Counter-terrorism should not be an excuse to violate human rights

49th session of the Human Rights Council

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism

15 March 2022

Madam Special Rapporteur,

We thank you for your reports.

OMCT deplores the lack of implementation of the recommendations of the 2010 joint study on global practices in relation to secret detention. Your report today is yet another confirmation that, two decades after 9/11, the global counter terrorism strategy has failed.

Thousands of individuals, including women and children, continue to be held in secret detention sites, with the most horrendous abuses being perpetrated. OMCT follows developments closely, in countries including Libya. OMCT expresses dismay at the continuity of transnational transfers with blatant disregard to the prohibition of refoulement and other basic safeguards.

The systemic and continued abuse of state secrecy clauses is poison to judicial oversight, the rule of law and the right to redress. The lack of action over well documented cases of torture is a continued breach of the absolute prohibition. Gross human rights violations committed in the name of fighting terrorism will not stop as long as the sustained cover up continues.

Through the work of our global Working Group on Torture and Counter-Terrorism we see the widespread misuse of counter-terrorism measures by States to criminalise and silence human rights defenders, including in the context of the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly, in many countries all over the world, such as in Algeria, Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, India, Israel and the OPT, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Venezuela, to name only a few.

An overhaul of the global counter-terrorism strategy that is genuinely built around human rights, not as a rhetoric add on, is more needed than ever.

Madam Special Rapporteur, we would be grateful to know what actions the mandate has foreseen to promote and follow up on the implementation of the recommendations of your report on Uzbekistan.

I thank you.

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