Friday, March 11, 2005

Annan attacks erosion of rights in war on terror

US and Britain in UN secretary general's sights

Jonathan Steele
Friday March 11, 2005
The Guardian

The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, launched a fierce attack on Britain and the US yesterday for weakening human rights in the name of the war on terror.

"We cannot compromise on core values," he said in Madrid on the first anniversary of the train bombings that killed 191 people in the Spanish capital. "Human rights and the rule of law must always be respected."

Addressing a three-day conference which included about 20 heads of state and government as well as terrorism experts, lawyers and journalists, Mr Annan laid out five elements in what he called a "principled, comprehensive strategy" to fight terrorism.

He proposed a UN special envoy to monitor whether governments' counter-terrorism measures conformed to international human rights law.

"Compromising human rights cannot serve the struggle against terrorism," he said. "On the contrary, it facilitates the achievement of the terrorists' objectives by provoking tension, hatred, and mistrust of governments among precisely those parts of the population where he is most likely to find recruits."



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