The UK's legitimate fight against terrorism has generated a system of laws and practices, including internment, control orders and deportation proceedings, which has led to gross violations of human rights. Legislation has eroded the powers and independence of the judiciary, undermining its role in the enforcement of anti-terrorism legislation. Seeking diplomatic assurances from third countries, to allow for the deportation of persons to countries where they are at risk of torture and failure to meet obligations regarding abuses committed by third states, through the evasion of responsibilities concerning rendition flights, poses a threat to the absolute prohibition of torture. The UK also seeks to circumvent domestic and international obligations in relation to actions of its personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo.
Existing national checks and balances are insufficient to prevent abuses of power by the state. If the EU remains silent in the face of abuses carried out by Member States, it risks losing credibility.
How far does the Council scrutinise national practices in this area? Does the Council see the use of Article 7 TEU as anything more than a theoretical threat? How does the Council plan to use its political power to promote, as a matter of urgency, a real debate on the human rights issues at stake and the EU instruments that can be developed within the EU framework?