Constructions of Terrorism: Reconciling Human Rights, Human Security in Countering Terrorism

6-7 December 2016, ICSR, King’s College, London

Organized by TRENDS Research & Advisory, International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR), King’s College, and the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara


In the Constructions of Terrorism project, we have explored key issues in understanding terrorism. Experts have provided research and discussion on issues of methodology, definitions, the understanding of context, and the diverse range of factors involved in compelling individuals to engage in terrorism (information on our past events can be found by clicking here)

There is no single model or frame through which we can attempt to explain or understand terrorism and the violence being used. This has created difficulties for governments in how to respond to the threats posed by terrorism; requiring action directed at, inter alia – intelligence/information gathering, monitoring potential threats, creating safer infrastructure in society, and attempting to foster programs designed at preventing extremism that leads to violence. In efforts to counter terrorism governments must act to ensure security, while at the same time, chosen measures often further fear and feelings of insecurity both at home and abroad. The balance is difficult and governments must have a clear policy guiding behavior that is created through coherent measures.

For this event, we will be exploring the challenges in meeting the demands of human security through the respect of human rights while putting forth effective counter terrorism programs. It is important to further security through effective human rights promotion while also recognizing the limitations upon human rights that are sometimes necessary for providing security. Recognizing the limitations is not to create an obstacle to progress, rather it is about identifying how the human rights project can be furthered by looking at the actual lived experiences on the ground in a society and providing a secure environment for all.

Conference Schedule

Day 1 – 6 December

9:00-10:00 Arrival and Registration

10:00 -11:00 Welcome and Keynote

Welcome: Chaired by Richard Burchill, TRENDS

Welcome Statements from:

  • Dr. Ahmed Al Al Hamli, TRENDS
  • Professor Michael Stohl, Orfalea

Opening Keynote: Professor Peter Neumann, Director of ICSR

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee

11:30 – 13:00 Panel 1: Framing the Issues

Counter-terrorism vs human security: Parallels logics that do not intersect

Harmonie Toros, Senior Lecturer in Conflict Analysis, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent

Between radicalisation and polarisation – a critical appraisal of counter-radicalisation policies

Daniela Pisoiu, Senior Researcher at The Austrian Institute for International Affairs

The international framework on countering-terrorism and human rights standards

Arturo Laurent, Programme Officer, Terrorism Prevention Branch, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, TRENDS Non-Resident Fellow in Transnational Organised Crime and International Criminal Law

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:00 Panel 2: Determining who is or is not a terrorist

‘A tough but necessary power’: Debating proscription in Parliament

Lee Jarvis, Reader in International Security, School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication, University of East Anglia

Examining Means and Objectives in Assessing the Threat Posed by Political Organisations

Richard Burchill, Director of Research and Engagement, TRENDS Research & Advisory

15:00-15:30 coffee

15:30 – 16:30 Panel 3: Messaging and Propaganda

Breaking the ISIS Brand: Fighting and Winning Against ISIS in the Digital Battlefield

Anne Speckhard, Director, International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, Washington, DC

In-Theatre Engagement with the Islamic State’s Propaganda Machine?

Charlie Winter, Senior Research Fellow, ICSR

Day Two – 7 December

9:00 – 9:30 Arrival/Coffee

9:30 – 10:30 Panel 4: Foreign Policy, Human Rights and Security

Human Rights and Syria: Humanitarian Intervention and the Old World Order?

Leah Sherwood, Deputy Director of Research, TRENDS Research & Advisory

Reaching for the Remote: Drones in the U.S. Counter-terror Operations

Scott Englund, TRENDS Non Resident Fellow in Counter Terrorism, Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee

11:30 – 13:00 Panel 5 Social Constructions of Understanding Terrorism

Countering Violent Extremism: Construction of the Threat and Implications for Counterterrorism Policy

Benjamin K. Smith, Graduate Research Assistant, and Michael Stohl, Director, Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Confronting common challenges at a time of “existential crisis.”

Geoffrey Harris, Distinguished Teaching Fellow, Vesalius College, Brussels, TRENDS Non-Resident Fellow in EU Politics and International Relations

Preventing terrorism together – Empowering credible community voices to counter extreme narratives

Andrew Staniforth, Detective Inspector, West Yorkshire Police, TRENDS Non-Resident Fellow in Counter Terrorism and National Security

13:00 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Panel 6: National Studies

The persistent failure to reconcile Human Rights and Human Security in Counter-terrorism: The case of Greece

George Kassimeris, Professor of Security Studies, School of Social, Historical and Political Studies University of Wolverhampton

Extreme measures against extremism? A view from Belgium

Thomas Renard, Senior Research Fellow, Egmont-Royal Institute for International Relations, Brussels

Jihadists of the Caribbean

Simon Cottee, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee

15:45: – 16:45 – Final Session/Close

Page Editor

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
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