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Annan Warns To Not Let War On Terror Abuse Rights

Brussels, 29 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today warned that the global war on terorism must not lead to an erosion of human rights.

Annan made the remarks in Brussels, after receiving the European Parliament's top human rights award -- the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov. The award was given in memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN envoy killed in a bomb attack in Baghdad last year.

The UN leader said "terrorists will be given a victory they cannot win on their own" if civil liberties are taken away.

Annan also praised the European Union for plans to add 10 nations on 1 May. He called the expansion "the greatest force for peace on the European continent."

"You have perceived the path of peace through multilateralism and today, the European Union is a shining light of tolerance, human rights, and international cooperation. After 1 May, this year, that light will shine even brighter. When you enlarge to 25 members, you will cross a divide between East and West that once seemed unbridgeable. Enlargement is the greatest force for peace on the European continent," Annan said.

Annan also made a plea for a more open and humane EU policy toward immigrants and refugees, saying migrants must not be made "scapegoats" for a vast array of social ills.