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Human rights groups to boycott government’s Prevent review

A coalition of human rights and neighborhood teams have stated they’ll boycott the federal government’s assessment of the anti-radicalisation programme Stop in protest on the appointment of William Shawcross as its chair.

The appointment last month of Shawcross, who chaired the Charity Fee between 2012 and 2018, was met immediately with criticism over previous remarks he has made about Islam.

In a joint assertion, 17 teams with curiosity in human rights and communities, together with Liberty, Amnesty International and the Runnymede Belief, stated the appointment of Shawcross reveals the assessment is there to “merely rubber-stamp” the controversial and divisive technique, and they might not contribute to the train.

The Residence Workplace has been approached for remark.

There have been requires an unbiased assessment of Stop for years, by critics who say it fosters discrimination towards folks of Muslim religion or background and inhibits reputable expression.

The Stop technique features a statutory obligation for faculties, NHS trusts, prisons and native authorities to report any issues they’ve about individuals who could also be susceptible to turning to extremism. The Stop obligation has led to circumstances through which lecturers have reported primary-school kids to the police for having toy guns or talking about video games. There are literally thousands of referrals every year however simply 11% of those referred are ultimately deemed to be at risk of radicalisation, the latest figures present.

The assessment, introduced in January 2019, has been beset by delays. It took 13 months to nominate Shawcross to guide it, after the federal government’s first selection, Lord Carlile, was forced to step down in December 2019 over partiality issues.

Within the assertion, the teams stated: “The appointments of each Shawcross and Lord Carlile have made clear, past doubt, that the UK authorities has no real interest in conducting an goal and neutral assessment of the technique, nor in participating meaningfully with communities affected by it. We, the undersigned teams, can’t be complicit in a course of that serves solely to rubber-stamp a basically flawed technique.”

The teams introduced that as an alternative of taking part within the authorities’s assessment, they’ll conduct a parallel assessment that “correctly considers the harms of Stop”.

In 2012, as a director of the neoconservative thinktank the Henry Jackson Society, Shawcross stated: “Europe and Islam is likely one of the best, most terrifying issues of our future. I feel all European nations have vastly, in a short time rising Islamic populations.”

The Charity Fee for England and Wales, beneath Shawcross’s tenure, was accused of institutional bias towards Muslims by the Claystone thinktank, whereas Muslim teams have highlighted feedback he made in his guide Justice and the Enemy, which seem to help use of torture and the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay.

Rosalind Comyn, coverage and campaigns supervisor at Liberty, stated: “This train might have been an opportunity to correctly scrutinise the premise and impacts of the Prevent strategy, which stifles speech, spreads worry and mistrust, and encourages discrimination.

“However Liberty will now not interact within the farce it has change into. We’d like interventions that respect the rights of the folks instantly affected and that deliver communities collectively – each Stop and its assessment are very far faraway from that ultimate.”

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