Human rights of victims of terrorism: new ICJ compilation

On the occasion of the second United Nations’ International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to Victims of Terrorism, the ICJ has today published a compilation of international sources on human rights of victims of terrorism.

The compilation features a preface by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Ms Fionnuala Ni Aolain.

It collects relevant UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, and Security Council resolutions; findings and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur; and other UN and regional sources.

Human rights of victims of terrorism are set to receive new attention and focus at the global level.

Among important current developments are the following:

  • The Human Rights Council’s most recent renewal, in March, of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur, highlighted and endorsed the ongoing efforts of current Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ni Aolain to mainstream and highlight the human rights of victims of terrorism in relation to country visits and thematic work carried out by the mandate.
  • In June in New York, a group of States led by Afghanistan and Spain launched a “Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism” with the aim of bringing additional focus and activity at the United Nations to this topic.
  • In July the General Assembly adopted for the first time a resolution on “Enhancement of international cooperation to assist victims of terrorism”.
  • The UN Office of Counter-Terrorism is preparing to convene a global Congress of Victims of Terrorism in June 2020.

Many governments have long invoked the suffering of victims of terrorism in seeking to justify counter-terrorism measures that do not comply with human rights law, or indeed the rule of law more generally, while failing in practice to adopt and implement concrete measures at the national or global level to respect, protect and fulfil the actual human rights of victims of terrorism.

The ICJ accordingly welcomes the renewed focus and cooperation within the United Nations on concrete measures to ensure that the human rights of victims of terrorism are fully respected, protected and fulfilled.

Civil society, including groups that specifically represent victims as well as other organizations with a range of relevant experience and expertise, has an important role to play, not only in implementing but also in helping to shape those efforts.

The ICJ hopes the present publication will be found useful by all engaged in these processes, and looks forward to further engagement and progress towards the better realization of human rights of victims of terrorism in the years to come.

For more information, contact un(a)icj.org

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