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3 October 2006

The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin, issued the following statement today:

“I would like to take this opportunity, while the Human Rights Council continues its important work this week in Geneva, to thank the many States and non-governmental organizations who participated in the interactive dialogue during my presentation to the Council on 25 September and I am encouraged that greater cooperation will continue among all pertinent actors in the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.”

In an effort to facilitate future collaboration the Special Rapporteur held consultations last week, as he has done on previous occasions, with a number of States with whom he is seeking an invitation to conduct a country visit. To date, the Governments of Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia and the United States of America have yet to provide an official response to a country visit request. Five of seven of these States are members of the Human Rights Council and some of them are currently introducing new legislation while others are planning to amend or introduce new laws in the near future. The Special Rapporteur believes that these States, as members or participants of the Council, can play a proactive role in supporting the work of Special Rapporteurs and other independent experts. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the support expressed by many of the Governments in question and he hopes an official invitation will soon follow.

“I believe States can combat terrorism while respecting international human rights law. In fact, this is the only effective approach. To fall short of internationally recognized standards opens States up to being controlled by terror rather than by the rule of law. My mandate promotes and encourages constructive dialogue and co-operation with States, including the identification of best practices, as a means to implementing counter terrorism measures and policies while also promoting and protecting human rights. I encourage States to use this United Nations mechanism.”