Proposals announced last week by the new Tory government to institute yet more draconian and discriminatory anti-terror legislation have prompted IHRC to write to opposition parties in the new parliament calling on them to take a stand against the measures.
In the letter addressed to Labour, Lib-Dems, Green and SNP MPs, IHRC expresses its “deep alarm” over the proposals saying they will sanction people simply for expressing opinions that are contrary to government policy.
It calls on the MPs to oppose the plans to ban groups or disrupt individuals if they participate in so-called ‘harmful’ activities which IHRC views as a way of tackling behaviour that does not breach existing legislation. The powers stand to give the government carte blanche to proscribe activities that do not breach any existing laws.
IHRC says it is also strongly opposed to new powers intended for Ofcom to impose strict guidelines on broadcasters, which will result in major restrictions on certain sections of the press.
IHRC is also against Home Office plans to draw up a blacklist of organisations and individuals deemed to be colluding in so-called entryism, or infiltrating democratic institutions with the intention of sezing control of them. “These policies are fundamentally racist succumbing to a far-right ideology that minority groups seek to cause the collapse of the British state”, says the letter.
It adds: “It is clear from previous government rhetoric and policies that when the state refers to ‘terrorist’ and ‘extremist’, they are referring to Muslims.”
The letter also draws attention to plans to legislate a positive duty to express support for British values. The government’s much criticised anti-radicalistaion Prevent programme already seeks to identify and rehabilitate those who express ‘vocal or active opposition to British values’. However this new development goes further by suggesting the need to actively promote an undefined set of British values. This sets up a platform for the state to forcibly indoctrinate people with its propaganda, leaving little room for genuine and justified criticisms of the state.
The full text of the letter can be viewed at http://ihrc.org.uk/activities/campaigns/11432-a-letter-to-the-opposition-regarding-the-counter-terror-proposals.
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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
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Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222