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.

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.

13 July 2020

Brexit: Commission prepares for the end of the transition period; concerns over citizens' rights

The European Commission has published a Communication setting out the changes that will take place when the Brexit "transition period" comes to an end on 1 January 2021, no matter what the outcome of negotiations between Britain and the EU. Citizens' rights groups are concerned that many EU member states do not yet have legislation in place to ensure British citizens with the right to stay can do so.

13 July 2020

The 'Easter Massacre' in the Mediterranean: Human rights groups submit criminal complaint

Over the Easter weekend, 12 people died and 51 were 'pulled back' to Libya in a case where a vessel in distress lay within the Maltese SAR zone and on the fringe of Italy's territorial waters for hours, but no action was taken by Maltese or Italian authorities to conduct a rescue. Human rights group submitted a criminal complaint earlier this month, demanding that the possible complicity of the Italian authorities be investigated.

13 July 2020

Northern Ireland: Arrest warrants for investigative journalists overturned

The High Court in Belfast has quashed the arrest warrants issued for investigative journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey. The two were subject to police investigation and arrest for their work on a documentary on the 1994 Loughinisland massacre, in which members of the loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary killed six people and wounded five.

10 July 2020

EU: Here we go again (again, again): push for asylum centres at the external borders

Those not expelled following an unsuccesful asylum claim or relocated following a succesful one would "end up in some sort of facility," reports EUobserver.

10 July 2020

UN: Armed drones: Special Rapporteur examines the dawning of the "second drone age"

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, has issued a new report examining the expanding use of armed drones.

10 July 2020

Greece: Unrest as government passes new anti-protest law

There have been demonstrations across Greece against a new law which introduces a requirement to apply for a 'licence to protest'. In Athens, where more than 10,000 people gathered in opposition to the new measures, police reportedly detained 24 people. Violence broke out when a group of protesters threw petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas and flash grenades. Demonstrations have been held outside courts in support of those arrested.

09 July 2020

Malta: Renewed call for justice 1,000 days after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia

A dozen human rights group have signed a statement calling for those involved in the killing of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia to be brought to justice, 1,000 days after her assassination and in the wake of "yet more disturbing revelations of state corruption and impunity".

09 July 2020

Europol: plans afoot to legalise unlawful acts

The European Commission recently launched a consultation on possible changes to Europol's mandate, which would give the policing agency greater data-gathering and processing powers. Some of the proposals under consideration would legalise ongoing activities for which there is currently no legal basis, such as the processing of the personal data of innocent people. Statewatch's submission to the consultation called for a much broader discussion on the agency's role and operations.

09 July 2020

COVID-19 opens the way for the use of police drones in Greece

As part of EDRi's series on 'COVIDTech', Greek digital rights organisation Homo Digitalis examines how the pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity for Greek police to make use of new rules allowing the deployment of drones for law enforcement purposes.


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