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Homeland Security

Human rights concerns persist in new anti-terrorism sanctions regime - UN expert

29 June 2011 – An independent United Nations human rights expert today said that the new procedure adopted by the Security Council on the listing of individuals and organizations under the international sanctions regime against terrorism still fails to address the human rights shortcomings in the process.

The Council, in two resolutions adopted on 17 June, split the sanctions it has imposed on Al-Qaida and those against the Taliban, creating two lists of individuals and organizations so that they can be treated separately.

Sanctions originally created for the Taliban were converted into a global Al Qaida terrorist listing regime, while the Taliban will be covered by resolution 1988 which is based on a territorial limitation and the identification of the situation in Afghanistan as constituting a threat to international peace and security.

In a statement issued in Geneva, Martin Scheinin, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said “the Al Qaida sanctions regime under resolution 1989 does not, judged by the letter of the resolution, remedy the human rights shortcomings expressed in relation to the earlier consolidated list.”

Judicial challenges to the listings are likely to continue, he said.

“Due to the unsatisfactory level of due process guarantees such as disclosure of information and a right to an effective remedy, the strengthened role of the ombudsperson is unlikely to satisfy national or European courts that the safeguards at the United Nations level are sufficient, so that these courts could allow deference instead of exercising their jurisdiction over the national or European measures for the implementation of the sanctions,” said Mr. Scheinin.

However, he added that his assessment may change if Security Council members are prepared to secure the following conditions:

  • Any listing proposal require the submission of the full set of information that is used as the substantive basis for the listing proposal;
  • The person or entity subjected to the listing proposal has the right and practical means to effectively challenge the proposal;
  • The delisting ombudsperson has access to the full set of information used for the listing;
  • The delisting recommendations by the ombudsperson or delisting proposals by the designating State are in practice respected.

“If these conditions are met in the implementation… the Special Rapporteur finds it likely that national or European courts will require listed individuals or entities to exhaust the delisting procedure of the ombudsperson before exercising their jurisdiction in relation to the national or European implementing measures,” said Mr. Scheinin.

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