Restrictions on movement and contact, border closures, travel bans – the Covid 19 pandemic also means considerable limitations on civil liberties and fundamental rights in Germany. Many measures, however, particularly affect refugees.
On 16 March the European Union closed its external borders. Although the application for asylum was supposed to be one of the exceptions to entry permits, de facto the official border crossings for asylum seekers remained largely insurmountable. The EU is also stepping up the surveillance at „green“ and „blue“ borders. The border agency Frontex has suspended some of its operations, for example in the Western Balkans, because of the Corona crisis. But on the other hand, Frontex has extended its missions in Greece, which has seen a high number of arrivals of refugees due to tensions with Turkey, by two „Rapid Border Interventions“ at the Evros border river and in the Aegean Sea. At the beginning of April, the governments involved also suspended the „Malta deal“ for sea rescue in the central Mediterranean. Rescued persons are no longer being redistributed to the states willing to receive them; this affects a total of 731 refugees, most of whom were supposed to come to Germany. Malta and Italy completely closed their ports to private rescue vessels a little later, only with much public pressure could 150 rescued persons from the German ship „Alan Kurdi“ disembark in Malta in mid-April, most of the others were brought back by the Libyan coast guard – even from waters for which Malta is responsible. „Corona and the situation of refugees in Germany“ weiterlesen
Is the suspension of constitutional rights for the whole of society to counter the new corona virus justified? The freedom to assemble without registration or permission under Article 8 of the German Constitution has been replaced since 20 March by a complete ban with the reservation of permission. Health authorities now have the final say on demonstrations or rallies in accordance with the „SARS-CoV-2 containment regulations“.
For one month, most of the Federal States have prohibited protests in any form, including bicycle demonstrations and autocorsos. The public medical officers also did not care if registrants promised to respect distance rules and to wear face masks. Last week, the highest German court clarified on 15 April that this is not proportionate. „A virus called control: The suspension of constitutional rights in Germany“ weiterlesen
The European Union wants to increase its „resilience, deterrence and defence“ in the area of cyber security. A new centre will coordinate research and training activities. However, the proposed regulation is not compatible with existing institutions and funding programmes.
The establishment of a European Competence Centre for Cyber Security (ECCC) continues to stagnate. MEPs and Member State governments had defined their positions in March and started negotiations on a regulation. However, an agreement was not reached as planned in the previous legislative period and is not foreseeable with the new EU Parliament.
More than a year ago, the EU Commission presented a regulation establishing an ECCC. It was based on conclusions, in which the Council two years ago called for more „resilience, deterrence and defence“ for cyber security. The ECCC, mentioned there for the first time, is intended to reduce the European Union’s dependence on “ depends on non-European cybersecurity providers“ and bundle efforts in the areas of industry, technology and research. This is intended to ensure the „smooth functioning of the internal market“. „Civil and military research: New EU Centre for Cyber Security remains controversial“ weiterlesen
The police and military are increasingly confronted with the unwanted use of commercially available drones. For countermeasures, they must be quickly detected and analyzed. German arms companies have developed various methods to then combat the aircrafts.
Every year, around one million small drones are sold in the USA and Europe alone. This figure was quoted last week by the Deputy Director of the German Federal Armed Forces Aircraft Technical Service (WTD 61) during a technical demonstration at the department’s headquarters in Manching. This refers to multicopters with four or more rotors carrying a camera or other sensors, sometimes also called unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
In Germany, the owner’s data must be affixed to a sticker on the device. In many countries, however, the sale or use of unmanned systems is not regulated, which can also make them a „terrorist tool“ for the military in the field. The German government writes that small UAV’s have „proven to be a versatile technical aid in the planning, execution and evaluation of operations by terrorist organisations“. In the meantime they have been used for „airborne reconnaissance and espionage, to identify potential weak points in the run-up to attacks as well as to direct plunging fire“. „Fight against small drones: Police use military technology“ weiterlesen
The German Aerospace Center is involved in numerous projects involving civil and military drones. The focus is increasingly on their use by authorities and organizations with security tasks. Reason enough for the institute to increase their acceptance. Drones should therefore remain more in the public discussion.
Women are rather sceptical about the civilian use of drones in Germany, while men predominantly agree with the use of the technology. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Institute for Applied Social Research (infas) on the acceptance of unmanned aerial vehicles.
For the representative survey, telephone interviews were conducted with 832 people aged between 14 and 94. Only 27% of the young interviewees expressed concern, while the figure for senior citizens was 65%. „Study: Drones are mostly negatively associated“ weiterlesen
The EU plans to strengthen the linkages between its internal and external security structures. In future, military information will increasingly be used in combating terrorism and organised crime. Cooperation is being tested first in the field of migration.
The European Union is planning the establishment of „Crime Information Cells“ (CIC) for the exchange of data between the police, military and secret services. The intention of the players involved is to reinforce the „external dimension of internal security“. The “Crime Information Cells” would strengthen linkages between civil and military EU missions. This would apply to Common Security and Defence Policy missions (CSDP) and the area of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), which fall within the remit of the European External Action Service or European Commission. „Military intelligence for Europol“ weiterlesen
Tunisian border authorities are receiving equipment and training assistance from the German Bundeswehr and the Border Police in the course of a number of projects. Existing measures are now being extended. Manufacturers of surveillance technology stand to benefit.
The German Government is helping Tunisia pursue the ongoing development of an electronic border surveillance system. A section that has already been constructed is now being extended along the Libyan border to the border town of Borj El Khadra in the Sahara. This was disclosed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in response to a minor interpellation. The overall project is being planned together with the US Government. The intended recipient of this “training initiative” is the Tunisian military .
The American Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has been tasked with the concrete implementation of these measures. Costs of extending the installations are not known. The financial aid received from Germany is explained vaguely as being “in the tens of millions”. „Germany funds new border control technology in Tunisia“ weiterlesen
The private rescue organisation Sea Watch e.V. is pressing charges against the Libyan coast guard because of an attack during a rescue operation on the Mediterranean Sea. According to the organisation 30 refugees died after their dinghy was damaged by a patrol boat on 21 October 2016. The rescue team rates this incident as an attack on maritime transport.
The coast guard’s patrol boat with the registration mark ‚267‘ interfered with the rescue operation of the ‚Sea-Watch 2‘, which was instructed by the sea rescue control centre in Rome. Pictures of the professional photographer Christan Ditsch, who was on board, show the coast guard pushing between a speed boat of the ‚Sea-Watch 2‘ and the dinghy. The crew was prevented from provideing the refugees with life jackets. A person in uniform then came on board of the dinghy and started hitting the passengers. According to the Sea Watch organisation he tried to take away the outboard engine. „Deadly Incident on the Mediterranean Sea: Rescue Organisation Accuses Libyan Coast Guard“ weiterlesen