14 Apr 2008

The Other Side of the Moons – The Schengen Information System and Human Rights: A Task for National Courts

Evelien Brouwer

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The European Commission’s proposals for a European Border Management Strategy are based on an almost blind faith in the use of large-scale databases, identification measures and biometrics for immigration and border control purposes. Yet these measures entail a risk to the protection of not only the right to privacy and the right to data protection, but also to the freedom of movement and the principle of non-discrimination. This paper by Evelien Brouwer, lecturer at the Law School of Utrecht University, considers the human rights implications of the Schengen Information System (SIS). Citing the case of Mr. and Mrs. Moon, who have been reported as “inadmissible” in the SIS for more than ten years, the difficulties for third-country nationals trying to remedy a false or unlawful SIS report are highlighted. The Moon case illustrates that the outcome of national proceedings dealing with an SIS alert can be very different. The author concludes with recommendations to guarantee individuals’ rights to effective remedies and to improve the position and powers of national courts.