Fighting terrorism must go hand-in-hand with promoting human rights – Annan

Fighting terrorism must go hand-in-hand with promoting human rights – Annan

The global fight against terrorism is intrinsically linked to international efforts to promote human rights, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message to a major European conference on combating the scourge.

The global fight against terrorism is intrinsically linked to international efforts to promote human rights, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message to a major European conference on combating the scourge.

“The fight against terrorism should not lead to the adoption of measures that are incompatible with human rights standards,” the Secretary-General stressed in the statement addressed to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) High-level Conference on Preventing and Combating Terrorism, which was held in Lisbon. “Such a development would hand a victory to those who so blatantly disregard human rights in their use of terror. Greater respect for human rights, accompanied by democracy and social justice, will in the long term prove effective measures against terror.”

In the message, which was delivered on his behalf on Wednesday by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Danilo Turk, Mr. Annan underscored the central role of the UN in fighting the menace, including through its 12 anti-terrorist treaties. “These conventions must be strictly observed and effectively implemented if terrorism is to be defeated,” he said.

He also pointed to the important work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, set up by Security Council resolution 1373, which covers measures to fight terrorists and those who aid, harbour or support them. “The international community should ensure that appropriate assistance will be made available to States in need of help in implementing resolution 1373,” the Secretary-General said.

At the same time, he cautioned that the current focus on counter-terrorism obscure the UN’s wider role. “Indeed, key areas of work of the Organization’s global mission, such as disarmament, controls over weapons of mass destruction, and crime prevention, are directly related to the fight against terrorism,” he said.