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Statement of Iceland on the misuse of counter-terrorism legislation

Individual interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism

1 March 2019

Statement by Iceland


Mr. President,

Iceland thanks the Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism for her latest report.

We remain deeply concerned about the widespread misuse of counter-terrorism legislation worldwide. The trend of using counter-terrorism legislation to silence human rights defenders, including women and LGBTI rights defenders, is particularly worrying.

The findings of the report that the targeting of civil society is not a random or incidental aspect of counter-terrorism law and practice must be urgently addressed. States must not use the pretext of ‘national security’ to shrink civic space or to arrest or detain individuals exercising their rights and freedoms. 

A vibrant and active civil society play a key role in preventing violent extremism and countering terrorism and the successful implementation of counter-terrorism strategies rely on broad communal support. Any effective counter-terrorism strategy needs to strengthen, not weaken, civil society.

In this context, I want to highlight the importance of the fourth pillar of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy which focuses on measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism. We firmly believe that your mandate Madame Special Rapporteur, is crucial for the implementation of this pillar.

In conclusion, I would like to ask the Special Rapporteur how she views the role of her mandate in the broader UN counter-terrorism architecture?

I thank you.


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