When countering terrorism, States are required to respect international human rights. Further, counter-terrorism measures that violate human rights are counterproductive. They may provoke additional acts of terrorism, undermine the effectiveness of law enforcement, and restrict effective international legal cooperation.
The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy “recognize[s] that States may require assistance in developing and maintaining … effective and rule of law-based criminal justice systems, and [encourages] them to resort to the technical assistance delivered, inter alia, by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime”.
The Strategy also identifies “lack of the rule of law and violations of human rights” among the “conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism”, and emphasizes that “effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are not conflicting goals, but complementary and mutually reinforcing”.
UNODC integrates human rights standards into all aspects of its counter-terrorism related legislative assistance and capacity-building work. We support Member States to ensure that domestic counter-terrorism measures are fully compliant with human rights standards and founded on the rule of law.
UNODC has developed various legal and technical assistance tools to support the promotion and protection of international human rights among Member States.
In cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a training module on Human Rights and Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism was developed as part of UNODC’s Counter-Terrorism Legal Training Curriculum. This tool aims to assist national law enforcement and criminal justice training institutions worldwide to deliver more effective training on the human rights aspects of preventing and combating terrorism.
UNODC has also developed a module of the Counter-Terrorism Legal Training Curriculum on Counter-Terrorism in the International Law Context, which includes chapters on international human rights law, international refugee law and international criminal law.
In partnership with Kenyan experts and practitioners, UNODC developed the Kenya Training Manual on Human Rights and Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism. The manual examines the human rights issues that can arise while investigating, prosecuting, and trying terrorist-based offences, through an analysis of Kenyan, regional, and international law.
In collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, UNODC published the Nigeria Training Module on Investigative Interviewing, the Right to Remain Silent and the Prohibition of Torture, which provides guidance on human rights compliant investigative practices in terrorism cases, based on the Mendez Principles on Effective Interviewing and tailored to the Nigerian legal context.
UNODC also provides guidance to Member States on addressing gender dimensions and the role of children. To this end, UNODC developed a Handbook on Gender Dimensions in the Criminal Justice Response to Terrorism, as well as a Handbook on Children Recruited and Exploited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups; the Role of the Justice System. On gender, UNODC also developed country-specific training modules for Nigeria, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.
UNODC furthermore supports efforts of Member States to safeguard and promote the rights of victims of terrorism. This includes Model Legislative Provisions to Support the Needs and Protect the Rights of Victims of Terrorism, which were developed by UNODC together with partners at the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism.
Its work also includes a manual developed in collaboration with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (The Hague) on victims’ role of messengers for peace, aimed at enhancing the capacity of governments and other stakeholders seeking to increase support for victims of terrorism in general, and for those who are willing and ready to become messengers for peace in particular.
This manual followed previous publications, including a publication on Good Practices in Supporting Victims of Terrorism within the Criminal Justice Framework and a Handbook on The Criminal Justice Response to Support Victims of Acts of Terrorism.
Please find below a list of relevant publications, tools and resources:
UNODC coordinates closely with other United Nations entities through participation in the United Nations Global Compact Working Group on Promoting and Protecting Human Rights and the Rule of Law while Countering Terrorism and Supporting Victims of Terrorism, and maintain a strong partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.