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Interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and the Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism

During the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council, the UK delivered a statement in response to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and the Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism.

Read the 'Interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and the Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism' article
The Human Rights Council takes place in the room XX of the Palais des Nations, Geneva. Credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre

Thank you, Mr President.

The United Kingdom would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for the presentation of his latest report. We align ourselves with the EU statement. The relentless rise of ISIL and its affiliates in the Middle East and North Africa region, and their barbarity, demonstrates the need for a clear articulation of the human rights obligations States are under when countering terrorism.

We note that in the report the Special Rapporteur examines in detail the atrocities committed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria. The United Kingdom condemns in the strongest terms the grave crimes committed by terrorist groups around the world, but cannot agree with the Special Rapporteur that the scale of ISIL’s presence makes them responsible for international human rights law obligations. The United Kingdom reaffirms its view that human rights law obligations can only lie with States; we cannot subscribe to the implication that terrorist acts, as such, constitute human rights violations.

The United Kingdom welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s recognition of the important role the UN Security Council has in countering terrorism, particularly in setting a framework for Member States in UNSCRs 2170 and 2178. We note the criticism on due process grounds levied at the UN Al-Qaida Sanctions regime which are an important part of the toolbox available for countering terrorism. The UK continues to be a strong supporter of fair and clear procedures for United Nations sanctions regimes.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for the recommendations made in his report. As may be apparent, much of the unlawful conduct described in the report could meet the definition of both a war crime, and a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute and a terrorist offence. We therefore support his recommendation that Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic become party to the Rome Statute and we welcome his request that States should enact laws in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2170.

We would like to ask the Special Rapporteur how he sees the role of the Council in helping to bring focus on abuses of and violations of HR as being complementary to the role of the UN Security Council in looking at a given security situation?

Thank you.

Published 23 June 2015