January 08, 2019Prevent Marginalised and vulnerable groups
UK NGO (RIGHTS WATCH (UK)) WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF PREVENT STRATEGY
23 January 2019
Rights Watch (UK) welcomes the government’s announcement that the much-criticised Prevent strategy will finally be subject to an independent review, but cautions that any review must go beyond a mere statistical audit to examine the assumptions on which the government’s theory of radicalisation is based and the systemic human rights impact of Prevent.
The government’s decision, announced yesterday by the Security Minister Ben Wallace, is long overdue. Concerns have consistently been raised by civil society and those working in education since the enactment of the so-called ‘Prevent duty’ to identify students apparently at risk of ‘being drawn into terrorism’ and refer them to de-radicalisation programmes. The Home Affairs Select Committee, Joint Committee on Human Rights, and the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation have been calling for an independent review for almost four years.
In that time, a series of reports beginning with Rights Watch (UK)’s comprehensive assessment of Prevent in UK schools in July 2016 (http://rwuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/preventing-education-final-to-print-3.compressed-1.pdf) has identified serious concerns with how the referral powers appear to be both overused, interfering with children’s rights to education and free expression, and unlawfully targeted towards children from particular communities. We have worked in coalition with a range of individuals and organisations including Liberty, to highlight these concerns and advocate for a genuinely independent review.
Adriana Edmeades Jones, Legal and Policy Director of Rights Watch (UK), says that:
“The need for a full and transparent independent review of Prevent has been clear from the outset. Any review must investigate the harm the roll-out of this strategy in schools has caused to human rights protection in the UK, including for children’s rights to education, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, privacy, and freedom from discrimination.
This independent review is an important opportunity to regain the trust of the communities affected by Prevent. It is crucial that this review is searching and fully engages with the human rights issues raised by civil society.
The costs of Prevent – in terms of the interference with children’s rights, and the pressure placed on teachers to implement this flawed ideology – are too high to allow a flawed programme to continue without the proper scrutiny that an effective independent review would provide.
We commend the Government for finally agreeing to take this action and await further details on the specific terms of reference and procedure.”
For more information contact Yasmine Ahmed at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 3603 0972
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