This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Counterterrorism and international security expert Ben Hayes shows overwhelming evidence that oppressive regimes around the world are abusing international counterterrorism guidelines to repress civil society action, and are being encouraged to do so. Countries with severe restrictions on civil society like Saudi Arabia receive stellar ratings under these guidelines, while much freer countries like Norway are considered non-compliant.
Ben Hayes is an activist-scholar working on international security, counter-terrorism and surveillance frameworks. He has worked with the London-based civil liberties organization Statewatch since 1996 and is a fellow of the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Amsterdam. He is also an associate of the Human Security Collective (The Hague) and previously set-up the counter-terrorism programme at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (Berlin).
Ben’s 2012 report “Legalising surveillance, regulating CIVIL SOCIETY” provided the first irrefutable evidence that international rules on combating the financing of terrorism are being used as a pretext for restrictive regulatory regimes that adversely affect the legitimate activities of non-profit and civil society organisations across the world. The findings of the report provided the catalyst for widespread governmental consultations and the establishment of an international coalition of aid and development organisations, grant-making foundations, civil society networks and non-profit associations that is now engaged in a concerted effort to reform the international counterterrorist financing architecture.
Ben has also produced ground-breaking RESEARCH on the legitimacy and effectiveness of EU counter-terrorism policy, the European “security-industrial complex”; terrorist “blacklists”, pre-emptive security and fundamental rights”; and the militarisation of European border controls. He is currently working on multilateral standards for foreign surveillance reform for the Open Society Foundations and editing a book on climate change and international security for TNI.
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