UK chief justice tells US lawyers respecting human rights key in anti-terror fight

UK chief justice tells US lawyers respecting human rights key in anti-terror fight

[JURIST] Nicholas Phillips [official profile; BBC profile], the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, urged Americans to respect human rights and embrace immigrants as a means of fighting international terrorism in an address to the International Law Section of the American Bar Association [profession websites] in London Wednesday. In a speech [PDF text] on the "Impact of Terrorism on the Rule of Law," Phillips said:

Respect for human rights must, I suggest, be a key weapon in the ideological battle [against terrorism]. Since the Second World War we in Britain have welcomed to the United Kingdom millions of immigrants, many of them refugees from countries whose human rights were not respected.

The prosperity of the United States is built on immigrants who have been welcomed from every corner of the globe. It is essential that they, and their children and grandchildren, should be confident that their adopted countries treat them, and those who are nationals of the countries from which they come, without discrimination and with due respect for their human rights. If they feel that they are not being fairly treated, their consequent resentment will inevitably result in the growth of those who, actively or passively, are prepared to support the terrorists who are bent on destroying the fabric of our society.

He emphasized that the UK Human Rights Act [text] and the United States Constitution are not just national safeguards, but the "foundations of our fight against terrorism."

Phillips touched on a wide range of subjects in his speech, including the US military's detention of alleged "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] and the role of the European Convention on Human Rights [text] in Britain following the September 11 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive]. Bloomberg has more.