Reason as a cause
International human rights organization Amnesty International published its report on the development of anti-terrorism legislation in the EU countries in the last two or three years. In the Russian translation of the document entitled “Dangerous disparity: the Extension of security policies in Europe”. The new laws are directly linked to the wave of terrorist attacks in Europe: the first considered the report of the attacks is the attack on the editor of the weekly Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015 in Paris, last — hitting truck at a Christmas fair in Berlin, 19 December 2016. Strengthening counter-terrorism measures, according to Amnesty, often leads to human rights violations.
All analysts Amnesty divided the report into eight fields of lawmaking and enforcement. First, it is a state of emergency — according to the authors of the document, attempts by the authorities across the EU to simplify the application and renewal of state of emergency is “one of the most alarming processes” in this area. Further, it is a question of the “principle of legality” — that is, the problem of the definition of “terrorism” by the authorities in different countries, which in theory and in practice leads to violations of human rights.
Thirdly, the report deals with the intrusion of special services into private life, privacy. The fourth theme of the report is a violation of freedom of speech and expression, which is associated with the fight against extremism. Next come the violation of the right to freedom and the freedom of movement. Finally, the report describes the cases of deprivation of “extremists” citizenship and violations of the principle of non-refoulement (referring to extradition or repatriation without security being expelled).
“The EU governments are using measures to combat terrorism to strengthen the draconian powers, discriminate against certain groups and undermine human rights under the pretext of protecting them — leads the organization to the Director of Amnesty’s Europe John Dalhuisen. — There is a danger that we will build a society in which liberty is the exception and fear rule.”
The geography of anti-terror
Of the 28 countries of the EU Amnesty analysts considered the actions of 14 governments, which most clearly reflect the trend toward “securitization”, to strengthen the fight against terrorism and to increase the role of intelligence. “Not all EU countries mentioned in the report, but almost all of the 28 States have enacted laws and had the operation similar to that described in the document, the authors of the report. If some European country is not stated in the text, it is most likely because of the lack of objective information, not the factor that this country has opposed the General trend.”
Some States there are one or two chapters of the report, others — in almost all. The “freedom-loving” can be called Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg and Slovakia — they appear only in one of the parts of the report. For example, the weak point of Denmark is the “principle of legality”. In July 2016, the Committee on human rights, the UN expressed concern about the overly broad interpretation of the concept “terrorism” in the criminal code of Denmark.
Ireland then (in July 2016) was seen by experts from Amnesty to deportation back to Jordan a suspect in aiding and abetting ISIS (banned terrorist group). The government of Luxembourg after the attack in Paris in November 2015, asked the constitutional Commission to revise one of the articles of the basic law concerning the introduction of a state of emergency. Finally, Slovakia, according to Amnesty violated the right to liberty, to extend to January 2016, the maximum period of arrest to charge for terrorism suspects from two to four days.
No half measures
Other European countries take far more measures, which concern human rights defenders. Belgium and Poland are featured in five chapters of the report of the eight, France with seven heads (all except the last paragraph of the extradition), and the UK — in all eight parts of the document.
As noted in the conversation with the expert of the Center for security studies French Institute of international relations mark Ecker, France (which fell victim to the greatest number of attacks in recent years) anti-terrorism legislation beginning to tighten even before the attack on Charlie Hebdo in November 2014.
“For the past three years, the balance has shifted towards safety. However, on many levels, the system of checks and balances — emphasizes Ecker. — For example, the Ombudsman, the State Council as the highest court, as well as numerous human rights NGOs”. On the one hand, says Ecker, of French society as a whole approves the new measures, realizing how high the terrorist threat, criticism of the new measures can effectively adjust the course of government that can be traced on the example of the laws on deprivation of citizenship.
Indeed, in its report, Amnesty recalls how in January of 2016, President Francois Hollande has proposed to amend the Constitution, allowing to deprive of citizenship in cases when the person has another nationality, and the French were granted by right of birth. However, in March both houses of Parliament refused to support these plans, and Hollande reneged on the offer.
In contrast, in the UK from July 2014, according to the amendments to immigration legislation, the Minister can revoke the citizenship of, born abroad naturalized British citizen, even if it is his only passport and become a stateless person. Amnesty calls this step “the most radical decision in the territory of the EU.”
Overall, the report finds that European countries gradually waive those or other rights in favor of increased security. This often leads to the violation of the Europeans of their own constitutional freedoms achieved in the years after the Second world war and even earlier, warns Amnesty. In response, the organization calls on all countries of the European Union “reaffirm their commitment to law and practice to respect human rights while countering terrorism”.