Strengthening the safety and security of vulnerable targets against terrorist attacks in Tunisia

Tunis, 3 June 2022 – The Global Programme on Countering Terrorist Threats against Vulnerable Targets concluded its first two technical assistance activities to support the Government of Tunisia to strengthen the protection of vulnerable targets against terrorist attacks. UNOCT organized two back-to-back training events in Tunis from 30 May to 3 June 2022, in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Roadmap and key aspects of vulnerable targets protection

The objective of the first workshop (30 May – 1 June) was to raise awareness amongst senior Tunisian officials on key areas and international good practices related to strengthening the safety and security of critical infrastructure and public places/“soft” targets, as well as to formally present Tunisia’s Roadmap (or National Plan of Action) in this regard. The Roadmap provided an analysis of the national level of preparedness across three major pillars: 1) the legislative and regulatory framework; 2) the institutional framework, and 3) the operational and technical framework. The Roadmap also included a set of recommendations which UNOCT is addressing through its ongoing capacity building support to Tunisia. This plan was developed by UNOCT and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) as a result of the in-depth consultations held in Tunis in February 2022. 

The legislative and regulatory aspects

The second capacity building activity (2-3 June) aimed at strengthening legislative and regulatory aspects to enhance vulnerable targets protection based on the national Roadmap and its recommendations.

The discussions focused on the international legal framework related to vulnerable targets protection, holistic approaches to defining and listing vulnerable targets at the national level, comparative examples of national legislative and regulatory frameworks, as well as human rights, international humanitarian law, and gender considerations. 

Presentations of existing international good practices, tools, case studies, and discussions informed experts’ recommendations on further improving Tunisia’s national legal frameworks on critical infrastructure and public places/“soft” targets protection. 

These two events, held in a hybrid format, were opened by the Director General for Peace and Security of the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Tunisia. The workshops brought together over 50 participants from 12 Tunisian Ministries and Institutions led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. CTED, the 1267 Monitoring Team, UNAOC, UNICRI, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE Anti-Terrorism Unit, the Kenyan National Counter-Terrorism Centre, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), as well as representatives of civil society. Finally, experts from the relevant UNOCT/UNCCT Global Programmes, including on threats posed by cyber, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks, cyber security, and terrorist use of automated remotely operated systems (AROS) also participated.

UNOCT and the Government of Tunisia agreed on top priorities for future technical support to be provided in the framework of the Global Vulnerable Targets Programme. The next capacity-building activity for Tunisia under the Programme, which will focus on supporting the implementation of key operational priorities identified in the national Roadmap, is planned to take place in September/October 2022.

The Global Vulnerable Targets Programme is co-implemented by UNOCT, CTED, UNAOC and UNICRI and in consultation with INTERPOL. The programme seeks to strengthen the capacity of Member States, upon request, and seeks to strengthen the capacity of Member States to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks against their vulnerable targets. These targets include both critical infrastructure and “soft” targets, including tourist venues, urban centres and public events, religious sites and places of worship.

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