HRC52 – Item 10 – Interactive Dialogue – Counter-terrorism

Human Rights House Foundation statement

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Anti-terrorism and anti-extremism legislation continues to be used as a pretext to attack those involved in human rights work, and can have a chilling effect on civil society.

In the Russian Federation, anti-terrorism laws are used to target human rights defenders and journalists, specific ethnic and religious minorities, as well as political opposition groups.

Furthermore, anti-terrorism laws can grant sweeping powers to law enforcement and security forces to imprison suspects with virtual impunity. We continue to call for the release of Server Mustafayev and Emir-Usein Kuku, Crimean Tatar human rights defenders, who have been imprisoned under such legislation, along with many others, by the occupying Russian authorities in Crimea.

Finally, Belarus has expanded the scope of the death penalty as a possible outcome for attempted “terrorism” crimes. Given the current practice of arbitrary qualification of protest actions as “terrorist acts” and lack of independence of the judiciary, this may lead to a much wider application of the death penalty, including for reasons of political dissent.

One of our partner organisations, Belarusian Association of Journalists, has just been named an extremist organisation by the Government of Belarus in recent weeks.

We call on all delegations to condemn such measures.

Thank you.