Understand terrorism to uproot it: British expert

October 11th, 2008 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) India needs to better understand the factors leading to terrorism in order to uproot it, says Baroness Vivien Stern, president of NGO Penal Reform International.”Very good intelligence, very good police, better awareness of international operations and most important, better understanding of what drives terrorism is what India needs in order to counter terrorism,” Stern told reporters Saturday at a workshop on detention organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to mark its 15th anniversary.

Penal Reform International (PRI) is an international NGO working on penal and criminal justice reform worldwide. Stern was the chief guest at the two-day workshop that concludes Sunday.

According to her, terrorism can’t be defeated by “abandoning the rule of law”.

“A person is innocent until proved guilty. Once a person is detained, it is the state’s responsibility to take care of him, which includes healthcare and respecting rights such as access to his lawyer and contact with his family.

“In this regard therefore, inspection of prisons by rights bodies like the NHRC and state human rights commissions is necessary to uphold human rights,” she added.

Stern, who is in India for only two days, said that she could not stay in India longer because of an important debate scheduled in the House of Lords.

“On Monday there will be a debate on a proposal that under certain circumstances, the police should be able to detain people for 42 days, on the basis of suspicion, before charging them with any offence.

“So far, the maximum time period to hold a person is 28 days and that too is being done rarely, so why the need to increase the period to 42 days? In all possibility, the debate will tilt against the proposal,” she said.

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