Statewatch march bulletin

Statewatch News, 3 March 2023 (also available as a PDF)

In this issue:

  • Migration policy undermining access to information
  • State racism and violence in Tunisia
  • Secrecy and border externalisation

And: new technologies, rights and counter-terrorism policy; EU online content removal orders without judicial review; EU roadmap on police cooperation; “internal security needs” and digital policy.


Migration policy undermining access to information

The ongoing, expansive enforcement of EU migration policies – at the EU’s borders and beyond – has detrimental effects in a whole host of areas: the right to life, the right to non-discrimination, the right to privacy and the rule of law more broadly.

Today, we publish a new analysis, ‘Migration policy overspill: access to information in peril’, which provides an initial inventory documenting the negative effects migration policy enforcement is having for the freedom of the press, and for freedom of and access to information. Growing numbers of journalists and members of NGOs and civil society organisations undertaking information work are being vilified, fined, arrested and sometimes prosecuted for documenting state malpractice against people on the move.

The analysis comes alongside a news article that, as our researcher Yasha Maccanico comments, shows how “data that used to be made available by UN bodies to the public about matters with very serious human rights and humanitarian implications is now withheld, whilst IOM and UNHCR share that information with the EU’s MOCADEM mechanism,” a body designed to enforce the externalisation of migration controls.


State racism and violence in Tunisia

Things have taken an extremely unpleasant turn in Tunisia with a wave of arrests and attacks against black Tunisians and sub-Saharan migrants by both the police and self-organised groups.

press release issued by the Forum Tunisien des Droits Economiques et Sociaux on 16 February said “more than 300 migrants have been arrested, taken into custody and brought to justice,” and: “Human rights violations are reported daily, ranging from inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary detention at borders at gunpoint, confiscation of phones, denial of access to medical care.”

statement issued by the Fédération des Tunisiens Citoyens des deux Rives on 1 March notes that the “racist drift, triggered by a minority, is a blow to the aspirations of the revolution based, it must be remembered, on the values of freedom, justice, equality and dignity.”

The Tunisian President, Kais Saied, recently endorsed the “great replacement” conspiracy theory beloved by right-wingers in the USA and Europe alike. In a recent speech, Saied said: “The undeclared goal of the successive waves of illegal immigration is to consider Tunisia a purely African country that has no affiliation to the Arab and Islamic nations.”

If you have money to spare, you can make a donation to support people affected by the attacks and arrests. More information here.


Secrecy and the externalisation of migration controls

Last year, we filed almost two dozen freedom of information and access to documents requests in the EU, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco and Niger, seeking information on the EU’s plans to externalise its migration policies and border controls.

The report on that research is being finalised and will be published soon by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung. In the meantime, you can read an opinion piece in EUobserver on what we found out, and how secrecy undermines scrutiny, accountability and democratic control of externalised migration policies; 

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