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.

11 September 2020

Greece: Thousands left without shelter after Moria fire - what now?

Thousands of people who were living in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos have been left without shelter after a huge fire that began on Tuesday night destroyed most of the tents and buildings. Other EU member states have agreed to take in unaccompanied children who were living in Moria. The Greek government has been accused of responding with "securitisation as opposed to the provision of urgent assistance."

11 September 2020

EU: Updates to Frontex complaints mechanism shrouded in secrecy

EU border agency Frontex is in the process of updating the rules governing its highly-criticised individual complaints mechanism. Attempts to ensure transparency over those updates - which have important implications for the protection of fundamental rights - have, so far, been unsuccesful.

10 September 2020

France: Six months undercover with the police: racism, violence, impunity

A new book by French journalist Valentin Gendrot chronicles the six months he spent working undercover as a police officer in Paris, where police violence "was so frequent it became almost banal".

09 September 2020

UK: Digital ID plans unveiled and condemned

The UK government has announced "plans to enable the use of digital identity across the UK," stating its intention to "update existing laws and a new set of guiding principles for policy development."

09 September 2020

EU: Study on the political economy of border control measures

An in-depth study conducted as part of an EU-funded research project picks apart the "political economy of entry governance" in the EU - in short, who is allowed to enter the EU and who is not. The report is "founded on the outlook that any careful analysis of EU entry governance needs to take into account the political economy of border control practices, and how they can be shaped by concerns other than about migration, and by other actors than the public bodies and institutions of the EU or its Member States."

09 September 2020

UK: New reports on immigration detention and the hostile environment

Two new reports, by the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Institute for Public Policy Research, expose some of the most harmful aspects of the UK's immigration and asylum system.

08 September 2020

UK: Police to stop referring to protesters as "domestic extremists"

Many years of campaigning by the Network for Police Monitoring and others has pushed the police to stop referring to protesters "domestic extremists". It remains to be seen what term will be adopted to replace it.

08 September 2020

Greece: Grassroots groups condemn government plans for closed detention centres

Under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic, the migrant and refugee reception centres on Lesvos and Chios - already overcrowded, unsanitary and unable to provide people with their basic rights - are to be turned into closed detention centres, the Greek government has announced. The move has been condemned by grassroots organisations.

07 September 2020

ICS, UNHCR and IOM call on States to end humanitarian crisis onboard ship in the Mediterranean

In a joint press release, two UN agencies and a global industry body have called on the International Maritime Organization to take steps to ensure that the Maersk Etienne cargo ship is allocated a port of disembarkation. 27 rescued people have been trapped on board the ship for over a month.

07 September 2020

Controlling the use of personal data by intelligence agencies: Council of Europe officials call for action

In the wake of the Schrems II ruling at the Court of Justice of the EU, which annulled certain data transfers from the EU to the USA due to a lack of data protection safeguards, two high-ranking Council of Europe officials have called for all UN member states to accede to Council of Europe Convention 108 and its protocols, which cover the protection of personal data. They argue that wider implementation of the Convention will "address the question of the operation of intelligence services, under the aegis of a globally respected human rights organisation."

04 September 2020

European Arrest Warrant: Dutch court seeks answers from CJEU over extradition to Poland

Dutch courts have suspended extraditions to Poland, pending answers from the Court of Justice of the EU over whether the Polish judicial system can provide the necessary guarantees regarding the right to a fair trial. The move follows doubts expressed by courts in Germany, Ireland and Spain.

04 September 2020

Greece: Massive denials of entry, lockdown of migrant and refugee centres extended

ECRE provide an update on the situation in Greece, where the Shipping Minister has said that 10,000 people have been prevented from irregularly entering the country so far in 2020, the coronavirus lockdown on centres for migrants and refugees has been extended until 15 September, and the first instance recognition rate for asylum claims has risen to 69%.

03 September 2020

Search and rescue: EU states are demanding ships assist in rescues, then refusing permission to disembark

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders explain the case of SeaWatch 4, which was recently left at sea for 11 days with 353 rescued people on board, until it was finally allowed to disembark in Palermo. MSF explain the dirty tricks being played by EU member states that are putting people's lives at risk.

03 September 2020

Spain: Crackdown in Morocco pushes people to take more dangerous journeys to the Canary Islands

200 people are camping in a port "with no shower or adequte sanitary conditions" on the island of Gran Canaria, as the number of people arriving on the Canary Islands by small boats reaches its highest level for over a decade following a crackdown on other routes to Spanish territory.

03 September 2020

UN agencies sign new agreement on establishing worldwide travel surveillance systems

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) have signed a new 'Memorandum of Agreement' that will extend their cooperation in implementing UN rules requiring that every member state set up systems for the surveillance and profiling of air passengers, in the name of combating terrorism and organised crime.

03 September 2020

UK: No criminal charges against five police officers over death of 'doting' dad following arrest caught on camera

Andre Moura was "found unresponsive in the back of a police van" after being arrested in July 2018 and declared dead at a hospital later that night. Five officers from Greater Manchester Police were investigated by the Independent Office of Police Conduct, which recommended that the Crowd Prosecution Service press various charges - but the CPS has decided otherwise.

03 September 2020

UK: Unmasking Facial Recognition: An exploration of the racial bias implications of facial recognition surveillance in the United Kingdom

A new report by WebRoots Democracy, a think tank focused on progressive and inclusive technology policy, looks at the implications of the police use of facial recognition technology for people of colour and Muslims - two social groups who are heavily monitored by the state.

03 September 2020

UK: JUSTICE calls for urgent reform of major inquests and inquiries

Press release published by JUSTICE on 24 August 2020 for the report 'When Things Go Wrong: the response of the justice system'.

03 September 2020

Beyond Bias: Why We Can’t Just “Fix” Facial Recognition

The Digital Freedom Fund argue that problems with facial recognition technology cannot simply be fixed by trying to remove "bias" or ensure "fairness", and that instead a more holistic approach to the development and use of new technologies is required.

03 September 2020

EU: German Presidency: how can Frontex help deport unaccompanied children?

The implementation of the new mandate of EU border agency Frontex is well under way, and the German Presidency of the Council has raised a question with other member states that is likely to spark controversy: how can the agency assist with the deportation of lone children?


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