Professor Cora True-Frost Presents at William & Mary Law School’s International Law Workshop

Posted on Monday 5/22/2017

Assistant Professor of Law Cora True-Frost was invited to participate in William & Mary Law School’s International Law Workshop, a gathering of international law professors from Harvard, University of Virginia, Duke, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Queen’s College, Willamette, and William & Mary. 

Professor True-Frost presented, “When the UN Addresses the ‘Conditions Conducive to Terrorism,’ What Happens to Human Rights?” as part of the two-day workshop with these other noted international law scholars.  The topics discussed included international human rights law, international finance, international criminal law, public international law, and international trade.  

Professor True-Frost examined how the United Nations’ (UN) embrace of countering violent extremism (CVE) affects international human rights law: embracing CVE will both open and foreclose opportunities to advance international human rights law at the national and international levels. The UN Charter obliges the UN to uphold and promote human rights, including freedom of expression and association. This obligation is unchanged when the international organization weighs those rights against international and domestic terrorism. By embracing CVE programs, the UN has both limited and expanded its capacity to promote and develop human rights norms. On the one hand, the UN may have curtailed its ability to leverage social stigma against states that violate human rights norms through their CVE programs. She developed an additional concern: the Secretary-General’s call for National CVE Action Plans may generate a drive towards uniformity among States, creating a race to the bottom in human rights standards, as well as redirecting important state resources from social services to security. On the other hand, the article also analyzes some limited ways that the UN’s position on CVE programs may promote human rights-respecting outcomes. This is because the UN’s agenda will now offer multiple opportunities for transnational advocacy networks, and other stakeholders to contest CVE programs not only nationally, but also at the international level and through programs within the UN.