Fundamental freedoms on Trial: The Human Rights Impact of Overly Broad Counter-Terrorism and Anti-Extremism Legislation
This week the CSP Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, Anti-Extremism and Human Rights presented the report “Fundamental freedoms on Trial: The Human Rights Impact of Overly Broad Counter-Terrorism and Anti-Extremism Legislation” during the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw.
Introducing the report, Fair Trials, one of the coordinating organisations of the group stated:
Terrorism and violent extremism continue pose a serious threat to democracy and human rights in the OSCE region. Over the last two decades, states have had to adapt to the increasingly global nature of terrorism, as well as the challenges presented by the need to tackle terrorism in the online sphere. However, the speed and lack of human rights oversight with which counter-terrorism and anti-extremism legislation has been introduced has had a detrimental effect on human rights across the OSCE region.
In its 2018 report, Cross-border criminal justice and security: Human rights concerns in the OSCE region, the Civic Solidarity Platform’s Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, Anti-Extremism and Human Rights identified the proliferation of overly broad counter-terrorism and anti-extremism legislation as one of the key challenges posed to human rights by regional security cooperation in the OSCE.
This paper identifies key gaps in international, regional and national laws in the OSCE region, which allow for the misapplication of counter-terrorism and anti-extremism legislation in violation of international human rights law. It highlights a few key examples to demonstrate the breadth of the challenge and the importance of keeping human rights at the forefront of discussions on countering the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.
The Counter Terrorism Working Group is co-ordinated by Fair Trials and the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis. It was officially launched in January 2018 following a roundtable organised by Fair Trials in November 2017 in Vienna (supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs). This event informed the Vienna Declaration on Preventing Security Measures from Eclipsing Human Rights, adopted at the OSCE Parallel Civil Society Conference in December 2017.