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.

14 April 2021

Senegal: Biometric population database will facilitate deportations, restricted EU document confirms

The completion of a national biometric population database in Senegal would facilitate the forced removal of more Senegalese citizens from the EU by allowing for a “consolidated” identification procedure, according to a restricted European Commission document obtained by Statewatch.

13 April 2021

Europe: Prison population continues to decline, overcrowding remains a serious problem

Imprisonment rates continue to fall, find the latest Council of Europe penal statistics, although the report says this is due to the inability to prosecute cyber-enabled criminal offences rather than a shift away from incarceration as a form of punishment. Drug offences remain the reason for most convictions leading to imprisonment, making up 17.7% of the total prison population. The CoE press release also highlights that overcrowding remains a serious problems in a number of member states.

13 April 2021

Spain: Government must take action to protect human rights defender Helena Maleno

An open letter is calling on the government of Spain to act to protect Helena Maleno, a human rights defender who has saved tens of thousands of lives and who was recently violently deported from Morocco, where she has lived for 20 years, and separated from her daughter in the process.

12 April 2021

EU: Artificial intelligence: "forecasting and early warning tool for migration" and "data spaces in law enforcement"

Two studies contracted by the European Commission on potential applications of "artificial intelligence" in home affairs were recently published: one concerning "a forecasting and early warning tool for migration"; and the other on "technical requirements for data spaces in law enforcement".

12 April 2021

The ‘Left-To-Die boat’ : ten years on, it’s more urgent than ever to obtain justice for the shipwrecked

A joint statement on the tenth anniversary of the 'Left-To-Die boat' case, in which 63 people died after being left adrift at sea despite multiple authorities and vessels knowing of their location and situation.

09 April 2021

Netherlands: Racism and Technology Center launches to highlight racism in Dutch society

A newly-launched Racism and Technology Center will analyse and highlight how technology perpetuates racism and racist practices in Dutch society, as part of an effort to “help in fighting systemic injustices and oppression,” say its founders.

08 April 2021

EU: Europol holding on to UK data post-Brexit

Europol is holding on to tens of thousands of pieces of data entered in its systems by the UK prior to 31 December 2020, an answer to a European parliamentary question has revealed.

08 April 2021

ECHR: Court’s first judgment on compulsory childhood vaccination: no violation of the Convention

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Czech Republic's general legal requirement for the vaccination of children against certain diseases does not violate the right to respect for private life, in a case brought by parents who had been fined, or whose children had been refused access to nursery, for refusing to have them vaccinated. The case is particularly relevant given the ongoing rollout of coronavirus vaccination programmes across Europe and the world.

08 April 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council Legal Service identifies problems with asylum and migration proposals

The Council Legal Service has been busy assessing measures proposed as part of the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum and has identified a number of issues that need to be resolved if EU law is to be respected, according to a document obtained by Statewatch

07 April 2021

EU: New "ad-hoc working group" on vaccine passports starts work - in secret

Discussions amongst EU member states on how to approach plans for digital vaccination certificates are taking place in a new "ad-hoc working group", a format that is not likely to foster transparency - particularly given that the group has said it will not be keeping "minutes as such".

07 April 2021

EU: Joint EEAS–Commission Services Reflection Paper on the use of military assets and capabilities in support of civilian authorities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

A paper produced by the European External Action Service and the European Commission, circulated to military officials in the Council of the EU and member states, examines how military forces have been used to support civilian authorities during the pandemic and sets out a number of options for increased coordination in the future.

06 April 2021

EU-UK: Brexit means... the UK staying in the G6

"Brexit means Brexit" was a remarkably meaningless slogan coined by former UK prime minister Theresa May. In practice, it appears that one thing Brexit does mean is the UK staying part of the G6, an informal annual meeting that was originally set up to facilitate discussion and coordination between the interior ministers of the six largest EU member states, alongside representatives of the European Commission and the USA.

06 April 2021

EU: New report highlights impact of pandemic on reception facilities for asylum seekers

COVID-19 lockdown measures across Europe increased homelessness and destitution among asylum seekers due to evictions and the temporary closure of relevant administrations, says a new report by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).

06 April 2021

New platform provides transparency on EU security spending

A new platform that tracks spending by the EU on security-related projects and policies aims to serve as “a tool for journalists, researchers, civil society organizations and others to better understand the growing investments of the European Union in security.”

06 April 2021

EU: Despite acquiring training on how to recruit informants, Frontex insists that it does not recruit informants

As previously reported by Statewatch, EU border agency Frontex acquired training from a private security company on the topic of “human intelligence”. Despite seeking lessons on “how to recruit an informant”, the agency has insisted that it does not recruit informants – rather, it “conducts interviews with migrants on a voluntary basis where the interviewed person's identity remains anonymous.”

01 April 2021

Declaration of the Assembly of Social Movements of the European Social Forum on Migration

The Declaration, which is the outcome of a process involving "300 social movements, civil society organisations, migrants' associations, unions, migrant and refugee people activists and academics," calls for renewed action to protect the rights of migrants, refugees and people on the move across the globe.

01 April 2021

UK: Protect human rights and judicial review

Statewatch has signed an open statement, alongside more than 150 other organisations, calling for the UK government to halt its attacks on human rights and judicial review.

01 April 2021

EU: To protect fundamental rights, a ban on biometric mass surveillance is needed

Along with 51 other organisations, Statewatch has signed an open letter calling on the European Commission to introduce measures to ban biometric mass surveillance as part of the upcoming legislative proposal on artificial intelligence (AI).

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.


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