Civil Liberties in General Has Increased During Essay

  • Length: 6 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Terrorism
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #19535993

Excerpt from Essay :

civil liberties in general has increased during the last years in the UK and the U.S. IN particular, in concerns related to matters of National Security, the UK as well as the rest of the democratic world will have to place a heavy load on this chapter. The extradition of terror suspects to other countries "where there are verifiable guarantees that they will not be tortured." Ever since democratic governments have been under the suspicion of having used ill-treatments in their offensive against terrorism it has become the duty of every self-respecting party or political coalition to have a chapter dedicated to it in its government program. The Coalition's "programme for government" specifically states that "We will seek to extend these guarantees to more countries." In their efforts to guard National Security, democracies are striving to steer free of becoming terror generators themselves. A third party involved and often misused had also become vital in continuing to sustain concerns related to guaranteeing civil liberties to all. In the case of deportation, it is especially important to keep in mind that "effective counter-terrorism measures and the promotion of human rights are not conflicting goals"(United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (General Assembly resolution 60/288, annex)).

The international law provides a series of treaties as well as international laws that bind all the countries to their provisions, rules and regulations. Starting with the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Article 3, "cruel treatment and torture" of anyone who is held in custody under any suspicion, holds states and their governments accountable for having performed an incomplete or superficial verification of the guarantees offered by a third party state on matters related to torture or ill-treatment applied to detainees. In 2005, the Human Rights Watch was expressing its concerns related to the extradition of detainees, suspects of terror acts, to others countries based solely on their "diplomatic assurances" of the lack of using any form of torture or ill-treatment. As a result, diplomacy alone cannot offer guarantees that a certain state will refrain from using torture or ill treatment to a certain person. There are numerous international laws and conventions that clearly state deny the use of torture, as defined under "article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture)"; "under the convention, it is expressly prohibited to transfer a person to a country where he or she would be at risk of torture. The ban thus maintains logical consistency: states cannot torture and cannot circumvent this obligation by sending people to governments that will" (Human Rights Watch, 2005)

Therefore, in cases of extradition of terrorism suspects to third party states, it is crucial that the verifiable guarantees be outside the usual diplomatic channels, even in cases where a post-return monitoring should be working as a result of conventions between the two states. Post-return ("refouler"), extradition or expulsion of a person is highly questionable as a verifiable guarantee of non-use of torture or ill treatment because it usually lacks "the ability of the monitors to visit and have unhindered access to a detainee at any time, without having to provide advance notice" among other provisions that would insure that the actual monitoring is of what is really happening and not of what the authorities might present as staged "reality"(Human Rights Watch, 2005).

The declared extension of "verifiable guarantees" to more countries means that there will be a legal way to fully enforce a suspect's treatment according to the internationals laws and conventions as well as to the domestic ones. In order to present verifiable guarantees a state that is a possible receiver of a terrorism suspects should have domestic criminal laws that specifically prohibit the use of torture or ill treatment of its citizens under any circumstances. Moreover, that state should be party to an international convention regarding the protection and guarantee of human rights and civil liberties. As pointed above, according to international standards, in order to become a reliable source of verifiable guarantees, a third party state should provide the partner states with unlimited and unhindered private access to the detainees in question as well as with permission for properly trained medical personnel to examine the person they have in custody (United Nations, 2004).

The Coalition's government program has merely restated what is already stipulated in CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Art. 3. Examples like the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) the UK signed in 2005 with Libya, Jordan and Lebanon does not according to Rebekah Braswell provide the necessary verifiable guarantees that the respective parties involved shall refrain from inhuman or ill treatment or torture. Being characterized as non-binding and lacking to offer the legal frame necessary to control and make the parties involved legally responsible, bilateral agreements like the MOU are far from offering a satisfactory solution (Braswell, 2006). In the case of the Coalition's declared intentions to extend the verifiable guarantees to more countries, they should be further detailed and described in a believable and legally satisfactory manner.

The asylum system that was working after the Cold War in the European Union took a different turn in the aftermath of 9/11. National security became the focus and the asylum system suddenly became the potential for terrorists to infiltrate a country. After 9/11, the UK adopted legislation that would provide more support for National Security. Its goals were: securitizing migration and create the premises to deal with terrorism suspects in exceptional circumstances, by allowing indefinite detention (Braswell, 2006).

In order for a party state to become a verifiable guarantee provider in the counter-terrorism cooperation, its security policies must stand under the legal frame of binding conditions. In 2004, Eric Goldstein was considering the case study of Morocco as a potential country that could advance from the position of a country highly under suspicion of using torture and ill treatment to one that could promise a possible counter-terrorism partner conditions in respect of human rights international laws for a detainee or a detainee's family. "The government in 1993 ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Making Morocco a party to all the major international human rights treaties" (Goldstein, 2004). In the department of civil liberties and human rights, Morocco still is working on recovering its credibility both internally and internationally, but it had taken the necessary steps on creating and supporting independent institutions such as the Advisory Council for Human Rights destined to watch that the abuses of the past are redeemed and stay in the past.

The counterterrorism partnership between the U.S. And the E.U., especially the reinforced one after 9/11 as well as the cooperation between the U.S. And the UK in this filed, in particular, poses additional challenges to this commitment of the Coalition in its "government programme."

The accusations of abuses regarding private data and information for the sake of national security as, even more importantly, the accusations of having used ill treatment and even torture with detainees suspects of terrorism acts, Guantanamo detention facility and the stories of abuses on detainees from here, secret CIA detention facilities in European countries like Lithuania, Poland and Romania, contribute to a confused vision of the Geneva Conventions as well as all the rest of the international and laws and conventions or the domestic laws regarding human rights and the right to be treated humanly with no exceptions under any conditions.

There is no doubt that terrorism means in disregard of any human rights and terrorists use force and violence to cause harm. On the other hand, fighting against them with similar tactics has proven so far, at least from what is publicly known, equally bad. In the twenty-first century, innocent lives cannot be paid for with other's lives or human dignity, even if those who die or suffer are condemned as terrorists in a court of law.

William F. Schulz is talking of a cycle of violence that has been proven so far of never breaking under such resorts. The Coalition's commitment to encourage the extension of the number of countries that could provide verifiable guarantees that there are no acts of torture or violations of human rights and civil liberties on their territories for the UK and its partners to cooperate with on the way to counter terrorism sounds very encouraging, but it lacks the necessary detailing. What are verifiable guarantees and how does the coalition envision obtaining them remains to be seen.

When assessing a country for its degree of permeability of torture or ill treatment acts, the aim is to get "detailed and unbiased information from the ground." This is the time the age of technology steps in and bring forward the voices and faces of those who would be otherwise very difficult to be seen or heard (Baker, 2015).…

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