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Fighting terror must not encroach on human rights, Robinson tells UN rights body

Fighting terror must not encroach on human rights, Robinson tells UN rights body

The suggestion that the need to fight terrorism makes respect for human rights impossible is “fundamentally flawed,” United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson said today, as she introduced her annual report to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

“The only long-term guarantor of security is through respect for human rights and humanitarian law,” the High Commissioner stressed as she presented her report, which focused on the relationship between human rights, human security and terrorism.

She called for efforts to address the underlying conditions that led individuals and groups to violence. “There is no doubt that the absence of the rule of law and democracy, suppression of expression, disrespect of the rights of ethnic and minority groups in addition to claims of domination, discrimination and denigration are among those underlying conditions,” she said.

On Monday, Ms. Robinson announced in her opening address to the Commission’s 58th session that this would be her final report as the UN’s top human rights official, as she will step down from her post in September.

The 53-member Commission is the UN’s principal human rights organ. At the current session, which opened on 18 March and will conclude on 26 April, representatives of States are scheduled to discuss key human rights issues, including racism, the rights of minorities and migrant workers, and the rights of women and violence against them, and hear reports on the human rights situation in certain countries from its Special Rapporteurs.