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Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal opens international conference on human rights and countering terrorism

11-03-2012 10:33:00

Countering terrorism while at the same time respecting human rights is what distinguishes us from the very groups and people who commit terrorist atrocities, says Minister Søvndal

Photo: European Parliament
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Villy Søvndal

Tomorrow, Monday 12 March in Copenhagen, Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal opens an international conference on counter-terrorism and human rights.

The purpose of the conference is to provide an opportunity for officials from the European Union, its Member States, the United Nations as well as relevant civil society organisations such as Amnesty International to identify common solutions that ensure effective counter-terrorism work while at the same time respecting human rights and the rule of law.

The aim of the conference is to develop concrete guidelines for practitioners in key areas, and the conference will have a practical focus based on a guidance paper with concrete recommendations drafted by the Danish Institute for Human Rights. The results of the conference will be provided as input by the EU in the upcoming review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal states:

“On 11 March, the European Union marks the Day of Remembrance of all victims of terrorist attacks. It is today we commemorate the victims and reflect on how we can prevent such suffering in the future. We can only succeed in this by upholding our fundamental rights and freedoms. Terrorism is unacceptable, but must be tackled by due process and a fair and just criminal prosecution system. We must set the bar high. Promoting human rights is one of our most effective means to counter terrorism. For a State to effectively govern it relies upon the trust of its people. If trust breaks down the State cannot govern.

Countering terrorism while at the same time respecting human rights is what distinguishes us from the very groups and people who commit terrorist atrocities. If we do not remember this, we will undermine the very legitimacy of our own fight and thereby also its efficiency. The United Nations and the European Union both have mutually reinforcing, complementary Counter-Terrorism Strategies, that both emphasise the need without exception to combat terrorism globally while respecting human rights. Tomorrow’s conference will discuss and develop concrete examples on how to implement this approach in practice".

Spokesperson: Jean Ellermann-Kingombe, tel. +45 2526 7606

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