Anti-terrorism campaigns worldwide lack human rights grounding – UN expert

Fionnuala Ni Aolain, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. (Photo from the UN News website https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/02/1033602)

UN Special Rapporteur on the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms Fionnuala Ní Aoláin said in her report that most policies countering terrorism worldwide directly contributes to human rights violations.

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Any policy to counter violent extremism must comply with international human rights law.

A United Nations (UN) expert made this recommendation in a report submitted to the 43rd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council last March 4.

UN Special Rapporteur on the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms Fionnuala Ní Aoláin said in her report that most policies countering terrorism worldwide directly contributes to human rights violations.

“Prevention is an important and necessary tool but it will only be effective when it is practiced in a way that protects and affirms rights,” she said.

This was welcomed by Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat who was in Geneva.

In a statement, Cullamat hopes that President Duterte’s administration will heed the UN expert’s recommendation. She said that at present, the “counter-insurgency programs and anti-terror laws are being to justify extrajudicial killings, legal bullying and threats against human rights defenders, including women and environmental activists.”

Anti-terror bill removes safeguards, accountability

Cullamat also cited the ongoing efforts in the Congress to amend the Human Security Act that will result in more “draconian provisions with overboard and vague definitions of terrorism and violent extremism.”

The report is based on Ní Aoláin’s examination of the national, regional and global policies of preventing and countering violent extremism. She noted that the “current approaches to prevent terrorism lack a consistent rule of law or human rights grounding.”

According to Ní Aoláin, most of the targets of such policies are religious groups, minorities and civil society actors. There is also a persistent lack of consultation with the affected communities, the UN expert noted.

“These practices produce alienation and mistrust in the communities we need most to address the global challenges of extremist violence,” she said.

The report also noted the lack of a “robust scientific basis for the current policies and practices aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism and the complete absence of human rights-based monitoring and evaluation, including the UN entities.”

“The United Nations counter-terrorism architecture must do better in protecting human rights and the rule of law when they support and engage with national programmes,” she said.

The report also noted that there is “no precise legal definitions of extremism and violent extremism and the widespread abuses of human rights that that produces.” She also noted the commodification of women and girls to advance policies countering terrorism.

In the report’s recommendation, Ní Aoláin also added that “preventing and countering violence extremism must never be used to stifle peaceful political dissidence, criticism or non-violent protest or serve as a basis for prosecuting individuals engaged in non-violent expression and advocacy.”

The recommendations added that States which have laws, policy, programmes or practice on “extremism” must repeal provisions which are inconsistent with international law. Domestic law meanwhile, must comply with principles of legality, necessity and proportionality, the report read. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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