Latest updates: all new material added to the site

09 July 2024

Almost 100 organisations call on EU to uphold the right to asylum

Category: News

Statewatch is one of 95 organisations that are calling on EU institutions and member states to uphold the right to asylum, and to halt the pursuit of deals, agreements and arrangements that would outsource asylum processing to third states. Doing so risks "undermining the international protection system," says the statement, noting that attempts to outsource asylum processing have caused "immeasurable human suffering and rights violations."

09 July 2024

Out of sight, out of mind: EU planning to offshore asylum applications?

Category: News

In a letter sent to EU heads of state last month, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen named 2024 “a landmark year for EU migration and asylum policy,” but noted that the agreement on new legislation “is not the end.” She went on to refer to the possibility of “tackling asylum applications further from the EU external border,” describing it as an idea “which will certainly deserve our attention.”

03 July 2024

Border externalisation: billions of euros, visa sanctions, and a wealth of documentation

Category: News

The second issue of our bulletin on EU border externalisation policies is now available.

03 July 2024

Visa sanctions to increase deportations

Category: Analysis

Changes to the EU’s rules on visa issuance that came into force in 2020 have made it possible for sanctions to be introduced against states that fail to cooperate with deportations. For example, non-EU states that consistently fail to provide identity documents for their own nationals facing deportation from the EU can have visa fees increased, or the examination of applications slowed down. The tool appears to be popular with EU institutions and member states, and changes are on the way to “improve” its functioning. This analysis examines the mechanism itself, measures proposed or adopted under the mechanism, and recent proposals to develop and reform the system, and considers the way in which the idea of “solidarity” (between EU member states and EU bodies) is used as a weapon against third countries.

03 July 2024

A bottomless pit: billions more euros for externalised border controls

Category: Analysis

In view of the recently concluded mid-term review of the EU’s budget, funding for the externalisation of migration control has been at the top of the political agendas of EU member states and institutions. In the words of the European Commission and the European External Action Service, funding “ensure[s] that the actions undertaken… continue delivering results.” A substantial increase in the EU budget is on the cards, at the same time as a possible shift towards a supposedly new “preventive model” for external migration control.

02 July 2024

How the EU police training agency is cosying up to the Arab League’s political extradition body

Category: News

CEPOL, the EU police training agency, is collaborating with the Arab League’s political extradition body in spite of its human rights obligations.

01 July 2024

UK: Parliamentary candidates must end "hateful and inflammatory rhetoric" against migrants

Category: News

Candidates in this week's general election in the UK should shun "hateful and inflammatory rhetoric" against migrants and support policies for "digital sanctuary," says a letter signed by 37 organisations, including Statewatch. Providing "digital sanctuary" for people means "ending the hostile digital environment, establishing robust privacy protections for migrants’ data and promoting inclusive digital policies," says the letter.

24 June 2024

Come funzionano i voli di rimpatrio forzato dall’Italia alla Tunisia

Category: Press coverage

Internazionale, 24 June 2024.

20 June 2024

Greek border deaths: Frontex management board knew about "systematic" violations

Category: News

An investigation by the BBC has put the Greek state’s deadly border policies back in the public eye – but there has so far been no mention in the press of Frontex’s operations in the country. Documents seen by Statewatch show that despite warnings from its own fundamental rights officials, Frontex’s senior staff and management board did nothing to halt the agency’s operations in Greece. Suspending or terminating operations is a legal obligation when rights violations “are of a serious nature or are likely to persist.” A case before the Court of Justice of the EU is seeking an order to halt Frontex’s Greek operations, with an appeal filed in January still pending.

12 June 2024

Frontex collaboration with Libya: “we call them and try to persuade them to take them back”

Category: News

The EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has been accused of aiding the return of migrants who have fled Libya back to the country, and to possible torture and blackmail. Border guards who have worked for Frontex, speaking to journalists from the Swedish television programme Mission Investigate, by Sveriges Television (SVT), revealed just how close contact with groups in the country is. Meanwhile, a rescue mission in the Mediterranean being documented by Mission Investigate was fired upon by the so-called Libyan coast guard.

06 June 2024

Automating the fortress: digital technologies and European borders

Category: Analysis

The fortification of Europe’s borders is inherently linked to the use of digital technologies. Indeed, the process would be unthinkable without them. From the biometric passports and automated gates used at border crossing points to the drones, sensor systems and detection technologies used to prevent and detect unauthorised migrants, digital technologies are crucial to a political project that seeks to give state authorities increased knowledge of – and thus control over – foreign nationals seeking to enter the EU. Vast quantities of public funding have been used to develop and deploy these technologies, and unless there is significant public and political opposition to the project, it is likely that the EU will provide far more money in the years to come. Given the harm caused by the ongoing reinforcement of Fortress Europe, and the myriad more beneficial ways in which those funds could be spent, that opposition is urgently needed.

06 June 2024

Policing by design: the latest EU surveillance plan

Category: News

The EU should reintroduce mass telecommunications surveillance and create backdoors to encrypted data, a new plan drafted in secret by police and security officials says. To do so, close coordination between the state and industry would be required, to ensure what the plan calls “lawful access by design.” The plan repeats demands made many times over the years by officials, and may find a warm reception from the incoming European Commission.

22 May 2024

From Cutro to Pylos: what two shipwrecks reveal about Europe’s deadly migration policies

Category: Analysis

The anniversary of the shipwreck in Crotone on 26 February was marked by relatives and supporters of at least 94 people who died on the morning of that same day in 2023. They gathered on the beach in Cutro, in the city of Milan, and elsewhere in Italy: the names of the dead were read at public events, and survivors gave their testimonies.Three months later, it will also be the first anniversary of the Pylos shipwreck, in which at least 500 people lost their lives, and similar events will mark that anniversary. [1]

21 May 2024

New EU migrant smuggling law: member states keen on maximum criminalisation

Category: News

The EU is moving towards adopting a renewed law to criminalise migrant smuggling, and member states in the Council have started making progress towards a position for negotiations with the Parliament. Some governments appear to favour maximum criminalisation, calling for a broad definition of smuggling to facilitate prosecutions – a position that has been taken on board by the Belgian Council Presidency in an initial compromise text.

16 May 2024

Who’s a “potential terrorist or violent extremist threat”? Plans to exchange information about “future” criminals

Category: News

EU member states have finalised a set of “non-binding” criteria for assessing when someone may be labelled a potential terrorist or violent extremism threat. The intention is to feed European databases such as the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Europol Information System (EIS), as well as Europol analysis projects such as “Hydra” and “Traveller”, according to a note circulated by the Belgian Council Presidency last month.

10 May 2024

Europol migrant smuggling proposal torn to shreds by the Council

Category: News

The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU has proposed gutting the Commission’s proposal to increase Europol’s powers in human smuggling and trafficking cases. There is little that remains of the original proposal, aside from new “Operational Task Forces” led by member states (with a support role given to Europol) and a limited mandatory exchange of information on smuggling and trafficking investigations.

07 May 2024

Finland and Italy want more military involvement in migration control

Category: News

The Finnish and Italian governments last month presented a plan on “countering instrumentalization of migration and migrant smuggling” to the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting, calling for “innovative ways” to address the issues – including by increased cooperation between the EU and NATO.

29 April 2024

The politics behind the EU-Mauritania migration partnership

Category: Analysis

On 7 March, the EU and Mauritania signed a landmark “migration deal.” This January note from the European Commission makes the case for the deal to EU member state representatives in the Council. Dated 26 January, and therefore preceding both the public announcement of the deal on 7 February and its signing one month later, the note offers insight into the politics behind the migration partnership deal between Mauritania and the EU.

29 April 2024

Charting a course through the labyrinth of externalisation

Category: Analysis

“Migration is a European challenge which requires a European response” has become a favoured refrain of EU officials and communiques. While the slogan is supposed to reinforce the need for a unified EU migration policy, it also masks the reality of the situation. The EU’s response to migration – in particular, irregular migration – is increasingly dependent on non-EU, and non-European states. Billions of euros and huge diplomatic efforts have been expended over the last three decades to rope non-EU states into this migration control agenda, and the process of externalisation is accelerating and expanding. Understanding the institutions and agencies involved is a crucial first step for anyone working for humane EU asylum and migration policies.

29 April 2024

Met police to pay ‘five-figure sum’ to French publisher arrested under anti-terror laws

Category: Press coverage

The Guardian, 29 April 2024.

29 April 2024

New project to provide systematic monitoring of EU externalisation policy

Category: News

What are the objectives of the EU’s external migration policy? With which countries are new migration agreements planned? How is the EU seeking to integrate non-European states into its violent migration control regime? And what impact will this have on people seeking protection, migrants, democracy and human rights, inside and outside the EU?

25 April 2024

EU: Council eyes role in “operationalising” the Pact on Migration and Asylum

Category: News

“The effectiveness of this new legal framework hinges on its successful implementation. This will require the adoption and application of regulatory adjustments at national level, the development or enhancement of equipment and infrastructure, the implementation of new systems, processes and procedures, reinforced coordination at national and EU level, and increased operational support and financial allocation.”

25 April 2024

Putting the cart before the horse: the Commission’s proposal to increase Europol's powers

Category: Analysis

Hounded by criticism from civil society and EU member states over its new proposal to increase the powers of Europol, the European Commission has belatedly published an “analytical document” in lieu of a formal impact assessment. The new proposal would lead to the storage of vast quantities of information by Europol on human smuggling and trafficking cases, intended to increase investigations and prosecutions. However, the Commission’s document offers a minimal analysis of the potential impact on individual rights, particularly of people in vulnerable situations, and the data protection safeguards at Europol are inadequate for the proposed changes.

23 April 2024

Italy: Press freedom under attack as three reporters face up to nine years in prison

Category: News

Three Italian journalists working for the newspaper Domani - Giovanni Tizian, Nello Trocchia and Stefano Vergine - face up to nine years in prison. An investigation by the Perugia Public Prosecutor alleges that they requested and received confidential documents from a public official, and breached the secrecy of the investigation through the request and publication of information in those documents. The articles in question concerned Italy's defence minister Guido Crosetto, who for years prior to becoming minister was paid by the arm industry as an advisor. Alongside multiple other organisations and media outlets, Statewatch has signed a statement calling on the Italian authorities to respect press freedom.

22 April 2024

EU-Israel data agreement rings alarm bells

Category: News

At the beginning of the year, the European Commission approved the continuation of 11 personal data adequacy agreements with non-EU states. The approval allowed the continuation of unrestricted data flows with entities in the EU. In an open letter to the Commission, Statewatch and 10 other organisations raise a number of concerns regarding the agreement with Israel, arguing that problems with the rule of law and practices of mass surveillance by security and intelligence agencies call the adequacy agreement into question.

10 April 2024

The EU Migration Pact: a dangerous regime of migrant surveillance

Category: News

The #ProtectNotSurveil coalition, of which Statewatch is a member, has issued a statement condemning "the criminalisation and digital surveillance of migrants" that will be ushered in by the new Pact on Migration and Asylum. The laws that are part of the Pact were given final approval by the European Parliament this afternoon. The statement explains how the new legal framework "will enable and in some cases mandate the deployment of harmful surveillance technologies and practices against migrants," whilst laying the foundations for the expanded use of invasive technologies in the future.

09 April 2024

Policing migration: when “harm reduction” means “multipurpose aerial surveillance”

Category: News

The EU’s latest “operational action plan” on migrant smuggling gives a central role to Europol, which will receive data resulting from more than two dozen joint police operations launched by EU member states, EU agencies and a range of non-EU states. The UK is heavily involved in the plan, and is leading one activity. One objective is for harm reduction and assistance to victims, but the only activity foreseen is for Frontex to increase use of its “EUROSUR Fusion Services, including the Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance aircraft service.”

09 April 2024

Migration Pact "will engender a proliferation of human rights violations" and must be rejected

Category: News

Ahead of Wednesday's final parliamentary vote on the laws that make up the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum, 161 organisations - including Statewatch - have called on MEPs to vote against the new measures. The statement says that the new laws will create "a system whereby the right to seek asylum in the EU is severely threatened and will engender a proliferation of human rights violations," and should be rejected.

04 April 2024

Hardwiring the externalisation of border control into EU law

Category: News

EU institutions have almost finalised negotiations on the Pact on Migration and Asylum, with MEPs due to vote on a range of new laws next week. Approval for the measures is almost certain – and when they come into force, they will turn the externalisation of migration and border control into legal obligations.

28 March 2024

EU: Intelligence-sharing plan extended from asylum-seekers to "any foreigner involved in a migratory procedure"

Category: News

In 2022, EU member states began discussing ways to increase the amount of information sent to intelligence agencies on "the timing and state of progress of applications for international protection lodged by individuals posing a terrorist threat". Now the intention is to cover not just asylum-seekers, but "any foreigner involved in a migratory procedure." According to the Belgian Presidency, "security concerns go beyond the mere scope of applicants for international protection, as they also cover other people who apply for the legal right to stay in Europe."

27 March 2024

Joint Statement: Egyptian authorities must end arbitrary detentions and forced deportations of Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers

Category: News

More than 25 organisations, including Statewatch, have signed a joint statement calling on the Egyptian government "to immediately stop the serious abuses against Sudanese seeking refuge in Egypt," including inhumane detention conditions, unfair proceedings, forced returns, racial profiling and the extraction of payments on promise of status regularisation. The statement follows a previous call made in October 2022 and comes in the context of the EU agreeing to provide a further €200 million to the Egyptian government for migration and border control.

23 March 2024

EU funding drone technology used by Israel in Gaza war, claim monitors

Category: Press coverage

Euronews, 23 March 2024.

22 March 2024

European money for the war in Gaza: how EU research funding supports the Israeli arms industry

Category: Analysis

Technologies developed with financial support from Europe are being used in the current war in Gaza, as they have been previously in occupation of Palestinian territory and marginalisation of the Palestinian people.

22 March 2024

EU-funded drone technology being used in war on Gaza

Category: News

A drone manufacturer that is “supporting the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] 100%” in the war on Gaza received a €50,000 research and development grant from the EU, an analysis published today by Statewatch and Informationsstelle Militarisierung (Information Centre on Militarisation, IMI) reveals. Other Israeli military companies and institutions have received millions of euros for drone development in recent years, despite a supposed prohibition on EU funding for military and defence projects.

15 March 2024

85 civil society organisations call on MEPs to uphold fundamental rights and reject the harmful Schengen Borders Code recast

Category: News

Alongside 85 other organisations, Statewatch has signed a joint statement calling on MEPs to reject changes to the Schengen Borders Code. The statement says that the new legislation will increase racial profiling, allow for "internal pushbacks" between Schengen states, invokes the questionable concept of "instrumentalisation of migration" to allow derogations from rights, and will lead to an increase in the use of new surveillance technologies.

15 March 2024

“Action file” on Tunisia outlines EU’s externalisation plans

Category: News

An “action file” obtained by Statewatch lays out the objectives and activities of the EU’s cooperation on migration with Tunisia – whose government was heavily criticized by the European Parliament this week for “an authoritarian reversal and an alarming backslide on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

15 March 2024

Parliamentary lawyers: democratic oversight needed for EU-Tunisia migration agreement

Category: News

Last July, the EU and Tunisia signed a memorandum of understanding in which the EU promised substantial support for Tunisian migration and border controls. An opinion by the European Parliament Legal Service, obtained by Statewatch, concludes that although the agreement is not legally binding, some form of parliamentary oversight is required. Currently, that is not the case, but MEPs are demanding it – in particular due to the authoritarian nature of many of the regimes the EU is supporting.

13 March 2024

New report examines redress for systemic human rights violations in Turkish messaging app prosecutions

Category: Press release

PRESS RELEASE: A new report published today by Statewatch provides a comprehensive analysis of the Turkish authorities’ prosecutions of individuals for using an encrypted messaging app, providing insight into systemic human rights violations and potential remedies for those who have been wrongfully convicted.

13 March 2024

ByLock Prosecutions and the Right to Fair Trial in Turkey: The ECtHR Grand Chamber’s Ruling in Yüksel Yalçınkaya v. Türkiye

Category: Publications and reports

This report analyses the European Court of Human Rights' judgement in the case Yalçınkaya v Türkiye, which found that a conviction based on the use of the encrypted messaging app ByLock violated a number of rights: no punishment without law; the right to a fair trial; and freedom of assembly and association. The judgement represents a milestone in the legal and political discourse surrounding ByLock convictions, and should be used as the basis for retrials for the tens of thousands of people who have been punished for their alleged use of the app.

06 March 2024

Statewatch is seeking information on secrecy and security exceptions in asylum and immigration cases

Category: News

Individuals involved in immigration and asylum proceedings can face multiple barriers to a fair hearing: an unfamiliar or unknown language, a lack of legal aid, and limited support networks. There is also the possibility that secret evidence will be used to refuse their applications or deny them entry to the territory. To gather further evidence on the extent of this problem, and the possibilities that data protection law offers as a remedy, Statewatch has launched a questionnaire to gather evidence from affected individuals, lawyers and support groups.

28 February 2024

The case of Civipol: commodified mobility policing in West Africa and its colonial continuities

Category: Analysis

Current European attempts to outsource migration control to West Africa mirror historical entanglements between colonial logics, corporate interests and policing. This article looks at the place of public-private relations in French colonialism in order to historically situate the activities of Civipol, a French public-private actor owned both by the French state and major security companies, that has specialized in building African states’ internal security capacity.

28 February 2024

Environmental activism under the EU counter-terror microscope

Category: Analysis

Next week, EU and member state officials will discuss “the role of climate change and environmental concerns in violent extremist and terrorist radicalisation.” A discussion paper for the meeting, obtained by Statewatch, considers the threat posed by “violent left-wing and anarchist extremism” – a heading under which a number of prominent environmental protest groups are mentioned. The inclusion of peaceful but disruptive groups in the paper may legitimate further police surveillance and infiltration, legal harassment and government crackdowns – a problem identified as “a major threat to human rights and democracy” by a UN Special Rapporteur.

27 February 2024

Border security with drones and databases

Category: Analysis

The EU’s borders are increasingly militarised, with hundreds of millions of euros paid to state agencies and military, security and IT companies for surveillance, patrols and apprehension and detention. This process has massive human cost, and politicians are planning to intensify it.

27 February 2024

UK: Law changes will make it harder to hold police to account for illegal data access

Category: News

An office for West Yorkshire Police, based in Leeds, has been convicted of breaches of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, after using police databases to search for information on people she knew with no legitimate reason. The case highlights the risks posed by forthcoming changes to UK data protection law.

27 February 2024

Spain: Terrorism charges against protesters undermine "international human rights and democratic standards"

Category: News

A letter signed by 20 organisations from across Europe, including Statewatch, calls for the dropping of terrorism charges filed by the Spanish authorities against 12 protesters. The 12 face the charges for organising a blockade of Barcelona's El Prat airport and the motorway at La Jonquera, near the border with France, in protest at the jailing of Catalan independence leaders. "The misuse of the accusation of terrorism is unjustifiable," the letter says. It goes on to say that it undermines "international human rights and democratic standards" and "has a chilling effect on civic engagement."

26 February 2024

Irak ottaa nyt palautettavat kansalaisensa vastaan, Somalia kieltäytyy yhä yhteistyöstä

Category: Press coverage

Helsingin Sanomat, 26 February 2024.

15 February 2024

Racial profiling and "internal pushbacks" in new Schengen borders legislation

Category: News

Statewatch is publishing the final compromise text of the revised Schengen Borders Code, which is due for adoption soon by the Council and the Parliament. The text has been heavily criticised for encouraging racial profiling through the increased use of police patrols and checks at internal borders in the Schengen area, as well as legitimating "internal pushbacks", with the aim of avoiding the full-blown reintroduction of internal border controls.

14 February 2024

Civic space in Cyprus must be protected

Category: News

KISA is a Cypriot NGO that works for "an all-inclusive, multicultural society, free of racism, xenophobia and discrimination," that has been the subject of ongoing and worsening attacks from the authorities and far-right groups. The most extreme such attack came on 5 January, when a bomb set off outside KISA's office broke all the windows, and destroyed much of the equipment and the organisation's archives. In response, over 40 organisations from across Europe, including Statewatch, are calling on Cypriot and European authorities to take action to condemn the bombing, launch an investigation, and halt the attacks upon KISA.

13 February 2024

MEPs can still halt the EU's harmful migration pact, say civil society groups

Category: News

On 14 February, MEPs in the European Parliament's civil liberties committee will vote on the legislation that makes up the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum, following political agreement between parliamentarians and EU member state representatives in December. A statement signed by more than 80 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, calls on MEPs to vote against rules that will have "devastating implications for the right to international protection in the bloc and greenlights abuses across Europe including racial profiling, default de facto detention and pushbacks."

13 February 2024

Italy: Trento council fined for illegal AI video and audio surveillance projects

Category: News

Last month, the Italian privacy authority fined Trento city council €50,000 for the deployment of two artificial intelligence-driven urban surveillance projects that violated data protection rules. The two projects, which were funded by the EU, were accompanied by a third research project that avoided sanction from the privacy authority, as no data processing has so far taken place under its auspices.

13 February 2024

Deportations: EU considers stepping up visa sanctions after Iraq and Gambia change policies

Category: News

Iraq and The Gambia have both been targeted with EU visa sanctions due to non-cooperation on deportations, and it seems the measures – or the threat of them – may have led to a new willingness to accept deportation flights from EU states. The instrument was first introduced in 2019, and was first applied to The Gambia in 2021. Now member states are discussing the way ahead for the visa sanctions regime, which may see more threats levelled at third countries deemed insufficiently cooperative with EU deportations.

12 February 2024

New powers for Europol: proposal gets frosty reception from member states

Category: News

At the end of November the Commission proposed expanding Europol’s powers, in the name of fighting migrant smuggling. Member states have started discussing the proposal in the Council. Written comments obtained by Statewatch suggest that the plans have not been well-received in national capitals.

07 February 2024

Palestine: 300 academics call for halt to EU research funding that violates international law

Category: News

Almost 300 academics from universities across Europe and beyond have called for the EU to stop funding research projects "that may, directly or indirectly, violate international law and human rights," in particular with regard to substantial research funding the EU provides to institutions in Israel.

06 February 2024

Tarajal border deaths: 11th March for Dignity demands justice as new lawsuit opened

Category: News

Last Saturday, the 11th 'March for Dignity' took place in Ceuta, marking the killing of 14 people who died by drowning on 6 February 2014 after being pushed back by Spanish border guards, tear-gassed and fired upon with rubber bullets. A fresh lawsuit against Spain was recently filed at the UN by one of the survivors.

02 February 2024

No real safeguards for new Europol data powers, says data protection authority

Category: News

A new proposal to enhance the powers of Europol and to strengthen its cooperation with Frontex in the name of fighting migrant smuggling falls short of respecting data protection and fundamental rights standards, according to the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).

30 January 2024

Frontex and deportations, 2006-22

Category: Analysis

Data covering 17 years of Frontex’s deportation operations shows the expanding role of the agency. We have produced a series of visualisations to show the number of people deported in Frontex-coordinated operations, the member states involved, the destination states, and the costs.

29 January 2024

EU: Tracking the Pact: Texts of the Asylum Procedure and Eurodac Regulations

Category: News

The laws making up the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum were agreed in feverish secret meetings between the Council, Commission and Parliament at the end of December. However, they only reached "political agreement" - the actual texts of the different pieces of legislation have since been hammered out in "technical discussions". Statewatch is publishing the consolidated texts of the Asylum Procedure Regulation and the Eurodac Regulation, two of the multiple new laws set to govern asylum and migration in the EU in the years to come.

29 January 2024

UK: More than 250 organisations call for rejection of "legal fiction" of Rwanda Bill

Category: News

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill is to receive its second reading in the House of Lords today. A statement signed by 265 civil society organisations and other entities from across the UK, including Statewatch, calls for it to be rejected.

25 January 2024

EU: Council Presidency seeks “common vision” on US database access demands

Category: News

The US wants to vet travellers through direct access to foreign databases, including those of EU member states. Bilateral discussions are ongoing and are at different stages in different states, but it remains unclear whether the agreements are an EU or national competence. The US is organising an “informal information meeting” for EU member states and institutions, after which the Presidency wants to develop a “common vision”.

24 January 2024

The growing infrastructure and business model behind (im)migration and surveillance technologies

Category: Events

Panel co-hosted by Statewatch and Privacy International at Privacy Camp 2024 in Brussels, Belgium.

17 January 2024

Risk screening and watchlists: Europol and Frontex reports on development of the “permission to travel” system

Category: News

Reports circulated by Europol and Frontex to member states last October show that the development of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was – at least at the time – still plagued by delays, which both agencies blame on eu-Lisa, the EU’s database agency. Frontex’s report says the delays were causing problems for the “assessment functionality for the risk screening of the ETIAS applications,” through which travellers will be profiled. Meanwhile, Europol continues to develop its new “watchlist” of potential terrorists and criminals, and is seeking permission to use data supplied by non-EU states in the assessment of travel applications.

11 January 2024

EU: Police data access working group needs transparency and critical advice, says joint civil society letter

Category: News

A letter signed by 21 organisations, including Statewatch, calls on the EU's new High Level Group on Access to Data for Effective Law Enforcement (HLG) to ensure its proceedings are transparent and that it facilitates the participation of independent civil society experts, instead of relying solely on the input of police, interior ministry and industry officials.

10 January 2024

US migration data demands are “challenging”, say Norwegian authorities

Category: News

Norwegian government officials have met with their US counterparts to discuss the US' demands for direct access to biometric, identity and criminal record databases as part of its new “border security” plan, according to a report in the newspaper Bergens Tidende. The Norwegian police have apparently described the proposals as “challenging,” given existing legal requirements.

10 January 2024

EU missions in Palestine ponder role for "day after" Gaza bombardment ends

Category: News

Two reports from EU security missions in Palestine, dealing with policing and border control, indicate that officials are pondering their role in the planning for whatever happens when Israel's bombardment of the Gaza strip ends.

08 January 2024

Germany: Fatal police shootings in 2022

Category: Analysis

For the year 2022, the official firearm usage statistics of the Conference of the Ministers of the Interior recorded a total of 54 shots fired at people. 11 individuals were killed as a result. This is three more than the previous year. Legally, these shots were classified as self-defense/emergency aid. 41 people were injured due to police firearm use.

01 January 2024

USA krever fri adgang til å søke i norske registre

Category: Press coverage

Bergens Tidende, 1 January 2024.

20 December 2023

Police to be able to run face recognition searches on 50m driving licence holders

Category: Press coverage

The Guardian, 20 December 2023.

19 December 2023

Tracking the Pact: Council for detention of families, against legal advice and sibling reunion

Category: News

A discussion document circulated by the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU prior this week's crunch trilogues on new migration and asylum legislation sets out the Council's red lines: families with children should not automatically be excluded from border procedures, and thus may be detained; free legal advice should not be provided to asylum applicants; and siblings should not be considered as family members. The Council also wants to maintain "a menu of derogations as broad as possible."

19 December 2023

All EU institutions want billions more for borders, but disagree on the details

Category: News

At its meeting last week, the European Council – made up of the heads of state and government of EU member states – backed the European Commission’s proposal to boost the EU’s 2021-27 border budgets by €2 billion. This is not enough for the European Parliament, however, which would like to see the budgets increased by €3 billion. Meanwhile, all three institutions have different positions on the proposed increase for development aid, which includes funding for externalised migration control.

18 December 2023

New Brexit fingerprint checks for UK travellers in Europe set to start in 2024

Category: Press coverage

i, 18 December 2023.

18 December 2023

NGOs: EU asylum overhaul will create 'cruel system'

Category: Press coverage

EUobserver, 18 December.

14 December 2023

EU: Hamas ban plan sparks concerns of crackdown on pro-Palestinian action

Category: News

A Franco-German-Italian plan setting out proposals to counter the activities of Hamas at both EU and global level has raised concerns that governments may use it as a justification for further attacks on pro-Palestinian protest and campaigning. The document outlines strategies ranging from restricting resources to banning support networks.

12 December 2023

Expansive new police powers hidden behind EU’s migrant smuggling proposals

Category: News

At the end of November, the European Commission announced two new laws to fight migrant smuggling. One seeks to make the legal framework more punitive. The other aims “to reinforce Europol’s role in the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings,” but would in fact expand Europol’s powers in relation to all crimes for which it has competence, and let the agency conduct “non-coercive investigative measures” during joint operations with national police forces. Its staff are currently prohibited from conducting any kind of investigative measure.

07 December 2023

Frontex working groups

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Frontex rules on the creation and functioning of internal working groups, and a chart of working groups as of early October 2023.

28 November 2023

People-smuggling profits at historic high, EU concedes

Category: Press coverage

EUobserver, 28 November 2023.

23 November 2023

Digital rights and the protection of the right to asylum in the Charter of the European Union

Category: Analysis

The right to asylum, as delineated in Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) (‘the Charter’), does not grant the right to asylum to every individual seeking it. Instead, it articulates that everyone is entitled to have their application for international protection examined in line with international and EU law. This principle is reinforced by Article 19 of the Charter, which strictly prohibits collective expulsions and forbids the removal, expulsion or extradition of any person ‘to a State where there is a serious risk that he or she would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.

22 November 2023

Europol löscht NoBorder-Initiativen aus Terrorbericht

Category: Press coverage

ND, 22 November 2023.

19 November 2023

Visafreiheit: USA wollen Zugriff auf EU-Biometriedaten bilateral durchsetzen

Category: Press coverage

Heise, 19 November 2023.

07 November 2023

Webinar: Activists and NGOs under watch! Are you in Europol’s databases?

Category: Events

On 7 November, digital rights experts from EDRi and Statewatch will explore how civil society, activists and social movements have been increasingly criminalised and surveilled in Europe, and will introduce attendees to a new tool that will people request their data that is held by Europol. Access requests are an important tool in countering the abusive data collection practices by European police.

02 November 2023

EU will drohendes Grenzchaos mit Biometrie und App verhindern

Category: Press coverage

Netzpolitik, 2 November 2023.

02 November 2023

Greek data watchdog to rule on AI systems in refugee camps

Category: News

Computer Weekly, 30 October 2023.

12 October 2023

Annual activity report 2022

Category: Publications and reports

Rights, freedom and democracy: the struggle is continuous

06 October 2023

Dünya çapında kullanılıyor: İngiltere, derhal durdurmaları için harekete geçti!

Category: Press coverage

Haber7, 6 October 2023.

26 September 2023

Surge in police use of facial recognition sparks concerns over wrongful targeting

Category: Press coverage

Morning Star, 26 September.

20 September 2023

The cost of migration: Europe's response

Category: Press coverage

BBC, 20 September.

19 September 2023

The new proposal on the security of EU information: a wider but incomplete legal framework for classified information

Category: Analysis

Part 3 of a series /// The proposal on security of EU information, as introduced, would create a legal framework for classified information with a number of gaps and loopholes that would prevent the European Parliament and the Court of Justice from exercising their roles as set out in the EU treaties. Changes are required to fix these problems.

12 September 2023

The proposal on security of EU information: how to burst the bubble and open the EU fortress

Category: Analysis

Part 2 of a series /// The Commission's proposal on security of EU information threatens to fatally undermine the rules on access to documents, which are essential for transparency, openness and public participation in democratic-decision making. The European Parliament and the Council need to take action to fix the proposal on security of information. At the same time, there are clear steps they could take to improve the access to documents rules, ensuring that legislative deliberations are as open and transparent as required by the treaties.

10 September 2023

Brexit: EU issues guidance after Britons 'wrongfully held' at Schengen borders

Category: Press coverage

The Local, 10 September 2023.

07 September 2023

The proposal on security of EU information: transforming the “bubble” into a “fortress”?

Category: Analysis

Part 1 of a series /// EU institutions are currently discussing a proposal for a new law "on information security in the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union." While the objective itself may be legitimate, the proposal as it stands seeks to extend to other EU institutions and agencies the secrecy and opacity that has for so long characterised the work of the Council. It undermines existing legislation on public access to official documents and would fatally undermine the treaty obligation for the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the EU "to conduct their work as openly as possible." At the same time, the proposal fails to ensure the interinstitutional and interagecy cooperation necessary to ensure an effective administration.

08 August 2023

Telling the story of EU border militarization: messages, principles and language

Addressing and preventing European border violence is a huge but necessary strategic challenge. This guide offers framing messages, guiding principles, and suggested language for people and organisations working on this challenge. It emerges from a process of discussion online and in-person between over a dozen organisations working in the European migrant justice space.

07 August 2023

Telling the story of EU border militarization

Category: Publications and reports

Addressing and preventing European border violence is a huge but necessary strategic challenge. This guide offers framing messages, guiding principles, and suggested language for people and organisations working on this challenge. It emerges from a process of discussion online and in-person between over a dozen organisations working in the European migrant justice space.

19 July 2023

International police data-sharing: what are the UK and EU cooking up?

Category: Analysis

For the last few years, British and European officials have been seeking ways to regain the ability to instantly share police data across borders – an ability that was lost after the UK left the EU at the end of 2020. The plan currently under development is to build a new data-sharing architecture encompassing the UK, the EU and other “international partners,” but substantive details of it are being kept under lock and key. The implications go beyond privacy and data protection, and raise questions about the potential uses of a new system to crack down on the right to protest, as well as the right to seek asylum.

10 July 2023

Droni in Niger e radar nel Mediterraneo: l'Ue spende miliardi per confini hi-tech

Category: Press coverage

La Via Libera, 10 July 2023.

10 July 2023

Europe's techno-borders

Category: Publications and reports

The digital technologies deployed as part of Europe’s techno-borders underpin invasions of privacy, brutal violations of human rights, and make the border ‘mobile’, for example through the increased use of biometric identification technologies, such as handheld fingerprint scanners. This report analyses the past, present and future of Europe’s “techno-borders,” the infrastructure put in place over the last three decades to provide authorities with knowledge of – and thus control over – foreign nationals seeking to enter or staying in EU and Schengen territory.

10 July 2023

Surveillance technology and artificial intelligence: what impact for people on the move?

Category: Events

A webinar presenting a new report from Statewatch and EuroMed Rights (Europe's techno-borders); a new EuroMed Rights report (Artificial intelligence: the new frontier of the EU's border externalisation strategy); and an update on negotiations on the EU's Artificial Intelligence Act.

10 July 2023

The human cost of AI in EU-Africa's migration surveillance

Category: Press coverage

EUobserver, 10 July.

07 July 2023

Leak: EU ministers want to keep more obstacles for long term permits

Category: Press coverage

Euractiv, 7 July.

13 June 2023

UK government must be more open on use of AI, say campaigners

Category: Press coverage

BBC News, 13 June.

13 June 2023

Externalisation of migration control: from the 1990s to the present

Category: Analysis

A talk given by Statewatch researcher Yasha Maccanico at the TransBorder Camp in Nantes, July 2022.

11 May 2023

Overvåkingen er ulovlig i EU. I Norge fortsetter den

Category: Press coverage

Bergens Tidende, 9 May 2023.

09 May 2023

Visafreie Einreise: USA erwarten "systematische Transfers" biometrischer Daten

Category: Press coverage

Heise, 9 May 2023.

18 April 2023

Wie soll künstliche Intelligenz reguliert werden?

Category: Press coverage

Republik, 18 April 2023.

17 April 2023

The green police: anti-mafia powers for environmental crime investigations?

Category: Analysis

The European Commission's proposal for a new environmental crime Directive will significantly strengthen law enforcement powers. As well as introducing a range of new criminal offences at EU level, the proposed Directive encourages the use of intrusive policing tactics against suspected environmental crime offenders. Member states, however, aim to water down the Commission’s proposal to reduce the obligations on national authorities, and are concerned about what they see as an attempt to ‘overharmonise’ national criminal laws.

12 April 2023

Viewpoint: How to make fences and influence people: a simple guide

Category: Analysis

Are you an EU member state looking to divert attention from the human rights abuses you are committing at your border? By following this simple guide, you can ensure that not only will the European Commission, the “Guardian of the Treaties”, turn a blind eye to those abuses, but that you will receive a healthy cash injection at the same time!

05 April 2023

Prosecuting solidarity: extracts from a new book on the Riace case

Category: Analysis

A book about the political use of judicial proceedings to curtail a virtuous example of solidarity at work in reception practices in a small southern town in Calabria, Riace, led by its former mayor, Mimmo (Domenico) Lucano. Hearings of the appeal trial in Reggio Calabria are underway, after the first trial in Locri (whose sentence is commented on in these two extracts) found several defendants guilty, imposing lengthy prison terms (over 13 years for Lucano, over 80 years in total for 18 defendants) and financial penalties. The contributions to this book focus on the trial, the sentence, the appeal and the reality of the experience of Riace, including trial monitoring reports by Giovanna Procacci.

29 March 2023

Submission to European Commission consultation on "security-related information sharing"

Category: Analysis

The Commission’s initiative for a ‘Security-related information sharing system between frontline officers in the EU and key partner countries’ is a further development along the path of problematic border externalisation, and a trend of increasing use of large-scale processing of the personal data of non-EU citizens for combined criminal law and immigration control purposes, that civil society has been speaking out against for years.

28 March 2023

“Call them crazy”: Criminalisation of activists undermines rule of law in the EU

Category: Analysis

The Dutch police continue to disregard the rule of law to criminalise the pacifist activist Frank van der Linde. In recent years, his personal data has been sent to Europol, he has been labelled a terrorist, and police have suggested he be referred to a psychiatric facility. Far from an isolated case, van der Linde’s story shows just how far police in Europe will go to criminalise the right to protest and stifle political dissent.

13 March 2023

Access denied: Secrecy and the externalisation of EU migration control

Category: Publications and reports

For at least three decades, the EU and its Member States have engaged in a process of “externalisation” – a policy agenda by which the EU seeks to prevent migrants and refugees setting foot on EU territory by externalising (that is, outsourcing) border controls to non-EU states. The EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, published in September 2020, proposed a raft of measures seeking to step up operational cooperation and collaboration in order to further this agenda.

02 March 2023

Migration policy overspill: access to information in peril

Category: Analysis

It is well-documented that the externalisation of migration and border policies by the EU and other western states has led to appalling violations of human rights. While this is by far the most important issue resulting from border externalisation, there are also many other negative effects - including attacks on the right to access and impart information.

02 March 2023

Seulement 207 migrants relocalisés par le programme de volontariat de l'Union européenne

Category: Press coverage

InfoMigrants, 3 February 2023.

01 March 2023

El nuevo mecanismo de reparto de refugiados de la UE vuelve a encallar

Category: Press coverage

El País, 1 March 2023.

13 February 2023

Unaccompanied and separated children: patterns of child migration are changing at the southern Spanish border

Category: Analysis

Since the early 1990s thousands of "unaccompanied and separated children" have arrived on Spanish territory. The authorities have frequently violated their rights. Policy changes and other events have led to migration patterns shifting over the years. A debate is needed over the facilities and care provided for child migrants, who at the moment are often housed in large facilities that do not meet their needs or uphold their rights.

08 February 2023

Pushbacks, migration policy and returns at the core of EU support for authoritarian regimes

Category: Analysis

The ongoing debate on pushbacks and rights violations at external EU borders neglects an important aspect: the EU and its states betray their claimed goal to promote human rights, the rule of law and civil society development worldwide by helping authoritarian regimes oppress their citizens, and also to stop them from leaving.

08 February 2023

The European Union and its crises

Category: Analysis

Since the Amsterdam Treaty of 1999, various crises have served as a pretext for expanding EU security structures and the powers of repressive authorities. Politically motivated human rights abuses remain the order of the day and have been exacerbated by the recent “migration crisis” at the EU's eastern borders.

07 February 2023

Frontex and interoperable databases: knowledge as power?

Category: Publications and reports

The EU’s border agency, Frontex, will be able to access vast quantities of data once the EU’s ‘interoperable’ policing and migration databases are fully operational. This briefing considers the agency’s use of data from two different perspectives – operational and statistical – and provides an overview of the agency’s role in the EU’s emerging “travel intelligence” architecture. It is aimed at informing understanding, analysis and critique of the agency and its role, with a view to making it possible to better understand, engage with and challenge future developments in this area.

04 February 2023

Immigrazione, per contrastarla la Commissione Ue consiglia intese ‘segrete’: ecco gli effetti

Category: Press coverage

Il Fatto Quotidiano, 4 February 2023.

02 February 2023

Longtime Client Majid Khan Released from Guantánamo, to Begin New Life in Belize

Category: News

Press release by the Center for Constitutional Rights on the release of Majid Khan from Guantámo and his transfer to Belize.

01 February 2023

EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border

Category: Press coverage

EUobserver, 1 February 2023.

25 January 2023

Workshop: Policing the crisis, policing as crisis: the problem(s) with Europol

Category: Events

We are hosting a workshop at Privacy Camp 2023 in Brussels.

23 January 2023

Submission for the EU Rule of Law Report 2023

Category: Evidence/Submission

On 20 January, we filed a submission to the European Commission's public consultation for its Rule of Law Report 2023, which will cover developments in 2022. Our submission highlights a number of topics - in particular regarding rule of law issues at EU level, surveillance, access to an effective remedy and the criminalisation of the press - that have not received sufficient attention in previous iterations of the report.

12 January 2023

Frontex and deportations, 2006-21

Category: Analysis

Data covering 16 years of Frontex’s deportation operations shows the expanding role of the agency. We have produced a series of data visualisations to show the number of people deported in Frontex-coordinated operations, the member states involved, the destination states, and the costs.

06 December 2022

EU plant Polizeiabkommen mit Israel

Category: Press coverage

nd, 6 December 2022.

17 November 2022

Secrecy and the externalisation of EU migration control

Category: Events

Since the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum was unveiled in September 2020, significant public and policy attention has been paid to the raft of new and recycled legal measures proposed. However, the Pact also includes a range of activities that do not undergo the same institutional to-and-fro as passing new laws.

10 November 2022

Empowering the police, removing protections: the new Europol Regulation

Category: Publications and reports

This report examines the new powers granted to EU policing agency Europol by legal amendments approved in June 2022. It finds that while the agency's tasks and powers have been hugely-expanded, in particular with regard to acquiring and processing data, independent data protection oversight of the agency has been substantially reduced.

04 November 2022

Retroplanning for the drafting of the Agency’s implementing rules for the processing of operational personal data (Article 90 EBCG Regulation)

Category: Observatory: Frontex

List of preparatory activities, consultations and meetings by the management board of Frontex between June 2021 and December 2021 ahead of the adoption the new Frontex rules on Operational Personal Data (‘OPD’), meant to be done by the end of 2021.

04 November 2022

Data Protection Officer comments on the draft Frontex Management Board Decisions

Documents with the first and second round of comments on the draft decisions on processing operational personal data.

01 November 2022

Sorvegliare in nome della sicurezza: le Agenzie Ue vogliono carta bianca

Category: Press coverage

Altreconomia, 1 November 2022.

17 October 2022

Miliardi sulla pelle dei migranti: la sorveglianza delle frontiere fa ricca l’industria delle armi

Category: Press coverage

Espresso, 17 October 2022.

10 October 2022

Annual activity report 2021

Three decades of Statewatch, a year of transition

03 October 2022

Evaluation of the 2019 Frontex Regulation: Statewatch submission to the European Commission call for evidence

Category: Evidence/Submission

We made a brief submission to the European Commission's call for evidence to inform the evaluation of the 2019 Frontex Regulation. The evaluation is due to be carried out between December 2022 and October 2023 by an external consultant. Our submission highlights issues concerning fundamental rights, transparency and accountability.

14 September 2022

The Melilla border deaths represent a new phase in the bloody story of Fortress Europe

Category: Analysis

On 24 June dozens of people died after attempting to cross the heavily-fortified border from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla. A report by the Nador branch of the Association Marocain des Droits Humains (AMDH), summarised and built upon here, examines the build-up to and immediate aftermath of the deadly incident. The report documents multiple human rights violations and also reveals a significant shift: from EU authorities undertaking pushbacks and leaving people to their fate in situations in which they may come to harm, to EU authorities undertaking pushbacks with the explicit knowledge that they would be beaten and treated in an inhumane and degrading manner by their non-EU ‘partners’.

02 September 2022

Creeping authoritarianism – the next threat to our civil liberties

Category: Press coverage

Declassified UK, 2 September 2022.

03 August 2022

Questioning the interviewers: Frontex’s covert interrogations at the Spanish southern border

Category: Analysis

Tony, a police officer deployed multiple times in Frontex operations in Spain and Greece, slips on the word “interrogate”. He immediately corrects himself: “We are not allowed to say interrogate”. We both know that the term interrogation fits perfectly well.

28 July 2022

The West will soon be sharing their citizens’ biometric data

Category: Press coverage

South China Morning Post, 28 July 2022.

26 July 2022

Frontex planning operations in Senegal and Mauritania, claims NGO

Category: Press coverage

InfoMigrants, 26 July 2022.

21 June 2022

CJEU judgment on the Passenger Name Record Directive

Category: Observatory: Travel surveillance and passenger profiling

The Court of Justice appears to have rewritten the EU's Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive in a case concerning the effects of the law on fundamental rights. While the ruling introduces a number of restrictions on what the authorities may do with PNR data, it nevertheless legitmises its ongoing use as a policing tool.

14 June 2022

FSWG exchange of view: Frontex and non-EU countries

The LIBE Committee Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) held an exchange of views on Frontex’s activities in non-EU countries today, though certain questions by members were left conspicuously unanswered.

16 May 2022

AI at the borders: Negotiations, regulations and fundamental rights

Category: Events

The Commission’s proposed AI Act aims to address the risks of certain uses of artificial intelligence and to establish a legal framework for the trustworthy deployment of AI. In the context of migration and border control, the Act raises significant concerns, which must be addressed in ongoing negotiations within Parliament, and in future campaigning and advocacy. Join us on Monday 16 May to discuss how AI is already used in the migration control context, and some of the key amendments that must be tabled to adequately protect the rights of people on the move.

16 May 2022

El presupuesto europeo destinado a seguridad y defensa aumenta un 123%

Category: News

Público, 16 May 2022.

12 May 2022

Tunisian deportees in Italy denied rights under European “migration management” policies that seek to exclude

Category: News

On 28 November 2021, Wissem Ben Abdellatif, a 26-year-old Tunisian man, died in a hospital in Rome after suffering a heart attack. He had been transferred to the hospital from the Ponte Galeria detention centre, where he was being held whilst awaiting deportation. A new report dedicated to his memory examines the experiences of Tunisian citizens deported from Italy. Based on over 50 in-depth interviews with deportees, it concludes that Tunisians are regularly denied their rights after arriving in Italian territory (for example, to legal advice, information, or adequate living conditions), and that the situation is propelled by a security-minded approach to migration that has been implemented across the EU and its member states for at least two decades.

12 May 2022

A clear and present danger: Missing safeguards on migration and asylum in the EU’s AI Act

Category: News

The EU's proposed Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act aims to address the risks of certain uses of AI and to establish a legal framework for its trustworthy deployment, thus stimulating a market for the production, sale and export of various AI tools and technologies. However, certain technologies or uses of technology are insufficiently covered by or even excluded altogether from the scope of the AI Act, placing migrants and refugees - people often in an already-vulnerable position - at even greater risk of having their rights violated.

03 May 2022

At what cost? Funding the EU’s security, defence, and border policies, 2021–2027

Category: Publications and reports

A critical guide for civil society on how EU budgets work. Co-published with the Transnational Institute.

01 May 2022

EU-Verordnung zu E-Privacy wieder in Bewegung

Category: Press coverage

FM4, 1 May 2022.

25 April 2022

Frontex arme de plus en plus ses agents pour les années à venir

Category: Press coverage

InfoMigrants, 25 April 2022.

19 April 2022

Frontex: more power, no responsibility? Mega-agency lacks real accountability structure

Category: Analysis

Since 2004, four successive regulations have increased the agency’s resources and mandate, but no adequate control mechanisms have followed to balance these with legal or political accountability.

06 April 2022

Europe Is Building a Huge International Facial Recognition System

Category: Press coverage

Wired, 6 April 2022.

05 April 2022

MEPs withhold discharge of EU border control agency Frontex’ accounts

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Budgetary Control Committee (CONT) press release details reasons behind postponement of the decision on the European Border and Coast guard Agency accounts for 2020.

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: JO Flexible Operational Activities in Return 2015

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operations Division, Joint Operations Unit Return Operations Sector

22 March 2022

Evaluation report 2014: JO Attica

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operation division Joint Operations Unit Return Operations sector

22 March 2022

Fundamental Rights Strategy 2021

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Endorsed by the Fundamental Rights Officer on 25 January 2021

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Rapid Border Intervention Exercise 2017

Category: Observatory: Frontex

2017/PRU/05 Operations Division Joint Operations Unit Land Borders Sector

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Joint Operation VEGA Children 2018

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit Planning and Evaluation Sector

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Joint Operation VEGA Children 2017

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operations Division Joint Operations Unit Air Border Sector

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: JO Triton 2017

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: JO Poseidon 2018

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Pulsar Concept Joint Operation Pegasus 2018

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Pulsar Concept Joint Operation Pegasus 2017

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Joint Operation Minerva 2017

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operations Division Joint Operations Unit Sea Borders Sector

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: JO Hera 2018

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Joint Operation Focal Points 2018 Land

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation Report: Focal Points Concept Joint Operation Focal Points Air 2017

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Regular Officers: Operations Division Joint Operations Unit Air Border Sector

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Focal Points Concept JO

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Focal Points 2017 Air – Intermediate Managers

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Joint Operation Focal Points 2017 Land

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: JO Flexible Operational Activities 2018 Land on Border Surveillance

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Joint Operation Flexible Operational Activities 2018 Land on Border Checks

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: JO Flexible Operational Activities 2017 Land on Border Surveillance

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Joint Operation Coordination Points 2017

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Operations Division Joint Operations Unit Land Borders Sector

22 March 2022

Evaluation report: Focal points concept

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Joint Operation Coordination Points Air 2018

28 February 2022

Building the biometric state: Police powers and discrimination

Category: News

This report examines the development and deployment of biometric identification technologies by police and border forces in Europe, and warns that the increasing use of the technology is likely to exacerbate existing problems with racist policing and ethnic profiling.

15 February 2022

Mariana Gkliati and Jane Kilpatrick: Crying Wolf Too Many Times: The Impact of the Emergency Narrative on Transparency in FRONTEX Joint Operations

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Crisis-driven EU policy in recent years fits within a securitisation narrative, in which the claim of public security threat outweighs fundamental rights and their accountability safeguards. Under this policy development, Frontex, the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, has experienced an impressive expansion in its powers and competences, without the equivalent enhancement of accountability safeguards. This article, published in the Utrecht Law Review, focuses in particular on the issue of transparency as a fundamental right and an element of social and political accountability.

09 February 2022

UK Official Secrets Act Proposals Take Cues From US Espionage Act Cases

Category: News

The Dissenter, 9 February 2022.

07 February 2022

Joint Operation Coordination Points 2018 Land Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit Operational Planning and Evaluation Sector

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Frontex evaluation report 2018: Joint Operation Coordination Points 2018 Land Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit Operational Planning and Evaluation Sector

07 February 2022

JO Alexis 2018 Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Frontex evaluation report 2018 JO Alexis 2018 Operational Response Division Field Deployment Unit

07 February 2022

Frontex evaluation report 2017

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Frontex evaluation report 2017 Focal Points Concept Joint Operation Focal Points Sea 2017

07 February 2022

Frontex staff code of conduct

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Frontex staff code of conduct 2015

07 February 2022

Code of conduct for return operations

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Following Decision of the Executive Firector No R-ED-2018-40 adopting the code of conduct for return operations and return interventions coordinated or organised by Frontex of 26/04/2018

07 February 2022

Annual report on sea surveillance

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Frontex´ Annual Reports on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders

07 February 2022

Annual report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014

Frontex’ Annual Report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders.

01 February 2022

Building walls, restricting rights: Lithuania's response to the EU-Belarus border 'crisis'

Category: News

After the ongoing politico-diplomatic clash between the EU and Belarus reached a peak in the summer of 2021, press attention turned towards the situation at the Polish-Belarussian border, where thousands of people arrived hoping to travel onwards to EU territory. However, the response from the Lithuanian authorities also merits examination: the country's efforts to prevent irregular arrivals have been widely supported by the EU, despite widespread allegations of fundamental rights violations.

28 January 2022

Funds for Fortress Europe: spending by Frontex and eu-LISA

Category: Analysis

In the wake of the so-called “refugee crisis” of 2015, EU governments took the opportunity to reinforce the powers and mandates of EU agencies concerned with immigration and border control. Expanded legal remits were accompanied by vast increases in expenditure. But where has that money gone and what has it been used for?

25 January 2022

Human rights groups slam Egypt-EU joint bid to head counter-terrorism agency

Category: Press coverage

Middle East Eye, 25 January 2022.

25 January 2022

Frontex: the ongoing failure to implement human rights safeguards

Category: Analysis

A legal case alleging that Frontex was involved in an illegal deportation and the annual report of its Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights, made up of NGOs and international organisations, show once again that fundamental rights are not at the top of the agency’s agenda.

22 January 2022

Action brought on 21 May 2021 – SS and ST v Frontex (Case T-282/21)

Category: Observatory: Frontex

In May 2021 the organisation front-LEX filed legal proceedings against Frontex at the European Court of Justice, calling on the tribunal to force Frontex to terminate its activities in the Aegean Sea due to the "undisputed and overwhelming evidence for serious and persisting violations of fundamental rights" in the agency's area of operations. The application was made on behalf of two people - a child asylum-seeker and an adult who is now a recognised refugee in Greece, known as SS and ST - and argues that Frontex had contributed to the fundamental rights violations they suffered on the journey to Greece.

21 January 2022

EU plans joint bid with Egypt to lead global counter-terrorism body

Category: Press coverage

Middle East Eye, 21 January 2022.

20 January 2022

Brexit: Goodbye and hello – the new EU-UK security architecture, civil liberties and democratic control

Category: Publications and reports

The UK government's domestic programme seeks to crack down on dissent and to abolish or severely limit ways for the public to hold the state to account. This report shows that those ambitions also play a role in the post-Brexit agreement with the EU. The treaty makes it possible for the UK to opt in to intrusive EU surveillance schemes with no explicit need for parliamentary scrutiny or debate, and establishes a number of new joint institutions without sufficient transparency and accountability measures.

11 January 2022

Consolidated annual actvity reports 2020

Category: Observatory: Frontex

04 January 2022

Fortress Europe increasingly stingy on asylum

Category: Press coverage

VoxEurop, 4 January 2022.

21 December 2021

MANAGEMENT BOARD DECISION 68/2021 of 21 December 2021 adopting the rules on processing personal data by the Agency

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Text of the Management Board Decision 68/2021 of 21 December 2021 adopting the rules on processing personal data by the agency.

21 December 2021

MANAGEMENT BOARD DECISION 69/2021 of 21 December 2021 adopting the rules on processing operational personal data by the Agency

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Text of the Management Board Decision 69/2021 of 21 December 2021 adopting the rules on processing operational personal data by the agency.

21 December 2021

Notification of the Management Board Decision 69/2021 adopting the rules on processing operational personal data by the agency

Category: Observatory: Frontex

Management Board Decision 69/2021 of 21 December 2021 adopting the rules on processing operational personal data by the agency.

20 December 2021

As EU Pours Money Into Libya to Tackle Migration, is Bloc Ignoring Human Rights Abuses?

Category: Press coverage

Sputnik, 20 December 2021.

14 December 2021

Série Frontex : résumés

Category: Analysis

Depuis le lancement de ses opérations conjointes, Frontex a été accusée de détourner le regard de ses obligations légales en matière de respects des droits, et en particulier concernant le sauvetage en mer. Statewatch, membre de Migreurop, à travers la plume de Jane Kilpatrick, chercheur et membre de l’équipe salariée de Statewatch, et Marie Martin, collaboratrice de Statewatch, a publié une série de trois analyses sur les aspects juridiques et politiques qui ont amené à cette situation « d’impunité choisie ». Vous trouverez ci-joint un résumé en anglais et français, ou qui souhaitent accéder aux arguments principaux émis dans ces analyses. (Versions anglaises ci-dessous).

14 December 2021

UK: Statewatch submission to consultation on reform of the Data Protection Act 2018

Category: Analysis

Submission by Statewatch to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s consultation on reforms to the UK’s Data Protection Act 2018.

13 December 2021

Greece: The new hotspots and the prevention of “primary flows”: a human rights disaster

Category: Analysis

The Greek government and the EU have evicted various self-managed hospitality structures and are now closing down the squalid, state-run refugee camps on the islands of the Aegean. People are being transferred to newly-built "closed controlled access centres". These prison-like facilities, which are coming into use at the same time as a the services available to refugees are being cut back, are having injurious effects upon people's mental health and wellbeing. Nevertheless, with the Greek government focusing on preventing "primary flows", it seems the new camps are set to play a growing role in the detention of people awaiting deportation.

25 November 2021

Algorithmic persecution in Turkey’s post-coup crackdown: The FETÖ-Meter system

Category: Publications and reports

Based on interviews with exiled members of the Turkish military, this report looks at how the Turkish authorities utilised something called the 'FETÖ-Meter' - an Excel-based algorithm based on hundreds of data points about individuals' activities, education, work history, family and personal contacts - to target officials for persecution in the wake of the attempted July 2016 coup.

24 November 2021

Monitoring the state and learning from history: policing and racism in the Statewatch Library & Archive

Category: Events

We invite you to join us in exploring the connections, similarities and differences between past and present events and struggles through an examination of materials from the Statewatch Library & Archive, a collection of over 800 books, 2,500 items of ‘grey literature’ and a host of other documents and ephemera concerning civil liberties and the state.

19 November 2021

Frontex cooperation with third countries: examining the human rights implications

Category: Analysis

While Frontex is currently under unprecedented examination for human rights violations at the EU’s borders, its work beyond EU borders remains barely scrutinised, write Dr Mariana Gkliati and Statewatch researcher Jane Kilpatrick in Forced Migration Review.

18 November 2021

Secrecy in the European Union: how to exercise your right to information

Category: Events

This online event is held with the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol and is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council's as part of the Festival of Social Sciences . We will look at how governments have sought to maintain secrecy in the EU, and teach you how you can exercise your right to access information.

20 September 2021

UK: Nationality and Borders Bill: Biometric 'permission to travel' scheme will affect tens of millions of people

Category: Analysis

Submission by Statewatch to the UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry into the human rights implications of the Nationality and Borders Bill.

29 July 2021

Frontex, secrecy and story-telling: control of information as super-strategy

Category: Analysis

EU border agency Frontex spends a significant amount of time and money on its public image, and insists that its activities are fully transparent. However, that public image is - unsurprisingly - heavy on spin, and panders to far-right narratives. Meanwhile, its commitment to transparency is questionable - to say the least.

22 July 2021

To SAR or not to SAR, part 2: Legal firewalls of a very political agency

Category: Analysis

The second part of an analysis looking at the legal firewalls that create blurred responsibilities in cases of search and rescue and pushbacks, shielding EU border agency Frontex from accountability measures.

19 July 2021

Call for expressions of interest: state databases, biometrics, policing and migration control

Category: Events

Aufruf zur Interessenbekundung: Staatliche Datenbanken, Biometrie, Polizeiarbeit und Migrationskontrolle / Convocatoria de expresiones de interés: bases de datos estatales, biometría, control policial y de la migración / Appel à manifestation d'intérêt : bases de données étatiques, biométrie, maintien de l'ordre et contrôle des migrations / Invito a manifestare interesse: workshop sulle banche dati statali di polizia e per il controllo delle migrazioni

15 July 2021

To SAR or not to SAR, part 1: Why is Frontex expected to save lives at sea?

Category: Analysis

The first in a four-part series looking into the activities and operations of EU border agency Frontex, examining the evolution of the agency’s search and rescue obligations since it was founded in 2004. Many organisations have warned that “protecting borders” may conflict with “protecting lives” and experience suggests that, what are presented as two distinct objectives are, more often than not, part of conflicting policy agendas. The controversial and deadly practices that have been brought into the spotlight by the Aegean allegations are ultimately the result of political decisions that highlight the dubious priorities of the EU, its member states and its agents – Frontex included.

08 June 2021

Foreign agents and violence against migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border

Category: Analysis

An increasing number of reports of violent pushbacks at the Greek-Macedonian border have been collected by volunteers in recent years. Some reports allege the presence of Frontex, but bilateral policing deals in place may also explain the presence of foreign officers in Macedonia. The violence underpins a long-standing plan to close the ‘Balkan Route’ and keep people out of ‘core’ EU territory. Whoever is behind the violence, there is no shortage of border guards to mete it out – but justice is in short supply.

07 June 2021

The Canary cage: the making of deportation islands on Spain’s Atlantic border

Category: Analysis

In line with concerning recent EU border control proposals, a deliberate policy of inhumane detention, illegal mobility restrictions and an overreliance on deportation ‘solutions’ is converting the Canary Islands into makeshift deportation waiting rooms and a black hole for human rights.

01 June 2021

Blackmail in the Balkans: how the EU is externalising its asylum policies

Category: Analysis

The development of a system for collecting data on people on the move in the Balkans highlights the overall orientation of the EU's migration policies: outsourcing migration management at all costs, to the detriment of provisions for reception. In order to keep those considered as "undesirable" at a distance, would the European Union go so far as to extend beyond its borders the ‘Dublin’ mechanism for allocating state responsibility for asylum claims, at the risk of further aggravating the rights violations along the Balkan route?

14 December 2020

Deportation Union: the role of Frontex

Category: Events

Join Statewatch and the Transnational Institute (TNI) on Monday 14 December for the third and final webinar in the series covering Statewatch’s report ‘Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU's push to increase forced removals’.

26 October 2020

Deportation Union: databases for expulsions

Category: Events

The second in our series of webinars exploring the report 'Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU's push to increased forced removals'.

28 September 2020

Deportation Union: revamped return policies and reckless forced removals

Category: Events

On 28 September Statewatch and TNI hosted the first webinar of a three-part series accompanying the publication of the report 'Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU's push to increased forced removals'.

19 August 2020

Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU's push to increase forced removals

Deportation Union provides a critical examination of recently-introduced and forthcoming EU measures designed to increase the number of deportations carried out by national authorities and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. It focuses on three key areas: attempts to reduce or eliminate rights and protections in the law governing deportations; the expansion and interconnection of EU databases and information systems; and the increased budget, powers and personnel awarded to Frontex.

13 July 2020

Automated suspicion: The EU's new travel surveillance initiatives

This report examines how the EU is using new technologies to screen, profile and risk-assess travellers to the Schengen area, and the risks this poses to civil liberties and fundamental rights. By developing ‘interoperable’ biometric databases, introducing untested profiling tools, and using new ‘pre-crime’ watchlists, people visiting the EU from all over the world are being placed under a veil of suspicion in the name of enhancing security.

13 July 2020

Report launch: Automated suspicion: The EU’s new travel surveillance initiatives

Category: Events

Normal people are increasingly being treated as suspects when they travel to the EU. What are the risks for civil liberties?

11 February 2020

Biometrics, big data and state power

Category: Events

Tue, 11 February 2020, 18:30–20:00

30 January 2020

Northern Ireland: The legacy of collusion

Category: Events

Thursday 30 January 2020: 18.00 - 20.00 at: Statewatch, c/o: MAYDAY ROOMS, 88 Fleet St, London EC4Y

18 November 2019

Data Protection, Immigration Enforcement and Fundamental Rights: What the EU’s Regulations on Interoperability Mean for People with Irregular Status

Category: Publications and reports

This paper examines the EU’s justice and home affairs databases and information systems, the changes that have been introduced by recent legislation seeking to make those systems ‘interoperable’ and the potential implications of those changes for fundamental rights, in particular in relation to undocumented migrants.

22 November 2018

Launch of the Statewatch Library & Archive

Category: Events

The Statewatch Library & Archive is being launched on Thursday 22 November 2018 at May Day Rooms in London: 18.00 - 20.00.

31 August 2017

Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex

While the European Union project has faltered in recent years, afflicted by the fall-out of the economic crisis, the rise of anti-EU parties and the Brexit vote, there is one area where it has not only continued apace but made significant advances: Europe’s security policies have not only gained political support from across its Member States but growing budgets and resources too.

11 February 2014

Eurodrones, Inc.

Eurodrones, Inc. tells the story of how European citizens are unknowingly subsidising through their taxes a controversial drone industry yet are systematically excluded from any debates about their use. Behind empty promises of consultation, EU officials have turned over much of drone policy development to the European defence and security corporations which seek to profit from it.

01 August 2013

Vol 23(2): Informants, spies and subversion

Category: Journal

31 May 2013

The Atlas of Migration in Europe

The second edition of Migreurop's Atlas of Migration in Europe.

27 May 2013

Back from the battlefield: domestic drones in the UK

Back from the battlefield: domestic drones in the UK aims to contribute to the public debate on the use of drones within the UK.

31 December 2012

Vol 22(4): EU intelligence secrecy; Roma expulsions; Italy's open-ended emergency; Northern Ireland cover-ups

Cover story: Secrecy reigns at the EU’s Intelligence Analysis Centre

30 September 2012

Vol 22(2/3): UK secret justice; when dissent becomes subversion; Sean Rigg's death; Frontex and travel surveillance

Cover story: UK: Government’s “secret justice” Bill widely condemned

31 March 2012

Vol 22 (1): Repression of anti-austerity activists; growing racism in the EU; regulating civil society

Cover story: European governments step up repression of anti-austerity activists

07 February 2012

Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF: legalising surveillance, regulating civil society

This report examines the global framework for countering terrorist financing developed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other international law enforcement bodies.

31 December 2011

Vol 21 (4): EU-US cybersecurity cooperation; German state trojans; forced returns monitoring

Cover story: “Tackling new threats upon which the security and prosperity of our free societies increasingly depend” : the EU-US Working Group on Cyber Security and Cyber crime

30 September 2011

Vol 21 (3): Criticism of UK terrorism measures; the Arab Spring and the EU; telecoms interception in Dresden

Cover story: Criticism of UK Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures mounts as government retains power to forcibly relocate suspects

30 June 2011

Vol 21 (2): The police and security research; Anglo-German undercover police exchanges; ten years after the Genoa G8

Cover story: A new player in Secuirty Research: the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS)

31 March 2011

Vol 21 (1): Europe's DNA databases; the death of Jimmy Mubenga; German police shooting

Cover story: “Network with errors”: Europe’s emerging web of DNA databases

31 December 2010

Vol 20 (3/4): Time to rethink terrorist blacklisting; EU democratic deficit; "preventative" public order arrests

Cover story: Time to rethink terrorist blacklisting: doubts over legality, effectiveness and disproportionate impact on the rights of affected parties

30 June 2010

Vol 20 (2): EU internal security strategy; international summit protests; "speculative invoicing" in the UK

Cover story: First thoughts on the EU's internal security strategy

31 March 2010

Vol 20(1): Dutch databases challenged; convictions in France over detention centre fire; "open source" intelligence industry

Cover story: Dutch central database containing fingerprints of all citizens challenged

31 December 2009

Vol 19 (4): DNA retention in the UK; abuse in Italian prisons; children in detention; EU decision-making process

Cover story: UK government's "clumsy, indiscriminate and disproportionate" approach to DNA retention

30 September 2009

Vol 19 (3): EU and Germany target "troublemakers"; policing the G20; Dutch passport databases; EU security research

Cover story: EU protests: "Troublemakers" database and "travelling violent offenders" (undefined) to be recorded and targeted


EU justice and home affairs agencies

<p>Transparency, accountability and fundamental rights</p>


Invisible Borders

<p>A prize-winning cross-border investigative journalism project</p>


Moving Stories

<p>How journalism plays follow-my-leader with rhetoric of negativity</p>


Migration Control

<p>Who gets paid, to stop the world's refugees?</p>


JUSTICIA: European Rights Network

<p>A joint initiative of 19 independent civil society organisations in 17 members states</p>


SECILE: Does counter-terrorism just counter terrorism?

<p>Securing Europe through Counter-terrorism: Impact, Legitimacy and Effectiveness (SECILE)</p>


Access to EU documents: Calling the agencies to account

<p><em>Statewatch</em> complaints to the European Ombudsman regarding the transparency obligations of Frontex, Europol and Eurojust<br /></p>



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