Terrorism and Human Rights… The Problem and its Countermeasures Seminar stressed importance of reviewing and reevaluating local and international counter terrorism strategies

November 16th, 2017 by Editor

Terrorism and Human Rights… The Problem and its Countermeasures

Seminar stressed importance of reviewing and reevaluating local and international counter terrorism strategies

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) and the Arab Federation for Human rights (AFHR) under the umbrella of their joint terrorism observatory convened a seminar under the title Terrorism and Human Right… “The Problem and it Countermeasures” at Greater Cairo’s Pyramisa Hotel on the 15th of November 2017.

 

The Seminar was attended by prominent names from various backgrounds and they were:

  • Hafez Abu Seada (President of EOHR and member of NHRC)
  • HE Mr. Mohamed Fayek (Chairman of NHRC)
  • Essam Shiha (Secretary General of EOHR)
  • Ahmed Abdel Hafiz (Vice President of EOHR)
  • Salah Salam (Member of NHRC and vice president of Sinai University)
  • Maher Farghaly (Expert on Islamist Movements)
  • Mostafa Mohamed Al Zaedi (Secretary General of PLM)
  • Khaled Okasha (Member of the supreme council for combating terrorism, Security expert and retired police brigadier general)
  • Sameh Eid (Expert on Islamist Movements)
  • Abdelhamid Zeid (Professor of Sociology, deputy chairman of the Social Professions Syndicate and former member of parliament)
  • Samir Ghattas (Member of Parliament)
  • Mostafa Kamel El Sayed (Political Science Professor at Cairo University and the American University in Cairo)

 

In addition a written statement by Dr. Ahmed Al Hamli (President of AFRH) was read out by Mr. Essam Shisha in the opening session of the Seminar.

 

All speaker made very valid points and here are some of the comments and observatons they made relating to the subject:

 

  • Al Hamli’s statement pointed the role of Qatar and Iran in sponsoring terrorism. Al Hamli also demanded that the international community adopt a more efficient counter terrorism strategy that entails holding states sponsoring terror accountable, strong security measures against terror, economic development, conflict resolution, and respect of human rights and the rule of law.
  • Dr Hafez Abu Seada pointed out that terrorism became a the factor that defines the past century, and presents a serious threat to human existence and civilization due to it long reach and wide scope of operation. Abu Seada added that in response to this phenomenon some states have issued laws that place constrains of human rights and that creates a conundrum between upholding human rights and combating terror. Abu Seada concluded that in reponse international organs and instruments have issued a number of conventions and resolutions to reconcile counter terrorism and human rights which is of utmost importance.
  • HE Mr. Mohamed Fayek stressed that terrorism is bankrolled by some oil rich nations, and added that those nations are truly misguided as terrorism will be defeated at the end and that their is no distinction between moderate terrorism and extremist terrorism; terrorism is terrorism. Fayek also said that terrorism should be confronted with enlightened progressive thinking, drama and art. Fayek Concluded that the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) that he leads has under taken initiatives with progressive Islamic scholars and Imams to culturally extremist influences and the ideology of terror.
  • Ahmed Abdel Hafiz criticized contemporary religious discourse and blamed it for the phenomenon of terrorism and stressed the importance of reforming and readjusting religious discourse in mosques and religious schools. Abdel Hafiz stressed that strengthening and reinforcing national unity and identity is essential for the reform of religous discourse.
  • Salah Salam spoke of the situation in Northern Sinai, and claimed that terrorism has taken the lives of nearly 500 civilians over the past 4 years. Dr. Salam Criticized those who accused Sinai residents of harboring terrorists and sighted instances of violence against them by terrorists to argue against this accusation. Salam said that the absence of military presence in parts of the Sinai due to the peace treaty with Israel was one of the main factors behind the chaos that followed after the revolution in Sinai and added that since 2013 when the army deployed and started a crackdown on terrorism the situation started to gradually improve. Salam concluded by underlining the precariousness of the situation in the Sinai especially with the spread of lawlessness, terrorism, smuggling and human trafficking while pointing out at the same time to government efforts to combat these phenomena.
  • Maher Farghaly underlined the dangers emanating from the prospect of foreign fighters who joined terror groups in Syria and Iraq returning to their homelands. Farghaly also pointed out that there are 19 active terror groups in Egypt as of now.
  • Al Zaedi gave an overview of the catastrophic situation in Libya, and complained about a lack of a local justice system or a central authority to confront forces of terror in his country. He concluded by urging AFHR and EOHR to take legal action on international level to hold human rights abusers and terrorists in Libya accountable.
  • Okasha explained how terrorist groups attract followers and recruit members. He said they put an emphasis on self victimization and added that this has been their strategy since the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. Okasha reaffirmed that Egypt should keep supporting the unity and stability of Libya in the face of terrorism. Okasha concluded by reiterating the call for religious reform in Egypt.
  • Essam Shiha said that terrorism is a global phenomenon and warned that some states use fighting terror as a pretext to put constrains on human rights. Shiha said that the war on terror in Egypt enjoys popular support, adding that the world should adopt a strong strategy to combat terror while maintaining a balance with freedoms and rights as well as sustainable development.
  • Sameh Eid delved into the root causes of terror, and addressed the religious dimensions and its historical roots. Eid pointed that progressive experiments in the past have failed and strict conservatism has triumphed and that’s the cause of our current situation. Eid stressed the importance of intellectual debate, dialogue and religious reform to counter terrorism.
  • Abdelhamid Zeid stressed the dangers of terrorism, and its ability to utilize modern technology to spread its word, and execute its attacks. Zeid stressed the importance of drying up the sources of terror especially as they may try to compensate their losses in one country by trying to gain ground in the other.
  • Samir Ghattas cited a study he conducted that most terrorists are below the age of 30. He added that his study found that unemployment, corruption and repression are all causes of terror, adding that obsolete interpretations of religious texts play a huge role in furthering extremist thought and discourse from which terrorism grows.
  • Mustafa Al Sayed said that fighting terror is essential and added that repression of religious groups can be counter productive. He also said that ideas should be confronted with ideas, and that an intellectual space of freedom should be guaranteed in academic venues so that people can be able to employ critical thinking and logic to confront extremism.

 

The Seminar was concluded by a list of recommendations and they are:

 

  • The Egyptian organization for Human Rights (EOHR) in cooperation with the Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) and the Popular Libyan Movement (PLM) will take legal action on behalf of victims of terrorism on the local and international scale. This legal action will include legal action against the governments of the State of Qatar and the Republic of Turkey as well as the Muslim Brotherhood’s international organization as well as their Egyptian and Libyan branches.
  • Stresses the importance of the convening of a coordination meeting between EOHR, AFHR and PLM to come up with a total strategy to confront terrorism across the Arab world. The strategy will aim to invigorate the role of civil society in general and human rights groups in particular in combating terrorism.
  • A plan to invite all Egyptian and Arab Human Rights organizations to a conference to establish an Egyptian civil society coalition that aims to combat terrorism.
  • Calls upon EOHR’s board of trustees to adopt a new counter terrorism strategy within the framework of international human rights standards in cooperation with the State’s cultural, religious and security establishments.
  • Instructs joint media committee to start meeting to put foreword a plan of action for future campaigns that serve the previous recommendations.

 

 

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