Threats to civil liberties, rights increasing: UN

October 9th, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Oct 9 (IANS) Stringent security measures following the Sep 11, 2001 terror attack in the US are increasingly threatening civil liberties, the UN rights agency has warned and called for effective interventions to guard against rights abuse, EUAsiaNews reported Thursday.”There is a great need for intervention by my office, human rights activists and the media to guard against the trampling of fundamental rights,” UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) chief Navanetham Pillay said Wednesday.

She called for “moderation” in anti-terrorism laws and said the broad definition of terrorism should be more focussed.

The UN official was speaking to reporters at the end of a conference here commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Pillay criticised the lengthy periods of detention of terror suspects, saying “they remind me of the terrible laws we had in apartheid South Africa which allowed a 90-day period of detention”.

“I am watching out for these kinds of incursions in human freedom that appear to now be prevalent post 9/11,” she stated.

Pillay served as a judge on the International Criminal Court at the Hague before her present appointment and had earlier served both as a judge and president on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

A South African national of Indian origin, Pillay was appointed as the world body’s human rights chief Sep 1.

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