Inside Story

Have anti-terror laws gone too far?

Amnesty International suggests basic human rights are being eroded across Europe, perhaps permanently.

Amnesty International has studied the situation in 14 countries over two years, and concluded that European governments are increasingly restricting freedoms in disproportionate and discriminatory fashion through states of emergency, mass surveillance and so-called administrative measures.

France passed new surveillance laws after the Charlie Hebdo newspaper office shooting in January 2015.

After the Bataclan Theatre attacks in November of the same year, a state of emergency was declared – and has been extended ever since.

And France is not alone. Amnesty International says that European countries are “drawing inspiration from each other’s regressive counterterrorism measures”.

Hungary now gives its president the power to ban meetings, restrict movement and freeze assets in the event of a declared emergency.

Germany has given police the right to monitor non-European Union citizens communicating with someone in Germany which the United Nations says unfairly targets foreigners.

But while attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and similar armed groups have garnered the most media attention, and the greatest number of arrests under new laws, research by the European police agency, Europol, indicates that attacks by separatist groups are far more common.

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


John Dalhuisen – director for Europe of Amnesty International

Riccardo Dugulin – senior analyst who heads the Europe Desk at Drum Cussac, a political risk consultancy

David Anderson – UK’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation