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Britain should review proscription of 'terrorist' organisations – report

A report by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson Q.C., has recommended the British government to review its policy of proscribing and de-proscribing organisations.

In his detailed report, presented to parliament in June, Mr Anderson said that organisations that cannot be proven to be ‘concerned in terrorism’, taking current, active steps to ‘commit, participate in, prepare for, promote or encourage
Terrorism’, should not be proscribed and be ‘promptly de-proscribed’.

Mr Anderson further recommends that proscriptions of organisations should expire after a set period of time and that it should be the Secretary of State who would have to renew the proscription if needed.

The report also details the effect of proscription on communities in the UK.

Mr Anderson discussed the problems faced by proscription with representatives of the Tamil, Baloch and Kurdish communities.

The report states:

“They point to reputable Council of Europe and UN reports documenting extreme state violence against their communities in Turkey and Sri Lanka. As representatives of those communities in the West, they feel a special responsibility to publicise these matters and to press for a political solution.

"By doing so, however, they come under suspicion of inviting support for proscribed organisations.

"This, said one Tamil, 'shapes what it is possible to say', 'silences those who take up one position, and emboldens those on the other side'.”

Rights group, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), welcomed the ‘comprehensive and nuanced’ report.

Speaking to the Tamil Guardian, spokesperson Jan Janayagam said that TAG supports his call for a fair approach to proscription.

"[QC Anderson] has noted that repressive regimes benefit from the propaganda value of proscription.

"The Sri Lankan government has consistently attacked media professionals who have documented war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by it, including Channel 4 and The Independent as 'pro-terrorist'.

"The government also similarly attacks victims and witnesses of war crimes who are far more vulnerable than European media organisations.

"We note David Anderson QC's comments on the chilling effects on British ethnic communities of the current legislation and for this reason we support his call for a fairer approach to proscription and de-proscription."

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