The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has just adopted Guidelines on the protection of victims of terrorist acts. Recognising the suffering endured by victims and their close families, the Committee considers that they should be shown national and international solidarity and support.
The aim of the guidelines is to identify the means that should be used to help victims of terrorism and protect their fundamental rights, while excluding any form of arbitrariness, as well as any discriminatory or racist treatment.
These measures include:
- Emergency assistance (medical, psychological, social and material) given free of charge
- Longer term assistance for any person who has suffered physical or psychiatric harm as a result of a terrorist act, including, in the appropriate circumstances, for members of their close family
- Effective access of such victims to the law and to justice
- The payment of fair and appropriate compensation for any damages they have suffered
- The protection of their private and family life, their dignity and their security
- The setting up of appropriate information contact points for victims, concerning in particular their rights, the existence of victim support bodies, and the possibility of obtaining assistance, practical and legal advice, as well as redress or compensation.
In this context, the Committee recognises the important role played by victim support organisations. Member states are invited to encourage specialist training for those responsible for helping victims of terrorist acts, and to provide the necessary resources.
The adopted text sets minimum standards, and member states can freely adopt services and measures over and above those outlined in the guidelines. Member states are invited to put the guidelines into practice, and to distribute them to all authorities involved in the fight against terrorism and the protection of victims of terrorist acts, as well as to representatives of civil society.
The Guidelines on the protection of victims of terrorist acts are an extension of the Guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism, adopted on 11 July 2002.
The full text of the guidelines can be found on the website www.coe.int
For further information, see also our special file http://www.coe.int/files/terrorism
Press contact: Henriette Girard
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