More than two decades after the 9/11 attacks, counterterrorism still dominates most security policies and practices around the world, including at the United Nations.

And yet, the problem of terrorism persists around the world – from southwestern Pakistan, to the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, to the Sahel.

Across the board, nations are failing to address the root causes of extremism.

What might alternative approaches to counterterrorism look like?

Perhaps no one is better equipped to consider the impact of counterterrorism on human rights than Fionnuala Ní Aoláin. This is Part 1 of a special two-part conversation. Please join us next week for Fionnuala’s insights into the human rights implications caused by spyware and personal data collection.

Fionnuala recently completed her tenure as the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism. She was the first U.N. expert to visit the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and issued a landmark report on how Guantanamo deprives both the detainees and the 9/11 victims of the justice they all deserve.

She assessed the conditions in prisons and camps in northeast Syria that still hold over 50,000 people more than 5 years after the defeat of the Islamic State. She raised awareness of the role of gender in counterterrorism and of the repressive effect of counterterrorism tactics on civil society, and she enumerated the ever-expanding counterterrorism mandate at the U.N.

Fionnuala is a law professor at the University of Minnesota  and at Queens University School of Law in Belfast, Northern Ireland and an executive editor at Just Security.

Listen to the podcast by clicking below.

The episode title appears with sound waves behind it.