Statewatch News Online, 23 December 2019 (23/19)

23 December 2019 — Statewatch

e-mail: office@statewatch.org

Also available as a pdf file: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/dec/email-23-12-19.pdf

STATEWATCH ANALYSES

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

2.  “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

3. EU: New analysis: Monitoring “secondary movements” and “hotspots”: Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency

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

STATEWATCH NEWS

1.    Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-16.12.19)
2.    Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3-9.12.19)
3.    Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.11.19)
4.   EU: ‘Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead
5.   All EU missions to adopt access to documents policies – but enforcement will be voluntary
6.   EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 2-3 December 2019
7.   EU: Ministers call for renewed migrant smuggling crackdown on “Eastern Mediterranean” route
8.   Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.11-2.12.19)
9.   Report on illegal pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border

NEWS

1.     Greece: Unaccompanied Children at Risk – Alone in Island Camp, Face Insecurity, Neglect 
2.    Europol: SIRIUS: European Union Digital Evidence Situation Report 2019 
3.   EP Study: Commission ETIAS consequential amendments – Substitute impact assessment
4.   Europe is home to a grave humanitarian crisis – but Brussels looks the other way 
5.   EU: European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS): Commission note
6.   UN experts decry rise in migrant detentions in Greece 
7.   EU: The “reliable neighbour” must recognise the rights of migrants, at last!
8.   GREECE-TURKEY: Videos Show Apparent Illegal Pushback of Migrants
9.   State advertising as an instrument of transformation of the media market in Hungary
10.  AUSTRIA: Austrian Government Hacking-Law Is Unconstitutional
11. UK: How to say ‘no’ to Government’s plan to strengthen police powers against Travellers 
12.  Enormous amount at stake’ in Irish murder data appeal case 
13.  Migrant arrivals from Turkey to Europe nearly double in 2019
14.  Is Processing Biometric Data of Turkish Nationals in a National Database lawful? 
15.  Migrant arrivals from Turkey to Europe nearly double in 2019
16. France, UK say they look beyond Brexit in Mali cooperation
17.  GREECE: No-Rights Zone: People in need of protection are being denied crucial legal aid 
18.  Why are we letting the defence industry hijack the EU? 
19.  Greece: Six People Found Dead in Evros Region while Authorities Prop Up Border Security
20.  EU: Eurojust becomes an Agency 
21.  Europe spends billions stopping migration. Good luck figuring out where money actually goes 
22.  Data watchdog raps EU asylum body for snooping 
23.  UK: Rats in the kitchen, sodden carpets in the living room
24.  EU-USA: EU-US statement following the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meet
25. Spain: Migrant hailed after rescuing man in wheelchair from fire 
26.   “From Tampere 20 to Tampere 2.0 – Towards a new European consensus on migration”
27.  Bosnia: Police clear controversial Vucjak refugee camp 
28.  LIBYA: Accountability for Serious Crimes under International Law in Libya: An Assessment 
29.  UK: Mobile fingerprint scanners bring a dangerous new front to the hostile environment 
30.  Croatia Is Abusing Migrants While the EU Turns a Blind Eye 
31.  Germany sets out plan for automatic relocation of asylum seekers 
32.  SERBIA: Unlawful video surveillance with face recognition in Belgrade 
33.  Secret document: “Club de Berne” criticises member in Austria for possible extremism
34.  Afghan refugee dies in container fire in Lesvos 
35.  Migration control: Drones now fly across the English Channel
36.  ‘Oval Four’ men jailed in 1972 cleared by court of appeal in London 
37.  58 dead as migrant boat capsizes off Mauritanian coast 
38. Grenade thrown at migrant children’s centre in Madrid 
39.  Greece: Camp Conditions Endanger Women, Girls – Lack Safe Access to Food, Water
40.  EU-NIGERIA: Europe wants to send migrants home­but what happens when they get there?
41.  FRANCE: Preventing Violent Extremism  from a society of vigilance to a society of suspicion?
42.  UK: JUSTICE FOR ALFIE MEADOWS: Two weeks disciplinary hearing of PC Mark Alston
43.  GERMANY: The Lingering Trauma of Stasi Surveillance 
44.  European Data Protection Supervisor: Leading by Example: EDPS 2015-2019 
45.  French parliament backs resolution calling anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism
46.  GAMM UPDATE (Limite doc no: 13452-19, pdf) 6 November 2019: 63 pages
47.  Holidaymakers in Gran Canaria help 24 migrants after boat lands on beach
48.  GREECE: Samos Refugees: A reluctant update on enduring cruelties
49.  CoE seeks information Greece plans to set-up closed reception centres on the Aegean islands 
50.  EU commissioners to visit Greece and Turkey for migration policy overhaul
51.  Aegean Boat Report: 25 November – 1 December 
52.  La France renonce à la livraison de bateaux à la Libye
53.  Africa relations are ‘not equal’, leaders warn EU
54.  Med: Mounting Death Toll while NGOs Struggle to Keep up with Rescues
55.  EU: Lisbon Treaty: Commission marks ten years of judicial and police cooperation 
56.  UK: EU citizens will need US-style visa clearance after Brexit 
57.  ECHR-BULGARIA: Civilian tried by military court for  criminal offence did not have a fair trial 
58.   Frontex role in the militarisation and securitisation of migratory flows in the EU 
59.  Enforcement of EU Values and the Tyranny of National Identity – Polish Examples and Excuses 
60.  Women human rights defenders under attack: Amnesty
61.  Over 1000 cases set to be dropped against Extinction Rebellion protesters
62.  Refugees being ‘starved out’ of UN facility in Tripoli 
63.  European leaders: Stop punishing asylum seekers on the Greek islands 
64.  UN refugees chief urges Greece to improve ‘miserable’ camp conditions 
65.   Four dead, 10 missing from migrant boat found adrift near Melilla 
66.  HUNGARY: The legacy of the Orbán era: anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia
67.  UK: Netpol launches ‘Restricting the Rebellion’ report 
68.  General Court Rules on Frontex: Less Transparency at EU Borders 
69.  GREECE: History repeating itself: Winter warnings for Europe’s largest refugee camp 
70.  EU: Parliament elects the von der Leyen Commission 
71.  Home Office reverses attempt to deport Jamaican man ‘to Iraq’ 
72.  European Data Protection Supervisor: Europol and Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme
73.  MEPs choose Wiewiórowski to be the EU’s data protection watchdog 
74.  Frontex expands operations in EU neighbouring countries 
75.  Aid groups condemn Greece over ‘prison’ camps for migrants
76.  Greece makes course change in its approach to the refugee crisis
77.  EU: Plan for EU makeover –  Franco-German partnership overcoming recent tensions 
78.  Questions surround Greece’s stricter course on refugees 
79.  Italy; At least 20 migrants feared dead after boat capsizes near Lampedusa 

STATEWATCH ANALYSES

1. 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

2.  “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.”

3. EU: New analysis: Monitoring “secondary movements” and “hotspots”: Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency

The EU’s border agency, Frontex, now has powers to gather data on “secondary movements” and the “hotspots” within the EU. The intention is to ensure “situational awareness” and produce risk analyses on the migratory situation within the EU, in order to inform possible operational action by national authorities. This brings with it increased risks for the fundamental rights of both non-EU nationals and ethnic minority EU citizens.

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

STATEWATCH NEWS

1. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-16.12.19) including:

– GREECE: No-Rights Zone: How people in need of protection are being denied crucial access to legal information and assistance in the Greek islands’ EU ‘hotspot’ camps
– Europe spends billions stopping migration. Good luck figuring out where the money actually goes

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

– Report on illegal pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border
– Ministers call for renewed migrant smuggling crackdown on “Eastern Mediterranean” route
– Croatia Is Abusing Migrants While the EU Turns a Blind Eye

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

– EU aid and development funding has provided €215 million for border security in Morocco since 2001
– New Detention Centres Planned on Greek Islands Despite Ruling Against Island Conditions
– Deportations: Council Presidency proposes systematic monitoring of readmission cooperation and sanctions for non-compliance

4. 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.”

5.  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.

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

Including: Press release, agendas and background note

7.  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.

8. 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
  • “How the hostile environment creates sites without rights”: Evidence presented to the London Hearing of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal
  • Questions surround Greece’s stricter course on refugees

9.  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.

NEWS

1. Greece: Unaccompanied Children at Risk – Arriving Alone in Island Camp, They Face Insecurity, Neglect (HRW, link):

” Hundreds of unaccompanied children on the Greek island of Lesbos are exposed to inhuman and degrading living conditions, Human Rights Watch said today. Children, unable to secure a place in the overcrowded specialized accommodation for unaccompanied children, face unsanitary and insecure conditions sleeping rough, sometimes in the open, in other formal and informal parts of the camp on the island.

“Hundreds of lone children on Lesbos are left to fend for themselves, sleeping on mats and cardboard boxes, exposed to worsening and dangerous weather conditions,” said Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Greek authorities need to urgently make sure these children are safe and cared for.”

2.  Europol: SIRIUS: European Union Digital Evidence Situation Report 2019 (Press release, link):

“A new Europol report aims to draw a picture of the status of access of European Union (EU) Member States to electronic evidence held by foreign-based online service providers in 2018. The report presents data in relation to the volume of requests from EU Member States to online service providers; the main reasons for refusal or delay of EU requests; and the main challenges in the process from the perspective of the different stakeholders.

Manuel Navarrete, Head of the European Counter Terrorism Centre at Europol: “This is the first time such an exercise is carried out in a systematic way and including survey with judicial authorities, law enforcement from all EU Member States and input from over 12 online service providers. The information gathered gives indications of short-term actions, which could be taken to improve the swiftness of this process.”

3. European Parliament Study: The European Commission package of ETIAS consequential amendments – Substitute impact assessment (pdf):

“This assessment concludes, inter alia, that the Commission package expands the scope of the European Criminal Record Information System for Third-Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN) beyond the purposes stated in the ECRIS-TCN Regulation. This expansion constitutes a serious interference with the rights to respect for private life and to protection of personal data.

The necessity of this interference is called into question due to the potential overlap between the Schengen Information System (SIS) and ECRIS-TCN. The assessment moreover finds that the provisions on the automated processing of ETIAS application files also entail interference with the rights to respect for private life and protection of personal data.

It also highlights the existence of data quality issues and calls into question the relevance of certain data stored in EU information systems. That said, it finds the provisions on access by the ETIAS Central Unit and the ETIAS National Units relatively well balanced and recommends certain clarifications.”

4. Europe is home to a grave humanitarian crisis – but Brussels looks the other way(Guardian, link):

“In a Greek refugee camp, adults are being stabbed or raped, while children freeze. This suffering shames our continent.(…)

The lack of a proper processing system has created a state of dreadful limbo, where people live in horrendous conditions without an end in sight. Some have been waiting more than two years to receive news about their asylum application.(…)

How could I be proud to be European – or even worse, proud to be a European representative – when I am standing idly by while people are dying avoidably, right here in Europe? The very place that pledges to become a leader in digital technology is also the continent that allows people to starve and die only five hours from Brussels.”

5.  EU: European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS): Commission note explaining the “consequential amendments” to the ETIAS Regulation (pdf)

The note argues that changes to the legal basis of the European Criminal Records Information System for Third-Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN), extending its scope so that it can be used for border checks, are “marginal”.

6.  UN experts decry rise in migrant detentions in Greece (InfoMigrants, link):

“UN experts on arbitrary detention have urged the Greek government to make urgent changes to the detention of migrants, stressing that the country was in continuing violation of various international standards.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) presented its preliminary findings after visiting 20 detention-related facilities in Greece during the first two weeks of this month.

In the report, the delegation highlighted multiple areas of concern ranging from lacking access of detained asylum seekers to interpreters and legal help to inflationary use of detention to prison overcrowding and various other issues involving both the criminal justice system and migration.”

See: Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Preliminary Findings from its visit to Greece(2 – 13 December 2019) (UN, link)

7. EU: The “reliable neighbour” must recognise the rights of migrants, at last! (EuroMed Rights, link):

“On this 18 December 2019, International Migrants Day, EuroMed Rights joins the calls from several organisations of promotion and defence of human rights and asks the European Union (EU) and its Member States to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 18 December 1990.

To this day, 55 states have ratified the Convention. Neither a single European state nor countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean like Tunisia are part of this list.

The EU benefits economically from migration but refuses to recognise the rights that should be guaranteed to all migrants. The Convention does not add anything to the European or national protection instruments already in existence, but it clarifies the rights of migrant workers by reminding the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

8.  GREECE-TURKEY: Videos Show Apparent Illegal Pushback of Migrants (Der Spiegel, link):

“The Greek government has repeatedly denied carrying out illegal “pushbacks” at its land border with Turkey. No asylum seekers, Athens insists, have been forced back across the Evros River into Turkey without a fair asylum process — even if numerous refugees been claiming otherwise for years.

Now, videos provided to DER SPIEGEL and analyzed by the Forensic Architecture research collective, show for the first time what appear to be exactly these kinds of pushbacks taking place on the Evros. Six active and former police officers and soldiers have also independently told DER SPIEGEL that pushbacks are systematically carried out on the Evros.”

9.  State advertising as an instrument of transformation of the media market in Hungary(East European Politics, link)

“The study uses a comparative-historical perspective to examine the practice of state advertising in the Hungarian media by looking at the relevant practices of three governments. Using previous economic and political theoretical assumptions and data on Hungarian state advertising between 2006 and 2017, we argue that state advertising is a powerful tool of political favouritism as well as an instrument of market distortion, censorship and building an uncritical media empire aligned with the government. This practice can be viewed as part of a broader set of instruments deployed by illiberal states and hybrid political regimes to consolidate their hold on power.”

10.  AUSTRIA: Austrian Government Hacking-Law Is Unconstitutional (epicenter.works)

“The Austrian constitutional court decided on 11.12.2019 that the surveillance law that permits the use of spying software to read encrypted messages violates the fundamental right to respect for private life (article 8 ECHR), the fundamental right to data protection (§ 1 Austrian data protection law) and the constitutionally granted right that prohibits unreasonable searches (Art 9 Austrian bill of rights – Staatsgrundgesetz). (…)

The court pointed out, that the there is a huge difference between traditional wiretapping and the infiltration of a computer system in order to read encrypted messages. Information about the personal use of computer systems provides insight into all areas of life and allows conclusions to be drawn about the user’s thoughts, preferences, views and disposition. The court criticized especially that the law allowed to use the spying software for prosecuting offences against property which have a low maximum penalty, like burglary (maximum penalty of five years).

Further, the court empathized that the control mechanisms were insufficient.”

11. UK: How to say ‘no’ to Government’s plan to strengthen police powers against Travellers (Friends Families and Travellers, link):

“On 5 November 2019, the Government launched a consultation to strengthen police powers against roadside Travellers. We need as many people as possible to stand up and fight against the Government’s plans. The information below shows the possible changes and explains how you can respond to the consultation. These are some of the most harmful changes affecting Gypsies and Travellers for decades – your voice should be heard.

The Government’s plan could:

  • Make trespass a crime – resulting in prison, a fine or your vehicle being taken from you.
  • Make it a crime for you to stop alongside or on the road – they will be able to move you along.
  • Make it so police can act when there’s two vehicles, instead of six. A car, a trailer and a van would count as three vehicles.
  • Make it so police can force you to go to a transit site in another county.
  • Make it so you’re banned from an area for one year instead of three months.

This will affect anyone who stops on land that they do not own, this includes common land.”

12. ‘Enormous amount at stake’ in Irish murder data appeal case (euractiv, link):

“There is an “enormous amount at stake” in an appeal against a High Court decision that found the police’s capturing of mobile phone metadata in relation to a murder case breached EU law, Ireland’s Supreme Court has heard.

Graham Dwyer was convicted in 2015 for the murder of Elaine O’Hara, after mobile phone evidence retrieved from O’Hara’s handset was obtained by the Irish authorities. Dwyer’s legal team have since claimed that the prosecution’s use of the data was invalid because the legislation allowing for the capture of this data had been annulled by the European Court of Justice.”

13. Migrant arrivals from Turkey to Europe nearly double in 2019 (DW, link):

“According to a confidential EU report, 70,000 migrants have crossed from Turkey to the EU this year. The numbers raise questions about whether a EU-Turkey refugee deal is unravelling.

The number of migrants and refugees crossing from Turkey to Europe has nearly doubled this year compared to last, according to a confidential EU report published by German media.

From January to the middle of December, 70,002 migrants reached the European Union from Turkey, representing a jump of 46% compared to the same period in 2018, Die Welt reported on Tuesday.”

14.  Is Processing Biometric Data of Turkish Nationals in a National Database Lawful under the EEC-Turkey Agreement? Reflections on the Judgment in A, B and P (C-70/18) (EU Migration Law, link):

“Overall, the Court’s pronouncements should not be viewed outside the specific context of the case at hand, i.e they should not be understood as generally applicable to the processing of biometric data for immigration law purposes. The Court’s approach favours national prerogatives in managing third-country nationals through data surveillance policies as it allows a significant margin of discretion for Member States.

What is worrisome though is that despite the efforts to distinguish biometric data from other categories of personal data, the Court is reluctant to highlight not only their undoubted benefits, but also their significant limitations, such as the potential for false hits.”

See: Judgment, full-text (pdf)

15. Migrant arrivals from Turkey to Europe nearly double in 2019 (DW, link):

“According to a confidential EU report, 70,000 migrants have crossed from Turkey to the EU this year. The numbers raise questions about whether a EU-Turkey refugee deal is unravelling.

The number of migrants and refugees crossing from Turkey to Europe has nearly doubled this year compared to last, according to a confidential EU report published by German media.

From January to the middle of December, 70,002 migrants reached the European Union from Turkey, representing a jump of 46% compared to the same period in 2018, Die Welt reported on Tuesday.”

16. France, UK say they look beyond Brexit in Mali cooperation (euractiv. link):

“Sharing the cockpit of a helicopter on sizzling tarmac, French and British air force chiefs vowed to pursue the joint fight against jihadists in the heart of the Sahel even as the shadow of Brexit looms over their countries.

“We’ve got a long, fabulous history of working alongside each other, and I don’t expect anything to change anytime soon,” Royal Air Force (RAF) Chief of Air Staff Mike Wigston told AFP on a visit to the central Malian city of Gao with French counterpart Philippe Lavigne.

“If anything, we are going to work stronger together,” he said.”

17.  GREECE: No-Rights Zone: How people in need of protection are being denied crucial access to legal information and assistance in the Greek islands’ EU ‘hotspot’ camps (Oxfam, link):

“People who have fled war, violence and persecution need support to find safety and rebuild their lives. However, in the EU ‘hotspots’ in Greece, people are faced with an asylum process which is extremely complicated to navigate. Only 2 in 100 have access to a state-appointed lawyer.

In addition, most people cannot access the basic information needed to help them understand the asylum process, resulting in an unfair, ineffective, and often erroneous asylum system that frequently violates the rights of people in need of international protection.In this context, legal support and information are key.

However, the new law introduced by the Greek Government, and the announcements that they will replace the ‘hotspot’ camps with ‘closed centres’, could further undermine the rights of asylum seekers and create additional barriers to getting the crucial information and legal assistance they need.”

18.  Why are we letting the defence industry hijack the EU? (The Guardian, link) by Apostolis Fotiadis:

“For three years now, the European Union, created to promote peace and understanding, has been undergoing a profound pivot to militarisation and hard power. Europeans are served up a relentless narrative about their continent’s duty to stand up to external challenges: Russian assertiveness, the US retreat from Nato and traditional Euro-Atlantic structures and China’s rise as a geopolitical force. But this narrative has served to legitimise a militarising agenda that, away from the spotlight, is being set and pushed by defence industry interests and their political cheerleaders.

Countries in Scandinavia and central and eastern Europe, including the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, Finland and Sweden, have all increased military expenditure as part of this creep towards arming and organising for potential use of lethal force. Major western European countries have kept the annual military spending-to-GDP ratio stable, but at least four are consistently among the biggest military spenders in the world.”

19.  Greece: Six People Found Dead in Evros Region while Authorities Prop Up Border Security (ECRE, link):

“The corpses of six people who had entered Greece irregularly were discovered between December 5 and 8 in the Evros region. Greek authorities are reportedly considering to extend an existing iron fence along the entire Evros River on the Northeastern border.

According to the Greek coroner four men and two women under the age of thirty whose bodies were discovered in the Evros region died from exposure to the cold. They presumably entered Greece irregularly and none of them carried any ID.

An estimated 14,000 people have taken the route through the Evros region to enter Europe from Turkey so far this year. Greek authorities announced in November the hiring of 1200 new border guards, 400 of which were to be located in that area. According to local media the Greek government further plans to extend an existing iron fence along the entire Evros River stretching 230 kilometers.”

20.  EU: Eurojust becomes an Agency (Eurojust press release, link):

“Eurojust today heralds a new phase in its development, as it officially becomes the European Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, with the application of the Eurojust Regulation as the new legal basis. The new Regulation will make Eurojust fit for the purpose of fighting increasing levels of cross-border crime, with an Executive Board dealing with administrative matters and giving the College of prosecutors from all Member States more leeway to focus on the continuously rising number of criminal cases. Eurojust will start applying many of the standard rules of the decentralised Agencies.”

See: Regulation (EU) 2018/1727 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 on the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) (pdf)

21.  Europe spends billions stopping migration. Good luck figuring out where the money actually goes (The Correspondent, link):

“In a shiny new factory in the Benin forest, a woman named Blessing slices pineapples into rings. Hundreds of miles away, at a remote border post in the Sahara, Abubakar scans travellers’ fingerprints. And in village squares across Nigeria, Usman performs his theatre show about the dangers of travelling to Europe.

What do all these people have in common?

All their lives are touched by the billions of euros European governments spend in an effort to curb migration from Africa.”

See also: How the EU created a crisis in Africa – and started a migration cartel (link): “Europe’s largest migration fund bypasses its own rules. After declaring a ‘crisis’ in 26 African countries, the EU can now spend €4.6bn without a transparent bidding process.”

22.  Data watchdog raps EU asylum body for snooping (EUobserver, link):

“The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) monitored refugee networks to detect new routes and find smugglers – until the project ran into trouble with the EU’s own data protection authority.

EASO combed through social media to monitor refugee routes to Europe over the past three years. The agency sent weekly reports on its findings to member states, the EU Commission and institutions such as UNHCR and Interpol.

The asylum agency, based in Malta, says its reports have helped to detect migrants on their way to Europe, but the monitoring activity has raised concern from data protection authorities.”

See: European Data Protection Supervisor: Formal consultation on EASO’s social media monitoring reports (case 2018-1083) (pdf)

23.  UK: Rats in the kitchen, sodden carpets in the living room (IRR News, link):

“When researcher John Grayson visited a family with disabilities living in a Mears asylum house in Rotherham, he was stunned by what he saw.”

24.  EU-USA: Joint EU-US statement following the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting (Press release, pdf): The twice yearly meetings of respective Ministers concerning justice and home affair took place 11 December 2019. As usual the press release contain little of substance.

There are references to the threat to security posed by drones and and the need to access electronic evidence. On digital evidence:

“We also acknowledged that the use of warrant-proof encryption by terrorists and other criminals – including those who engage in on-line child sexual exploitation – compromises the ability of law enforcement agencies to protect victims and the public at large. At the same time, encryption is an important technical measure to ensure cybersecurity and the exercise of fundamental rights, including privacy, which requires that any access to encrypted data be via legal procedures that protect privacy and security. Within this framework, we discussed the critical importance of working towards ensuring lawful access for law enforcement and other law enforcement authorities to digital evidence, including when encrypted or hosted on servers located in another jurisdiction.”

25. Spain: Migrant hailed after rescuing man in wheelchair from fire (Guardian, link):

“Spain could give residency to undocumented hero Gorgui Lamine Sow from Senegal.

Spanish authorities are considering giving residency to an undocumented migrant from Senegal after he rescued a man who uses a wheelchair from a burning, second-storey apartment.

Street vendor Gorgui Lamine Sow was walking in the coastal city of Denia on Friday when he heard screams nearby.

He rushed over to a crowd watching black smoke pouring out of a second-floor window. “They told me there was a man trapped inside the apartment,” the 20-year-old said. “I didn’t think about it. I just dropped my things and started climbing.”

He scaled the balcony, entering the burning apartment as smoke filled the street. Once inside he hoisted the resident over his shoulders and carried him down a ladder set up by a neighbour.”

26.   Publication launch: “From Tampere 20 to Tampere 2.0 – Towards a new European consensus on migration” (Odysseus Network, link):

“The publication is centred on the 20th anniversary of the Tampere conclusions of October 1999. It looks back at the Tampere legacy and puts forward proposals that can inform future EU migration and asylum pact. Its content was informed by the Tampere 2.0 conference hold on 24-25 October in Helsinki as a side event of Finland’s Presidency of the EU.”

PDF version available here (link):

“Time might have buried some of the ideas and concepts developed in Tampere in 1999. However, this year’s 20th anniversary provides an adequate opportunity to revisit them. Finland holds the rotating presidency of the European Council, just like in 1999, and is as committed to finding compromises as it was back then.”

27.  Bosnia: Police clear controversial Vucjak refugee camp (DW, link):

“Several buses came to the squalid camp to move the hundreds of refugees following an international outcry. Bosnia along with Serbia has been experiencing an unexpected increase in migrant arrivals in recent months.

Bosnian authorities said on Tuesday that they had moved 600 refugees from the squalor of the camp at Vucjak to a nearby army barracks. Journalists were not permitted to document the transfer, though they saw seven buses leaving the area near the Croatian border.

The camp, composed of a collection of tents pitched in the frozen mud and snow, became the subject of recent controversy when pictures emerged showing children still wearing sandals and t-shirts in the snow.”

28.  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.”

29.  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.”

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

“BIHAC, Bosnia and Herzegovina­Cocooned 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

31.  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)

32.  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.”

33.  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.”

34.  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.”

35.  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 isreported 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.”

36.   ‘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.”

37.  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.”

38. 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.”

39.  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.”

40.  EU-NIGERIA: Europe wants to send migrants home­but 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” programmes­and 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.”

41.  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.”

42.  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.”

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

“BERLIN­It 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 states­China, North Korea, Belarus, and Uzbekistan among them­its legacy serves as a warning, an insight into how such vast systems of control can affect our minds and societies.”

44.  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.”

45.   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.”

46.   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)

47.  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.”

48.  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.”

49.  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)

50.  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.”

51.  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.”

52.   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.”

53.  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.”

54.  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.”

55.  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.”

56.  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”.”

57.  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)

58.  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.”

59.  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.”

60.  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.”

61.  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.”

62.  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.”

63.  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.”

64.  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.”

65.   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.”

66.  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.”

67.  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.”

68.  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)

69.  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.”

70.  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)

71.  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.”

72.  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.”

73.  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.”

74.  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.”

75.  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.”

76.  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.”

77.  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)

78.  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.”

79.  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.”

__________________________________________
Statewatch: Monitoring the state and civil liberties in Europe
c/o MDR,88 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1DH
tel: +44(0)203 691 5227
http://www.statewatch.org

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