News

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.

10 June 2021

EU: Short-sighted Commission consultation on plan against migrant smuggling

The European Commission recently launched a consultation on the EU action plan against migrant smuggling (2021-2025). However, its strategy for the new plan did not involve a thorough evaluation of actions to date, and its questions for contributors "are clearly geared towards legitimising a pre-determined set of actions". Statewatch's submission called for public debate about the root causes of migrant smuggling and the impact, legitimacy and effectiveness of EU action taken to prevent and punish it.

09 June 2021

Greece rebuffs refugee travel abuse claims from northern Schengen states

In response to a letter from six northern Schengen states calling for action to prevent the "secondary movement" of refugees from Greece, the Greek government has argued that "the focus needs to be placed on preventing primary flows," meaning stricter border controls.

08 June 2021

EU: Council Presidency discussion paper on artificial intelligence and internal security

Final version of the Council Presidency's paper on the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act and the implications for internal security use of AI technologies, sent to COREPER and the Council to inform discussion at yesterday and today's Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting.

08 June 2021

The rise of antisemitism online during the pandemic: A study of French and German content

A study contracted by the European Commission finds that the coronavirus pandemic "has only served to exacerbate a worrying trend in terms of online antisemitism."

08 June 2021

Frontex confronted with allegations of violence in North Macedonia

Allegations that officials deployed on Frontex operations have participated in or condoned violence against people on the move in North Macedonia must be investigated, says a letter sent to Frontex today by Statewatch and Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN).

08 June 2021

Frontex: EU Court of Auditors finds agency inefficient and ineffective

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) announced on Monday 7 June that its latest audit of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, found that the body is not ready to effectively implement its mandate under the 2019 Regulation.

07 June 2021

Whip Greece into shape so we can resume migrant removals, northern Schengen states demand

A letter from six northern EU member states, obtained by Statewatch, calls on the European Commission to take steps to make it possible to resume removals of asylum-seekers and refugees to Greece and put a halt to "secondary movements".

07 June 2021

EU: New powers for Europol: Presidency progress report and latest member state comments

Discussions in the Council on granting extended powers to EU police agency Europol are pressing ahead, with a number of the "thematic blocs" in the proposal closed, according to an internal Presidency report published here alongside the member states' most recent comments.

07 June 2021

“The potential for abuse is too great”: Global call to ban biometric surveillance in public spaces

Statewatch is one of almost 180 organizations from across the globe calling for a ban on uses of facial and other remote biometric recognition technologies that enable mass and discriminatory targeted surveillance.

04 June 2021

EU: Growing online censorship of presumed "violent extremism" of all ideological varieties

EU police agency Europol recently undertook its first ever "Referral Action Day against right-wing terrorist online propaganda," in which officers trawled the internet to file complaints about material that may contravene platforms' terms of service.

04 June 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council documents on coordination of externalisation, "partnerships" and Afghanistan

Three Council documents on the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum's externalisation aspects, covering: how to establish better EU-national coordination on externalisation of migration control; how to implement comprehensive "partnerships" on migration with priority countries; and a more detailed overview on relations on migration with Afghanistan.

03 June 2021

Arriving soon: global air travel surveillance and passenger profiling with no democratic control

The ICAO, Interpol and various UN bodies are continuing their efforts to aid the establishment of systems for the surveillance of air travel and the automated profiling of passengers.

03 June 2021

A tribute to Thomas Mathiesen

Thomas Mathiesen, the renowned sociologist, passed away on 29 May 2021. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director Emeritus, pays tribute to his life and work.

26 May 2021

ECHR: Bulk communications data interception by UK and Swedish spy agencies violated right to privacy

An eight-year legal challenge initiated following the Snowden revelations in 2013 ended yesterday, when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the surveillance regime governing "bulk interception" of communications data by British spy agency GCHQ violated the right to privacy.

26 May 2021

EU: Legal action against Frontex's operations in Greece initiated at the European Court of Justice

Human rights organisation Front-Lex has submitted the first ever action against Frontex to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), calling on it to take measures to ensure that Frontex meets its human rights obligations under international and EU law.

26 May 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Council 'state of play' report on legal and policy initiatives

A documented circulated in the Council of the EU at the beginning of this week sets out the 'state of play' regarding the legal and policy initiatives launched as part of the Pact on Migration and Asylum. A number of legal proposals appear to be the subject of significant disagreement, holding up the adoption of other, less contentious proposals which form part of the "package".

24 May 2021

Italy: Death in detention centre, hunger strike and demonstration in response

Baldi Moussa, a young 23-year-old from Guinea, was found dead by hanging while in "solitary confinement" in his cell in the CPR [Centri di Permanenza per il Rimpatrio] in Via Brunelleschi in Turin.

21 May 2021

EU: More powers for Europol: latest version of the Council's text

Discussions are underway to grant more powers to EU policing agency Europol, which would vastly expand the amount of data the agency could process, and the ways in which that data could be processed. Statewatch is publishing the latest version of the Council's preferred version of the text, drawn up following secret discussions between member state delegations in the Law Enforcement Working Party.

21 May 2021

Council of the EU: LIMITE documents on human rights, internal security, visas and asylum, EU-Interpol agreement, travel surveillance and "bio-secure borders"

A host of important LIMITE documents from the Council of the EU: Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights; draft conclusions on the impact of COVID-19 on internal security; proposals on the governance of Europol's 'Innovation Hub' for internal security technologies; a discusssion paper on visas and asylum applications; draft Council Decision authorising negotiations on an agreement between the EU and Interpol; draft conclusions on the surveillance of travel via Passenger Name Record (PNR) data; and the extension of PNR to maritime transport.

21 May 2021

Greek government rebuffs Council of Europe's call to halt pushbacks and investigate abuse

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights wrote to the Greek authorities earlier this month demanding that they "put an end to pushback operations at both the land and sea borders with Turkey, and to ensure that independent and effective investigations are carried out into all allegations of pushbacks and of ill-treatment by members of security forces in the context of such operations."

 

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