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UK rights record on terrorism, prisoners challenged as UN review process continues

[JURIST] Representatives from the 47 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] Thursday criticized the human rights record of the United Kingdom [UNHRC materials; recorded video], including the government's treatment of terror suspects and prisoners, as the body continued its new Universal Periodic Review [official website; UNHRC backgrounder] of rights practices around the world. During debate, several countries expressed concern about the UK's counter-terrorism measures, especially laws authorizing control orders [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], which allow the British government to impose house arrest and electronic surveillance on terrorism suspects and to forbid them from using mobile phones and the Internet when there is not enough evidence to prosecute. The head of the UK delegation denied that those powers are used to target any particular racial or religious group.

Under the Universal Periodic Review, UNHRC will systematically investigate the human rights situations of all 192 UN member nations over a four-year period. The Council will consider 16 countries during this inaugural two-week session, which began on Monday with a review of Bahrain [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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