2022 UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism

 

The United Nations Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism, convened under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, will be held on 8 and 9 September 2022 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Global Congress will also be livestreamed to ensure virtual participation and allow for a diverse audience of stakeholders.

 

Background & Overview

The Global Congress will provide a platform for victims of terrorism to directly share experiences, challenges, stories of their resilience, and contributions to wider society in a socially connected environment and to advocate for the strengthening and upholding of their rights and effective fulfilment of their needs. The Congress will allow the audience to learn about good practices undertaken by Member States and civil society organizations, while ensuring that victims’ voices are heard and that their experiences shape the way forward in their own countries and across borders.

 

Programme

The opening of the Global Congress will feature high-level participation, including by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov, the co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, the Republic of Iraq and the Kingdom of Spain, and other senior United Nations and international community representatives.

Subsequent plenaries and parallel sessions will feature speakers representing Member States, victims, victims’ associations, United Nations entities, civil society organizations, experts, academics, and the private sector. Due diligence has been taken to ensure appropriate geographic, gender, and age representation.

The programme of the Global Congress consists of six overarching themes reflecting the rights and needs ascribed to victims of terrorism. The themes emerged as the outcome of extensive consultations with victims, in particular, within the framework of the “Model Legislative Provisions to Uphold the Needs and Protect the Rights of Victims of Terrorism[1], and were informed by lessons learnt through capacity development activities with victims, engagement with Member States, outcomes of handbooks and other toolkits, the General Assembly resolution on the “Enhancement of International Cooperation to Assist Victims of Terrorism” (A/RES/73/305), and the Secretary-General’s report on “Progress made by the United Nations system in supporting Member States in assisting victims of terrorism” (A/74/790). The themes are:

 

[1] Learn more about the launch of the Model Legislative Provisions, developed by UNCCT/UNOCT, UNODC, and IPU: https://www.un.org/counterterrorism/events/launch-model-legislative-provisions-to-support-protect-rights-needs-of-victims-of-terrorism

DAY ONE

Image of the Global Congress of VoT 2022 icon

High-Level Sessions

10:00am - 10:45am EDT - High-Level Opening

10:45am - 11:45am EDT - High-Level Ministerial and Parliamentarian Session

 

Image of the Recognition and Remembrance icon

Theme 1: Recognition and Remembrance

The recognition of victims of terrorism as a unique body of individuals is the first step toward basic reparations, and for many, the first step towards healing and post-traumatic growth. Measures of recognition and remembrance symbolize a sense of public support from the State and society as a whole acknowledge the individual suffering of victims, and enable the provision of future rehabilitative and reparative services. This session will explore how recognition can be given: from formal processes such as reparation and legal recognition to public commemorations and remembrance activities; and discuss the problems of lack of recognition that some victims face. It will also highlight best practices of Member States, civil society organizations, and others in supporting recognition and remembrance efforts around the world.

11:55am - 12:55pm EDT - Session I: Plenary - Recognition and Remembrance Measures

 

Image of changing nature of terrorism and victims of terrorism icon

Theme 2: Situation analysis: the changing nature of terrorism and victims of terrorism

The rights and needs of victims of terrorism and the challenges to protecting and supporting them are greatly affected by the broader context in which Member States, international organizations, and civil society organizations operate in. This horizon-scanning overview will provide a situational analysis of that broader context of counter-terrorism efforts, important trends in the field, and the effects that these developments have on victims of terrorism. Subsequent parallel breakout sessions will include focus on the ongoing challenges of conflict-related sexual violence and femicide as well as specific challenges that victims face in the aftermath of terrorism and violent extremism on the basis of xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance, or in the name of religion or belief.

3:00pm - 3:40pm EDT - Session II: Plenary - Situational Analysis: The changing nature of terrorism

3:55pm - 5:05pm EDT - Session III: Parallel Breakout Session A - Linkages between Conflict-related Sexual Violence and Terrorism

3:55pm - 5:05pm EDT - Session III: Parallel Breakout Session B - Terrorism and violent extremism on the basis of xenophobia, racism, and other forms of intolerance, or in the name of religion or belief

 

Image of the Global Congress of VoT 2022 icon

Closing Session

5:15pm - 5:55pm EDT - Closing Plenary

 

 

DAY TWO

Image of protecting the rights of victims of terrorism icon

Theme 3: Protecting the rights of victims of terrorism

Victims of terrorism and their families have rights related to remedy and reparation that are articulated in international human rights and humanitarian law, regional standards, and domestic legislation. As such, the General Assembly has emphasized Member States’ commitments to those rights, particularly in resolution 73/305. This session is designed to give an overview on the status of the protection and promotion of the rights of victims of terrorism, progress made in recent years by Member States and the international community, and existing challenges.

10:00am - 11:00am EDT - Session V: Plenary - Protecting the rights of victims of terrorism

11:10am - 11:30am EDT - Session VI: Parallel Breakout Session A - Protecting the right to privacy of victims

11:10am - 11:30am EDT - Session VI: Parallel Breakout Session B - Protecting against threats to physical and psychological integrity

 

Image of rehabilitation, assistance and support icon

Theme 4: Rehabilitation, assistance and support

Assistance and support refer to the provision of material, medical, psychological, and social assistance and rehabilitation, as well as related services, to victims of terrorism. The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy details the need to provide capacity-building support to Member States to assist them in protecting and promoting the rights of victims of terrorism. This has been repeatedly reaffirmed in resolutions and reports, most recently in General Assembly resolution 73/305 on the “Enhancement of International Cooperation to Assist Victims of Terrorism” (A/RES/73/305). This session will explore the multi- and inter-disciplinary measures required to secure a holistic treatment for victims from the immediate aftermath of an attack to the longer term. These sessions will also discuss best practices in the development of national comprehensive assistance plans as called for in General Assembly resolution 73/305.

11:40pm - 1:00pm EDT - Session V: Plenary - Rehabilitation, Assistance and Support

 

Image of addressing rights needs of victims with specific needs icon

Theme 5: Addressing the rights and needs of victims of terrorism with specific needs

The importance of giving special attention and providing services and support to individuals and communities who have specific needs because of the nature of harm inflicted upon them is repeatedly affirmed by the international community. For victims of terrorism, it is essential that States ensure that victims who are particularly vulnerable, either through their personal characteristics or through the circumstances of the terrorist attack, can benefit from equitable measures tailored to their specific needs. Each of these groups requires tailored strategies for rehabilitation and protection, based on their wide range of legal, social, and psychological needs. Two parallel sessions will explore some of the specific needs and types of assistance available to children and youth, and will place the spotlight on the needs of cross-border victims.

3:00pm - 4:10pm EDT - Session VI: Parallel Breakout Session A - Children and Youth

3:00pm - 4:10pm EDT - Session VI: Parallel Breakout Session B - Cross-border victims

 

Image of importance of access to justice for victims of terrorism theme icon

Theme 6: Access to justice for victims of terrorism

Access to justice concerns the specific rights of victims in criminal litigation, including appropriate assistance and support before, during, and after criminal proceedings, including the awareness of due process and charges; the right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy; and safety from intimidation and retaliation, in particular when serving as witnesses. Two parallel sessions will highlight the importance of a victim-centric approach to access to justice and the right to reparation (including compensation and restitution).

4:20pm - 5:30pm EDT - Session VII: Parallel Breakout Session A - Victims’ safe participation in criminal justice processes

4:20pm - 5:30pm EDT - Session VII: Parallel Breakout Session B - Reparation (compensation and restitution)

 

Image of the Global Congress of VoT 2022 icon

Closing Session

5:40pm - 6:30pm EDT - Closing Plenary

 

Memories Campaign

The Global Congress will also continue to showcase UNOCT’s United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) “Memories” campaign, which was launched during the “Victims and Survivors of Terrorism” session of the United Nations High-Level Conference on Human Rights, Civil Society and Counter-Terrorism, in Málaga, Spain, in May 2022. The campaign tells the stories of a series of objects possessed by the victims featured in the “Memories” film and photographic exhibition, and shares the memories and emotions that such objects represent to their owners. It is a simple but powerful way for audiences to relate to the victims, feel their loss, and to better understand the importance of remembering and paying tribute to victims of terrorism worldwide.

Memories Campaign USG Voronkov photo in Malaga, Spain

 

Victims of Terrorism Memories Campaign - Film - 10 May 2022