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.

02 March 2023

New technologies having devastating impact on rights in counter-terrorism policy, says UN Special Rapporteur

"New technologies, particularly digital technologies, are transforming the ways in which human rights are impeded and violated around the world," says a damning new report by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin. The report "addresses the intersection of counter-terrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism with the use of new technologies," and condemns "the elevation of blinkered security thinking that has accompanied a particularly restrictive approach to countering terrorism".

01 March 2023

Statement against the racist and securitarian drift in Tunisia: Call for action and solidarity

A statement circulated amongst Migreurop members and others by the Fédération des Tunisiens Citoyens des deux Rives (FTCR). Statewatch is a signatory. A demonstration will take place outside the Tunisian embassy in Paris on Friday 3 March.

01 March 2023

EU: Council discussing online content removal orders without judicial review

The proposed Regulation laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse (CSA Regulation) is most controversial for its provisions that will undermine encryption, fundamentally altering how the internet works, and thus making it less safe for all users. Calls for it to be withdrawn have been ignored by legislators. The latest Council Presidency compromise text would make it simpler for authorities to have online content removed or blocked, and limits rights to redress.

27 February 2023

EU: Roadmap on implementing law enforcement operational cooperation

In order to implement a recent Council Recommendation on increasing operational cooperation between law enforcement authorities, the Swedish Presidency has produced a "roadmap" to show the state of play in each member state.

27 February 2023

EU: Eurodac and Joint Investigation Teams: four-column documents ready for secret trilogues

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will soon enter secret trilogue negotiations on two new pieces of legislation: Eurodac, the database on asylum-seekers that is being massively expanded to encompass people in an irregular migration situation; and a collaboration platform for Joint Investigation Teams working on cross-border criminal cases.

23 February 2023

Exceptions, loopholes and carve-outs: Presidency wants “internal security needs” recognized in EU digital policies

The growing number of EU digital policies should “benefit” justice and home affairs actors whilst “addressing and minimizing the associated risks,” the Swedish Presidency of the Council argues in a recent discussion paper. The Council’s internal security committee, COSI, should continue to “monitor and discuss” relevant legal proposals to create “a positive narrative… on the justice and internal security needs related to technological development and digitalization,” says the document.

22 February 2023

Arbitrary arrests and hate campaigns against sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia

Press release originally published by the Forum Tunisien des Droits Economiques et Sociaux (FTDES) on 16 February.

16 February 2023

"Police have crossed the line": Statement on police infiltration in social movements in recent years in Barcelona

Following recent revelations about undercover police officers infilitrating social mvoements by using sexual and intimate relationships as cover, 88 organisations - including Statewatch - have joined a statement initiated by the legal centre Irídia calling for a "thorough, effective and independent investigation" and for an end to "any further police operations of a similar nature". Two undercover officers have been unmasked in Barcelona in the last nine months, and more recently another was outed in Valencia. Referring to similar cases in the UK, the statement notes that "the infiltration of police officers into social and political movements is a practice that has also been used in other countries."

13 February 2023

EU: Deportations organized on the basis of “social media profiles”?

Thirteen non-EU countries sometimes accept "social media profiles and phone contacts" as evidence of identity for the purpose of deportations, according to an internal Commission assessment of third country cooperation on readmission. The assessment, which is produced annually, is used to determine where and how to apply pressure on third states not deemed to be sufficiently cooperative with deportations from EU member states.

07 February 2023

Eight states appeal to European Council: more fortification, deportation, externalisation, and "strategic communication"

The call comes in a letter signed by the prime ministers of Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Latvia and Slovakia that argues "the current asylum system is broken and primarily benefits the cynical human smugglers who take advantage of the misfortune of women, men and children."

07 February 2023

EU preparing new efforts to increase Libyan border controls

A draft “action file on Libya” is circulating within the Council of the EU. A version from January obtained by Statewatch indicates that there will be a fresh push to improve the ability of authorities in Libya to control the country’s southern borders and to prevent refugees from leaving the country by sea.

06 February 2023

EU: Interoperable migration and police databases: a data trove for Frontex

The EU’s border agency, Frontex, will be able to access vast quantities of data once the EU’s ‘interoperable’ policing and migration databases are fully operational. In particular, its access to extensive new sets of statistics is intended to increase the detail, influence and reach of its risk analyses and policy recommendations.

04 February 2023

Tarajal Manifesto 2023: justice for the dead

Today, the 10th March For Dignity will take place in Ceuta to commemorate and demand justice for the 14 people who died attempting to cross the border into Spain on 6 February 2014. The Tarajal Manifesto 2023 has been produced to mark the occasion.

02 February 2023

“If I had known he was in the police, I would never have got involved with him.”

Clara is an anarchist activist, member of La Cinètika and involved in the scout movement. She was in a year-long relationship with Daniel Hernández Pons, recently unmasked as an undercover police officer infilitrating social movements in Barcelona.

02 February 2023

Second undercover police officer spying on Barcelona activists unmasked

An officer of the Spanish National Police Corps infiltrated activist groups in Barcelona over a three-year period, joining the social centre La Cinétika in 2020 and initiating sexual relationships with women that facilitated his participation in assemblies, events and demonstrations.

31 January 2023

EU: Tracking the Pact: Only 207 refugees relocated so far via “voluntary solidarity mechanism”

The solidarity is voluntary, and there’s not enough of it to go around. Six months ago the EU established a “voluntary solidarity mechanism” for relocating refugees from states such as Italy, Greece and Malta. Now an internal Commission paper states that the entire scheme could be in jeopardy due to a failure by other EU member states to actually accept people for relocation. So far, only 207 people have benefited from the scheme.

31 January 2023

"Increased external action" against migration: draft European Council conclusions

On 9 and 10 February the European Council will meet to approve conclusions on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the economy and migration. A draft version of the conclusions, published here, reinforces longstanding calls to increase the externalisation of migration controls.

30 January 2023

Public hearing at Dutch court over police surveillance of activist

Frank van der Linde is a Dutch political activist who has spent five years trying to find out exactly what information the police hold on him and why. On 30 March, he will ask the Court of Amsterdam to order an external independent institution to carry out a forensic examination of the Dutch police database, with the aim of guaranteeing his right to access his personal data. The ruling will have an impact not just in the Netherlands but across the EU.

30 January 2023

UK: Draconian anti-strike legislation is unnecessary and gives vast power to government ministers

The UK government's proposed Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is being rushed through parliament. It will allow the government to force employees in certain public roles to go to work through the imposition of "work notices" when faced with strike action. A letter to the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Schapps, calls for a halt to the "plans for an unwarranted curtailment of freedom of assembly and association." Coordinated by Liberty, it has been signed by 50 organisations, including Statewatch.

30 January 2023

UK: Police and intelligence agencies to increase joint work, with reduced privacy safeguards

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill will degrade privacy and data protection safeguards in policing. Under certain conditions, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) will be able to circumvent rights protections by acting with the same powers as intelligence agencies. Laws safeguarding personal data during transfers will be diluted and the means for oversight will be significantly reduced.


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