World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Counter-Terrorism Should Not Undermine Rights

Counter-Terrorism Should Not Undermine Rights To Assembly Or Association: UN Expert

New York, Oct 25 2006 7:00PM

Countries need to pay “increased attention” to ensuring that critical basic freedoms – of peaceful assembly and of association – are not unduly compromised in the fight against terrorism and that any restrictive measures be “necessary, proportionate and subject to judicial safeguards,” an independent United Nations expert warned today.

Protecting these rights was fundamental because they serve as the platform for the exercise of other rights, such as freedom of expression and the right to political participation, Martin Scheinin, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, told the General Assembly's Third Committee which deals with human, social and cultural rights.

Governments listing entities as terrorist organizations should also be done only on a temporary basis – and automatically reviewed every 6 to 12 months – so as “not to amount to criminal sanctions,” which would require acceptable rules of evidence and procedure, he said.

“It is my firm conviction that sanction regimes that incorporate human rights guarantees are in the long run more efficient tools against terrorism than arrangements falling short of international standards,” Mr. Scheinin said.

“There is growing support for the position that human rights are not a mandatory concession that compromises the effective fight against terrorism but, rather, a cornerstone of any successful strategy against terrorism,” he added.

Mr. Scheinin later told a press conference that defining terrorism is central to his mandate because “as long as there is no internationally agreed understanding of what terrorism is, and is not, governments often feel free to define as terrorist whatever they wish to outlaw.”

“This leads to a huge degree of abuse….minorities, indigenous people, religious movements…may all be stigmatized as terrorists and then authoritarian governments tend to criminalize their actions,” he added.

Against what he said were some overly broad definitions, terrorism should be defined by the choice of tactics, i.e., attacks on innocent bystanders.

Mr. Scheinin said although his mandate includes highlighting “best practices in the fight against terrorism” this has not resulted in many invitations for country visits.

He thanked Turkey for their “exemplary facilitation” of a February trip but noted he is still waiting for replies to requests to visit from the U.S., Tunisia, South Africa, Philippines, Malaysia and Egypt.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news