Australia plans to ban Hizbullah
The Australian government said Tuesday that it is planning to ban the Lebanon-based Hizbullah group, “due to intelligence suggesting members of the group have been involved in various terror activities.”
Justice Minister Daryl Williams said that while the US and Britain had banned Hizbullah, Australia hadn’t, “The Australian laws regarding terror groups permit us to ban only groups that are enlisted on the list of terror organizations published by the UN Security Council (UNSC)”, he explained.
According to Australian anti-terror laws, a group must be declared a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council before it can be proscribed in Australia.
Williams added that Australia should prepare itself to cope with expected terror threats. “The US is conducting an all-out war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but it seems it is not tackling other organizations which have a similar political doctrine to that of Al Qaeda. Hizbullah is a dangerous terror group and we ought to fight it,” Williams told the Australian parliament.
Williams called on Labor opposition members to support the amendment to the law, which would enable Australia to ban terror groups that are not included on the United Nation’s list.
Labor members, for their part, are willing to amend the law and add Hizbullah to the list of terror groups, but they are not prepared to grant the government the right to outline an independent list of terror organizations separate from that of the United Nations.
Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard has rejected a Labor bid to expedite the listing of Hizbullah as a “terrorist organization” in Australia, according to The Australian in its Tuesday edition.
In a move given urgency by threats to kill Australians in the Middle East over involvement in the Iraq war, Australian Opposition Leader Simon Crean wrote to Howard, suggesting Hizbullah be specially listed in legislation to be introduced to parliament next week.
In a reply obtained by the newspaper, Howard conceded the Labor's approach would "be a quick solution to listing Hizbollah."
However, he added that "it does not address the concern that we are unable to list terrorist organizations...if such organizations are not captured within the scope of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions". (Albawaba.com)
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