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:

  • 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.
  • Training session on human rights and counter-terrorism at the NHRI Academy held in Tbilisi, Georgia (June 2016)
    This year, the NHRI Academy featured a session dedicated to the protection of human while countering terrorism. Following to this training, several members expressed their wish to continue to build capacities in this area, including by dedicating ENNHRI’s General Assembly Seminar to this subject.
  • General Assembly Seminar on human rights and counter-terrorism (October 2016)
    On the occasion of ENNHRI’s second General Assembly (ENNHRI 2), ENNHRI is holding an all-day Seminar on human rights and counter-terrorism. The Seminar is meant to provide a forum for European NHRIs and ENNHRI’s partners to discuss the current interplay between counter-terrorism measures and human rights, both at the national and European levels.