Skip to main content

Photo: “Tajikistan“, by Steve Evans, licensing under CC BY-NC 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Vanhullebusch, Matthias. “The War on Terror on the Silk Road: Changing Discourses.” In The Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, pp. 285-309. Brill Nijhoff, 2020.


The war on terror has more than ever divided nation-states regarding the means and methods to address the causes and manifestations of (inter)national terrorism. Depending on its legal classification, different international and regional legal regimes govern those counter-terrorism efforts, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international criminal law and international refugee law. By shedding light on the changing discourses to fight the war on terror on behalf of national governments as well as international courts, new international legal responses and strategies of engagement are needed in the face of those new realities on the ground. This report covers, firstly, India’s development argument in the fight against terrorism that borrows from China’s approach in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, secondly, the accountability gap before the International Criminal Court and the UK administrative authorities for conduct carried out in the war on terror respectively in Afghanistan and Iraq, and, lastly, the Turkish use of refugees and safe zones in its counter-terrorism campaign against Kurdish forces in Northern Syria.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.