Posted on Thursday, October 14th, 2021
A week of action against the Policing Bill, the Nationality and Borders Bill and the review of the Human Rights Act
What’s going on?
- The Government are pushing through a plethora of new legislation which threatens our basic human rights
- This includes the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill, the Nationality and Borders Bill, and a review of the Human Rights Act itself
- The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Bill has many concerning implications including for traveller communities, stop and search, young offenders and the right to protest
- The crackdown on the right to protest is particularly worrisome – the right to protest is vital to a free and equal society since it allows people to publicly challenge the Government
Our right to protest
- The Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill, or ‘Police Crackdown Bill’, will significantly limit our freedoms
- The bill puts significant power in the hands of the police, including the power to press criminal charges against those who are deemed “disruptive” or of “serious annoyance”
- Similarly, police chiefs will be able to exercise more control over static protests, even if involving one person, including setting a start and finish time and imposing noise limits
What’s Jewish about it?
- The prospect of our right to protest being curbed is particularly concerning for the Jewish community, for whom the right to protest has historical significance
- Our Gypsy and Traveller friends, with whom we share a history in the Shoah, are criminalised and marginalised by the Policing Bill, prevented from accessing road side camps that allow them to continue their nomadic way of life
- The restrictions on the right to protest will, in turn, implicate faith communities across the UK, since police have the power to disrupt prayer vigils and acts of public worship
- Monsieur René Cassin, our namesake, was instrumental in drafting the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which includes in it the right to peaceful assembly and association (Article 20)
What can you do?
- Various third sector groups, including Amnesty UK, Liberty and Stonewall, are holding a Week of Action – ‘Stop the Rights Raid’ – from the 10th-17th October 2021 which you can get involved in
- Email your MP to stand against the criminalisation of Travellers
- Spread awareness and speak out on social media using the hashtags #PolicingBill, #RightToProtest, #PoliceCrackdownBill