(Washington, D.C.) Amnesty International welcomes the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council to host a discussion on the human rights of victims of terrorism. A panel took place today at the Council in Geneva, Switzerland. Amnesty International hopes the discussions will mark a further step towards better respect for the human rights of victims of terrorism and other victims of violence by armed groups. A representative of Amnesty International’s Security with Human Rights campaign was present to participate in the discussions.
One of the main aims of the Security with Human Rights campaign is to ensure that the human rights of such victims are better recognized, respected and fulfilled: especially the rights of victims to justice, reparation and truth.
International standards on the rights of victims more generally include the 1985 U.N. Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power and the 2005 U.N. Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law.
In 2008, the U.N. Secretary-General convened a Symposium on Supporting Victims of Terrorism, which made recommendations for the better protection of the human rights of victims of terrorism at national and international levels. The Council of Europe in 2005 had adopted Guidelines on the Protection of Victims of Terrorist Acts, which apply on a regional basis.
In its 2008 Report, Security and Human Rights: Counter-Terrorism and the United Nations, Amnesty International called on states and inter-governmental bodies similarly to adopt guidelines to ensure that the rights of victims are respected in a framework that ensures the protection of the human rights of all persons. The organization suggested a set of principles derived from the existing standards, as a guide.
Full implementation of such standards would go a long way towards improving respect for the human rights of victims of terrorism and other violence by armed groups.
"To this end, we are seeking to build a campaign of solidarity with survivors, and family members of victims, and will campaign for their right to access and receive effective remedy and reparation – in all of its components – for the harm they have suffered," said Amnesty International. "This may involve observing trials and helping victims receive adequate financial compensation and other assistance to rebuild their lives in so far as that is possible in light of the devastating consequences."
"In parallel to this, we will continue to work on our long-standing demand that armed groups end all attacks that target civilians or fail to discriminate between military and civilian targets, and that governments thoroughly investigate such attacks, and bring those responsible to justice through fair trials," said the human rights organization.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
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