Islamic Human Rights Commission
For Immediate Release
28th February 2001
UK Terrorism Law Promotes Illegal Occupation
Legislation may target legitimate struggles for self-determination
The British Government will announce today a list of proscribed organizations who allegedly fall under the scope of the Terrorism Act 2000. The new legislation grants police and the judiciary unprecedented powers to arrest and convict those in the United Kingdom suspected of “terrorist” offences.
Organizations such as the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), the National Council for Civil Liberties, Amnesty International, among others, have noted that environmental campaigners along with exiles struggling against dictatorial regimes can be arrested and tried as “terrorists”. They contend that the law will curtail basic rights to freedom of expression and association; breach international law; and undermine the fairness of the judicial system.
It is expected that the Government’s list will mention a wide range of groups involved in struggles around the world. Sources indicate that occupation resistance movements in Palestine, Kashmir and Republic of Chechnya of the Russian Federation will be included.
“The problem here is that the Act is in danger of being used to clampdown on legitimate struggles for self-determination around the world,” said Massoud Shadjareh, IHRC Chairman.
“Struggles in Palestine and Kashmir, for instance, are undertaken by the indigenous population against illegal occupation. International law accepts that such struggles are perfectly just. By targeting the resistance movements in these regions, the British Government is tacitly expressing support for the occupying regimes while illegally undermining the right of the occupied population to struggle for self-determination.”
UN General Assembly resolution 2649 (30 November 1970), for instance, affirms “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples under colonial and alien domination recognized as being entitled to the right of self-determination to restore to themselves that right by any means at their disposal.” It further recognizes “the right of peoples under colonial and alien domination in the legitimate exercise of their right to self-determination to seek and receive all kinds of moral and material assistance, in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations and the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations” and calls upon “all Governments that deny the right to self-determination of peoples under colonial and alien domination to recognize and observe that right”.
IHRC therefore calls upon the Government to respect international law, and to ensure that it does not criminalise legitimate struggles worldwide for the right of their population to self-determination. To do so would be to effectively endorse military dictatorships and repressive occupations around the world.
For more information on the above, please contact the IHRC Press Office on (+44) 20 8902 0888, (+44) 958 522 196, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A more in-depth IHRC briefing on the Terrorism Act (The Killing in Kashmir and the Terrorism Act 2000, 29th December 2000) is also available on IHRC’s website at www.ihrc.org.
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone: (+44) 20 8904 4222