‘The section on trespass would criminalise the way of life for nomadic Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and would limit access to the countryside.’
Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has submitted evidence to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill Committee on a controversial bill that is now passing through parliament. Working with the group Unlock Democracy, Quakers called for part 3 (public order) and part 4 (unauthorised encampments) to be scrapped ‘at the very least’.
Writing on the Quakers in Britain website, Olivia Hanks, economics and sustainability programme manager for BYM, outlines key actions to take. The bill started its Committee Stage in late May in the House of Commons, where a group of MPs examine it line by line and take evidence from experts. All MPs will then vote on it again in July, before it goes to the House of Lords.
‘We’ve teamed up with a wide range of other organisations trying to persuade the government to scrap the bill, or at least remove the worst bits of it, including part 3 (public order) and part 4 (unauthorised encampments),’ she wrote. ‘The section on trespass would criminalise the way of life for nomadic Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and would limit access to the countryside.’
As well as writing to MPs and/or asking for a meeting, other advice includes helping to build a movement against the bill by contacting local groups such as Black Lives Matter or Sisters Uncut; raising awareness on social media and displaying banners; signing petitions; and participating in peaceful protest ‘when it is safe to do so’.
Olivia Hanks emphasised that ‘there is hope’, citing how Quaker lobbying recently helped secure key changes on the Overseas Operations Act.
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