Skip to main content

un conference on the human rights of victims of terrorism

This conference on  February 11, 2016  was hosted by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Office of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism. 

The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was adopted by member states in September, 2006. But, often, the victims and those who support them have not been successful in “finding a place in the counter-terrorism debate”. The objective of this conference is to contribute to policy and legal development, on the national level, concerning human rights of victims of terrorism. Once again, we have submitted a detailed report so will simply reiterate a few key points raised in the opening plenary session.

Speakers emphasized several points that make protection of human rights of terrorism victims particularly difficult:
 Confidentiality and witness protection are essential to bolster the legal rights of victims.
 Assault by Daesh, particularly in Iraq, is so fierce that national unity and the ability of government to act are compromised.
 The sheer scale of terrorism today makes it impossible to focus on individual victims.

By far the single most important impediment to protecting human rights when terrorism is present is the belief in many countries and NGOs that ONLY STATES CAN VIOLATE HUMAN RIGHTS. It is then not possible for either groups or individuals non-state sponsored terrorists to be prosecuted for human rights violations. Human rights law must keep pace and change to apply to non-state actors so that the rights of victims can be protected by their criminal justice systems.