Regional workshop addresses counter-terrorism strategy in Eastern Africa
The Workshop on the Regional Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Eastern Africa was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 27-28 July 2011.
The workshop, organized by the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) in partnership with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, brought together Counter-terrorism focal points from Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda.
In his keynote speech, Ethiopian Justice Minister Ato Berhan Hailu reiterated the importance of having such a timely meeting in the Eastern Africa region, given its current economic and social challenges, where peace and security were constantly undermined by acts of terrorism.
Minister Hailu noted how the network of global and regional terrorists “such as Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Al-Shabaab was wide and complex’ and had executed various forms of terrorism in Africa.
He was convinced that regional states possessed the requisite knowledge and expertise to develop appropriate mechanisms relevant to local conditions to assist in the effective implementation of the CTITF strategy.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union, Zachary Muburi-Muita hailed the holding of such a workshop as a clear message from the international community against terrorism. He emphasized the need to strengthen partnerships in order to counter terrorism.
In his closing remarks, Muhammad Rafiuddin Shah, Officer-in-Charge of the CTITF Office outlined the key conclusions from the workshop which are:
- Promoting effective leadership through regional and international initiatives to address the threat posed by El Shabaab and/or the implications of instability in Somalia.
- Promoting regional efforts to counter conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.
- Developing a counter-terrorism regional action plan for the implementation of the various pillars of the Global Strategy.
- Deepening the involvement of civil society in promoting the implementation of the Strategy through regional meetings
Themes for discussion included: the CTITF Strategy and its significance to the Eastern Africa region; Criminal Justice, the Rule of Law and Protecting Human Rights while Countering Terrorism; Promoting dialogue, understanding and countering the appeal of terrorism in the region; and Police and Law Enforcement.
The workshop agreed to collectively tackle some of the most critical challenges facing the Eastern Africa region, through refocusing regional policy to priority threats and through targeted yet inclusive regional action plans.
During the workshop, the Eritrean delegation announced their Government’s decision to rejoin IGAD.
The regional meeting was facilitated by Austria, Germany, Norway, Turkey, Switzerland and the United States.