High-Level Virtual Convening on UN Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights

In the nearly two decades since 9/11, the international community has implemented counter-terrorism laws and policies intended to make the world safer. Unfortunately, these measures have at times violated human rights, hampered peacebuilding, and obstructed delivery of humanitarian and development assistance. Two decades on, and with the Covid-19 crisis now reshaping the world, it is critical that we take stock of how we can improve counter-terrorism measures while protecting rights, facilitating delivery of aid, and building peaceful societies.

Organized by numerous NGOs, included core members of the Global NPO Coalition on FATF, this High-Level Convening on UN Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights brought together representatives of UN Member States, UN offices, and civil society to assess the impact of counter-terrorism measures on human rights, peacebuilding, and humanitarian and development assistance. Participants examined the effectiveness and inclusivity of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and UN counter-terrorism bodies, reflected on the implications of UN counter-terrorism policies shaping Covid-19 responses, and identified priority areas for reforming the UN counter-terrorism architecture. By assembling diverse stakeholders, this event aimed to foster discussion on how together we can move toward a more inclusive, people-centered approach to security in a post Covid-19 world. It is also hoped that it will lead to an improved UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the upcoming 75th Session of the General Assembly. AGENDA: Plenary Opening Session Ms. Hina Jilani, co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Women’s Action Forum and former UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders Ambassador Kais Kabtani, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations Ms. Navi Pillay, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ambassador Agustín Santos Maraver, Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations Moderator: Ms. Vivian Newman Pont, Executive Director, Center for Law, Justice, and Society (Dejusticia), Colombia Thematic

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session 1: Understanding the Impacts of UN Counter-Terrorism Measures on Human Rights, Humanitarian Assistance, and Peacebuilding

Ms. Hamsatu Allamin, Executive Director, Allamin Foundation, Nigeria
Mr. Joel Charny, Executive Director, Norwegian Refugee Council-USA
Ms. Sophie Haspeslagh, Assistant Professor, American University in Cairo, member of Security Policy Alternatives Network

Moderator: Ms. Letta Tayler, Senior Researcher and counterterrorism lead, Crisis and Conflict Division, Human Rights Watch

Breakout Session 2: A Human Rights-based Approach to Victims

Mr. Naseer Ahmed Faiq, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Ms. Sara Hossain, lawyer at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and an honorary executive director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust
Mr. David Izquierdo Ortiz de Zárate, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations
Ms. Jessica Murphy, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Mr. Matt Pollard, Senior Legal Adviser & UN Representative, Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

Moderator: Mr. Martin O’Brien, Director, Social Change Initiative

Breakout Session 3: Assessing the impact of adopting a 'security' lens in response to Covid-19

Dr. Sehar Iqbal, Founder and Director, Sajid Iqbal Foundation (Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir)
Dr Mutuma Ruteere, Director, Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (Kenya)
Martin Scheinin, first United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism

Moderator: Ben Hayes, Director, AWO a new data rights agency; fellow, Transnational Institute  

Plenary Closing Session

Ms. Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York
Mr. David Lewis, Executive Secretary, Financial Action Task Force Ambassador
Olof Skoog, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

Moderator: Ms. Yasmine Ahmed, Executive Director, Rights and Security International