GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR FUTURE!!!
Projects with LibertyWe are currently working with Liberty (www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk) on a number of initiatives.
ID CardsSince 9/11 and the “War Against Terror” there have been international calls to bring those responsible to justice. On the domestic front these calls have ensued a debate relating to the balance between civil liberties and protecting civilians against attacks and the potential introduction of ID cards.
Liberty and Charter 88 have produced a pamphlet bringing together contributions from a diverse background who nonetheless all conclude that we should resist the introduction of identity cards. Contributors include, amongst others, Mike O’Brien now Foreign Office Minister, Alan Simpson Labour MP for Nottingham South, Simon Hughes Lib Dem Spokesman on Home Affairs and Jaffer Clarke Joint Deputy Leader of the Muslim Parliament.
IslamophobiaThe Muslim Parliament has supported Liberty’s research project focusing on anti-terrorism legislation and the growth of Islamophobia post 9/11 and how this effectively mirrors the way anti-terror laws were criminalising the Irish community a decade ago. See Liberty's report Suspect Community
Anti-Terrorism DebateLiberty has issued a Briefing on the Anti-Terrorism debate in the wake of the Privy Counsellor Review Committee Report chaired by Lord Newton (the “Newton Report”). The Newton Report states, “We strongly recommend that the powers which allow foreign nationals to be detained potentially indefinitely should be replaced as a matter of urgency”. The Report goes on to condemn other aspects of the legislation. As detention provisions are grafted onto immigration provisions, rather than the criminal system, evidence obtained by torture is inadmissible, the standard of proof is the lower balance of probabilities (rather than beyond reasonable doubt) and the suspect faces no specific charge and is not presented with the evidence against him.
As well as the grave civil liberties concerns with the current legislation, Liberty also highlights the impact of internment on British Muslims and has included in their report contributions from a number of prominent Muslim community organisations. The majority of arrests under anti-terrorism legislation post 9/11 have been of Muslims (a large proportion of whom have been subsequently released with no charge).
Furthermore, all those detained indefinitely are Muslim men. This has clearly created feelings of mistrust and resentment within the Muslim community, which could foster extremism. Thus, instead of effectively fighting against terrorism, the use of internment could prove to be counter-effective. Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui has commented, “Muslims are one of the most marginalised and criminalised communities in Britain. By extending the provision of internment to British nationals on the basis of mere suspicion by intelligence agencies or the police will be seen by the community as a war on Islam, not a war on terror. This will serve no useful purpose except to fuel further extremism, which every sensible person wants to avoid.”
Liberty concludes that this treatment as a “suspect community” could leave young British Muslims less likely to co-operate with the police or security services. By voting against the renewal of the powers contained in Part 4 of the Act (including internment powers) parliament can bring an end to this discriminatory process with the opportunity to end internment without being forced to explain that it is no longer justified.
Guantanamo BayOn 14 January 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined a broad-based coalition in filing a friend-of-the-court brief calling on the Supreme Court to assure that the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay have access to the courts to challenge the legality of their detention. The broad-based coalition included, amongst other organisations, the American Jewish Committee, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Islamic Circle North America (Relief), the Law Society of England and Wales and the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers.
The brief supports the appeal in two related lawsuits filed by relatives of the Guantanamo detainees who were effectively declared “non-persons” as the US Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia had ruled that the Guantanamo camps were part of the “sovereign territory of Cuba” and thus outside the jurisdiction of US laws.
The families of Guantanamo Bay prisoners in the UK, France and other European countries, their lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, other human rights lawyers and organisations united to launch the Guantanamo Human Rights Commission on 20 January 2004 at the Houses of Parliament.
The immediate objective of the Guantanamo Bay Human Rights Commission is to put pressure on the President of the US, the US government and law makers to treat the Guantanamo prisoners according to the standard of American and International law. Long-term, the Commission hopes to achieve an end to all forms of internment without trial, whether in Guantanamo or in Britain.
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