Human rights in an age of counter-terrorism
in ‘War on terror’
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Human rights law in the United Kingdom has largely accommodated the security-oriented changes, and the effect of this has been to render them seemingly compliant with rather than inherently hostile to human rights principles. A kind of militant humanitarianism had grown up during the late 1990s, which argued for a more robust strategy of intervention to secure human rights goals in faraway lands. An eye for an eye has never been the counter-terrorist's motto in the Middle East, more like 10,000 eyes for every eye. But the invasion, and the siege of Beirut that followed, were not terrorism; they were counter-terrorism, 'acts of peace', regardless of the terror that actually happened on the ground. The 'war on terror' has done serious damage to the integrity of human rights, turning our subject into a kind of moral mask behind which lurk cruelty and oppression.

‘War on terror’

The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2006

Editor: Chris Miller


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