Human-rights commission launches investigation into UK Labour Party on handling of anti-Semitism cases

May 29, 2019 by JNS
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The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a full statutory investigation into anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.

Thousands gather outside of Parliament in London to protest anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party on Sept. 3, 2018. Credit: Labour Against Anti-Semitism via Twitter.

The investigation will evaluate the Labour Party’s handling of multiple acts of anti-Semitic discrimination and victimization detailed in the dossiers that the Campaign Against Antisemitism has provided in submissions since July 2018.

The commission, which was created by a Labour government in 2006, is tasked with enforcing and human-rights laws. It does not deal with such cases in Northern Ireland, which has its own Equality Commission and Human Rights Commission in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.

The decision to launch a statutory investigation under section 20 of the Equality Act 2006 unlocks the commission’s full range of enforcement powers, allowing it to compel the Labour Party to reveal details of its handling of anti-Semitism in recent years, including internal communications such as text messages and emails.

The commission can also seek court injunctions against the party to prevent further anti-Semitic discrimination, harassment and victimization, and it can also impose an action plan on the party and enforce compliance through the courts.

The commission has made the move following a pre-enforcement engagement process with Labour that left it convinced that the party could not be trusted to resolve its anti-Semitism problem on its own.

During the pre-enforcement engagement process, numerous senior Labour figures called for the commission to investigate, including Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and former Justice Secretary Lord Falconer.


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