Since the 9/11 attacks in New York and the pursuit of the global war on terror, security agendas including CTMs have been taking primacy internationally. A major repercussion is that civil society organizations worldwide are experiencing a shrinking of operational space within which to achieve their goals and implement development mission. It has also become evident that in many cases, the rationale and international resource support for the global war on terror is being used to initiate or further expand various political, policy, intelligence and military instruments in the name of national security but with negative impacts on civil liberties and sustainable development.
This is the reason for holding a Conference on Counterterrorism Measures and Development in South and Southeast Asia here in Davao City, Philippines. Human rights advocates and development workers from seven countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, South Asia, North America and Europe gathered to have deeper analysis and debate on CTMs and its impacts to the development programs being implemented in their respective countries.
Specifically, the conference provided a space for solidarity building among people and communities affected by CTM and for sharing experiences, perspectives, analysis, concerns and dilemmas in relation to direct impacts, coping mechanisms and proactive strategies to respond to, deal with or even challenge both terrorism and CTM.
Since CTMs intensified right after 9/11, countless human rights abuses are being perpetrated against innocent civilians and institutions suspected of being terrorists or with terrorist links. Participants are deeply concerned about the rising cases of human rights violations, both domestic and international, committed against persons and communities. The impacts of CTMs on human security has become so alarming that many CSOs are starting to develop mechanisms that would address the stifling of basic liberties, freedoms and rights.
Countries like Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Philippines are experiencing the effects of CTMs as violence escalates due to state actions and perpetration of the military approach in attacking insurgency problems and due to actions committed by terrorist groups.