Promoting and Protecting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism

General Assembly Resolution 48/122 (1993) "condemns all acts, methods and practices of terrorism [...] as activities aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy [...] undermining pluralistic civil society and having adverse consequences on the economic and social development of States."  The Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC believes that to effectively combat terrorism while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is not only possible but also necessary.  Indeed, effective counter-terrorism measures and respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms are complementary and mutually reinforcing objectives which must be pursued together as part of States' duty to protect individuals within their jurisdiction.   The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy further reinforces the importance of respect for human rights in any effective counter-terrorism strategy, dedicating one of the four pillars of its Plan of Action to "Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism".

UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch is working to mainstream human rights standards into all aspects of its counter-terrorism related legislative assistance and capacity-building work. The Branch supports Member States to ensure that domestic counter-terrorism measures are fully compliant with human rights standards and founded on the rule of law.

As part of its efforts to integrate human rights training into its technical assistance, the Branch has developed, in cooperation with Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a training module on Human Rights and Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism as part of its Counter-Terrorism Legal Training Curriculum. This tool contributes to enhancing the ability of national law enforcement and criminal justice training institutions worldwide to effectively deliver training on the human rights aspects of preventing and combating terrorism.

Additionally, in 2017, the Terrorism Prevention Branch published a Kenya Training Manual on Human Rights and Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism, jointly produced with the UNODC's Office for Eastern Africa and Kenyan experts and practitioners. It examines human rights issues that arise in the course of the investigation, prosecution, and trial of terrorism offences, through an analysis of Kenyan law, as well as regional and international law.

The Branch also coordinates closely with other United Nations agencies through participation in the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Working Group on Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism and has a strong partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


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