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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The importance of safeguarding human rights in the fight against terrorism


Iceland, as a member of the European Economic Area (the EEA), has aligned itself with the statement made earlier by my colleague from the Netherlands on behalf of the European Union, but in addition I would like to make a few remarks.


Terrorists are responsible for many of the worst human rights abuses in the world today. My Government is of the view that States not only have the right, but also the duty to secure the right to life and other rights through effective counter-terrorism measures.

At the same time, the United Nations has created a framework of international conventions for the protection of human rights which must be upheld. In the fight against terrorism the international community must not compromise on its international human rights obligations.

Iceland is convinced that, over the long term, a commitment to human rights and the rule of law will be one of the keys to a success in countering terrorism. This view is reflected in the report of the Secretary General A/59/404. Iceland welcomes the report, which provides a good overview of the United Nations? action in implementation of resolution 58/187 and notes that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has maintained its dialogue with the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) of the Security Council and continues to recommend that CTC consider the human rights impact of counter-terrorism measures.

Iceland welcomes the appointment by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of an independent expert to assist the High Commissioner for Human Rights to fulfill the mandate provided for in General Assembly resolution 58/187 on the Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. We look forward to receiving the report of the independent expert to the 61st session of the CHR.

Mr. Chairman.

We would like to mention the issue of religious intolerance.

There is reason for continued concern at signs of growing religious intolerance, not least in the context of terrorism. We feel that the United Nations system has a crucial role to play in checking and reversing this dangerous trend. I would like to thank the Special Rapporteur of the CHR on freedom for religion or belief for her report in document A/59/366. We concur with the conclusions and recommendations of the report. Since the report contains only the replies that countries have provided the Special Rapporteur, we look forward to receiving the next report which will contain a more general assessment of religious intolerance.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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