Council of Europe [website] Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižniek [official profile], expressed concern [materials] Tuesday over three counter-terrorism measures proposed in the Netherlands, which the Ccommissioner believes have the potential to violate human rights. In a letter by the commissioner to Dutch officials, Muižniek acknowledged [press release] the threat presented by potential terrorism. He went on to communicate his concerns over the three bills and urged officials to alter the legislation to better support human rights while still aiming to prevent violence. The Temporary Administrative Measures, which would curtail a suspected terrorist’s movement in daily activities, may create restrictions broader than what European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) [text, PDF] allows. The Nationality Act, the Commissioner noted, has the potential to unduly burden minority groups. Muižniek pointed to a third measure, the Intelligence Services Bill, as problematic in terms of limiting surveillance and information gathering in a targeted fashion.
The reconciliation of counter-terrorism measures with human rights concerns has been a rising international issue. In October the UN criticized governments that implement bills which restrict freedom of speech and expression [JURIST report] under the guise of counter-terrorism legislation. In July the Prime Minister of Australia proposed new counter-terrorism legislation that would allow for indefinite detention. In June Russia’s lower house of Parliament passed a number of counter-terrorism amendments which ban proselytizing, preaching and praying [JURIST report] outside officially recognized religious institutions.