PACE asks for stronger human rights safeguards in new treaty to combat ‘foreign fighters’

PACE is asking for changes to a new legal treaty aimed at curbing so-called “foreign fighters” in order to strengthen human rights safeguards.

A draft additional protocol to the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism has been swiftly negotiated on behalf of ministers from across Europe to prevent Europeans travelling to wage jihad in countries such as Syria and Iraq. It’s thought that up to 5 000 may have made the trip, many returning radicalised and battle-hardened.

The Assembly said that some doubts about the planned new legal offences – originally raised by human rights NGOs – had not been sufficiently addressed, and asked for a number of changes. For example, the offence of “travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism” might be problematic from the point of view of freedom of movement, the parliamentarians said.

The Assembly has the right to give its opinion on all conventions negotiated within the Council of Europe.