Subject: AFP: Rights should ne protected in anti-terror fight: Ramos Horta

Also: AP - Southeast Asian nations urged to do to more to cut terrorist funding

Agence France Presse -- English

April 20, 2006 Thursday 6:22 AM GMT

Rights should ne protected in anti-terror fight: Ramos Horta

CEBU, Philippines, April 20 2006

Governments around the world must not trample on human rights as they seek to crush terrorist cells, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and East Timor foreign minister Jose Ramos Horta said Thursday.

Addressing an international counter-terrorism forum in the central Philippine island of Cebu, Ramos Horta said governments must clearly identify their enemies and not be carried away in their responses to violence.

"Before states can tackle terrorism they must first clearly identify who the enemy really is," Ramos Horta said.

"Failure to do so will lead to the ignoring of legitimate grievances and the targetting of innocent people by the state, which in turn plays into the hands of terrorists who live off the misery and desperation of others," he said.

He said minimizing the risk of innocent people being caught in the middle would require governments putting "greater premium on sophisticated law enforcement and intelligence operations" that could force terrorist groups into the open.

However, he acknowledged as "understandable" greater powers demanded by security agencies around the world in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks blamed on the Al-Qaeda.

Security agencies however must "not go too far" and strike a balance between fighting terrorism and protecting rights.

Failure to observe this is "likely to provoke backlashes against the government and strengthen the terrorist cause rather than weakening it," Ramos Horta said.

Ramos Horta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 along with East Timor Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo for their non-violent resistance to Indonesia's occupation of East Timor.

East Timor gained full independence in May 2002, becoming the world's newst nation, after more than two years of UN stewardship.


Associated Press Worldstream

April 20, 2006 Thursday 6:00 AM GMT

Southeast Asian nations urged to do to more to cut terrorist funding

By TERESA CEROJANO, Associated Press Writer

CEBU Philippines

More than half of the countries in Southeast Asia still need to enact laws to curb terror financing, the head of the U.N. counterterrorism panel said on Thursday, the opening day of a conference to study how to deal with terrorism in the region.

Ellen Margrethe Loj, chairwoman of the U.N. Security Council's counterterrorism committee, told delegates at the three-day meeting that terrorist organizations may be channeling funds through informal remittance systems to religious and charitable groups.

"Progress has been much slower in relation to laws criminalizing the financing of terrorism, with more than half of the countries of Southeast Asia yet to enact such laws, and almost half not having yet ratified the international convention concerning the financing of terrorism," said Loj, who is also Denmark's ambassador to the United Nations.

Attempts by terrorists to find new, unregulated ways of channeling funds pose a particular challenge to efforts to cut terror money, she said.

Countries also need to promote intercultural dialogue and promote the "absolute unacceptability" of terror as a means of achieving any end, Loj said.

Benjamin Defensor, a former Philippine military chief of staff, said the meeting's main goal is to find policies that address the causes of terrorism. He said delegates would also consider how developing countries might strike a balance between counterterrorism moves and protecting their cultures and religions.

East Timor Foreign Minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta urged governments to strike a balance between fighting the scourge of terrorism and protecting civil liberties and human rights.

"Ideas are the main weapon in this fight," he said, adding that ideologically inspired terrorists of the 1960s and 1970s in Europe were defeated by the power of superior ideas, such as belief in tolerance, democracy and economic prosperity.

"The superior morality of the rule of law, democratic and transparent government and respect for diversity are the most powerful weapons against extremism and intolerance," he said.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a staunch backer of the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, called for reassessing terrorism's nature and root causes, and a strategy that goes beyond political and military responses to the scourge.

"The challenge lies in finding a 'middle way' to address terrorism and the psycho-social, economic and political issues that bear upon it," she said in a statement. "As we must aim to subdue terrorists and avert their plans, so too must we fight poverty and social inequality."

Differing outlooks on the U.S.-led anti-terror campaign are pronounced in Southeast Asia considered a hotspot for Islamic militants.

The predominantly Christian Philippines has allowed U.S. troops to train and arm soldiers fighting al-Qaida-linked militants in the south something unthinkable in Muslim-majority neighbors Indonesia and Malaysia.

When Australian Prime Minister John Howard suggested his country has the right to launch pre-emptive strikes on terror targets in Asia, several Asian countries strongly protested.

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