Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Legal Challenges of the Human Rights Framework in the European Union

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Legal Challenges of the Human Rights Framework in the European Union

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

During the last years much has changed in the field of security measures taken by Governments to protect their citizens. In our study, we will review some of the most recent theories on counterterrorism in the European Union. As debates across countries tend to separate the field of individual and collective rights, pre-emptive legislation has been generalized.1 Most of these changes have not been planned, but they were imposed by the rapidly changing geopolitical circumstances caused by the unforeseeable events such as the terrorist attacks on 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London. Moreover, renowned authors such as Neon,2 Seidler Victor3 and Appadurai4 have elaborated on the growing disparities of life conditions in western worlds, illustrating how the combined effect of the financial crises, worsening poverty and globalization have fuelled the increasing cross border movement of the population. In this situation, states are confronted with the necessity to immediately establish new forms of protection for their borders and citizens. In a way, the natural obligation of the state to protect their citizens is one of the pillars of legitimacy for democratic governments.5

The terrorist attacks of two of the paramount of western democracies (USA and UK), illustrate what Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda said about terrorist as nowadays folk devils.6 As a crucial theoretical dimension of the present paper, the term folk devil is first used in Cohen's work, where is employed to define a suitable enemy, the agent responsible for the threatening or damaging behavior or condition.7 The author establishes that these actors are caught in the coils of the moral panic; therefore folk devils are the personification of evil, and in present days terrorists are considered to be the evil of modem societies. An invisible enemy, an illegal one that changed the way the wars are made. They acted quickly, reconfiguring some of the existing schemes (for example, establishing an early retirement to reduce unemployment and new services to compensate for the removal of subsidies on commodities) and creating new devices (such as unemployment insurance and social assistance). Towards the end of the decade, the economic situation had destabilized somewhat and the governments immersed themselves in the challenge of restructuring their security.8

2. Embodying Fear in the European Legislation

The European Union is a space of democracy confronted with common perils such as terrorism. Many European countries have a new doctrine of suspicion; people are suspected for what they might do (Muslim women arrested for possession of chemicals). The government thinks it may be necessary to extend their powers, on the ground of a probability. States erode the basic rights of individuals by raising their authorities regarding security.

This paper will review the research conducted on the challenge of human rights protection in a Europe threaten by terrorism. In the pages that follow, it will be argued that the opposition of good and evil, terrorism and pre-emption, rights and obligations, individuality and collectivity are becoming more and more blurred. The selection of books we have chosen to review provides a conceptual framework on the above mentioned categories. The first section of this paper will examine the cost of terrorism for democracies. In order to do so, we turned our attention towards authors such as Laura Donohue who, in the book The Cost of Counterterrorism, examines the great cost of counterterrorism policies after the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-177), the 2001 Anti-Terrorism, the Crime and Security Act (AntiTerrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001).

As a serious lecture, the author assesses the importance of moral panics as a major public security problem and therefore their relation with the culture of maxim security for the European Union. Central to this object of research is the controversial subject of the particular cost of inflating panic, following the western democracies concern on the security. …

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