Human rights and terrorism

Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/35


The Commission on Human Rights,

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the International Covenants on Human Rights,

Recalling the Declaration on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations, as well as the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by the General Assembly at its fiftieth and forty-ninth sessions, respectively,

Recalling also the United Nations Millennium Declaration adopted by the General Assembly on 8 September 2000 at its fifty-fifth session,

Recalling further the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted in June 1993 by the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/23),

Recalling all previous General Assembly resolutions on the issue of terrorism, including resolutions 46/51 of 9 December 1991, 48/122 of 20 December 1993, 49/185 of 23 December 1994, 50/186 of 22 December 1995, 52/133 of 12 December 1997 and 56/160 of 19 December 2001, as well as its own resolutions 2000/30 of 20 April 2000 and 2001/37 of 23 April 2001,

Recalling also General Assembly resolutions 54/164 of 17 December 1999 and 54/110 of 9 December 1999, in which it decided that the Ad Hoc Committee established by Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 should continue to elaborate a draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism with a view to completing the instrument, should address means of further developing a comprehensive legal framework of conventions dealing with international terrorism, including considering the elaboration of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, and should address the question of convening a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations to formulate a joint organized response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,

Reaffirming the need for the implementation of General Assembly resolution 54/109 of 9 December 1999, in which the Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism,

Noting the importance of General Assembly resolution 55/158 of 12 December 2000, in which the Assembly stressed the need to strengthen further international cooperation between States and between international organizations and agencies, regional organizations and arrangements and the United Nations in order to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomever committed, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and relevant international conventions,

Noting with great concern the growing connection between terrorist groups and other criminal organizations engaged in the illegal traffic in arms and drugs at the national and international levels, as well as the consequent commission of serious crimes, such as murder, extortion, kidnapping, assault, the taking of hostages and robbery,

Alarmed in particular at the possibility that the terrorist groups may exploit new technologies to facilitate acts of terrorism which may cause massive damage, including huge loss of human life,

Mindful that the Security Council adopted resolution 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001, requiring States to adopt counter-terrorism measures, and resolution 1377 (2001) of 12 November 2001, by which it adopted a declaration on the global effort to combat terrorism,

Convinced that terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomever committed, can never be justified in any instance, including as a means to promote and protect human rights,

Bearing in mind that the most essential and basic human right is the right to life,

Bearing in mind also that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations creates an environment that destroys the ideal of free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want, and makes it difficult for States to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Bearing in mind further that terrorism in many cases poses a severe challenge to democracy, civil society and the rule of law,

Recalling in this regard the horrific events of 11 September 2001 in the United States of America, which led to the loss of the lives of several thousand civilians,

Reiterating that all States have an obligation to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to ensure effective implementation of their obligations under international humanitarian law,

Profoundly deploring the large number of civilians killed, massacred and maimed by terrorists in indiscriminate and random acts of violence and terror, which cannot be justified under any circumstances,

Emphasizing the need to intensify the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations at the national level and to enhance effective international cooperation in combating terrorism in conformity with international law, including relevant State obligations under international human rights and international humanitarian law, and to strengthen the role of the United Nations in this respect,

Recognizing the need to improve international cooperation on criminal matters and national measures so as to address impunity, which can contribute to the continued occurrence of terrorism,

Emphasizing that States shall deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens,

Reaffirming that all measures to counter terrorism must be in strict conformity with international law, including international human rights standards and obligations,

Seriously concerned at the gross violations of human rights perpetrated by terrorist groups,

Stressing the growing consciousness of the international community of the negative effects of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations on the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms and on the establishment of the rule of law and democratic freedoms as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the International Covenants on Human Rights,

1. Reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of all acts, methods and practices of terrorism, regardless of their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations, wherever, whenever and by whomever committed, as acts aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy, threatening the territorial integrity and security of States, destabilizing legitimately constituted Governments, undermining pluralistic civil society and the rule of law and having adverse consequences for the economic and social development of the State;

2. Strongly condemns the violations of the right to life, liberty and security;

3. Expresses its solidarity with the victims of terrorism;

4. Condemns incitement of ethnic hatred, violence and terrorism;

5. Urges States to fulfil their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations in strict conformity with international law, including human rights standards and obligations and international humanitarian law, to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever, whenever and by whomever committed, and calls upon States to strengthen, where appropriate, their legislation to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations;

6. Strongly condemns all terrorist acts on individual property, national monuments and historical relics;

7. Urges States to enhance cooperation at the regional and international levels in the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, in accordance with relevant international obligations under human rights instruments and international humanitarian law, with the aim of eliminating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and to further strengthen cooperation with a view to bringing terrorists to justice;

8. Calls upon States to take appropriate measures in conformity with the relevant provisions of national and international law, including international human rights standards, before granting refugee status, with the purpose of ensuring that the asylum-seeker has not planned, facilitated or participated in the commission of terrorist acts, and to ensure, in conformity with international law, that refugee status is not abused by the perpetrators, organizers or facilitators of terrorist acts and that claims of political motivation are not recognized as grounds for refusing requests for the extradition of alleged terrorists;

9. Urges all relevant human rights mechanisms and procedures, as appropriate, to address the consequences of the acts, methods and practices of terrorist groups in their forthcoming reports to the Commission;

10. Invites the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to respond to requests from interested Governments for assistance and advice on ensuring full compliance with international human rights standards and obligations when undertaking measures to combat terrorism;

11. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General (A/56/190), and invites him to continue to seek the views of Member States on the implications of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations for the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and on how the needs and concerns of victims of terrorism might be addressed, including through the possible establishment of a voluntary fund for the victims of terrorism, as well as on ways and means to rehabilitate the victims of terrorism and to reintegrate them into society, with a view to incorporating his findings in his reports to the Commission and the General Assembly;

12. Endorses the decision of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights requesting the Secretary-General to give the Special Rapporteur on terrorism and human rights of the Sub-Commission all the assistance necessary, in order to hold consultations with the competent services and bodies of the United Nations system to complement her essential research and to collect all the needed and up-to-date information and data for the preparation of her second progress report;

13. Requests the Special Rapporteur to give attention in her next report on human rights and terrorism to the questions raised in the present resolution;

14. Decides to remain seized of the matter at its fifty-ninth session.


50th meeting
22 April 2002
[Adopted by a recorded vote of 32 votes to none, with 21 abstentions.
E/2002/23- E/CN.4/2002/200, see chap. XI.]


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