Terrorism & Human rights


Belgium condemns all forms of terrorism. The Belgian authorities are convinced that the fight against terrorism can only be waged in full respect of human rights and international humanitarian law. Fighting terrorism presupposes close international cooperation between States and within the main international organisations, notably those dealing with human rights or authorised to impose prevention mechanisms or sanctions within the framework of the fight against terrorism.

Total condemnation of terrorism

Belgium unreservedly condemns terrorist attacks and violent radicalisation practised and bred by terrorist groups, irrespective of the nationality or belief of their members. Indeed, international terrorism is not the sole preserve of any one religion or individual cause.

Fighting terrorism whilst respecting human rights

Belgium believes that the fight against terrorism must not be allowed to infringe human rights, fundamental freedoms or international humanitarian law. Terrorism cannot be combatted effectively by violating these rights and freedoms or the principles of the rule of law, on the contrary. Belgium also condemns the use of secret prisons and torture techniques or mistreatment for any reason whatsoever and backs the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism as well as the work of other protagonists dealing with these issues, either within other “special procedures” of the Human Rights Council, the United Nations treaty bodies or the various Council of Europe bodies such as the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights.

Cooperation between nations and in international bodies

Terrorism is a global scourge. Most terrorist groups have branches that extend well beyond national borders. Accordingly, the fight against terrorism should be conceived at global level through genuine collaboration between nations. It must enable both preventive measures and sanctions to be adopted within the respective international bodies, namely the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe.

Belgium will continue its work within the regional and international bodies dealing with human rights in order to support the efforts to respect and maintain standards regarding human rights and the fight against terrorism.

For effective, measured sanctions

The UN, the Council of Europe and the European Union have set up prevention and  sanction mechanisms to fight terrorism and its financing. These mechanisms provide for the freezing of assets of persons suspected of aiding or belonging to terrorist groups. Belgium supports these measures, whilst advocating the clarification of measures enabling people’s names to be included in or deleted from the lists of suspects. The aim of such clarification should be to enable suspected persons to defend themselves and appeal against any decisions made against them. Belgium considers that the sanctions set up in the framework of the fight against terrorism must be fair, clear and transparent and that the mechanisms leading to them must respect the human rights of the persons concerned, notably the right to a fair trial.

Useful links

United Nations

Council of Europe

European Union


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