Hizballah, Ansaroul Islam and Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam Wal-Muslimin (JNIM) are set to be banned by the UK Government following their proscription as terrorist organisations. A draft order laid in Parliament will proscribe Hizballah in its entirety alongside Ansaroul Islam and JNIM who operate in the Sahel region in Africa.
Subject to Parliament’s approval, from Friday when the order comes into effect, being a member of, or inviting support for Hizballah, Ansaroul Islam and JNIM will be a criminal offence, carrying a sentence of up to ten years’ imprisonment.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “My priority as Home Secretary is to protect the British people. As part of this, we identify and ban any terrorist organisation which threatens our safety and security, whatever their motivations or ideology. This is why I am taking action against several organisations. Hizballah is continuing in its attempts to destabilase the fragile situation in the Middle East. We are no longer able to distinguish between its already banned military wing and the political party. As such, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added: “We are staunch supporters of a stable and prosperous Lebanon. We cannot, however, be complacent when it comes to terrorism. It’s clear the distinction between Hizballah’s military and political wings does not exist. By proscribing Hizballah in all its forms, the Government is sending a clear signal that its destabilising activities in the region are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the UK’s national security. This does not change our ongoing commitment to Lebanon, with whom we have a broad and strong relationship.”
All three groups have been assessed as being currently concerned in terrorism.
Distinction cannot be made
Hizballah’s External Security Organisation and its military wing including the Jihad Council were already proscribed in 2001 and 2008 respectively.
The Government has taken the decision to proscribe Hizballah in its entirety on the basis that it’s no longer tenable to distinguish between the military and political wings of Hizballah.
Hizballah was established during the Lebanese civil war and is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel. It continues to amass weapons in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolutions, putting the security of the region at risk. Its involvement in the Syrian war since 2012 continues to prolong the conflict and the regime’s brutal and violent repression of the Syrian people.
Ansaroul Islam seeks to impose its own strict Salafist Sharia law in northern Burkina Faso and is known to target other ethnic groups in the region leading to the substantial internal displacement of people. In December 2016, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on an army outpost in Burkina Faso which killed at least 12 soldiers.
JNIM was established in March 2017 as a federation of Al Qa’ida-aligned groups in Mali and aims to impose a strict Salafist interpretation of Sharia law in the Sahel region. It has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the region in which people were killed.
Separate order in Parliament
Furthermore, a separate order laid in Parliament will proscribe:
*the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKC), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front/Armed Propaganda Units (DHKC/SPB) as aliases of the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party-Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi) (DHKP-C) which is already proscribed
*Jaysh Khalid Bin Walid (JKbW) (JKW), Jaysh Khalid bin al-Walid (KBW) and Khalid ibn-Walid Army (KBWA) as aliases of Daesh
These changes will come into force from Tuesday 26 February.
Decisions about proscribing or extending the proscription of a particular organisation are taken after extensive consideration and in light of a full assessment of available information.
There are currently 74 international terrorist organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000 alongside 14 organisations connected to Northern Ireland proscribed under separate legislation.