U.S. Statement at the HRC Panel on the Effects of Terrorism

Panel on the Effects of Terrorism on the Enjoyment of Human Rights
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
June 30, 2015 – Geneva

The United States welcomes this Council’s continuing attention to the issue of protecting human rights while countering terrorism.  It is essential that this body returns to consensus on how best to further address this important issue.

The United States views the promotion of human rights as a critical component of countering terrorism and violent extremism.  We must avoid narrowly addressing only the abuses of non-state actors.  If we do that, we will risk losing sight of the role States play in this effort.  When States commit human rights violations in the fight against terrorism, they are playing into the hands of terrorists, who use a State’s actions to legitimize their narrative that the government seeks to protect itself and not the people.  Thus, States must ensure that any measures taken to counter violent extremism comply with all their obligations under international law.

States can facilitate effective actions to counter-terrorism by protecting the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association and by not constraining the activities and funding of civil society.  The United Nations has an important role to play in this regard.  We look forward to the contributions of the UN Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force’s Working Group on Promoting and Protecting Human Rights and the Rule of Law while Countering Terrorism, for which OHCHR is the Chair.