2020

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.

26 October 2020

EU: Bulgaria blocks North Macedonia Frontex agreement

Bulgaria is preventing the signature of an agreement allowing the deployment of Frontex teams in North Macedonia because "Bulgaria doesn’t recognise the language of North Macedonia as “Macedonian”, as the authorities in Skopje call it. Bulgarian scientists consider it as a dialect of Bulgarian."

23 October 2020

Travel surveillance: Croatia and USA sign PNR agreement

Croatia and the USA have signed an agreement on the transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, taken from air passengers during the booking process, as part of Croatia's ongoing attempts to achieve a visa waiver for its citizens.

23 October 2020

Greece: Golden Dawn deputy leader evades arrest as others head to prison

Christos Pappas, the former deputy leader of Golden Dawn, has gone on the run to evade a 13-year prison sentence handed down against him. He is one of six former leaders of the far-right party sentenced to 13 years in prison; others have received lesser or suspended sentences. Thirty-eight of the 50 people convicted face prison.

23 October 2020

Deaths during or following police contact: Statistics for England and Wales 2019/20

The annual report on deaths during or following police contact has been published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

23 October 2020

Greece: Defending human rights in times of border militarization

HumanRights360 presents its latest report on its work at the border of Evros, for the period May-September 2020.

23 October 2020

ECHR-Germany: Random strip searches of prisoners constitute degrading treatment

The European Court of Human Rights has found that the German authorities breached Article 3 (inhuman and degrading treatment) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights through a policy of random strip searches on prisoners, and a failure to provide legal aid for a prisoner to bring official liability proceedings when the domestic courts found the practice unlawful.

22 October 2020

UK: Channel asylum seekers face "a Dover to Deportation pipeline" with no legal advice or support

A new report by the migrants' rights organisation Movement for Justice, based on interviews with 20 people held in the Yarl's Wood detention centre after arriving in the UK by crossing the Channel, says that people are not being provided with legal advice until the very last minute - and that the government's claims that "lefty lawyers" are using last-minute appeals to frustrate deportations are in fact the only option many people have to prevent unlawful removal from the UK.

22 October 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: A “Fresh Start” or One More Clunker? Dublin and Solidarity in the New Pact

Francesco Maiani, Associate professor at the Centre of Comparative, European and International Law at the University of Lausanne, finds that the European Commission's proposal for an Asylum and Migration Management Regulation is largely old wine in new bottles.

22 October 2020

UK: Court of Appeal reject police attempts to weaken accountability for use of force

Officer who shot Jermaine Baker will face proceedings for gross misconduct

21 October 2020

EU: European Public Prosecutor's Office and the processing of personal data

The European Commission has recently decided on the categories of data subjects and of personal data that may be processed by the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) in the course of its investigations.

21 October 2020

EU: Who will watch the watchmen on Europe's borders?

As part of the 'Pact on Migration and Asylum', the European Commission has proposed the creation of new independent monitoring mechanisms to investigate human rights abuses, such as pushbacks. However, while many see this as a necessity to prevent violations of individual rights in border control operations, there are a number of EU states who are likely to oppose the measure.

20 October 2020

EU: German Presidency seeks common approach for data-sharing on "potential terrorists"

The German Presidency of the Council has drafted a set of conclusions on the topic of "potential terrorists" ("Gefährder"), setting out ways for the member states to improve information-sharing and coordinate risk assessment and analysis. With increased political pressure to share information on "potential" threats, who will be caught up in the net that shouldn't be?

20 October 2020

EU: Greece draws up requirements for member state militaries' role in border control

The Greek military's 'Multinational Peace Support Operations Training Center' has prepared an analysis of training requirements for the military's role in integrated border management operations. Although the report acknowledges that border control is primarily a civilian task, it says that more training should be given to armed forces in the EU, and that the EU should adopt a 'Common Core Curriculum' on the issue.

20 October 2020

"Crime of solidarity": Annulment of the sentence of a solidarity activist at the French-Italian border

A French activist who was prosecuted for transporting a man presumed to be in an irregular immigration situation has had his sentence overturned, but a fresh hearing at the Court of Appeal awaits.

19 October 2020

Artists force us to confront the rise in citizen surveillance

Technological 'innovations' give ordinary people increasing opportunities to monitor and record each others' behaviour. The authorities - in particular, the police - are keen to take advantage of these developments. An article published by the Goethe Institute looks at some of the ways artists have explored these developments, and what they say about contemporary forms of surveillance and social control.

19 October 2020

EU: Wiretapping: New high-level police working group to formulate "a joint response to the impending massive impacts of 5G"

A new senior police working group will try to advance the police demand to retain wiretapping abilities with 5G technology. However, the technical architecture of 5G makes this extremely difficult, if not impossible. The German Presidency is seeking formal recognition from the Council's Law Enforcement Working Party for this new body, named the 'European Heads of Lawful Interception Units'. As well as EU and Schengen states, the UK will apparently also be involved.

16 October 2020

Spain: Forty immigration detainees go on hunger strike

In the Sangonera detention centre near the city of Murcia, 40 immigration detainees have gone on hunger strike to demand they be released.

15 October 2020

UK: Commons approves bill giving state agents powers to commit crimes without limits

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill has passed its third reading in the House of Commons. The law would allow state agents to commit crimes in the course of undercover operations, with no limits set down on what they may do.

15 October 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Reinforced cooperation against migrant smuggling with Balkan and African "partners"

The EU’s Pact on Migration and Asylum reiterated the long-standing priority for the EU and its member states to work more closely with “third countries” to control migration. In practice, this has led to serious abuses and even deaths, as smugglers engage in increasingly-complex and dangerous circumvention of border controls and police operations. Nevertheless, the EU is pushing ahead with new initiatives seeking to formalise cooperation with Balkan and African states on anti-migrant smuggling operations.

15 October 2020

Webinar: Deportation Union: databases for expulsions

On Monday 26 October we will hold the second in our series of webinars exploring the report 'Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU's push to increased forced removals'.

 

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