Statewatch article: RefNo# 1968
G7/8 terrorism summit (feature)
Statewatch bulletin, vol 6 no 5
At Lyons, France on 27 June the Prime Ministers of the G7/8 countries agreed a Declaration on terrorism which was followed by a ministerial meeting of its Foreign and Interior Ministers in Paris on 30 July. The 30 July meeting agreed a 25-point programme to tackle terrorism on a global scale.

The G7/8 group is comprised of "the seven most industrialised nations": Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA plus Russia. Originally set up to deal with economic issues its role was extended following a ministerial meeting in Ottawa on 12 December 1995 which issued a Joint Declaration on terrorism (see Statewatch, vol 6 no 1). This was follows by the Sharm-el-Sheikh Summit in March. These meetings of ministers and officials are also, confusingly, referred to as the "P8 group" indicating the political rather than economic nature of the meeting. A representative of the EU Presidency (currently Ireland) also attends.

The Lyons meeting set the broad perspective calling on "all States to deny support to terrorists... to thwart the activities of terrorists and their supporters, including fund-raising...". The Declaration seeks to extent the "fight against terrorism" by redefining political refugee status by denying suspected "terrorists" sanctuary anywhere; by placing "organisations, groups or associations, including those with charitable, social or cultural goals" under surveillance where it is suspected they are being used for "terrorist" ends (point 5); to allow "lawful government access to data and communications" (e-mail, fax, and Internet) (point 11); to "develop" extradition procedures (point 16); to cut off "terrorist funding" by preventing the "movement of funds suspected to be intended for terrorist organisations" (point 21, italics added).

Surveillance is to be intensified as regards:

"the actions and movements of persons or groups suspected of belonging to or being connected with terrorist networks." (point 24)

Point 13 deals with the status of refugees:

"while recognising that political asylum and the admission of refugees are legitimate rights enshrined in international law, make sure that such a right should not be taken advantage of for terrorist purposes, and seek additional international means to address the subject of refugees and asylum seekers who plan, fund or commit terrorist acts."

The Declaration moves easily between questioning the rights of refugees, to terrorism, then organised crime, and any group or persons suspected of being connected with them. If such measures had been in place during the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa Nelson Mandela and other ANC activists would have been denied sanctuary in the UK and in Europe. Groups raising money to support medical and educational project during apartheid would have been subject to surveillance and criminal prosecution. The same would have held true during the Vietnam War and many other liberation struggles in the Third World. Groups in Europe supporting Kurdish people have already become targets. The dictum that one country's "terrorists" is another's freedom fighters is not recognised.

The failure of the UK government to deport Muhammad al-Mas'ari, a Saudia Arabian, to Dominica following scarcely veiled threats by that government led UK Prime Minister to say in March on his return from the Sharm-al-Sheikh Summit:

"It may be that the time has come to look at the activities not only of those who actively conspire to commit terrorist acts but also those who from safe havens abroad foster dissent elsewhere in a way which creates a climate in which terrorism can flourish. If people.. use the UK as a base from which to conduct their own particular activities against another government, particularly a friendly government, then that is a matter we have to look at very carefully."

EU: "Centres of excellence"

In November 1995 the UK Home Secretary put forward, at the meet

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