While states are responsible for taking all due measures to protect their nationals and others against terrorist attacks and to bring perpetrators to justice, it is imperative that anti-terrorism measures comply with OSCE commitments and obligations under international human rights law.
Respecting and promoting human rights can be among the most effective methods of preventing and combating terrorism. Counter-terrorism measures that violate international human rights standards are counter-productive. They undermine the rule of law and the credibility of public authorities, as well as their ability to address the terrorist threat, diminishing participating States’ long-term security.
A comprehensive approach to combating terrorism requires preventive action. ODIHR has initiated programmes intended to promote human rights, build democratic institutions, and strengthen the rule of law as key components that enable states to address the various social, economic, political, and other factors that engender conditions in which terrorist and extremist organizations may recruit or win support.
ODIHR provides support to participating States through a range of activities aimed at protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in countering terrorism in the whole OSCE region:
ODIHR provides advice and analysis on key human rights issues, as well as on the conditions that may foster and sustain terrorism. ODIHR has produced a number of background papers and organized expert meetings focusing on civil society, victims of terrorism, radicalization and the prevention of terrorism, incitement to terrorism, and international co-operation in counter-terrorism, among others.
ODIHR has developed a training module on anti-terrorism and human rights, as well as a set of expert resources, in particular a manual called Countering Terrorism, Protecting Human Rights. The training module is aimed at providing public officials and counter-terrorism practitioners with a better understanding of the main human rights issues that arise while addressing terrorism and ways to ensure the protection of human rights. ODIHR supports the implementation of the training module as a sustainable component of national training programmes in police academies, judicial institutions, and other relevant institutions within participating States.
ODIHR provides technical assistance to OSCE participating States, upon request, in support of drafting anti-terrorism legislation and strengthening existing legislation in line with international human rights standards. ODIHR has developed an online legislative database (legislationline.org) that is intended as a resource for lawmakers in the OSCE region, while also guiding ODIHR's work in providing technical assistance to participating States with respect to their implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and the 13 international conventions and protocols on anti-terrorism.
ODIHR works closely with the OSCE’s Action against Terrorism Unit and Strategic Police Matters Unit. It also co-operates with other international and regional organizations working in the field of anti-terrorism, in particular the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Council of Europe.