London – Sajid Javid’s announcement yesterday that areas of Syria and potentially West Africa will become unlawful ‘Designated Areas’ will severely affect aid workers and the provision of aid to stricken areas.
Minimal safeguards against the power secured during the Counter-terrorism and Border Security (CTBS) Act’s passage through Parliament this year will do little to stem the abuse and harassment of aid workers that CAGE has already witnessed and documented under existing counter-terror powers. Now aid workers face 10 years imprisonment simply for travelling to areas where they may be required to work.
Moazzam Begg, Outreach Director for CAGE, said:
“Javid’s pronouncement comes at a time when aid work is being increasingly criminalised, with charitable workers being subject to Schedule 7 interrogations, bank account closures and even citizenship deprivation. This law shows again how today, terrorism legislation isn’t about violence. It’s about geography and identity.”
“Behind the rhetoric of counter-terrorism lies the fact that the state wants to encourage aid only through large charities with government backing, but it is these charities that are often slow to deliver aid in areas of most need. This also means that aid becomes politicised, and actions of charity are aligned to UK foreign policy, devaluing the very notion of aid itself.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)