“Parliaments play vital roles as defenders of democracy, agents of accountability, and crucial links between the local and the global, bringing the concerns of people into the international arena.”
– UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his video message for 140th Interparliamentary Union Assembly, Doha, Qatar, 6 April 2019
Parliaments, preventing and countering terrorism
The role of parliaments is crucial in preventing and countering terrorism and addressing the underlying spread of violent extremism. Parliaments play a central role in law-making, policy-setting, budget allocation, oversight of government actions and ensuring a whole-of-society approach to counter terrorism representing the interests of communities and working with vulnerable groups at risk of radicalization. Through monitoring governments’ actions, they ensure implementation and monitoring of and compliance with international obligations related to terrorism and initiate parliamentary hearings and inquiries as well as public campaigns to draw attention of citizens to emerging issues.
To mainstream the responses to terrorism and violent extremism within parliamentary functions, UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) has established partnerships with several parliamentary organizations, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) , the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS). UNOCT provides these organizations with a platform for coordination and substantively supports the work of parliamentary counter-terrorism groups, such as IPU’s High Level Advisory Group to Counter-Terrorism and Violent Extremism and PAM’s Special Parliamentary Committee on Counterterrorism.
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism is implementing the Programme on the Role of Parliaments in Addressing Terrorism and Violent Extremism Leading to Terrorism which is generously funded through contributions to UNOCT from the State of Qatar, and to the IPU from Bangladesh, Benin, China and the United Arab Emirates. It supports parliamentary actions on counter-terrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism through a “whole-of-society” approach. The Programme is implemented by UNOCT in partnership with the IPU and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and in close cooperation with regional parliamentary organizations.
Programme Office on Parliamentary Engagement in Preventing and Countering Terrorism
The ‘UNOCT Programme on Parliamentary Engagement in Preventing and Countering Terrorism’ was established through an Agreement signed between UNOCT and the Shura Council of the State of Qatar on 25 November 2020. The Programme Office was officially launched on 16 June 2021 in a hybrid opening ceremony in the Shura Council of the State of Qatar.
The Programme Office serves as a global hub to support and build the capacity of parliamentarians worldwide in their efforts to counter terrorism through the United Nations Global Programme on Parliamentary Engagement in Preventing and Countering Terrorism led by UNOCT. To enhance support to parliamentarians worldwide, the Programme Office will develop tools customized for parliamentarians and organize its activities on preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism leveraging on innovation and partnerships with parliamentary assemblies, entities of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, other regional and international organizations, and civil society.