Government responses to fear of terrorism and ‘radicalisation’ are resulting in excessive measures that infringe on human rights. These come in different guises, for example vague or overbroadly definitions of terrorist acts or the granting of excessive powers to law enforcement agencies.

The impact of terrorism and counter-terrorism measures on children are heightened because of their age. Some of these are explained below. If you are working on these issues, contact us at [email protected].

Privacy & freedom of expression

Governments are exerting pressure on schools to surveil children’s internet usage and monitoring their activities and behaviour to identify possible radicalisation. This breaches children’s right to privacy and inhibits free expression. Children should be included in debates around preventing terrorism and radicalisation.

Hate speech

The language used to describe or refer to a given community, in this case mostly the Muslim and migrant community, has an impact on how they are perceived and treated. We must reassert the language of rights.

Juvenile justice

Children returning home from fighting overseas may be prosecuted as terrorists for involvement with armed groups, rather than treated as victims. Any juvenile justice system should be purely directed at rehabilitation and reintegration - and this should apply to all under-18s. Even in cases of severe offences committed by children, detention should be the exception and should be outweighed by the interest of safeguarding the well-being and development of the child.

Find resources dedicated to debating this issue below.