In its latest Report on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, the UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights finds that there is “no evidence of risk” that migration leads to an increase in acts of terrorism. Instead, recent overly-restrictive migration policies seem to have created conditions conducive to terrorist-related activities.

The report finds that the increasing implementation of restrictive immigration policies, such as building fences, engaging in push-back operations, criminalizing irregular migration and abandoning international legal commitments to refugees, ultimately leads to an increase in terrorist activity. Such policies also result in restricted access to safe territories for those seeking asylum and an increase in the covert movements of people, particularly by traffickers.

“What is clear is that policies that respect human rights, justice, and accountability, and that manifest the values on which democracy is founded, are an essential element of effective counterterrorism policies,” the Special Rapporteur Mr. Emmerson noted. “The further we move away from this, the more we concede to terrorist groups.”

The report calls upon States to recognize that the vast majority of people fleeing affected regions should be recognized as victims of terrorism instead of stigmatized as potential terrorists.

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