Terrorism still high on the agenda: OSCE PA counter-terrorism committee visits Switzerland to discuss new trends and legislation

220323 CCT visit photo 1Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism members being briefed at the Swiss Parliament, 22 March 23BERNE, 22 March 2023 – In an official visit this week to Switzerland, members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism (CCT) have met with a wide range of interlocutors from the international community and Swiss Government to discuss global terrorism developments and effective strategies to prevent radicalization. The visit started in Geneva on Tuesday and wrapped up with a series of meetings in Berne on Wednesday.

Led by OSCE PA Vice-President Reinhold Lopatka, CCT members met on Tuesday with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva for discussions on the intersection of conflicts and terrorism, where the need to preserve the integrity of international humanitarian law (IHL), its complementarity with the counterterrorism legal framework and the relevance of humanitarian exemptions were highlighted.

Members also met with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund to discuss the latest terrorism drivers, including in the context of climate change and new technologies, consider pressing human rights challenges in counterterrorism and promote prevention efforts at the community level.

On Wednesday, the visit continued with meetings at the Swiss National Parliament, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and other governmental bodies dealing with counterterrorism, including the issue of returning foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). With local counterterrorism authorities and the Federal Office of Police, the PA delegation discussed current trends in Switzerland, learned about the latest efforts to repatriate children of FTFs from Syrian camps, and pondered recent legislative reforms granting special preventive powers to police authorities.

“Parliamentarians play a crucial role in promoting international co-operation and championing a whole of society approach in countering and preventing terrorism in our region,” said Vice-President Lopatka. “But in order to ensure that our efforts are targeted, it is essential that we hear from as wide a variety of stakeholders and experts as possible. This week’s visit to Switzerland will go a long way towards informing our work so that we can contribute to eradicating the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism from our societies in a human rights-compliant manner.”

220323 CCT visit photo 3 OSCE PA members meeting at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, 21 March 2023In focus during the series of meetings in Switzerland was the challenge of ensuring that counter-terrorism measures are not only effective, but also fully aligned with international norms. Members discussed how to counter online radicalization in a way that strikes a functional balance between fundamental freedoms and the security of citizens, and how parliamentarians may best support the work of relevant agencies at the international, national and subnational levels.

CCT member Ida Glanzmann-Hunkeler (Switzerland), who hosted the delegation, stressed that the challenge of addressing terrorism must be tackled from all angles, including at the local level. “Parliamentarians must work to support local counter-terrorism initiatives and stakeholders in each of our countries if we are to achieve positive results,” Glanzmann-Hunkeler said. “There are many groups working at the community level that would benefit greatly from engagement from parliamentarians. As the most direct link between the people and their governments, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that these links are strengthened.”

Also participating in the visit were CCT members Vilija Aleknaitė-Abramikienė (Lithuania), Ravshanbek Alimov (Uzbekistan), and Tsogtbaatar Damdin (Mongolia). They were joined by Johannes Heiler, Adviser on Anti-Terrorism Issues at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

For more on the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism, please click here



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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