Defending theHuman Rightto a Fair Trial
December 11, 2017
Last week in Vienna, the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) – which brings together non-governmental organisations in Europe, Eurasia and the US – issued the Vienna Declaration on Preventing Security Measures from Eclipsing Human Rights.
The Declaration built on a meeting coordinated by Fair Trials (supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs) bringing together NGOs from across the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), officials from the OSCE and representatives of OSCE countries. The aim of the meeting was to better understand the human rights impact of the OSCE’s work on counter-terrorism and anti-extremism. The meeting resulted in civil society recommendations to help the OSCE improve the compatibility of its work in this area with human rights standards.
Terrorism poses a major threat to peace, security and stability, but human rights are the core of the answer to terrorism; not an obstacle. Governments across the OSCE region and beyond have prioritised security-related measures in their political agendas. However, counter-terrorism and anti-extremism policies that do not comply with human rights standards can be ineffective and even counter-productive. Without proper safeguards, they can leave room for political abuse.
Speaking at the launch of the 2017 OSCE Parallel Civil Society Conference in Vienna, Jago Russell, Chief Executive at Fair Trials, said “Terrorism is a crime. As such, the best response is a public and fair criminal justice system, grounded on rule of law principles and human rights standards”.
Fair Trials is delighted to co-ordinate a new civil society Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, Anti-Extremism and Human Rights (a part of the CSP), together with the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia). The founding members of the Group currently include the Albanian Helsinki Committee, Article 19, DRA, Human Rights First, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, and the Serbian Helsinki Committee. The Group will:
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