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Open Letter To Heads Of State Or Govt Of The EU

Open letter to Heads of State or Government of the European Union

At the signing of the Lisbon Treaty: Human Rights Violations in the Fight Against Terrorism Remain Unanswered

On the eve of the European Council, Amnesty International calls on EU Heads of State and Government once more to show responsibility for the grave human rights violations committed in European territory in the name of the fight against terrorism.

The complicity of EU Member States in the US-led rendition programme involving kidnapping, denial of due process, torture and disappearances has seriously tainted the EU counter-terrorism effort. It shows that respect for human rights cannot be taken for granted in Europe.

Five EU presidencies have passed since European involvement in US renditions was clearly exposed. Still the EU has not answered calls for accountability from Amnesty International and other international NGOs, nor has it implemented the recommendations from the Council of Europe or the European Parliament. The Council and the Member States have so far chosen to issue blank denials or general statements of principle, rather than acknowledging that the human rights of a significant number of individuals have been violated by or with the complicity of European states.

These states have failed to establish the truth and to provide reparation to victims. By ignoring the repeated proposals for preventive action from the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, EU Member States collectively have failed to ensure that such abuse cannot happen again inside EU borders.

It is a matter of credibility. Europe rightly reminds the US that the fight against terrorism must be undertaken within the boundaries of international human rights and humanitarian law. However, the EU has yet to set the example itself. As the EU signs a new treaty it looks ahead to incorporating the Charter of Fundamental Rights and reinforcing its role in external relations. Those ambitions ring hollow as long as the Council and Member States do not acknowledge their individual and collective responsibility to protect human rights under all circumstances.

That responsibility entails four fundamental obligations of justice:

* Serious investigation of abuses

* adequate steps to prevent recurrence

* appropriate sanctions on those responsible

* reparations for the victims

* Denial will not waive these obligations.


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