Non-Discrimination and Fundamental Freedoms (Module 13, UNODC University Module series: Counter-Terrorism)

The series of Modules on Counter-Terrorism Education, developed within the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, aim to provide a relevant and valuable resource for lecturers teaching courses on counter-terrorism in universities and academic institutions across the world. The Modules seek to enhance students’ understanding of terrorism, its implications and related issues by providing foundational knowledge on relevant international, regional and national instruments and approaches. To increase their effectiveness, the Modules aim to connect theory to practice, encourage critical thinking, and use innovative interactive teaching approaches such as experiential learning, case studies and group-based work. The Modules are multi-disciplinary and can be integrated in a series of courses ranging from law to international relations, sociology, anthropology, criminology and many other disciplines. Whilst the primary focus is on the United Nations instruments, the Modules leave room for diverse perspectives and lecturers can easily adapt them to different local and cultural contexts.

Counter-Terrorism_module_overview_imageModule 13. Non-Discrimination and Fundamental Freedoms

Non-discrimination and fundamental freedoms, together with other human rights examined throughout this course, play a central role in ensuring open, tolerant societies that respect the rule of law. In turn, respect for these principles and their fundamental underpinning values, such as human dignity and equality, play a central role in many critical aspects of counter-terrorism, notably here in international efforts to counter violent extremism (see further Module 2), as well as to further other international agendas including the Sustainable Development Goals (of especial relevance here, Goal 5 gender equality; Goal 10 reduced inequalities; and Goal 16 peace, justice and strong institutions). Therefore, this Module examines both the key principles of non-discrimination and fundamental freedoms existing in international and regional law, together with important examples of how these principles can be undermined by terrorism and, in some circumstances, by counter-terrorism efforts respectively, together with how States and the international community are responding to erosions of the rule of law.

Learning outcomes

Understand key principles governing non-discrimination and fundamental freedoms existing within international and regional legal frameworks.

Examine ways in which these principles can come under strain through the criminal acts of non-State terrorist actors and approaches of States in their counter-terrorism responses respectively.

Consider some of the negative impacts of erosions of these fundamental principles.

Examine efforts by States and the international community more generally to prevent discrimination and violations of fundamental freedoms in terrorism and counter-terrorism contexts.

The full module is avaliable at UNODC website

TopicHuman Rights


Themes: Human Rights