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.

01 September 2021

The war in Afghanistan is over, the "war on terror" continues

US president Joe Biden made a speech yesterday to mark the end of the war in Afghanistan, two decades after the invasion by the US and its allies in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks. Biden was clear that while he is not keen on any further major military interventions, other methods (drones, missile strikes and special forces operations - will be used to hunt down "those who wish America harm" and make them "pay the ultimate price".

31 August 2021

Council of the EU: Draft statement on the situation in Afghanistan

Statement due to be adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council today.

25 August 2021

UK: Live facial recognition technology should not be used in public spaces

Over 30 human rights organisations, including Statewatch, are calling on the UK parliament and other relevant agencies and bodies to take action to ban the public deployment of live facial recognition technology. An open letter condemns the adoption of guidance for the police that sidesteps many requirements set out by court jurisprudence, and calls for urgent democratic debate on a technology that introduces "a huge shift in the relationship between the individual and the State."

25 August 2021

EU: €5 million for new wiretapping technologies

The European Commission has made €5 million available for research projects that aim to help law enforcement authorities maintain the ability to intercept telecommunications – something which is threatened by the adoption of new technologies such as 5G networks and “edge computing”.

24 August 2021

Belarussian government's "hybrid attack" on European borders: statement from Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish and Estonian prime ministers

A declaration signed by four EU member state prime ministers reasserts the argument that the arrival of people at their borders from Belarus is a "hybrid attack... planned and systemically organized by the regime of Alexander Lukashenka," and calls for a coordinated EU and UN response.

23 August 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Migration plans for Afghanistan before the fall of the government

Two internal EU documents on Afghanistan - a European Commission "draft action plan" for a "comprehensive migration partnership" from July, and a Council discussion paper from May - make clear the level of EU and member state engagement with Afghanistan on migration prior to the fall of the government to the Taliban.

05 August 2021

EU Military Committee advice on Libya: extend aerial surveillance, increase "attractiveness" of EU support to coast guard

Two documents concerning possible options for ongoing EU engagement with authorities in Libya.

05 August 2021

EU: New report on reception, detention and restriction of movement at EU external borders

Asylum proposals currently under discussion are likely introduce mandatory detention for many people arriving at the external borders of the EU and deemed to have no right to enter. A new report from the European Council on Refugees and Exiles critiques existing practice and the new proposals through the lens of international law and human rights standards.

05 August 2021

Frontex: Beleaguered border agency seeks to expand standing corps

EU border agency Frontex announced on Tuesday that it will be renewing recruitment to swell its all-new standing corps of border guards, the “EU’s first uniformed service”.

03 August 2021

African Union condemns Danish asylum externalisation law "in the strongest terms possible"

The African Union (AU) has roundly condemned new Danish legislation that allows asylum claims filed with the country to be processed elsewhere - a move the AU says is an abdication of responsibility that will pave the way for other rich countries to try to make poor states host even more of the world's refugees.

03 August 2021

France: Revolts in detention centres: the government throws oil on the fire

The Observatory on Detention of Foreigners (Observatoire de l'enfermement des étrangers, OEE) has condemned the French government's ongoing use of administrative detention for non-citizens, in the wake of revolts that broke out in the Mesnil Amelot detention centre last week. Forced PCR tests - which are contrary to the law - have made a tense situation even worse, says the group.

29 July 2021

UK: Home Office data strategy: digital infrastructure for 'law and order'

The UK Home Office plans to maximise the gathering, matching and processing of personal and other data, making it possible to deploy "automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence" for the purposes of law enforcement, border control, customs and various other activities.

28 July 2021

Switzerland: Federal Intelligence Service has spied on migrants' rights group for 15 years

The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service has been monitoring the activities of Solidarité sans frontières (SOSF), an organisation that advocates for the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers, since 2006, papers obtained by SOSF show. SOSF is one of many such groups that the FIS keeps tabs on.

28 July 2021

Bulgaria, Denmark and France condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for asylum and border policies

Bulgaria, Denmark and France have all recently been found to have violated human rights by Europe's top court: Bulgaria for pushing back a journalist to Turkey; Denmark for making a refugee and his family wait almost three years before permitting their reunification; and France for detaining a young mother and her baby for 11 days whilst they tried to deport them both to Italy.

28 July 2021

In the wake of the Pegasus revelations, states must halt the use and export of surveillance technology

States must place an "immediate moratorium on the sale, transfer and use of surveillance technology," says an open letter signed by over 150 human rights organisations (including Statewatch) and more than 30 independent experts in response to the Pegasus Project revelations, which have shown how spyware developed by the NSO Group has been used against some 180 journalists.

27 July 2021

Frontex: newly-published document highlights parliamentary inquiry's limits

The Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG) published its final report of a four-month fact finding investigation into alleged violations of fundamental rights on 15 July. This annex to the report highlights the limitations of the investigation.

27 July 2021

EU: Rule of law: reports of Council hearings of Hungary and Poland

On 22 June the Council held hearings of Hungary and Poland as part of the Article 7 procedure concerning the risk of a breach of the EU's founding values. The Council's summary reports, published here, give an overview of what was discussed.

27 July 2021

Europol on anarchism: more information is needed on an "increasing and evolving" threat

Europol has called for authorities to gather more information on "violent left-wing extremism and anarchism" due to an "increasing and evolving" threat, at the same time noting that "no organisation or group can be considered to pose an imminent threat".

23 July 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Proposed cooperation with North Africa received with "interest"; external cooperation "state of play"

Two internal EU documents circulated in the Council: one containing the former Portuguese Presidency's assessment of North African states' responses to a proposed "enhanced political dialogue" on justice and home affairs issues; the other, the Commission's overview of "the main external migration dialogues and processes since 2019."

23 July 2021

EU: Spying on foreign nationals: member states want to stay in the driving seat

Member states want to take hold of proposed new powers that would step up the surveillance of third-country nationals in the Schengen area, in a blow to the European Commission’s plans to increase the role of EU policing agency Europol.


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