Victims of Terrorism Day Banner
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Acts of terrorism propagating a wide-range of hateful ideologies continue to injure, harm and kill thousands of innocent people each year.

Victims of terrorism continue to struggle to have their voices heard, have their needs supported and their rights upheld. Victims often feel forgotten and neglected once the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack fades, with profound consequences for them. Few Members States have the resources or the capacity to fulfill the medium and long-term needs required for victims to fully recover, rehabilitate and integrate back into society. Victims can only recover and cope with their trauma through long-term multi-dimensional support, including physical, psychological, social and financial, in order to heal and live with dignity.

The primary responsibility to support victims of terrorism and uphold their rights rests with Member States. The United Nations has an important role in supporting Member States to implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy through standing in solidarity and providing support to victims, capacity building assistance, establishing networks of, and offering support to, civil society organizations, particularly victims of terrorism associations, and encouraging Member States to promote, protect and respect the rights of victims. The United Nations has been working to provide resources, mobilize the international community and better address the needs of victims of terrorism.

For more information about 2021 International Day events, please see here.

Background

The General Assembly, in its resolution 72/165 (2017), established 21 August as the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism in order to honor and support the victims and survivors of terrorism and to promote and protect the full enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms

Resolution 72/165 builds on existing efforts by the General Assembly, the Commission of Human Rights and the Human Rights Council to promote and protect the rights of victims of terrorism.

By proclaiming an International Day dedicated to victims, the General Assembly reaffirmed that the promotion and the protection of human rights and the rule of law at the national; and international levels are essential for preventing and combating terrorism.

In April 2020, mandated by GA resolution 73/305, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres published his report on the ‘Progress of the UN system to support Member States in assisting victims of terrorism’ (A/74/790).

The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted unanimously in its resolution 60/288, on 8 September 2006, notes that the dehumanization of victims counts among the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, and the most effective way to counter terrorism is through measures that respect human dignity and uphold the rule of law.

The last four outcome resolutions of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy review (A/RES/66/282, A/RES/68/276, A/RES/72/284 and A/RES/75/291) have all emphasized the important role of victims in countering terrorism, promoting international solidarity in support of victims, and preventing violent extremism as well as recognizing and upholding their human rights.

Since the sixth review (2018), developments at the international, regional, and national levels have increasingly demonstrated that support to victims has moved beyond symbolic solidarity towards a more robust engagement to advance their rights and needs. This is reflected in the establishment in 2019 of a Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, co-chaired by the Permanent Representatives of Afghanistan and Spain to the United Nations, and General Assembly resolution A/RES/73/305 on the enhancement of international cooperation to assist victims of terrorism.

The seventh review resolution, adopted on 30 June 2021 (A/RES/75/291) notes the importance of upholding the rights and supporting the needs of victims of terrorism, in particular of women, children and those affected by sexual and gender-based violence committed by terrorists. It encourages all Member States to develop national comprehensive assistance plans for victims of terrorism and their families to address the immediate-, short- and long-term needs of victims of terrorism.

The resolution further welcomes the first Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism, and encourages the Office of Counter-Terrorism, through the Global Victims of Terrorism Support Programme and the UN Victims of Terrorism Support Portal, to continue to raise awareness on victims of terrorism and the promotion and protection of their rights. This includes further strengthening the capacity of, and providing technical assistance to, Member States to assist victims of terrorism and strengthening their engagement with relevant civil society and private sector organisations, which can play a valuable role in assisting and supporting victims of terrorism.

The United Nations is committed to a world free from terrorism. On this International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, and on all days, let us stand in solidarity with all victims and survivors so we may support them in healing their trauma and bring them hope.

António Guterres

Film: Surviving Terrorism - The Power of Connections

On the fourth commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, on 21 August 2021, watch and listen to the powerful voices of victims of terrorism as they speak about their experiences and recite an Ode about the importance of connections. Remembering the victims of terrorism and doing more to support them is essential to help them rebuild their lives and heal. For more information visit bit.ly/INFO-VOT2021 #UNiteforVictimsofTerrorism #VictimsofTerrorism  #UNCCT

Resources

Documents

Websites

Related observances

Secretary-General António Guterres (right), Vladimir Voronkov (centre), Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism

The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) was established on 15 June 2017 through the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 71/291. Mr. Vladimir Voronkov was appointed as its first Under-Secretary-General.

 

Poster of Virtual Counter-Terrorism Week

The Support Portal is dedicated to and highlights the importance of those individuals across the globe that have been attacked, injured, traumatized or lost their lives during terrorist attacks.

 

illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.