General Assembly Resolution on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism A/RES/66/171

This resolution adopted by the General Assembly (GA) on 19 December 2011, on the Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism stresses the importance of respecting international law and fundamental freedoms in the combat against terrorism. Repeatedly, the GA underscores that all measures used in the fight against terrorism, must comply with states’ obligations under international law, including international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law. Respect for the right to a fair trial is one of the human rights in particular referred to.

Although the resolution states that effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are not conflicting goals but complementary and mutually reinforcing, the resolution also shows awareness that practice sometimes shows a different reality. Accordingly, the GA expresses serious concern at counter terrorism measures that disregard human rights, fundamental freedoms and humanitarian law. In addition, the resolution reflects the GA’s worries about measures that can undermine human rights and the rule of law, such as limitations to effective scrutiny of counter-terrorism measures.

All things taken together, states are called upon to ensure that any person whose human rights or fundamental freedoms have been violated has access to an effective and enforceable remedy within a reasonable time and that victims of such violations receive adequate, effective and prompt reparations, where appropriate, including by bringing to justice those responsible for such violations. The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism is requested to continue to make recommendations, with regard to preventing, combating and redressing violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of countering terrorism.