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HRC29 Nordic statement: Respond to terrorism by reinforcing respect for human rights

Tuesday 30 June 2015
Nordic Statement

Panel on the effects of terrorism
on the enjoyment by all persons of human rights and fundamental freedoms

[Mr. President,]
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic Countries.
We would first of all take this moment to express our deepest condolences to the victims and their families of the tragic terrorist attacks that hit Somalia, Tunisia, Kuwait and France last Friday.

The scourge of terrorism affects all regions of the world - the Nordic countries being no exception. Sorrow and outrage inevitably wraps a nation when hit by terrorism. It can be challenging to find a measured reaction to terror when it hits your own house.
Yet, we agree among us, that there is essentially only one rational response to terrorism. It is not to reinstate death penalty, it is not to introduce states of emergencies, it is not to torture, it is not to suppress civil society, freedom of expression or freedom of religion. As the High Commissioner for Human Rights so accurately noted in his opening of this Council session: "Repressing human rights is not a solution: it is a contributing cause".

The only rational and effective response to terrorism is to reinforce the respect for human rights - to fight hate speech, discrimination, suppression, injustice and marginalization. We also need to counter extremist narratives. In his opening address, the High Commissioner pointed out that extremists have placed the subordination of women, and the brutal denial of their rights at the heart of their strategy - and that women's rights should be at the heart of ours. We couldn't agree more and a primary objective for the Nordic countries here in the Council is to continuously advance the promotion and protection of women’s full and equal enjoyment of all human rights.
In the same vein, the respect and protection of human rights need to be ensured when we investigate acts of terrorism and when we prosecute terrorists alongside all other criminals and murderers in our societies. As well as when we cooperate internationally to avoid safe havens for terrorists or any other criminals. 

Clearly, where terror organizations control entire cities or regions - as we see it in Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Nigeria - and as such assume state-like functions, the question of how states can protect its populations from human rights abuses and atrocities becomes more complicated.

We would like to ask the panel to elaborate on how they see governments' responsibility to protect their populations in areas where governments have de facto lost control.