US Trampling Human Rights to Prevent Terror Attacks

Agence France Presse, Arab News, 30 July 2003

BERLIN, 30 July 2003—The United States has been trampling human rights since Sept. 11, 2001, as it tries to prevent further attacks on its soil, a German rights watchdog said yesterday.

“A series of measures taken to combat terrorism are infringing on fundamental human rights”, particularly civil and political rights, said the German Institute for Human Rights, a body set up by Parliament, in a study.

The authors warned that the harsh steps taken by the police and the military could be counterproductive and actually boost support for terrorists.

Despite the impact of the Sept. 11 attacks, they said, no comprehensive effort had been made at either an international, European or German level to examine the structural reasons for the emergence and support of terrorism.

The institute also criticized what it called “parallel worlds without rights” like the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where hundreds of suspected members of Al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's former Taleban regime are being held.

It said the prisoners held in such places had neither “access to fair legal proceedings” nor “limits on the time they could be held without judicial review.”

The institute was founded in March 2001 on a recommendation of the Bundestag, or lower house of Parliament, to research the human rights situation in Germany and abroad and contribute to the fight against abuses.