How human rights and the rule of law can address terrorism

Renewed commitment to rights-based criminal justice approaches is essential.

Efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism have violated human rights, contributing to cycles of violence and the complexity of these global problems. The international community must revitalise its efforts at both the political and operational levels. Commitment to rights-based criminal justice approaches and greater accountability amongst governments are essential to renewed efforts. Ensuring criminal justice functionality and accountability are equally important. Evidence-based methodologies and effective communications are also key elements for a renewed approach. A diverse range of institutions is required to support this, with civil society as a core stakeholder.

About the author

Cheryl Frank is the head of the Transnational Threats and International Crime Programme at the ISS.

About the project

This report is part of a series of papers on democracy, security, and violent extremism prepared for the Community of Democracies’ Democracy and Security Dialogue. The project seeks to foster greater collaboration among democratic governments, donors, civil society and academics to improve security outcomes and create a more conducive environment for the strengthening of democracy around the world. For more on the project and related materials, including the final report, visit

Picture: ©University of Essex

Development partners
This report was made possible with the support of the Government of Norway. The ISS is also grateful for support from the other members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden and the USA.
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