Terrorism / Counterterrorism
Violent acts by non-state groups against the general population for political purposes are abhorrent crimes that, when widespread or systematic, can amount to crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch condemns such acts. Governments have a responsibility to protect those within their jurisdiction from extremist attacks, but must ensure that all counterterrorism measures respect human rights. Human Rights Watch monitors actions by governments and inter-governmental bodies against violent extremism to ensure they do not infringe on the rights to life, to protection from torture and ill-treatment, and to a fair trial. We also condemn governments for targeting minorities or stifling the rights to free expression, association and peaceful assembly in the name of security. Such measures are not only unlawful under international law, they are also counter-productive.