The event is about the human rights compliant responses to the threat posed by foreign fighters. In the opening remarks, Mr. Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, noted the dilemma of states. On the one hand, states are responsible to protect civilians against terrorism; on the other hand, they should respect human rights of the terrorists. In many cases, states are concerned that they do not have guidance to implement counter-terrorism. In this regard, a guidance document was offered in this meeting.
Mr. Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, highlighted several points in the guidance document. He firstly emphasized that travel ban should not be imposed on a broad population; instead, it can only be issued if such person is a suspected terrorist. He also underlined that information gathered through torture should be minimized. Furthermore, he called for investigation when state agencies violate human rights of the suspects.
Ms. Fionnuala Ni Aolain, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, agreed that the return of foreign fighters must be in compliance with human rights law. In addition, she focused on the legal framework of counter-terrorism. She reminded the participants that the far-reaching UN global strategy on counter-terrorism could possibly intervene criminal law in a domestic sphere. In the end, speakers acknowledged the challenges of maintaining human rights when dealing with foreign fighters, which includes the reintegration of foreign fighters in their community.
Meeting: Launch event “Human Rights-Compliant Responses to the Threat Posed by Foreign Fighters” organized by OHCHR, Switzerland and Belgium
Date/Location: Thursday 28th June 2018; 13:15-14:45; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY.
Mr. Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations;
Mr. Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights;
Ms. Michele Coninsx, Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate;
Ms. Fionnuala Ni Aolain, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism;
Mr. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations;
Ms. Letta Tayler, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch.
Written by WIT Representative Vivian Wang