The Counter-Terrorism Committee met with global research partners to discuss the reasons why individuals travel abroad to fight in conflict zones, as well as effective strategies for rehabilitating and reintegrating them upon their return.
The Committee’s open meeting on foreign terrorist fighters was organized by its Executive Directorate (CTED) at United Nations Headquarters, New York, on 24 November 2015.
Member States and research institutes from around the world shared insights into an issue that continues to be a significant concern to the international community.
The UN estimates that around 30,000 individuals have travelled to fight in conflict zones from all around the world.
Participants were aware of the difficulty of identifying a foreign terrorist fighter “profile”.
Age, gender, religion, ideology, socio-economic status, personal status, grievances and a desire for adventure might all be motivating factors to varying degrees.
It was essential to devise effective strategies for determining which individuals might pose a further risk on their return and for rehabilitating them and reintegrating them into society — especially as many of those convicted of terrorism crimes would eventually be released.
Effective strategies for managing violent extremist offenders in prisons must also be in place.
The Committee launched its Global Counter-Terrorism Research Network in February 2015 to strengthen its partnerships with academia, think tanks and other entities in conducting research and information-gathering and identifying good counter-terrorism practices.
The meeting was open to all Member States, as well as relevant UN entities, international and regional organizations, civil society and academia. The panellists included researchers from the University of Oxford, the Jamestown Foundation, the Clingendael Institute, the Hedayah Center and Fordham University.
A webcast of the event can be viewed here.