Legislators, experts work on human rights-compliant policies for prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of FTFs in South East Europe

151021 FTF event LopatkaOSCE PA Senior Advisor Marco Bonabello and Chair of the OSCE PA's Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism Reinhold Lopatka, Vienna, 14 October 2021VIENNA/COPENHAGEN, 15 October 2021 – Legislators and experts discussed strategies and policies for effective and human rights-compliant prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters and their families in South-Eastern Europe and neighboring countries at a Regional Policy Dialogue held in blended format on 14 and 15 October 2021 in Vienna.

“The return, rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters and their families remains a major challenge,” said Alena Kupchyna, OSCE Co-ordinator of Activities to Address Transnational Threats, during her opening remarks. To address this challenge, she said, “Parliamentarians have an important role to play. As representatives of the people, they are the principal stakeholders to identify lasting solutions to address the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.”

The meeting was co-organized by the OSCE Transnational Threats Department and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. It gathered more than 50 parliamentarians and representatives from relevant legislative committees from around South-Eastern Europe and select neighboring countries as well as experts and representatives from the relevant UN agencies, the OSCE and OSCE PA, including from the OSCE PA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism.

Throughout three thematic sessions, parliamentarians and experts engaged in a fruitful open debate aimed at bringing policy convergence on related political, operational, legal and social challenges. They discussed ways to effectively implement international standards and shape human rights-compliant legislation, institutions and procedures to address challenges pertaining to the return or repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters and their family members. Participants exchanged experiences and lessons learned on topics such as evidence collection for prosecution, as well as rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, particularly for women and children.

A co-operative, human rights-based approach is a “key prerequisite” for addressing challenges related to foreign terrorist fighters, said OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt. Outlining how the OSCE and its Parliamentary Assembly can jointly support participating States, she said parliamentarians’ “rather unique legislative, oversight, budgetary and bridge-making powers make us valuable assets in the global fight against terrorism and violent extremism.”

Turning to wider efforts related to countering terrorism and violent extremism, Maria Gratschew, Counsellor at the Swedish Permanent Delegation to the OSCE and representative of the 2021 Swedish OSCE Chairpersonship, said: “When taking measures to prevent and counter radicalization leading to violent extremism and terrorism, then human rights, principles of democracy and proportionality must be ensured. Similarly, good governance, transparency and accountability must be upheld. Parliamentarians, as lawmakers and representatives of the public, play a crucial role in this regard.”

This week’s event was the first of such regional policy dialogues jointly organized by the PA and the OSCE to promote greater parliamentary engagement and enhance co-ordination with ongoing intergovernmental efforts.

For more information on the OSCE’s counter-terrorism efforts, please visit the OSCE’s Action against Terrorism page here, and the PA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism page here.



Нэт Пэрри

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