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Terrorism involves the intimidation or coercion of populations or governments through the threat or perpetration of violence. This may result in death, serious injury or the taking of hostages. These acts must be prevented, and the financing, movement and activity of terrorist networks stopped, in order to prevent future violations of human rights.

The victims of terrorism must also have access to an effective remedy and reparations. Victims of terrorism and extremism can play a crucial role in building stronger, more resilient societies.

Terrorism and violent extremism violate the human rights and fundamental freedoms of groups and individuals. However, States define terrorism in different, sometimes ambiguous ways, so domestic legislation does not always protect the human rights of citizens.

Our work

UN Human Rights develops guidance and carries out research on contemporary issues related to human rights and counter-terrorism, such as the use of technology while countering terrorism, and new forms of violent extremism.

We make recommendations concerning the obligation of States to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms while taking actions to counter terrorism. We provide assistance and advice to States, as well as to relevant United Nations bodies.

The UN’s counter-terrorism action is based on the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS). After the creation of the Office of Counter-Terrorism in 2017, UN Human Rights has facilitated coordination with Member States and advised on capacity-building strategies for domestic institutions. This has led to further collaboration, coordination, and assistance in developing human rights compliant counter-terrorism initiatives.

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Who else

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

Established in 2005, this mandate seeks to prevent human rights violations resulting from terrorist activity. In regular thematic reports, the Special Rapporteur examines issues and explores best practice on measures to counter terrorism.

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