2021 was a landmark year for counterterrorism. Violent extremist attacks and recruitment were on the rise, the pandemic was exacerbating the root causes of violence and conflict, and repressive governments were exploiting the public health crisis. Securitization and surveillance tactics were being used disproportionately against racial, religious, and ethnic minority groups, aided by emerging technologies that can be co-opted for malign intent. These practices are not new—in fact, many mirror the restrictive measures in place since the dawn of the so-called “war on terror,” which has resulted in untold causalities and rampant violations of civil liberties.
Two decades into the failed war on terror, we are overdue to move beyond a militarized approach, confront the systemic injustices within our security and criminal justice sectors, and tackle these interconnected threats with inclusive responses. These realities require truly unprecedented cooperation.
The 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks compels the international community to take stock of the past two decades of counterterrorism policy and ask: Have these efforts made us safer, and at what cost? This opinion piece in The Hill penned by executive director Eelco Kessels reflects on the twenty years since September 11th to underscore the urgency of restoring human rights and centering civil society in global security efforts.
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Emerging threats to human rights and security triggered by artificial intelligence (AI) and data capture technologies will require peacebuilding and violence prevention actors to bridge the gap between early warning and response and anticipate new challenges. This policy brief examines how AI and data capture technologies can be positively harnessed and potentially misused.
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