International Terror in the Guise of Justice


Islamic Human Rights Commission


8th October 2001

For immediate release

International Terror in the Guise of Justice

Enduring Freedom Set to Violate Human Rights and International Law

The Islamic Human Rights Commission condemns the attacks on Afghanistan launched by the US and UK as laden with contradiction and double standards. IHRC is also highly concerned that the action may be extended to other countries and targets. IHRC considers the US and UK actions to be manifestly unjust and in complete contradiction to the pursuit of justice for the victims of the WTC attacks.

IHRC’s objections include:

No definition of terrorism.

There has been to date no concrete definition of what constitutes terrorism. As a result the current action and any proposed widening is open to abuse by the coalition as per their own political dictates rather than any internationally recognized standard. Under current vague terminology, a similar widened action a decade ago would see the ANC and Nelson Mandela as legitimate targets for ‘Enduring Freedom’s’ military attacks.

The violation of national and international precedents and law.

Basic extradition rules and procedures have not been applied in the case of Usama Bin Laden who remains a prime suspect and should be tried in accordance with legal precedent. Analogous situations include the extradition processes brought into play against General Augusto Pinochet.

In forming a coalition outside the framework of the UN, the parties to last night’s attacks have dispensed with existing processes of justice via inter alia the Security Council. Whilst the UN Charter allows military action in self-defense without the authority of the Security Council, this process only applies in the event of an attack by another nation. Any further action in anticipation of ‘potential threats’, as has been suggested by the Bush administration and echoed by the British, falls completely foul of all internationally accepted standards of justice. There is no precedent for what appears to have the potential of turning into a military attack on groups whose liberation struggles fall foul of US and its allies’ economic and other interests.

The abuse of human rights discourse.

The US and UK have clearly specified the Taleban regime as a target for their military offensive. It should be noted that it was the recipient until recently of covert and overt financial and diplomatic support from the USA. In this light it is clear that current action has little to do with concerns for human rights and more to do with shifting political patronage.

Current attempts to portray both the Northern Alliance and the ex-King as potential alternatives to the Taleban again have little to do with human rights concerns as their past records also show.

Widening the remit of operations
Today’s comments by Bush and Blair signal a potential escalation of military action against ‘terrorism.’ Without a clear definition IHRC is concerned that instead of restorative justice, Enduring Freedom will result in punitive and bloody covert and overt operations in e.g. Chechnya (Republic of Chechnya of the Russian Federation) and the surrounding region, other parts of the Middle East and North Africa where the interest of the international coalition members are being challenged by local groups.

IHRC urges the US and UK to immediately curtail its actions and consider long term strategies that will address the causes of international violence and terror whoever the perpetrators and victims are without distinction.

For more information, please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8902 0888, or (+44) 7958 60 74 75 or (+44) 7958 522 196.