The Tension Between Prevention of Terrorism and Protection of Human Rights

39 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2014 Last revised: 28 Oct 2014

See all articles by Ismail Idowu Salih

Ismail Idowu Salih

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law, Students

Date Written: October 23, 2014


It is settled that the tension between counter-terrorism measures and human rights is real. This paper which, explores the link between the link and tension between the guarantee of human rights and the protection from terrorism, also considers the effect of State counter-terrorism measures on the right to liberty and security of the person. The paper revisits and discusses the actions taken by the UK and the USA governments following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Both governments appear to have similar interpretation of "terrorism" and believe traditional criminal legal system can no longer be used to solve what is considered new era of terrorism ("super-terrorism"). The USA declaration of "war on terrorism" is unconditionally supported by the UK government. Both countries engage in arbitrary detention of terrorist suspects, including asylum seekers. New immigration rules and a system of profiling were introduced. The UK introduces "control orders" while the USA uses the "material witness law" and presidential war powers to detain people. While the paper concedes most of the enacted measures could help to fight terrorism, the systematic erosion of civil liberties in the countries that pride themselves with democracy and the rule of law remains a great concern.

Keywords: Prevention of Terrorism, Arbitrary Detention, Human Rights, Foreign Criminals, Liberty and Security

Suggested Citation

Salih, Ismail Idowu, The Tension Between Prevention of Terrorism and Protection of Human Rights (October 23, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Ismail Idowu Salih (Contact Author)

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law, Students ( email )

Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4

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