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Homeland Security


Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

26 October 2005

(Issued on 27 October 2005)

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism was a comprehensive one aimed at proactively finding best practices while offering technical assistance and advisory services, Special Rapporteur Martin Sheinin said at a Headquarters press conference today.

Briefing correspondents after presenting his first report to the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), Mr. Sheinin said that the technical assistance and advisory services could include assessing draft legislation and appearing before parliamentary bodies. “My approach is not primarily confrontational, but more trying to liaise with Governments and assisting them in finding ways to deal with terrorism without sacrificing human rights.”

He said that since he had only been appointed in August, his exchanges with Governments were still in the preliminary stages. “So far the exercise of the mandate has been mostly about setting the scene, building the methodology, and contacting Governments with preliminary questions concerning their counter-terror legislation.”

Mr. Sheinin said he was not trying to duplicate the work of existing treaty bodies, which had done a lot of work in that area, but rather to coordinate with them and fill in the gaps. His current report to the Assembly, for example, discussed the impact of counter-terrorism measures on economic and social rights not covered by existing mandates.

He said that on Monday he had met with the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, which had begun incorporating human rights aspects into its mandate. That meant there was a need to coordinate that Committee’s actions with what was happening elsewhere in the human rights field. For example, human rights treaty bodies only dealt with 15 to 30 country reports a year, and were therefore unable to deal sufficiently with counter-terrorism measures. The Counter-Terrorism Committee, on the other hand, received frequent reports from nearly every Member State, so it would be natural for its work to include some sort of human rights dimension. If the Committee needed additional advice, it could rely on external expertise, including his own.

Asked which countries he might visit first, Mr. Sheinin said he was currently in exchanges with 10 countries. Since his mandate was so new, it was easier to start with countries that had agreed to the visits.

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For information media • not an official record

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