By Maryant Fernández Pérez

EDRi firmly condemns the Brussels terror attacks as well as other acts of violence and terrorism around the world. While acknowledging the importance of combating terrorism and violent extremism, EDRi is concerned about the disproportionate and misguided responses by certain UN countries in pursuit of this aim.

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In this context, the United Nations (UN) Resolution 30/15 asked the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to issue “a report on the best practices and lessons learned” to show how human rights protection and promotion contribute to prevent and counter violent extremism. On 18 March, EDRi responded to UN Commissioner for Human Rights’ call for input.

Our response to the High Commissioner’s consultation follows a joint open letter to the Commissioner and a joint submission for the UN Human Rights Council that EDRi co-signed on 4 February 2016.

First, we highlight the lack of accuracy, misuse and confusion between and of the concepts of “terrorism” and “violent extremism”.

Secondly, EDRi provides input regarding the threat that counter-terrorism measures is having vis-à-vis our human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as the human right to privacy and the fundamental right to data protection and freedom of expression.

Thirdly, we bring to the attention of the Commissioner the coercion exerted by certain states of private entities without any accountability, international human rights safeguards or respect of the rule of law.

In light of the problems highlighted above, EDRi recommended the Commissioner to follow the recommendations that EDRi-member Article 19 had already outlined. Stakeholders are invited to provide input to the UN Commissioner for Human Rights and his office by 11 April 2016.

OHCHR: Human rights and preventing and countering violent extremism
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/RuleOfLaw/Pages/PCVE.aspx

EDRi: Input on human rights and preventing and countering violent extremism (18.03.2016)
https://edri.org/files/2016-UN-consultation.pdf

Joint statement on Initiatives to “counter and prevent violent extremism” raise serious human rights concerns (04.02.2016)
https://www.article19.org/data/files/Joint_Written_Submission_PVE_HRC31.pdf

Joint open letter for United Nations Human Rights Council regarding panel discussion on “preventing and countering violent extremism and human rights” (04.02.2016)
https://www.article19.org/data/files/Joint_Letter_to_High_Commissioner_PVE.pdf

UN HRC: Resolution on “violent extremism” undermines clarity (08.10.2015)
https://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/38133/en/un-hrc:-resolution-on-%E2%80%9Cviolent-extremism%E2%80%9D-undermines-clarity

(Contribution by Maryant Fernández Pérez, EDRi)

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