Prevent and Civil Liberties

Key information

6:15 pm to 7:45 pm
Portcullis House
Grimond Room

About this event

When introducing the Prevent Duty as an obligation on public authorities as part of its revised Counter Extremism Strategy in 2015, the government declared that it sought to cooperate with international bodies including the UN.

Since then, a number of UN rapporteurs have expressed serious concerns about the impact of Prevent on civil liberties and human rights. They say it operates in the pre-criminal space to constrain activities and the expression of ideas that are not unlawful.

These concerns are not addressed in the recent Independent Review of Prevent and its recommendations. According to Fionnuala Ni Aolain, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms, while countering terrorism, these recommendations exacerbate existing problems rather than mitigate them. Is there an alternative to Prevent? How can the UK have an effective counter-terrorism strategy whilst protecting civil liberties? This event seeks to explore these questions. 

About the speakers

  • Dr Layla Aitlhadj, Director & Senior Caseworker, Prevent Watch
  • Jonathan Hall KC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation
  • Prof John Holmwood, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Nottingham
  • Prof Alison Scott-Baumann, Professor of Society and Belief, SOAS University of London [Chair]
  • John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington [Host]