(Vatican Radio) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has warned that the world may be at a turning point in the fight against those who terrorise the innocent.
Listen to Peter Kenney’s report from Geneva:
In a speech to the 47-member UN Human Rights Council, the commissioner urged States not “to lose their grasp” of the human rights principles underlying their societies in their struggle against violent extremism.
The UN Human Rights chief said:
“There is real danger that in their reaction to extremist violence, opinion-leaders and decision-makers will lose their grasp of the deeper principles that underpin the system for global security which States built 70 years ago to ward off the horror of war.
“The fight against terror is a struggle to uphold the values of democracy and human rights – not undermine them. Counter-terrorist operations that are non-specific, disproportionate, brutal and inadequately supervised violate the very norms that we seek to defend.”
Zeid said extremist groups such as that calling itself the Islamic State reach into not just Iraq and Syria, but also into Nigeria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and beyond.
The High Commissioner also said he is deeply concerned at measures that restrict freedom of expression in numerous countries. He cited Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Hungary, Myanmar, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.
Zeid said brutal counter reactions also risk handing the terrorists a propaganda tool – thus making societies neither free nor safe.