Sweden protests at UN blacklist

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Indy Politics

Sweden is asking the United Nations to reconsider how it administers a blacklist of people around the world deemed to be tied to terrorist groups such as al-Qa'ida.

Anyone put on the list can face instant ruin and any UN country can add names to the list without offering supporting evidence. Those nominated have no means of appeal.

The purpose of the list, administered by a special UN sanctions committee, is clear. As soon as any person or organisation is placed upon it, the government of their home country is obliged to take steps to freeze their financial assets. Thus, in theory, the flow of cash to terrorists should be stanched.

Sweden is leading those concerned that the procedure seems to flout core principles of the UN, notably the rights of the individual. Most of the 154 names on the list were put forward by America. Other UN members had 48 hours to raise objections, but none did.

On Monday, Anders Kruse, the head of the legal department in Sweden's Foreign Ministry, asked the committee to start again. "How do we know what is behind each decision and how do we reassure the public that it can trust this committee?" he said in an interview later. Three Swedish nationals, all born in Somalia, are on the list, and their plight has stirred a heated political controversy in Sweden.