Panel discussion: Ensuring the Rights of Children of Foreign Terrorist Fighters

FTF Children_UNPhoto_558987

26 September 2018, 1:15–2:30 p.m in New York. Co-hosted by the Government of Belgium and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT)

This event will bring together Member States, United Nations entities and civil society leaders to highlight the situation of children of foreign terrorist fighters and collective efforts to ensure their human rights.

Children are said to be one of the distinct aspects of the latest generation of ‘foreign terrorist fighters’ as defined by UN Security Council resolution 2017 (2014). A large number of minors reportedly travelled to conflict affected areas with their families in the past years. Furthermore, an unknown number of babies were reportedly born in such areas.

After recent military defeats of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL), many children, along with their parents and family members, are detained in several locations in Iraq and Syria often in dire conditions with limited access to basic services, such as food, water, medical care and education. They also face challenges in accessing consular services, as well as the prospect of statelessness.  Those children who manage to return to their or their parents’ countries of origin also face challenges, suffering from trauma from their experiences in conflict affected areas. The Member States also face the difficult task of how to rehabilitate and reintegrate such children into society.

The most recent resolution on “foreign terrorist fighters” by the United Nations Security Council, resolution 2396 (2017), places a significant emphasis on the families, including children. While noting that such children may be especially vulnerable to radicalization to violence, the resolution emphasizes the premise repeatedly emphasized by other terrorism-related resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (2006) – that all counter-terrorism measures must comply with international human rights and humanitarian law.

Opening remarks

  • Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and Executive Director, UNCCT

Session I: Situation faced by children of foreign terrorist fighters

  • Ms. Michèle Coninsx, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate
  • Mr. Robert Mardini, Permanent Observer to the United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Ambassador Karen Van Vlierberge, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belgium
  • Ms. Mira Kusuwamini, Executive Director, Civil Society Against Violent Extremism, Indonesia

Session II: Ensuring the rights of children of foreign terrorist fighters

  • Mr. Craig Mokhiber, Director, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
  • Hon. Judge Ismahene Boudhrioua , Juvenile Justice Judge, Tunisia
  • Mr. Huib Mijnarends, Special Envoy for Counter-Terrorism, the Government of the Netherlands  

This event is co-hosted by the Government of Belgium and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT)