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Statewatch News Online,  2 October 2008 (18/08)

Home page: www.statewatch.org

The Shape of Things to Come – EU Future Group:
www.statewatch.org/analyses/the-shape-of-things-to-come.pdf
14, 896 copies downloaded (by 1 October)

  1. EU: Commission proposes “Virtual strip searches” to strip people naked at airports
  2. EU-AFRICA: Citizens’ Summit on Migration, Paris 17-18 October 2008
  3. COE-UK: Council of Europe report criticises 42-day detention
  4. UK: Investigation into claims of abuse on asylum-seekers
  5. EU: FOI in the EU: When is a “document” not a “document”?
  6. EU: Commission has launched a consultation on next five years (2010-2014)
  7. UK: First sight of the ID cards that will soon be compulsory
  8. EU: JUSTICE & HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL, Brussels, 25 September 2008

1. EU: European Commission proposes “Virtual strip searches” with “body scanners” able to strip people naked at airports to be introduced by April 2010: Commission proposal for a Regulation on aviation security: full-text:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-com-aviation-security.pdf

The Commission proposal is being considered by the Transport Committee in the European Parliament. Letter from Paolo Costa (Chair of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee) to the Commission:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-com
-aviation-security-costa-letter.pdf

raises questions on the continuing liquids ban – has the Commission carried out the promised review? And on the introduction of “body scanners”.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

“The Commission’s proposal that “body scanners”, which strip people naked, are to be part of a new aviation security package is not explained or justified at all. It would appear that this is yet another case of “if it is technologically possible it should be used” without any consideration of proportionality, privacy and civil liberties.

The screening methods proposed include metal detection, explosive trace equipment and bottled liquid scanners, what else will be revealed by body scanning? And if there is another need then it should be targeted with a specific technology without subjecting people including women, old people and children to such a shameful and undignified experience”

See: Press coverage (1 October)

See: ACLU Backgrounder on Body Scanners and “Virtual Strip Searches”:
www.aclu.org/privacy/35540res20080606.html

2. EU-AFRICA: Counter EU-Africa Summit – Citizens’ Summit on Migration, Paris 17-18 October 2008: Call for a Citizen Summit on migration (English, link):
www.despontspasdesmurs.org/spip.php?article22

Sommet Citoyen sur les Migrations (link):
www.despontspasdesmurs.org/

and Dossier for the Press:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/oct/migration-counter-summit-oct.pdf

Over 250 NGOs are supporting the Citizens’ Summit including Statewatch.

3. COE-UK: Council of Europe report criticises 42-day detention – Plan could breach human rights legislation – Separate report criticises conditions for detainees (Guardian, link): www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/oct/01/civilliberties.justice/print

Report to the UK Government on the visit to the UK carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 2 to 6 December 2007:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/oct/uk-coe-cpt-oct-08.pdf

and UK government response:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/oct/uk-coe-cpt-oct-08-gov-resp.pdf

plus CoE: Parliamentary Assembly report: Proposed 42-day pre-charge detention in the United Kingdom (CoE, link)
assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents
/WorkingDocs/Doc08/EDOC11725.htm

4. UK: Investigation into claims of abuse on asylum-seekers (Independent, link):
www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/investigation
-into-claims-of-abuse-on-asylumseekers-946106.html

See: Outsourcing abuse: The use and misuse of state-sanctioned force during the detention and removal of asylum seekers A report by Birnberg Peirce & Partners, Medical Justice and the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/jul/uk-outsourcing-abuse.pdf

5. EU: FOI in the EU: When is a “document” not a “document”? Analysis by Tony Bunyan:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/foi-in-the-eu-what-is-a-document.pdf

The European Commission has put forward a number of changes to the Regulation on access to EU documents adopted in 2001. Controversially it proposes to change the definition of a “document” which in turn affect which would or would not be listed on its public register of documents. Does this have anything to do with the fact that the European Ombudsman has just ruled that the Commission must abide by the existing definition of a “document” in the Regulation and that it must list all the documents it holds on its public register?

See for background: Statewatch: Observatory on access to EU documents: 2008-2009:
www.statewatch.org/foi/observatory-access-reg-2008-2009.htm

6. EU: LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – State of Play:

– The “Blue Card” proposal for so-called “legal migration”: EU doc no: 13163/08:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-blue-card-13163-08.pdf

– The “Blue Card” proposal: EU doc no: 13009/08:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-employ-sanctions-113009-08.pdf

– Employer sanctions: Working Party on Migration and Expulsion: EU doc no: 12634/08:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-employ-sanctions-12634-08.pdf

– Employer sanctions: Working Party on Migration and Expulsion: EU doc no: 11366/08:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-employ-sanctions-11366-08.pdf

7. EU: The European Commission has launched a consultation on: “Freedom, Security and Justice: What will be the future?”, consultation on priorities for the next five years (2010-2014)”: Consultation (link):
ec.europa.eu/justice_home/news/consulting
_public/news_consulting_0001_en.htm

First, the texts of the Tampere programme (1999-2004) and the Hague programme (2005-2009) are provided but there is no reference to the Future Report: Freedom,
Security, Privacy – European Home Affairs in an open world report from the Council:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/jul/eu-futures-jha-report.pdf

– this has been sent to the Commission who will draft a proposal for the next 5 years, the “Stockholm” programme (2010-2014) and the final content will be decided and adopted by the Council (the 27 EU governments).

Indeed in the Briefing Note (from the French Council Presidency to JHA Ministers) for the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 25 July it says the:

“Commission reaffirmed that it [Future Group report] is an excellent contribution and that they will be a source of inspiration during the development of the post The Hague.programme” (EU doc no: 12418/08)

Second, some of the questions in the consultation are really pretty basic, eg: “Do you think that the EU should step coordination to curb illegal immigration into the EU? and “Do you think the EU should do more to help Member States seize and confiscate profits from criminal activities in order to ensure that crime does not pay?” and “Should the EU do more in the fight against corruption?” Full text of consultation:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/future-consultation-questionaire-com.pdf

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

“It would be very naive to expect the responses to the consultation to have much influence on what the Commission proposes because many of the questions are far too general. In addition, not to tell people what the Council – who will make the final decision – has already sent to the Commission in its “Future Group” report means that many questions which should be asked are not.”

See also critique of the Future Group report: The Shape of Things to Come:
www.statewatch.org/analyses/the-shape-of-things-to-come.pdf

See also Statewatch’s Observatory: “The Shape of Things to Come” – the EU Future group:
www.statewatch.org/future-group.htm

8. UK: First sight of the ID cards that will soon be compulsory (Independent, link):
www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/first-sight-of-the
-id-cards-that-will-soon-be-compulsory-942802.html?service=Print

“The Government was accused yesterday  of cynically targeting immigrants to boost support for its controversial £4.7bn compulsory identity cards scheme as the Home Office unveiled the documents it plans will eventually be held by every adult in Britain.”

and Editorial: An assault on our freedom: (link):
www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article
-an-assault-on-our-freedom-942758.html?service=Print

9. EU: JUSTICE & HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL, Brussels, 25 September 2008: Press release:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-jha-prel-25-9-08.pdf

“A” Points agenda:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-jha-25-9-08-a-points.pdf
“B” Points agenda:
www.statewatch.org/news/2008/sep/eu-jha-25-9-08-b-points.pdf

  
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