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.

28 July 2020

EU: New 'Security Union Strategy' - all the documents

The European Commission has published a new 'Security Union Strategy' for the 2021-25 period, replacing the previous 'European Agenda on Security' (2015-20) and further extending the scope of EU action on security issues.

28 July 2020

Masks cause "great difficulty" for pre-pandemic facial recognition algorithms

A study by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has found that facial recognition algorithms developed before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic have "great difficulty" in accurately identifying people.

27 July 2020

UK: Policing the pandemic: figures show ongoing racial discrimination

A series of reports in The Guardian show how the policing of the pandemic has further exacerbated racial inequalities in law enforcement.

27 July 2020

UK: Borders after Brexit: government consultation launched

The UK government has launched a '2025 UK Border Strategy Public Consultation', which seeks to "ensure that the government and industry are able to work in partnership together to deliver a world class border." According to the government, its ambition is to "create the world’s most effective border by 2025, to ensure the UK becomes an even more attractive place to travel to and do business with. It will ensure the UK is better protected against crime, terrorism and environmental and biosecurity threats."

27 July 2020

UK: Hear Us: the experiences of refugee and asylum-seeking women during the pandemic

A new report by the Sisters Not Strangers coalition examines the experiences of refugee and asylum-seeking women in the UK during the COVID-19 lockdown. The authors argue that their findings confirm what they already knew - that refugee and asylum-seeking women have been some of those hardest hit by the pandemic and the measures introduced to contain it. Existing inequalities and disadvantages have been exacerbated, and those interviewed for the report "have experienced hunger, homelessness, mental health has deteriorated and women with pre-existing health conditions have struggled to access healthcare."

27 July 2020

Pull-backs by the Libyan Coast Guard: complaint filed with UN Human Rights Committee

A press release from the Association for Juridical Studies on Migration (ASGI, Italy) and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, published on 24 July in advance of a press conference on 28 July.

23 July 2020

Montenegro: Frontex launches second operation on non-EU territory

Frontex has launched its second executive operation in a state outside the EU, deploying officers in Montenegro on 15 July.

21 July 2020

Surveillance and data-driven discrimination: 10 threats to migrants and refugees

Privacy International set out ten threats to the rights of migrants and refugees stemming from "surveillance practices and data-driven immigration policies".

20 July 2020

Borders, budgets and beyond: LIBE report sheds light on Frontex’s priorities for implementing its new mandate

In February, three MEPs visited the Warsaw headquarters of Frontex, the EU’s border agency, to assess implementation of its new mandate, which entered into force in December last year. A report on their mission presents a snapshot of Frontex’s current operations, work on deportations and relations with non-EU states, research activities and fundamental rights issues.

20 July 2020

EU support for "migration management" in the Western Balkans squarely focused on control measures

An internal Council survey of EU member states' assistance for Western Balkans countries shows that the emphasis is very clearly on migration control measures, with "the majority of bilateral support... provided in two areas, namely border management and combating the smuggling of migrants (over 50% of all MS activities)".

17 July 2020

Netherlands: Police and refugee agency accused of breaching asylum seekers’ privacy

Dutch authorities have been accused of breaking the law by sharing refugees' personal data without their consent in the name of detecting "offences such as visa fraud, human trafficking and terrorism."

16 July 2020

Forced returns and fundamental rights? FRA releases 2020 report on national ‘state of play’

On 3 July the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released a ‘state of play’ document examining the deportation (“forced return”) monitoring systems of the 27 member states in 2020.

16 July 2020

Border surveillance and deaths at sea: Frontex’s invisible flights come under scrutiny

Interest in Frontex’s “Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance” activities picked up in April this year, when journalist Sergio Scandura documented the presence of Frontex-operated aircraft above the Mediterranean over the Easter weekend. Four migrant boats with approximately 280 people on board were left in distress situations for days, despite repeated calls for intervention, leading directly to “pull-backs” to Libya and deaths at sea.

16 July 2020

Council of the EU: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the EU’s migration partnership with African countries

On 2 June, the Croatian Presidency circulated to member state delegations a document intended for discussion at an "informal videoconference" of the secretive High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration on 12 June.

15 July 2020

UK selling spyware and wiretaps to 17 repressive regimes including Saudi Arabia and China

The Independent has revealed the the UK has been exporting surveillance equipment to dictatorships and other repressive regimes.

15 July 2020

Poland: Andzrej Duda wins five more years as president

Poland's conservative president, Andzrej Duda, who is a strong backer of the governing Law and Justice Party, has won another five years in power.

15 July 2020

EU: German Council Presidency paper on "rethinking media pluralism"

The Germany Presidency of the Council of the EU (July-December 2020) has put the issue of media pluralism high on its agenda. An internal Council document sets out some of the thinking going on behind the scenes.

14 July 2020

UK: Democracy under threat from ‘pandemic of misinformation’ online, say Lords Committee

Report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies, plus the Committee's press release and press coverage.

14 July 2020

Greece: New Legal Centre Lesvos report details collective expulsions in the Aegean Sea

Press release from Legal Centre Lesvos on their new report documenting a series of collective expulsions in the Aegean.

13 July 2020

EU to deploy controversial technologies on holidaymakers and business travellers

Press release: International travel may be on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the EU is pressing ahead with long-term plans to deploy controversial, untested technologies that will cast a “veil of suspicion” over holidaymakers and other travellers visiting the Schengen area, says a new report published today by the civil liberties organisation Statewatch.


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