HRC37: Counterterrorism, emergency powers, and the protection of civic space

HRC37: Counterterrorism, emergency powers, and the protection of civic space - Civic Space

An armed guard outside the offices of the national newspaper 'Cumhuriyet' (Republic).

A side event at the 37th Session of the UNHRC

2 March 2018, 15:00 – 16.30

Palais Des Nations, Room XI


In recent years, the use of exceptional national security and emergency powers to combat terrorism has become increasingly common.  The international instruments recognize that respect for human rights and rule of law are the basis of the fight against terrorism.

However, counterterrorism measures and emergency powers have increasingly resulted in or been used to restrict fundamental freedoms, including the rights to assembly, association and expression.  In this context, it is necessary for states and civil society to increase their understanding of the relationship between entrenched emergency powers and sustained human rights violations and to further elaborate guidelines and good practices that will return respect for human rights to the center of state efforts to combat terrorism.

This event aims to elevate attention and further explore the pernicious effects of states of emergency and emergency powers on human rights and fundamental freedoms with particular attention to the rights of freedom of association, assembly, and expression. It will also address how states of emergency often facilitate targeting and undermining the work of human rights defenders.

The event is organized by the Civic Space Initiative (CSI).


Professor Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

Kerem Altiparmek, Ankara University, Faculty of Political Science

Yared Hailemariam, Director, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia

Lisa Oldring, Rule of Law and Democracy Section, OHCHR

Sonia Tanic, Representative to the United Nations, International Federation for Human Rights


Nicholas Miller, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law