Today, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its report on the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Following a period of legislative scrutiny, the Committee’s overriding conclusion is that the government’s plans to change the law to restrict demonstrations breach the human right to protest.
In its report, the JCHR states that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, Part 3 (Public Order) flags serious concerns, curbing non-violent protest in a way that contradicts the basic human right to protest. The Committee is calling for the complete removal of certain clauses, including the new noise ‘trigger’ for conditions on protests, and the new powers to impose conditions on one-person protests in England and Wales.
The JCHR’s report has also raised the point that the Bill will make the criminalisation of peaceful protesters more likely.
Harriet Harman MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, comments in the report:
Noisy protests are the exercises of the lungs of a healthy democracy. They should not be treated as an inconvenience by those in power. We are calling for the right to protest peacefully to be given explicit statutory protection.
Jules Carey, partner at Bindmans LLP and Head of our Actions against Police and State team, gave evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights regarding the Bill in April this year. Speaking about the protest provisions in the Bill, Jules comments:
Taken together, the clauses in this Bill violate international human rights standards and constitute a savage attack on the right to peaceful assembly in this country. Clamping down on protest is not just the muting of the voices of dissent; it is the government deliberately shutting its ears to warnings and alarms raised by concerned citizens.
You can read Netpol’s response to the JCHR’s report here.human rights, jchr, police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, right to prote, human rights, jchr, police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, right to prote, human rights, jchr, police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, right to prote, human rights, jchr, police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, right to pro