NCAFC and NUS on Joint Committee on Human Rights at Parliament

Simon Hardy, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, and Aaron Porter, National Union of Students, have given witness of police infringement of human rights on the last student demonstrations.

On the table was particularly the “kettling” technique and overall police violence.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights consists of twelve members appointed from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Committee is charged with considering human rights issues in the UK.

The Committee undertakes thematic inquiries on human rights issues and reports its findings and recommendations to the House. It scrutinises all Government Bills and picks out those with significant human rights implications for further examination.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), chaired by Andrew Dismore MP, consists of Members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Thematic Inquiries

As part of its work, the Committee undertakes inquiries into human rights issues during which it seeks evidence from a wide range of groups and individuals with relevant interests and experience. Initially the Committee calls for written evidence from interested parties, which is usually followed by taking oral evidence from a selection of those who submitted written evidence.

A report is usually then produced setting out the Committee’s findings and making recommendations to the Government.

Aaron Porter issues support for occupations

This morning at 11am, NUS President Aaron Porter visited UCL Occupation to apologise for his “dithering” over support for autonomous student action, and agreed to advocate occupations as a legitimate form of protest against fees and cuts, as well as pledging political, legal and financial aid for all existant and future student occupations.

Occupiers issued the following list of demands to Porter, all of which were agreed to unconditionally:

  • to publicly support all student occupations- on the frontpage of the NUS website and all available media.
  • to call immediately for a new wave of occupations as a legitimate form of protest against fees and cuts.
  • to organise financial, legal & political aid for all current and future occupations.
  • to call a national day of action on the day of the parliamentary vote on tuition fees.
  • to officially support any staff taking further industrial action on cuts in the education sector.

The occupation of the Jeremy Bentham Room in UCL began on Wednesday at 12:15pm as part of NCAFC’s national day of action. Occupiers held the President, who has become a widely controversial figure in the student movement in recent weeks, to account.

He also criticised the NUS for being “spineless” over recent years by refusing to support student protests.

The UCL Occupation intends to continue indefinitely until its demands of the university management, including the issuing of a public statement against fee rises and HE budget cuts, are met. You can support those demands here.

A number of NCAFC activists are involved in the UCL Occupation. The liberated Jeremy Bentham Room is in fact the location of NCAFC’s founding convention.

Tweet your solidarity with the UCL occupiers: http://twitter.com/ucloccupation

Aaron Porter talks at UCL Occupation

… and in The Independent (15 November)

The Independent‘s Education Editor, Richard Garner, has published today the article “Students retreat from national demonstrations”, in which he mentions the way in which the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts is splitting the student movement.

Mr Garner is, naturally, refering to the dichotomy between the National Union of Students leadership and the NCAFC about the National Walkout and Day of Action on the 24th of November. [Read more…]