IGOHR Denounces Suspected Terror Attack in Stockholm, Sweden
The International Gulf Organization for Human Rights (IGOHR) strongly denounces the suspected terrorist attack in Stockholm, Sweden which resulted in the death of four people in one of the capital’s busiest streets. The incident involved an assailant who acted alone – but believed to be “inspired by international terrorism” – by hijacking a truck and drove it into pedestrians Drottninggatan (Queen Street) and later crashed into a department store killing at least four civilians and injuring dozens of others. The driver is also believed to have engaged in a gun brawl with security personnel before escaping the scene.
IGOHR views this deadly assault as very shocking and terrifying in a city like Stockholm which is largely peace and safe. Such a cruel and horrific attack on pedestrians and security personnel is unacceptable and a deliberate violation of both regional and international laws against terrorism. The International Gulf Organization for Human Rights stresses that terrorist activities threaten the safety, stability and security of democratic and peaceful nations like Sweden as well as the rights and freedoms of its citizens. Thus, such acts of violence against innocent pedestrians and security forces aims to sow seeds of terror and fear among the civilian population.
Hence, the deliberate use of a lorry to run into people in a busy street and crashing into a store killing four persons is considered by IGOHR as a way to destabilize public security, the government and to instill fear and panic among citizens. The organization equally views it as a direct violation against international and regional human rights norms. According to the 1997 Terrorist Convention any person commits a terrorist offense if he or she unlawfully and intentionally uses a lethal device against a person or group in a place of public use with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury. The convention further mandates all state parties “to establish jurisdiction over and make punishable, under their domestic laws, the offences described, to extradite or submit for prosecution persons accused of committing or aiding in the commission of the offence.” In line with this broad definition, the Stockholm vehicle attack could be termed a terrorist attack as the attacker’s intend was to harm people in a public environment which resulted in the dead of four innocent civilians and engaging in a gunfight with the police.
The Stockholm incident follows similar terrorist attacks across a number of cities in Europe including Nice, Berlin and London, in which vehicles were used as a weapon to perpetrate deadly attacks. On July 14 2016, a man drove a lorry for 2km (1.2 miles) through a large crowd gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France. Eighty-six people were killed, and more than 300 injured. The vehicle attack in Berlin, Germany which took place on December 19 2016 killed 12 people and injured 49, when a man drove a lorry through the crowded Breitscheidplatz Christmas market. The incident was claimed by Daesh. Another attack occurred on March 22 2017 in London, United Kingdom where a car mounted the pavement on London’s Westminster bridge and drove at high speed through pedestrians killing five people died and wounding 50 others. The attacker then entered the parliament complex on foot and fatally stabbed a police officer, before being shot.
IGOHR therefore reiterates its strong persistence in rejecting terrorism in all its forms and calls on the Swedish government to thoroughly investigate the terror incident and bring to justice all the organizers and financiers of this cruel act. IGOHR also calls on the international community to be united in fighting against all forms of terrorism by reporting to government authorities immediately about any suspicious acts of any individual or groups that may be related to extremist activities. IGOHR further urges the Swedish government to continue to work cooperatively with other international organizations such as the United Nations, EU and non-EU countries to develop stronger policies, strategies and measures to combat terrorism in the region and globally. IGOHR equally extends its sincere empathy and condolences to the families of the victims, the Swedish government, the entire nation and it also wishes swift recovery to those injured.