Foreign Terrorist Fighter Laws: Human Rights Rollbacks Under un Security Council Resolution 2178

In: International Community Law Review

Since 2013, at least 47 countries from Australia to Uzbekistan have enacted laws and regulations to stop their citizens from joining extremist armed groups such as the Islamic State. A majority of these “foreign terrorist fighter” measures were enacted to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 of September 2014. In a grave omission, Resolution 2178 does not limit the actions that governments may designate as “terrorism” or “terrorist”, leaving them free to craft dangerously open-ended definitions. At risk are non-violent protesters, journalists, political opponents, civil society members, and ethnic or religious groups, particularly Muslims. The “foreign terrorist fighter” measures that could target them include warrantless searches, prolonged detention without charge, travel bans, loss of dual citizenship, convictions in sham trials, and harsh punishments including death. Collectively, these measures erode international human rights and rule of law.

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