Rights & Freedoms While Countering Terrorism: UN Special Rapporteur’s Briefing

Source The United Nations


Media www.rajawalisiber.com – Press Conference by Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

On the Gaza-Israel conflict, Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin said,”it’s not just the party to the conflicts that have obligations here. Other States have obligations under Article One of the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure respect for international humanitarian law.”

Ní Aoláin, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism today (23 Oct) spoke to reporters in New York.

Asked about lessons learnt from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Ní Aoláin said, “Observe the law, uphold the law – no matter how egregious an attack is, it is not a justification for the breach of international humanitarian law. And that’s the lesson here and the object lesson I wonder is whether the lessons will be learned.”

Speaking about her recent report, the Special Rapporteur presented the core analysis and findings of the mandate’s Global Study on the impact of counter-terrorism measures on civil society and civic space.

She said, “I think what I wanted to stress in this study that the challenges of human rights violations and counter-terrorism aren’t abstract, and they’re concrete. They’re sustained and they’re increasingly multi-layered. They’re cumulative, and they increasingly prevent civil society from doing their vital work in multiple places.”

Ní Aoláin reiterated, “Securitization, security measures counter-terrorism, preventing and countering violent extremism is actually layered in on top of existing structural discrimination against hardened historically marginalized groups.”

She continued, “I think what’s clear is that these have profound effects on civic space, we see just a massive, sustained shutdown on civic space, the choking of civic space in so many countries, but also that these sort of use of these kinds of measures and have direct consequences for both variable and non-direct rights.”

The Special Rapporteur augmented her findings from the technical visit to the Northeast of the Syrian Arab Republic and addresses several legal issues, including the question of responsibility under international law, in relation to the situation of mass and arbitrary detention of an estimated 70,000 persons in various detention facilities in the Northeast of Syria.

She said, “The scale of human rights violations that I found in those detention facilities should concern us all. I want to highlight egregious violations of the rights of the child in multiple closed camps, prisons and detention facilities. Every single one. I would say that to use the word ‘camp’ to describe any of these places is a misnomer. These are all places of detention, which no one can leave from, and which there is no process of law justifying detention. And all of these places are places where torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is right.”

Ní Aoláin highlighted, “I Think it’s easy to forget that you have over 70,000 people detained in these various places of detention in northeast Syria. And the vast majority of that population is a child population. And this makes northeast Syria, the largest detention site for children on the grounds of terrorism anywhere in the world.”

She concluded, “Life cradle to grave detention of children who have had the misfortune to be born in a particular geography, and to particular parents should simply not be tolerated by a civilized international community.”

the Special Rapporteur called on the detaining authority to “as a minimum adhere to common Article Three of the Fourth Geneva Convention and to ensure that there is ongoing human rights oversight to every place of detention and every category of detainee in the territory.”

The Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective.

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