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.

29 April 2020

UK: Big Brother Watch: Emergency powers and civil liberties report [April 2020]

"The publication of this report marks approximately one month since the Coronavirus Act 2020 was passed into law on 25th March 2020, and since the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 were made by statutory instrument on 26th March. This remarkable legislative change has fundamentally altered the balance of power between citizens and the state and afforded breath-taking powers to Ministers and law enforcement authorities."

28 April 2020

Convicted terrorists less likely to reoffend than other criminals – study

"Convicted terrorists are extremely unlikely to reoffend compared with other prisoners, research by academics and security services in Europe has found."

28 April 2020

EU: Monitoring being pitched to fight Covid-19 was tested on refugees - The pandemic has given a boost to controversial data-driven initiatives to track population movements

"In Italy, social media monitoring companies have been scouring Instagram to see who's breaking the nationwide lockdown. In Israel, the government has made plans to “sift through geolocation data” collected by the Shin Bet intelligence agency and text people who have been in contact with an infected person. And in the UK, the government has asked mobile operators to share phone users’ aggregate location data to “help to predict broadly how the virus might move”."

27 April 2020

EU: Leaving people behind - Proposals for the reorganisation of the Common European Asylum System

"The rule of law requires that administrative decisions can be reviewed. People must not simply be imprisoned. Nor must people be sent back without a formal procedure; they must have access to legal remedies. Border procedures contribute to making legal protection structurally difficult and often a matter of resources. Border procedures encourage human rights violations."

27 April 2020

Stop cooperation with and funding to the Libyan coastguard, MEPs ask

"The EU should stop channeling funds to Libya to manage migration and to train its coastguard, as the violation of human rights of migrants and asylum-seekers continues."

27 April 2020

Spain: Concerns as Penal Code used to criminalise jokes and misinformation about coronavirus

"ARTICLE 19 is concerned about the use of Spain’s Penal Code against people who have shared and created false information and jokes about coronavirus online. Misinformation about coronavirus is a significant challenge for all governments that should be taken seriously. However, attempts to address misinformation must not be at the expense of freedom of expression. Criminal prosecutions should be the last resort, reserved for the most serious speech related crimes. Instead, governments should tackle misinformation by being transparent about their responses to the pandemic, encouraging the sharing of verified information and promoting media freedom."

27 April 2020

UK: Statement: COVID-19 and the basics of democratic governance

"The UK Government’s communication with the public has been admirably clear and simple: stay home. But it has been one-dimensional and one directional, whilst the challenges presented by COVID-19 are multiple, and they are far from simple."

27 April 2020

Ireland: Special Report: How accommodating asylum seekers turned into a billion-euro industry

"The housing and accommodation of asylum seekers in Ireland has become a billion-euro industry."

27 April 2020

Malta asks the EU to recognise Libya as a safe port

"The follow-up and reactions to the massacre of 12 migrants in the waters between Malta and Libya in the days just after Easter continue to offer surprises. In addition to the phantom fleet of Libyan-Maltese fishing boats used by Valletta to illegally repel the shipwrecked migrants to Libyan prison camps, there is a deliberate plan to obtain money from the EU and have Libya declared a "safe port"."

27 April 2020

UN: Member States Concerned By The Growing and Increasingly Transnational Threat of Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism

"Experts have identified extreme right-wing terrorism - also referred to as far-right or racially and ethnically motivated terrorism - as a unique form of political violence with often fluid boundaries between hate crime and organized terrorism. It is a not a coherent or easily defined movement, but rather a shifting, complex and overlapping milieu of individuals, groups and movements (online and offline) espousing different but related ideologies, often linked by hatred and racism toward minorities, xenophobia, islamophobia or anti-Semitism."

27 April 2020

European Data Protection Board: Guidelines 04/2020 on the use of location data and contact tracing tools in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak

"The EDPB generally considers that data and technology used to help fight COVID-19 should be used to empower, rather than to control, stigmatise, or repress individuals. Furthermore, while data and technology can be important tools, they have intrinsic limitations and can merely leverage the effectiveness of other public health measures. The general principles of effectiveness, necessity, and proportionality must guide any measure adopted by Member States or EU institutions that involve processing of personal data to fight COVID-19."

27 April 2020

Historic UK-Greece migration action plan signed: The UK and Greece have committed to deepen cooperation on irregular migration in the Eastern Mediterranean

"The joint action plan has been signed by Immigration Minister, Chris Philp, and Greece’s Alternate Migration and Asylum Minister, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, today signalling a firm commitment from both governments to increase cooperation as illegal migration into Europe via Greece remains high."

27 April 2020

Italy: CasaPound Italia: Contemporary Extreme Right Politics

"How does a relatively small far right group, with little electoral support, attract international media attention and influence national politics? A recently published book by C-REX researchers Pietro Castelli Gattinara and Caterina Froio uses the example of CasaPound Italia to illustrate the new and often surprising forms that right-wing extremism is taking across the globe."

27 April 2020

Better late than never? Two weeks' quarantine if travelling to UK under plans for 'second phase' of coronavirus response

"Passengers arriving at British airports and ports will be placed in quarantine for up to a fortnight, under plans for the "second phase" of the Government's response to the coronavirus pandemic."

27 April 2020

New Lockdown Restrictions – Clarification or Confusion?

"At 11am today, new Regulations came into force that amend the “lockdown” law in England"

24 April 2020

EU: Seven member states call for mandatory relocation in revamped asylum system

Seven EU member states are in favour of a mandatory relocation procedure as part of a revamped 'Common European Asylum System', according to two recent documents obtained by Statewatch - the first, a letter to the European Commission from the Italian, Spanish, French and German governments and the second, a 'non-paper' drafted by Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta.

23 April 2020

UK making 'impossible demands' over Europol database in EU talks

"Leaked German government report shows Britain has been requesting special access."

23 April 2020

Institutional racism in the NHS intensifies in times of crisis

"As the government announces that NHS England and Public Health England will lead an inquiry into the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on BAME communities, a Black health activist warns that the vague social construct of ‘race’ is being used to explain the mortality and morbidity of diverse populations, and more must be done to hold NHS England and Public Health England to account."

23 April 2020

Council of the EU: Finnish Presidency paper: Twenty Years of Europol - what next?

"Delegations will find attached a note on the "Twenty Years of Europol - what next?" discussed during the infonnal COSI meeting on 8-9 July 2019 in The Hague."


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