Thursday, 25 October 2007

The UN Security Council’s (Slowly) Improving Message on Counterterrorism and Human Rights

Filed under: Human Rights,News Watch Blog — Catherine Morris @ 13:47 PDT

What has the UN Security Council done to advance the fight against terrorism? And what has it done to ensure that counterterrorism efforts do not go hand in hand with the abuse of human rights?

… In late September [2001], the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1373, requiring states to deny support to terrorists and terrorist groups, provide mutual assistance in prosecuting terrorism, take steps to prevent terrorism, and ensure that terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations.

Because resolution 1373 was passed under the Security Council’s Chapter VII powers, it is considered binding on all UN member states. And underscoring the mandatory nature of its prescriptions, resolution 1373 established the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) to monitor its implementation…

Resolution 1373 is viewed as the cornerstone of the UN’s counterterrorism efforts. But unfortunately, given its importance, it sent a worrying message on the issue of human rights.

Although fundamental human rights protections are often threatened by government counterterrorism measures–and this was true even pre-September 11–the resolution did not mention human rights, except in a narrow reference to the granting of refugee status…

Despite this unpromising start, human rights progress has been made in recent years. Particularly when compared to its rocky beginnings, the CTC is now taking steps to integrate human rights into its work.

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