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March 7, 2005

Press Release, March 8 (WG 11)

Thematic Subject Area III: Towards a Democratic Response
Working Group 11
Human rights

March 8th, the International Summit on Democracy and Terrorism will hold a meeting for an eleven member working group to study how the defence of human rights may become an essential part of the democratic response against terrorism. Faced with the need to identify and dismantle terrorist networks, the protection of human rights has come under increasing strain. Specific topics to be debated are the following:

  • Whether the fight against terrorism has in some way undermined the quest for global human rights. What are the key dilemmas we are faced with?
  • Measures to be taken to uphold human rights standards, even when faced with massive terrorist atrocities.
  • Whether there are new principles which should guide the effort to spread human rights in this age of global terror.
  • Analysis of the roles of citizens and civil society; and whether their involvement can make a significant difference.
The conclusions of this working group and 16 others will be incorporated into the Agenda of Madrid, which will be published on March 11th, 2005.

Working group members will include:

Working Group Coordinator:

  • Asma Jahangir (Pakistan), co-founder and director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Spearheaded advocacy efforts on children’s, prisoners’ and women’s rights, as well as on judicial and constitutional reform. Just finished five-year term as Special UN Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions.


  • Fateh Azzam (Egypt), director of the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Program at the American University in Cairo. Formerly programme officer for human rights at the Ford Foundation in Cairo and Lagos, as well as director of the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq.
  • Carlos Basombrío (Peru), former director of the Instituto de Defensa Legal, Peru. Former Vice Minister of Interior, he has written extensively on issues related to human rights, democracy, civil-military relations, security and police reform.
  • Sheikh Wajid Hasina (Bangladesh), former Prime Minister of Bangladesh and head of the Awami League. Played an instrumental role in the adoption of a parliamentary system in her country. Received of numerous prestigious international awards for work on peace and human rights.
  • Ibrahima Kane (Senegal-UK), legal officer for Africa at the Interights Group, London. Expert in economic, social, women’s and cultural rights and torture. Lawyer by trade, he ran a human rights program focused on public education and women’s rights in West-Africa.
  • Rama Mani (India-Switzerland), director of the New Issues in Security course, Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Formerly Oxfam’s Africa Strategy manager, dealing with humanitarian and development crises, war and illicit economies. Author of Beyond Retribution (Polity 2002).
  • Juan Mendez (Argentina-USA), president of the International Center for Transitional Justice, New York and Cape Town. UN Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Prevention of Genocide. Distinguished record of human rights advocacy throughout the Americas.
  • Ahmed Rashid (Pakistan), journalist. Covered Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia for the past twenty-five years and writes for the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Daily Telegraph, and The Wall Street Journal. Author of, among other books, Taliban (Yale, 2001).
  • Ahmad Nader Nadery (Afghanistan), director of the council at the United Services Institution of India. Former UN force commander in Yugoslavia and member of UN Secretary-General High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
  • Richard Williamson (USA), former United States representative at the UN Human Rights Commission under President George W. Bush. Distinguished career as lawyer and diplomat, serving in several administrations.
  • Abraham Cooper (USA), associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi. Expert on Soviet Jewry and oversees the Center’s social action agenda. A pioneer on digital terrorism and hate crimes, he supervises the Center’s global tracking of problematic websites.

With the collaboration ofSafe Democracy Foundation
Members of the Club de Madrid

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