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UN Commission: Human rights must be protected in counter-terrorism report

The human rights organisation, which on Thursday 13 March is laying out specific recommendations in Geneva ahead of the Commission's Monday 17 March opening, is calling on the UN to help strengthen international protection of human rights in the context of counter-terrorism measures since 11 September 2001.

In particular it is calling on the Commission to recommend that countries:

  • avoid broad and vague definitions of 'terrorism' in their national legislation
  • guarantee the right to life, liberty and security of person
  • guarantee the right not to be tortured or suffer other cruel treatment
  • guarantee the right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention
  • guarantee the right to be able to seek asylum

Amnesty International is also calling on the Commission itself to establish a new monitoring mechanism that will scrutinise the impact of security legislation on human rights protection.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"There can be no security without human rights and we asking the UN to caution member states against throwing the baby out with bath water in their efforts to secure peace and security for their populations."

Amnesty International will also be lobbying in Geneva on a wide range of other pressing human rights issues that it believes the Commission can and should address. These will include:

  • the death penalty
  • refugee and asylum-seeker rights
  • countries where human rights crises are extremely serious and in some cases escalating - Israel and the Occupied Territories, Russia, Colombia, Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The human rights delegates will also be focusing on the working of the Commission itself, calling for the strengthening of 'special procedures' that allow for allegations of specific and urgent human rights abuses to be raised.

Additionally Amnesty International is calling for the 53 states that constitute the Commission to raise their own level of commitment to human rights.

An Amnesty International press briefing will take place at:

1100 hrs Geneva time, Thursday 13 March, at Bibliotheque, Salle de presse 2, Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Speaker: Melinda Ching, Amnesty International's representative to the UN in Geneva

Amnesty International Commission materials (regularly updated) are available online.

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