News / Middle East

    UN Expert Calls for Compensation for Victims of Terrorism

    Afghan men stand over the bodies of a suicide bomb blast victims at a hospital in Khost province, June 20, 2012.
    Afghan men stand over the bodies of a suicide bomb blast victims at a hospital in Khost province, June 20, 2012.
    Lisa Schlein
    GENEVA - The Special U.N. Investigator on Terrorism is calling for an international legally binding instrument to provide compensation, reparation, and support to all victims of terrorism. The investigator says terrorists cannot compensate for the massive damage they cause, so it is up to world governments to right a wrong and pay up.
     
    Since Saturday, Special U.N. Investigator on Terrorism Ben Emmerson reports 125 people have been killed and 334 have been seriously wounded in 14 terrorist attacks around the world, including Pakistan, Iraq, northern Nigeria, and Yemen.

    He says to most of the world, these deaths are just statistics and very little, or nothing at all, is known about the human tragedies that lie behind them.
     
    Despite the brutal physical and psychological consequences of terrorist attacks on the victims and their families, he says little is being done to compensate them. He says this is unjust and must not continue.

    Emmerson says he has received wide support from organizations representing victims of terrorism around the world for his proposals to compensate the victims for their loss and suffering.
     
    He says none of these people are calling for revenge. They are calling for justice. He says they are not calling for more torture or for more human-rights abuse in countering terrorism.    

    “The victims are saying that is not being done in their name, do not use their names as a justification," said Emmerson. "What they are asking for is a normative framework.  And, the aim of this report is to nail the lie that the way to protect victims is to abuse the human rights of those suspected of involvement in terrorism. That is not what they are calling for.  It is quite the reverse of what they are calling for. And, it is a strange world where government officials are prepared to stand up and say we are torturing on behalf of the victims, but we are not prepared to pay them compensation.” 

    Emmerson says the Council of Europe, as well as many countries and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, support his efforts to secure the human rights of victims of terrorism.
     
    A report Emmerson presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council says countries should conduct their own counter-terrorism operations consistent with international human-rights law.  

    But the counter-terrorism investigator says Syria overlooked this statement and cited selectively from the report to justify its military actions against those it identifies as terrorists operating within its territory.

    “I reminded Syria that there was no warrant for the misuse of the victims of terrorism and their human rights as a justification for widespread and systematic violation of the rights of civilians and non-combatants as a response," he said. "I invited States, in the course of my presentation, to recognize that all acts of terrorism amount to serious and gross human-rights violations.”  

    The U.N. anti-terrorism chief says victims of terrorism are unwilling collateral damage and nations need to do the right thing for them. He says they are victims of gross human-rights violations and the international community should stand behind them.

    Emmerson says it is important governments voluntarily accept a new international obligation to compensate all victims of terrorism, regardless of who is behind these crimes. He says a number of countries already are doing this, including the United States, which voluntarily established funds to ensure compensation for victims of 9/11.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora