The change in emphasis reflects a growing concern that states are using terrorism as a weapon in inter-state conflicts, and recognition that the use of force in the cause of decolonization is largely irrelevant. ‘Terrorism’ has the virtue of drawing attention to the illegitimacy of non-state political violence: no act of violence of a rebel, a secessionist, even a person acting for humanitarian ends, is legitimate. The function of the law of human rights is to impose a brake on the introduction of laws, policies and practices which interfere with individuals’ rights and which are justified as being necessary in the fight against terrorism. The defeat of the terrorists may be the result of a vigorous counterterrorism policy which has ignored the constraints of human rights. The application of human rights law to moderate the response of governments to what they call ‘terrorism’ is one of the severest tests of the human rights idea.