JCHR Press Notice 05-06 No. 04

Session 2005-06                                            21 September 2005




The Joint Committee on Human Rights has decided to inquire into the subject of "counter-terrorism policy and human rights".  

At this initial stage of its inquiry, the Committee welcomes written evidence from any interested individuals or organisations on the human rights implications of developments in counter-terrorism policy in the UK since 7 July 2005 and potential future developments in that policy, including but not restricted to-

(i)  the new list of "unacceptable behaviours" drawn up after consultation indicating some of the circumstances in which the Home Secretary may exercise his powers of exclusion or deportation;

(ii)  the Government's intention to deport non-UK nationals suspected of terrorism on the basis of diplomatic assurances and the potential conflict with Article 3 ECHR;

(iii)  the various measures announced by the Prime Minister at his press conference on 5 August (available in full at www.number-10.gov.uk)

(iv)  the possibility of allowing sensitive evidence, including intercept evidence, to be adduced in criminal trials

(v)  the possibility of establishing a judicial role in the investigation of terrorist crimes

(vi)  the overall social and political context in which human rights standards are understood and applied by the courts, the Government and others, and in which the requirements of security are reconciled with those standards.

Any memoranda of evidence addressing any or all of the above matters should be submitted to the Committee by 14 October 2005.

The Committee would also welcome evidence on the human rights compatibility of the provisions of the draft Terrorism Bill (published by the Government on 15 September and available on the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs4/Print-02C.PDF), and on the Terrorism Bill itself when it is finalised and presented to Parliament. The Government proposes to take forward certain measures through amendments to the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill currently before Parliament, and the Committee will welcome evidence on these amendments as well. Submissions on the draft Terrorism Bill should be made by 7 October 2005 and submissions on the Terrorism Bill itself and on any relevant Government amendments tabled to the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill should be made as soon as possible after they have been published.

Submissions should be addressed to Nick Walker, Commons Clerk of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Committee Office, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.  Electronic submission is acceptable, but a signed hard copy should also be sent.  In any event, witnesses are asked wherever possible to accompany hard copy by an electronic version, preferably in Word format, and e-mailed to jchr@parliament.uk.

Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed or circulated by the Committee at any stage.  You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee.  Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract parliamentary privilege.

The Committee envisages its inquiry lasting for some time. It also envisages that from time to time it may produce reports on particular aspects of anti-terrorism policy and human rights under the aegis of this inquiry. Further calls for evidence in the context of this inquiry may be issued in the light of future developments.