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HRC Views on the Terrorism Bill

31/01/02

Human Rights Commission Views on the Terrorism Bill

Terrorism itself is one of the worst abuses of human rights the Human Rights Commission told the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee today.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said that the Bill was consistent with New Zealand’s international obligations under relevant terrorism conventions and Security Council Resolutions.

“The Human Rights Commission considers that in general, the bill strikes almost the right balance between the need to respond effectively to the threat of terrorism and the need to protect the rights of all concerned”.

The Commission’s support of the Bill is qualified by the need to:

 Strengthen the criteria for initially designating a person or organisation as terrorist.

 Improve judicial scrutiny of the designation process.

 Provide a means of redress for people harmed by any mistaken designation.

 Provide for a review of the operation of the legislation after a few years.

Ms Noonan quoted the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson who recently said:

“Efforts must be made to avoid innocent people becoming the victims of counter terrorism measures. This requires that government action in this area be guided by human rights principles. Human rights law wisely strikes a balance between the enjoyment of freedoms and legitimate concerns for national security…. The principles of necessity and proportionality must be applied. The principle of non-discrimination must always be respected and special effort must be made to safeguard the rights of vulnerable groups”.
Ms Noonan concluded, “New Zealand’s counter-terrorism response, whilst needing some modifications, is a measured and proportionate one. In that regard, it compares favourably with the excessive measures taken in many other countries”


Ends


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