29 June 2023

UK: Rights-destroying clause in Illegal Migration Bill must be removed

In its current form, the Illegal Migration Bill puts the duty to deport people - including children and victims of trafficking - above human rights and international law. The House of Lords has begun the next stage of scrutiny of the bill. A briefing to peers supported by over 50 organisations, including Statewatch, calls for the addition of a new clause that would prevent the provisions of the Bill taking precedence over the UK's human rights and international obligations.

28 June 2023

UK: New campaign calls for action on state failures to respond to and prevent deaths

A new campaign challenging the lack of accountability, transparency and action on recommendations arising from investigations into preventable deaths launched yesterday.

27 June 2023

Pylos shipwreck: European Council prepares to shed crocodile tears

The European Council meeting later this week will express "its profound sorrow for the terrible loss of life as a result of the recent tragedy in the Mediterranean," at the same time as reiterating, for the umpteenth time, its commitment to "breaking the business model of traffickers and smuggling networks and to tackling the root causes of irregular migration." As a recent Europol report highlights, this model is in large part a creation of the EU and its member states. Meanwhile, a letter from Ursula von der Leyen demonstrates how much work is going in to expanding control, and how little to increasing the possibility of legal migration.

27 June 2023

UK must protect global digital security and safeguard private communication

An open letter signed by over 80 civil society organisations, including Statewatch, is calling on the UK government to protect digital security and private communications by removing provisions from the Online Safety Bill that would require communications service providers to add "backdoors" to encrypted messaging services, undermining safety for all.

27 June 2023

Tracking the Pact: New Presidency proposals on "solidarity and support measures in a situation of crisis or instrumentalisation"

The latest Council Presidency compromise text of the Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation includes new provisions on "solidarity and support measures in a situation of crisis or instrumentalisation," and changes to the proposals on the notification and authorisation procedures for member states deemed to be facing a migration "crisis" or the "instrumentalisation of migration".

23 June 2023

EU border mission in Libya gets revamp

The EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in Libya is about to receive an update to its tasks. References to supporting institutional reform and cooperation with the UN Support Mission in Libya are to be removed from its mandate. The current budget is to be extended by three months, pending a decision by the Council on funding for the next two years.

23 June 2023

Closer security cooperation between EU and Latin America on the cards

The creation of a Latin American internal security system based on the EU model continues, and a draft declaration indicates plans for closer cooperation and synchronisation.

20 June 2023

Schengen visas: Private contractors follow “lax” approach and “enjoy wide and unmonitored access” to applicant data

The Schengen visa application process is plagued by a host of problems, including systematic issues with long processing times, “recurrent deficiencies” in data protection, and a general lack of transparency, finds a non-paper prepared by the Commission services and obtained by Statewatch through an access to documents request. The non-paper, circulated to national delegations to the Council in April, is based on a 2022 evaluation of Schengen visa processing carried out in Riyadh, Beirut, Dakar, Istanbul, and New Delhi.

19 June 2023

Bulgaria and Romania speed up asylum and deportation procedures with EU support

"Pilot projects" intended to beef up border controls, accelerate asylum and deportation proceedings, and reinforce the role of EU agencies in Bulgaria and Romania have just begun - yet EU legislation intended to do the same is yet to be approved.

19 June 2023

Schengen states make new call for border wall funds

A group of eight Schengen states has reiterated the now-longstanding call for the European Commission to fund the construction of border walls.

15 June 2023

Tracking the Pact: Presidency compromise text of the crisis and force majeure Regulation

The Council recently approved its negotiating position on two of the key measures that are part of the Pact on Migration and Asylum, but it's not over yet.

12 June 2023

UK government's AI plans must uphold fundamental rights and democratic values

Thirty civil society organisations, including Statewatch, have published a joint statement calling for the UK government to ensure that it's approach to artificial intelligence upholds fundamental rights and democratic values.

08 June 2023

Schengen priorities: full steam ahead with border controls and law enforcement

A meeting of the Schengen Council, put in place under the French Presidency to improve governance of the Schengen area, is taking place today. A note from the Swedish Presidency of the Council outlines areas requiring “additional focus and impetus” if progress is to be made in the 2023/24 ‘Schengen Cycle’.

08 June 2023

Search and rescue in the Mediterranean: German response to Commission roadmap

Ahead of the upcoming meeting of the European Commission's Contact Group on Search and Rescue on 16 June, the German authorities have issued a response to the Commission's draft roadmap that was published by Statewatch last month. The response is published here.

07 June 2023

Tracking the Pact: Council prepares to approve negotiating positions

The Council is hoping to approve its negotiating positions on the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMMR), Asylum Procedure Regulation (APR) and Single Permit Directive on legal migration at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting tomorrow. The texts, published here, were circulated in the Council yesterday (AMMR and APR) and at the end of May (Single Permit Directive).

06 June 2023

Frontex aided the deportation of almost 25,000 people in 2022

EU border agency Frontex aided the deportation of almost 25,000 people from EU territory in 2022, a record high. The number of people removed via scheduled flights and “voluntary” return proceedings has been increasing steadily, and the deployment of Frontex return teams supported the removal of almost 4,000 people over the course of the year. The agency has confirmed that deportations remain a “core priority”.

06 June 2023

Interpol must halt Turkey's use of databases to pursue dissidents

Interpol must do more to prevent the Turkish government misusing its databases to target political dissidents abroad, says an open letter to the organisation's secretary-general signed by more than 25 individuals and organisations, including Statewatch. The letter calls for Turkey to be suspended from using Interpol databases - in particular, the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) system - until the problem is dealt with.


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