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 our RSS feed to get instant alerts.

04 May 2021

Khlaifia sentence: Italy still under scrutiny for violations in hotspots

Five years after the Khlaifia ruling handed down by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the effective respect of rights in hotspots in Italy is still not guaranteed and needs to be further examined in December 2021. This was decided by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe following violations and critical events reported by ASGI, A Buon Diritto Onlus and CILD.

30 April 2021

Pushbacks from Greece to Turkey: Ombudsman's report highlights obstruction of investigations

As part of an ongoing investigation into pushbacks of migrants and refugees from Greece to Turkey, the Greek Ombudsman has issued an interim report summarising the cases examined so far and the response - or lack thereof - of the authorities.

27 April 2021

EU: 'Covid Pass': MEPs must prevent surveillance, discrimination and a never-ending certification scheme

The EU's proposed 'Digital Green Certificate' is intended to allow people to prove that they have been vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19, or received a negative test result. The aim is to facilitate the return of free movement within the EU. However, 28 human rights organisations, including Statewatch, have written to the European Parliament to warn that they must fix problems with the proposals that mean the certificates could facilitate surveillance, exacerbate discrimination and potentially become a permanent fixture of everyday life.

23 April 2021

Mediterranean: European Contact Group on Search and Rescue failing to meet transparency requirements

In response to ongoing deaths in the Mediterranean Sea, the European Commission set up a ‘Contact Group on Search and Rescue’, made up of EU member state authorities. It aims to establish a “structured framework for cooperation at EU level in order to ensure rapid response in case of events at sea as well as maintaining safety of navigation and ensuring effective migration management.” A month after its first meeting, as avoidable deaths and a lack of assistance to vessels in distress in the Mediterranean continue, it is failing to meet its own transparency requirements.

21 April 2021

Divestment from the border industrial complex could spur “a politics that protects and upholds the rights of refugees and migrants”

A recent report reveals the largest corporate players in today’s global “border industrial complex” and calls for divestment from the industry, as a way to force states to halt the implementation of harmful border security models.

21 April 2021

Italy: Interior ministry’s facial recognition system is unlawful

The deployment of facial recognition technology acquired by the interior ministry for deployment in migration and public order contexts was deemed unlawful in a far-reaching decision by the Italian ombudsman on 16 April 2021.

19 April 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: North Africa a key focus for new "comprehensive" migration deals

Two documents obtained by Statewatch outline the thinking of the Portuguese Council Presidency and the Spanish authorities on how to step up cooperation on migration (in particular on "border management") with Morocco and other states in the region.

14 April 2021

Senegal: Biometric population database will facilitate deportations, restricted EU document confirms

The completion of a national biometric population database in Senegal would facilitate the forced removal of more Senegalese citizens from the EU by allowing for a “consolidated” identification procedure, according to a restricted European Commission document obtained by Statewatch.

13 April 2021

Europe: Prison population continues to decline, overcrowding remains a serious problem

Imprisonment rates continue to fall, find the latest Council of Europe penal statistics, although the report says this is due to the inability to prosecute cyber-enabled criminal offences rather than a shift away from incarceration as a form of punishment. Drug offences remain the reason for most convictions leading to imprisonment, making up 17.7% of the total prison population. The CoE press release also highlights that overcrowding remains a serious problem in a number of member states.

13 April 2021

Spain: Government must take action to protect human rights defender Helena Maleno

An open letter is calling on the government of Spain to act to protect Helena Maleno, a human rights defender who has saved tens of thousands of lives and who was recently violently deported from Morocco, where she has lived for 20 years, and separated from her daughter in the process.

12 April 2021

EU: Artificial intelligence: "forecasting and early warning tool for migration" and "data spaces in law enforcement"

Two studies contracted by the European Commission on potential applications of "artificial intelligence" in home affairs were recently published: one concerning "a forecasting and early warning tool for migration"; and the other on "technical requirements for data spaces in law enforcement".

12 April 2021

The ‘Left-To-Die boat’ : ten years on, it’s more urgent than ever to obtain justice for the shipwrecked

A joint statement on the tenth anniversary of the 'Left-To-Die boat' case, in which 63 people died after being left adrift at sea despite multiple authorities and vessels knowing of their location and situation.

09 April 2021

Netherlands: Racism and Technology Center launches to highlight racism in Dutch society

A newly-launched Racism and Technology Center will analyse and highlight how technology perpetuates racism and racist practices in Dutch society, as part of an effort to “help in fighting systemic injustices and oppression,” say its founders.

08 April 2021

EU: Europol holding on to UK data post-Brexit

Europol is holding on to tens of thousands of pieces of data entered in its systems by the UK prior to 31 December 2020, an answer to a European parliamentary question has revealed.

08 April 2021

ECHR: Court’s first judgment on compulsory childhood vaccination: no violation of the Convention

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Czech Republic's general legal requirement for the vaccination of children against certain diseases does not violate the right to respect for private life, in a case brought by parents who had been fined, or whose children had been refused access to nursery, for refusing to have them vaccinated. The case is particularly relevant given the ongoing rollout of coronavirus vaccination programmes across Europe and the world.

08 April 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council Legal Service identifies problems with asylum and migration proposals

The Council Legal Service has been busy assessing measures proposed as part of the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum and has identified a number of issues that need to be resolved if EU law is to be respected, according to a document obtained by Statewatch

07 April 2021

EU: New "ad-hoc working group" on vaccine passports starts work - in secret

Discussions amongst EU member states on how to approach plans for digital vaccination certificates are taking place in a new "ad-hoc working group", a format that is not likely to foster transparency - particularly given that the group has said it will not be keeping "minutes as such".

07 April 2021

EU: Joint EEAS–Commission Services Reflection Paper on the use of military assets and capabilities in support of civilian authorities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

A paper produced by the European External Action Service and the European Commission, circulated to military officials in the Council of the EU and member states, examines how military forces have been used to support civilian authorities during the pandemic and sets out a number of options for increased coordination in the future.

06 April 2021

EU-UK: Brexit means... the UK staying in the G6

"Brexit means Brexit" was a remarkably meaningless slogan coined by former UK prime minister Theresa May. In practice, it appears that one thing Brexit does mean is the UK staying part of the G6, an informal annual meeting that was originally set up to facilitate discussion and coordination between the interior ministers of the six largest EU member states, alongside representatives of the European Commission and the USA.

06 April 2021

EU: New report highlights impact of pandemic on reception facilities for asylum seekers

COVID-19 lockdown measures across Europe increased homelessness and destitution among asylum seekers due to evictions and the temporary closure of relevant administrations, says a new report by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).


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