Human Rights in Border Security Management
Human Rights in Border Security Management
Ensuring Compliance with Human Rights Standards at Borders in the Context of Counter-Terrorism


The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy urged Member States to increase national efforts and bilateral and multilateral cooperation to enhance effective border controls to prevent and detect the movement of terrorists. That reflects the increasing recognition of the threat of individuals who transit through or travel to a State other than that of their residence or nationality for the purpose of perpetration, planning or preparation of, or participation in terrorist acts. The Security Council has repeatedly emphasized the significance of border controls, calling on Member States to increase border security measures. These measures could include traveller risk assessments and screening procedures to identify individuals of concern. At the same time, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant Security Council resolutions all emphasize the importance of compliance with international human rights law and international refugee law in implementing measures for border security and management.

The Security Council has repeatedly stressed that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law. The Security Council has also underscored that respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are complementary and mutually reinforcing with effective counter-terrorism measures, and are an essential part of a successful counter-terrorism effort.

Towards a Solution

Following consultations held in South-East Asia, Southern Africa, G5 Sahel, and North Africa collecting comments and technical inputs from stakeholders, comprising legal and migration experts, officials of Member States, and international organisations, the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) developed a draft training manual for border authorities. A gender consultant had supported the integration of gender perspectives during the consultations and in the development of the training manual.

In 2019, UNCCT and OHCHR reviewed and finalised the training manual in preparation for publication and translation (into French, Arabic, Spanish and Russian). In April 2019, a training of trainers workshop mainly for OHCHR staff was delivered in Geneva to expand the pool of potential trainers. The training was provided in cooperation with the UNCCT.

The second phase of the project is now completed, and it was comprised of targeted national-level trainings and regional policy dialogues, using the training manual and other tools and guidance already developed, including the screening Handbook and Pocket Book for border officials.

The strong interest demonstrated by Member States, international organisations, migration experts, and a broad range of other stakeholders who participated in the regional consultations and expert group meetings indicates that they highly value the practical guidance the training manual (trainer’s guide) offers to Member States on human rights-compliant and gender-responsive measures in border security and management within the context of counter-terrorism. The final version of the manual contains specific learning objectives and sections to address gender dimensions of border security and management.

Contact Information

UNCCT Human Right Section

Countries involved

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

Supported by

United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT)

Implementing Entities

United Nations Counter Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Project Status


Project Period

2018 - 2020

URL of the practice

Primary SDG

16 - Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

Similar Solutions

NAME OF SOLUTION Countries SDG Project Status

100% Online Electronic Apostille and Legalization Sharing Colombia’s effective e-government system with other countries in the region

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger 16 - Peace and Justice Strong Institutions Completed View Details

360-Degree Awareness Tool to Fight COVID-19 Raising awareness and ensuring public wellbeing through a one-stop platform for fighting COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger 16 - Peace and Justice Strong Institutions Ongoing View Details

Accelerator Labs Network Following collective intelligence methods to address emerging sustainability challenges and the growing demand for local solutions

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger 08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth 13 - Climate Action Ongoing View Details

Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women at the National Level in the Arab Region Mainstreaming gender action within national institutions in the Arab region

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger 05 - Gender Equality Completed View Details

Addressing Racial and Ethnicity-based Discrimination and Strengthening the Protection of Rural Afro-descendants UNFPA supports data disaggregation as a tool to fight racism and ethnic discrimination

Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger 01 - No Poverty 02 - Zero Hunger 03 - Good Health and Well-being 05 - Gender Equality 06 - Clean Water and Sanitation 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities 16 - Peace and Justice Strong Institutions Ongoing View Details