EU: Roundtable discussion on the impact of counter-terrorism laws on children and on minority ethnic and religious groups

Today, in Brussels, the ICJ held a roundtable discussion on the impact of counter-terrorism laws on specific groups, including children, and ethnic and religious groups.

The roundtable brought together 34 judges, lawyers, NGOs and other experts from countries including Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Portugal, Romania, and Spain to discuss how the rights of children and of ethnic and religious minorities can be best protected in applying counter-terrorism legislation in the courts, especially in light of the EU Directive 2017/541 on Combatting Terrorism.

This was the last of four roundtables held by the ICJ and its partner organizations between April and November 2019 in the framework of the EU funded project “Judges Uniting to Stop Terrorism with International, Constitutional and European law (JUSTICE).

The discussion in the first session of the roundtable addressed the disproportionate impact of counterterrorism laws on ethnic and religious groups. It focused on compliance with the principle of non-discrimination, through safeguards in legislation, in the judicial application of counter-terrorism laws, and in investigation and evidence gathering.

The second session of the roundtable addressed the particular impact of counter-terrorism legislation on children, including the challenges involved in protecting the human rights of children of “foreign fighters” and ensuring the primacy of their best interests in decisions on their return to EU countries. Participants also discussed protection of the human rights of returned children of “foreign fighters” both as victims of terrorism and where they are accused of crimes of terrorism.

See the agenda here.

 This workshop was carried out with the financial support of the European Union and the Open Society Foundations. Its contents are the sole responsibility of ICJ and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the Open Society Foundations.