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Global Study on the Impact of Counter-Terrorism on Civil Society & Civic Space

by United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures

Published | July 2023

Tackling impacts of counter-terrorism


The "Global Study on the Impact of Counter-Terrorism on Civil Society & Civic Space" describes the systematic nature of harm to civil society and civic space done in the name of counterterrorism and recommends ways to mitigate these harms.

Why read

This study is useful for civil society actors to understand how counterterrorism harms civic space and how to challenge this.


The resource is intended to bring together the vast research and evidence bases on the interface of counter-terrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) practice with civil society and civic space, and to draw normative and policy conclusions and recommendations from that collective evidence.

The Global Study documents the restrictions on civic space across every region, and finds they are directly linked to the regulatory and institutional practices of counter-terrorism and P/CVE. It makes some of the following findings:

  • Civil society experiences complex and compounding misuse of counter-terrorism and P/CVE measures and practices, with connection to an ever-growing counter-terrorism, P/CVE, and security architecture and the expansion of related criminalization into the pre-criminal space.
  • The study finds that when states deploy counter-terrorism or P/CVE measures they enter a realm of exceptionality where human rights deficits pervade and the normal rules of due process and procedural protections generally do not apply, creating a host of vulnerabilities to further and layered human rights violations.

General recommendations addressing these findings, tailored to relevant
stakeholders are set out in Chapter 5 (Conclusion & Cross-Cutting Recommendations). Detailed technical recommendations are also included at the end of each Part with particular relevance to the specific themes covered.


Link to website: Defend Civic Space

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