Background Briefing

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Human Rights Watch has made the following recommendations to the new CTED Executive Director for steps to address the concerns identified above:

  • Specialized personnel with expertise in human rights should be recruited to the CTED staff to review states’ reports to the CTC from the perspective of their fulfillment of obligations under Resolution 1456, including by reference to the scrutiny of and comment on those states by U.N. and regional human rights mechanisms, and to the reporting of human rights non-governmental organizations.
  • Any human rights issues of concern identified in this ongoing review process should be incorporated as matters of further inquiry in CTC requests to states for supplementary reports.  There should also be closer attention to ensuring the timeliness of states’ supplementary reporting.
  • States should be required to report to the CTC not just on the fulfillment of their obligations under Resolution 1373, but also on the steps taken to ensure that this is consistent with the requirements of Resolution 1456.
  • There should be an enhanced requirement that states provide details of the practical application of the legislation and executive machinery covered by Resolution 1373.
  • The substantive communications from the CTC to states about the matters on which they are required to provide supplementary information should be made public.
  • The CTED should be scrupulous in ensuring that CTC comments on state reports cannot be construed as requiring or proposing courses of action that are detrimental to the safeguarding of international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
  • The CTED should ensure that the CTC Directory of Counter-Terrorism Information and Sources of Assistance is appropriately vetted for compliance with Resolution 1456.

Key to the implementation of these recommendations, in our view, is the creation of at least one senior staff position in the CTED, filled by a human rights expert, preferably heading a team of two or three, with the responsibility to review counter-terrorism measures for their compliance with states’ rights obligations, to ensure more effective “cross-referencing” between the CTC and U.N. human rights bodies and other independent rights monitors, and to offer forward-looking proposals for making rights an important tool in the counter-terrorism effort.

The job description for this human rights position should include reviewing how U.N. mechanisms and others are reporting on compliance by states’ with their human rights commitments, and evaluating member state reports to the CTC with particular focus on areas where counter-terrorism measures and human rights inevitably overlap, such as the conduct of law enforcement, detentions, prosecutions, denial of refugee status, and refoulement.  To this end the new human rights staffer should also be mandated to take full account of “shadow” reporting—commentary by non-governmental organizations on states’ compliance with Resolutions 1373 and 1456.  Most importantly, the senior staffer should shape the questions to be put to governments about practical aspects of their implementation of Resolution 1373 obligations, specifically how human rights commitments are taken into account and safeguarded.

<<previous  |  indexAugust 10, 2004