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    EU Considers UK Counterterrorism Strategy Despite Human Rights Concerns

    EU Considers UK Counterterrorism Strategy Despite Human Rights Concerns

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    The EU has expressed support for adopting counterterrorism initiatives across its member states, similar to those in the UK, despite human rights concerns that it has raised.

    The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner has argued that counterterrorism initiatives, such as Prevent, are discriminatory against Muslims and could undermine free speech, civil liberties and even jeopardize current counterterrorism efforts.

    In a report, the European Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, said that he shared concerns Prevent "runs the risk of isolating the very communities whose cooperation is most needed to fight violent extremism."

    "The Commissioner recalls that the response to the threat of terrorism should not itself encroach upon the very values of freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law," Muizniek's wrote.

    However, speaking at a UK Home Office counterterrorism meeting in London on May 3, Rob Wainwright, head of the EU's Europol law enforcement agency, described Prevent as the "best practice model in Europe" for tacking extremism.

    Prevent, which was introduced by then-Home Secretary, now UK Prime Minister Theresa May, is part of the UK Contest Counter Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST). It aims to stop terrorism and those who may become terrorists.

    Wainwright's comments have been supported by EU official, Hans Das, who is the head of the European Commission's Terrorism and Radicalization Unit, who cited the UK as a country that has good practice where anti-terrorism initiatives are concerned and described how the EU would support teachers, social workers and healthcare workers to spot early signs of radicalization.

    "Civil society has a very important role to play and we need to empower them to play that role. Positive counter-narrative is a very important challenge and we believe we have to support our civil society on these issues," said Das.

    Some experts have said that Prevent has had a negative effect and has violated people's human rights, it has been implanted at UK schools, universities and hospitals and is aimed at identifying radicalization.

    It is expected that the UK and EU will continue to work closely together on counterterrorism initiatives, despite concerns some of the policies may infringe on people's human rights.

    Related:

    'UK Prevent Strategy Marginalizing and Demonizing Muslims' - Expert Says
    UK Calls for 'Loyalty Oath' to Combat Extremism
    From Twitter to Syria, UK's Anti-Extremism Prevent Program Still Not Working
    Tags:
    Prevent strategy, terror threat, radicalization, human rights, counterterrorism, Europol, Council of Europe, European Union, Nils Muiznieks, Europe, Britain, United Kingdom
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