There is an increased case of terrorist activities in the world in the past decades. The results of such attacks have been tremendous as the case in America 2001, and Kenya 1998 both of which targeted American citizens. Due to this, there is an increase in the war against terror in the world. There are laws in different countries aimed at deterring the occurrence of the terrorist activities, but this does not seem to work. It thus led to strict actions that have been criticized strongly by human rights bodies as amnesty international, human rights watch, among others. This paper presents the reasons that have led to a perceived increase in the violation of human rights, and the methods used. It also presents a counter argument as to why the use of extreme force or torture is the only solution to deter terrorist activities in the world.
War on terror is criticized by many human rights protection bodies for as long as it has existed. There are various issues raised including morals, efficiency, economy, ethics, and the procedures used in the war against terrorism. The war against terrorism is used by many countries to reduce significantly the civil liberties, and general infringement of human rights (Singel, Ryan, March 13, 2008). Some have opined that the war on terror has since diverted form the core reason, to fight terrorist. According to Galister, Dan (n.d), the war against terrorism has increased it instead of reducing. The reason behind this is the violation of the human rights that are presumed inherent to the individual and independent state, and consequently motivating the terrorist to revenge.
The then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 17 June 2004, SG/ SM/9372, in a report published in the human rights.is, by quoting the 2009, international commission of Jurist who had published the ‘ Assessing Damage, Urging Action’, highlighted specific human rights violations to individuals all over the world. They included the following. There are case of abduction and holding individuals in secret prisons where the suspected terrorist were tortured and ill-treated. It does not require any further explanation simply because holding a suspect and torturing him/her in a secret prison is a direct violation of human rights. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty. The suspects were also held for long periods without any access to lawyers as human rights demand.
Suspected individuals are tried in military courts that lack the basic frameworks that guarantee fair hearing. The military courts do not have the independence and impartiality that is required to bring one into a fair hearing. Cases of deportation, detention, and other administrative measures affecting the suspects in an adverse way are ordered using secret intelligence without disclosure to the suspect the reasons for such actions. Every person in any country has a right to fair treatment even when suspected or convicted of a crime.
There are broad legislation against terrorism that reduces the freedom of speech, opinion, movement, and assembly. Such laws restrict individuals and other perceived terrorist groups from making open remarks or their opinion. The people are also not free to associate or gather as the others. In some situations s in Iraq and Iran, the legislation may be universal to all the country members and may be enforced against the will of the people. Due to these, the legislation lack the basic safeguards such as due process and adequate oversight mechanism. For, example, the USA PATRIOT ACT that was introduced by the president of United States shortly after the 11, September, 2001 attack expanded the US law enforcement creating a culture of fear among the citizens.
The secretly held suspects were held in dehumanizing environments that do not meet the international humanitarian law and the constitutional mandates. The secrecy involved in the war against terrorism amounts to impunity for wrong acts, and this leads to suspects having no avenues for redress. The overall scenario is absolute violations of basic human right of the suspects (Allhoff, Fritz, 2003).
The United States in particular is criticized for using torture by proxy. Torture by proxy involves sending suspects to countries known to use extreme torture to interrogate the suspects (Background paper on CIA). The torture by proxy employed is against the laws of America and the international laws on human rights. For example, there are several claims of the Abu Ghraib that shows extreme torture to captives (Brant Oglevie, 2012.). The suspects were held in isolation, deprived of sleep, forced to be naked, sexually humiliated, culturally tortured, sensory deprived, sensory bombardment, subjected to extreme cold, and other simulation experiences of drowning as water boarding (Reisner, Sold, and Olson, 2007). These activities violate the right of the suspects.
The above claim raises the big question on whether there are existing proper legations that can handle the delicate nature of terrorism in the world. In is a fact that terrorism is against all the existing laws both internationally and locally. Practically, there is no any one single country that supports terrorism in its laws. It is interesting to find that, most of the countries from which most world renown terrorist originate from having the stiffest laws against violation of the laws. Some call for the death by hanging or stoning. It is the contradiction in their laws that, in case, such atrocities are done to foreigners, then their laws cannot be applied. Such a case presents a presumed support of terrorism.
The Geneva Conventions presents laws that only apply to prisoners of war, but not to terrorist and spies. The situation presents the countries to use their own laws determine when torture is applied. It is on this basis that Guantanamo Bay allows for torture of its prisoners.
The ticking bomb theory describes that; the scenarios that are associated with terrorist may not allow for a long time slow prosecution without a quick action (Hill, Daniel, 2007). For example, if a terrorist plant a bomb at a public place, and is being held and interrogated by the police, there is no logic to follow all the procedures of the law and the human rights before the suspects discloses the location of the bomb in the face of the urgency of the matter. Under such urgency, logic dictates all means possible should be used for the detained person to disclose the whereabouts of the bomb, and consequently save the people and property.
The general principle of presuming one guilty until proven otherwise is used to ensure that innocent people do not suffer for wrongful arrest. Ever since the emergence of technology, the whole world has cameras in almost every habited region. The technology has reduced significantly the chances of arresting the wrong person. It is, therefore, right to attempt in all way to retrieve information from a suspect especially if there is strong evidence that the person lie.
There has been an increased occurrence of terrorist activities in the recent past. The terrorist view themselves as been above the law. They thus do not have any incentive to co-operate under normal circumstances. Some have been religiously indoctrinated therefore; do not have any fear or reason to follow the laws other than their religious beliefs. To deter such a situation, extreme measures must be taken so that other terrorists are discouraged from the terrorist activities. The application of the human rights laws as articulated in international laws and other laws in various countries encourages the terrorist by giving than lenient and alternatives that may make their cases low profile ones.
Is one person justified to terrify others, and even cause harm or death? Utilitarian argument proposes that, the suffering one person is justifiable if it leads to saving of the majority. The torture is of greater good. On the same note, if one intends to hurt others, what human right would such a person deserve? The situation is worsened by the fact that in many a times unless extreme interrogation procedures are utilized, other methods to retrieve information from the suspects do not work and hence, the need to use torture.
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