Strengthening Juvenile Justice Systems in the counter-terrorism context

Community of practice

The effects of terrorism and counter-terrorism measures on the enjoyment of children’s rights

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With terrorist acts making the news almost every day, the threat of terrorism and the means to fight it are becoming a key concern for policy makers, law enforcement agencies and the population at large. Governments have a responsibility to protect those within their jurisdiction from terrorist attacks. However, any attempt to counter terrorism raises the question of its compatibility with international human rights law and standards. Often, government responses to fear of terrorism and radicalisation result in excessive measures that infringe human rights, be it through a vague or overbroad definition of terrorist acts or by granting excessive powers to law enforcement agencies. The Human Rights Council, in its resolution 31/30, recalls that “the objectives of countering terrorism and of the protection and promotion of human rights are not conflicting but complementary and mutually reinforcing”.

Terrorism has devastating consequences on civilians, often directly impacting the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. But the impact of terrorism and counter-terrorism measures on children are heightened on account of their age and the fact that they are simultaneously left out of the debates around preventing terrorism and radicalisation.  

This submission was made in response to the call for input for OHCHR's report on terrorism and human rights.