Leeds Green Party

Leeds Green candidates pledge to fight draconian and racist laws

3 May 2015

All eight Leeds Green Party candidates standing in the 7 May election have signed a pledge drawn up by community organisations and members of the public in Leeds worried by the recently passed draconian Counter Terrorism and Security Act.

Kate Bisson, Parliamentary candidate for Leeds East, attended a community meeting in the Bangladeshi Centre on 18 April where she and other candidates were presented with the below pledge by over 70 concerned members of the community. The Pledge commits candidates to work towards repealing parts of the Act, which many residents are concerned is a backward step in promoting equality and community cohesion.

Kate said: “I and the other Leeds Green Party candidates all fully endorse this pledge. We are committed to speaking out on behalf of the diverse communities we represent, who are desperately concerned about this draconian and racist law. We would like to see the entire Act and all anti-terror legislation passed since the 2000 Terrorism Act repealed. We should be focused on promoting cohesion and equality, not demonising certain sections of the community.”

Green Party deputy leader Shahrar Ali said: “All anti-terror powers are based on the Terrorism Act 2000. It redefined terrorism, blurring any distinction between violent acts and political dissent, thus criminalising vague association and speech acts. Anti-terror powers are about protecting UK foreign policy from dissent, rather than protecting the public from violence.”

See all Leeds Green candidates standing in the elections, watch Leeds Green Party’s election broadcast and read their mini manifesto at leedsgreen.party.

 

The pledge in full

The Counter Terrorism and Security ACT 2015 became an act of parliament on 12 February 2015. The Act is one of the most draconian pieces of legislation that has been introduced into British Law and is one that goes against our constitutional values. The Act itself is aimed at tackling one particular group which are an intrinsic part of our community and by doing so the Act establishes a state of institutionalised racism and Islamaphobia in to the British Governmental and civic institutions.

The Act allows for:

  • Seizure of passports from persons suspected of involvement in terrorismThe ACT proposes granting powers to police and border officials to seize a person’s passport for up to 14 days (This can be extended upon application to a judge). The seizure applies to those coming into the UK as well as those leaving and affects UK citizens as well as non-UK nationals and is based on ‘suspicion'; the officer need not have any grounds or evidence for his suspicion.
  • Temporary exclusion orders – The ACT will empower the Home Secretary to issue a Temporary Exclusion Order, which will ban a UK citizen who is abroad from returning for up to 2 years, where she/he believes there is a “reasonable suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity abroad”. The Home Secretary may issue a permit for the individual to return, but the permit will impose conditions including where the person lives and what flight they take to return to the UK.
  • New measures within Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures – TPIMs replaced Control Orders, which were used to restrict the activity of suspected terrorists who had not been convicted. When TPIMs were introduced in 2011 they decided they would scrap the powers to move people across the country. The Home Secretary now proposes bringing back the power to send suspects to new towns (up to 200 miles from their normal residence), introducing internal exile.
  • Creating an obligation to monitor and report extremismColleges, schools, prisons, GPs and councils will now have a legal duty to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. Schools, nurseries even GPs will be required to monitor those they provide services to and report anyone they believe is at risk of, or has in fact been drawn in to terrorism. Universities will have to draw up policies on extremist campus speakers, and prisons will be required to have policies for dealing with radicals. The Home Office will be able to get court orders obliging bodies to comply with their obligations.
  • “De-Radicalisation” Panels – The ACT creates a legal duty that will require local authorities to establish a panel to refer people identified as being at risk of ‘being drawn into terrorism’. The composition of that panel is set out in the ACT, and its purpose is to draw up a “de-radicalisation” plan for the person identified as being at risk. The ACT makes no provision for the person identified to have legal or other representation, or in the case of a child, to have a parent present.
  • Obligations on airlines – Airlines will now be required to disclose personal information about their passengers in advance. Airlines that refuse or fail to provide advance passenger lists will be banned from landing in Britain and may face a penalty.

The ACT is badly worded and rushed; any legislation if it is to be effective and is to serve to create a cohesive society must be well thought out and ensures civil liberties are not eroded. We know too well the consequences that arise as a result of the marginalisation and isolation of any minority group within our community.

This Act takes the powers out of the hands of the Judiciary and places the powers into the hands of the Home secretary.

We the undersigned believe that the CTS Act 2015 is prejudicial for the Muslim community and will further marginalise an already demonised community and therefore pledge that should we become an elected member of Parliament we pledge to campaign for the repeal of the following clauses of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015:

  • Part 1; Chapter 1 – powers to sieve travel documents - this seizure of passports based on suspicion without proof
  • Part 1; Chapter 2 – temporary exclusion orders – this takes powers from the hands of the judiciary and concentrates powers into the hands of the home secretary
  • Part 3 –Retention of relevant internet data – this allows the security services to keep records of all our internet data meaning an end to privacy
  • Part 5 – Risk of being drawn into terrorism – this section is so broad it can include almost anyone and given the current climate there is a heightened danger of it being disproportionately being used to target Muslim individuals and Muslim organisations






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