Victims of terrorism

“We must be equally steadfast in our pursuit of solutions and be guided by the voices of victims and survivors in all our efforts.  Let this moment be one of reflection, recognition and action.  Let us do everything we can to ensure that the plight of victims of terrorism is no longer a forgotten one”.

-- UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the opening of the photographic exhibition Surviving Terrorism:  The Power of Resilience.

Solidarity with victims 

With its Victims of Terrorism Support Programme, the UN Counter Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) aims to show solidarity with, raise awareness on, and contribute to protecting, promoting and respecting the rights and supporting the needs of victims of terrorism. The Programme also works towards building the capacity of Member States and civil society organizations to better support the needs of victims of terrorism.    

Mandate of the Programme

The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy highlights the importance of protecting victims’ rights and needs. This Strategy, numerous relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, strategies, plans of action and other normative frameworks provide the basis of the Programme.  

Two recent General Assembly resolutions dedicated to victims of terrorism have created a stronger framework to increase Member States efforts on victims and has tasked the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and UNCCT to strengthen and broaden its Programme:

  • A/RES72/165 establishing the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism
  • A/RES73/305 calling for strengthened international cooperation to assist victims of terrorism

Programme's activities

The global Programme seeks to advocate for, support outreach, shape policy and build the capacity of Member States to support victims, victims of terrorism associations and civil society. It aims to stand in solidarity with victims, strengthen victims’ voices and their role in preventing and countering violent extremism. 

Activities of the programme include:  

  • Victims of Terrorism Support Portal
  • Support to Member States, including the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism
  • The International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism  
  • Capacity building and technical assistance to Member States, civil society and victims
  • UN system coordination
  • Advocacy, outreach and policy work   
Victims of Terrorism Support Portal

The Portal serves as a mechanism that provides practical resources and information on and for victims of terrorism. The Portal has had over 486,000 pageviews since its launch in June 2014.  

Support to Member States, including the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism

The Programme provides support to Member States through its activities on outreach, awareness raising, and caapcity building. As an observer to the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, a Member-State driven initiative, UNOCT provides support and assistance when required. Examples of the Programme’s support to the Group include co-hosting of the first Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism during 74th meeting of the UN General Assembly.

The International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

UNOCT/ UNCCT has led on activities to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism on 21 August. Our activities included a multimedia exhibit in August 2018, “Surviving Terrorism: Victims Voices”. This exhibit features 16 victims interviews and two documentaries, showing victims experiences in Mali and Norway. The exhibit was launched by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and co-organised with the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan, Belgium, Iraq, Nigeria and the United States and CTED.  

The commemoration included three key events: 

  1. On 20 August, UNCCT’s latest film, under its UNCCT Victims of Terrorism Documentary series, called “Resilience in the Face of Terrorism: Victims’ Voices from Cameroon and Nigeria” was released by Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov. The movie explores the regional impact of attacks by Boko Haram. The movie release was followed by an interactive roundtable discussion on the power of resilience with three victims from Germany, the United States and Australia. 
  2. On 21 August, the UNOCT/ UNCCT's photographic exhibition “Surviving Terrorism: The Power of Resilience” was launched by the Secretary-General in collaboration with the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism. This exhibition shows victims of terrorism from around the world displaying their resilience. Three victims from Kenya, Canada and the UK, featured in the exhibition were keynote speakers.
  3. On 22 August, the Victims Support Programme hosted an informal discussion with Member States and victims to discuss how best to support victims of terrorism in their short, medium, and long-term needs.  
Capacity building and technical assistance to Member States, civil society and victims

Through its capacity building activities, the Programme seeks to strengthen the knowledge, skills and understanding of how to better support victims by Member States and civil society organisations, including victims associations. Activites have included media training for victims to strengthen their key messages, providing technical assistance to governments on victims assistance, on-line courses and publication of the Handook “Good Practices to Support Victims Associations in Africa and the Middle East” (2018) and “Guidelines and Principles for Civil Society Organizations to Assist, Protect and Support Victims of Terrorism in Asia-Pacific” (2020). 

UN System coordination

UNCCT, through its Programme, has a pivotal role in coordinating the UN’s support to victims, partiuclarly through the Global Compact Working Group on Promoting and Protecting Human Rights and the Rule of Law while Countering Terrorism and Victims of Terrorism. As vice-chair of the Working Group, UNOCT/UNCCT leads on work and activities on victims, coordinating and implementing the workplan on victims, as well as for other activities.  

Advocacy, outreach and policy work 

The Programme provides a platform to raise victims voices, for victims to share their experiences and to advocate for their rights and needs. Through awareness raising events, building networks, avenues for dialogue, and developing policy, the Programme ensures that victims remains at the centre of PCVE efforts. Our work has also included stronger collaboration with civil society organisations, including victims associations and raising awareness of Member States on victims issues, for example during the review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.