National Security, Counterterrorism, and Human Rights

The dominant state responses to terrorism in the post-9/11 era have sacrificed human rights in the name of safeguarding national security. Although many government and civil society experts agree that respecting human rights is not only compatible with counterterrorism efforts, but rather enhances their efficacy, too many states continue to violate, undermine, or dilute human rights obligations in their pursuit of national security. Torture and other ill-treatment; arbitrary detention; enforced disappearance; unlawful targeting; and denial of justice are just a few of many abuses pervasive in the counterterrorism sphere. As governments change their tactics in combating terrorism, human rights actors must work both to re-assert applicable norms and to develop novel standards for dealing with new challenges.

Under the leadership of CHRGJ Faculty Director and Co-Chair Meg Satterthwaite, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and the Global Justice Clinic joined the earliest efforts to hold the United States and partner countries accountable for abuses committed after 9/11. They remain at the forefront of current efforts to identify and prevent emerging threats to human rights posed by new national security policies and practices. The Center’s expertise was further enhanced by the arrival of Faculty Director and Co-Chair Ryan Goodman, a leading scholar of the law of armed conflict and national security law and human rights. From September 2013 to October 2018, CHRGJ housed Just Security, an online platform co-founded and co-led by Goodman that has become a must-read for policymakers, scholars, and journalists engaged in US national security and human rights. Through ground-breaking documentation, legal analysis, litigation, organizing, and monitoring, Center faculty and staff have played important roles in exposing, explaining, and seeking justice for violations committed in this context. Their work has shifted public understanding of issues such as extraordinary rendition, torture, drone warfare, proxy detention, and corruption in the security sphere.

Our Experts
Ryan Goodman
CHRGJ Faculty Director & Co-Chair
Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law
Margaret L. Satterthwaite
CHRGJ Faculty Director & Co-Chair
Director, Global Justice Clinic
Professor of Clinical Law
Deborah Alejandra Popowski
CHRGJ Executive Director
Nikki Reisch
CHRGJ Legal Director
Supervising Attorney, Global Justice Clinic

For a complete record of CHRGJ faculty and staff work relating to national security, counter-terrorism, and human rights, visit our searchable Document Center and News and Events archives.

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Related Pages

Just Security
Torture, Rendition, and Detention
Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project
Gender, National Security, and Counter-Terrorism Project
RSVP
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