Conference volunteers providing support to GNRD

Photo: GNRD
Photo: GNRD
Traducción española Raquel Pazos
20 February 2015

The Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) is an International NGO with the aim to enhance and support both human rights and development by adopting new strategies and policies for real change. From 16 to 17 February 2015, the Norwegian NGO invited 200 experts and politicians from 67 countries to discuss a proposal for a joint international convention against terrorism. GNRD organized the International Conference on Human Rights and Counter Terrorism' in Geneva.  In the background, 20 ICV Conference Volunteers assisted the event in the area of welcoming services.

At the opening session of GNRD’s international conference, the invited speakers called to unite international efforts in the field of counter-terrorism measures, and stressed the need to respect human rights on local and international levels. A member of the Dutch Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Marets Terre Cooley, in a speech at the opening of the conference stressed that Libya, Iraq and Syria began to crumble due to the proliferation of terrorist groups, making a reasonable number of people wonder whether the misery of oppression in any totalitarian regime has become a favorite by his countrymen on the chaos and suffering. 

The conference takes place only a few days after the issuance of the UN Security Council, which has unanimously adopted Resolution 2199. This resolution condemns terrorism in all its forms, as well as the movement of fighters, of which there has been an unprecedented escalation witnessed in many countries due to the growing phenomenon of extremism, and the spread of the influence of radical terrorist groups, such as the so-called Islamic State.

GNRD’s conference participants discussed a new draft agreement on balancing counter-terrorism and human rights, as well as presenting the International Initiative for Human Rights in the fight against terrorism. The attendees also considered anti-terrorism measures applied globally from a human rights perspective and discussed the most relevant security threats, such as the increase of extremism and the suppression of civil liberties, as well as the phenomenon of foreign fighters.

Julie Ward, British Member of the European Parliament, stressed that terrorism has reached unprecedented levels, and recently reached France and Denmark as well as other countries. She emphasized the need for preventative measures in order to control terrorism over the internet and through communication within the framework of the law, while not limiting individual freedoms, and keeping up anti-terrorism measures within the context of international law. She also warned that taping and spying on individuals "has become a formidable threat to civil rights." 

The President of GNRD, Dr. Loai Deeb closed the International Conference on Human Rights and Counter Terrorism, stressing that the conclusions of the meeting should go beyond the definition of terrorism. He called upon intellectuals, experts and politicians to join the efforts to fight against terrorism whilst respecting human rights. 

Dr. Deeb highlighted the direct impact of terrorism on the economy where losses have reached '5 trillion US Dollars'. He also mentioned that the stated expense of terrorism is able to solve the unemployment problem in each country. He further pointed out that the world has witnessed, in the last two years alone, 62,312 terrorist incidents, and in the last 15 years, there were 151,618 such incidents, while the media covered only 39% of them, which means there are many forgotten victims. Dr. Deeb noted that terrorist activities have caused 1,763,802 injuries and 632,716 deaths. Whereas the number of displaced people around the world has reached 18 million.

He added that the world's youth is at risk of getting involved in terrorist activities due to poverty, identity crisis and other deep rooted reasons not at the top of international agenda. He called on stakeholders to follow robust cooperation based methods in order to fight terrorism by broadening the scope of responsibility and cooperation of sectors such as intellectuals, writers, artists, civil society and other relevant parties. Also, he warned that new generations will not forgive us when they know that women are sold in the markets in front of all the world.

Dr. Deeb proposed the new convention dealing with collective cooperation in the fight against terrorism, including the development of international cooperation and coordination mechanisms, and the fight against the root causes of the phenomenon. Further, the convention proposed the training of workers in this field to improve their capability and work on the protection of the human rights system, as well as creating a new international Council for combating terrorism to ensure that safe, swift action and legislation can be implemented. 

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