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Human Rights as the Cornerstone of Counter-Terrorism

April 13, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Explore the findings of a recent publication “Avoiding the Terrorist Trap: Why Respect for Human Rights is the Key to Defeating Terrorism”.

About this event


As the ‘war on terror’ enters its third decade, it is important to see how it is being prosecuted and whether our collective actions are not only proportionate to the threat but also are in keeping with our own standards and systems of governance, not to mention international human rights.

Join us on April 13th to explore the findings of a recent publication Avoiding the Terrorist Trap: Why Respect for Human Rights is the Key to Defeating Terrorism. The speaker, author Tom Parker, is uniquely placed to weigh in on these topics.

During this one-hour session, you will delve into five key points:

  • Terrorists see great advantage in provoking the state into overreacting and abusing human rights;
  • Social science research has identified state abuses as a major – perhaps the major – driver of terrorist recruitment;
  • International Human Rights Law accords states considerable latitude in responding to terrorist threats, but also sets limits that prevent states falling into the trap set by terrorists;
  • Investigative resources are limited only by the requirement that they are defined in law that due process is observed in their application, and that their use is reasonable, necessary and proportionate to address the threat posed;
  • The existential threat posed by terrorism is not posed by the attack itself, but by how we respond.


This talk will appeal to those in counter terrorism, human rights, the rule of law and government national security policy. As well as anyone interested in this topic.


Tom Parker is the author of “Avoiding the Terrorist Trap: Why Respecting Human Rights is the Key to Defeating Terrorism”. He has run major counter-terrorism capacity-building projects for the United Nations and European Union in Iraq and Nigeria. Tom has previously served with United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, Amnesty International USA, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the British Security Service. Tom has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses on international terrorism at Yale, Bard College, and the National Defense University.

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