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UK Home Secretary rejects terror bill criticism from UN rights chief

[JURIST] UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] has rejected criticisms by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile; JURIST news archive] that Britain's proposed anti-terrorism bill [text] violates basic rights and sets a "worrying precedent." Arbour sent a letter to the British government in November saying that several of the bill's clauses may violate the country's obligations under international human rights treaties including provisions that outlaw incitement to terrorism, the dissemination of terrorism-related publications, and the glorification of terrorism. Arbour also said she was "gravely concerned" over how human rights would be guaranteed despite a reduction in the detention period [JURIST report] for terrorism suspects from the proposed 90 days to 28 days. Clarke responded via letter to Arbour Monday by saying that the anti-terrorism measure was a "proportionate and necessary response" to the threat of terrorism and called Arbour's concerns "unjustified." He also defended the 28-day detention plan, insisting it complies with the country's human rights responsibilities and noting that safeguards including judicial review are in place. Reuters has more.

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