Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism

Manifestation against emergency measures in France © Flickr / Valentin Charlier

NHRIs are important actors to advise on human rights compliance of counter-terrorism measures, monitor the human rights situation, and promote human rights in these challenging contexts.

Counter-terrorism measures can impact on human rights in a variety of manners, including through the introduction of discriminatory policing and security activities, mass surveillance, emergency measures with derogations from international human rights standards, as well as through restrictions on public assembly.

NHRIs’ core functions of monitoring, advising, complaints-handling and awareness-raising are all particularly well-suited to address the multi-dimensional challenges counter-terrorism measures may pose, and remind about the importance of respecting human rights, as the very basis of social cohesion and security.

ENNHRI has initiated several activities on this topic, following the growing need of its members for increased knowledge-sharing and capacity-building in the area:

  • ENNHRI Workshop - Human Rights Implications of (Counter) Terrorism & the Role of NHRIs
    Between 11-13 September 2018, ENNHRI’s Capacity Building Workshop on the Human Rights Implications of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism gathered a wide range of NHRIs, where their roles in such contexts were discussed. The event was hosted by the Northern Irish NHRI, at the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) of Ulster University in Belfast.
  • Brainstorming meeting on “Protecting Human Rights While Countering Terrorism” in Paris, France (May 2016)
    ENNHRI and the Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights jointly organised a high-level brainstorming meeting to share good practices and expertise, where NHRI representatives explored the role, opportunities and responsibilities of NHRIs in the area of counter-terrorism.