Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Ben Saul
Chapter 19: Humanitarian action, development and terrorism
Terrorism thrives on the suffering of people. Underdevelopment, unemployment, poor governance, and absence of the rule of law in combination with grievances are among the factors that facilitate the radicalization of people and the recruitment of new members to terrorist organizations. These conditions are being addressed by humanitarian action and development aid through the delivery of food, shelter, education, good governance training and other elements of a sustainable livelihood that people are entitled to under international human rights standards. The current aid regime, however, is in a classic Catch-22 when it comes to long-term terrorism prevention: international obligations require the delivery of humanitarian aid to anyone in need without prejudice to political affiliation, religion, or parties of a conflict. However, counterterrorism norms prohibit, under threat of prosecution, the giving of any support to terrorist groups, whether it is through material or logistical support or expert advice.
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