Effect of Terrorism on Human Rights

Human Rights are the rights that a person gets from birth. They are non-discriminatory. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes 30 Articles that define human rights which are to be followed universally without any discrimination. The NHRC of India is a statutory public body that deals with the promotion and protection of Human Rights. Terrorism affects the country both economically and socially. It leaves its impact years after the incident. Terrorism can be of many types. Terrorism usually targets the democracy and the rule of law. Violation of human rights sometimes causes such activities. Also, people who are accused of being involved in any kind of terrorism should be immediately detained and their rights should be curtailed for the sake of the nation. The countries across the globe have made various legislations to combat terrorist activities.


Human Rights are defined as those rights which are inherent to all human beings irrespective of their gender, nationality, place of residence, sex, ethnicity, religion, or any other categorization. We can also call the Human Rights as the non-discriminatory rights because they are entitled to all human beings without any exception.

Human Rights are the rights that are based on an individual’s dignity, equality, and mutual respect irrespective of the person’s nationality, religion, or beliefs.

Though all human beings are entitled to Human Rights, not everyone is privileged enough to experience them equally as there are people who exploit the rights of others.

Human Rights include several rights mentioned below:

  1. Civil Rights: These include rights like the right to life, liberty, and security.
  2. Political Rights: These include rights like the right to protection of law and equality before the law.
  3. Economic Rights: These include rights like the right to work, to own property, and to receive equal pay.
  4. Social Rights: These include rights like the right to education and consenting marriages.
  5. Cultural Rights: These include rights like the right to freely participate in the cultural committee.
  6. Collective Rights: These include rights like the right to self-determination.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is said to be a milestone document in the history of human rights. This document was drafted by the representatives belonging to the different legal and cultural backgrounds from all the regions of the world. It was proclaimed on 10th December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris. It includes the fundamental rights which have to be followed universally. It includes 30 Articles, each of which defines the rights provided to every human without any discrimination. This document has been translated into about 500 languages.

National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC)

The National Human Rights Commission of India is a body that is statutory and public. This body was constituted on 12th October 1993. The NHRC was constituted on 28th September 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance. The NHRC is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights.

Terrorism is that one term that we all have been hearing almost every time we read or listen to the news, isn’t it? Terrorism affects the world deeply and India, particularly, has been a victim of several terror attacks perpetrated by different groups.

Terror is a demeanor that even if one doesn’t witness it, it makes a huge impact on everyone. The increasing terror activities both nationally as well as internationally have ruined the peace and harmony that the countries try hard to establish. To end the issue of terrorism the countries of the world have joined hands and have come up together to fight with their legislations.

In general terms, we can define the word terrorism as a criminal and violent activity performed by a group of individuals or a single person with a motive to strike terror among the public and send messages to both the government and the public to fulfill a certain goal. Section 3 (1) of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act defines the act of terrorists and the enactment of PODA happened therein. This Act was in force from 1985-1995 and it is said to be worse than TADA. There is a doctrine named ‘preemptive action’ that has been adopted by the United States as a mark of justification of the counter-terrorism operations.  

There are many types of terrorism, some of which are broadly classified under the following heads:

  1. Dissent Terrorism: Groups that rebel against the Government of a country.
  2. Left-wing/ Right-wing Terrorism: This includes the terror groups that adhere to ideological leanings on the end of the left and right political spectrum.
  3. Religious Terrorism: This includes the terror groups that are based on religious ideologies.
  4. Criminal Terrorism: This includes the terror groups that are involved in terror acts for criminal benefits.

Terrorism has various direct and indirect effects on human rights. Increasing terrorism has now become a threat to human rights all over the world. Terrorism has evolved a lot than it was during the 70s. The modern terrorists are more organized, financially stable, and very well coordinated. They target the civilians who are most times casualties’ in cases like kidnapping, murder, or sexual abuse which is also a serious violation of human rights.

Terrorism has widely affected different parts of the world and therefore there is a vast increase of fear in society. It affects the mental state of the people and also, infringes on their basic human rights. The two things that terrorism usually targets upon are:

  1. Democracy
  2. Rule of law

Terrorism brings down the economy as it destroys the factories and other manufacturing units which in turn affects the financial conditions. Indirectly, it harms the peace as well as the security of the country which also affects our fundamental rights. The terror acts shake up the entire society and create havoc that disturbs the people both economically and socially. There is a connection between transnational – crimes and terrorism. Due to the terrorist activities, international security and territorial integrity are at stake.

Terrorism endangers the right to life which is provided to human beings under different international laws, treaties, and personal laws, that is, the fundamental rights that are guaranteed to all humans from birth. ICCPR states that the right to right to life is supreme. Article 2 of the Human Rights Act mentions the right to life as an important right. Terrorism obstructs this supreme right that is guaranteed by the law and it not only affects the domestic laws but also the international humanitarian and criminal laws.

United Nations Counter-Terrorism Approaches

The Security Council formed and adopted a committee after certain terrorist attacks in the United States. It also adopted a few counter-terrorism approaches. For proper functioning of the Counterterrorism approaches and support in bringing up the reports, a force was also established known as the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. The UN CTITF has adopted a four-block system. The first block will help in getting information about the various possibilities leading to terrorism. The second and third block talks about combating the activities of the terrorists and allowing well-equipped states to fight terrorism respectively. The fourth block of it is based on law enforcement and the protection of human rights.

Legislation Relating to Terror Activities

To get rid of terrorism the countries across the globe have adopted many legislations. Few of those legislations are briefly discussed below:

Anti – Terrorism Crime and Security Act, 2001[1]

The Anti – Terrorism Crime and Security Act, 2001 was enacted by the United Kingdom in 2001 to confirm that no further breach of peace and security is faced by the State because of the problem of terrorism and they made out asylum provisions and many other additions to the Act. The Part-I of this particular act focuses on the seizing of the organizations that provide finances and properties to the terrorists.

Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002

The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 was passed by India. The motive behind passing this Act was to lessen the terrorist attack that has happened in the past. This act replaced the TADA Act. One of the important changes that were made in its provision was that though in Indian Courts a person who confessed is inadmissible but POTA Act, 2002 made it admissible and allowed the legal authorities to keep the accused identified as a secret.

Terrorism Suppression Act, 2002

In 2002 New Zealand adopted counter-terrorism legislation. It was adopted to look into the national and international terrorist attacks and other issues related to it. The Act was not in use until 2019, but the terrorist entities were figured out and when the Mosque attack took place in the year 2019, a charge sheet was formed under Section 6A of the Terrorism Suppression Act, 2202.

Biological Weapons Anti – Terrorism Act, 1989

A specific part of the legislation of the United States focused on the proper implementation of ‘biological weapons convention’ and providing punishments for violating the mentioned laws. An amendment was made in the BWTA Act in the year 1996 and since then this Act has been used many times in the United States to combat terrorist attacks. The BWTA Act held that if a person who knows that producing, acquiring, or stockpiling biological agent or toxin assist any foreign state would be awarded life imprisonment. The Act also stated that if such biological weapons are of no good purpose, it could be immediately seized from that particular person or the organization.


Terrorism has its widespread network in the core of the disrupted system. It has developed an inverse relationship with human rights. Any person who is accused or later proved to be a terrorist should be immediately punished and all of his human rights should be curtailed in a manner that he must be detained for the sake of the other people of the country. There have been cases where because of the violation of the basic human rights people get involved into the terrorist groups because people get complete support from such groups so the government should in no way infringe the human rights of a person if he/she is not an accused of something as serious as being a terrorist. The human rights of a person should only be curtailed in cases where the existence or freedom provided to a person does no harm to the people of the nation. Anti-terrorism measures will be of no use if the very own government and the people won’t respect the rights of their fellow citizens. A nation that stays united can fight against anything because usually, the people of the respective country help the terrorist groups to conduct terrorist activities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is UDHR?
  2. When was the NHRC constituted and why?
  3. How many articles are there in the UDHR?
  4. Discuss the various legislations adopted by the countries to combat terrorism?
  5. What was the amendment made on the Biological weapons anti-terrorism Act, 1989?


[1] www.ihrc.org.uk

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