Advocacy update

The UK's Prevent Strategy Review is Fundamentally Flawed

Open Society Justice Initiative Letter Regarding UK's Independent Review of Prevent Download the 5-page document. 5 Pages, 469.02 Kb, PDF Download
December 08, 2019
+1 212-548-0378

The Open Society Justice Initiative has stressed its lack of confidence in the UK government's review of its Prevent strategy "for supporting people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism."

In a letter to Chris Felton, the deputy director of the Independent Review of the Prevent Strategy, Amrit Singh of the Justice Initiative raised concerns over the process, including lack of independence of its head, Lord Carlile of Berriew, and the Review’s narrow terms of reference, writing that these flaws "render the Review wholly inadequate."

"These defects fatally undermine the credibility of the Review and its ability to consider the evidence and analysis of Prevent’s numerous structural flaws," she wrote.

The Justice Initiative declined to respond the questionnaire that comprises the Review's call for evidence, which closed on Monday, December 9, instead submitting the attached letter, with a copy of its 2016 report Eroding Trust: The UK’s Prevent Counter Extremism Strategy in Health and Education.

The report includes a detailed legal analysis of Prevent under international human rights law and relevant domestic legal provisions as well as seventeen case studies. It concluded that Prevent creates a serious risk of human rights violations in the health and education sectors. It recommended, inter alia, that the UK government establish an independent public inquiry—with civil society participation—into the Prevent strategy and associated rights violations. 

UPDATE, December 20, 2019: The UK government has told Rights Watch UK that Lord Carlile will no longer lead the Prevent program review. In a letter regarding a legal challenge to his appointment, the government’s legal advisers said his work had concluded. The letter added that the terms of reference for the Prevent review are also being reconsidered.

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