Restrictions of Liberties
According to Amnesty International, democracies are restricting areas of freedom and personal rights under the guise of security and the fight against extremist movements.
Amnesty International published its annual report 2002 on May 28 that examines the year 2001. In this report pessimistic conclusions are drawn about the aftermath of September 11:
In the name of the 'war on terrorism', many states have restricted civil liberties. According to Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, 'governments, shaken by their vulnerability to unexpected violent attacks, responded with a wide range of legislative and other measures. Many rushed through laws formulating new crimes, banning organizations and freezing their assets, curbing civil liberties and reducing the safeguards against human rights violations.' Khan continues: 'The doctrine of national security has been used frequently in the past to deny human rights. The difference this time lay in the uneasy realisation that it was not autocratic regimes but established democracies that took the lead in introducing draconian laws to restrict civil liberties in the name of public security. In the United Kingdom (UK), the government passed "emergency" legislation which provided for detention of foreign nationals without charge or trial, thereby creating a shadow criminal justice system without the essential safeguards of the formal system. Legislation was passed in the USA allowing for indefinite detention on national security grounds of non-US nationals facing deportation.'
Khan says that human rights must not be sacrificed in order to achieve security: 'human rights are not an obstacle to security and prosperity, they are the key to achieving these goals. Human security comes only with human rights and the rule of law. [...] The challenge to states therefore is not security versus human rights, but rather to ensure respect for the full range of human rights.'
According to AI, September 11 has also had another scandalous result: 'In some parts of the world, including countries where military forces have in the past been responsible for widespread repression and human rights violation, the aftermath of September 11 saw a resurgence in the powers of the military. More and more civilians were detained by the military and tried by military courts.' As a consequence of the 'war on terrorism', attention was no longer paid to countries such as Algeria, Colombia, the Congo, Indonesia, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Burma and Turkey, where violations of human rights occur daily. Numerous authoritarian or dictatorial regimes are now using the 'war on terrorism' as a pretext to suppress any opposition in their country.