Anti-terror Agenda Incompatible with Humanitarian Values

A coalition of Canada’s human and civil rights organizations have expressed concern that their country’s anti-terrorism agenda is driven predominantly by a desire to meet U.S. demands and to subject Canadian intelligence services to imperatives defined by the American security apparatus.

This follows an annual report on the application of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act, which the coalition, known as The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group [ICLMG], has slammed as drastic and unwarranted.

As South Africa revives its anti-terror legislation once again having failed to push it through the last parliamentary session due to an enormous challenge by the powerful labour union, Cosatu, it displays a sense of naivety which is totally uncharacteristic of the ruling African National Congress.

Between the eventful day known as 9/11 and the hasty United Nations Resolution 1373, which it passed less than three weeks after the destruction of the twin towers in New York, the world has subsequently come to learn much more about America’s “war on terror”. Much of this new knowledge has also surprised and outraged a great deal of people. Surprised that the driving force behind America’s military push were a group of neoconservatives allied to Israel’s right wing Likud party. And outraged because the anti-terror agenda was in pursuit of Israel’s security interest!

It is this knowledge and the draconian result of India’s anti-terror laws passed during the era of the BJP following 9/11, which has prompted the new government to repeal it in its entirety. This dramatic move is also informed by evidence that the legislation unfairly targeted Muslims. While India is thus far the only country that has gone full circle, it is likely that more countries will follow suit.

It is thus incredible that South Africa seems bent on pursuing measures which invariably will impact on rights and freedoms.