Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – OHCHR reported that, the United States’ anti-terrorism program “Rewards for Justice” is violating the human rights of some of the individuals it targets.
The program, operated by the U.S. State Department, offers money for information about people outside the United States whom the U.S. Government designates as being associated with terrorism, but who have not been charged with any crimes. It also offers money to foreign individuals whom it claims are involved with terrorism if they cooperate with U.S. authorities.
“Many of the people targeted by the Rewards for Justice program have had their due process rights denied,” said Alena Douhan, the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. “Those rights entail the presumption of innocence and fair trial, and the United States is obliged by international law to respect them. By offering money for information that can lead to the capture of these individuals, the program encourages others to participate in the denial of these rights.
The offers of money to foreign individuals alleged to be involved in terrorist activity or associated with entities qualified by the United States as being involved in terrorist activity – including institutions of Iran, Cuba and many other States – comes with threats to impose sanctions on these individuals if they don’t cooperate with the U.S. Government’s demands. Sanctions imposed against them violate a number of their rights, including the right to work, to freedom of movement, right to reputation, right to life with no possibility to access justice to protect these rights, as well as the right to be forgotten.
“Making an individual carry out tasks against their will under the threat of a penalty for not doing so amounts to forced labour as defined by agreements made through the International Labour Organization, and the United States has accepted that definition,” said Douhan
“I respectfully urge the U.S. Government to review its Rewards for Justice Program in order to ensure that its activities are aligned with international law,” Douhan said.