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  • Author: Chuck Thiessen
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In response to the threat of violent extremism, the UN has adopted a comprehensive approach that involves both aligning ongoing interventions with the goals of preventing violent extremism (PVE) and implementing PVE-specific programming. These initiatives aspire to use human rights-based approaches as opposed to hard-security counterterrorism responses. To date, however, there has been inadequate research on how the UN and other international organizations can promote human rights as part of their PVE programming. This issue brief introduces findings on the strategic shift of UN peacebuilding interventions toward PVE and the barriers these interventions face to protecting human rights, drawing on research conducted in Kyrgyzstan. It concludes that PVE approaches to peacebuilding are fundamentally ambiguous, which may be hindering promotion of human rights. These ambiguities lie both in the terminology and strategies of intervention and in the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism. By clarifying its approach to PVE, the UN can dilute the inherent contradiction in its dual role as a critic and supporter of host states and reduce the odds that its interventions legitimize human rights violations.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Debarre
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In the past decade, counterterrorism measures have had an increasingly adverse impact on the provision of medical care and the conduct of principled humanitarian action in armed conflict settings. Whether inadvertently or not, they have impeded, and at times prevented, the provision of essential and lifesaving aid, often in violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). This paper aims to assist the Security Council, relevant UN organs, UN member states, and other stakeholders in upholding their obligations under IHL. It maps the UN counterterrorism framework and looks into the extent to which it guides states in complying with these obligations. In doing so, it offers several recommendations for the way forward: All UN resolutions and other UN and national policies that pertain to counterterrorism should contain an exemption for humanitarian activities. Every relevant UN counterterrorism measure should continue to reiterate that counterterrorism efforts need to comply with international law. Humanitarian actors should engage with UN counterterrorism structures more actively, strategically, and systematically. UN bodies that engage in counterterrorism should systematically include humanitarian actors in relevant conversations. The UN Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate and Office of Counter-Terrorism should better integrate IHL considerations into their work. Member states, UN entities, humanitarian actors, counterterrorism and sanctions experts, and other stakeholders should step up efforts to start a wide political discussion on tensions between counterterrorism and humanitarian action.
  • Topic: Health, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus