Australian official says terror laws could violate international rights standards

[JURIST] Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Jon Stanhope [official website] says he has a "growing concern" that the federal government's proposed anti-terrorism legislation [PDF text] does not meet international standards for political and civil rights. After posting a confidential copy of the draft bill [JURIST report] on his website last week, Stanhope says he is pleased to participate in continued negotiations over the text, but may not be willing to abide by restrictions [PDF text; ACT press release] imposed on the states and territories for receiving further drafts. Stanhope said he is still considering the constitutionality of the bill and "whether or not the Prime Minister has kept the promise he made...that the anti-terrorism bill would be consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".

Stanhope had previously requested that experts in human rights and international law from the University of New South Wales and Australian National University provide him with advice [PDF text] on the human rights implications of the bill. Focusing on provisions dealing with preventative detention and control orders, the three experts concluded that the provisions breached Australia's obligations under the ICCPR [text]:

a. The preventative detention order regime breaches the human rights to be free from arbitrary detention and to due process and cannot be said to be subject to an effective procedure of judicial review that provides adequate safeguards against violations of the human rights of the person affected.

b. The control order regime breaches the rights to be free from arbitrary detention, to a fair trial, to freedom of movement, to privacy and family life, and to the presumption of innocence.
Australia's ABC News has more.

 

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