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.

28 January 2021

Denmark: Lowest number of asylum seekers ever

A report for the EU's European Website on Integration notes that Denmark appears to be rapidly approaching its goal of receiving no asylum-seekers whatsoever. In 2020 just over 1,500 people sought asylum in the country, the lowest number since the country's current statistical methods were introduced in 1998. The Immigration and Integration Minister cited coronavirus as one reason for this drop in numbers, but said "we can also thank our strict policy on foreigners for this."

28 January 2021

The role of technology in illegal pushbacks from Croatia to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia

Border Violence Monitoring Network has published its submission to a recent UN Special Rapporteur inquiry on race, borders and digital technologies. The submission highlights how "drones, thermal imaging cameras, and vehicle scanners have been weaponised against people-on-the-move, making them easier to detect and thus compounding their vulnerability and the dangers they face."

28 January 2021

EU: Frontex and pushbacks: Management Board "very concerned" over agency’s compliance with investigation

Frontex’s Management Board met on 20-21 January 2021 to discuss the preliminary report of its ‘Working Group on Fundamental Rights and Legal Operational Aspects of Operations in the Aegean Sea’. Its conclusions express concern over the agency’s compliance with the investigation.

28 January 2021

Italy let more than 200 people die in 2013 shipwreck, finds UN Human Rights Committee

In October 2013 more than 200 people died in a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa. Some of those who survived ended up coming ashore in Libya. They subsequently filed a complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee, which has now ruled that Italy failed to uphold the right to life of those involved in the shipwreck.

27 January 2021

EU: Frontex unrepentant about chasing transparency activists for court costs

Fabrice Leggeri, director of the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, recently defended the continued pursuit of five-figure legal fees from two transparency activists, despite heavy criticism from MEPs.

27 January 2021

Italy: Court of Auditors should investigate use of public funds in Libyan detention centres, say ASGI

The Italian legal organisation ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione) has called on the Italian Court of Auditors to investigate the use of public funds for detention centres in Libyan, noting in a press release that Italian NGOs appear to have carried out "a series of actions pursuing the benefit not of the detainees but of the detention facilities".

26 January 2021

EU to Australia: send us your travel surveillance data

The European Commission recently published the results of a review of the EU-Australia Passenger Name Record agreement, which governs the transfer of data on air passengers travelling between the EU and Australia to police surveillance and profiling units. One conclusion of the review is that Australia should submit more "analytical information obtained from PNR data" to EU member states and agencies.

26 January 2021

When informal means illegal: Italian interior ministry guilty of pushbacks to Slovenia

A court in Rome has ruled that “informal readmissions” from Italy to Slovenia are unlawful, in a case concerning a Pakistani asylum seeker who was subjected to a series of violent pushbacks stretching from Italy to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

25 January 2021

EU: Agreement between Frontex and Mediterranean military force: cooperation on pullbacks to Libya?

A new agreement between Frontex and Operation Irini aims to increase cooperation on "the promotion of European integrated border management standards" and "situational awareness and risk analysis". Critics are likely to question whether the agreement will support ‘pullbacks’ by the so-called Libyan coast guard.

25 January 2021

EU: Compendium of bilateral agreements on police cooperation

A document recently published by the Council of the EU outlines the complex web of bilateral agreements that govern cross-border police cooperation between EU member states, which may be replaced - in part of in whole - by a proposal due later this year for a 'Police Cooperation Code.

25 January 2021

Brexit: MPs call for ongoing parliamentary scrutiny of UK-EU relationship

The UK parliament's Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union has published its final report, setting out ways to ensure parliamentary scrutiny of the ongoing UK-EU relationship.

25 January 2021

Brexit: Commission answers to EU member state questions on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement

The rushed entry into force of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on 31 December 2020 left a lot of questions unanswered, as made clear by a 300-page document circulated amongst EU member states and published today by Statewatch.

21 January 2021

EU: Encryption and facial recognition amongst upcoming internal security priorities

The issues of encryption and discussions on a pan-EU police facial recognition database are high on the Portuguese Presidency's security agenda over the next six months, according to a presentation obtained by Statewatch that was given to the steering group of the Council of the EU's working party on internal security.

21 January 2021

Shipwreck off Libya claims over 40 lives

Press release published by the IOM and UNHCR, 20 January 2021. The first known shipwreck in the Mediterranean this year has claimed the lives of 43 people.

21 January 2021

European Parliament Think Tank: briefings on counter-terrorism, migrant smuggling, search and rescue

The European Parliament Think Tank has recently published new briefings on a number of key topics: understanding EU counter-terrorism policy, EU action against migrant smuggling and search and rescue in the Mediterranean.

21 January 2021

State xenophobia and criminalisation of solidarity in Cyprus: KISA is again under attack by government

Communiqué from the Migreurop network on the deregistration of the Cypriot anti-racist NGO KISA. The organisation was removed from the country's register of NGOs, accused of not complying with administrative procedures. However, the organisation has repeatedly been subject to the hostility of the government and officials.

19 January 2021

EU: New transparency obligations for justice and home affairs agencies following Statewatch complaints

A new transparency framework for EU justice and home affairs agencies has been laid down by the European Ombudsman, in response to complaints from Statewatch that highlighted the failure of Europol and Frontex to meet their legal obligations under EU rules on public access to documents.

18 January 2021

EU: Frontex director accused of misleading parliament over fundamental rights obligations

Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri has been accused by a senior European Commission official of making statements “in a misleading manner” at a parliamentary hearing in December, when MEPs questioned him over the agency’s alleged role in pushbacks and the new fundamental rights monitoring framework included in 2019 legislation.

18 January 2021

Immigration and asylum round-up: 8 December 2020 - 18 January 2021

Including: EU: Renewed deportation agreement with Afghanistan close to approval / Greece: Legal actors express serious concerns regarding the lack of state free legal aid for asylum applicants in Lesvos / Death on the Central Mediterranean: 2013-2020 / EU: The 'Black Book of Pushbacks': testimonies of pushbacks affecting over 12,000 people / Mediterranean: Nine new legal proceedings against civil search and rescue ships since June 2020

15 January 2021

Frontex and pushbacks: Management Board decision setting up the working group to investigate

The 'Management Board Working Group on Fundamental Rights and Legal and Operational Aspects of Operations' will be made up of representatives of Germany; Greece, Hungary, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, France, and the European Commission.


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