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This article seeks to explore the tensions arising from the interaction between human rights and counter-terrorism and contribute to the debate on the feasibility of sustaining the former in such trying situations as the latter through the determination of a role for the United Nations’ Human Rights treaty monitoring bodies in protecting human rights while countering terrorism.
While the article acknowledges and does not for a moment suggest that this mechanism is intended to be the panacea for the problem raised, it is explored with the understanding of its potential in contributing to the work of the larger United Nations’ human rights machinery in protecting human rights while countering terrorism.
The article begins with a brief discussion of the relationship between counter-terrorism and human rights and the many controversies surrounding the debate which will be the focus of the first part of the article. The second part provides a detailed examination and thematic analysis of the work of the United Nations’ human rights treaty bodies in the area of protecting human rights while countering terrorism through which a role for the human rights treaty monitoring bodies is seen to emerge. This role is given further perspective and refinement through the addressing of the weaknesses, both internal and external, of the United Nations’ human rights treaty system and through recommendations for further action which will be the focus of the third part of the article.