The Role of Human Rights in Countering Violent Extremism

A Compilation of Blueprints for U.S. Government Policy


This 2015 report by Human Rights First illustrates the vital importance for the United States to encourage its allies to implement security policies rooted in the reality that good governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights are essential tools in countering violent extremism.

It argues that human rights violations and the denial of rights and freedoms contribute to the problems of regional instability and violent extremism. Thus, counterterrorism assistance should promote—rather than undermine—the rule of law and human rights. In other words, human rights are not secondary in any strategy to promote stability and counter violent extremism; they are essential to its success.