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.

05 October 2020

UK Parliament must not introduce impunity for war crimes, say UN experts

UN human rights experts have called on MPs in the Westminster parliament to reject the Overseas Operations (service personnel and Veterans) Bill, which seeks to prevent prosecutions of British armed forces personnel for serious crimes such as torture and unlawful killing.

02 October 2020

EU: European Asylum Support Office study: Border procedures for asylum applications in the EU+ countries

A study by EASO looking at how member states have implemented the 2013 Asylum Procedures Directive, which allows for the use of "border procedures" for a rapid assessment of asylum applications. Under measures recently-proposed as part of the Pact on Migration and Asylum, border procedures - and accompanying large-scale detention - would become far more widely-used.

02 October 2020

Policing the pandemic: EU governments have introduced "unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions on civic space and freedoms"

A report by Greenpeace and Liberties details measures taken by a variety of EU governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The report argues that governments have taken "political advantage of the pandemic" by curbing "the right to protest, free speech, access to information and freedom of association."

02 October 2020

Greece: Police file migrant smuggling cases against 35 people, including 33 NGO workers

The Greek police have handed files to the prosecution authorities alleging the involvement of 35 foreign nationals in migrant smuggling. The files list offences such as "forming and joining a criminal organisation, espionage, violation of state secrets, as well as violations of the Immigration Code".

02 October 2020

Netherlands: Amnesty calls for a halt to algorithmic policing experiments

The Dutch police have started employing an array of "predictive policing" technologies, in projects that the police themselves describe as "living labs". Amnesty say that one such project in the city of Roemund treats the population "as 'guinea pigs' under mass surveillance and discriminates against people with Eastern European nationalities."

01 October 2020

MEPs raise concerns on EU plans for police facial recognition database

The European Commission and Council want to extend the 'Prüm Decisions' - which mandate the interlinking of national DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration databases - to include facial recognition. At a hearing last week, MEPs and experts raised serious concerns over the idea.

01 October 2020

UK: MPs vote to renew coronavirus act but brand government debate 'a disgrace'

The Coronavirus Act, which was introduced by the UK government in March and which sets out an extensive and extreme set of emergency powers, has been renewed in a vote by MPs. They were granted just 90 minutes to debate the measures.

01 October 2020

EU: Deportations to Afghanistan: member states want to simplify expulsion of "vulnerable groups"

The EU is moving toward renewal of the 'Joint Way Forward with Afghanistan', an informal agreement that facilitates the deportation of Afghans present in the EU. A secret document from July, published here, sets out the member states' demands to the Commission for the renewed agreement. It includes a call for "the notion of vulnerable groups" to be "limited", which would ease the deportation of people who may otherwise qualify for protection.

01 October 2020

UK considers imitating Australia's brutal off-shoring of asylum seekers

It has emerged in recent days that the UK government is considering the possibility of housing asylum-seekers in camps outside the country.

01 October 2020

After Moria, EU to try closed asylum camps on Greek islands

Barbed wire fences and microchipped armbands to control entry await the future residents of a forthcoming "closed camp" for refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Samos.

01 October 2020

EU: Advice of Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights still falls on deaf ears

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights has produced its annual report for 2019, and a number of familiar concerns are again present. The Forum was set up eight years ago to provide Frontex with independent advice on fundamental rights.

01 October 2020

EU: New Council working party on blanket telecommunications surveillance

The German Presidency of the Council of the EU is planning a new working party, which will work on policy and legal initiatives aiming to reintroduce EU-wide blanket telecommunication surveillance. Previous EU legislation on telecoms data retention was struck down by the Court of Justice in 2014, but many national laws remain in place and there are ongoing efforts to introduce a new EU-wide regime.

01 October 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Secret documents on reception conditions and qualification for international protection

Last week the European Commission published its Pact on Migration and Asylum. While it includes some new measures, it also calls for the adoption of previous proposals that were the subject of significant disagreement between the Council and the European Parliament. Today we are publishing Council documents that have until now remained secret, including blocked provisional agreements on the rules on reception conditions and the criteria for qualification for international protection.

30 September 2020

UK: The Government must urgently consider the human rights implications of COVID-19 measures, says Joint Committee on Human Rights

The UK parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights has released a new report on the impact of the government's response to the pandemic on human rights. The report looks at the rights to life, to liberty, to privacy, to education, to a fair trial and others.

29 September 2020

UK: Renewal of the Coronavirus Act: Emergency powers need parliamentary scrutiny

Six months after it was passed into law, the Coronavirus Act is due to come before parliament for a vote on its renewal. However, renewing the act would allow the government to continue passing new laws without any parliamentary scrutiny of individual measures. This would mean the continuation of what one former Supreme Court judge has called government by decree.

29 September 2020

Bulgaria will relocate some refugees from Moria, but racism and xenophobia make it a tough destination

Bulgaria has agreed to accept 70 unaccompanied minors affected by the fire in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. However, conditions for migrants and refugees are problematic - the use of detention is widespread, and racism and xenophobia are deeply rooted in Bulgarian society, argues Milana Nikolova.

29 September 2020

EU: Head of Europol supervisory group wants to create a "European FBI"

Europol should become "a kind of European FBI", according to Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of the German state of Lower Saxony and one of the co-chairs of Europol's Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group. "In the medium term, it must also have its own executive powers," he has said.

28 September 2020

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25 September 2020

EU: No human rights monitoring for 20% of Frontex's deportation flights in 2019

There were no human rights monitors present on 20% of the deportation charter flights coordinated by Frontex in 2019, according to an agency report being published today by Statewatch.

25 September 2020

Frontex: Report on cooperation with third countries in 2019

The report gives an overview of Frontex's engagement with non-EU states during 2019 on issues such as surveillance, risk analysis and training. It was circulated to the European Commission, Council of the EU and European Parliament in June 2019.

 

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