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“They belong” – René Cassin submission to Home Office consultation on police powers and ‘unauthorised encampments’

Posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

René Cassin’s submission responded to a Government consultation (March 2020) on “strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments”. Our report answered questions on the criminalisation of trespass, especially with regards to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities’ access to land.

Our submission raised concerns about the consultation’s suggestion that “those on the encampment are involved or are likely to be involved in anti-social behaviour.” This is a clear and alarming move to conflate and implicate entire communities in the anti-social behaviours of a few individuals. This proposal classifies Gypsies and Travellers as “anti-social” criminalised human targets. It supports and encourages government regulated ethnic profiling and collective punishment of Gypsy and Traveller people.

As the Jewish voice for human rights, René Cassin speaks from specialist experience of the devastation caused by the loss of house and home. We speak as the children and grandchildren of refugees, many of whom saw their homes and with it the lives they had built ripped from them overnight. The sense of belonging, feeling safe and secure, is intrinsically linked to house and home. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and nomadic ways of life, have long been a part of the country we call home, they belong.

Read our full submission here.