Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
To support the SRCT's report to GA76 on the Human Rights Dimensions of Technical Assistance and Capacity Building in the Counter-Terrorism and Countering / Preventing Violent Extremism Arenas, October 2021
This thematic study addresses the role of technical assistance and capacity building in the counter-terrorism and countering / preventing violent extremism arenas. The Special Rapporteur observes in general, the important and valuable contribution that technical assistance and capacity building plays in deepening interstate cooperation, affirming solidarity and cooperation between States, and positively enabling human rights and rule of law practice across multiple institutions, stakeholders and systems at national level. She also observes that counter-terrorism practice increasingly involves the provision of capacity building and technical assistance at bilateral, regional, multilateral and global levels. Such practices are often premised on the need for States to enhance their legal and operational frameworks and to strengthen their national capacities to address the threat of terrorism and (violent) extremism.
The provision of counter-terrorism assistance and capacity building comes in the context of unprecedented growth for counter-terrorism institutions, normative frameworks and funding over the two decades. The Special Rapporteur's report will trace and assess the scope of what constitutes technical assistance and capacity building over that time. Her report will address the international legal basis for and scope of assistance and capacity building, the human rights and rule of law implications of assistance and capacity building, the monitoring and evaluation of assistance and capacity building, and the effects at national level of these mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights. Due regard will be given to applicable treaty law, customary law, Security Council Resolutions, General Assembly Resolutions, Human Rights Council Resolutions and other relevant 'soft law' norms.
The Special Rapporteur has previously noted in her 2019 report to the General Assembly (A/73/361) that the growth of counter-terrorism practice has come at express, definable and widespread cost to the rule of law and human rights. In her 2019 report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/40/52) the negative effects of human rights deficient counter-terrorism and P/CVE on civil society was demonstrated. In her 2021 report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/46/36) the consequences of counter-terrorism and P/CVE practice on the human rights of women and girls was benchmarked and established. The Special Rapporteur seeks to assess the extent to which technical advice and capacity building functions to advance human rights compliant counter-terrorism and preventing/countering violent extremism practice. The report will pay particular attention to the impact of assistance of particularly vulnerable or marginalized groups. The report assigns particular important to technology related assistance and/or capacity building, addressing the importance of ensuring that technology transfers occur in a human rights complaint manner, and that new technologies are subject to rigorous human rights assessment, including the capacity of receiving States to implement new technologies in the counter-terrorism area in a human rights' compliant way. The Special Rapporteur will address the role played by regional and international entities in the provision of counter-terrorism capacity building and technical assistance, paying close attention the operationalization of due diligence, as well as safeguarding and protection policies in the provision of assistance. Examples of positive practice will be highlighted.
Objectives of the Report
- To ensure sustained attention to human rights and rule of law complaint global, regional and national governance in the area of counter-terrorism as set out in the priorities of the mandate and mandate holder (A/73/361).
- To better understand the scale and scope of counter-terrorism technical assistance and capacity building, and to audit the extent to which human rights and rule of law plays a meaningful role and/or constraint in their provision.
- To identify the international legal frameworks implicated in technical assistance and capacity building, as a means to better identify State obligations and practice in this area.
- To benchmark the technical assistance and capacity building in counter-terrorism and P/CVE being undertaken by regional and global entities from the vantage point of human rights obligations and clarify (as needed) the legal obligations to protect and promote human rights in these contexts.
- To illuminate the human rights dimensions of counter-terrorism technical assistance and capacity building involving new technologies.
- To better understand how counter-terrorism technical assistance and capacity building affects civil society actors, and whether one can discern patterns in assistance and support that deepens our understanding of the conditions conducive to the prevention of terrorism.
Scope of study and key questions
Stakeholders are invited to address information including but not limited to the following:
- Reflections on what practices constitute technical assistance and capacity building to better understand what kinds of activities fall under the rubric of these frameworks.
- Information concerning the scope and scale of technical assistance and capacity building in the counter-terrorism context, and the relationship of such practices with the practices of States in regulating terrorism.
- Addressing the process by which national and regional bodies decide what kind of technical assistance and capacity building is most necessary in the context of counter-terrorism and which actors are engaged in the determination process.
- Providing examples of good practice in technical assistance and capacity building which advances the protection and promotion of human rights.
- Illuminating where technical assistance and capacity building negatively effects vulnerable groups encompassing but not limited to racial, ethnic and religious minorities, displaced persons, asylum and refugee seekers, victims of systematic human rights violations and gross human rights violations, as well as women, girls and boys.
- Assessing the scope of work by UN and regional entities engaged in technical assistance and capacity building particularly in respect of their 'due diligence' obligations.
- Exploring the provision of technical assistance and capacity building for "new technologies" including but not limited to AI, biometric data collection, integrated data platforms, blockchain, 3D Printing + in the absence of adequate national human rights oversight and regulation.
- Probing practice of technology transfers between States based on counter-terrorism cooperation rationales.
- Given the commitment of the Special Rapporteur to addressing the role of civil society and civic space in counter-terrorism, gaining a better understanding of the value, role and challenges of technical assistance and capacity building bring for civil space, human rights defenders, non-profit organizations and civil society actors broadly defined. Identifying where technical assistance and capacity building has supported, engaged, and advanced the position of civil society.
What and how to submit inputs
The Special Rapporteur invites all interested stakeholders to share concise comments and/or existing or already published material on the Human Rights Dimensions of Technical Assistance and Capacity Building in the Counter-Terrorism and Countering / Preventing Violent Extremism Arenas.
Please note that all submissions will be made public on the website of the Special Rapporteur unless it is indicated that the submission and/or the supporting documentation should be kept confidential.
Kindy send your submissions to:
Email subject line
"Submission for SRCT-GA76 report on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building in CT and P/CVE"
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