Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ben Emmerson visits Women without Borders office in Vienna - “Terrorists Fear the Victims Most of all”

Women without Borders was delighted to welcome Mr. Ben Emmerson QC, and UN Special Rapporteur on promoting human rights while countering terrorism to our headquarters in Vienna on the occasion of UNODC Panel Discussion on Victims of Terrorism.  Mr Emmerson, an international human rights lawyer, achieved certain notoriety when accepting his mandate by drawing international attention to victims: “There can be no discussion on human rights in counter-terrorism without a discussion on the human rights of the victims.” 

Mr Emmerson applauded Women without Borders innovative approach to the position of victims and their potential role in peace-building efforts and promotion of alternative narratives on a community level. Indeed, our gendered strategy is both rare and effective, he commented, precisely because whilst terrorism has a predominantly male face, more than half of the affected populations are women.  In balance to the previous decade of hard responses to radicalization, he stressed how the work of Women without Borders develops the distinctive role women can play in the security sphere.

“The family component of counter terrorism,” according to Mr. Emmerson, ‘has been neglected from the start’ he said, remarking on the access Women without Borders already has to grass roots levels through applied smart power - the use of soft skills such as listening, dialogue and empathy.  In particular, our new Mothers Schools and community radio programs sensitize and empower women to recognize and respond to early warning signs of potential radicalization in their children on the home front. The war on terrorism is no longer an emergency action, explained Mr. Emmerson; instead, counter-terrorism movement now needs to focus towards the future and sustainability, “We need to reveal the truth on both sides, in order to bring to light the root causes of terrorism.”  Women as communicators and educators of children and youth can teach the power of reconciliation, and understanding of the other and in doing so, cut the systems that support terror.

Flash Points: Edit Schlaffer presents SAVE on CBS