- 2005 National Black Members' Conference
- 10 January 2005
The Home Secretary, David Blunkett is proposing a raft of new measures and amendments to existing anti-terrorism legislation which will extend his powers and local law enforcement agencies which include the following:-
·creation of ‘no jury anti-terrorist courts, these are all under the guise of building safe and secure communities
·introduction of special terrorism trials with judges sitting alone without a jury will erode further civil liberties
·plans for civil orders similar to anti-social behaviour orders could be imposed against individuals who had not committed an offence but are deemed by this government as engaging in “acts preparatory to terrorism”. Breach of such orders will become a criminal offence, resulting in imprisonment.
Existing terrorism laws already go too far and are consistently applied unfairly to Muslim communities.
These proposals will be introduced if Labour wins a third term and will further erode principles of justice and basic human rights. These measures will not provide a basis for political and economic solutions, but create conditions that feed terrorism, such as the continuing lack of a just and peaceful resolution to the issue of the state of Palestine and the myriad of problems in the Middle east and desperate and acute poverty in large parts of the developing world.
Conference oppose these attacks on civil liberties, allegedly in the name of the fight against terrorism. There is already a wide range of definitions of a terrorist.
We condemn the rise in racism and islamaphobia which are continually exacerbated by the US and British governments rhetoric. These proposals will pander to the extremist and right wing media agenda, fear and scaremongering for the upcoming General Elections, mimics US domestic and international policies and legitimising the position of the extremist and far right views of bodies such as the BNP, Combat 88 and others.
We call upon the NBMC to work with NEC, the affiliated political fund, Unison Labour Link and other civil rights organisations such as the 1990 Trust and the CRE to:
·Lobby the government and demand trials are delivered within an impartial court system with adequate representation and involvement from the Black communities
·Seek an urgent review of these proposals.
·Lobby the government until it complies with the UN Convention of Human Rights in their treatment of prisoners and alleged terrorists.
·Work with Labour Link to combat the negative imagery and terms used in the media and society at large towards those of the Islamic faith.