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.

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31 March 2021

UK: Housing asylum seekers in disused barracks: "The Home Secretary must provide an explanation" for contradictory evidence

Home Secretary Priti Patel "must provide an explanation" for the contradiction between evidence she gave to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee and the findings of an independent inspection on disused military barracks being used to house asylum-seekers, says the chair of parliament's Home Affairs Committee.

30 March 2021

Germany: Protest against European asylum and migration policies at Christian Democratic Union headquarters

Press release from a demonstration organised at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Berlin. The CDU currently heads Germany's federal government. European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, is also a member of the party. According to the press release, the demonstration was against the "catastrophic and inhumane situation in camps at the European external borders," and the EU's asylum and migration policies more generally.

30 March 2021

Transparency and accountability of Frontex: re-launch of Statewatch Observatory and new policy briefing

Statewatch is today launching an updated and improved Observatory on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, providing a focal point for documentation and analysis on the role and activities of the agency. The re-launch of the Observatory is accompanied by a policy brief that provides an overview of all the ongoing investigations and inquiries into the activities of Frontex.

26 March 2021

Denmark: Reject discriminatory "Security for all Danes” Act and respect freedom of assembly

Open letter signed by 36 organisations including Statewatch, coordinated by the European Civic Forum.

25 March 2021

Spain: More than 1,700 people lost their lives trying to reach Spain in 2020, the highest figure ever recorded

The Andalusian Association for Human Rights criticises the “vast resources” given to preventing migration, in contrast with the “absolute lack of investment in reception.” There was a 756% increase in arrivals in the Canary Islands in 2020.

25 March 2021

EU: Parliament urged to reject online content rules that pose "serious threats to freedom of expression and opinion"

More than 60 human rights and journalism organisations (including Statewatch) have signed an open letter to MEPs calling on them to vote against the proposed Regulation on addressing the dissemination of terrorist content online, which includes measures that would seriously undermine freedom of expression and opinion, freedom to access information, right to privacy and the rule of law.

25 March 2021

EU: Pushbacks scandal: Internal letters shed light on Frontex’s fundamental rights recruitment failures

As the work of the European Parliament’s working group scrutinising Frontex continues, we are publishing correspondence shared with the group by Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson. The documents shed new light on the dispute between the Commission and Frontex over the agency’s controversial attempts to recruit new staff for its Fundamental Rights Office.

24 March 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Tunisia and other North African states targeted for new action on migration, asylum and more

Two papers circulated by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU give an insight into ongoing discussions and activities geared towards implementing the Pact on Migration and Asylum in North Africa, covering issues such as cooperation on asylum, border control and law enforcement.

24 March 2021

Immigration and asylum round-up: 2-24 March 2021

Our latest summary of developments and new material on immigration and asylum in Europe.

24 March 2021

EU-USA: Action against encrypted communications to be discussed at senior officials' meeting in April

The next high-level justice and home affairs meeting between the EU and USA will include a discussion point on "challenges related to encryption and lawful interception," with both sides keen to find a way to grant law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communications technologies - something that experts have warned time and again is impossible without fundamentally compromising those technologies for all users.

23 March 2021

UK: New charter demands police chiefs commit to protecting freedom of assembly

Last Friday hundreds of people joined an online day of action organised by the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), calling on the National Police Chiefs Council to commit to protecting freedom of assembly by adopting an eleven-point charter.

22 March 2021

UK: Protect the right to protest during lockdown, says Joint Committee on Human Rights

The government should ensure that the right to protest is protected by the emergency measures brought in to restrict the spread of coronavirus, says a report published last week by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), made up of MPs and members of the House of Lords.

19 March 2021

EU: One step closer to the establishment of the 'permission-to-travel' scheme

The Council and Parliament have reached provisional agreement on rules governing how the forthcoming European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will 'talk' to other migration and policing databases, with the purpose of conducting automated searches on would-be travellers to the EU.

18 March 2021

UK: Arrest of legal observers "an attack on vital community movements that hold the police to account"

The organisation Black Protest Legal Support has condemned the arrest of four of their legal observers at a demonstration on Tuesday against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

17 March 2021

EU: Ireland joins the Schengen Information System

The Irish authorities are now part of the Schengen Information System's police cooperation aspects, allowing them to enter and search data on a wide variety of persons and objects.

16 March 2021

Libya key to EU plan to build a “big wall” against migration, says new report

Libya lies at the heart of a strategy for which funds from Italy, EU institutions and other member states have been channelled through an opaque financing mechanism with the central aim of reducing migration from Africa to Europe, says a new report by ActionAid.

15 March 2021

EU: More powers for Europol: what does your government think?

Proposals published in December could vastly increase the powers of EU policing agency Europol, in particular by granting it new data-processing powers, a role in developing algorithms and new technologies for the police, and by easing cooperation with non-EU states. EU member states have been discussing the proposals since January. To facilitate democratic engagement and scrutiny, Statewatch is publishing internal Council documents that set out the member states' comments on the proposals so far.

11 March 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Migration obsession drives plans to boost the "external dimension"

The Portuguese Council Presidency and the EU's foreign affairs chief have prepared a 'Joint issues paper on The External Dimension of the EU’s Migration Policy under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum', which will be discussed at a joint meeting of EU interior and foreign affairs ministers next week.

11 March 2021

Brexit: Draft EU data protection decision ignores spy agency-shaped "elephant in the room"

A draft European Commission decision published in February declared that the UK offers "adequate" protection for personal data, thus proposing that transfers between the EU and UK should be permitted. Data protection experts Douwe Korff and Ian Brown argue that this ignores a whole host of factors, including the "elephant in the room... the UK’s intelligence agencies’ actual surveillance practices."

11 March 2021

European Parliament briefings: Returns Directive, common asylum procedure, pushbacks at the external borders

Three recent briefings published by the European Parliament Think Tank look at key current issues in proposed EU migration and asylum legislation: the proposal to recast the 2008 Returns Directive, governing deportations from the EU; the recent proposal for a common asylum procedure; and pushbacks at the external borders.


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