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Terrorism and Human Rights
Human Rights Violation: A Great Hullaballoo

The best the only strategy to isolate and defeat terrorism is by respecting human rights,
fostering social justice, enhancing democracy and upholding the primacy of the rule of law.

Our responses to terrorism as well as our efforts to thwart it and prevent it, should uphold the
human rights that terrorists aim to destroy. Respect for human right, fundamental freedom and
the rule of law are essential tools in the effort to combat terrorism- not privileges to be sacrificed
at a time of tension.

The United Nations, the biggest international institution established after world war II, was
installed to save succeeding generations from the curse of warfare, which twice during the last
century had brought untold grief to mankind. It was made to reaffirm faith in fundamental human
rights, to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors.
Simply some of the states have preferred not to behave like good neighbors. Today, the whole
universe has become a village and every country is a neighbor to another.
The terrorist attack in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001,
followed by a terrorist attack on Jammu and Kashmir assembly and the Indian parliament are the
worst cases of terrorist act. Such barbaric acts were perpetrated by the foes of the human rights,
peace, tranquility, rule of law and commonwealth. Such numbers should be decried by one and
all, the clergy, the international agencies, the world politicians, the world government and the
intellectuals and the entire world community should provide the background documentation.
Such numbers should not be imputed to the religion professed by the terrorists as the terrorists

The Late Sergio Vieira De Mello, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2002
Former UN Secretary, Kofi Annan, 2003
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have no faith, they are the enemies of an entire religion and mankind. Terrorism is a criminal
offense against mankind, there is no room for it in cultivated society and, as such, all civilized
countries must take sincere efforts to take rid of this threat. Great powers have a more significant
part to take on. They should condemn acts of terrorism in unequivocal terms even if such deeds
are committed by or in connivance with their nearest supporters and friends.
Sometimes, it may be hard to prove the individuality of a terrorist or to ascertain as to who has
actually committed such acts, but no one can deny the terrorism persists and all of us, in all
sections of the public, may be the object of this menace at any instant, today or tomorrow. It is
another thing who suffers first and who suffers later. Hence, it is incumbent upon every civilized
nation all over the world that it should progress to whatever contribution it can make in forming
this world terrorist free.
The United Nations and its agencies have been taking note of such nefarious activities every now
and then and various resolutions, say, Resolution 1269 (1999) of October 19, 1999 and 1368
(2001) of September 12, 2001 have dealt with this problem. However, resolution 1373 is the
most important measure ever adopted by the United Nations to curb terrorism. By this resolution
Security Council also established a committee to monitor the implementation of resolution and
call on all states to report on actions they had taken to that end not later than 90 days from the
date of passing this resolution. This resolution provides inter-alia, that any person who
participates in the financing, planning, preparation or preparation of terrorist acts or in
supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice and that such terrorist acts are established as serious
criminal offenses in domestic laws and regulations.
Anti-Terrorism Laws violative of Human Rights
It is the responsibility of the state to provide safeguards against terrorism and side by side
protecting the human rights. Therefore, the effective counterterrorism strategy must be the part
of the states human right obligation. Human rights standards impose positive obligations on
states to ensure the right to life, protection from torture, and other human rights and freedoms.
Acts of terrorism are likely to infringe on all of the rights that are part of a states positive duty to
protect. This does not necessarily mean that an act of terrorism amounts to a failure to protect by
the state. However, if the state fails to take adequate and appropriate measures to protect those
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rights, the state itself bears some responsibility for the violation.
Counterterrorism tools that do
not comply with human rights are therefore liable to be ineffective. The unexpected incident of
9/11 had left the devastated impact on America. 9/11 incident showed that Americas system to
cope up with terrorism was ineffective, law enforcement agencies failed to prevent terrorist
attack, as a result change had taken place. All measures adopted during the first year after 9/11
were implemented very quickly and without careful consideration of costs and benefits.

President Bush after 9/11 also announced that the USA will follow a pre-emptive strategy of
going after terrorist and the regimes that support them before they attack, not waiting to be
Shortly, after 9/11 attack, the Patriot Act, came into existence, this act allowed to
detain 100 of people who were held without formal charges for an extended period of time, while
evidence was sought in connection to the September events. The patriot act also authorized new
forms of surveillance of the US citizens. Some laws were passed which allowed for the indefinite
detention of the foreign nationals on the basis of mere suspicion after the court ruled in 2004 that
these laws were breach of human rights they were replaced in 2005. Again in the short span of
time an identical law was introduced which replicates the regimes worst aspect Terrorism
Prevention and Investigation measures (TPIMs), which allow for indefinite house arrest and
other sweeping restrictions on individual freedoms on the basis of largely secret intelligence and
Former US president Jimmy Carter has criticized Americas actions against terrorism, saying
that drone attacks and targeted assassination of suspicious people are undermining Americas
role as the global champion of human rights.

Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including
American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nations violation of

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), countering terrorism, protecting
human rights, A Manual, (last updated February 7, 2014).
Andrius Lygutas, Human Rights In The Context Of Counter- Terrorism Measures: United States Of America, (last updated February 10, 2014)
Paul. R Viotti, American foreign policy and National security, Pearson prentice hall, 2005.
US anti-terrorism policy violates human rights Jimmy Carter,
(last updated on February 11,2014)

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human rights has extended, Carter writes. These violations of human rights began after the
terrorist attack of 9/11. Having been "sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and
legislative actions, Carter bemoaned a lack of dissent from the general public".
Instances of Atrocities
Guantanamo has hurt the United States far more than it has hurt its enemies. Its closure would
help restore the moral authority America needs to effectively fight terrorism and promote the
rule of law.

One of the Americas biggest examples of violating the human rights in the shed of combating
terrorism is Guantanamo Bay.
Seven days after the 9/11 attacks, the congress gave authorization
for the use of military force in response to the terror attacks. The war on terror also received
support from international sources. The UN Charter Article 51
gives permission for states to act
in self-defence in response to armed attacks. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

recognized the war on terror as being valid in accordance with the UN charter.

Guantanamo Bay is fundamentally a detention center for those who are suspected terrorists or in
other words we can also that for those who are considered as enemies of US. There is no key to
underline or to define or to justify the word suspected. These so called terrorists, very few or
none of them have actually been proven guilty and none of them, have been given a
trial. Furthermore, these so called POWs are not being processed according to the international
laws and various rules and convention for prisoners of war, because the US has not officially
declared war, they just turn over the epithet of the war on terror, yet it is not by international

Jennifer Daskal, Senior Counterterrorism Counsel at Human Rights Watch.
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp, also referred to as Guantnamo or Gitmo is a United States military
prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, established in January 2002. Guantnamo Bay was
designed to be a place to detain enemy combatants (mainly members of al Qaeda and the Taliban) that had been
captured during the war on terror.
Article 51 of UN Charter provides for the rights of countries to engage in self- defense, including collective
defense, against an armed attack.
NATO is an inter-governmental military alliance which constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its
member states agree to mutual defense in response to attack by external party.
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standards a war (it is not comparable to the world wars that we have had which were by
international standards a war) therefore the Geneva convention, which protects prisoners of war
no longer gives to these inmates, which is one of the passive violation of human rights.
according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 6 and 10, which respectively
state that Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law and that
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial
tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against
him. Thus, the American government is violating two of the most fundamental human rights. A
United Nations report recently stated that the prisoners were forced to endure cruel and
degrading treatment, even to the point of death like sexual assault, sleep deprivation, sensory
deprivation, solitary confinement, mock executions, and forced medication, use of dogs to scare
detainees, sensory bombardments (noise), watching others being tortured and many other
extreme psychological techniques.
The Taguba report
found the intentional abuse of detainees by; forcing groups of males to
masturbate, forcing male and female detainees into sexually explicit poses for photographing,
punching, slapping and kicking detainees, arranging naked male detainees in a pile, a male guard
raping a female detainee, writing I am a rapist on the leg of a detainee alleged to have raped a
15 year old fellow detainee then photographing him naked and positioning a naked detainee on
an MRE box with a sandbag on his head and attaching wires to his fingers, penis and toes to
simulate electric shock and taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.

All of the torture, both mental and physical, that occur at Guantanamo bay is a terrible
experience for any adult. Force feeding of Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strike constituted
cruel and inhumane treatment as some of them are forced fed through nasal tubes at some point
of protest. However, for children, this torture is magnified. Three children, aged between 13 and
15, have been in the past been detained at Guantanamo Bay for alleged involvement in terrorist
activities. Although these children were kept in different conditions than the rest of the prisoners

Taguba Report (May 2004) is the common name of an official Army Regulation 15-6 military inquiry conducted
in 2004 into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse by United States military forces in Iraq.
The justice campaign, torture techniques used in Guantanamo,, (last
updated on February 10, 2014).
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at the camp, they were still held in detention with no proper trial or access to a lawyer and with
no complete understanding of their situation. One example of this situation is young Canadian
Omar Khadr who was incarcerated in the prison at age 15 for supposedly killing an American
soldier in Iraq, however charges were never pressed and he has not yet appeared before a Judge,
he also claims to have been tortured during his stay. Guantanamo has come to symbolize the
years of systematic failure by the USA to respect human rights in its response to the 9/11 attacks.
The US government disregarded human rights from day one of the Guantanamo detentions.
The Obama administration indeed large parts of all three branches of the federal government
have adopted the global war framework devised under the Bush administration. The
administration asserted in January 2010 that four dozen of the Guantanamo detainees could
neither be prosecuted nor released, but should remain in indefinite military detention without
charge or criminal trial under the USAs unilateral interpretation of the law of war
. A Kuwaiti
detainee at Guantanamo Bay is mounting a novel legal challenge to win his release, arguing in a
federal lawsuit that he should be freed when U.S. combat troops pull out of Afghanistan because
international law stipulates that prisoners of war be returned home once a conflict is over.
Obama administration has blamed its failure to close the Guantanamo detention facility on
Congress, which has indeed failed to ensure US compliance with international human rights
principles in this context. Many international human rights groups and institution by seeing the
continuous encroachment of human rights and an infringement of ones personal morality have
called for the closing of Guantanamo Bay. Human rights are for humans lots of people have been
saying that, although Guantanamo Bay does violate human rights, the people who have been
detained do not deserve to have human rights. This is a fallacious, transparent and stupid line to
go through. You get human rights by being a part of the human race. Nothing one does can make
him lose his human rights, they are something a person is born with.
Apart from America, which has violated the human rights in the form of arbitrary and secret
detention of non-citizen, secret deportation hearings for people suspected of connection

Amnesty international, Guantanamo: A decade to damage to human rights,, (last updated on February
10, 2014).
Richards a. Serrano, Guantanamo detainees cities POW stipulation in bid of freedom, Los Angeles times, (last updated on February 10, 2014).
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terrorism, the authorization of military commissions to try non- citizen terrorists and the military
detention without charge or access to counsel of U.S citizens designated to enemy combat, there
are several other countries which have corrupted the human rights in the name of counter
terrorism. In the past 35 years Egyptian government has been under emergency rule because the
government routinely used its authority to arrest individual at will and detain them without any
trial for extended periods, refer civilians to military or exceptional state security courts, and
prohibits stores, demonstration and public meetings in the name of counter terrorism. Same way,
terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, various parts of Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of
the country have aggravated the situation and Indian parliament has enacted the law to fight the
menace of terrorism, which was popularly known as POTA, but this act had further resulted into
violations of human rights as a result various Indian and international human rights group,
journalists, opposition parties and minority rights group has condemned POTA and later on it got
repealed. In Georgia, human rights interview with attorney of two defendants from Al-Qaeda and
Chechen rebel fighters, the attorney claim that in implementing anti- terror measures in Georgia,
the government has committed grave human rights infringements. On April 28, 2002, for
example, three men of Arab origin disappeared after a uniform military detachment detained
them from their automobile, and snapped the driver.

An Effort by United Nations to Curb Terrorism
In September 2006 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism
. Since then, clear progress has been made in the inclusion of human rights into the
framework of United Nations action against terrorism. There is wide consensus that any
sustainable strategy for the effective combat of terrorism must include promotion and protection
of human rights as an essential element both as a pillar of its own and as an ingredient of all
other pillars, to use a metaphor. Perhaps the world has through bitter experience come to learn
that as methods insensitive to human rights considerations at best are ineffective and at worst

Dr. Abdul Aziz Ayub, Terrorism prevention and human rights violation, http://www.asian- (last updated on February 15, 2014).
Prof. Martin scheinin, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental
freedom while countering terrorism, Combating terrorism while protecting human rights,
535383 (last updated February 15, 2014)
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counterproductive in fighting terrorism, it is time to try whether respecting human rights gives
better results.
Since 1963, the international community has elaborated 14 universal legal instruments and four
amendments to prevent terrorist acts. Those instruments were developed under the auspices of
the United Nations and its specialized agencies and the international atomic energy agency and
are open to participation by all member states.
And the fourteen major legal instruments and
additional amendments dealing with terrorism. They are as follows Convention on offences and
certain other acts committed on board aircraft, 1963, Convention for the suppression of unlawful
seizure for aircraft, 1970, Protocol supplementary to the convention for the suppression of
unlawful seizure of the aircraft, 2010,Convention for the suppression of unlawful acts against the
safety of civil aviation, 1971, Convention on the protection and punishment of crimes against
internationally protected persons, 1973, International convention against the taking of hostages,
1979, Convention on the physical protection of nuclear material, 1980, Protocol for the
Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation,
supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of
Civil Aviation, 1988, Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of
Maritime Navigation, 1988, Protocol to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts
against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 2005, Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts
Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, 1988, Protocol to the
Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on
the Continental Shelf, 2005, Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of
Detection,1991, International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, 1997,
International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, 1999, International
Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, 2005, Convention on the
Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation 2010.
As part of its efforts to integrate human rights training into its technical assistance, the Terrorism
Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is currently
developing a module on Human Rights and Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism as part of
its Counter-Terrorism Legal Training Curriculum. This new tool will contribute to enhancing the

United Nations Measures to Counter Terrorism, (last updated February 15, 2014).
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ability of national law enforcement and criminal justice training institutions worldwide to
effectively deliver training on the human rights aspects of preventing and combating terrorism
It is deductible from all the instances which are discussed above that in fight against terrorism
human rights canons have been set aside repeatedly in favor of illegal arrests, renditions, torture
or inhuman treatment, discrimination and other human rights violations. Rights have been further
undermined by the populist attempt to portray human rights activist and critics of government
policies as terrorists sympathizers, the willingness of some decision makers to include diluted
human rights principles into policies to make the policies acceptable, and an effort to justify
some policies as human rights compliant when in fact they are not. When human rights have
been violated to combat terrorism, courts have tended to invalidate government actions and
overturn conviction. This provides ample evidence that a strategy will not be successful in the
long run if it does not comply with the human rights standards. So, the only fully successful
counter-terrorism strategy will be the one that recognizes and maintained through the promotion
and protection of human rights.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime, promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms while
countering terrorism,
terrorism.html ( last updated February 15, 2014)
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