Rights Watch (UK)
We work to promote just and accountable security. We do this by ensuring that the measures taken by the UK Government in pursuit of national security are compliant with human rights and international law.
We have over twenty-five years of experience of working in the field of national security: initially in Northern Ireland, and, since 9/11, in Great Britain and abroad. Rights Watch (UK)’s has three areas of work Securitisation of Suspect Communities, Global Warfare and Post Conflict Justice and has three overarching operational gaols:
Ensure that the national security laws and policies that are directed towards/impact communities and persons in the United Kingdom are compliant with the UK’s human rights obligations
Ensure that the national security measures and activities that the UK Government conducts, facilitates and cooperates with abroad are compliant with the UK’s human rights obligations
Ensure that the UK Government is held accountable to victims for any human rights abuses it carries out in the course of its involvement in counter-terrorism operations and/or conflict
Rights Watch (UK) achieves these goals by working to ensure that the means and methods used to counter terrorism comply with international and human rights law; promoting independent and effective oversight, regulation and transparency of government activity in counter terrorism efforts and promoting accountability and redress for any individuals who suffer human rights abuses as a result of the Government’s conduct in the course of conflict or counter terrorism operations.
New Campaign Campaigns
Abandon Prevent in SchoolsThe government’s Prevent strategy, a centrepiece of its national counter-terrorism policy, is stifling the freedoms of children in classrooms across the United Kingdom and is counter-productive. It is leaving a generation of young Britons fearful of exercizing their rights to freedom of expression and belief and is counter-productive by driving children to discuss issues related to terrorism, religion and identity outside the classroom and online where simplistic narratives are promoted and go unchallenged. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQR0QZDPMvU Recent legislation in the form of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places an obligation on public sector workers, including teachers and child care providers to report individuals including children considered at risk of being drawn into terrorism based on their perceived association with non-violent extremism. Yet this obligation is based on a vague definition of extremism that includes opposition to ‘British values’, and a set of prescribed indicators of vulnerability to extremism that include ‘a desire for status’ and ‘a need for identity meaning and belonging’. Children in classrooms across the United Kingdom have been impacted by Prevent. For example, a 8-year-old boy was interviewed, without a parent or guardian present, and ‘cautioned’ for wearing a t-shirt with Arabic writing on it. Since the incident, the child is reluctant to return to school and is experiencing stress related health problems. A 16-year-old student with learning disabilities was referred to Prevent for borrowing a book on terrorism from the school library, and a 17-year-old boy who was questioned by police officers about his political and religious views after he was referred to Prevent for expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people. This 17-year-old student also discovered that the police had collected information on him without his or his parent’s knowledge or consent, and was told that this information would be held indefinitely by the police and may be used against him in the future. Prevent is jeopardising the rights of children in the United Kingdom to freedom of expression and education in the name of counter-terrorism. We’re demanding an immediate repeal of the policy. For more information on the impact that the Prevent strategy is having on children in the United Kingdom see Rights Watch (UK)'s landmark report Preventing Education? Human Rights and UK Counter-Terrorism Policy in Schools http://rwuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/preventing-education-final-to-print-3.compressed-1.pdf349 of 400 SignaturesCreated by Yasmine Ahmed