WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US strategy against violent extremism should be implemented with an adherence to human rights, international retired military and law enforcement leaders said in a letter to US President Barack Obama.
“Governments and security services that violate human rights and use abusive and heavy-handed security and counter-terrorism measures — including torture, ‘disappearing,’ extrajudicial killings, mass arrests, and violent responses to peaceful protests — are undermining their own stability and inflaming extremism by alienating and radicalizing their own citizens,” a letter, released by US advocacy group Human Rights First on Wednesday, said.
The signatories of the letter belong to the Bellagio Principles Group (BPG), established to support the Global Security and Human Rights Initiative of Human Rights First, the statement said.
BPG members who signed the letter include Brigadier General (ret.) Wilson Boinett of Kenya and General Ray Henault (ret.), former Chief of the Defense Staff and former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee of Canada.
“Acting forcefully and decisively when confronting dangerous extremists is not the same thing as carrying out draconian and arbitrary measures that undermine public trust,” the letter said.
The Bellagio Principles, developed by an international group of security experts at a conference in Bellagio, Italy in 2011, detail opposition to the use of torture during interrogations, which BPG members regard as immoral and illegal, the statement said.
Human Rights First also stated that federal court ruling overturning the conviction of former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks proves that military courts are inappropriate for terrorism cases.
“Today’s unanimous ruling is just one more piece of evidence showing that the inefficient, unnecessary military commission system at Guantanamo Bay is ill-equipped to handle terrorism cases,” Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar said in a statement.
Eviatar said Hicks should have been tried in a federal civilian court. “Material support for terrorism is available in US federal court,” the statement said.
Hicks has claimed he was subjected to physical abuse while in custody.