#AceNewsReport – Jan.17: UK Counter-Terror-Laws imposed hastily by present government after latest terror campaigns are to say the least Orwellian and some might say Draconian
The UK is leading a Europe-wide “race to the bottom” with Orwellian counter-terrorism measures that seriously threaten human rights, according to a comparative survey of security laws by Amnesty International.
A 70-page report, entitled Dangerously disproportionate: The ever-expanding national security state in Europe, alleges that Britain has introduced powers in the name of national security that are “among the most draconian in the EU”.
In more than half the areas of concern highlighted by the report, the UK is judged to be at one end of the spectrum in relation to regulations on “mass surveillance”, use of “diplomatic assurances” to deport people where there is a risk of torture, stripping people of their nationality, controlling their movement and detaining without charge or sufficient legal process.
Amnesty’s stark assessment is a response to widespread changes in counter-terror laws across Europe, enacted in the wake of numerous, Islamic State-inspired attacks. It follows the UK parliament’s vote for the Investigatory Powers Act, nicknamed the snooper’s charter.
Amnesty’s report – based on research comparing 14 EU countries – is at odds with the latest annual report produced by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, who concluded: “The terrorism acts, as refined by parliament and by the influence of the courts, are a broadly proportionate reaction to the current threat.
“Based on my own observations over six years, the hostile narrative of power-hungry security services, police insensitivity to community concerns and laws constantly being ratcheted up to new levels of oppression is, quite simply, false.”
The Amnesty report, however, says that many EU countries have joined the ranks of surveillance states as new laws have enabled intrusive mass surveillance powers.
Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International UK, said: “The Big Brother surveillance state that George Orwell warned of back in 1949 is alive and dangerously well in Europe today. Governments, including the UK, are not far off creating societies in which freedom is the exception and fear the rule, which should be of deep concern to us all.
“After a series of horrific terrorist attacks across Europe, EU governments have rushed through a raft of repressive laws. There is an obvious and urgent need to protect people from this kind of violence – protecting the rights to life, and to live, move and think freely are essential tasks of government, but they are not ones to be achieved by any means and at the cost of such rights themselves.
“These laws trample on hard-won freedoms that we have long taken for granted. The UK could have been a beacon of progress here, but instead it is leading a race to the bottom. Governments should be providing security for people to enjoy their rights, rather than restricting people’s rights in the name of security.”
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