Ratification of the many counter-terrorism conventions and protocols is the cornerstone of global efforts against terrorism. Africa’s generally low rates of ratification can be explained by political and capacity related factors, including that states do not see counter-terrorism as a sufficient priority and resist the manner in which the agenda is presented. Ratification matters, but those promoting counter-terrorism measures must be more honest about what is likely and more humble about what is possible. Rather than pursuing a checklist approach to satisfying UN commitments, counter-terrorism strategy in Africa should include efforts to build foundational law enforcement, cooperation and prosecution capacity and embed human rights values.
About the author
Jolyon Ford (BA, LLB Natal, LLM International Law Cambridge), is a Zimbabwean and senior research consultant for the International Crime in Africa Programme (ICAP) of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). Before leaving the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2007, he worked with a range of Commonwealth member governments in Africa, south Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean as part of the Secretary General’s initiative toward increased ratification of human rights instruments in the Commonwealth, and edited the Commonwealth Handbook on Ratification of Human Rights Instruments.