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SACC joins International Witness Campaign

SACC is proud to announce that it has joined 46 partner organisations around the world to support the International Witness Campaign.

The International Witness Campaign was launched on 31 August to mark 20 years since the launch of the so-called "war on terror." The campaign was initiated by CAGE and will run for 5 months. It aims to explore two decades of the "war on terror" while promoting solidarity, justice and dialogue. Partner organisations include CAMPACC (UK), the Center for Constitutional Rights (USA), the Coalition for Civil Freedoms (USA), the Collectif Contre l'Islamophobie en Europe (Belgium), the Comité Justice & Libertés (France), Defence of Human Rights Pakistan, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (UK), Muslim Engagement and Development (UK), Northern Police Monitoring Unit (UK), Veterans for Peace UK and The Canary (UK).

The campaign will be holding an International Conference on the War on Terror on 2 October 2021.

The campaign's mission is:

  1. Acknowledgement of state sponsored crimes committed in the name of the ‘War on Terror’.
  2. Accountability for governments, agencies and individuals guilty of crimes since 2001.
  3. Restorative justice for victims and survivors of state-sponsored violence since 2001.
  4. Complete dismantlement of the infrastructure which facilitated these crimes and led to the erosion of our collective rights and freedoms, including laws, policies and practices.

These principles have been at the heart of SACC's work since our launch in 2003. Throughout our existence we have campaigned for the withdrawal of US and UK troops from Afghanistan and Iraq and for an end to the aggressive foreign policies pursued by the US, the UK and their allies in the name of fighting "terrorism". Our particular focus, and the central aim of our campaign, has been to demand the complete dismantlement of the system of anti-terrorism legislation constructed in the UK since the Terrorism Act 2000 came into effect. We do not think these laws are an effective or just way of preventing terrorist atrocities. Instead, they foster a racist culture of suspicion towards migrants and Muslims, treating them as suspect communities. This politics of fear has helped to intimidate dissent and so shield the government's foreign policies from criticism and protest.

At the launch of the International Witness Campaign our sister organisation, CAMPACC, said:

"The Global War on Terror was a sequel to the Cold War which had inflicted immense damage and pain on the Third World nations. Equally, it became the latest mechanism for organising and legitimising a world system of domination by the sole superpower the US and its allies. Regime change, pre-emptive strikes, full-spectrum dominance, suppressing national liberation movements was accompanied with a cascade of terrorism laws suspending habeas corpus, house arrests, secret courts, extensive surveillance, criminalisation of migrant communities, refugees and demonisation of Muslims. The politics of fear supported by the corporate media and the cover of national security were the drivers over the last 20 years of the war on terror when great injustices were perpetrated against innocent individuals and communities."

In SACC's submission to the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia into Islamophobia in Scotland we said:

"Islamophobia in the UK cannot be dismantled without also dismantling the militarised, exploitative and colonialist character of the UK’s relations with many Muslim-majority countries (loosely speaking, the 'war on terror') and related domestic policies (Prevent etc) aimed at repressing and managing the political activity of Muslims. Civil society must campaign for an end to the 'war on terror', must integrate this into counter-Islamophobia activities and must reject strategies that involve turning a blind eye to the 'war on terror' at home and abroad or legitimising it."

The recent withdrawal of US and UK troops from Afghanistan represents a milestone towards the end of the "war on terror." We hope that this event, coupled with the International Witness Campaign and other initiatives, will help re-invigorate demand for the repeal of the UK's anti-terrorism legislation and similar legislation elsewhere in the world.