Djibouti, 30-11-2015 – The Inter Governmental Authority on Development Security Sector Program (ISSP) in partnership with the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) are attending a three days workshop attended by seasoned counter terrorism practitioners, experts in national intelligence services, policy makers, judges, public prosecutors, human rights commissioners, police and legal counsels within the IGAD region and the Republic of Tanzania to focus on how human rights and counterterrorism can be a good practice in preventing, investigating and prosecuting terrorism cases in the Horn of Africa region.
For years now the International System has witnessed intensified efforts to counter global threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism in Africa and the world over. The heightened security measures taken by States have been seen by critiques as a risk to some of the fundamental rights and freedoms hence policy makers and implementers being under immense pressure to take prompt and preventive action in confronting terrorist threats and those caught in the acts of terrorism.
The workshop was presided over Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD SSP together with Mr. William Martinez, Supervisory Special Agent with U.S Department of Justice (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and moderated by Dr. Simon Nyambura, Pillar, Head Counter Terrorism and Violence Extremism.
Commander Muluneh in his opening remarks pointed out that terrorism aims at the destruction of human rights, democracy and the rule of law by attacking the values that lie at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations and other international instruments aiming at destroying democratic bases of society, distablizing legitimately constituted governments, jeopardizing peace and security hence threatening social and economic development.
He added that international and regional human rights laws clearly highlight the right and duty of States to protect its people under their jurisdiction from terrorist attacks and interference in the enjoyment of human rights by taking counter terrorism measures to prevent and deter future terrorist attacks and to prosecute those responsible by complying with the State’s obligations under International Law in particularly human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
In agreement, Mr. William Martinez believes that there has to be a balance between jurisdiction and human rights pointing out that fair and humane treatment be given to those involved in terrorism and advised states to look into categorizing sovereignity of crimes and give penalties that befit them.
He pointed out that each of the IGAD Member States have their existing laws on terrorism and through the workshop; experiences, lessons learnt and mechanisms will be shared for each State to adapt and relate to their individual settings and also take advantage of tribal and society influences to combat crime.
Mr. Simon Nyambura cautioned States from being reactionary and to uphold human rights and not be seen in conflict with human rights by being in line with protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as promotion of the respect of rule of law.
He added that by promoting and protecting human rights and rule of law there will be no conflict of goals and institutional barriers but rather work together complimenting, cooperating and reinforcing a counter terrorism strategy that requires an integrated approach and broad based system.
Through a collective effort, the experts have a primary goal during the three days workshop to make an in depth analysis of international framework relating to human rights and counter terrorism and find ways through which it can be applied and how best to deal with terrorist threats and perpetrators not forgetting how to address and limit terrorism causes and consequences.
Adequate mechanisms, capacity building, requisite training and resources still remain a challenge for States to execute their responsibilities.
The workshop is the third in a series of training workshops that have been jointly organized by IGAD SSP and GCTF under the theme ‘Building Capacity and Promoting the Rabat Memorandum of Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector in the Horn of Africa region’