Side event at the Human Rights Council: counterterrorism, emergency powers, and the protection of civic space

This side event at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council takes place on Friday, 2 march, 15:00-16:30, room XI of the Palais des Nations. It is organized by the Civic Space Initiative (CSI) and co-sponsored by the ICJ.

In recent years, the use of exceptional national security and emergency powers to combat terrorism has become increasingly common.

The international instruments recognize that respect for human rights and rule of law are the basis of the fight against terrorism.

However, counterterrorism measures and emergency powers have increasingly resulted in or been used to restrict fundamental freedoms, including the rights to assembly, association and expression.

In this context, it is necessary for states and civil society to increase their understanding of the relationship between entrenched emergency powers and sustained human rights violations and to further elaborate guidelines and good practices that will return respect for human rights to the center of state efforts to combat terrorism.

This event aims to elevate attention and further explore the pernicious effects of states of emergency and emergency powers on human rights and fundamental freedoms with particular attention to the rights of freedom of association, assembly, and expression. It will also address how states of emergency often facilitate targeting and undermining the work of human rights defenders.


  • Professor Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human
    rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
  • Kerem Altiparmak, Ankara University, Faculty of Political Science
  • Yared Hailemariam, Director, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
  • Lisa Oldring, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Sonia Tanic, Representative to the United Nations, International Federation for Human Rights


  • Nicholas Miller, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Coffee/croissants served at 14:45
For more information contact:,
The event will be livestreamed on the @CIVICUS Facebook page

Universal – Counterrorism and Civic Space – News – Events – 2018 – News (Event flyer in PDF)