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Deportation warning angers Clarke

24-08-2005

Ananova:

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has angrily hit out at the United Nations after a senior official warned that Britain's plans to deport foreign Islamic extremists breached its international human rights obligations.

The clash came as Mr Clarke announced that the exclusion and deportation of so-called "preachers of hate" from the UK would begin within days under the Government's new list of "unacceptable behaviours".

The wide-ranging list includes the expression of views which "foment, justify or glorify" terrorism, or which "foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK".

Mr Clarke said the measures were necessary to counter the "real and significant" terrorist threat facing the UK after the London suicide bombings on July 7.

The Government was accused by the UN's special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, of trying to circumvent its duty not to deport people to countries where they could face torture or abuse.

In a statement issued on Tuesday night, he urged ministers to drop plans to seek memorandums of understanding with a number of North African and Middle East states that individuals returned to those countries would not be tortured.

He said that such diplomatic assurances were not an "appropriate tool" to eradicate the risk of abuse in countries where torture was known to take place, in defiance of international conventions.

His comments drew a furious response from the Home Secretary who said the UN was too pre-occupied with the human rights of terrorists when it should be more concerned about their victims.

"The human rights of those people who were blown up on the Tube in London on July 7 are, to be quite frank, more important than the human rights of the people who committed those acts," he told the ITV News Channel.

"It is a balance, of course, and I acknowledge that there are real issues that have to be addressed, but I wish the UN would look at human rights in the round rather than simply focusing all the time on the terrorist."



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