organization:ministry of justice

  • Prison visitors get face recognition scans in drug crackdown

    Facial recognition and eye scanning have been deployed at prisons to prevent drug smuggling. The Ministry of Justice said the biometric scans for visitors were designed to help staff identify people bringing in contraband. At one prison, there were more “no shows” from visitors than usual after they learned the scans were being used. But prison campaigners said if families were deterred from visiting, then it would be “counter-productive”. In the trials, facial recognition technology (...)

    #CCTV #biométrie #iris #facial #surveillance #prison

  • Child Inmates of South Korea’s Immigration Jail

    Helene* had a challenge that no mother would want. She, with her husband, was a refugee in a foreign land with a foreign language, trying despite all odds to raise her children as best she could. If this weren’t enough of a challenge, Helene was in jail, locked up in a 10-person cell with others she didn’t know. The only time she could leave her cell was for a 30-minute exercise time each day. But her task was more daunting still. Her children were locked up with her.

    Helene’s jail was an immigration detention facility, and her crime was not having enough money to begin refugee applicant proceedings. She spent 23 days in that cell with her two sons. Her oldest, Emerson, was three years and eight months old, and her youngest, Aaron, was only 13 months old. She watched their mental health and physical health slowly deteriorate while her pleadings for help fell on deaf ears.


    In June, American news media were shocked by the revelation that migrant children, who were only guilty of not possessing legal migrant status, were being held in large-scale detention facilities. This was something new—a part of President Donald Trump’s ‘tough on immigration’ stance.

    In South Korea, detaining children simply due to their migration status, or the migration status of their parents, is standard practice.

    Children make up a very small percentage of the total picture of unregistered migrants in South Korea. However, as the nation’s foreign population reaches 2 million and beyond, that small percentage becomes a large number in real terms. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) doesn’t keep statistics on the exact number of unregistered child migrants in the country.

    Most unregistered child migrants in South Korea fall into one of two broad categories: teenagers who come alone, and infants or toddlers brought by their parents or born to migrants already living in the country. In both cases, the majority of children (or their parents) come from other parts of Asia seeking work in the industrial sector.

    These children often end up in detention facilities when immigration authorities carry out routine crackdowns targeting workplaces in industrial districts or transportation routes workers use to get to these districts. Authorities, by policy, detain any unregistered migrant who is 14 or older. Younger children are technically exempt from detention orders, but parents are often caught in crackdowns while with their children. The parents can’t leave their children on the street to fend for themselves, and so, left with no other options, they choose to bring their children with them into the detention facilities.

    Helene’s case was different. She and her husband brought their sons to South Korea with them when they fled religious persecution in their home country of Liberia. The South Korean government rejected their refugee applications, and the family only had enough money to begin a legal challenge for one person. Emerson and Aaron, along with Helene, became unregistered migrants.

    How they were detained would be comical if their case were not so tragic. After a trip to a hospital, the family was trying to board a subway to return home. Their stroller could not fit through the turnstiles, and after a brief altercation an upset station manager called the police. The police asked to see the family’s papers, but only Helene’s husband had legal status. The police were obligated to arrest Helene due to her unregistered status and turn her over to immigration authorities. Because her children were very young – the youngest was still breastfeeding – she had no viable option but to bring her children with her.


    Helene and her sons were sent to an immigration detention facility in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers southwest of Seoul. Inside and out, the facility is indistinguishable from a prison. Detainees wear blue jumpsuits with the ironic Korean phrase “protected foreigner” printed in large white letters on the back. They live in 10-person cells with cement walls and steel bars at the front. Each cell has a small common area up front with tables, a sleeping area in the middle, and a bathroom at the back.

    For detainees, these cells become the entirety of their existence until they are released. Food is delivered through a gap in the bars, and the only opportunity to leave the cell is for a brief 30-minute exercise period each day.

    These facilities were never intended to house children, and authorities make little to no effort to accommodate them. Young children have to live in a cell with a parent and as many as eight other adults, all unknown to the child. The detention center doesn’t provide access to pediatricians, child appropriate play and rest time, or even food suitable for young children.

    Government policy states that education is provided only for children detained for more than 30 days. Children have no other children to interact with, and no space to play or explore. During daytime, when the sleeping mats are rolled up and stored, the sleeping area becomes a large open space where children could play. According to Helene, whenever her sons entered that area guards would shout at them to come back to the common area at the front of the cell.

    Emerson’s fear of the guards’ reprimand grew to the point that he refused to use the toilets at the back of the cell because that would mean crossing the sleeping area, instead choosing to soil himself. Even after the family was eventually released, Emerson’s psychological trauma and his refusal to use bathrooms remained.

    The stress and anxiety of being locked in a prison cell naturally takes a severe toll on children’s wellbeing. Like the adults they’re detained with, they don’t know what will happen to them or when they will be released. Unlike the adults, they don’t understand why they are in a prison cell to begin with. Without any way to alleviate the situation, the stress and anxiety they feel turn into mental disorders. These conditions can include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even increased rates of suicide and self-harm.

    Kim Jong Chul has seen many examples of these symptoms firsthand. Kim is a lawyer with APIL, a public interest law firm, and he’s worked to secure the release of many migrant children held in detention.

    In one such case, May, a 5-year-old migrant from China, spent 20 days in a detention facility with her mother. Over those 20 days, May’s extreme anxiety produced insomnia, a high fever, swollen lips and more. Despite this, her guards never brought a doctor to examine her.

    For most migrants in immigration custody, children included, their release comes only when they are deported. In 2016, authorities held 29,926 migrants in detention, and 96 percent of them were deported. The whole deportation process, from arrest to boarding a plane, typically takes ten days.

    But for children, ten days in detention are enough to develop severe stress and anxiety. Special cases, including refugee applications or a migrant laborer with unpaid wages, can take much longer to process. South Korea’s immigration law doesn’t set an upper limit on migrant detention, and there are cases of migrants held for more than a year. The law also doesn’t require regular judicial review or in-person checks from a case worker at any point in the process. According to Kim from APIL, the longest child detention in recent years was 141 days.

    Existing children’s welfare services would benefit migrant children, but the MOJ opposes any such idea. In the view of the MOJ and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, welfare facilities should be reserved only for citizens and foreigners with legal status.

    Children between the ages of 14 and 18 are yet another matter. The MOJ’s stance is that most of these children are physically similar to adults, highly likely to commit crimes and in general a danger to society, and they need to be detained.

    Kim argues that it’s hard to interpret the MOJ’s stance that migrant teenagers are all potential criminals as anything other than institutional racism. South Korean citizens who are under 18 are considered minors and treated differently in the eyes of the law.

    International treaties ban detaining children, including teenagers, due to migration status, and the South Korean government has signed and ratified each of the UN treaties that relate to children’s rights. It means that under the country’s constitution, the treaties have the same power as domestic law. And yet abuses persist.

    Lawmaker Keum Tae-seob from the ruling Minjoo Party—often called one of the most progressive members of the National Assembly— is fighting this reality. He has proposed a revision to the current immigration law that would ban detention of migrant children, but it has met opposition from the MOJ. Ironically, the ministry argues that because South Korea has signed the relevant international treaties, there is no need to pass a separate domestic law that would ban such detention. This is despite the fact that immigration authorities, who belong to the MOJ, have detained over 200 children over the past 3 years, including many under the age of 14.

    To rally support for a ban on detaining migrant children, APIL and World Vision Korea launched an awareness campaign in 2016, complete with a slick website, emotional videos and a petition. As of this writing, the petition has just under 9,000 signatures, and APIL is hoping to reach 10,000.
    Back in June of last year, another petition received significant media attention. A group of Yemeni refugee applicants—fewer than 600—arrived on the island of Jeju, and in response a citizen’s petition against accepting refugees on the office of the president’s website garnered over 714,000 signatures. A collection of civic groups even organized an anti-refugee rally in Seoul that same month.

    APIL’s campaign has been underway for more than two years, but the recent reaction to Yemeni refugees in Jeju has unveiled how difficult it will be change the government’s position on asylum seekers. A Human Rights Watch report released on Thursday also minced no words in critiquing the government policies: “even though [South Korean president] Moon Jae-in is a former human rights lawyer,” he “did little to defend the rights of women, refugees, and LGBT persons in South Korea.”

    For now, Keum’s bill is still sitting in committee, pending the next round of reviews. Helene’s family has been in the UK since her husband’s refugee status lawsuit failed.

    *Helene is a pseudonym to protect the identity of her and her family.
    #enfants #enfance #mineurs #rétention #détention_administrative #Corée_du_Sud #migrations #sans-papiers #réfugiés #asile


    Le Défenseur des droits publie son rapport « Exilés et droits fondamentaux, trois ans après le rapport Calais »

    À défaut d’une politique nationale assurant un véritable accueil des primo-arrivants, les collectivités locales et les associations caritatives sont contraintes d’agir seules, dans un contexte où se maintient une pénalisation de certains actes de solidarité. Le Défenseur des droits recommande donc d’élargir l’immunité pénale à tous les actes apportés dans un but humanitaire.

    Outre les effets de la politique migratoire de l’Union européenne qui contribuent à réduire de manière drastique les voies légales d’immigration en Europe, l’’externalisation de la frontière britannique en France demeure l’une des principales causes de la reconstitution des campements de fortune à Calais, Grande-Synthe ou Ouistreham, puisqu’elle empêche les exilés qui le souhaitent d’atteindre la Grande-Bretagne. Le Défenseur des droits recommande donc au gouvernement de dénoncer les accords conclus avec la Grande-Bretagne.

    #police #dublin #touquet #noborder #calais #état #raciste

    • Migrants : le Défenseur des droits dénonce une « dégradation » dans les campements depuis 2015

      Le Défenseur des droits Jacques Toubon a dénoncé mercredi une « dégradation » de la situation sanitaire et sociale des migrants vivant sur des campements en France depuis trois ans, avec « des atteintes sans précédents aux droits fondamentaux ».

      Face à une politique « non-accueil », les migrants « se retrouvent dans un état de dénuement extrême, dépourvus de tout abri et ayant comme première préoccupation celle de subvenir à leurs besoins vitaux : boire, se nourrir, se laver », déplore Toubon dans un rapport sur les campements de Calais, Paris, Grande-Synthe (Nord) et Ouistreham (Calvados). « Les difficultés à trouver des solutions durables aggravent le phénomène », estime-il, en déplorant des « stratégies de dissuasion et d’invisibilisation sur le territoire national menées par les pouvoirs publics ».

      En 2015 déjà, Toubon avait dénoncé dans un rapport sévère la situation des migrants dans le bidonville de la « Jungle » à Calais, qui comptait alors plus de 4 000 personnes, et a été démantelé depuis, de même que les grands campements parisiens.

      Mais « la situation s’est en réalité nettement dégradée », note le Défenseur, qui pointe les opérations d’évacuation régulièrement menées par les pouvoirs publics. « Loin d’être conformes aux exigences du droit à un hébergement inconditionnel », ces mises à l’abri « contribuent à la constitution de nouveaux campements » par leur caractère « non durable », assure-t-il dans ce document reprenant divers avis rendus depuis 2015.

      Toubon déplore aussi, pour ces mises à l’abri, le recours à des centres pour étrangers fonctionnant « comme des centres de transit » avec « des critères de tri ». « En lieu et place d’une véritable politique d’accueil, les pouvoirs publics ont préféré mettre en œuvre une politique essentiellement fondée sur la police des étrangers, reflétant une forme de +criminalisation des migrations », assure-t-il dans ce rapport publié au lendemain

      Il s’inquiète particulièrement des méthodes policières, avec des évacuations « pour empêcher tout nouveau point de fixation » et des contrôles d’identité « pour contrôler le droit au séjour ». « Pour servir ces opérations, différentes pratiques ont pu être observées telles que l’usage de gaz lacrymogène », assure-t-il dans ce rapport publié au lendemain de la journée internationale des migrants.

      Faisant état d’« une détérioration sans précédent de la santé des exilés », avec un « développement inquiétant des troubles psychiques », il s’inquiète particulièrement pour les mineurs, « laissés à leur sort » en raison du caractère « largement inadapté et sous-dimensionné des dispositifs » existants.

      Dans ce contexte Toubon souligne le rôle des collectivités locales « contraintes d’agir », et celui des associations qui « se substituent de plus en plus fréquemment aux pouvoirs publics » mais « sont de plus en plus empêchées d’agir ». Le Défenseur déplore enfin des « entraves persistantes à l’entrée dans la procédure d’asile » qui « viennent grossir les rangs des exilés contraints de vivre dans la clandestinité ».

      Mettant en garde contre une « logique d’externalisation de la gestion des flux migratoires », il formule plusieurs propositions, dont la suspension du règlement de Dublin confiant au pays d’enregistrement l’examen de la demande d’asile.

    • France: Police harassing, intimidating and even using violence against people helping refugees

      French authorities have harassed, intimidated and even violently assaulted people offering humanitarian aid and other support to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in northern France in a deliberate attempt to curtail acts of solidarity, a new report by Amnesty International has found.

      Targeting solidarity: Criminalization and harassment of people defending migrant and refugee rights in northern France reveals how people helping refugees and migrants in #Calais and #Grand-Synthe are targeted by the police and the court system.

      “Providing food to the hungry and warmth to the homeless have become increasingly risky activities in northern France, as the authorities regularly target people offering help to migrants and refugees,” said Lisa Maracani, Amnesty International’s Human Rights Defenders Researcher.

      “Migrants and refugees did not simply disappear with the demolition of the ‘Jungle’ camp in 2016 and more than a thousand men, women and children are still living precarious lives in the area. The role of human rights defenders who offer them support is crucial.”

      Two-and-a-half years after the destruction of the so-called ‘Jungle’ camp, more than 1,200 refugees and migrants, including unaccompanied children, are living in tents and informal camps around Calais and Grande-Synthe. They have no regular access to food, water, sanitation, shelter or legal assistance and are subject to evictions, harassment, and violence at the hands of the police.

      One Afghan man told Amnesty International that he was beaten on his back with a baton by police during a forced eviction, and another described how a police officer had urinated on his tent. An Iranian man told Amnesty International: “I left my country looking for safety, but here I face police abuse…The police come every day to take my tent and clothes.”

      The number of camps and tents destroyed in Calais and Grande-Synthe increased last year, with 391 evictions carried out in the first five months of 2019 alone. Once evicted, migrants and refugees are at increased risk of violence and abuse. One local woman who provides migrants with help, told Amnesty International that she witnessed police spray migrants with teargas in the face while they were sleeping in her garden.

      Verbal and physical abuse part of daily routine

      The increased number of evictions is a consequence of France’s “no attachment points” policy, which attempts to deter people from staying in the area by ensuring that camps are not set up. While authorities have put in place an outreach service to enable refugees and migrants access reception centres and asylum offices in France, these centres are a long way from Calais and Grande-Synthe and sometimes there is not enough capacity to accommodate them. In order to alleviate their suffering, human rights defenders have attempted to fill the gap and provide the essential support and services that the French state is failing to offer.

      Instead of recognizing the importance of their work, authorities have obstructed, intimidated, harassed and in some cases started baseless prosecutions and even used violence.

      Several human rights defenders told Amnesty International that acts of intimidation, threats of arrest and abuse have become “part and parcel of their daily work.” One humanitarian worker told Amnesty International that she was violently pushed to the ground and choked by police in June 2018 after she had filmed four officers chasing a foreign national in Calais.

      A report last year by four organisations found that there had been 646 instances of police harassment and abuse against volunteers between November 2017 and June 2018. There have been 72 recorded instances this year, but the real figure is likely to be much higher.

      Eleonore Vigny who took part in the Human Rights Observers project in Calais said that intimidation of volunteers had spiked last summer, with police employing new harassment techniques. “In April and May 2018 there were several body searches, especially of female volunteers, sometimes done by male officers. There was also an escalation in insults, and people have been pushed, sometimes to the ground…Recently we received more threats of legal suits, and threats of arrests.”

      When reporting mistreatment of refugees, migrants, and human rights defenders, complainants say that they are not taken seriously. Charlotte Head, a volunteer who made several complaints about police behaviour to the police’s internal investigatory body, was warned that her complaints were “defamatory in character” and could constitute a “crime”.

      One local human rights organization, Cabane Juridique, filed more than 60 complaints to different authorities and bodies between January 2016 and April 2019. In May 2019, the French Ministry of Justice told Amnesty International that regional courts had received just 11 complaints since 2016, and only one was being investigated by prosecutors.

      Stress, anxiety and the fear of prosecution

      Human rights defenders told Amnesty International that they feel the pressure on them is increasing and having a negative impact on all aspects of their lives. Some have experienced insomnia, stress and anxiety whilst others describe the impact of prosecutions as debilitating.

      Loan Torondel who had been working in Calais told Amnesty International: “I feel that I am caught between the acute needs of people I am trying to help and the intimidation of French authorities who are trying to hamper humanitarian activities and label our activities as crimes. This is not a sustainable working environment for us, and it is the people we help who pay the consequences."

      One human rights defender told Amnesty International: “For the volunteers it’s very difficult. They are scared. We brief them on security and the context and they get scared. We struggle to recruit new volunteers.”

      But despite the harassment, many of those interviewed by Amnesty International are determined to carry on with their vital work. One local volunteer told Amnesty International that she is thankful for the presence of the migrants and refugees: “They have made us more human, they have enriched our lives.”

      “Rather than attempting to make the lives of migrants and refugees as difficult as possible, French authorities should take concrete measures to alleviate their suffering and provide shelter and support to all those living on the streets,” said Lisa Maracani.

      “It is also time to defend the defenders. Rather than treating human rights defenders as the enemy, the authorities should see them as a vital ally, and celebrate acts of solidarity and compassion rather than criminalizing them.”


      Human rights violations faced by human rights defenders must be viewed within the context of the treatment of the people whose rights they defend. It is essential that the rights of refugees and migrants are respected. This means improving the asylum and reception system in France, providing safe and legal routes to the UK and reforming the European asylum system to remove the requirement laid down in the Dublin rules that asylum-seekers seek protection in their first country of entry.

      Le #rapport:

  • The Rise and Fall of the Latin American Left | The Nation

    Conservatives now control Latin America’s leading economies, but the region’s leftists can still look to Uruguay for direction.
    By Omar G. Encarnación, May 9, 2018

    Last December’s election of Sebastián Piñera, of the National Renewal party, to the Chilean presidency was doubly significant for Latin American politics. Coming on the heels of the rise of right-wing governments in Argentina in 2015 and Brazil in 2016, Piñera’s victory signaled an unmistakable right-wing turn for the region. For the first time since the 1980s, when much of South America was governed by military dictatorship, the continent’s three leading economies are in the hands of right-wing leaders.

    Piñera’s election also dealt a blow to the resurrection of the Latin American left in the post–Cold War era. In the mid-2000s, at the peak of the so-called Pink Tide (a phrase meant to suggest the surge of leftist, noncommunist governments), Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Bolivia, or three-quarters of South America’s population (some 350 million people), were under left-wing rule. By the time the Pink Tide reached the mini-state of Mexico City, in 2006, and Nicaragua, a year later (culminating in the election of Daniel Ortega as president there), it was a region-wide phenomenon.

    It’s no mystery why the Pink Tide ran out of steam; even before the Chilean election, Mexican political scientist Jorge Castañeda had already declared it dead in The New York Times. Left-wing fatigue is an obvious factor. It has been two decades since the late Hugo Chávez launched the Pink Tide by toppling the political establishment in the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election. His Bolivarian revolution lives on in the hands of his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, but few Latin American governments regard Venezuela’s ravaged economy and diminished democratic institutions as an inspiring model. In Brazil, the Workers’ Party, or PT, was in power for 14 years, from 2002 through 2016, first under its founder, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, between 2003 and 2011, and then under his successor and protégée, Dilma Rousseff, from 2011 to 2016. The husband-and-wife team of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of the Peronist Party governed Argentina from 2003 to 2015. Socialist Michelle Bachelet had two nonconsecutive terms in office in Chile, from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018.

    Economic turmoil and discontent is another culprit. As fate would have it, the Pink Tide coincided with one of the biggest economic expansions in Latin American history. Its engine was one of the largest commodities booms in modern times. Once the boom ended, in 2012—largely a consequence of a slowdown in China’s economy—economic growth in Latin America screeched to a halt. According to the International Monetary Fund, since 2012 every major Latin American economy has underperformed relative to the previous 10 years, with some economies, including that of Brazil, the region’s powerhouse, experiencing their worst recession in decades. The downturn reined in public spending and sent the masses into the streets, making it very difficult for governments to hang on to power.

    Meanwhile, as the commodity boom filled states’ coffers, leftist politicians became enmeshed in the same sorts of corrupt practices as their conservative predecessors. In April, Lula began serving a 12-year prison sentence for having accepted bribes in exchange for government contracts while in office. His prosecution, which in principle guarantees that he will not be a candidate in this year’s presidential race, was the high point of Operation Car Wash, the biggest anti-corruption dragnet in Brazilian history. Just after leaving office, in 2015, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was indicted for fraud for conspiring with her former public-works secretary, José López, to steal millions of federal dollars intended for roadwork in Argentina. The “nuns and guns” scandal riveted the country, with the arrest of a gun-toting López as he hurled bags stuffed with millions of dollars over the walls of a Catholic convent in a suburb of Buenos Aires. In Chile, Bachelet left office under a cloud of suspicion. Her family, and by extension Bachelet herself, is accused of illegal real-estate transactions that netted millions of dollars.

    All this said, largely overlooked in obituaries of the Pink Tide is the right-wing backlash that it provoked. This backlash aimed to reverse the shift in power brought on by the Pink Tide—a shift away from the power brokers that have historically controlled Latin America, such as the military, the Catholic Church, and the oligarchy, and toward those sectors of society that have been marginalized: women, the poor, sexual minorities, and indigenous peoples. Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016 perfectly exemplifies the retaliation organized by the country’s traditional elites. Engineered by members of the Brazilian Congress, a body that is only 11 percent female and has deep ties to industrial barons, rural oligarchs, and powerful evangelical pastors, the impeachment process was nothing short of a patriarchal coup.

    In a 2017 interview, Rousseff made note of the “very misogynist element in the coup against me.… They accused me of being overly tough and harsh, while a man would have been considered firm, strong. Or they would say I was too emotional and fragile, when a man would have been considered sensitive.” In support of her case, Rousseff pointed out that previous Brazilian presidents committed the same “crime” she was accused of (fudging the national budget to hide deficits at reelection time), without any political consequence. As if to underscore the misogyny, Rousseff’s successor, Michel Temer, came into office with an all-male cabinet.

    In assessing the impact of the Pink Tide, there is a tendency to bemoan its failure to generate an alternative to neoliberalism. After all, the Pink Tide rose out of the discontent generated by the economic policies championed by the United States and international financial institutions during the 1990s, such as privatizations of state enterprises, austerity measures, and ending economic protectionism. Yet capitalism never retreated in most of Latin America, and US economic influence remains for the most part unabated. The only significant dent on the neoliberal international order made by the Pink Tide came in 2005, when a massive wave of political protests derailed the George W. Bush administration’s plan for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA. If enacted, this new trade pact would have extended the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to all countries in the Americas save for Cuba, or 34 nations in total.

    But one shouldn’t look at the legacy of the Pink Tide only through the lens of what might have been with respect to replacing neoliberalism and defeating US imperialism. For one thing, a good share of the Pink Tide was never anti-neoliberal or anti-imperialist. Left-wing rule in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile (what Castañeda called the “good left”) had more in common with the social-democratic governments of Western Europe, with its blend of free-market economics and commitment to the welfare state, than with Cuba’s Communist regime.

    Indeed, only in the radical fringe of the Pink Tide, especially the triumvirate of Chávez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador (the “bad left,” according to Castañeda), was the main thrust of governance anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist. Taking Cuba as a model, these self-termed revolutionaries nationalized large sectors of the economy, reinvigorated the role of the state in redistributing wealth, promoted social services to the poor, and created interstate institutions, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, to promote inter-American collaboration and to challenge US hegemony.

    Second, the focus on neoliberalism and US imperialism obscures the Pink Tide’s biggest accomplishments. To be sure, the picture is far from being uniformly pretty, especially when it comes to democracy. The strong strand of populism that runs through the Pink Tide accounts for why some of its leaders have been so willing to break democratic norms. Claiming to be looking after the little guy, the likes of Chávez and Maduro have circumvented term limits and curtailed the independence of the courts and the press. But there is little doubt that the Pink Tide made Latin America more inclusive, equitable, and democratic, by, among other things, ushering in an unprecedented era of social progressivism.

    Because of the Pink Tide, women in power are no longer a novelty in Latin American politics; in 2014, female presidents ruled in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Their policies leave little doubt about the transformative nature of their leadership. In 2010, Fernández boldly took on the Argentine Catholic Church (then headed by present-day Pope Francis) to enact Latin America’s first ever same-sex marriage law; this was five years before same-sex marriage became the law of the land in the United States. A gender-identity law, one of the world’s most liberal, followed. It allows individuals to change their sex assigned at birth without permission from either a doctor or a judge. Yet another law banned the use of “conversion therapy” to cure same-sex attraction. Argentina’s gay-rights advances were quickly emulated by neighboring Uruguay and Brazil, kick-starting a “gay-rights revolution” in Latin America.

    Rousseff, who famously referred to herself with the gender-specific title of a presidenta, instead of the gender-neutral “president,” did much to advance the status of women in Brazilian society. She appointed women to the three most powerful cabinet positions, including chief of staff, and named the first female head of Petrobras, Brazil’s largest business corporation; during her tenure in office, a woman became chief justice of the Federal Supreme Court. Brutally tortured by the military during the 1970s, as a university student, Rousseff put human rights at the center of Brazilian politics by enacting a law that created Brazil’s first ever truth commission to investigate the abuses by the military between 1964 and 1985. She also signed laws that opened the Brazilian Army to women and that set into motion the corruption campaign that is currently roiling the Brazilian political class. These laws earned Rousseff the enmity of the military and conservatives.

    Bachelet, the last woman standing, made news when she entered office, in 2006, by naming the same number of men and women to her cabinet. After being term-limited, she became the first head of the newly established UN Women (formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), before returning to Chile to win a second term at the presidency in 2014. During her second term, she created the Ministry of Gender Equality to address gender disparities and discrimination, and passed a law that legalized abortion in cases of rape, when there is a threat to the life of the mother, or when the fetus has a terminal condition. Less known is Bachelet’s advocacy for the environment. She weaned Chile off its dependence on hydrocarbons by building a vast network of solar- and wind-powered grids that made electricity cheaper and cleaner. She also created a vast system of national parks to protect much of the country’s forestland and coastline from development.

    Latin America’s socioeconomic transformation under the Pink Tide is no less impressive. Just before the economic downturn of 2012, Latin America came tantalizingly close to becoming a middle-class region. According to the World Bank, from 2002 to 2012, the middle class in Latin America grew every year by at least 1 percent to reach 35 percent of the population by 2013. This means that during that time frame, some 10 million Latin Americans joined the middle class every year. A consequence of this dramatic expansion of the middle class is a significant shrinking of the poor. Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of Latin Americans living in poverty (under $4 per day) shrank from 45 to 25 percent.

    Economic growth alone does not explain this extraordinary expansion of the Latin American middle class and the massive reduction in poverty: Deliberate efforts by the government to redistribute wealth were also a key factor. Among these, none has garnered more praise than those implemented by the Lula administration, especially Bolsa Família, or Family Purse. The program channeled direct cash payments to poor families, as long as they agreed to keep their children in school and to attend regular health checkups. By 2013, the program had reached some 12 million households (50 million people), helping cut extreme poverty in Brazil from 9.7 to 4.3 percent of the population.

    Last but not least are the political achievements of the Pink Tide. It made Latin America the epicenter of left-wing politics in the Global South; it also did much to normalize democratic politics in the region. With its revolutionary movements crushed by military dictatorship, it is not surprising that the Latin American left was left for dead after the end of the Cold War. But since embracing democracy, the left in Latin America has moderated its tactics and beliefs while remaining committed to the idea that deliberate state action powered by the popular will is critical to correcting injustice and alleviating human suffering. Its achievements are a welcome antidote to the cynicism about democratic politics afflicting the American left.

    How the epoch-making legacy of the Pink Tide will fare in the hands of incoming right-wing governments is an open question. Some of the early signs are not encouraging. The Temer administration in Brazil has shown a decidedly retro-macho attitude, as suggested by its abolishment of the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights (its functions were collapsed into the Ministry of Justice) and its close ties to a politically powerful evangelical movement with a penchant for homophobia. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macri has launched a “Trumpian” assault on undocumented immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru, blaming them for bringing crime and drugs into the country. Some political observers expect that Piñera will abridge or overturn Chile’s new abortion law.

    But there is reason for optimism. Temer and Macri have been slow to dismantle anti-poverty programs, realizing that doing so would be political suicide. This is hardly surprising, given the success of those programs. Right-wing governments have even seen fit to create anti-poverty programs of their own, such as Mexico’s Prospera. Moreover, unlike with prior ascents by the right in Latin America, the left is not being vanished to the political wilderness. Left-wing parties remain a formidable force in the legislatures of most major Latin American countries. This year alone, voters in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia will have presidential elections, raising the prospect that a new Pink Tide might be rising. Should this new tide come in, the Latin American left would do well to reform its act and show what it has learned from its mistakes.

    Latin American leftists need not look far to find a model to emulate: Uruguay. It exemplifies the best of the Pink Tide without its excesses. Frente Amplio, or Broad Front, a coalition of left-wing parties in power since 2005, has put the country at the vanguard of social change by legalizing abortion, same-sex marriage, and, most famously, recreational marijuana. For these reasons alone, in 2013 The Economist chose “liberal and fun-loving” Uruguay for its first ever “country of the year” award.

    Less known accomplishments include being one of only two countries in Latin America that enjoy the status of “high income” (alongside Chile), reducing poverty from around 40 percent to less than 12 percent from 2005 to 2014, and steering clear of corruption scandals. According to Transparency International, Uruguay is the least corrupt country in Latin America, and ranks among the world’s 25 least corrupt nations. The country also scored a near perfect 100 in Freedom House’s 2018 ranking of civil and political freedoms, virtually tied with Canada, and far ahead of the United States and neighboring Argentina and Brazil. The payoff for this much virtue is hard to ignore. Among Latin American nations, no other country shows more satisfaction with its democracy.

    Omar G. EncarnaciónOmar G. Encarnación is a professor of political studies at Bard College and author of Out in the Periphery: Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution.

    #politique #amérique_latine #impérialisme

  • Real Media: Facebook - What Next?

    Days before the Cambridge Analytica story broke, Professor Beverley Skeggs gave a presentation to the UK Ministry of Justice on the incontestable evidence she gathered when ’tracking the trackers,’ but she was not believed. Real Media spoke with Skeggs after the fallout about how to deal with Facebook and how technology is affecting inequality.

  • Solidarité avec les universitaires turcs dont les procès s’ouvrent mardi 5 décembre

    Parmi les soutiens possibles (document intitulé What do do) :
    1. Partager l’appel à solidarité ; montrer votre solidarité en suivant les procès et en les commentant sur vos réseaux sociaux, ou en écrivant des articles de blogs ou de journaux sur le sujet. Des informations sont disponibles ici : or
    2. Contacter si vous souhaitez assister aux procès en tant qu’observateur, ou écrivez à une association des droits de l’homme pour qu’elle envoie un délégué.
    3. Signer la pétition pour soutenir le boycott des universités complices en Turquie ;
    4. Informer vos organisations professionnelles ou le sénat de votre université pour qu’elles prennent acte contre les institutions complices telle le Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK ; ;
    5. Soutenir financièrement les enseignants-chercheurs démis de leurs fonctions en faisant un don au syndicat qui les soutient, ici

    N’hésitez pas à faire circuler dans vos réseaux universitaires, syndicaux, et militants.

    #solidarité #résistance #Turquie #université #purge #coup #universitaires_pour_la_paix #procès

    @isskein : je vais essayer de mettre sur ce fil ce que je trouve sur cet horrible procès

    • 147 universitaires au tribunal d’Erdogan

      Ils comparaissent à partir de ce mardi pour avoir signé une pétition réclamant la paix au Kurdistan turc. Les purges du président continuent.

      Ce mardi débute à Istanbul les procès de près de 150 universitaires turcs, accusés de « propagande terroriste », pour avoir signé une pétition appelant à la paix. Ces derniers mois, leur pays semble sorti des radars médiatiques européens. Comme s’il existait une lassitude face à la répétition, la répression interminable, cette purge sans fin. Dans ce silence relatif, la dérive autocratique se poursuit pourtant, le pays s’enfonce. Et ces procès de chercheurs illustrent bien la paranoïa, l’arbitraire, dans lesquels se débattent désormais les démocrates turcs.

    • Blog dédié au procès:
      Academics for Peace - A Case Study. Documenting and Contextualizing the Instrumentalization of the Law in Turkey

      The law is usually associated as antagonistic to despotism, thought of as a source of freedom. But events in Turkey and other countries have shown how is the law instrumentalised in order to suppress academic freedom. This blog documents judicial proceedings against the Academics for Peace as an example to study a phenomenon that can be witnessed all over the globe.

      At the end of 2015, the predominantly Kurdish regions of Turkey entered an intensifying spiral of violence. Curfews were enforced in different cities and districts lasting for days, weeks and even months. Entire neighbourhoods were razed to the ground. People were left homeless, many lost their lives. In the face of these developments, 1128 academics decided not to remain silent and issued a statement titled “We will not be a party to this crime!”. It called on the government and the security forces to abide by domestic and international law and to return to the peace process that had been interrupted after the national elections of June 7, 2015. After the petition was made public, the Academics for Peace were specifically targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and subsequently turned into objects of hatred and defamation in the media. Since then, they have been attacked and threatened and became subject to administrative and criminal investigations. Some were arrested and kept in prison for more than one month. Hundreds of them have been dismissed from their positions by order of the Council of Education and university administrations. Under the state of emergency declared after the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, hundreds of Academics for Peace were removed from universities and banned from public service. Their passports have been invalidated hindering these academics from travelling abroad. In December 2017, judicial proceedings begin against the signatories, on the charge of “propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

      This blog is curated by Academics for Peace Germany e.V. Its aim is, on the one hand, to create an archive of factual and up-to-date information on the ongoing developments that researchers, journalists and others with an interest in the topic can rely on. On the other hand, this blog will provide contextualization and analysis from a variety of different disciplines and theoretic approaches, in preparation of a planned research network on the instrumentalization of law for the suppression of academic freedom in Turkey and elsewhere.

    • A Commentary on the Indictment against Academics for Peace

      The following text consists of a summary of the body of the Bill of Indictment with relevant commentaries in the footnotes. Although the penal case against the Academics for Peace petition has been filed on an individual basis regarding the signatories, each case shares a uniform Bill of Indictment [1]. Several Assize Courts in Istanbul have been appointed as the court-on-duty for the cases—each of them using this uniform Bill of Indictment as the basis of the criminal process. You can also read this commentary as a PDF.


      The criminal proceedings against several hundreds of academics in Turkey who signed a petition for peace (Academics for Peace) continue in Istanbul. They are individually sued in various Assize Courts. Some cases are recently concluded, the courts of first instances found the academics guilty for “carrying out terrorist propaganda” and sentenced them to 15 months of prison. We are currently waiting the decision of the Court of Appeal.
      We want to highlight these rulings against the signatories and request for urgent international support from our European colleagues.
      In a petition made public in January 2016 , more than two thousand academics and researchers from Turkey, supported by several hundred international academics—called on the Turkish government to abide by domestic and international law and to return to the peace process that had been interrupted in July 2015. After the petition was made public, the signatories were specifically targeted by President Erdoğan and subsequently attacked, threatened and became subject to administrative and criminal investigations. Some were arrested and kept in prison. In October 2017, some signatories of the petition, mostly the ones who are or were working at the universities in Istanbul, started to receive subpoenas, summoning them to the court with an accusation of carrying out terrorist propaganda.
      As of April 30, 2018, more than 260 signatories are individually sued in various Assize Courts of Istanbul. They are separately tried according to hundreds of copy-pasted indictments with an identical content. There is also one group case against four signatories who read a second press statement of Academics for Peace on March 10, 2016. This statement condemned the persecution of signatory academics and affirmed signatories’ commitment to the wording of the petition of January 2016. The four signatories are arrested and were held in pre-trial detention for 40 days.
      There are 2212 signatories of the petition, only around 300 of them have been sued so far. Furthermore 386 signatories have been officially listed as persons affiliated to terrorist organisations in the state of emergency decree-laws, dismissed from their positions, banned from public service for life and had their passports cancelled. But there is only a limited overlapping between the “sued signatories” and the “decreed signatories”.
      The indictment included no attestations that are based on factual evidences, was full of inconsistencies and even manipulated the facts by altering the translated versions of the petition . Against this arbitrariness, the signatories have defended themselves with emphasizing their responsibility as academics that instigates them not to remain silent against historical occurrences. As researchers, lecturers and scientists from numerous fields, they have all underlined their responsibility as a point of intersection, which made them come together through the demand for peace.
      The differences between the qualifications of the “crime” committed by the signatories by different courts demonstrate also arbitrariness of the judicial proceedings. The individual cases against the signatories are engaged with the charge of carrying out terrorist propaganda. The indictment in the group case against the four academics also, initially accused them under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Act . However, at the first hearing on April 22, 2016, the Public Prosecutor announced that he considered a different qualification for the “crime” committed and intended to launch a new investigation under Article 301 of the Penal Code. That article prohibits “degrading the Turkish Nation and the State of the Republic of Turkey and the organs and institutions of the State.” The Prosecutor requested the Court to stop the proceedings under Article 7/2 pending the required permission by the Minister of Justice for an investigation on charges under Article 301. The awaited decision by the Ministry of Justice in relation to the request for permission for an investigation under Article 301 of the Penal Code has reached the Court in November 2017.
      In order to define an act as propaganda for a terrorist organization under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Act, there must be an act having the characteristics of propaganda, which carried out in such a way that legitimizes or praises the coercive, violent and threatening actions of terrorist organizations or encourages the employment of these methods. In the Academics for Peace’s petition, there is no single expression having the characteristics of propaganda in favour of a terrorist organization. Neither does it legitimize or praise the coercive, violent and threatening methods of a terrorist organization nor does it encourage the employment of such methods.
      As to the charge under Article 301 of the Penal Code, the act of signing the petition cannot be considered an offence under the third paragraph of the article, which explicitly excludes from its scope “expressions of an opinion for the purpose of criticism”.
      The focal point of all the hearings against Academics for Peace was the lack of clarity regarding the charges. Along with the requests for immediate acquittal, defence lawyers underlined the uncertainty surrounding the definition of the charges by pointing to the decision of the Minister to grant permission for an investigation under Article 301 in the case against four academics. Lawyers of some signatories requested the courts to merge the cases of all academics, including the one viewed before the 13th Assize Court against four signatories. They emphasized the need to avoid inconsistencies in the charges on which the prosecution will proceed and in the conclusions to be reached by different courts in relation to one identical act. On similar grounds, the courts with the exception of 35th Assize Court, dismissed the requests for rejoinder of the cases.
      This routine of requests, pleas, rejections and objections had kept going on until the 23th of February, where the 34th Assize Court of Istanbul had given its first expedited judgment and found three of the academics guilty for “carrying out terrorist propaganda” under article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Act. They have been sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment as the courts have decided that the punishment shall be aggravated as the crime of carrying out terrorist propaganda has been deemed to be committed through means of media.
      The courts, relying on the Penal Procedure Code, have offered the academics an option: the deferment of the announcement of the verdict, which enables the court not to announce the decision, and in the case that the defendant will not be found guilty for another crime in a certain period, to foreclose the case. When the accused accepts this mechanism to be applied, then the qualification of the action as a crime becomes officialised and the accused becomes deprived of any rights on appealing the case at a higher court .
      Until today 13 academics have their judgments delivered and 12 of them have accepted to resort to the mechanism of the deferment of the announcement of the verdict. And so far, one signatory had refused the application of this mechanism. As can be seen in the verdict (which is available in the appendices), the Court had rejected the suspension of the punishment upon the grounds that she had not exhibited any expression of remorse. This academic has applied to the Court for Appeal (Istinaf) and she faces the risk of imprisonment.
      Hundreds of other proceedings against other signatories are still on the course. It is still not clear in which way these 13 first rulings will affect the copy-pasted cases considering that the judiciary of the country is collapsing day by day under the state of emergency regime. The first case before the Court of Appeal will probably create a strong judicial precedent that will be highly persuasive while the decisions are made in the future cases against the other signatories. All signatories are tried before various Assize Courts in Istanbul. Istanbul Regional Court of Justice is the competent court for the appeals. The cases will be reviewed by the same two criminal chambers of this Regional Court having competence on cases related to the Anti-Terror Act.
      Today, it is crucial to ask an international support for our colleagues.
      – We would like to invite you to write a short analysis on the verdicts delivered so far. For this purpose, we send you in the appendices the translation of the verdict against the signatory academic, who faces the risk of imprisonment. Please let us know if you were to write an analysis and to publish it on a blog of your choice so that we can also cross post it on the Blog of the Academics for Peace-Germany. If you wish to publish your analysis on this blog, you can directly send it to us.
      – Many academics from different countries assist the hearings as observers. You can be in solidarity in the courtrooms. The presence of international observers during the hearings is crucial.
      Please also feel free to distribute this call for solidarity among scholars who would be interested in supporting our call by either participating in the hearings or by writing a short analysis.
      These actions for solidarity will certainly not suffice to change the course of this politically motivated trials, but certainly influence the way the hearings are held, strengthen the legal struggle of the Academics for Peace under judicial harassment.
      Thank you for your concern and solidarity.

      Academics for Peace – Germany
      Legal Working Group

      For more information about the judicial proceedings against Academics for Peace, including the reports and comments of the international observers, please check our blog:
      For a detailed flow of the hearing processes, please check:
      For the calendar of the hearings, please check:

      Document word reçu via email le 14.05.2018, et que j’ai copié-collé ici.
      Texte accompagnant le message:

      Plus de 260 universitaires signataires de pétition des Universitaires pour la Paix sont actuellement en procédures et plusieurs décisions ont déjà été prises. Certains de nos collègues ont traduit l’acte d’accusation, et plusieurs textes analytiques discutent des procédures et de leurs conséquences.

    • Avant d’entrer en prison à Istanbul, #Füsun_Üstel traite de l’histoire de la citoyenneté en Turquie…

      Toujours aussi déterminée et ferme sur ses principes, notre collègue historienne et professeure de sciences politiques à l’Université de Galatasaray, Füsun Üstel, a prononcé il y a quelques jours à Istanbul une dernière conférence publique avant d’entrer en prison pour 15 mois (

      ). Le thème abordé traitait, et ce choix ne devait évidemment rien au hasard, de « L’histoire de la citoyenneté dans la Turquie républicaine », une histoire sur laquelle Füsun a beaucoup travaillé et publié.

      Je découvre dans ce même article qu’elle a travaillé à #Grenoble :

      « Pour la connaître depuis longtemps, et avoir travaillé et enseigné avec elle à Istanbul et à Grenoble, nous ne doutons pas que Füsun saura continuer derrière les barreaux de sa prison pour femmes d’Istanbul son activité d’intellectuelle engagée et de pédagogue… »

      Petite recherche et je me rends compte qu’elle est chercheuse extérieure dans le « Groupe d’études sur la Turquie et l’Europe » à #Pacte :

  • Dublin trips to Greece

    The Ministry of Justice and Emergency Affairs has today instructed the Immigration Directorate (UDI) to resume treatment of duplicate trips to Greece. This implies that UDI will make concrete assessments in each case according to the criteria set out in the Dublin III Regulation. The instructions will come into effect immediately.
    #Norvège #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Dublin #Grèce #renvois #renvois_Dublin #expulsions
    cc @reka

  • The Genocide of Brazil’s Indians

    SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — On April 30, a group of ranchers armed with rifles and machetes attacked a settlement of about 400 families from the #Gamela tribe, in the state of #Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil. According to the Indigenous Missionary Council, an advocacy group, 22 Indians were wounded, including three children. Many were shot in the back or had their wrists chopped.
    Soon after the attack, the Ministry of Justice announced on its website that it would investigate “the incident between small farmers and alleged indigenous people.” (Minutes later, the word “alleged” was removed.)
    According to the census, there are around 900,000 Indians left from the original estimated three to five million who inhabited the country when the Portuguese settlers arrived in 1500. Diseases imported from Europe wiped out millions during the first century of contact. Later the Indians were enslaved on plantations. But the genocide didn’t end then. Over the past century, tens of thousands of indigenous people have been victims of rape, torture and mass murder, perpetrated with the help of a governmental agency, the Indian Protection Service. Some tribes were completely eliminated. Today, only 12.5 percent of Brazilian land remains in the possession of indigenous people.
    #peuples_autochtones #Brésil #génocide #violence #terre

    • Message reçu via la mailing-list de Migreurop, le

      Corporate Watch has just published updated company profiles of the UK’s four current detention profiteers.

      Each profile looks at the company’s business basics, history, key business areas, strategies, finances, bosses and shareholders, and ends with a “Scandal Sheet” listing some notable crimes and misdemeanours.

      G4S runs #Brook_House and #Tinsley_House. Mitie runs #Harmondsworth, #Colnbrook, #Campsfield, and recently took over the deportation “escorting” contract which includes running shorter term “holding facilities”. Serco runs #Yarl's_Wood. GEO Group, the second biggest US private prison company, runs #Dungavel.

      Please get in touch if you have any further information to add on any of these companies. You can contact us securely through out contact page:


      G4S is one of the world’s biggest security companies, active in over 90 countries. And it’s one of the world’s biggest employers of any kind, with around 570,000 staff. Most of its business is in providing guards and security tech to business clients, as well as cash transport.

      Security is a global boom industry, and unlike other outsourcing giants G4S remains profitable and growing.

      G4S also runs prisons and immigration detention centres in the UK, Australia and South Africa under its “G4S Care and Justice” subsidiary. These are amongst its most profitable contracts.

      Although it recently sold most (but not all) of its controversial Israeli business, G4S works with Afghan warlords and in regimes like Syria or Sudan. It has a long record of scandals, failures and controversies – but keeps on winning new contracts.


      Serco is an outsourcing company that specialises in public sector work. It runs services in five areas: defence, “justice and immigration”, health, transport, and “citizen services”. It works for 20 governments worldwide, but 40% of all its business remains in the UK, with another 19% in Australia as of 2017.

      One of its biggest contracts is running 11 Australian immigration detention centres. In the UK, it runs Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

      Serco has been hit by numerous scandals, most famously in 2013 when it was exposed along with G4S overcharging the government by millions on its electronic tagging contract.

      Serco was the first of the big-name outsourcers to hit financial trouble recently, with a run of profits warnings starting in 2013. Damage was done by numerous loss-making contracts taken on as the company raced to expand. As a result the company had to ask shareholders for £530m to keep the company going in 2015. Serco is struggling to get back on track, but hopes that its outsourcing model will prove profitable again long term: prisons and wars still seem a winning bet. They’d better be: shareholders haven’t received a dividend in three years.


      Mitie is an outsourcing company providing a mixed bag of “facilities management” contract services to both corporations and government, from cleaning to consultancy. It is predominantly active in the UK.

      Mitie is having tough times: after a series of profit warnings the company has lost money in the last two years. Since 2016 it has gone through a major management reshuffle, large scale restructuring and the sale of the failing MiHomecare business. And its 2016 accounts are under official investigation for presenting a false picture of the company’s

      The company’s “Security” division has always remained profitable, as has the “Care and Custody” division that locks up migrants. Mitie is currently the UK’s biggest detention profiteer: it runs the two Heathrow detention centres and Campsfield in Oxfordshire; and it recently won the £525 million deportation “escorting” contract.


      GEO is the second largest US private prisons company. It boasted of locking up 265,000 people in 2017.

      * It is profitable and stable: the US prison regime shows no sign of shrinking, and president Donald Trump (to whom GEO has donated) is a supporter of the private prison industry.

      *It has two UK contracts: #Dungavel immigration detention centre in Scotland; and prisoner transport for the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales, run by its UK joint venture #GEOAmey.

    • Detention centre profits: 20% and up for the migration prison bosses

      Just how much money do companies make from locking up people in the UK’s privately run immigration detention centres? Our analysis, the first to study the detention industry overall, suggests that profit rates of 20% or more are standard.

      The collapse of #Carillion has focused attention on the outsourcing corporations, who complain that government austerity is squeezing their once bountiful incomes. But immigration detention centres, along with prisons, remain very profitable. Of the UK’s eight long-term detention centres, seven are run by private contractors.

      Our analysis of recent accounts released by US prison profiteer #GEO_Group show it could be making as much as a 30% profit margin from running Scotland’s #Dungavel detention centre. This comes after internal #G4S documents revealed the company was making over 20% profit on its notorious #Brook_House deal – and over 40% on the neighbouring #Tinsley_House centre. (See below for full analysis of these figures.)
      Why is detention so profitable?

      It is certainly the case that some outsourcing contracts have been losing a lot of money. Obvious examples are the “COMPASS” contracts to run housing for asylum seekers not in detention.i G4S and #Serco each have two of these deals, for different regions, and complain bitterly about them. Transport and healthcare are other areas where many have struggled – Mitie, for example, sold off all its home care business at a loss last year. Mitie’s latest annual report also notes particularly tight margins in a number of other common outsourcing areas, including cleaning and engineering maintenance. These losses will of course hit businesses’ overall results.

      So why do detention contracts remain profitable? We can think of a number of reasons. One is the practice of using detainees, paid just £1 an hour, as effective slave labour. For example, GEO Group is reported to have saved over £727,000 in less than three years by paying Dungavel detainee labour below the minimum wage. Our 2014 report on detainee labour estimated the detention corporations between them could be saving £3 million a year by getting detainees to cook, clean, and maintain their own prisons.

      Another is that, as there is very little scrutiny of detention contracts, contractors can cut costs further by under-staffing and stripping facilities to a minimum. As we reported in 2015, detention outsourcers are allowed to “self audit” their own performance, with minimal checking by the Home Office. Meanwhile the voices of those in detention themselves, stigmatised as “illegals” and stripped of any rights, are rarely heard.

      Another reason is that these are relatively large deals with only a handful of specialist bidders (so forming an “oligopoly” who can keep prices high). There is not the same competitive pressure on margins as in, say, a general “facilities management” contract.

      Also, these companies know the business very well. The very-first purpose built immigration detention centre, Harmondsworth, was run by Securicor (now part of G4S) on opening in 1970. The rash of new PFI-funded detention centres opened during the Blair government were also handed straight into private management.

      Headline loss-making deals tend to be ones where outsourcing companies, seeking to keep growing their businesses in a tougher environment, push into new areas they haven’t tried before. For example, G4S and Serco came into the COMPASS deals with no experience as housing landlords. And in multi-million mega deals like COMPASS or a train line, a mistake can mean big losses indeed. Amongst the detention profiteers, Serco is particularly vulnerable as its whole £2 billion business is based on about 300 big government contracts.

      In general, while many other service contracts are being squeezed in today’s austerity conditions, locking people up remains good business. So does security more generally, in a world of increasing insecurity and inequality. This is ultimately why outsourcers who focus just on security and imprisonment like G4S and GEO Group are growing and turning a healthy profit. And this is why all the outsourcers keep bidding for detention contracts, alongside promoting the private prison industry.

      At a time where other government deals in sectors such as housing or transport are blowing up in corporations’ faces, locking people up is the outsourcing gift that keeps giving. Prison and immigration control industries are fuelled by insecurity, inequality, and xenophobia – and recent trends suggest the rush to lock up society’s unwanted is not going away. Or as Serco’s latest Annual Report puts it:

      “we can be very confident that the world will still need prisons, will still need to manage immigration … a prison custody officer can sleep soundly in the knowledge that his or her skills will be required for years to come.”

      Analysis: up to 30% profits at Dungavel

      Neither the Home Office nor the outsourcing companies publish the profits made on detention or other contracts. Such information is typically impervious to Freedom of Information requests: the public right to know is overruled by companies’ rights to “commercial confidentiality”. Last September, a senior G4S executive refused to disclose detention profits even when questioned by MPs in parliament. And accounting regulations do not require the companies – which mostly run a range of different businesses – to disclose details of individual contracts.

      However, there is one case where we can get a sense of the money involved: Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) near Glasgow. Since 2011, this has been run by the Florida-based GEO Group, the Trump-donating private prison empire which runs many of the infamous ICE detention facilities in the US. (See our full profile of GEO here).

      Dungavel is currently GEO’s only UK contract. The UK subsidiary that manages the contract, The GEO Group UK Ltd, files annual accounts with Companies House. Because all this company’s revenue appears to come from running Dungavel, these accounts give a unique insight into a detention profiteering contract.

      GEO told us that, while the details of its contract are commercially sensitive, the profit margin is “in the single digits”. However it is not clear if they are talking about the profit rate originally agreed with the Home Office in the contract, or the profits that they actually make – which could be much higher.

      The GEO Group UK Ltd’s revenue from “custody and offender management services” in 2017 was £5.2 million. The accounts tell us “cost of sales” – i.e. the costs incurred when delivering the contract, such as paying staff, maintaining the centre, feeding and monitoring those detained – came to £3.6m in 2017. That leaves a profit margin of 30%: very much in line with the sums G4S is reportedly making. The Dungavel profit margin is harder to discern in prior years as GEO held other contracts, including Harmondsworth detention centre until 2014. Even so, margins for all their operations have consistently been around 20% or above since 2011.

      GEO group told us this profit margin “isn’t solely related to the contract at Dungavel House, and therefore the contract is not our sole means of profitability”. However the accounts do not list any other source of revenue in 2017.ii

      We asked GEO to clarify but they did not respond. Published Home Office data show the contract is worth £45.2m over eight years: so it seems likely that the vast bulk, if not all, of the company’s money and operating costs are from running Dungavel. We also asked GEO what happens if their profit in fact exceeds the “single figure” rate specified in their contract. Do they pass cost savings on to the Home Office? Again, they did not respond.

      Besides “cost of sales”, GEO Group UK Ltd’s accounts also list “administrative expenses” of £0.7m in 2017. This takes the final “net” profit of the UK subsidiary as a whole down to a mere £1 million in 2017. And administrative expenses are significantly higher in previous years. The question is: how much of these are essential to running the detention centre? Or what part relate, for example, to moving money around a multi-national company, or shmoozing politicians and touting for new contracts?

      GEO told us these “cover the cost of operating the contract”, including “operations, utilities, repair and maintenance, programs, rent and lease expense and insurances”. However, accounting custom is usually to include all the costs directly incurred in the running of the contract in “cost of sales”, described above. And it is not clear which of GEO’s “administrative costs” here are necessary for the running of Dungavel or for their UK head office. There are also the costs involved in bidding for new contracts, which the company’s accounts repeatedly reference, plus, prior to 2017, significant foreign exchange losses on loans they have taken from their US-based parent.

      Again, we asked GEO for further clarification but did not hear back. It is impossible to say for sure without seeing their internal data. But the published accounts suggest the amounts GEO is making simply from running Dungavel are likely similar to those reported for G4S.

      20% profits at Brook House

      Internal G4S documents, which were reported on by the BBC and The Guardian last September, show similar high profit rates at that company’s Gatwick detention centres, Brook House and Tinsley House.

      As the Guardian reported, the Brook House contract made a profit rate of over 20.7% in 2016, and Tinsley House made over 41.5% – although this may be distorted because the centre was closed for part of the year. Profits in earlier years were slightly lower, but still typically around 20% or more.

      Like Dungavel, the original Brook and Tinsley House contracts signed in 2009 set official profit margins in the “single figures”. For Brook House, this is 6.8%. So G4S’ internal profit figures are well above what they are supposed to be making on the contracts.

      When questioned in parliament about these figures by the Home Affairs Select Committee, G4S’ regional director Peter Neden said that they based on “incomplete information”. But he refused to disclose any more “complete” figures. According to the BBC, Neden argued that doing so would “help competitors”, and said the reported profits “did not take account of costs, including human resources and IT. He said the company’s profits were not more than 20%, but he would not confirm what level they were.”

      Of course, without seeing the full G4S figures, there is no way to tell what these “human resources and IT” costs were. “Human resources” here, seems likely to refer to the company’s central management costs, as the wages of staff actually working in the centres are already included. But it seems highly unlikely that management costs and “IT” would be as high as 15% of all revenue – which is what would bring G4S’ profits down to their contractual levels.

      In fact G4S’ published accounts also support the picture of extreme profits, if we put a bit of work into analysing them. G4S’ detention centre business is run through a subsidiary with the Orwellian name “G4S Care and Justice Services (UK)”. Immigration detention is only a part of this subsidiary’s business. It also runs five prisons for the Ministry of Justice, and the loss-making COMPASS contract to house asylum-seekers outside of detention. (See our full G4S Company Profile for more detail.)

      G4S Care and Justice Services’ revenue was £335.41 million in 2016/17, the most recent reported year (£333.01 million in 2015). After operational costs of £290.2m, the profit rate directly from these contracts was £29.29 million, or 9% of revenue (in 2016, £30.13 million, or 9%).iii

      At first sight, this seems much lower than the internal figures. However, these figures are significantly impacted by major losses from non-detention contracts. Above all, this means the big COMPASS deal to house asylum seekers outside detention. G4S won the two COMPASS contracts for the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside; and the Midlands and East of England – and has been complaining ever since that it’s losing heavily on the deal.

      For example, in its 2016 accounts G4S Care and Justice adds £14.2 million to its costs to represent an “onerous contracts charge” – that is, money it expects to lose on the COMPASS deal. The year before it recorded a £20.7 million “onerous contracts charge”. It also makes other adjustments related to “commercial disputes” and old PFI contracts.

      To see what the figures look like without the impact of COMPASS and other “onerous” non-detention losses, we can first re-calculate gross profit using the company’s “cost of sales excluding specific items”. This starts to more accurately reflect what G4S made from running its detention centres and prisons. On this basis, gross profits were £45.25 million in 2016, 13.5% of revenue, and £50.83 million in 2015, or 15%.

      But in fact these are still under-estimates. This is because, to calculate profit rates with COMPASS stripped out, we also need to remove COMPASS’ contribution to revenue and costs. We do not know exactly what this is, but can estimate it from total contract values that the Home Office has disclosed. Combined, G4S’ two COMPASS contracts are valued at £765 million, over a total seven years (2012-19). So roughly £109 million per year, about one third of G4S “Care and Justice” total turnover.

      Take this off revenue and cost of sales and the profit rate was actually 20%.iv This is in the territory of the internal documents.

      As with GEO, additional costs such as “human resources and IT” referenced by Peter Neden to the MPs may well be included in “administrative expenses” section of the accounts, which would reduce this profit rate. Without seeing their full internal accounts there is no way of knowing the exact rate, and these calculations are unavoidably imprecise.v But as with GEO, the information we have available from published accounts appears to show the company is making very high returns indeed from its detention and prison business.

      Mitie and Serco

      The two other detention profiteers are Mitie, which runs the two Heathrow centres (Harmondsworth and Colnbrook), and Campsfield House in Oxfordshire; and Serco, which runs Yarl’s Wood. (See our full company profiles on Mitie and Serco for more information.)

      Unfortunately there is not the same available information on these two companies’ detention profits as for GEO and G4S. So far, no internal documents have come to light from Mitie or Serco. And their published accounts mix detention contracts alongside other business lines.

      What we do know is that both companies see detention as amongst their most profitable operations, and continue to actively bid for new detention contracts. We have no reason to believe that the detention centres they run aren’t just as profitable as Dungavel or Brook House.

      If you have any further information on these companies or their detention contracts please get in touch. You can contact us securely through our contact page.
      Conclusion: detention is good business

      Following the Carillion collapse, a chorus of outsourcing corporations have complained about how times are hard and profits meagre in the age of austerity. But there is a world of difference amongst outsourcing contracts. In some sectors, margins are undoubtedly tighter than in the boom days of Labour’s public-private giveaway. Elsewhere, though, the party continues.

      It is important here not to take the companies’ complaints at face value. For example, in 2015 the Financial Times cited unnamed “analysts” estimating sharp decline in detention centre profit margins “from 12 to 13 per cent 10 years ago to between 5 and 7 per cent now.” This was as Mitie explained how the terms of its new contract for the Heathrow centres pushed it to reduce staff and extend lock-up hours. In fact, after its first year of running the centres, Mitie Care & Custody’s profits were up six-fold. From the figures we’ve looked at above, if there has been some margin tightening this must mean that previous contracts were bounteous indeed.

      Annex: Detention contracts, size and value

      Please note these are necessarily rough estimates. Access to Home Office figures is sporadic and incomplete, to say the least, relying on occasional leaks or vague answers to Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests.

      Heathrow: Harmondsworth and Colnbrook

      contracted to Mitie, September 2014-22

      number of beds: 1,065

      total value at award: £240m

      value per year: £30 million – roughly £28,000 per bed


      contracted to Mitie, May 2011-19

      number of beds: 282

      total value at award: £42 million

      value per year: £5.25 million – roughly £19,000 per bed

      Gatwick: Brook House

      contracted to G4S, May 2009-18; now extended to 2020

      current number of beds: 558 (after recent expansion)

      total value at award: £90.4 million

      value per year: £10m – or roughly £18,000 per bed

      Gatwick: Tinsley House

      contracted to G4S, May 2009-18; now extended to 2020

      current number of beds: 178

      total value at award: £43.6 million

      value per year: £4.8 million – or roughly £27,000 per bed

      Yarl’s Wood

      contracted to Serco, 2015-23

      number of beds: 349 (average occupancy)

      total value (calculated at award): £69.9 million

      value per year: £8.8 million – or roughly £25,000 per bed


      contracted to GEO, 2011-19

      current number of beds: 249

      total value: £45.2 million

      value per year: £5.65 million – or roughly £23,000 per bed

      Morton Hall

      Run by Her Majesty’s Prison Service (HMPS).

      i- COMPASS stands for “Commercial and Operational Managers Procuring Asylum Support Services”. The contracts were awarded in 2012, and are due to end in 2019. See our G4S company Profile for more detail.

      ii- GEO’s only other UK business is the 50/50 joint venture GEOAmey, which runs prisoner transport for the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales. But this income is treated separately, and does not feature on the GEO Group UK accounts.

      iii- Both years are knocked down by “administrative expenses” of £24.19 million (£21.51 million). Final pre-tax profits then become £10.25 million, or 3% (£12.07 million, or 3.6%, in 2015). After tax, Care and Justice booked £7.93 million, or 2.4% (£9.16 million, or 2.8% in 2015).

      iv- To calculate this we also subtracted the estimated COMPASS revenue of £109 million from the overall revenue of £335.4 million, to give an adjusted non-COMPASS revenue of £226.4 million. And we also subtracted it from the cost of sales (excluding non-specific items) of £290.2 million, to give adjusted cost of sales of £181.2 million. This leaves a £45.2 million gross profit.

      v- For example, we cannot be sure that G4S has receive the full value of the contracts in annual payments – it might be, e.g., that payments were reduced due to penalties for poor performance, although this has not been made public. This would make the actual profit rates lower than our estimates. However, they would still be very considerable. And no records of any such penalties have been published, to our knowledge.

  • Important victory for stateless children born in Norway

    The Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security has issued a new instruction to the immigration authorities to align their practice with Norway’s international obligations – making an important step towards ensuring that no child born in Norway remains stateless, following advocacy efforts made by the UNHCR and the Norwegian organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), with support provided by the European Network on Statelessness – including through its #StatelessKids campaign and using the tools developed by the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion.

    #apatridie #Norvège #enfants #enfance
    cc @reka

  • « Marchands du temple. Et nous passons allègrement des religions aux sectes ! L’Église de Scientologie est réputée pour faire un usage très agressif de la marque déposée sur son nom, notamment pour faire taire les critiques dont elle est souvent l’objet. Mais en Russie, cette utilisation de la propriété intellectuelle s’est retournée contre elle. En effet, la justice russe a ordonné la dissolution de l’Église de Scientologie dans le pays : elle a en effet considéré que puisque cette organisation avait déposé une marque de commerce sur son nom, elle devait être considérée comme une société commerciale et non comme une organisation religieuse, pouvant se prévaloir de la liberté de culte. »- Copyright Madness.

    Moscow court bans Church of Scientology over ‘irreligious’ trademark restrictions — RT News

    Moscow City Court has ordered the dissolution of the local branch of the Church of Scientology, ruling that religious freedom must not be restricted by trademarks. Scientologists vowed to appeal the alleged “anti-religious” abuse of their worshipers’ rights.

    The Russian Ministry has argued that the since the term Scientology is registered as a US trademark, the Church cannot be considered a religious organization, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

    “The representatives of the Church of Scientology themselves have created many legal conflicts by restricting the religious freedom through the use of trademarks,” the Ministry of Justice said. “So it turns out a commercial partnership was spreading the religion, while religion can only be spread by religions organizations,” the ministry said, adding that the organization should rather be regulated by consumer protection laws.

    Now the Moscow branch of the Church of Scientology has six months to officially cease activity in the Russian capital under the court’s ruling. However, the organization plans to appeal the Moscow court’s ruling in High Court as it, they claim, violates the rights of its parishioners in Russia.

  • D’où nos experts de « la rue sunnite humiliée » tirent-t-il leurs grandes idées ? (Pas du tout) curieusement : sur al Arabiya, un milliardaire des émirats (2,3 milliards de dollars à lui tout seul) t’explique comment le Liban devrait être gouverné (c’est une certaine vision de la démocratie dans laquelle 40% des libanais – arabes chiites – sont considérés comme des traîtres parce qu’ayant des loyautés persanes et présentés comme étrangers à l’« identité libanaise ») : Saudi generosity to Lebanon repaid with insults

    Firstly, the country is just a sham democracy as long as Hezbollah’s hand rocks the cradle and those proponents of free speech merely use that argument to cover their own cowardice. In any case, anything that threatens Lebanon’s economic health or national security should trump the free expression of traitors with Persian loyalties.

    March 14 has the resources to act but lacks the courage or the will; the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the media are all under its control – or that’s what its leaders would have us believe. It’s about time they stopped burying their heads and stood up for what is right. If their positions are nothing more than honorary to keep up a façade, then they should let us know, so that our heads of state don’t waste their time discussing with them.

    Lebanese ministers and politicians must stop playing Hezbollah’s game. They were elected and funded to defend the people’s interests and those of the Lebanese diaspora in the Gulf, which should include deterring agenda-led thugs to hurl insults at Saudi Arabia or any other GCC country. Instead, they stand and watch while those thugs throw boulders in the well that they drink from. If they’re not very careful, they’ll end up having to find jobs for returning Lebanese expatriates because if hostile sentiments keep coming our way, leaders might find that many Lebanese nationals doing business or working in their countries pose a risk to national security.

    How long is this sad state of affairs going to continue? How long will it be until the Lebanese people - whether Muslim Christian, Druze or Armenian - refuse to allow their strings to be pulled by ayatollahs threatening not only their safety and livelihoods but their very Lebanese identity. I can only hope they’ll find their voices to speak up against this dark cloak stifling any chance of a new Lebanese dawn. And in the meantime, I’m watching intently for signs that they reject absolutely any insult to brotherly nations that have always sheltered them with open arms.

  • New aviation rules to complicate life for foreign-owned airlines

    The Ministry of Justice on Nov. 13 registered a new mechanism of distributing air routes amongst aviation companies, which requires a carrier that wants the right to fly international routes to have the Ukrainian state or a Ukrainian citizen as its final beneficiary.
    [Local representative of Hungary’s low-cost airline] WizzAir also says the new rules contradict Ukraine’s intentions to join the European common aviation area and to build a market responding to European Union norms. However, Denys Antonyuk, head of the State Aviation Service, says signing the #Open_Sky_Agreement with the EU is high on his institution’s agenda after having been postponed twice already.

    Industry experts and market players say these measures will boost the positions of Antonyuk’s former employer, Ukraine International Airlines, the biggest local operator that is a near-monopolist in Ukraine. Several investigative press organizations have shown that UIA belongs to billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky, the famous Dnipropetrovsk governor, although he has never publicly confirmed this. Antonyuk was a top manager at UIA and is pushing these new regulations forward.

    Bref, sur la bonne route, mais dans la direction opposée…


  • Bahrain Bans Three Clerics From Preaching; Opposition Condemns Move » Gulf Business

    Bahrain has banned three Muslim clerics from preaching in mosques, accusing them of violating the “ethics and principles of religious discourse”, in what opposition activists said was part of a crackdown on dissent.

    State news agency BNA said the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs and Interior Ministry of the Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdom had forbidden Sheikh Kamel al-Hashemi, Adel al-Hamad and Mohammed al-Mansi to preach in and around the capital Manama.

    It said the three had ignored warning from authorities to stick to rules set for preachers. Bahrainis said at least two of them were Shi’ites

  • In prisons all over Greece, detainees are intensifying their protests against the introduction of a new bill by the Ministry of Justice, which proposes the creation of high security prisons. Since last Monday, more than four thousand prisoners have gone on hunger strike and the number is rising by the day, in what is the largest mass hunger strike to day.

  • #Iraq bus attack kills 51 prisoners, 9 policemen

    Suicide bombers and gunmen Thursday attacked a bus transferring convicts from a prison north of #Baghdad, sparking fierce clashes with security forces that left 51 prisoners and nine policemen dead, Ministry of Justice and medical sources said. It was not immediately clear who launched the assault, which targeted a security convoy escorting a bus that was transferring around 60 prisoners, many of them held on terrorism charges, from the main prison in Taji, some 25 kilometers north of Baghdad. read more

    #IEDs #suicide_attack

  • Un représentant du gouvernement bahreinien sera présent à chaque rencontre entre une ’association politique’ et un représentant (diplomate/ONG) étrangère

    Bahrain insists on regulating foreign contacts |

    Bahrain insists on regulating foreign contacts

    Under the decision, the contacts should be held in the presence of a representative from the foreign ministry or any other party the ministry selects.

    The decision, an amendment to a 2004 ministry of justice and Islamic affairs decision on communications between local political societies and foreign political parties or organisations, required the political societies to inform the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs on their coordination with the ministry of foreign affairs at least three working days before the day of the contact.

    However, the opposition societies said that the decision aimed to restrict their political manoeuvres and limit their open contacts.

    But, Shaikh Khalid at the press conference said that the decision, issued in response to a demand by the parliament, was in line with the 2005 political societies law that stipulated that all political societies in the kingdom had to go public with their activities.

    “We thus wish to emphasise that regulating the relationship between local political societies and the representatives of the government on the one hand, and foreign institutions and organisations on the other hand, is the adopted procedure to ensure transparency of political activities,” Shaikh Khalid said.

    “The law also required all societies not to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries and the non-interference of other countries in our internal affairs. Bahrain does believe in the rights of political societies to have political contacts within the confines of the law and transparency,” he said.

    The minister said that laws regulating contacts between local parties and foreign political entities existed in several advanced countries, including in Europe where the foreign ministry oversees the situation.

  • Maroc : une femme de 80 ans en grève de la faim pour dénoncer sa pension, dont le montant est trop bas

    Benaissa explained that his mother had inherited the pension from his father, who worked 20 years in the Royal Armed Forces.

    (She) had “made several complaints to the responsible authorities, including the Hassan II Foundation for Solidarity in Casablanca in charge of widows and people with rights as well as the Ministry of Justice, but to no avail,".

    In January, Morocco announced plans to structurally reform its state pension system during the five-year term of the current government, including an increase in the retirement age, Prime Minister Abdelillah Benkirane said. “Our pension systems are at stake. No one wants to reach a situation like in Greece,” Benkirane said in a speech to parliament.
    This year, the deficit of the Moroccan Pension Fund is expected to dip into its reserves, and the reserves of all of Morocco’s pension funds will be drained by 2050 if there is no reform, the government’s High Planning Authority said in a report published last December.


  • Dutch proposal to search and destroy foreign computers | EDRI

    On 15 October 2012, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security proposed powers for the police to break into computers, install spyware, search computers and destroy data. These powers would extend to computers located outside the Netherlands. EDRi member Bits of Freedom warns for the unacceptable risks to cybersecurity and calls on other countries to strongly oppose the proposal.
    If the location of the computer cannot be determined, for example in the case of Tor-hidden services, the police is not required to submit a request for legal assistance to another country before breaking in.

    #cybersécurité #cyberguerre #surveillance #dpi #tor #pays-bas

  • Privatization of court interpreting hinders access to justice for non-English speakers in the UK | minorities in focus

    The UK Ministry of Justice’s decision to adopt a privatized contract for court interpreters has severe implications regarding access to justice for minorities from non-English speaking backgrounds. Shahendra Suliman, MRG’s Conflict Prevention Programme intern, reports.

    #justice #Royaume-uni #privatisation

  • Squatting law reforms ’could cost taxpayers £790m over five years’ | Society | The Guardian

    The cost of a new law to further criminalise squatting could run to almost 20 times official estimates, wiping out government legal aid budget savings, according to the findings of a newly published report.

    The study, commissioned by Squatters’ Action for Secure Homes (Squash) and supported by academics and politicians including a former Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, finds that the Ministry of Justice’s new law fails to account for extra spending on housing benefit squatters will claim once they are evicted.

    The Can We Afford to Criminalise Squatting? report, published on Friday, finds the total costs of the law – clause 136 in the Legal Aid and Punishment of Offenders Bill (Lapso) – could run to between £316.2m and £790.4m over five years, depending on the number of squatters in England and Wales. This compares with the £350m in savings the MoJ hopes to make by cutting the legal aid budget.

    Squatting in someone’s home is already a criminal offence but the MoJ hopes to extend the law to cover vacant residential buildings that have no tenant.

    Squash says squatters in residential buildings are saving the government some £36m to 90m a year in housing benefit as they cannot claim while occupying a property, but that the MoJ has failed to factor these extra claims into their cost forecasts for the new law, which it estimates will be between £1m and 9m a year.

    l’argent public pour protéger la propriété privée...

  • Subventionner la « démocratie » en Égypte. Une fois le vote terminé, tout le monde éditorialisera sur la place de ces islamistes, sur le fait qu’ils sont plus ou moins modérés, mais plus personne ne se demandera pourquoi ils avaient reçu autant d’argent étranger pour financer leur campagne.

    Wednesday’s papers : Cabinet backs military privacy, NGO foreign funding probe reveals unexpected results | Al-Masry Al-Youm : Today’s News from Egypt

    In other news, state-owned Al-Akhbar publishes an “exclusive” spread on page six about the foreign funding of local NGOs with a subheading that says foreign donors wanted to interfere in Egypt’s affairs and empower one section of society over others. The findings the newspaper publishes are from a report by a Ministry of Justice fact-finding commission tasked with investigating the issue.

    The commission found that US$40 million of the $65 million the US has purportedly pumped into Egypt to promote democracy has actually only gone to two bodies, and American ones at that — the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the International Republican Institute, Al-Akhbar reports.

    But it’s not just American funding that’s under the spotlight, as Al-Akhbar’s report states that a Qatari institution donated more than LE180 million to the Ansar al-Sunnah al-Mohamadeya (Supporters of the path of Mohamed) group, while a Kuwaiti institution donated over LE114 million to the same group, making it the biggest recipient of foreign aid in the country. The newspaper contends that the donations have to do with promoting Salafism in Egypt.

    Additionally, the Mohamed Alaa Mubarak Institute, created after the deposed president’s grandson died last year, received more than LE86 million in funds in 2011 from the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

  • Draft Bill for a Civil Rights-Based Framework for Internet in Brazil

    It is the result of an initiative from the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Center for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (CTS/FGV), to develop a collaborative online/offline consultation process in which all the actors from Brazilian society could identify together the rights and responsibilities that should guide the use of the Internet in Brazil. The process, which resulted in a Bill of Law, is an example of the importance and the great potential of multistakeholder involvement on policy-making.

  • WikiLeaks: Swedish government ’hid’ anti-terror operations with America from Parliament - Telegraph

    Swedish officials wanted discussions about anti-terrorism operations kept from public scrutiny.

    They describe how officials from the Swedish Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a “strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements” with the American government.

    #Sweden #cablegate