Human rights activists from Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries gather in Ankara to discuss Post September 11 era and attempts to suspend human rights and international humanitarian law in the region

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) that federates 116 human rights organizations throughout the world is organizing, in partnership with the Human Rights Association (IHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), a regional seminar in Ankara from 18 to 22 September 2003.

The FIDH received the financial(support of the European Commission.

The seminar, designed to tackle the 9/11 subsequent attempts to suspend human rights and international humanitarian law in the South and East of the Mediterranean, is gathering actors from the civil society, policy makers and legal experts coming from the Arab World as well as from Turkey during three days of presentations, workshops and open discussions.

Since 11 September 2001 the fight against terrorism has been a tremendous issue on the international agenda. However, the legitimate and necessary prevention and repression of terrorist acts have been widely used throughout the world to infringe upon public freedoms, in total disrespect of international human rights and humanitarian law. In many Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, terrorism has since long been used as a pretext for repression and this trend has accelerated in the past 2 years.

In this respect, the FIDH and its partners believe that the time has come to question the concept of terrorism from a human rights and humanitarian perspective and to evaluate the consequences on human rights and international humanitarian law of the so-called fight against terrorism. This shall be done through an exchange of information and experiences between human rights defenders in the region, through an assessment of the impact of the fight against terrorism on legislations and practices at national and regional levels.

This seminar will be the place for propositions on the monitoring of anti-terrorist policies in regard to inalienable human rights standards. The conclusions and recommendations of the seminar shall be released on Sunday 21 September 2003.

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