Given that the government has just revealed that the DNA of forty thousand innocent children is stored on a national database, this is a timely report.
From The Morning Star:
PEACE campaigners called for the repeal of anti-terror laws on Friday after a damning United Nations report warned that Britain’s terror laws were having a “chilling effect” on free speech and civil liberties.
The UN committee on human rights warned that provisions under the Terrorism Act 2006 covering encouragement of terrorism are too “broad and vague” and should be amended to prevent “a disproportionate interference with freedom of expression.”
People convicted of encouragement of terrorism face up to seven years in jail.
The report, which is part of the UN committee’s analysis into human rights in Britain, condemned the extension of detention without charge from 14 to 28 days and said that it was “even more disturbed” at plans to extend this to 42 days.
Despite a major rebellion by Labour MPs, the government narrowly won the 42-day Commons vote in June with the help of the Democratic Unionists.
But the Lords are expected to defeat it when they vote on the anti-terror Bill this autumn.
Britain already has the longest period of pre-charge detention in the Western world.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn branded the plans “absurd and excessive,” warning: “Instead of building links with communities, these laws serve to isolate and frighten people. Parliament should be defending civil liberties, not take them away.”
Stop the War Coalition co-founder John Rees welcomed the UN report as “conclusive and authoritative” evidence that civil liberties have been victims of war.
“This government has no right to lecture other countries, whether be it in the Caucasus or the Middle East, about their civil liberties or human rights records,” he stormed.
Mr Rees called for a “wide-ranging review of the government’s civil liberties record and the effect of the anti-terror laws and reverse its policy on 42-day detention.”
The UN report also criticised ministers’ treatment of the Chagos islanders, who have been fighting for their right to return home since 1967, when Harold Wilson’s government turfed them out and handed the island in the Indian Ocean to the US to use as its military base.
Mr Corbyn, who has been campaigning on their behalf in Parliament, said: “The government has used mediaeval orders to block their right to return and the islanders are still fighting their case in the House of Lords.
“It is time to end this travesty of justice and human rights.”