Lawmakers denounce U.N., EU terror blacklists

/ Source: The Associated Press

Lawmakers from 47 European countries on Wednesday harshly criticized the U.N. and EU procedures used to blacklist people and organizations suspected of links with terrorism, calling them arbitrary and undemocratic.

The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly urged the United Nations and the European Union to overhaul the rules to ensure individuals and organizations that are put on the list have a right to appeal and seek compensation if their civil liberties have been breached.

The assets of about 370 people have been frozen because they were put on a terrorist blacklist by the U.N. Security Council, and the EU blacklist is thought to target some 60 entities, according to the 315-seat assembly.

Some individuals are listed as a result of a suspicion and cannot defend themselves or have themselves removed, said the assembly, which meets four times a year to discuss human rights issues and social and political trends in Europe.

"It is inadmissible that persons remain on the blacklist for years, while even the prosecuting authorities have not found any evidence against them," the assembly said in a resolution.

"The assembly finds that the standards currently applied ... violate the fundamental principles of human rights and the rule of law," it said.

Lists challenged in court
Swiss senator Dick Marty, who drafted the resolution, said individuals and organizations "face almost insurmountable difficulties in securing the most basic of their rights."

EU nations decided in April to inform groups and individuals when they are placed on the EU terror list. Those listed will now be able to ask why they were put on the list and why their assets are frozen. But there are still no procedures for an independent review and for compensation for possible human rights breaches.

The lists have been challenged in court a number of times.

The Council of Europe, a leading human rights watchdog, has no executive powers, but it may ask member governments to take up the issue and draft changes to the way the blacklists are compiled.