A report published by Amnesty International yesterday stated that comprehensive counter terrorism laws adopted by a number of EU member states are disproportionate and undermine fundamental freedoms. The organisation said that a large group of the new laws to combat terrorism across Europe discriminates against Muslims and refugees, spreading fear and alienation. The human rights group sounded the alarm over security measures adopted over the past two years in 14 EU nations, including expanded surveillance powers.
During that period, militants have carried out attacks in which some 280 people in France, Belgium and Germany have been killed. The attacks, mostly claimed by ISIS, have fuelled tensions over immigration, increased the popularity of right-wing parties and made security a major theme in upcoming French, Dutch and German elections.
The report from Amnesty International analysed anti-terrorism laws passed by 14 members of the European Union over the past two years, and found that these laws usually enhance the powers of government to increase surveillance and restrict freedom of expression. The report found that surveillance powers have been strengthened in Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries, allowing governments to access the private data of millions of people.
Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia John Dalhuisen said that “There is no doubt that terrorism is a real threat that necessitates a firm response, but the role of governments should be to provide security for people to enjoy their rights rather than restricting people’s rights in the name of security”.