Global threatening human rights
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U.N. official says global war on terrorism is threatening human rights
Tue Nov 5, 1:11 PM ET
UNITED NATIONS - The global campaign on terrorism which has allowed many governments to arm themselves with wide-reaching powers of arrest is eroding human rights and in some places becoming a threat to rights activists, a U.N. official said Tuesday.
"The exercise of state power is becoming more arbitrary and unilateral," said Hina Jilani, Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites)'s special representative on human rights defenders.
She made a presentation to the U.N. General Assembly on Monday outlining threats to rights activists and global trends to disregard civil rights by governments combatting terrorism.
"I understand the responsibility of states to guarantee security," Jilani said.
But countries including the United States, Britain and Australia have enacted laws that reduce legal protection for suspects, refugees and asylum seekers, she said, adding that in many nations, acts of protest and civil disobedience were being viewed as terrorism.
"The imperative of security will not be served by violating human rights," Jilani said.
Several top U.N. officials, including Annan, have repeatedly cautioned governments to be mindful of human rights in their fight against terrorism.