Free expression / Protest rights

Civil society organisations reject call to add Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other groups to a banned list

Posted on 12 Mar 2024

We are alarmed by reports that the government is considering banning MPs and councillors from engaging with groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

We believe this undermines our democracy, including the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

PSC is the largest organisation in Europe campaigning in support of Palestinian rights with 15 national trades union affiliates a network of around 100 branches across Britain, and hundreds of thousands of members and supporters from a broad cross section of British society.

In common with other civil society organisations, its activities – some of which we have supported – include petitions, letter-writing campaigns, engaging with MPs and Peers as well as local, regional, and national elected representatives.

As the scale of its recent demonstrations calling for a ceasefire show, PSC is supported by a substantial body of public opinion in Britain.

The activities of organisations like PSC are lawful, legitimate, and nonviolent, and are essential elements of our democratic system.

So too, is the need to maintain dialogue and debate irrespective of political disagreements.

Any suggestion that the government or political parties should ban all meetings or engagement with legal civil society organisations or sections of the electorate, is profoundly anti-democratic and sets a dangerous precedent.

At a time when civil society and human rights defenders are under attack around the world, the British government should be upholding our core human rights, not seeking to remove them from those with whom it has political disagreements.

The message these proposals send is that any campaigning in support of Palestinian rights is somehow illegitimate and even ‘extreme’.

We call on the government to drop these dangerous measures and call on other political parties to oppose them.

Amnesty International UK

Friends of the Earth, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland




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