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Juggling the Balance between Preventive Security and Human Rights in Europe

In: Security and Human Rights
Author:
Monica Den Boer Director of SeQure Research and Consultancy; Adjunct Professor at the Department of Security and Criminology, Macquarie University, Sydney

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Within the European Union (eu), security issues are increasingly framed as risks and threats that can be controlled by preventive measures. The eu has established several agencies, legal instruments and databases to facilitate the prevention of crime, terrorism and irregular migration. This article takes stock of the way in which the eu seeks to balance the preventive security logic with its own human rights framework. While human rights can jointly be considered an evolving normative framework in the eu, there is a need to identify which human rights are at risk and how (non-) compliance ought to be monitored.

The article states some concerns about equal access to human rights as well as the lack of a strong general oversight mechanism. Continued structural attention should be given to ex ante human-rights impact assessments and there needs to be more emphasis on regular external evaluations of human rights compliance ex post facto. In relation to the external action of the eu, the eu must practice what it preaches and needs to reflect critically on the necessity and proportionality of precautionary security measures.

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