European Parliament DG for External Policies paper: Current challenges regarding respect of the human rights in the fight against terrorism


Three years after the European Parliament’s Resolution on the transfer and illegal detention of prisoners, this briefing paper assesses progress on the key external policy issues raised and recommendations made by the 2007 Resolution. The author acknowledges that human rights standards have become more seriously integrated both into UN and EU work on counter-terrorism, although there remains a need for further standard-setting on issues including accountability of intelligence services. The system of terrorist lists, despite recent reforms, also continues to pose serious problems of human rights protection. In the past year, the United States has taken significant steps towards compliance with international law and has in principle accepted international human rights and humanitarian law as the appropriate framework for counter-terrorism.

However, much of the legacy of the past eight years’ counter-terrorism practices remains in place, including the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. Investigations in EU Member States into allegations of complicity in renditions and secret detentions have been hampered in particular by claims of state secrecy and there has been little progress concerning providing reparations to the victims of rendition, or bringing to justice responsible officials, in either Europe or the United States. Regarding the recent impetus for EU-US co-operation, it is essential that co-operative counter-terrorism measures uphold EU standards of human rights and the rule of law.


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