On Monday (22 February 2016), the Home Secretary Theresa May laid before Parliament an order to remove the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) from the UK’s list of organisations proscribed under the UK Terrorism Act 2000.
The Home Secretary has the power to proscribe organisations that she considers to be “concerned in terrorism”, for example by participating in, preparing for, or promoting acts of terrorism. The effect of proscription is that it is a criminal offence for a person to belong to, invite support for, arrange a meeting in support of, or wear or display articles in public which arouse suspicion that they are a member of that organisation. The ISYF was proscribed in March 2001, and lodged an application for de-proscription and an appeal to the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (POAC) last year. The Home Secretary has now concluded that the statutory test is not met, and that there is insufficient information that the ISYF is currently concerned in terrorism and so their application should be granted.
This is the second time on which the Government has laid an order to de-proscribe a group before Parliament since the Act came into force in 2001. The first was in 2008, removing the Peoples’ Mojahedin of Iran (the PMOI, or MEK) after a POAC judgment and appeal to the Court of Appeal.
ISYF remains proscribed until Parliament has agreed that the order should come into force, under the affirmative resolution procedure. The House of Commons will debate the order on 15 March 2016. Guidance on UK proscribed organisations is here. Maya Lester acted for the ISFY before POAC.