Terrorism inflicts unimaginable suffering on its victims, their families, and their communities.
The International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism is an occasion to reflect on friends, loved ones, and fellow human beings who have been targeted by a threat that knows no borders and respects no sanctity.
Through remembrance and tribute, we restore dignity, build solidarity, and promote justice.
We also renew our commitment to victim-centred approaches.
Those who have felt the impact of terrorism first-hand should be at the forefront of every country’s efforts to confront it.
We can keep them front and centre by ensuring that they and their families have full access to justice, including remedies and reparations, that laws and policies give them the support and protection they need, and that investigations into terrorist attacks are prompt, thorough, effective and independent, in order to hold perpetrators accountable.
Victims are also indispensable partners in the fight against terrorism.
They can play an important role in invalidating terrorist narratives and in helping us understand the kind of support that other victims need.
Throughout our work in supporting Member States against terrorism, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime will continue to prioritize the needs and the contributions of victims, including in our newly launched global programme on preventing and countering terrorism, which takes a people-centred approach, with victims’ perspectives at its core.
In the memory of those we have lost to terrorism, and in the resilience of those who survived, we can find strength to stand together against a terrorist threat that is resurgent in many parts of our world.
Today, and every day, we must remember the victims and survivors of terrorism, and honour them by working to achieve justice and prevent more people from falling victim.
Victims of terrorism have a central role to play in ensuring effective investigation and prosecution of terrorist cases. They contribute to collecting evidence, providing testimonies, identifying perpetrators and also countering extremist narratives.
Together with the Lebanese Association for Victims of Terrorism (AVT-L), we are working with partners in Iraq to guarantee victims’ rights during criminal proceedings and promote the rehabilitation and empowerment of victims within their communities through psychological support. AVT-L has more than 10 years of experience in providing support to victims of terrorism in the Middle East, especially in remote locations of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
Through this project, we support the criminal justice system to clearly define the role of victims of terrorism and of witnesses. This includes support and protection while preventing secondary victimization.
The psychological support we provide to witnesses and victims of terrorism is also crucial to ensure their effective participation in criminal proceedings. It serves to protect the rights and the role of victims of terrorism within the national criminal justice system through a victim-centred approach. We focus on key international requirements, in particular:
the role of the media in raising awareness on the vulnerability of victims.
At a workshop providing psychological support to victims of terrorism, Narin (not her real name) pictured herself as a body without a face. “I was abducted by ISIL at the age of 17 and was sold and raped by a dozen men”, she says. “To this day, I still do not know what the fate of my abducted mother is, I still don’t know if she is dead or alive”, she adds.To help victims like Narin through legal and psychological support, UNODC, together with the Lebanese Association for Victims of Terrorism (AVT-L) is implementing a new project funded by the Dutch government.