By Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.
Human rights or security? In Canada and around the world the debate rages on; but it is an utterly false debate. We must, finally and firmly, reject the assumption and assertion that more of one necessarily leads to less of the other. There is no security without human rights.
A few years ago I was in West Africa with an Amnesty International research team looking into a range of human rights violations associated with counter-terrorism laws and operations in Mauritania. The sister of an army officer who had “disappeared” while in prison summed up perfectly the absurdity of the notion that there is any sort of rights and security trade-off. As she told me, “if they truly want us to feel more secure, they should start by stopping violating our rights.”