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Geneva, 9 September 2014 – The International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights (IIPJHR) and the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) hosted a side-event within the 27th session of the Human Rights Council on the latest development in the field of human rights and counter-terrorism.

Mr. Mohamed Ouzgane, Director of the Department of Public Liberties at the Ministry of Interior of Morocco, provided a multi-dimensional overview of radicalization and the challenges presented by terrorism. Mr Ouzgane argues that radicalization prevention should be implemented through social inclusion of vulnerable groups, empowerment of women and counter-terrorism tools within the framework of international agreements.

Ms. Nahida Sobhan, a Minister at the UN Permanent Mission of Bangladesh in Geneva, stressed the importance of tackling the phenomenon of terrorism using early prevention and targeting the root causes of radicalization, such as poverty, discrimination and human rights violations.

Dr. Sandra Krähemann from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law identified the issue of foreign fighters as one of the most relevant challenges for international security. Dr. Krähemann emphasized the threat of fighters returning to their homeland after taking part in hostilities in other countries. According to Dr. Krähemann, the states should seriously reconsider the legal framework for handling foreign fighters upon their return. They should not be legally prosecuted with charges of terrorism, but should instead be penalized for war crimes they have commited in conflict zones.   

Dr. Imène Ajala, Project Manager at the IIPJHR, outlined the challenges posed by modern technology in the radicalization and recruitment of foreign fighters. She also emphasized the importance of enhancing human rights in all terrorism prevention measures.

Ms. Anna Zotova, Head of the Human Rights and Terrorism Department for GNRD, concluded with a brief summary of the most common violations of human rights law committed by states under the framework of countering terrorism, and stressed the importance of enhancing transparency of counter-terrorism efforts. She also pointed out that that there is a need for an international mechanism that would serve as a platform for cooperation between states in securing human rights while countering terrorism. She then presented the International Initiative on Human Rights and Counter-terrorism, launched by GNRD, and invited all interested parties to participate in an upcoming international conference, scheduled for February 2015 in Geneva.