Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director

 

Event to launch Model Legislative Provisions for Victims of Terrorism

  04 February 2022

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to join IPU Secretary-General Martin Chungong and my colleague USG Vladimir Voronkov to launch the “Model Legislative Provisions to Support the Needs and Protect the Rights of Victims of Terrorism”.

Parliaments and parliamentarians are at the heart of our democracies. They have the power to act as the conscience of our countries and to give voice to the hopes and needs of the people.

UNODC is proud to support parliamentarians in their essential work, including through our cooperation with IPU and regional parliamentary assemblies. And we are especially proud to have contributed to the development of these model provisions, which will guide parliamentarians in elaborating and adopting policies and legislation, based on international norms, to better assist victims of terrorism.

Most victims of terrorism are randomly targeted, people who were innocently going about their lives when the terror struck.

Survivors may take years to recover from their injuries or to come to terms with their losses. Women and girls are often targeted by terrorist groups and subjected to horrific acts of gender-based violence.

The trauma and devastation caused by terrorism are deep, affecting families, communities and countries, and potentially spanning generations.

Supporting victims of terrorism and their loved ones, by recognizing their rights and addressing their needs, must therefore be understood as a vital step towards healing, achieving justice and preventing further harm.

If they are properly supported, survivors can choose to play a key role in ensuring accountability for terrorist acts, and in countering the appeal of terrorism.

The model provisions, by acknowledging the difficulties victims face and by listening to and incorporating their perspectives, represent a key component of the integrated, comprehensive responses our societies need to prevent terrorist threats and protect people.

The provisions are intended to be a technical assistance tool for strengthening national responses, and can be tailored to national needs in line with the constitutional principles and legal tradition of each Member State, and taking into account the existing legal framework.

They are the result of more than one year of consultations and collaboration between our offices, bringing together victims of terrorism with parliamentarians and other stakeholders, to define and elaborate dedicated mechanisms that put the needs and rights of victims at the heart of counter-terrorism responses.

A victim-centred approach actively engages victims of terrorism, without fear of stigma, reprisals or secondary victimization. It further enables their contribution and participation, also in determining the support they need.

The model provisions offer concrete proposals for putting such an approach into action, including through the establishment of a coordination body for victims to manage the delivery of accurate information and services, and through appropriate training for all those in contact with victims of terrorism.

Furthermore, the provisions emphasize the importance of individualized and gender-sensitive assistance, which responds to the specific needs and vulnerabilities of victims, including victims of sexual and gender-based violence by terrorist groups, and children who are victims of terrorism. 

The model provisions answer the call of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which encourages Member States to create national systems of assistance to "promote the needs of victims of terrorism and their families, and facilitate the normalization of their lives".

They also draw upon UNODC’s long experience in providing victim support as well as legislative technical assistance to parliamentarians to address crime, corruption, and terrorism in all their manifestations.

Our work and partnership are more important than ever, as we face a resurgence of terrorism in many parts of the world.

The terrorist threat is diversifying, ranging from the growth of al-Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates in Africa to the advance of far-right extremism in Europe and North America. It is also becoming more lethal as terrorists employ drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles to carry out their attacks.

Terrorist groups are engaging in and profiting from trafficking and other forms of organized crime, while corruption and money laundering are helping to funnel illegal proceeds to finance their operations.

Tackling interlinked terrorism, crime and corruption challenges requires comprehensive action, and in response, UNODC is formally exploring a new collaboration framework with IPU to provide integrated normative assistance, across a broad range of rule of law challenges.

Together, we will work with parliamentarians to further raise awareness and help to identify gaps, develop legislation, and promote international and regional cooperation, in line with UN resolutions and mechanisms.

We will continue to put a special focus on prevention, promoting human rights and empowering women and youth, in line with UNODC’s corporate strategy, to tackle the root causes of terrorism, and to deny terrorists a breeding ground to spread their hateful ideologies, and incite violence.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

Excellencies,

UNODC had the honour of co-organizing the first-ever Global Parliamentary Summit on Counter-terrorism last September in Vienna.

The Summit provided important insights on advancing the parliamentary response to support victims of terrorism and to prevent radicalization and hate speech.

The launch of the model provisions today will help take our joint efforts forward

In closing, allow me to thank our many collaborators in the extensive consultations and drafting process leading to the model provisions, including Professors Ben Saul and Jeanne Sulzer.

My heartfelt thanks go to our colleagues in the UN family, experts, victims’ organizations and victims themselves for their invaluable contributions.

UNODC looks forward to working with IPU and OCT to support Member States with implementing the model legislative provisions, to ensure greater support for victims of terrorism, and help us to build sustainable pathways to a more peaceful world.

Thank you.