Prevent Watch

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The Guardian: Liz Truss halts Dominic Raab’s bill of rights plan

Prime Minister Liz Truss has pulled plans to enact a new bill of rights in one of her first acts as prime minister, telling the cabinet her government would reassess ways to deliver its agenda. One source described the bill as a ‘complete mess’. The legislation was introduced to parliament in June to replace the 1998 Human Rights Act, with a number of changes including an intent to entrench the primacy of British law over rulings from the ECHR. It would also place new restrictions on how human rights can be used in claims against the government. Source: Liz Truss halts Dominic Raab’s bill of rights plan | UK bill of rights | The Guardian

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EachOther: The new Prime Minister’s human rights record

As well as expanding the UK’s involvement in ‘offshoring‘ refugees and asylum seekers, new PM Liz Truss has reportedly pledged to increase frontline border staff by 20%. She has also voted for restricting legal aid and voted in favour of allowing national-security-sensitive evidence to be put before courts in secret sessions and out of the eye of the media. On privacy rights, Truss voted in favour of the mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities. The right to privacy is currently enshrined in the HRA, but parliament will vote on plans to replace the act with the Bill of Rights on 12 September. Records show that under the current government the prime minister has never rebelled against the party majority in a vote. Source: Liz Truss: The new Prime Minister’s human rights record | EachOther

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EachOther: Is Prevent Compatible with Human Rights Law?

The many criticisms of Prevent include the lack of a peer-reviewed evidence base; the lack of an operable definition of extremism; inadequate training; a high number of ‘false-positives’; and the policy being structurally racist and Islamophobic. Critics of Prevent include Liberty, the Open Society Foundations, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the National Union of Teachers, Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester) and over a hundred academics. Prevent conflicts with the Human Rights Act (HRA) and the Equalities Act, writes Shazad Amin, Deputy Chair of MEND. Source: Is The Prevent Programme Compatible With Human Rights? | EachOther

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Johnson’s attacks on ‘lefty lawyers’ are childish and sinister

David Renton explains how the government has attempted to justify its Rwanda policy in the press and through attacks on lawyers. Instead of letting refugees settle here, Boris Johnson intends to force them to live in central Africa. The main justification of the Rwanda scheme is that it is so unpleasant that it will scare refugees and dissuade others from following them, so that the number of people coming to Britain will fall. But the focus here is not on the ridiculousness of the scheme as such, but rather the way the government has attempted to justify it in the press through attacks on left-wing lawyers. Source: Johnson’s attacks on ‘lefty lawyers’ are childish and sinister | Morning Star

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Proposed terror laws could ‘violate human rights and infringe freedom of speech’, MPs tell government

New terror laws proposed by the government may violate human rights and undermine freedom of speech, MPs have warned. The Joint Committee on Human Rights called for three clauses of the controversial Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill to be deleted and gave a total of 27 amendments. Peers and MPs said the first clause, which would make statements deemed supportive of a banned group illegal, restricted free speech and could criminalise “valid debates” on what organisations should be banned. Read more

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UN special rapporteur expresses serious concerns on UK’s counter-terrorism bill

The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin has expressed serious concerns about the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill that is currently being considered by parliament. In her submission Professor Ni Aoláin states that the bill risks criminalising a broad range of legitimate behaviour, including reporting by journalists. She highlights the importance of safeguarding freedom of expression and finds that parts of the bill fail to meet the UK’s obligations under international human rights law. Read more

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New government terror laws that could jail people for ‘reckless’ statements could violate human rights, say MPs

Proposed laws that would see people jailed for viewing terroristmaterial three times or making “reckless” statements about extremist groups may violate human rights, MPs and peers have warned. The government’s new Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill “strikes the wrong balance between security and liberty”, the Joint Committee on Human Rights said. Read more

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End of Mission Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance at the Conclusion of Her Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

To my knowledge, there has been no evidence that Prevent actually prevents extremism, or that link between extremism and terrorism is empirically sound. My understanding is that no government review of or findings regarding the human rights impact of Prevent has been made public, and that no government review of or findings regarding the impact of Prevent on racial equality in the UK has ever been public. This state of affairs in untenable given the widespread evidence that widespread enforcement of the Prevent duty is fueling distrust among racial and ethnic minority communities, especially those who are Muslim. This distrust is of public institutions such as hospitals, schools, universities and even police, through which the work of national integration should otherwise be achieved. Formal integration policy risks being no match for the “dis-integration” and political and social exclusion currently being achieved, at the behest of the Government, through the robust […]