UN | ICJ Briefs Members of UN Security Council on the Need to Integrate Human Rights in Counter-terrorism

1 December 2009

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) yesterday briefed the members of the UN Security Council on the impact of counter-terrorism policies on human rights and on ways to re-affirm and integrate human rights into the UN, and in particular the Security Council’s response to terrorism.

The ICJ is encouraged by the constructive exchange on the full integration of human rights into a comprehensive response to terrorism. “It is vital to make human rights a central and visible part of the Security Council’s counter-terrorism approach. It was encouraging to see convergence of views. This may ultimately strengthen the universal response to terrorism and needs to be translated into practice”, said ICJ President Mary Robinson.

Mary Robinson and Hina Jilani presented the findings of one of the most comprehensive studies undertaken on terrorism and human rights by a high-level panel of eminent jurists on which they served. The report released by the ICJ earlier this year (‘Assessing damage, urging action’) provides compelling evidence of the erosion of human rights and the rule of law and calls for stocktaking at the global, regional and national level to ensure full human rights protection while countering terrorism.

During the meeting, the ICJ raised key human rights issues to be reaffirmed and integrated into the work of the Security Council and its counter-terrorism bodies. It made proposals on how the Counter-terrorism Committee (CTC) and its Executive Directorate (CTED) could strengthen human rights and the rule of law when providing advise, guidance or facilitating technical assistance to States in the implementation of Security Council resolutions. It stressed the need to include a human rights component especially in country visits undertaken by CTED.

The ICJ also reiterated the urgent need for due process in the sanctioning of designating individuals and entities on counter-terrorism list. The ICJ called in particular for a more substantive listing and de-listing process, strict time-limits and the establishment of an independent remedy that allows those listed to effectively challenge designations.

“It is important that the UN, including the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies, find practical ways of integrating human rights into their work. We will continue to follow with great interest the outcomes of the present review of the 1267 Committee and the Counter-terrorism’s Committee’s internal review”, said Mary Robinson.

The ICJ wishes to express its appreciation to the delegation of Mexico for convening the meeting. The ICJ appreciates the high-level attendance and engagement by members of the Security Council, incoming members and experts from CTED, the 1267 Monitoring Team, the 1540 Expert Group and the Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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