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Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what criteria she uses to decide whether national or regional liberation movements should be proscribed organisations under terrorism legislation; (174585)

(2) for what reasons the Baluchistan National Liberation Army was proscribed as a terrorist organisation; and if she will make a statement.

[holding answer 17 December 2007]: The grounds for proscription as a terrorist organisation are set out in section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000. They are that the Secretary of State believes the organisation to be concerned in terrorism. An organisation is considered to be concerned in terrorism if it:

(a) commits or participates in acts of terrorism,

(b) prepares for terrorism,

(c) promotes or encourages terrorism, or

(d) is otherwise concerned in terrorism.

If an organisation meets the criteria for proscription, the Secretary of State then has a discretion as to whether or not to proscribe. In exercising that discretion successive Secretaries of State have had regard to five factors in particular. They are:

1. The nature and scale of an organisation’s activities

2. The specific threat that it poses to the United Kingdom

3. The specific threat that it poses to British nationals overseas

4. The extent of the organisation’s presence in the United Kingdom

5. The need to support other members of the international community in the global fight against terrorism.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army was proscribed in 2006 because it met the criteria for proscription. In this regard I would refer the hon. Member to the Explanatory Memorandum to the Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2006.