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.

11 August 2020

UK: Police use of facial recognition technology unlawful, says Court of Appeal

The UK Court of Appeal has ruled that South Wales Police's "use of Live Automated Facial Recognition technology on 21 December 2017 and 27 March 2018 and on an ongoing basis, which engaged Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights [the right to a private and family life], was not in accordance with the law".

10 August 2020

UK: Government takes a hard line on 'small boat' arrivals

The number of people arriving irregularly on British shores has increased in recent weeks, bringing the total for the year to around 4,000. With a number of media outlets treating the issue as an emergency, the government has decided to follow suit and has nown appointed a former marine and senior Home Official official to "a new role leading the UK’s response to tackling illegal attempts to reach the UK."

10 August 2020

UK: Legal challenge seeks to halt export of 'less-lethal' weapons to US police forces

A group of young people are bringing a legal challenge that aims to halt the UK government's exports of 'less-lethal' weaponry to the US, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, due to the ongoing repression of protests across the country.

10 August 2020

Romania, Poland and Czech Republic acquiring drones for border surveillance, military purposes

A number of NATO member states in Eastern Europe - namely Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic - are acquiring a variety of drones with the aim of stepping up border surveillance activities, amongst other things.

10 August 2020

Germany: Belated and limited investigations into far-right death plots

The far-right Nordkreuz group, which was made up of some 30 members including officials from law enforcement authorities and the military, came under investigation from prosecutors in 2017. Despite alleged plans for a 'Day X', involving plots to round up and kill politicians and migrants, only two members of the group currently face terrorism charges.

10 August 2020

UK: Despite the pandemic, Home Office restarts 'Dublin' removals of asylum seekers to EU countries

The UK Home Office is set to deport up to 20 asylum-seekers to France and Germany this week, despite concerns that it may contribute to the spread of coronavirus. Campaigners suspect that the rush to restart removals under the EU's 'Dublin' system relates to the UK's final departure from the EU at the end of this year, with no replacement agreement on asylum matters in sight.

04 August 2020

After six long years, no justice for border deaths and pushbacks to Morocco from Spain

Sixteen Guardia Civil officers have walked free from court in Cádiz following a ruling that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute them for their involvement in the deaths of 15 people who tried to reach Spanish territory by sea, and the ‘hot return’ (summary expulsion) of 23 other people to Morocco, in February 2014.

04 August 2020

EU: New Europol Regulation: what the agency wants, the agency gets?

Europol, the EU's policing agency, has circulated a document to member state delegations in the Council's Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) setting out what it sees as the shortcomings in its current legal basis. The document is intended to inform discussion on a forthcoming legal proposal that will give Europol more extensive powers.

04 August 2020

UK: Threat of legal challenge forces Home Office to abandon "racist visa algorithm"

The UK Home Office has said that it will get rid of the "streaming algorithm" used to classify visa applications and will launch a review of the system, following an application for judicial review brought by the civil society organisations Foxglove and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI).

03 August 2020

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14 July-3 August 2020)

Including: Court judgment confirms that Slovenia and Croatia committed "chain pushbacks" / Pull-backs by the Libyan Coast Guard: complaint filed with UN Human Rights Committee / Borders, budgets and beyond: LIBE report sheds light on Frontex’s priorities for implementing its new mandate / EU support for "migration management" in the Western Balkans squarely focused on control measures / Greece: New Legal Centre Lesvos report details collective expulsions in the Aegean Sea

03 August 2020

Libya: “They were shot and killed as they fled arbitrary detention”

Three people who were pulled back to Libya after trying to flee the country have been shot and killed and two others have been injured. According to MSF, they were part of a group of 73 people whose attempt at escaping Libya by sea was thwarted by the Libyan Coast Guard. All those killed or injured are between the ages of 15 and 18.

03 August 2020

Greece: EU to provide €130 million for detention centres on Aegean islands

Three new detention centres will be constructed with EU funds on the Aegean islands of Samos, Leros and Kos.

03 August 2020

Serbia: Documentary exposes the dangers of mass biometric surveillance

A new documentary sets out the dangers posed by the Serbian government's drive to blanket Belgrade with facial recognition cameras.

03 August 2020

Court judgment confirms that Slovenia and Croatia committed "chain pushbacks"

The latest newsletter from Inicijativa Dobrodošli!/Welcome! Initiative reports on a Slovenian court judgment confirming that both Slovenia and Croatia participated in the "chain pushback" of a man identified as J.D., who was illegally expelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

03 August 2020

UK: Local authorities must probe police use of data analytics to map communities

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) calls on local authorities to probe how the police are using data analytics software, following the news that London's Metropolitan Police have used software that its makers claim can be used “to profile perpetrators and victims”, raising concerns over the potential for unwarranted discrimination.

30 July 2020

Nigerians returned from Europe face stigma and growing hardship

The EU is aiming to prevent Nigerians from arriving in EU, and to deport many of those who have been living there irregularly. On their arrival back in Nigeria, those who are removed - whether by forced expulsion or through 'voluntary return' programmes - receive differing levels of support, but both face challenges that may lead them to re-emigrate.

30 July 2020

Ireland: Data protection watchdog questions airport checks over Pandemic Unemployment Payment

The Irish Department of Social Protection has been questioning passengers at airports to see whether they may have been contravening the terms of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Their approach has raised eyebrows at the country's data protection authority, which argues they may have been ignoring the legal requirement for reasonable suspicion as the basis for questioning.

30 July 2020

Serbia: Targeting of journalists and NGOs a blatant act of intimidation

Amnesty International condemns investigations launched by the Serbian state into the activities of NGOs and journalists. The investigations come in the wake of anti-government protests.

30 July 2020

UK: Former equalities chiefs: we were not reappointed because we were "too loud and vocal" on racism

A report in Newsweek publishes claims by two former members of the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that they were not reappointed to their roles, despite being recommended to do so, because they were too vocal on issues of racism.

30 July 2020

New world disorder: digital attacks on freedom of assembly

A new report from Access Now examines how digital infrastructure can be blocked, shut down, or monitored to prevent people exercising their right to freedom of assembly.


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