Turnaround in Moroccan and Algerian migration policies

A recent study by the Institut for Security Studies draws attention to the change in orientation of the migration policies of these two Maghreb countries. Not so long ago, there was no migration policy in the strictest sense as these countries were simply regarded as transit countries between the centre and south of Africa and Europe. Immigrants were people in transit, who had actually doubled in number over recent years (although the main illegal immigration routes to Europe are in the east and centre of the continent).

Recently, Algeria, following the example set by Morocco in 2013, has announced plans to grant residence rights to illegal sub-Saharan immigrants, although it has not announced the number of regularisations to be offered (it is calculated that there are between 25,000 and 100,000 irregular immigrants). Morocco already regularised 25,000 immigrants in 2013 and is now preparing a second campaign. These campaigns may have a range of advantages:

  • Both countries need labour in several sectors. Immigrants can fill this gap and contribute to the countries´ economic growth.
  • It strengthens the position of both countries when negotiating with member states of the Union, as one of the objectives of this is the containment of immigrants (before arriving in Europe). It helps to regulate their situation in transit countries which could deter them from continuing their migration journey. If we bear in mind that, for example, in February of this year, 1,100 sub-Saharans entered Spain in three days, the possibility of containing these contingents in Morocco or Algeria seems attractive.
  • This regularisation may facilitate a certain integration of immigrants, a circumstance that will make it difficult for them to be influenced by groups like ISIL or Al Qaeda, which are present in the area, as uprooted people are easily seduced by the discourse of these groups. This situation will facilitate the ability to confront the terrorist threat with greater guarantees of success.
  • These regularisations would strengthen both countries´ relations with sub-Saharan counterparts and would increase their leadership role in the area.

Strangely enough, these regularisations are being applied with some reluctance, with groups that are against them, as they consider that irregular immigrants are only a source of negative influences. For example, in Algeria the announcement of the regularisation was followed by the launch of an on line campaign entitled “No African in Algeria”, arguing that these immigrants could take their jobs and spread AIDS.


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The Vigipirate Plan in the anti-terrorist strategy in France

The terrorist attacks perpetrated in France in 2015 and 2016 and the legislative provisions adopted in 2016 have led to a review of the Vigipirate plan to adapt it to the increased threat.


Vigipirate is a central plan within the framework of anti-terrorist strategy that involves all national actors (The State, territorial entities, companies and citizens) in a context of surveillance, prevention and protection.

How is the Plan structured?

It involves 300 measures which apply to 13 fields of action: alert and mobilisation; protection of large human concentrations in an open area; protection of installations and buildings with a symbolic, economic, political or ecological value; protection of industrial installations in the chemical, hydrocarbon or nuclear sector; cybersecurity; the aviation sector; the maritime sector; transport by land; the healthcare sector; protection of the food chain; protection of communication networks, water, electricity, hydrocarbon and gas; control of land, fluvial and lacustrine, maritime and air space borders; protection of French residents in the exterior and French interests abroad.

Objectives of the Plan

1.- The objectives involve dual roles:- Develop a culture of surveillance and security in society as a whole in order to detect threats of terrorist action and

2.- Permanently ensure the protection of citizens, of the territory and interests of France in the face of the terrorist threat.

The 3 levels of the Plan

The implementation of each level is in accordance with the level of the threat and is easily identifiable with a visible logo in the public space:

1.- The level of surveillance is the permanent level of security and involves the implementation of 100 measures which are always active.

2.- The level of consolidated security – risk of a terrorist attack: it adapts the response of the State to a high or very high terrorist threat. A range of additional security measures can be activated to complement others that are permanent especially in airports, railway stations and places of worship among others. This may be applicable to the whole of the national territory.

3.- The level of emergency corresponding to the terrorist attack: this can be activated in the case of an attack that has taken place or when a tourist group that is identified but not located takes action. This level is valid for a limited time that coincides with the management of the crisis. It allows for the mobilisation of exceptional resources and the spreading of information to protect citizens in a crisis.

Intelligence services assess the terrorist threat and their analysis allows the General Secretary of Defence and National Security (SGDSN) to establish the general strategy of the security plan which involves implementing security measures within the framework of significant national events; security measures on specific key dates like the beginning of the school year or end-of-year festivities and apply a national system of emergency protection if a terrorist attack takes place in France or abroad.

For further information the following links can be consulted:








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An increase in support for crime victims in the USA

The Office of Justice Victims of the United States is working in different areas related to the field of justice. One of the pillars of the task is the Office of Crime Victims. This office has organised a whole series of initiatives, workshops and tributes to all types of crime victims during the month of September. This area of justice includes different programmes and over recent years has received greater economic support from the government.

Among the most noteworthy resources, there are four main areas being worked on:

  • Honouring the victims and heroes of 9/11. On the anniversary of the 11 September attacks, North Americans united to participate in the so-called national day of service and memory.
  • The so-called national month of preparation. The President of the USA has declared the month of September as a time to pay attention to the victims of the disasters, whether these are natural or caused by humankind.
    • Carry out planning and preparation before an incident happens.
    • Mitigate the effects of future acts on victims.
    • Respond to active incidents.
    • Recover after a mass or terrorist violent incident.
  • The Office of Victims offers a series of tools to help the victims of mass and terrorist violence. In broad terms, these would be planning, response, recuperation and resources. This multidisciplinary product provides communities with the framework, strategies and resources to:
  • Security for universities and university students. In order to highlight security on campuses, September has also been recognised as national month of security campuses. There are dozens of web pages devoted to security on campuses, and even resources linked to criminality in this sector.
  • The so-called national month of Hispanic inheritance, which is normally commemorated from 15 September to 15 October to recognise the Hispanic history, culture and contribution that US citizens have received. There is a web page of resources in Spanish aimed at Spanish-speaking victims of a crime.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week April 2 - 8 2017 Strength Resilience Justice 480 x 80

All these resources are designed to be able to rapidly develop public awareness raising campaigns during the year and for the National Crime Victims ‘Rights Week (NCVRW). In the month of April this was celebrated with the slogan: Strength, Resilience, Justice. This year it has tried to reflect on a future vision in accordance with which all victims are strengthened by the support they receive, where organisation respond to their challenges, and communities can access collective justice.


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The consequences of the irresponsible treatment of news items concerning intimate partner violence

News Coverage of Intimate Partner Homicides in New York City (2013-16)The mayor of the city of New York’s office has recently published a study on the treatment of intimate homicides carried out by a partner in news items published in the press between 2013 and 2016 (442 articles published in the media). The study points out that superficial and irresponsible information about violence perpetrated by the partner re-victimises the persons who have suffered and read the news. In addition, such treatment can serve to perpetuate cycles of abuse. More specifically, the report stresses the sensationalist perspective linked to particularly extreme situations, such as the murder of women by their partners or ex-partners, meaning femicides.

The study News Coverage of Intimate Partner Homicides in New York City (2013-16)”, written by Sandhya Kajeepeta, Kara Noesner and Edward Hill, mainly stresses the following:

  • Only ten of the 442 articles (2.3%) which covered intimate partner homicides that took place in New York during the period 2013-2016, had referred to the expertise of a lawyer with experience of this type of homicides.
  • Only 15% of the articles used specific terms like “domestic violence”, “intimate partner violence” or “domestic abuse”, and less than 8% of the articles describe the homicide as intimate by relating it to the violence.
  • Less than 6% of the articles include the homicide within the broader context of the social problem involving intimate partner violence.
  • Only seven articles (1.6%) included information about services and resources for victims of this nature of violence.
  • The study also points out the different way of covering news items when the victims of the homicides are men and the perpetrators are women, rather than when the victims are women and the perpetrators are men, which are more common.

In our case, in 2004 the Association of Journalists of Catalonia and the Department for Women of Barcelona Council drew up some Recommendations for the Treatment of Male Violence for news and entertainment programmes in the media, based on a commission constituted for this purpose. In 2009, to complement Catalan law 5/2008, of 24 April, referring to the right of women to eradicate male violence which in its article 23 regulates the treatment of information, and, retrieving the work initiated in 2004, these recommendations were updated, via a new commission constituted by the entities which had already participated in the work group which the Area of Equality and Citizenship of the Barcelona Provincial Council, the Security Programme against Male Violence of the Department of the Interior and the Observatory of Women in the Media had already joined. The result was a document of recommendations for the treatment of male violence in the media, which establishes different lines to be borne in mind when dealing with a news item of this nature, stressing the importance of giving verified and contrasted information, and then to follow it up, while at all times respecting the dignity and intimacy of those affected and avoiding sensationalist and drama-related details of such news. You will find the document on this link: Recommendations. The treatment of male violence in the media. In this line of work, the Association of Women Journalists since 2006 has carried out an annual analysis of how the media treats information concerning male violence within the couple and how they apply these recommendations to their daily informative tasks. You can access their latest study Impact of the Recommendations concerning the treatment of male violence in the Media (2016) on their website.


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German willingness to receive foreigners is eroding

Willkommenskultur im „Stresstest“The wave of refugees welcomed into Germany in recent years (over a million) seems to some extent to have worn out the traditional German predisposition to welcome in outsiders.

The results of a survey published recently [1]shed a great deal of light on the matter in question in Germany, especially if we compare these with those of surveys carried out in 2012 and 2015. First, it must be said that even now willingness to welcome in outsiders is predominant. There are, however, differences between the attitude towards refugees and the one towards immigrants. The latter are still seen as positive by most (74% of the population in the western Länders and 53% in the east). With refugees, the situation begins change, especially in the east where only 33% of those interviewed took a positive view. In the west 65% still regard refugees to be welcome in the country.

In the case of refugees there appears a criticism of the other members of the European Union who have not accepted anywhere near the number of refugees that Germany has. This is a factor which has been a great source od disappointment to the German people.

Symptoms of fatigue are clearly evident. Most of the population (54%) believe that Germany’s ability to welcome in refugees is at its limit and only of two of every five would be prepared to accept more for humanitarian reasons. Most Germans think that refugees should be authorised to work much more rapidly than is the case at the moment. They also feel that all member states of the Union should have a specific number of refugees that they should be obliged to accept. Those who think that refugees are in a temporary situation and therefore the government should not make any effort to integrate them account for less than a quarter of those interviewed.

At this moment, only the youngest (between 14 and 29) feel (by a narrow majority), that Germany should continue to accept refugees for humanitarian reasons. Other age groups are mostly not in favour of continuing to accept refuges. In general, the perception of the advantages provided by the incoming population has decreased and the drawbacks are now more visible.

[1] https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/fileadmin/files/Projekte/28_Einwanderung_und_Vielfalt/IB_Umfrage_Willkommenskultur_2017.pdf


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An assessment of EU activity in terms of internal security

This is the monthly new report on the progress made in the construction of an effective and genuine Security Union and a study of the evolution of the two main pillars: addressing terrorism and organised crime and the resources which support them.

Avaluació de l’acció de la UE en matèria de seguretat interiorThis report presents the conclusions which the Commission studies with the integral evaluation of Union action in the field of internal security. The assessment evaluates the relevance and effectiveness of the EU´s policies and instruments to provide support for member states in the fight against terrorism and the prevention of radicalisation, addressing organised crime and the fight against cyber crime.

Regarding the measures adopted at an EU level in the field of internal security, the assessment is based on the internal analysis of the Commission’s services, the surveys carried out with the authorities of the member states and EU agencies and an inclusive dialogue with a wide range of actors including the European Parliament, national parliaments, civil society, think tanks, academics and industry representatives.

Although the overall result is positive and confirms the acceptance and the relevance of the main instruments of the EU’s security policy, the assessments also identified the challenges and shortcomings which have an impact on effective cooperation in the Security Union. This includes the need to further develop and adjust policies and existing tools to respond to the threat as terrorism evolves, and also stresses the conclusions of the European Council of 22 to 23 June 2017, the action plan of the G20 to combat terrorism of 7 July 2017 and the declaration of the Taormina G74 Summit regarding the fight against terrorism and violent extremism of 26 May 2017.

This report also provides an update of the progress made in the implementation of priority security files, with the next steps to avoid the financing of terrorism via the trafficking of cultural assets and to improve the exchange of information with the interoperability of information systems and their full implementation.

The following are regarded to be among the main challenges for effective EU security policing:

  • The incomplete implementation of some policies and instruments of the EU at a national level reduce their effectiveness. This must be reviewed.
  • The complexity of some EU instruments and tools UE makes it difficult for national authorities to use them.
  • Limited capacities at a national level require an increased grouping of resources and knowledge at an EU level and synergies in all political fields
  • The evolution of threats calls for the EU to update its instruments and tools

The global assessment demonstrates that as regards a series of key EU policies and instruments in terms of internal security, the member states do not have their full application at a national level. Examples of this are legislation concerning organised crime or the Prüm framework for the exchange of DNA data, digital finger print data and data regarding vehicle records. The lack of a complete application of these instruments impedes their effectiveness and prevents member states from exploiting their full potential.


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High-impact crime in Mexico: worrying data

Incidencia de los delitos de alto impacto en México 2016The National Citizen Observatory of Mexico published, at the end of June 2017, the study Incidence of high-impact crime in Mexico 2016, in which it analyses the public records related to six crimes which are regarded as having a major impact on the public: intentional homicide and culpable homicide, kidnapping, extortion, theft with violence and vehicle theft.

All over the country the crimes focused on and studied were:

  • 20,792 intentional homicides, with 22,935 victims (21.55% more than the previous year), 1876 victims per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • 15,170 culpable homicides, with 16,878 victims (5.15% less than the previous year), 13.80 victims per 100,000 habitants.
  • 1,865 victims of kidnappings (0.26% less than the previous year), 1.53 per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • 5,240 cases of extortion, with 5,375 victims, 4.40 per 100,000 inhabitants. In this case, the number of victims went down by 0.57% compared with the previous year, but the number of cases increased by 1.14%.
  • 171,555 thefts with violence (3.6% less than the previous year), 140.30 per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • 161.567 vehicle thefts (2.33% less than the previous year), 389.11 per 100,000 vehicles or 132.14 per 100,000 inhabitants. Of these vehicle thefts, 72% involved violence and 38% were non-violent.

Apart from the nationwide data, the study also presented figures corresponding to different territorial divisions or sub-divisions; there are some alarming signs based on the incidence or variation of some criminal typologies and a whole section is dedicated to the role of the citizen and civil organisations with the National network of Observatories of Security, Justice and Legality.

The report is very critical with the Mexican institutions, both regarding their security policies implemented and aspects relevant to the gathering of data. On the one hand, they consider that the Mexican government focuses its activity on a frontal attack on organised crime and neglects, among other aspects, preventive policies and the fight against arms trafficking, money laundering and corruption. On the other hand, the public data generates mistrust for a range of reasons. In some cases, there are municipalities with few or no records of some criminal typologies liking street muggings. In other cases, some areas show important changes in their figures in a short period of time. This adds to the low level of public trust in reporting crime to the police which results in the very dark and gloomy figure of 93.7% according to the National Survey of Crime and Perception of Public Security (ENVIPE) of 2016 (data relevant to 2015). Extortion is one of the crimes which are most likely not to be reported. According to the ENVIPE in 2016 it was the second most common crime and represented 24.2% of the total in 2015, with theft in public transport and muggings being the most common, which were 28,2%.

Final recommendations made by the study include improving security indicators, creating mechanisms which encourage the reporting of crimes and reduce the sombre figures; combat and prioritise the fight against arms trafficking and money laundering; laying the bases for public security policies (both preventive and reactive) in diagnostics  and informing of trust  and involving civil society with security institutions.


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Tools to deal with human trafficking

Interpol is expanding on its resources to combat human trafficking. This type of organised international crime generates thousands of millions of Euros in profit and has worldwide effects.

Victims are enticed and transported from one country to another by means of deception, threats and the use of force, and normally, against their will.

Interpol supports national police organisms regarding in situ tactical deployments aimed at dismantling criminal networks which are behind the trafficking of humans.

This so-called modern slavery takes on different formats:

  • The trafficking of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Traffickers deceive both adult and under-age women with the promise of a decent job and then oblige them to exercise as prostitutes.
  • Human trafficking to submit people to forced labour. Victims are obliged to do arduous slave labour.
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of children on tourist trips. Especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where sexual relations with minors tend not to be prohibited and the risk of incrimination for such crimes is very low.
  • Trafficking people related to the trafficking of organs. Human trafficking to use their organs– especially kidneys -, tissues and cells, is a vast and complex field of crime.

One of the most noteworthy and successful operations is Operation Spartacus, carried out in June 2016 in 25 countries in Central and South America, with the rescue of dozens of victims and 134 arrests. And also Operation Nawa which took place in the Ivory Coast with the rescue of 76 children from all over western Africa and the arrest of 8 people.

There are many ways of trafficking, but abuse of the vulnerable state of the victims is habitual. At this moment, human trafficking is a complex crime to fight against and international cooperation between those organisms responsible for applying the law is necessary. Interpol promotes a range of tools for police services worldwide:

  • The Interpol notification and information system which allows for cooperation on a worldwide scale between member states to pursue criminals, locate people and gather information.
  • Technical solutions MIND and FIND, which allow the police to get immediate responses to queries about stolen or lost travel documents, and also about stolen vehicles and criminals wanted by the justice system.
  • The Interpol Work Group of Experts in Human Trafficking is a guide recognised internationally and is aimed at civil servants who deal with the trafficking of people and are responsible for the application of the law.
  • Crisis management teams, which can be sent at the request of member states to provide specific knowledge, support in terms of investigating and training, with the support of the Work Group of Experts.

Link of interest:



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Can the trafficking of arms on the dark web be quantified?

The dark web can be defined as the part of the web which not only conceals itself from search engines and directories (deep web), but also resides in encrypted sites takes advantage of anonymity to exchange information. This anonymity can be sought by protecting some areas of privacy, but it can also be used in order to carry out certain criminal activities, such as the exchange of files containing child pornography, the trafficking of drugs and weapons. Academics from the Rand Corporation and from the University of Manchester wanted to gain an empirical insight and quantify the role arms trafficking has had on this environment. In their study Behind the curtain. The illegal arms, explosives and munitions trade on the dark web  wanted to answer three research questions:

  1. What is the magnitude and scope of arms trafficking and related products on the dark web?
  2. What is the potential impact of arms trafficking facilitated by the dark web on the weapons black market as a whole?
  3. What are the potential implications of arms trafficking facilitated by the dark web for security agencies and political decision-making bodies both on the national context and the international one?

To answer these questions, apart from a review of the existing academic literature and interviews with experts (police officers and public administrators), they have obtained, gathered and analysed data related to this illegal arms market. They recognise that their study has some limitations (for example, a limited time in which to gather the information; that sales can only be estimated rather than calculated, or that it cannot be determined which arms are fake or which were put on sale by the police), meaning that that there remains the option of continuing to research this environment and they invite other academics to do so.

Conclusions they reached include the following:

  • There is a high perception that a proportion of the weapons made available are fake or simply bait for the police. However, the sale of real arms exists and, therefore, this fake potential must not lead to the risk of the circulation of real weapons being ignored or minimised by society.
  • The sale of weapons detected were, on the one hand, on the so-called “cryptomarkets”, internet shops with multiple sellers where a virtual currency is used to pay, and, on the other hand, in single-seller areas, without intermediaries.
  • 811 lists or packets of products were located, mainly related to firearms, and, among these, pistols, rifles and semi-automatic weapons. The munitions found in these markets are mainly sold with the arms, and are seldom sold separately. Also worthy of note is the fact that underlying the sale of weapons is the sale of digital products (manuals explaining how to manufacture explosives or 3D images of weapons or their parts).
  • The researchers estimate that 136 sales are made every month, amounting to 80,000 dollars.
  • The trafficking of arms is still limited in volume in comparison the trafficking of illegal products as a whole in black markets on the dark web.
  • Police forces face operational and technical challenges to respond to this aspect of arms trafficking. Therefore, awareness of the risks involved is necessary to have the necessary tools to be able to fight it.


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The Observatory for the Prevention of Violent Extremism gets under way in Barcelona

OPEVLast January, 320 representatives of 172 organisations of society and social movements from 22 countries met in Barcelona with the aim of preventing violent extremism. The meeting produced an action plan on behalf of Euro Mediterranean civil society in order to prevent violent extremism in all its forms.[1] The plan includes the creation of the Observatory for the Prevention of Violent Extremism (OPEV),[2] in order to provide support for the plan’s execution.

The action plan focuses on the fundamental idea that basing the fight against violent extremism on anti-terrorist measures leaves out civil society, which boasts vital energy to generate social cohesion and, consequently, the prevention of violent radicalisation, and confront factors which favour this. In this direction, the creation of open, fair, inclusive and plural societies, based on respect for human rights, constitutes a solid and attractive alternative to violent radicalism.

Violent extremism erodes the foundations of our society, promotes hatred and discrimination and makes living together peacefully impossible. Extremism is based on political, social or religious ideas which reject the status quo and which are based on totalitarian, fanatical, intolerant, anti-democratic and anti-plural values. They intend to meet their objectives with violence, and as extreme as necessary. The enemy is often taken to be an ethnic group, an ideology, a religion or a social class and practically advocates its extinction.

The presence of violent extremism in the Euro Mediterranean region is very significant. This benefits from the presence of Jihadist groups which promote indiscriminate violence, and extreme right-wing populist, racist, anti-Islamic movements, which pressure governments towards intolerance, hatred and cuts in rights which, in practice, affect specific groups, and which can only serve to worsen the problem in the future.

Next 21 September the OPEV is presenting its first report on the evolution of anti-terrorist legislation in the region and the consequences that legislative reform may have on violent radicalisation, with the intention of setting up a forum to reflect on this issue in order to help to find pacifying solutions.

[1] Vid. http://novact.org/2017/01/plan-action-civil-society-of-the-euromediterranean-region-for-the-prevention-of-all-forms-violent-extremism/

[2] Vid. http://novact.org/2017/02/web-opev/


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