Advocacy group CAGE has lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations Special Rapporteur, calling for a full investigation of the British government.
CAGE said it is taking these steps due to “continuous and sustained attacks from the British government and the Charity Commission, both of which have falsely labelled CAGE as an ‘extremist’ organisation which supports the acts of Mohammed Emwazi and ISIS.”
The complaint comes after David Cameron gave a speech in Birmingham on Monday in which he said: “I want to say something to the National Union of Students. When you choose to ally yourselves with an organisation like CAGE, which called Jihadi John a ‘beautiful young man’ and told people to ‘support the jihad’ in Iraq and Afghanistan, it really does, in my opinion, shame your organisation and your noble history of campaigning for justice.”
Meanwhile in March the Charity Commission issued a statement announcing that The Roddick Foundation and The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust had ceased funding CAGE and would not be doing so in future.
The statement admitted that CAGE was not a charity but had been in part funded by British charities and was concerned that such funding risked damaging public trust and confidence in charity.
According to CAGE, the UN complaint is lodged with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression under Article 18 and 19 of the UN Convention on Human Rights. These Articles protect the right of freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression.
CAGE says its freedom of expression has been “unlawfully violated as a result of the Charity Commission’s decision to require assurances that its two main charitable funders undertake not to fund CAGE again , and insisting that several charities do not associate with CAGE.
“CAGE was openly attacked in the media by senior politicians during the Emwazi affair who based their comments on biased reports in certain sections of the media.
“In a shocking outburst the Prime Minister David Cameron, in his ‘extremism’ speech on Monday singled out CAGE as ‘extremist’. In addition to the UN complaint, CAGE is seeking legal advice as to whether the Prime Minister is guilty of defamation.”
Dr Adnan Siddiqui, director of CAGE, added: “CAGE is an active participant in civil society. It cannot function without being able to exercise its right of expression and opinion, especially those opinions that challenge the prevailing War on Terror narratives. These rights are central to the enterprise of open democracy and are a universal norm. Without them, the tenants of civil society fall away.
“The question that needs to be asked is why the Prime Minister of one of the world’s great powers should choose to castigate a minor NGO if it was not to ensure that it could not exercise its freedom to operate. How can he lecture others on the protection of human rights when he denies them so blatantly at home.
“Not only does this illustrate the low level to which government policy has sunk, but should be a wake up call to even the detractors of Cage, that there is something seriously wrong with the debate on extremism when we merit such attention from the highest offices of the UK state.”