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Birchall Milan 281117Ana Birchall addresses counter-terrorism forum in Milan, 28 November 2017MILAN, 28 November 2017 – Safeguarding human rights constitutes a key element in effectively addressing violent extremism, said OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism member Ana Birchall (MP, Romania) at an event in Milan today.

Speaking at a panel on counter-terrorism and human rights at the Milan Forum for Parliamentary Action in Preventing Violent Extremism and Mass Atrocities, Birchall said that counter-terrorism efforts and international human rights obligations can be mutually reinforcing.

“By developing counter-terrorism strategies based on the protection of human rights, we are also tackling the root causes of terrorism and radicalization, which often lay in hopelessness and despair,” Birchall said.

There is a growing concern, she said, that marginalization caused by human rights abuses can induce radicalization and lead to violent extremism. “This is why we should strive to build upon our knowledge and experience and develop forward-looking policies that promote inclusive, peaceful and respectful societies in our countries,” Birchall noted.

She underlined that parliamentarians have a commitment to be at the forefront of counter-terrorism initiatives, including by developing innovative legislative responses and policies that strike a balance between security and privacy. She also said that members of parliament must provide oversight of the security sector and actively promote dialogue between national governments, local communities and civil society.

Birchall was joined in Milan by OSCE PA Vice-President Margareta Cederfelt (MP, Sweden) and Secretary General Roberto Montella. Organized jointly by Parliamentarians for Global Action, the Montreal Institute of Genocide and Human Rights Studies and the Stanley Foundation, the Milan Forum’s objective is to mobilize parliamentarians to adopt effective policies to protect civilian populations from terrorism and marginalize the ideology of violent extremists while promoting human rights.

In her address Birchall shared the activities of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, including its launching of an Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism last July. Consisting of 11 parliamentarians from as many countries, the committee’s main goal is to promote the harmonization of legislative and policy frameworks pertaining to terrorism and violent extremism, Birchall said.

“By participating in fora like this, we are striving to stimulate international co-operation, the exchange of best practices, as well as to assist in the consolidation of global counter-terrorism efforts,” she added.

For Birchall's full remarks, please click here.

More information about the OSCE PA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism is available here.