Human rights investigator slams UN, EU blacklists

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Strasbours (France) Nov 12: Terrorist blacklists drawn up by the United Nations and the European Union violate basic human rights, a Swiss investigator working for Europe's leading human rights forum has said.

In a report released yesterday, Dick Marty said the suspects placed on the lists did not have the right to reply and found it virtually impossible to clear their names.

''The present system of blacklists flouts the fundamental principles which are the basis of human rights,'' Marty said in his report, which is due to be presented to the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe today.

The UN Security Council first established a list of al Qaeda and Taliban suspects in 1999. It contains the names of some 368 individuals and 124 entities.

The United Nations said its members must freeze the assets of and prevent the entry into their territories of anyone on the lists, and prevent the sale and transfer of arms to them.

The European Union has set up its own blacklist.

Marty said both organisations must respect ''minimal norms of procedure and juridical safeguards'' before imposing restrictions. These norms included giving suspects the right to appeal to an independent and impartial organisation and the right to compensation in the case of any miscarriage of justice.

He said the Council of Europe's 47 member states should make sure such guarantees were offered.

He highlighted the case of the People's Mujahideen of Iran, which forms part of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and is on an EU blacklist despite a European Court ruling in 2006 saying it should be removed from the list.

''Despite recent procedural improvements it remains almost impossible, in practice, to be removed from the blacklist -- a situation that is illegal and unacceptable,'' Marty wrote.

Marty has previously taken aim at CIA anti-terrorism operations, including the kidnapping and secret transfers of detainees, accusing European governments of building a ''wall of silence'' around their complicity with US secret services.


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