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HR Safeguards vital when designating terrorists

Human Rights Commission
Media Release
31 March 2005

Human rights safeguards vital when designating terrorists, Commission tells Select Committee

Terrorism and violence against civilians are the most abhorrent of human rights abuses, the Human Rights Commission told the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee today.

At the hearing, the Commission reaffirmed its abhorrence for terrorism and support for the State’s responsibility to protect citizens from violence. The Commission also emphasised that human rights need to be balanced with matters of national security.

“While any person or group designated as a terrorist suffers appropriately serious consequences, it is essential that fair and just procedures are in place to balance security concerns with human rights. Strong human rights safeguards are a necessity.

“While recognising the difficult and complex task governments face in protecting both security and human rights, the Commission would like to emphasise that human rights are an effective tool for the elimination of terrorism”, Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said.

The Commission was presenting its submission on the Terrorism Suppression Amendment (No 2) Bill, which proposes the current timeframe for review and extension of terrorist designations be extended for up to three years.

The Commission expressed concern that the extended timeframe may create a process which erodes human rights in the name of administrative convenience and recommended that the extension be limited for a period of one year only, until October 2006.

The Commission also recommended that New Zealand work with the UN to improve procedures for the listing and de-listing of terrorist entities.

ENDS

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