U.N. expert wants world to pay victims of terrorism

The special U.N. investigator on terrorism is calling for an international legally binding instrument to provide compensation, reparation, and support to all victims of terrorism. The investigator says terrorists cannot compensate for the massive damage they cause, so it is up to world governments to right a wrong and pay up.

Since Saturday, the expert, Ben Emmerson reports 125 people have been killed and 334 have been seriously wounded in 14 terrorist attacks around the world, including Pakistan, Iraq, northern Nigeria, and Yemen.

He says to most of the world, these deaths are just statistics and very little, or nothing at all, is known about the human tragedies that lie behind them.

Despite the brutal physical and psychological consequences of terrorist attacks on the victims and their families, he says little is being done to compensate them. He says this is unjust and must not continue.

Emmerson says he has received wide support from organizations representing victims of terrorism around the world for his proposals to compensate the victims for their loss and suffering.

He says none of these people are calling for revenge. They are calling for justice. He says they are not calling for more torture or for more human-rights abuse in countering terrorism.

“The victims are saying that is not being done in their name, do not use their names as a justification,” said Emmerson. “What they are asking for is a normative framework. And, the aim of this report is to nail the lie that the way to protect victims is to abuse the human rights of those suspected of involvement in terrorism. That is not what they are calling for. It is quite the reverse of what they are calling for. And, it is a strange world where government officials are prepared to stand up and say we are torturing on behalf of the victims, but we are not prepared to pay them compensation.”

Emmerson says the Council of Europe, as well as many countries and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, support his efforts to secure the human rights of victims of terrorism.

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