A PREVENT “Community” Event
Much to Britain’s, and in particular, the Conservatives’ shame, the UK fell in global rankings for child rights within a year, from 11th to 156th. The UK’s current position makes it sit among the ten worst countries including regions like CAR, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. The KidsRights report notes that the UK could “do more to improve the enabling environment they have built for children’s rights” (p.5). The Independent reporting this appalling situation noted,
“Serious concerns have been raised about structural discrimination in the UK, including Muslim children facing increased discrimination following recent anti-terrorism measures, and a rise in discrimination against gypsy and refugee children in recent years.”
What has happened in the last year? Apart from increased prejudice and hate unlocked by a neocon/white supremacist-orchestrated Trump and Brexit campaigns, it has been a full of year Britain – and in particular the Muslim minority – has experienced the PREVENT Duty. The founder and chairman of KidsRights, Marc Dullaert, explicitly called for PREVENT to be “re-assessed” in light of the “increased discrimination” Muslim children face:
“…Muslim children in the UK face increased discrimination following recent anti-terrorism measures. Accordingly, the Index advises that counter-extremism measures such as the Prevent Strategy be re-assessed to ensure that they do not have a discriminatory or stigmatizing impact on any group of children.”
We live in an age where those who work towards realising idealised principles of the rule of law, transparency and due process are smeared by their governments and press.
Julian Assange is the most recent case in point. In the face of the categorical UN ruling that Assange was being subjected to arbitrary detention, the British press has been focussed on his rape allegations. David Cameron has deflected that Assange “should stand trial in Sweden, a country with a fair reputation for justice” so there could be an “end to the sorry saga”. What has been forgotten is that the Swedish prosecutor refused to go to London to interview Assange for more than four years before being questioned by a Swedish court for her failure to progress investigations into what Helena Kennedy QC said was “unlikely to lead to conviction”. Then of course there is the ever so minor detail that Sweden refuses to issue safety guarantees to the Wikileaks founder which would prevent extradition to the US to face potentially the death penalty.
Edward Snowden is another prominent example of a smear campaign. Western security agencies have strongly tried to associate his actions of accountability with the secular blasphemy that is the threat to national security. Incidentally, he also exposed previously unknown British activity with regards to bulk surveillance, and now there is an attempt by Theresa May to ex-post facto legalise the gross invasion of privacy via the Investigatory Powers Bill and in particular the recent, criticised investigatory powers tribunal ruling on GCHQ bulk surveillance.
There were some rich words coming from David Cameron in the Guardian of all papers. It seems when Cameron wants to ride the wave of fear of “immigrants” he uses the Daily Mail, and when he wants to demonstrate his social responsibility for poor “immigrants”, albeit laden with typical neocon doublespeak which dresses up neocon warring and global neoliberal fiscal policies as benevolence, he (ab)uses a lefty liberal paper.
Cameron, in typical neocon hypocrisy tells the Guardian readers that,
“Our aid budget also enables us to promote British values around the world. It helps us to lay the building blocks for prosperity and opportunity – the rule of law, strong and accountable government, gender equality and education for all.”
Rule of law. Accountable government. These two attributes of a just government have been suffering from severe attrition resulting from neocons raining down their policies over the years. The government’s PREVENT Strategy to tackle extremism is one such policy which is indirectly increasing the opacity of the British state.
Since the government’s warning to the NUS to stand down its opposition to the government counter-extremism PREVENT Strategy, reports about PREVENT miscarriages of justice taking place in the education sphere have been increasing. Last year, I wrote a detailed piece about the strategy which would absurdly target toddlers through the counter-terrorism discourse. I elucidated the fact that it was to create a neo-Stasi state in which public service employees were co-opted to act as informers for the state. Britain’s neo-Stasi operation courtesy of the PREVENT strategy is now is being felt by the Muslim minority with full force.