PRESS RELEASE – Global: New briefing outlines ‘hollowing of human rights’ post 9/11


A new briefing published today by IHRC examines the way the United Nations’ response to international ‘terrorism’ following 9/11 has been seriously detrimental to the protection of human rights.

The briefing posits that there is a grievous lack of insight into what causes politically motivated violence. Examining the various ways human rights have been abused and undermined, the briefing showcases the shift that has made it acceptable to go to extreme lengths in the effort to counter ‘terrorism.’

Without a clear and internationally-agreed definition of the term ‘terrorism’, numerous countries have continued to abuse and exploit individuals in the name of combatting it. Examples stretch far and wide from India to Saudi Arabia and include the UK where the government has implemented the pernicious PREVENT strategy. Falling under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the PREVENT agenda seriously undermines freedom of expression and the right to privacy, whilst discriminating against Muslim populations.

Lack of a clear definition has also meant that these human rights abuses often occur without challenge or consequence, as states have been able to justify their actions based on the notion of fighting such a vague subject.

Erosion of civil liberties continues with the use of ‘blacklists’ as well as the international political dominance of the USA. The latter has seen drone strikes, warrantless surveillance of Americans and torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Focusing on the above abuses, the briefing conveys the stark message that the concept of ‘human rights’ is now a meaningless term in this context. It is used by the UN Security Council simply to pay lip service to the concept and to further entrench the abuse of rights being continuously perpetrated. As the briefing says:

“…the concept of human rights is devoid of substantive meaning as it can so easily be misused to justify government actions that are themselves antithetical to the protection of human rights and civil liberties.”

Notes to editors:

The full briefing ‘The Hollowing of Human Rights in the Post 9/11 World’ can be read online here

For media enquiries or further details please call +44 20 8904 4222 or +44 7958 522196 or 44 7426 728074 or email[Ends]


IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Twitter @ihrc