Johnson’s government survives, the chaos of the immigration system it plans to impose will lead to untold misery.”
7. Irish border will see checks after no-deal Brexit, EU warns (euobserver, link):
“”All the checks will have to be carried out, it will be disruptive because the backstop would have been the only way that could have avoided disruptions,” an EU official said.”
“Unaccompanied children arriving in France’s Alpine region undergo flawed age assessment procedures that deny many access to needed protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 80-page report, “Subject to Whim: The Treatment of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in the French Hautes-Alpes,” found that examiners whose job is to certify a child’s status as a minor – that is, under age 18 – do not comply with international standards.”
9. UK court backs police in facial recognition lawsuit (Politico, link):
“Ruling is a blow for privacy advocate who led legal challenge. In a battle over the limits of high-tech police surveillance, Big Brother has just won a round.
On Wednesday, a U.K. court dismissed a case brought against the South Wales Police over its use of live facial recognition technology, which allows police to scan the faces of thousands of individuals in real time and match their likenesses against a database of suspects.”
“A Counter-Terrorism Register (CTR) has been launched at Eurojust to reinforce the judicial response in Member States to terrorist threats and to improve security for citizens. The CTR, which entered into force on 1 September, centralises key judicial information to establish links in proceedings against suspects of terrorist offences.
The CTR is managed by Eurojust in The Hague on a 24-hour basis and provides proactive support to national judicial authorities. This centralised information will help prosecutors to coordinate more actively and to identify the suspects or networks that are being investigated in specific cases with potential cross-border implications.”
11. Google siphoning personal data to advertisers, new evidence suggests (euractiv, link):
“Google is using a “surreptitious mechanism” to leak personal data to advertisers, according to new evidence presented to the Irish Data Protection Commission as part of an ongoing investigation.
The evidence, sourced by Brave, a competing web browser to Google’s Chrome, “gives the Irish DPC concrete proof that Google’s ad system did broadcast personal data” belonging to Johnny Ryan, the chief policy officer at Brave.”
12. UK: Two members of far-right Generation Identity group ‘serving in royal navy’ (The Independent, link):
“Two alleged far-right extremists were able to join the royal navy in spite of their white nationalist views, it has been claimed.
The men are accused of being active in the UK branch of Generation Identity, a pan-European group which spreads a conspiracy theory that motivated the alleged Christchurch mosque attacker in New Zealand.”
13. UK: Police investigate officer who infiltrated environmental groups (The Guardian, link):
“A former undercover police officer who infiltrated environmental groups for seven years is under investigation by police for deceiving women into sexual relationships and allegedly leaking secrets.
Police chiefs are conducting a criminal investigation into Mark Kennedy, whose covert deployment was exposed principally by one of the women he had deceived.
The investigation is examining whether Kennedy conducted “inappropriate sexual relationships” and whether he broke the 1989 Official Secrets Act, according to police.”
14. UK: ‘Hundreds of stories going untold’ at city magistrates’ court every week, study finds (Press Gazette, link):
“A study of a single magistrates’ court based in a major UK city found there were “hundreds of potential stories left untold” every week, painting a “grim picture” of the state of court reporting.
Just three articles were published about proceedings at Bristol Magistrates’ Court during one week in January 2018, according to research published by journalism and law academics at the University of the West of England.
The study, published this month, said 240 cases passed through the court over the period, but its observers spotted only one working journalist.”
See: It is criminal: The state of magistrates’ court reporting in England and Wales (Journalism, link)
15, UK: Hairdressing college closed for failing to keep students “safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism”: Disastrous Ofsted inspection forces city centre college to close(Liverpool Echo, link):
“A city centre hairdressing college has shut down just months after being slammed with a disastrous Ofsted inspection.
Michael John Academy in the city centre was given an ‘inadequate’ rating in May, for failing to keep students “safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism.”
…One of the main issues outlined in the report, was that apprentices at the college “do not have an adequate awareness of the dangers associated with radicalisation and extremism.””
16. UK: Leaving the War on Terror: A Progressive Alternative to Counter-Terrorism Policy (TNI, link):
“This report offers an account of the failures of current counter-terrorism policies, an analysis of the reasons why they do not work and an outline of a progressive alternative that we hope will be the basis for a future Labour government’s approach.”
17. Neither fair nor realistic? How the EU deals with Afghan asylum seekers (Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration, link):
“Over the past ten years, almost 580,000 Afghan nationals have applied for asylum in the European Union. Afghanistan was the second most important country of origin among asylum seekers in the EU, after Syria. The way the EU Member States deal with them is subject to much controversy. Despite a worsening security situation in their country of origin, on average more than half of all asylum claims by Afghans are rejected. They are also confronted with severe injustices as their recognition rates vary greatly, depending on where in the EU their claims are examined. Among the many who are rejected, a majority risk ending up in protracted legal and social limbo situations as they are required to leave the EU, but are in reality rarely returned to their country of origin.”
18. PRESS RELEASE: Legal Centre Lesvos denounces the Greek governments proposed changes to the Asylum procedure .(pressenza.com, link):
“On Saturday 31st August, the Spokesperson for the Greek Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence announced that a meeting had taken place with the Prime Minister and that seven measures of immediate action would be implemented in order to address the increasing number of people arriving on the Greek Islands.
We express serious concern that one of the measures announced is the intention of the Greek government to abolish the appeal stage of the asylum procedure, so that if an asylum application is rejected, they will proceed immediately with the return of the applicant to their country of origin.”
“urkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has refuted recent claims by EU officials that there has been an increasing migrant flow from Turkey to Greece, the country’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported Wednesday.
The Greek government recently announced emergency measures to tackle the arrival of “huge waves of refugees” on its islands, who it claimed to have come from Turkey. The EU has voiced “deep concern” over recent developments.”
20. Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown (The Atlantic, link):
“UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, and the European Commission have not said whether they believe Turkey is deporting Syrians. But one senior EU official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the issue, estimated that about 2,200 people were sent to the Syrian province of Idlib, though he said it was unclear whether they were forcibly deported or chose to return. The official added that, were Turkey forcibly deporting Syrians, this would be in explicit violation of the principle of non-refoulement, on which the EU-Turkey deal is conditioned.”
21. The myth of the free speech crisis (The Guardian, link) by Nesrine Malik:
“Freedom of speech is not a neutral, fixed concept, uncoloured by societal prejudice. The belief that it is some absolute, untainted hallmark of civilisation is linked to self-serving exceptionalism – a delusion that there is a basic template around which there is a consensus uninformed by biases. The recent history of fighting for freedom of speech has gone from something noble – striving for the right to publish works that offend people’s sexual or religious prudery, and speaking up against the values leveraged by the powerful to maintain control – to attacking the weak and persecuted. The effort has evolved from challenging upwards to punching downwards.”
22. USA: DHS to store tens of thousands of refugee biometric records from UNHCR (Biometric Update, link):
“The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) began sharing records including fingerprints, iris scans, and facial biometrics of refugees it is recommending for resettlement consideration in the U.S. with the country’s Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), Nextgov reports.
The UNHCR sends tens of thousands of profiles to federal agencies each year, according to the report, and the Department of Homeland Services (DHS) is retaining the data for all of them, including those who do not actually come to the U.S.” (emphasis added)
23. NGOs statement: LESS THAN 48H FOR AN ILLEGAL DEPORTATION, BUT STILL NO RETURN ORDERED THREE WEEKS AFTER COURT DECISION (pdf):
“After a German court questions legality of controversial “Seehofer Deal” betweenGreece and Germany,the undersigning organisationsdemand the immediate implementation of the judicial order.”
“In another one in a series of cases of mistreatments and beatings of migrants that are being pushed back from the border, officials of the Croatian border police brutally attacked K.S., a minor from Afghanistan, according to the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia. The boy, who survived severe physical and psychological torture, was first separated from a group of 16 migrants and beaten up at the border. After that he was detained in a dark room where he was beaten by four border police officers and subjected to electroshock torture.
According to the Commissariat, the police seized the boy’s phone and money and physically injured him. After they caught him at the border, he was locked in a dark room, where the officials questioned him. They forced him to take his clothes off, made him get into water, where they The Commissariat expressed concern and outrage over these practices, and warned representatives of the international community about the enormous use of violence by the Croatian border police, as well as flagrant human rights violationsreleased electricity through a shocker, which led to him losing consciousness.
In this horrific “incident”, the 16-year old boy suffered a rib fracture and internal bleeding, a hematoma of the head and lost a lot of blood, it is explained in the statement of the Commissariat published by N1 Serbia.”
“A Turkish ship has rescued 24 African refugees stranded on a boat off the Canary Islands.
The crew members of the ship Ekmen Trans spotted a boat carrying refugees some 60 miles off Spanish island Gran Canaria.
The refugees, including three children, a pregnant woman and 20 other adults, were taken up to the ship.”
“The Home Office is preparing to end the current system of family reunification for asylum-seeking children if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Guardian has learned.
The government has privately briefed the UN refugee agency UNHCR and other NGOs that open cases may be able to progress, but a no-deal Brexit would mean no new applications after 1 November from asylum-seeking children to be reunited with relatives living in the UK.”
“Some 635 people, mostly families, boarded a passenger ship on Monday for facilities in northern Greece, and more were due to leave later in the day.”
“The outgoing interior minister closed Italy’s refugee camps and its ports. But even with Matteo Salvini out of government, asylum-seekers are still trapped in a cycle of homelessness, harassment and frustration (…)
We have to be careful we’ve been hindered by the police a dozen times,” says Marlene Micheloni. She explains that while they can’t arrest volunteers for handing out food, they have tried their best to intimidate them out of doing so.”
28. ABR: Aegean Boat Report (link):
“Aegean Boat Report is an independent Norwegian NGO, volunteer-run media site, determined to provide neutral, detailed and correct information on boats and arrivals in the Aegean Sea.
Aegean Boat Report has proven to be the most detailed source of information, used by organizations, volunteers and journalists, in search of a better understanding of the ongoing refugee crisis.” Donate (link)
29. Refugee Lessons: Let us Free Like the Birds ! (Samos Chronicles, link):
“My life has been turned upside down amd inside out. My brain has never had to work so hard to make sense, to survive and to live. For some of my hardest years, the system saw me and treated me as illegal. That is a big experience. I learnt much. But above all I thought about being human and being free. Syria: Now 24 years old I was born in Aleppo in northern Syria (…)
And: For Whom Do You Fly ? Zeppelin over Samos (link):
“The Zeppelin was launched six weeks ago with much fanfare about protecting and hardening European borders. The Samos authorities were so proud to be the first EU country to deploy an airship for this purpose. BUT since taking to the skies on the end of its 1000 metre tether, the flow of refugees here has increased significantly! It is wonderful to see as their arrivals torpedoes the stupidity of deterrence.”
“The famous rebel and solidarity district of Athens is completely surrounded by huge police forces: many riot police buses (MAT), anti-Terrorism Police (OPKE), motor bike policemen (Dias), members of the secret police as well as a helicopter and several drones.
Unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-managed spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and solidarity with the precarious and migrants, Exarchia has been in major focus of the right government since its election on July 7th.”
31. UK: Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper (Guardian, link):
” Exclusive: leaked report says at present there is no deliverable alternative to the backstop.
All potential solutions to the post-Brexit Irish border are fraught with difficulty and would leave smaller businesses struggling to cope, experts have said, as leaked government papers outline major concerns just two months before Britain is due to leave the EU.”
32. UK: U-turn over plan to end freedom of movement on 31 October (Guardian, link):
“Legal experts warned against Priti Patel’s decision to change law immediately after Brexit deadline.”
33. GREECE: Gov’t council decides on seven measures to respond to migration crisis ((ekathimerini.com, link):
“Responding to a spike in migrant arrivals from neighboring Turkey, the government’s Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) has decided on seven measures to ease the pressure on the Aegean islands and curb the influx. (…)
Also on the cards is an increase in police patrols to locate migrants whose asylum applications were rejected but are still in the country. (…)
The efforts of the coast guard in the Aegean will be bolstered with the procurement of 10 speedboats that will be dispatched to intercept suspected smuggling vessels heading towards Greece from neighboring Turkey.”
Comment: The latter sounds like a policy of official “push-backs”.
34. Greece resumes migrants deportations to Turkey (keeptalkinggreece., link):
“Greece says it is restarting deportations of migrants to Turkey in an effort to deal with the increasing number of illegal crossings in recent weeks (…)
The minister told private Skai television that 75,000 migrants in Greece were currently having their asylum applications reviewed, including 9,000 whose applications had been rejected but were appealing the decision.
Many of the 50 refugee camps in Greece are squalid, overcrowded, rife with disease and home to unaccompanied minors, according to The Times.”
“Thirteen boats with 547 migrants arrived at the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos from the Turkish coast on Thursday afternoon, in what is the largest number of arrivals in one day since the migration crisis of 2015-2016, local media reported on Friday.
Of the total number of people who landed on the northern beach of Skala Sykamias, 177 were men, 124 were women and 246 were children. Most of them are families.”
And see Aegean Boat report for: August 2019: Total number of refugees on the islands: 25,610.
Arrival August 3,171
Total arrivals this year 10,476
Boats August 83
Total Boats this year 295
Transfers August 839
Total transfers this year 7,407
Total refugees on the island: 11,801
“ISTANBULUnder the cover of night, Turkish police officers pushed Ahmed onto a large bus parked in central Istanbul. In the darkness, the Syrian man from Damascus could discern dozens of other handcuffed refugees being crammed into the vehicle. Many of them would not see the Turkish city again. (…)
In a deeper sense, the backlash also exposes the long-term consequences of the European Union’s outsourcing of its refugee problem. In March 2016, the EU entered into a controversial deal with Turkey that halted much of the refugee influx to Europe in return for an aid package worth €6 billion ($6.7 billion) and various political sweeteners for Ankara. Preoccupied with its own border security, EU decision makers at the time were quick to reassure their critics that Turkey constituted a “safe third country” that respected refugee rights and was committed to the principle of non-refoulement.”
“The number of unaccompanied migrant minors staying in overcrowded reception centers on the Greek islands exceeds 1,100, the highest level since the peak of the refugee crisis in early 2016, UNICEF said Thursday, calling on European countries to do more to protect vulnerable children.”
38. EU split on migration widens (euobserver, link):
“Illegal immigration poses an ongoing political crisis for the European bloc and politicians’ failure to act has left Europeans reportedly more concerned about immigration than climate change.
Will November’s change of leadership in the European Commission help improve its track record on the humanitarian emergency?”
39. Council of the European Union: Press conference on Launch of Judicial Counter-Terrorism Register at Eurojust (link); “For more information, please see the Eurojust invitation letter.” (pdf, link)
40. German journalists demand more protection from far right (DW, link)
“The German government is not offering enough protection to journalists who appear on far-right “death lists,” according to an open letter signed by media organizations. Several such lists have been discovered recently.
Six German journalist and activist organizations have sent an open letter to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer asking for more protection from far-right terrorists in the country.
Recent police raids on far-right networks have uncovered several lists of journalists and left-wing politicians, apparently as potential targets.”
“On International Day of the Disappeared, IOM pays tribute to the families and loved ones of each person included in the Missing Migrants Project records – a total that today approaches 33,000 men, women and children.
No matter the context of the disappearance, the agony of even one disappearance can have deep effects on those left behind. Families missing a loved one are relentless in their faith that they will return someday, and unless they have certainty of the fate of that person, their lives become defined by an ambiguous loss between hope and grief.”
42. Sweden bans facial recognition technology in schools (New Europe, link):
“The Swedish Data Protection Authority (DPA) has issued a ban on facial recognition technology in schools after one of the country’s high-school students attempted to use the controversial software to keep track of attendance.”
43. Migrants jump fence at Spain’s enclave in Africa (euobserver, link):
“Around 250 people tried to jump over the fence at Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta early on Friday 30 August. Only 153 managed to cross, reported the Spanish authorities.”
44. Updated | Stranded migrant vessel receives water and food as standoff enters second day (Malta Today, link):
“Journalists onboard the Eleonore said the rescued migrants had spent the night with ‘far less than one sq.m per person’” Ship receives food and water outside territorial waters.”
“MADRID, Aug 29 (Reuters) – More than 200 migrants were rescued on Wednesday by the Spanish coastguard as they attempted to make the crossing from Africa to Spain, rescue services said on Thursday.
The rescue comes at a time when Spain is preparing for the arrival on a Spanish warship of 15 migrants from an Italian port following a prolonged standoff between Italian authorities and a Spanish-registered private rescue boat.”
“In July of this year New Democracy came to power in Greece with a promise to crack down on immigration and the networks of solidarity surrounding refugees. In the last few weeks they have started to put this process into action suggesting that they are ‘cleaning up Exarcheia’, evicting the squats that many refugees have made their temporary home. This is just one of a number of rule changes that effects this particular district of Athens since the new government came into power in July. The first stage was to recommend legislation to end the academic sanctuary law, a law that protects students protesting and, for the most part, means academic campuses are out of bounds to police. This next stage will mean the attempted systematic emptying out of 23 refugee anarchist squats throughout the Exarcheia district of Athens, potentially making thousands of refugees homeless.”
47. Immigration panic: how the west fell for manufactured rage (Guardian, link):
“From Trump to Orbán, politicians are winning votes by stoking age-old hatreds. Where does this fear of migrants come from? By Suketu Mehta.
The west is being destroyed, not by migrants, but by the fear of migrants. In country after country, the ghosts of the fascists have rematerialised and are sitting in parliaments in Germany, in Austria, in Italy. They have successfully convinced their populations that the greatest threat to their nations isn’t government tyranny or inequality or climate change, but immigration.”
“Following the killing of an Afghan boy in the Moria reception center in Greece, the ICJ calls on the Greek authorities to effectively implement measures of protection prescribed to Greece this May by the European Committee on Social Rights.
According to information by the UN High Commissioner for refugees, the 15-year-old Afghan boy was killed and two other boys injured after a fight broke out at the Moria reception centre on the Greek island of Lesvos.
The safe area at the Moria Reception and Identification Centre, RIC, hosts nearly 70 unaccompanied children, but more than 500 other boys and girls are staying in various parts of the overcrowded facility without a guardian and exposed to exploitation and abuse.”
“On 12 July 2019, the Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland ruled to suspend the transfer of an asylum applicant to Croatia under the Dublin Regulation 604/2013 (the Dublin Regulation) due to the current situation of summary returns at the Croatian border with Bosnia-Herzegovina (E-3078/2019, 12 July 2019).”
50. UK: Notting Hill Carnival: New Data Reveals Crime Should Not Be The Story Of The Weekend (Huffington Post, link):
“An investigation into the policing of UK festivals has revealed arrest rates at Notting Hill Carnival are almost identical to Glastonbury, suggesting controversial crime narratives surrounding the London event are misplaced.
More than a million people will take to the streets of west London this weekend for the world-famous celebration of Caribbean music and heritage, as colourful floats and sound-systems parade the streets.
But Notting Hill organisers have long claimed the focus on crime by the media and police unduly taints what should be a gem in the country’s cultural calendar.”
51. Italy grounds two planes used to search for migrant boats (The Guardian, link):
“Italy has grounded two planes used by NGOs to search for migrant boats in distress in the Mediterranean.
The planes – Moonbird and Colibri – are operated by the German NGO Sea-Watch and the French NGO Pilotes Volontaires respectively and have been flying reconnaissance missions over the Mediterranean since 2017.
For the past month neither has been able to take to the skies after the Italian civil aviation authority said they could “only be used for recreational and non-professional activities”.”
And see: Dozens feared dead after boat capsizes off Libya coast (Al Jazeera, link): “Rescue operation under way as Libyan coastguard says it rescued 60 people after the Europe-bound vessel capsized.”
52. UK: Serco slammed over profits drive at arms trade show while trying to evict asylum seekers fleeing war (Daily Record, link):
“The firm evicting hundreds of asylum seekers from their homes has been condemned over plans to exhibit at a controversial arms trade show.
Serco, which holds the Home Office contract to house about 300 people in Glasgow, has dozens of defence contracts around the world.
The private multinational will be touting for business at DSEI 2019 next month in London’s ExCeL arena.”
53. AYS SPECIAL: Outsiders’ perspective – The Bosnian Frontier (Are You Syrious, link):
“The passage between Bosnia and Croatia is one of the most difficult on the Balkan route. Usually people cross it on foot, walking and sleeping in the woods, far away from urban centres, invisible and silent. Because of the continuous and increasingly violent expulsions by Croatian border police, those who arrive in Bihac and Velika Kladuša remain blocked in this area for months in a temporary status, constantly attempting the long mountain walk that connects the two cities to the Croatian border. ‘The game’ is all a matter of chance and few make it at the first attempt. We met people who have been trying for a year and could count more than 20 attempts
54. MEDITERRANEAN: Military vessels accused of scrambling emergency communications in the Libyan SAR zone [Ong. La Mare Jonio: «INTERFERENZE MILITARI ZITTISCONO I SEGNALI DI SOS DEI MIGRANTI»] (Bocche Scucite, link):
“The Mediterranean mission ship is reporting a blockage of reception equipment in the Libyan rescue area. And in silence, the number of cases of shipwrecks being sent back to Libya is increasing.
…From the ship, the operators reiterate that “now the European military command and coordination centres do not relay the reports of vessels in distress as they should do, through the radio and messaging communication channels provided for by maritime law and the international SAR protocols, but seem to talk only with the Libyan authorities.”
55. Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden (Common Dreams, link):
“The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech.”
“A German company builds special vehicles with surveillance technology. They film demonstrations, wiretap telephones or coordinate swarms of drones at EU external borders.
In the EU security research project ROBORDER, European border authorities are testing various drones for controlling land and sea borders.”
57. EU: Centre for European Reform: The EU’s Security Union: A bill of health (link):
“The Security Union has had a mixed record. In two years, the EU has achieved more on thorny issues like border controls and counter-terrorism than in the previous decade. It has also led to the EU’s actions on security and migration becoming more open and accountable. But the Security Union’s use of technology and data to prevent incidents before they happen risks upsetting the delicate balance between public security and personal liberty. For example, plans to fight cyber crime may clash with the fundamental right to free speech; and some EU counter-terrorism measures, like tracking suspects, can endanger the fundamental right to be presumed innocent – and hence the rule of law.”
58. Human Rights at Sea: BRIEFING NOTE – REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AT SEA (pdf, link)
59. Barred by EU, Refugees, Migrants Still Coming to Greek Islands (thenationalherald, link):
“There are more than 75,000 in detention centers and camps in Greece, including more than 22,700 on islands near Turkey and the numbers keep swelling if slower than before, leaving the government unable to handle the number of asylum applications.”
60. France: G7 Summit clouded by crackdown on protesters (AI, link):
“From the beginning of this G7 Summit in Biarritz, it was clear that the French authorities had a plan to restrict freedom of assembly and movement, with the announced presence of more than 13,000 police to man the area.”
61. German right-wing extremists planned ‘hunt’ of migrants: reports (DW, link):
“A police report seen by German media has found that extreme right protesters explicitly tried to violently chase down foreigners. Disagreement over whether such a “hunt” took place nearly toppled the German government.”
62. Greek police raid Athens squats and arrest migrants (Guardian, link):
“About 100 people held after new prime minister vows to bring ‘order’ to Exarcheia area.(…)
Dozens of officers cleared four sites in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of the capital. Helicopters flew overhead and the neighbourhood was flooded by police during the operation.
The conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who took office as prime minister last month, had vowed to bring “order” to the district, promising regular police patrols.”
63. No End in Sight for Child Refugees In Greece (link):
“Greece has been condemned for years by human rights organisations and even the European Court of Human Rights for failing to protect these children and allowing them to live in an environment manifestly unsuitable for children.
Europe is also to blame, having found Greece legally responsible for their treatment of child refugees this year, and making a legal decision that Greece had breached Europe’s human rights convention forbidding inhuman or degrading treatment, their ‘consequence’ for the Greek authorities was a paltry 4000 euros to be paid to the kids.”
64. GDPR could obstruct AI development, MEP says (euractiv, link):
“The EU’s digital agenda over the next mandate is set to be marked by a series of broad-ranging reforms, from artificial intelligence and data protection to cryptocurrency regulation and digital tax. EURACTIV talked to Greek MEP Eva Kaili about how she hopes the EU’s digital agenda over the next five years will play out.”
65. Nearly 900,000 asylum seekers living in limbo in EU, figures show (euobserver, link):
“Backlog of claims persists despite number of arrivals almost halving in two years.
Eurostat figures have revealed a backlog of 878,600 requests at the end of 2018, with Germany having the largest share of pending requests (44%), ahead of Italy (12%). The figure comes despite the number of migrant arrivals in Europe practically halving in the last two years.
Factors leading to the continuing backlog include new laws from right-leaning governments and an increase in the number of rejections, leading to lengthy appeals processes.(…)
The rejection rate for asylum requests in Europe has almost doubled in three years, from 37% in 2016 to 64% in 2019. In Italy, rejections were at 80% at the start of 2019, up from 60% the previous year as the populist government also removed key forms of protection.”
“An internal report from the EU’s Operation Sophia, obtained by BuzzFeed News, warns that the number of potential refugees at sea could require “an immediate intervention.”
That prediction was made in the latest semiannual report from Operation Sophia, the EU’s military mission aimed at halting people from being smuggled across the sea into Europe. But, according to the report, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News, the mission is drastically unprepared for such an event.”
Comment: The report also shows the low effectiveness of Libyan rescue efforts and that they only answered the phone in 50% of cases.
67. OPINION: So used are we to a borderless Europe we’re not ready for the coming shock (Guardian, link)
“The UK has enjoyed the privileges of the single market. Things are tougher outside it. (…)
The argument gets more traction than it deserves because of a confusion about borders. In particular, there seems to be a common assumption that the absence of checks on goods crossing frontiers is the default state of the world and that the existence of border controls is a weird aberration.
The assumption is false. As even a cursory glance at border arrangements across the globe reveals, border controls are entirely normal: it is their absence that is the aberration.”
“The EU Commission is considering the creation of a new authority for the regulation of online services. This is part of a possible legislative proposal by the Commission to regulate platform companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Under the proposed scheme, the e-Commerce Directive is to be replaced by a new law, the Digital Services Act, according to a leaked Commission note. ( Click here for full document.). (…)
The seven-page note gives only a rough outline of the Digital Services Act. It mentions the need for harmonised guidelines on how platforms should moderate speech and handle illegal content across the EU, stating that the Commission’s recommendations for tackling illegal content should become mandatory.”
“With 8 weeks to go until the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 October 2019, the Commission has today – in its 6th Brexit preparedness Communication – reiterated its call on all stakeholders in the EU27 to prepare for a ‘no-deal’ scenario. In light of the continued uncertainty in the United Kingdom regarding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement – as agreed with the UK government in November 2018 – and the overall domestic political situation, a ‘no-deal’ scenario on 1 November 2019, remains a possible, although undesirable, outcome.”
2. UK: House of Commons report: The Role of Parliament in the UK Constitution: Authorising the Use of Military Force (pdf):
“We found a consensus in the inquiry concerning the post-2003 convention; that the Government is expected to seek prior authorisation from the House of Commons before taking military action, subject to certain exceptions where public debate before military action would not be possible or appropriate. The exceptions to the convention are important as the Government requires discretion in relation to the most effective means of protecting the UK’s security and interests.
There is, however, a legitimate concern that the Government remains the sole arbiter of what military action requires prior approval under the post-2003 convention, something which could create uncertainty.” [emphasis added]
3. UK: BREXIT: Government asks Queen to suspend Parliament (BBC News, link):
“The government has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September – and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.
Boris Johnson said a Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his “very exciting agenda”.
But it means MPs are unlikely to have time to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.”
See: House of Commons Library briefing paper: Prorogation of Parliament (pdf): “This briefing paper explains what it means to “prorogue” Parliament, under what authority it is done, and what its consequences are. It also provides historical and international context for prorogation, and explains its relevance to the Brexit process.”
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