Launched in 1999 and updated regularly, Statewatch News includes our own reporting and writing as well as articles, announcements, documents and analyses from elsewhere on civil liberties, EU policies and state practices. You can receive updates in your inbox by signing up to our mailing list, or use an RSS feed to get instant alerts.

02 December 2020

Locked up and excluded: Informal and illegal detention in Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany

A new report from the Migreurop network looks at the changing practices of informal administrative detention used by four EU member states in 2019. A key argument of the report is that the detention of non-nationals is increasingly taking place "outside or at the margins of existing legal frameworks."

02 December 2020

Frontex officials preventing information on pushbacks reaching HQ, says report

A report in The New York Times says that Frontex officials have been discouraging the filing of reports on pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border.

02 December 2020

Frontex: thumbs-up for the "Management Board Working Group on Fundamental Rights and Legal and Operational Aspects of Operations"

Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of Frontex, has signalled his approval for a working group set up by the agency's Management Board that will look into recent allegations of pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border taking place with the agency's knowledge. However, the main focus of the working group seems to be the issue of "hybrid threats" to internal security. The relationship between the agency's alleged involvement in illegal activity and the possible existence of "hybrid threats" is unclear.

02 December 2020

Northern Ireland: "Astonishing, arrogant and cruel": government refuses inquiry into Pat Finucane murder

The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane have condemned the UK government's decision not to order a public inquiry into his death as "astonishing, arrogant and cruel".

01 December 2020

UK-France: New measures against migration across the Channel announced

On 28 November, the UK and France signed the latest agreement aimed at cracking down on irregular migration across the Channel. The plan includes a doubling of the number of French police patrolling the coastline and the deployment of "cutting edge surveillance technology - including drones, radar equipment, optronic binoculars and fixed cameras."

30 November 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Turning European Union Territory into a non-Territory

"The legislation creates therefore avenues for disentangling, splitting the relation between physical presence of an asylum applicant on a territory and the set of laws and fundamental rights associated to it, namely a protective legal order, access to rights and to a jurisdiction enforcing those rights. It creates a sort of ‘lighter’ legal order, a lower density system, which facilitates the exit of the applicant from the territory of the EU, creating a sort of shift from a Europe of rights to the Europe of borders, confinement and expulsions."

30 November 2020

Europe’s Guantanamo: The indefinite detention of European women and children in North East Syria

Press release published by Rights & Security International, for a new report on detention camps in North East Syria where people are being held indefinitely due to European governments' failure to repatriate their citizens.

30 November 2020

Extradition of EU citizens to third countries: joint report by Eurojust and the European Judicial Network

The report finds that the CJEU's case law on the extradition of EU citizens to non-EU states "raises several practical and legal issues" - including with regard to the scope of CJEU case law and consultation between the states making and dealing with the extradition requests.

27 November 2020

Marking the tenth anniversary of WikiLeaks' Cablegate publication

Announcement from the Don't Extradite Assange campaign, which is hosting a public event on Saturday 28 November to mark the tenth anniversary of Wikileaks' publication of thousands of US diplomatic cables.

27 November 2020

EU: Council set to adopt declaration against encryption

A declaration calling for "technical solutions for gaining access to encrypted data" through cooperation between states, industry and "other stakeholders" is due to be approved by the Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), the final step before receiving formal sign-off at the December meeting of justice and home affairs ministers. The declaration sets out the Council's policy stance on obtaining access for state authorities to encrypted data, but does not establish any new binding measures. However, the declaration notes that a "regulatory framework... could be further assessed." Here we are publishing the declaration itself - which is currently secret - along with previous versions of the document, so it is possible to see how it has changed over time.

27 November 2020

Spain: Ombudsman demands immediate closure of the Arguineguín migrant camp to protect human rights

The Spanish Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) has written to the interior ministry to demand the immediate closure of the camp set up by the government in the port of Arguineguín on Gran Canaria to host migrants who have arrived by sea. The Ombudsman says that the camp is putting people's physical integrity at risk, and people have been detained for longer than permitted by law. It would be possible for the Ombudsman to take legal proceedings in the case of inaction. The interior ministry insists it is working to dismantle the camp, which was set up following the recent arrival of large numbers of people via the crossing from West Africa.

27 November 2020

Danish military intelligence uses XKEYSCORE to tap cables in cooperation with the NSA

Leaks to the Danish media have revealed that the country's intelligence agency is cooperating with the US National Security Agency to tap underseas telecommunications cables. The XKEYSCORE system was revealed in documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

27 November 2020

European Parliament: compliance with migration control measures should be a condition for receiving EU development aid

On Wednesday the European Parliament voted in favour of a report that says the provision of development aid by the EU should depend on recipient states' compliance with "migration management" measures. A last-minute amendment by the MEP responsible for the file reversed the original position of the report. Human rights groups have condemned the move.

27 November 2020

Huge "surge in far-right political terrorism" across the globe, says report

The Global Terrorism Index 2020, which "provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 50 years, placing a special emphasis on trends over the last decade." The report highlights a "surge in far-right political terrorism, even though the absolute number of far-right attacks remains low when compared to other forms of terrorism."

27 November 2020

Italy: Release from immigration detention during the pandemic shaped by "gendered and racialised notions" of vulnerability and danger

A report by an international group of academics finds that although the Italian government took steps to release people from immigration detention due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the reduction "has been governed by selective logics of social control. Logics which have ultimately established a sort of ‘hierarchy of detention deservingness.’" This logic is centred on "gendered and racialised notions of 'vulnerability' and 'dangerousness'," with women and asylum-seekers released first, with other groups - homeless people, those with criminal records - continuing to be held and even being placed in detention during the pandemic.

27 November 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Mediterranean Subsaharan Migration Trade Union Network recommendations on the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum

In mid-September, prior to the European Commission's publication of the new 'Pact on Migration and Asylum', the Mediterranean Subsaharan Migration Trade Union Network issued a set of recommendations. The group called for a number of positive measures, including an increase in safe and legal channels for migrants to seek work in the EU, the simpification of entry conditions, more possibilities for individuals to regularize their status within the EU, an end to the detention of migrants, a halt to externalization policies and transparency over readmission agreements.

27 November 2020

EU: Deportations and 'voluntary' returns: Frontex plans and new mandate options, "effective and sustainable reintegration of returnees"

Five documents discussed by the Council of the EU's Working Party on Integration, Migration and Expulsion in March this year.

26 November 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Meijers Committee analysis of asylum proposals

The Meijers Committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law have analysed a number of the proposals published as part of the European Commission's Pact on Migration and Asylum. The committee examines the Asylum Screening Regulation, the Asylum Procedures Regulation, the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation, the Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation, the Strategy on the Future of Schengen and provide some general comments. Serious concerns are expressed over the proposals, in particular with regard to the use of detention, limits to legal assistance for individuals seeking protection, a lack of oversight mechanisms and the situation for unaccompanied children, amongst other things.

25 November 2020

UK: Deadly crossings: nearly 300 border-related deaths in and around the English Channel since 1999

A new report documents the nearly-300 border-related deaths in and around the English Channel since 1999. The report, by the Institute of Race Relation, the Permanent People's Tribunal London and Gisti, aims to "challenge the idea that the result of this massacre is misfortune" and lays the blame squarely on the action - and inaction - of the British and French authorities. It seeks to document the stories of those that have died at the border and calls for fundamental changes to the model of criminalisation and securitisation employed on both sides of the Channel.


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