September 16, 2019
 In 2024-Balancing Human Rights

Topic: 2024-Balancing Human Rights
Country: UAE (UNSC)
Delegate Name: Luna Heider

Acts of terrorism have led to harm inflicted upon innocents in countless incidents all over the globe, and must be combated by nations and their governments, which uphold the responsibility of protecting their residents. Fighting back against terrorism is critical in promoting safety and suppressing violence and threats to the security of a country. However, applying this approach to every humanitarian aspect is imperative to ensuring the protection of human rights under every circumstance. These values must be considered and upheld when determining retaliation against terrorism, as well, to guarantee the protection of the human rights of every global citizen.

An extreme and absolutely critical example of human rights violations in the name of counterterrorism is Israel’s War on Gaza. The attack of the militant group Hamas on Israel on October 7th, 2023, led to Israeli retaliation on the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the destruction of about two-thirds of Gaza’s infrastructure and a death toll surpassing 28,000 people. According to the United Nations, 40% of these casualties are children. Israel justifies this unrelenting siege on Gaza as an effort to eradicate Hamas, but has resulted in this high death toll and severe human rights violations, including the deliberate use of white phosphorus in civilian areas, prohibited by international law. Though the UN has called Israel out for violations such as this one, Israel’s attacks on civilians have continued and see no signs of halting amid overwhelming calls for a ceasefire, including the veto of a ceasefire resolution presented by the UAE winning a majority in the UN Security Council.

To combat the failure of restrictions on human rights violations labeled as counterterrorism, the UAE believes that the United Nations, as an upholder of peace, safety, and understanding, should have a greater influence on the fight against terrorism. Though Resolution 2005/80 states that efforts to combat terrorism must fall under international law protecting human rights, there is room for each nation to have discrepancies in the definition of terrorism and label different actions or groups as terrorist, thus enabling discrimination and other infringements on human rights. This can lead to–and has led to–the suppression and violation of human rights in the name of counterterrorism, such as the USA Patriot Act in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11th and the subjugation of Uighurs in China. The UN should establish an official definition of terrorism, and should be involved in the identification and classification of prominent terrorist groups, as they have proven to be the primary agitators that require the most significant responses. This would attempt to prevent infringement on human rights in the name of counterterrorism, while simultaneously protecting the sovereignty of each individual Member State to combat terrorist threats to its safety and peace, and further promote global stability and the protection of each nation and its residents.

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