REPORT ON TERRORISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS
of the most challenging responsibilities confronted by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights since its creation over 40
years ago has been supervising compliance with human rights protections
in member states of the Organization of American States that have faced
terrorist threats. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Commission has
emphasized in no uncertain terms that ensuring fundamental human rights
in these situations does not contradict the obligation of member states
to protect their populations from terrorist violence. To the contrary,
the very purpose of anti-terrorist initiatives is to preserve the
fundamental rights and democratic institutions that terrorism seeks to
undermine and destroy. And through mechanisms such as derogations and
restriction clauses, international human rights law recognizes and
provides for means by which the restriction or suspension of certain
rights may be necessary in exceptional circumstances to protect human
rights and democracy.
terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States on September 11,
2001, though extraordinary in their magnitude and horror, have not
changed these fundamental precepts. Indeed, now more than ever it is
crucial for member states to ensure that their responses to these
inexcusable acts of violence honor faithfully the liberties and values
upon which the democratic societies of our Hemisphere are built. To
accept less only furthers the interests of forces that present among the
most profound threats to our region in the 21st Century.
this setting, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presents
this Report on Terrorism and Human Rights, in the hope that it will
assist member states of the Organization of American States and other
interested actors in the inter-American system in ensuring that
anti-terrorism initiatives comply fully with fundamental human rights
and freedoms and thereby achieve one of the crucial components for a
successful campaign against terrorist violence.
The Commission would like to recognize the work of its Executive Secretariat in the preparation of this report. In particular, it wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Brian Tittemore, principal drafter, with the collaboration of Bernard Duhaime, Human Rights Specialists. Also contributing to particular components of the report were Eduardo Bertoni, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Lisa Yagel, Attorney with the Special Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression, Helena Olea, Attorney with the Rapporteurship on Migrant Workers and their Families, and Gabriela Hageman, Principal Secretary, and Nora Anderson, Gloria Hansen, Documents Technicians.