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.

23 September 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Commission "to step up border management support at Libya’s Southern border"

The European Commission intends "to step up border management support at Libya’s Southern border," according to a draft action plan on cooperation on migration with Niger. New working arrangements will be signed between Frontex and EU missions EUCAP Sahel Niger and EUBAM Libya, that "could help the Governments of Niger and Libya shore up border management at their mutual land border," says the document.

23 September 2021

UK: Ninth anniversary of the publication of the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel

12 September was the ninth anniversary of the publication of the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which set out the truth about what happened at Hillsborough football stadium in 1989: failures by the police and the football club to ensure safety measures, combined with a lack of coordination amongst emergency services, caused the deaths of 97 people following a crush in one of the stands. Here, we reproduce an extract from Phil Scraton's book, 'Hillsborough: The Truth', along with the presentation he gave at the launch of the Independent Panel's report in 2012.

20 September 2021

EU: E-evidence: Council note on state of play and possible ways forward

A Council Presidency note on the proposed e-evidence Regulation, which would ease the cross-border acquisition of digital data by law enforcement authorities, sets out a proposed way forward in negotiations with the European Parliament - including an admission that the Council is seeking to ensure that 'Article 7' proceedings on the rule of law in EU member states "will not affect the way the data is obtained from service providers."

20 September 2021

UK: Biometric 'permission to travel' scheme in Borders Bill will affect tens of millions of people

The attack on the asylum system proposed by the UK government in the Nationality and Borders Bill has provoked outrage. However, the Bill also includes proposals to introduce an electronic 'permission to travel' scheme that would involve gathering biometric and other data from tens of millions of people. The UK Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is conducting legislative scrutiny on the Bill; Statewatch submitted written observations to the inquiry last week.

17 September 2021

EU: Eurodac: Council seeks swift agreement on expanded migrant biometric database

The Slovenian Presidency of the Council is planning to accelerate negotiations on a vast expansion of the Eurodac database, which will hold sensitive data on millions of asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation, by 'delinking' the proposed rules from other EU asylum and migration laws under discussion.

14 September 2021

G7: Still coming after encryption, plans to reinforce Interpol and global travel surveillance

The recent meeting of G7 interior and security ministers in London resulted in a detailed set of commitments, including reassertion of the need to undermine encrypted communications, reinforce Interpol, and to enforce new international standards on Passenger Name Record (PNR) travel surveillance and passenger profiling systems.

14 September 2021

European Commission: suspend deportations to Afghanistan, but deport Afghans to other "third countries"

A draft European Commission action plan on the response to people fleeing the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan says that an EU agreement facilitating deportations to the country is suspended - but encourages EU member states to continue deporting Afghan nationals to other third countries, where permitted by readmission agreements.

13 September 2021

UK: Mass call from campaigners to protect rights ahead of debate on Police Bill

The House of Lords must make significant changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill if rights are to be upheld, says an open letter to the Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Justice signed by over 350 civil society organisations, including Statewatch. If passed into law, the Bill would massively restrict protest rights, facilitate racist and discriminatory policing, and unnecessarily push more people into the criminal justice system.

13 September 2021

EU: More "war on terror" in the Afghanistan Counter-Terrorism Action Plan

"The Counter-Terrorism Action Plan has been elaborated in coordination with the Commission services, the EEAS, the Presidency and relevant EU JHA agencies. It sets out 22 recommendations for action, divided into four areas: I. security checks – prevent infiltration; II. strategic intelligence/foresight: avoid that Afghanistan becomes a safe haven for terrorist organisations; III. monitor and counter propaganda and mobilisation of the Jihadi eco-system; IV. tackling organised crime as a source of terrorist financing."

09 September 2021

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08 September 2021

EU: Digital Services Act: Presidency compromise text on Chapters I and II

Circulated by the Presidency of the Council on 2 September.

08 September 2021

EU: Tracking the Pact: Member state comments on the proposed Asylum and Migration Management Regulation

The document includes detailed comments from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.

08 September 2021

EU: Expanding the Eurodac database: MEPs must put rights first

31 organisations, including Statewatch, have signed an open letter to MEPs working on new rules for the Eurodac database calling for a halt to negotiations so that the impact on human rights can be meaningfully taken into account.

07 September 2021

EU: Draft Council Conclusions on European Court of Auditors report on Frontex

The Council is preparing a short set of conclusions on a recent European Court of Auditors report looking at Frontex's support to external border management, which concluded that it was "not sufficiently effective".

07 September 2021

Germany: "Like a prison": Kiel University study examines everyday life in refugee shelters during the Corona pandemic

Press release issued by Pro Asylum on 2 September 2021, concerning a study by Kiel University into conditions in refugee shelters during the pandemic.

07 September 2021

France: Judgment in the appeal of the 'Briançon Seven': see you on 9 September in Grenoble

Press release issued by Amnesty International, Medecins du Monde, Anafé, La Cimade, Tous Migrants and the Briançon 3+4 Support Committee on 7 September concerning the case of the Briançon Seven, who are appealing against prison sentences handed down against them for migrant smuggling, after they took part in a demonstration in solidarity with migrants and against the far-right group Génération Identitaire (Generation Identity).

06 September 2021

EU member states: mixed views on proposed restrictive visa measures to encourage deportation cooperation

Earlier this year the European Commission proposed the possibility of taking measures to restrict the issuance of visas to nationals of three countries - Iraq, The Gambia and Bangladesh - in order to encourage compliance with deportations from the EU. Member states have mixed views on the proposals, a Council document shows.

06 September 2021

Council of Europe: Greece's Parliament should align the deportations and return bill with human rights standards

A strong statement from the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights condemns legislation currently before the Greek parliament that would "seriously hinder the life-saving work carried out at sea by NGOs, and their human rights monitoring capacities in the Aegean”.

06 September 2021

Council of the EU to intervene in Irish case questioning post-Brexit extradition arrangements

The Council of the EU will submit written comments to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in a case referred from the Supreme Court of Ireland, which has asked the CJEU to clarify whether the extradition arrangements set out in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement are valid, given that Ireland did not exercise an 'opt-in' to the Agreement.

06 September 2021

EU: New rules on Europol and the Schengen Information System: latest Council text

The rules would create a new type of "information alert in the interest of the Union," to be entered in the Schengen Information System following a proposal from Europol, with the aim of discreetly gathering information on third-country nationals.


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