UK Civil Society Organizations Urge Government to Block Anti-Boycott Legislation

A Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally in the UK. (Photo: PSC Website)

A coalition of UK Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) urged the government on Thursday to halt legislation that would likely target boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) efforts against Israel, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The 46 UK-based groups said in a statement that they oppose plans by the government to table an “anti-boycott” bill, saying it presents a “threat to freedom of expression, and the ability of public bodies and democratic institutions to spend, invest and trade ethically in line with international law and human rights”.

The groups opposing the legislation include charities, NGOs, trade unions, faith groups, climate justice and human rights groups, and cultural and solidarity organizations, such as Campaign Against Arms Trade, Greenpeace UK, the National Union of Students, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

The proposed law would prohibit public bodies from imposing boycotts or divestment campaigns against foreign countries, including those who boycott, divest or sanction Israel.

The legislation is expected to be announced in the upcoming Queen’s Speech on May 10, a yearly address by the British monarch that sets out the government’s agenda for the next session of Parliament.

“We advocate for the right of public bodies to decide not to purchase or procure from, or invest in companies involved in human rights abuse, abuse of workers’ rights, destruction of our planet, or any other harmful or illegal acts,” the groups said in the joint statement.

“We, therefore, oppose the government’s proposed law to stop public bodies from taking such actions.”

The groups called on the UK government to immediately halt this bill, on opposition parties to oppose it, and on CSOs to mobilize in support of the right to boycott in the cause of justice.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

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