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.

06 November 2020

Senegal: Press release from 28 organisations on the drama of so-called irregular migration

Press release issued on 3 November by the Collectif des Organisations de la Société Civile et Aceturs de la Migration (C.O.C.S.A.M.), known as Lu waral lii. Translated with permission by Statewatch.

06 November 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Presidency placing heavy emphasis on externalisation, deportations, border controls

Discussions in the Council on the measures proposed as part of the EU's new 'Pact on Migration and Asylum' are ongoing. The aim is to find consensus on key points prior to Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings in November and December. The German Presidency set out its thinking on the proposals in a discussion paper circulated on 28 October, and published here. Externalisation, deportations, operations against migrant smuggling and tougher border controls are high on the Presidency's agenda.

06 November 2020

France: Dissolving the CCIF: the shift from the rule of law to arbitrariness

Unofficial translation of a statement published by the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France, CCIF), which the French interior minister stated was an "enemy of the republic", along with 50 other Muslim organisations, following the murder of the schoolteacher Samuel Paty in October.

06 November 2020

ECHR-Poland: Admission of evidence obtained through ill-treatment was in breach of the European Convention

The ECHR has ruled that evidence obtained via torture and ill-treatment inflicted by private individuals renders criminal proceedings unsafe, as is the case when it is inflicted by public officials.

06 November 2020

European Commission plans to visit Croatia in light of human rights violations – looking to clear their conscience or in increasingly hot water

The latest newsletter from Inicijativa Dobrodošli!/Welcome! Initiative covers the European Commission's plans to visit Croatia in light of news of fundamental rights violations at the borders; pushbacks at the Greek borders; deaths at sea; and police violence in Trieste against anti-racist demonstrators countering a far-right protest.

06 November 2020

Deal between Council and Parliament on rule of law and EU budget payments

The Council and the Parliament have reached agreement on new rules that would link payments from the EU budget to conditions related to the rule of law in the member states. The final text, negotiated in secret trilogues - a long-standing anti-democratic practice of the EU law-making process - is not yet public and still has to be signed off by the Council and Parliament.

05 November 2020

France: Increasing numbers of Chechens have their refugee status revoked

Mediapart was able to consult the files of several refugees from the Chechen community facing the withdrawal of their asylum status, something most often done on the basis of "white notes" transmitted by the intelligence services.

05 November 2020

EU: Unprecedented, far-reaching EU regulation on preventing terrorist content online endangers freedom of speech and of the media as well as the online community

Press release from Patrick Breyer MEP (Pirate Party Germany, Greens/European Free Alliance) on the proposed Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. Negotiations between the Council and Parliament are close to being finalised, but many dangerous provisions remain in the text, which is being pushed through in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.

05 November 2020

EU: Suspension of extradition to Poland: legal experts call for political intervention to protect rule of law

The Meijers Committee, made up of experts on immigration, refugee and criminal law, highlights a number of issues that must be considered following increasing suspension by national courts of European Arrest Warrant extraditions to Poland. National courts are halting procedures and requesting advice from the Court of Justice of the EU due to the Polish government's attack on judicial independence and the impact on individual rights in criminal proceedings.

05 November 2020

Pullback to Turkey organised by Greek official on German boat as part of Frontex operation

In response to a question in the Bundestag, the German interior ministry's parliamentary secretary has said that a Greek official deployed on a German boat as part of Frontex's 'Operation Poseidon' "arranged for the Turkish Coast Guard to take over the persons" on board a boat spotted in Turkish waters, and return them to Turkey.

05 November 2020

EU seeking to simplify cross-border use of police drones

As part of the German Presidency's plan to establish a 'European Police Partnership', extending and simplifying the legal framework is high on the agenda, including for the use of drones in cross-border surveillance operations. Drones are also cited in a Commission consultation on an 'EU police cooperation code'. Although the documents contains generic references to fundamental rights and data protection, there are no details on how to improve means for legal or political accountability.

05 November 2020

CEPS report: "Cross-border data access in criminal proceedings and the future of digital justice"

A taskforce by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Queen Mary University of London has published a report on cross-border data gathering, the US CLOUD Act, the e-evidence proposal, and implications for EU law. The task force report is written by Sergio Carrera, Marco Stefan and Valsamis Mitsilegas

04 November 2020

UK: Shielding the armed forces from prosecution: Bill passes through House of Commons

The Overseas Operations Bill has passed through the House of Commons with a majority of 85 votes. Amongst other things, the Bill would make it extremely difficult to prosecute soldiers or the armed forces for human rights abuses or criminal acts conducted during military operations. UN experts recently condemned the Bill for providing "advance immunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity."

04 November 2020

Policing: three undercover networks merge in step towards "a single pan-European surveillance network"

Three police networks focused on covert surveillance activities are to merge and start reporting to the Council of the EU's Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP). The group will include representatives of every EU and Schengen member state and - at least for the time being - the UK. Operational cooperation and training on issues such as "Non-Police Behaviour, Low-Light Capacity, Rural Surveillance and Counter Surveillance" will be extended through the move.

04 November 2020

Greece: Eviction of the Pikpa camp: statement from Lesvos Solidarity

On 30 October the Greek police evicted Pikpa camp, which for years has provided a safe and welcoming place for migrants and refugees arriving on Lesvos. The eviction appears to be part of the Greek government's move to ensure all people arriving on the islands are placed in "closed camps".

04 November 2020

UK: New report documents "insulting and degrading" financial support for asylum seekers

A new report by the charity Asylum Matters documents the effects of the government support provided to asylum seekers. The weekly rate of support for an individual - recently raised by a paltry three pence to £39.63, or £5.66 a day - is provided on a pre-paid card. The result is that people must "live in poverty for months, or even years at a time, as they wait for a decision on their asylum claim." The Home Office recently claimed that the three pence raise will "ensure essential needs are provided for."

03 November 2020

UK: Protest exemption set to be removed from England lockdown rules

The UK's first lockdown and subsequent restrictions did not prevent huge protests being organised, most notably those for racial equality. In fact, an exemption in the English coronavirus regulations has allowed protests to take place where the organisers follow certain protocols intended to prevent the spread of the virus. The police have previously been accused of using the virus as a way to prevent protests from happening in the first place - but now, with the second lockdown looming, the government is set to remove the exemption for protests altogether.

02 November 2020

EU: Exports of "dual-use" technology: Council's updated negotiating position

The Council's latest negotiating position on the proposed Regulation on "dual-use" exports.

02 November 2020

EU: Policing: member states get ready for the first “European Data Quality Day”

With the forthcoming interconnection of a host of EU databases for policing and migration, a lot more data on a lot more people will be available to a far greater number of authorities and officials than at present. However, EU databases are riddled with errors. As part of its proposal for a “European Police Partnership”, the German Presidency is planning a “European Data Quality Day” which will aim to improve “the quantity and quality of data” held in the Europol Information System and the Schengen Information System.

02 November 2020

Drone video shows scale of Poland's abortion protests

Impressive drone footage of protests against the Polish government's attempt to essentially outlaw abortion show the size of the movement opposed to the new measures. The protests are reportedly more militant and with a broader base than those that have taken place in previous years.


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