In 2014, reports suggested that a surge of foreign jihadists were participating in armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. The U.N. Security Council responded by imposing new obligations on member states to counter the threat posed by “foreign terrorist fighters” (FTFs). In the intervening year, states have taken actions to implement those FTF obligations. Meanwhile, many states continue to fund and otherwise throw their support behind life-saving humanitarian relief for civilians in armed conflicts around the world—including conflicts involving terrorists. Yet, in recent years, members of the humanitarian community have become increasingly aware of the real, perceived, and potential impacts of counterterrorism laws on humanitarian action.
At this PHAP online expert IHL briefing, Dustin Lewis and Naz Modirzadeh, two of the authors of a recent report from the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC), will present their research on suppressing “foreign terrorist fighters” and supporting principled humanitarian action in counterterrorism contexts. The presenters will discuss and answer questions relating to:
- Converging and diverging elements of the normative frameworks underlying state responses to terrorism and state support of principled humanitarian action;
- IHL implications of the “foreign terrorist fighter” framing;
- Provisional methodologies to measure state compliance with key FTF-related Security Council obligations;
- Provisional methodologies to measure state support of principled humanitarian action in counterterrorism contexts; and
- Humanitarian exemptions under Security Council practice.