Counterterrorism measures should not restrict rights, freedoms: Activist

, Jakarta | February 09 2016 | 1:25 PM

Deadly attack: Workers clean the sidewalk in front of a Starbucks café on Jl. MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, where an attack occurred on Jan. 14. Rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday criticized proposed amendments to Law No. 15/2003 on the eradication of terrorism, which it said were unnecessarily broad and vague and could unjustifiably restrict freedom of expression. (thejakartapost.com/Wienda Parwitasari)
Deadly attack: Workers clean the sidewalk in front of a Starbucks café on Jl. MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, where an attack occurred on Jan. 14. Rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday criticized proposed amendments to Law No. 15/2003 on the eradication of terrorism, which it said were unnecessarily broad and vague and could unjustifiably restrict freedom of expression. (thejakartapost.com/Wienda Parwitasari)
Human Rights Watch (HRW) deputy Asia director Phelim Kine said on Tuesday that Indonesia’s measures to protect its citizens from terror attacks should not affect their rights and freedoms.
He referred to the draft revision of Law No. 15/2003 on the eradication of terrorism, which is currently under deliberation, in which one of the proposed amendments includes the stripping of the citizenship of Indonesian people suspected of traveling abroad to fight for the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
The law revision is part of the government’s response to an attack near the Sarinah department store in Central Jakarta on Jan.14. The incident claimed the lives of eight people, including four attackers allegedly linked to IS.
“The government response to the Jan. 14 terror attacks in Jakarta should not include overbroad laws that will unjustifiably restrict the rights and freedoms that Indonesians have fought so hard to achieve,” Kine said on Tuesday. “Counterterrorism laws that stifle free speech and peaceful protest won’t uproot terrorism – they’ll help it grow,” he went on.
HRW cited Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to a nationality and that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Indonesia has ratified, states: “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”
In 1999, the Human Rights Committee, the authoritative UN body for interpreting the ICCPR, stated that “the scope of ‘his own country’ is broader than the concept of ‘country of his nationality’,” and that it would apply to people who had been stripped of their nationality in violation of international law.
The UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism stated in a 2009 report: “The definitions of terrorist crimes should be confined exclusively to activities that entail or are directly related to the use of deadly or serious violence against civilians […] The proscription of terrorist organizations, including the application of criminal responsibility of its members, must be made on the basis of factual evidence of activities that are of a genuine terrorist nature as well as of the actual involvement of the individuals concerned.”
In 2006, the UN General Assembly emphasized respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as part of a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and recognized that “development, peace and security, and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.” As part of that process, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in 2009 released Model Legislative Provisions against Terrorism, based on contributions from agencies across the UN system.
HRW said states had a responsibility to protect their populations from terrorist attacks, but they needed to act in accordance with their international legal obligations.
“However, dozens of countries have enacted counterterrorism laws and policies in recent years that imperil human rights,” the group found in its research. (ebf)

Source http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/09/counterterrorism-measures-should-not-restrict-rights-freedoms-activist.html

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