New EU counter-terrorism laws are major blow to human rights, says Amnesty International


A new report from Amnesty International has claimed that the new counter-terrorism laws being implemented across EU member states are a breach of human rights.

The laws are said to provide the UK, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands with access to data concerning millions of people.

Amnesty International Europe director John Dalhuisen said: “In the wake of a series of appalling attacks, from Paris to Berlin, governments have rushed through a raft of disproportionate and discriminatory laws.”

The laws permit security and intelligence agencies to carry out surveillance measures targeting foreign nationals, including wire-tapping, monitoring of electronic communications, and surveillance of telecommunications networks and devices without any judicial oversight for three months.

"EU governments are using counter-terrorism measures to consolidate draconian powers, target groups in discriminatory ways and strip away human rights."

In certain cases, these measures have enhanced executive powers, removed judicial controls, restricted freedom of expression and exposed everyone to unchecked government surveillance, according to the human rights agency.

Dalhuisen further added: “EU governments are using counter-terrorism measures to consolidate draconian powers, target groups in discriminatory ways and strip away human rights under the guise of defending them.

“We are in danger of creating societies in which liberty becomes the exception and fear the rule.”

Amnesty said that the laws have had a negative impact on Muslims, foreign nationals or other religious minorities.

The report is based on data collected during a two-year research project , which was conducted by the agency across 14 EU member states.