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.

06 July 2020

Denmark may return Syria refugees as Damascus area deemed ‘safe’

According to press reports, the Danish government is claiming that Damascus is 'safe' and is now undertaking a review of the residence permits of some 900 Syrian refugees from the city.

06 July 2020

EU: Travel data to be used for public health purposes?

The German Council Presidency has asked member states whether they are using passenger data collected by airline companies to track people infected with COVID-19, with an eye to expanding the scope of EU legislation on the issue. Currently EU rules are limited to using passenger data for "preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting terrorist offences and serious crime."

04 July 2020

UK: Covid gave the Government extra powers, but our human rights are at stake if they don’t let them go

Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, calls for the repeal of the UK's draconian Coronavirus Act, 100 days after it passed into law.

03 July 2020

Greece’s new asylum system designed to deport, not protect

Press release from Oxfam and the Greek Council for Refugees.

02 July 2020

EU: Study on the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant

A study on the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) commissioned by the European Parliament's civil liberties commitee (LIBE) concludes that it "has simplified and sped up handover procedures, including for some high-profile cases of serious crime and terrorism," but that there are ongoing challenges "concerning judicial independence, the nature of mutual recognition and its relationship with international and EU law and values, constitutional principles and additional harmonisation measures."

01 July 2020

Cyprus: Call for action following conviction of human rights organisation for “defamation” and “harmful forgery”

KISA, a human rights organisation based in Cyprus, was recently convicted by the Supreme Court of “defamation” and “harmful forgery” over a 2010 document calling on the government to rescind the appointment of Christos Clerides and Xenis Xenofontos to the Management Board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

01 July 2020

UK: How video hearings broke justice and stripped people of their rights

Wired reports on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the justice system, where the vast majority of hearings in magistrates' courts are now being conducted by videolink.

01 July 2020

Hungary's restrictions on civil society groups are "discriminatory and unjustified", Court of Justice rules

The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled that restrictions imposed by Hungary on civil society organisations - which require registration, declaration and publication for certain categories of groups receiving funds from abroad - are "discriminatory and unjustified", on the grounds that they restrict the free movement of capital and unjustifably impunge upon the fundamental rights to privacy, data protection and freedom of association.

30 June 2020

UN Committee Against Torture should launch inquiry into Italy's role in 'pull-backs' to Libya, says migrants' rights group

The Swiss Committee for the Defence of the Rights of Migrants has called on the UN Committee Against Torture to launch an inquiry into Italy's role in 'pull-backs' to Libya. A formal inquiry by the Committee would be able to establish the legal facts surrounding Italy's practices.

30 June 2020

Europe: COVID-19 lockdowns expose racial bias and discrimination within police

A new report from Amnesty International looks at how police forces across Europe have enforced lockdown restrictions - and finds that ethnic minorities and other marginalised groups have been disproportionately targeted.

29 June 2020

Press release: Hundreds of NGOs and individuals call for the revocation of Libya's maritime search and rescue zone

London, 29 June 2020 - The civil liberties organisation Statewatch has today delivered an open letter [1] with hundreds of signatories to Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of International Maritime Organization (IMO), calling on him to revoke the Libyan maritime search and rescue (SAR) zone [2] in order to prevent the so-called Libyan Coast Guard undertaking 'pull-backs' of migrants to Libya, where they face violence, abuse and mistreatment.

24 June 2020

Council of Europe: Pushbacks and border violence against refugees must end

The Council of Europe issues a strong statement on World Refugee Day calling for an end to "blatant violations of refugees' rights."

24 June 2020

UK: BAME, refugee and migrant deaths in custody (2014 – 2020)

Updated statistics from the Institute of Race Relations lay bare the degree of impunity for the deaths in custody of black, ethnic minority, migrant and refugee persons.

23 June 2020

Dutch government under growing pressure to take in child refugees

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, protests across the Netherlands call for the government to take in 500 unaccompanied child refugees stuck in appalling conditions on Greek islands.

23 June 2020

UN agrees to urgent debate on racism and police violence

African states have requested an urgent debate at the UN Human Rights Council.

23 June 2020

Remote control: the EU-Libya collaboration in mass interceptions of migrants in the Central Mediterranean

A new report from Alarm Phone, Borderline Europe, Mediterranea and Sea-Watch.

22 June 2020

UK: Police presence in schools 'criminalises BME students'

A new report, Race and Racism in English Secondary Schools, argues that increasing the number of police in schools has particularly negative affects on black and other ethnic minority pupils.

19 June 2020

A role for Europol in making decisions on visa applications?

Since May 2018, EU institutions have been discussing changes to the Visa Information System (VIS), a large-scale database that holds data on tens of millions of applicants for short-stay Schengen visas. The proposed changes would introduce a number of new features, including a direct role for Europol in decision-making, if the Commission and Council get their way. This would be a significant extension of the agency's powers. There are further concerns about the agency becoming a "black box" for data from third countries that might be used against travellers to the EU.

19 June 2020

EU: Frontex splashes out: millions of euros for new technology and equipment

The approval of the new Frontex Regulation in November 2019 implied an increase of competences, budget and capabilities for the EU's border agency, which is now equipping itself with increased means to monitor events and developments at the borders and beyond, as well as renewing its IT systems to improve the management of the reams of data to which it will have access.


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