Amnesty International calls on Cameron to launch surveillance inquiry

Letter asks for emergency meeting to discuss surveillance of human rights organisations

“It’s absolutely shocking that Amnesty International’s private correspondence was deemed fair game for UK spooks, who have clearly lost all sense of what is proportionate or appropriate.” - Kate Allen

The UK should hold an independent judge-led inquiry into surveillance of human rights organisations by the UK security services, Amnesty International said today in a letter sent to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which oversees surveillance matters in the UK, informed Amnesty International last week that the UK has been intercepting, accessing and storing its communications, but is yet to provide an explanation as to why.

The human rights group is also calling on David Cameron to publish as much as possible of the findings of a report from the tribunal due to be sent to him relating to the revelation.

The letter, signed by Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty and Amnesty UK Director Kate Allen, warns that confirmation that the UK has been spying on the communications of non-governmental organisations “sends a chilling message to human rights organisations and charities in the UK and abroad”.

The letter follows serious concerns raised by peers from across the political spectrum over the revelation, in a debate on surveillance in the Lords yesterday.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary-General, said:

"The Prime Minister needs to explain why the UK government is subjecting law-abiding human rights organisations to surveillance.

“This revelation makes it vividly clear that mass surveillance has gone too far. We must finally have proper checks and balances."

Kate Allen, Amnesty UK’s Director, said:

“It’s absolutely shocking that Amnesty International’s private correspondence was deemed fair game for UK spooks, who have clearly lost all sense of what is proportionate or appropriate.

“A key measure of a free society is how it treats its charities and NGOs. 

“If Amnesty International is being spied on, then is anyone safe?”

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