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.

01 October 2020

EU: Deportations to Afghanistan: member states want to simplify expulsion of "vulnerable groups"

The EU is moving toward renewal of the 'Joint Way Forward in Afghanistan', an informal agreement that facilitates the deportations of Afghans present in the EU. A secret document from July, published here, sets out the member states' demands to the Commission for the renewed agreement. It includes a call for "the notion of vulnerable groups" to be "limited", which would ease the deportation of people who may otherwise qualify for protection.

01 October 2020

UK considers imitating Australia's brutal off-shoring of asylum seekers

It has emerged in recent days that the UK government is considering the possibility of housing asylum-seekers in camps outside the country.

01 October 2020

After Moria, EU to try closed asylum camps on Greek islands

Barbed wire fences and microchipped armbands to control entry await the future residents of a forthcoming "closed camp" for refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Samos.

01 October 2020

EU: Advice of Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights still falls on deaf ears

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights has produced its annual report for 2019, and a number of familiar concerns are again present. The Forum was set up eight years ago to provide Frontex with independent advice on fundamental rights.

01 October 2020

EU: New Council working party on blanket telecommunications surveillance

The German Presidency of the Council of the EU is plannig a new working party - the ad-hoc Working Party on Data Retention, or ad-hoc WPDR - which will work on policy and legal initiatives aiming to reintroduce EU-wide blanket telecommunication surveillance. Previous EU legislation on telecoms data retention was struck down by the Court of Justice in 2014, but many national laws remain in place and there are ongoing efforts to introduce a new EU-wide regime.

01 October 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Secret documents on reception conditions and qualification for international protection

Last week the European Commission published its Pact on Migration and Asylum. While it includes some new measures, it also calls for the adoption of previous proposals that were the subject of significant disagreement between the Council and the European Parliament. Today we are publishing Council documents that have until now remained secret, including blocked provisional agreements on the rules on reception conditions and the criteria for qualification for international protection.

30 September 2020

UK: The Government must urgently consider the human rights implications of COVID-19 measures, says Joint Committee on Human Rights

The UK parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights has released a new report on the impact of the government's response to the pandemic on human rights. The report looks at the rights to life, to liberty, to privacy, to education, to a fair trial and others.

29 September 2020

UK: Renewal of the Coronavirus Act: Emergency powers need parliamentary scrutiny

Six months after it was passed into law, the Coronavirus Act is due to come before parliament for a vote on its renewal. However, renewing the act would allow the government to continue passing new laws without any parliamentary scrutiny of individual measures. This would mean the continuation of what one former Supreme Court judge has called government by decree.

29 September 2020

Bulgaria will relocate some refugees from Moria, but racism and xenophobia make it a tough destination

Bulgaria has agreed to accept 70 unaccompanied minors affected by the fire in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. However, conditions for migrants and refugees are problematic - the use of detention is widespread, and racism and xenophobia are deeply rooted in Bulgarian society, argues Milana Nikolova.

29 September 2020

EU: Head of Europol supervisory group wants to create a "European FBI"

Europol should become "a kind of European FBI", according to Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of the German state of Lower Saxony and one of the co-chairs of Europol's Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group. "In the medium term, it must also have its own executive powers," he has said.

28 September 2020

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25 September 2020

EU: No human rights monitoring for 20% of Frontex's deportation flights in 2019

There were no human rights monitors present on 20% of the deportation charter flights coordinated by Frontex in 2019, according to an agency report being published today by Statewatch.

25 September 2020

Frontex: Report on cooperation with third countries in 2019

The report gives an overview of Frontex's engagement with non-EU states during 2019 on issues such as surveillance, risk analysis and training. It was circulated to the European Commission, Council of the EU and European Parliament in June 2019.

24 September 2020

Tony Bunyan retires as Director of Statewatch after 30 years

A personal message from Tony Bunyan.

23 September 2020

EU: The new "pact" on migration and asylum - documentation, context and reactions

The Commission has published its long-awaited 'Pact on Migration and Asylum', along with a host of legislative proposals, guidance and other texts. Parts of the proposals will "abolish the rule of law at the external borders," according to one human rights group.

23 September 2020

Deportations from Europe: individual stories told in new publication

The Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) has published a booklet of stories of people in Lagos and Benin City, Nigeria, and Bamako, Mali, who have been deported from Europe.

22 September 2020

Council of the EU: German Presidency seeking common position on encryption and law enforcement

Efforts are ongoing to establish a common EU position on finding ways around encrypted communications for the purpose of law enforcement. A document circulated by the German Presidency says "the weakening of encryption by any means (including backdoors) is not a desirable option." Instead, the intention is to find "legal and technical solutions" through a dialogue with technology service providers, member states, academic experts and others.

22 September 2020

IOM: Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean: Trends, risks, development and governance

A new 500-page collection of studies published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) examines new developments in migration within North and West Africa, and from there across the Mediterranean.


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