The Impact of Counter-Terrorism Laws and Measures on Humanitarian Action

Completed in December 2015

Within the context of a broader study, the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) commissioned the Geneva Academy to realize a study of the impact on humanitarian action of counter-terrorism laws and measures.

The project was conducted in close cooperation with UN humanitarian coordinators and UN country teams, as well as the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee.

Research Team

This research project was carried out by Stuart Casey-Maslen, Takhmina Karimova and Marina Mattirolo.


The research identified impacts and made recommendations to humanitarian organizations, host states and other relevant actors on how to minimize the negative impact of such laws and measures on principled humanitarian action.

The results of the project were presented and discussed at various roundtables in 2013 and 2014.


Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility. Inside a room where detainees of the prison, separated by an acrylic glass, are allowed to meet with their families a couple of times per year with the help of the ICRC employees who facilitate the programme. Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

27 April - 8 June 2023

This online short course discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

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Surveillance Camera Project


Started in June 2019

The ‘Counter-Terror Pro LegEm’ project combines legal analysis with social science research to (1) examine the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and their effects on human rights and (2) analyse the structure of terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State and see whether they qualify as ‘organized armed groups’ for the purpose of international humanitarian law.

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