A new counter-terrorism resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council is not a green light for states to widen the scope of law and policies to target and shut down civil society space in the name of preventing terrorist activity. States must ensure full consideration and respect for international human rights laws when adopting measures to combat terrorist groups and engage with NGOs and human rights defenders who have a key role in preventing violent extremism.
Introduced by Egypt, and co-sponsored by states including Algeria and Saudi Arabia – states often leading the hostile global crackdown on civil society space and human rights defenders – UN resolution A/HRC/31/L.13/Rev.1 ‘The effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights’ was adopted on the final sitting day of the 31st session of the Council, with 28 states voting in favor and 14 voting against, with 5 states abstaining.
The resolution has been critiqued by leading NGOs such as ARTICLE 19 as ‘providing potential justification for abusive “counter-terrorism” measures’. The resolution ‘fails to meet the needs of the victims of terrorism, and instead instrumentalises their suffering to distract international scrutiny from the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt and elsewhere,’ ARTICLE 19 said in a statement.