The “Promotion and Protection of Human Rights” meeting focussed on a new mandate that addresses the importance of combating terrorism while at the same time protecting human rights and putting a special view on gender inclusivity. F. Ni Aolain of Ireland, who was recently promoted to Special Rapporteur, was responsible for writing this mandate.
The Special Rapporteur outlined four key points regarding the pressing issues of terrorism and human rights. First, the normalization of atrocities will not help solve the issue of terrorism and will only exacerbate the problem. Additionally, an excessive amount of laws is not always effective and can often create arbitrariness and inconsistencies. Also, the advancement of a civil society is threatened by terrorism and the rights of people, especially marginal groups, are at risk. Lastly, efficiency of counter terrorism involves taking gender into account, specifically how women are impacted by extremism and how first-hand accounts from victims of terrorism are essential for global discussions.
The Netherlands, Norway, Ireland, Belgium, and Mexico all similarly asked for elaboration on the role of civil society in preventing radicalization and terrorism. Some countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Iraq, and Qatar all voiced their unique and localized perspective on terrorism and human rights. Finally, various other countries viewed the pre-existing human rights measures of the United Nations as sufficient enough and saw the mandate as repetitive.
The Special Rapporteur responded by reiterating that the mandate will specifically address human rights protection and that civil societies have the power and responsibility to help lessen terrorism. The Special Rapporteur also stated that including victims’ accounts, especially women’s perspectives, will provide a more effective forum to mitigate terrorism and promote human rights protections.
Meeting title: Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Date/Location: Wednesday, October 18, 2017; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers: Madame F. Ni Aolain, Special Rapporteur
Written by: David Jansen