COUNTER TERRORISM & NATIONAL SECURITY WORKING GROUP
THIS WORKING GROUP FOCUSES ON THE IMPACT OF COUNTER TERRORISM & NATIONAL SECURITY LAWS AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS IMPLICATIONS.
Briefing by MLAG on the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2020 published by SOAS
Briefing by MLAG on the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill 2020 published by SOAS
Briefing written by MLAG on the CHIS Bill 2020, published by SOAS as part of its Policy Briefings on 23rd November 2020.
Citizenship Stripping: Making the World Safer?
Webinar: 18th November 2020
When can someone be stripped of their citizenship? Is this the only solution? How should the UK deal with British citizens who travelled to Syria and allegedly joined Islamic State but now wish to return to the UK? This complex question has been at the heart of the on-going case of Shamima Begum and well as others such as Jack Letts (‘Jihadi Jack’) and Tauqir Sharif (‘Tox’) who have all been stripped of their citizenship. This webinar looks at how this counter terrorism measure is being deployed by states in response to this issue and whether, from a human rights perspective, states have an obligation to take back such individuals. Is banishment the just and only solution? And, does this measure actually make the world safer or is it a gross miscalculation and, in fact, counter-effective?
Tayyab Ali, Partner, Bindmans LLP
Letta Tayler, Senior Researcher in the Crisis and Conflict Division, Human Rights Watch.
Fahad Ansari, Solicitor at Riverway Law
Draconian New Laws: Counter Terrorism or Counter-Productive?
Webinar: 11th November 2020
As the Coronavirus pandemic rages on, the government has quickly sought to push through a raft of legislation purporting to deal with terrorism and national security issues. According to the government, the new Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2020 aims to protect the public by keeping the offender in custody longer and imposing stringent conditions when released. The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill 2020, according to the government, is crucial in preventing and safeguarding victims from many serious crimes including terrorism, drugs and firearms offences and child sexual exploitation. The Bill provides an express power to authorise CHIS to participate in conduct which would otherwise constitute a criminal offence. And finally, the Overseas Operations (service personnel and Veterans) Bill 2020, according to the government, will provide greater legal protections to armed forces personnel and veterans serving on military operations overseas. Human rights activists argue that these Bills are alarming and go too far. We see the handing over of wide-ranging powers to State agencies. This webinar examines the human rights implications of these Bills, whether they are necessary, and whether they serve the interests of counter terrorism and national security.
Imran Khan QC
Naeem Mian QC
Omran Belhadi, Barrister, Nexus Chambers
Nadia Akhtar, MLAG Working Group
Rashidul Islam, MLAG Working Group
‘Prevent Duty: Should it stay or should it go now?
Webinar: 4th November 2020
For years, communities, activists, academics and civil liberties organisations have been calling for an independent review of Prevent, part of the government’s counter terrorism strategy that aims to stop people from being radicalised. Whilst proponents of this strategy claim that it has successfully diverted vulnerable individuals from radicalisation, opponents argue that it has proven ineffective and fosters discrimination against those of the Muslim faith or background. This webinar examines the effectiveness of the Prevent programme; the real-life impact it has, including on mental health; when and why cases end up in court; and whether it fosters discrimination of Muslims, especially given its recent expansion to encompass far-right extremism, and animal and environmental activists.
Dr Layla Aitlhadj, Director and Senior Caseworker at Prevent Watch
Attiq Malik, Director of Liberty Law Solicitors
Shahreen Khanom, Family Solicitor specialising in Radicalisation cases
Dr Tark Younis, Cultural and critical clinical psychologist, Middlesex University
Review of the Counter-Terrorism & Sentencing Bill 2020
The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2020 (hereinafter “the Bill”), was first introduced in the House of Commons on 20th May and is due to be ratified on 1st October. The stated policy objective of the Bill is to better protect the public from terrorism by strengthening the law which governs the sentencing, release and monitoring of terrorism offenders. In our view, this Bill is unnecessary and disproportionate. Current legislation provides sufficient powers for the authorities to address terrorism. The inability to prevent recent attacks was not due to a lack of powers, but due to the current powers being used ineffectively. The granting of further powers and widening the application of current powers will only perpetuate current failings and amount to an unjustifiable infringement of civil liberties. Further, by failing to tackle the root causes of such behaviour and instead providing ‘the emperor with new clothes’ will detract from the real issues. Ironically, it may lead to a weakening of the authorities’ actual ability to protect the public and rehabilitate those that pose a real risk to national security. This pdf document (on the right) sets out a summary of each part of the Bill and a detailed commentary upon the proposed provisions.