Ban calls on Member States to uphold human rights while fighting terrorism

9 October 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has underscored that nations are duty-bound to protect human rights while countering terrorism, in a new report made public today.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has underscored that nations are duty-bound to protect human rights while countering terrorism, in a new report made public today.

“Member States are bound to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis in the fight against terrorism,” Mr. Ban wrote in a report on the implementation of a General Assembly resolution adopted last December.

In that resolution, the 192-member body confirmed that nations must guarantee that any steps taken to fight terrorism conforms with their obligations, specifically regarding international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.

The Secretary-General’s report notes that “Member States should reaffirm their commitment to the total prohibition of torture by prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in international law.”

It also calls for people responsible for torture and ill-treatment to be prosecuted and for barring the use of statement extracted under torture, whether interrogations take place at home or abroad.

Mr. Ban also appealed for access for monitors to all prisoners in detention, as well as well as the closure of places of secret detention.

“Further, Member States should abide by the principle of non-refoulement and refrain from returning persons to countries where they may face torture,” he writes.

The publication points out that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, human rights treaty bodies and Special Rapporteurs have all voiced concern over extrajudicial killings and summary executions; the alleged use of secret detention centres; and irregular transfers of people suspected of participating in terrorist activities.

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