On 18 April 2019, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent State hosted a high-level conference on countering international terrorism focusing on the role of inter-parliamentary organizations in the process of building common approaches to counter terrorism and violent extremism, including through the harmonization of the relevant national legislation. Opening the conference, Ms Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Council of the IPA CIS and Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, stated unequivocally that the main force of parliamentarians lies with their unity. The discussions focused on four main subject-matters: national counter-terrorism strategies, foreign terrorist fighters, countering the terrorist use of ICTs, and financing of terrorism.
During the high-level segment of the Conference, Mr Alexander Bortnikov, Chair of the Council of Heads of security services and special services of CIS Member States, Director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, presented a detailed overview of the counter-terrorism efforts of the Russian Federation and its CIS partners. Representatives of co-organizers of the Conference, heads of parliamentary delegations, CIS statutory and sectoral bodies, international organizations also delivered keynote statements reflecting on a variety of current terrorist trends and responses taken by their respective Governments or organizations. Many speakers expressed concern at the recent increase in attacks motivated by racism, hate, and religious intolerance, as well as threats relating to self-radicalized individuals. They also underlined the importance of effective border management, including in light of terrorist abuse of migration channels, and the need to enhance cooperation on countering the financing of terrorism and terrorist use of information and communication technologies (ICT).
Addressing the plenary session of the Conference, Mr. Andrey Kovalenko, CTED Head of Administration and Information Office, briefed the parliamentarians on main UN Security Council resolutions on countering terrorism and violent extremism, and the work of the Committee and CTED on analyzing main gaps, good practices and trends. Throughout its participation in the Conference, CTED encouraged the parliamentarians and inter-parliamentary organizations to implement the recommendations of the Guiding Principles of Foreign Terrorist Fighters. CTED also emphasized its work with Member States on developing national comprehensive and integrated counter-terrorism strategies pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1963 (2010) and 2395 (2017). CTED stressed the need to further enhance cooperation with parliamentarians aimed at ensuring harmonized and unified implementation of international counter-terrorism requirements in all participating States.
In a thematic session focused on challenges and practices in criminal prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of FTFs, CTED delivered a presentation on the UN Security Council framework on Prosecution, Rehabilitation, Reintegration Strategies in relation to FTFs focusing, inter alia, on the relevant measures recommended in the Guiding Principles on FTFs. Participants agreed on the need to develop a comprehensive and effective response to the threat posed by FTFs that must also involve elimination of conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. It was underscored that increased attention in reintegration and rehabilitation should be given to children, who are most vulnerable to compulsion and radicalization and need special social support. Countering the threat posed by FTFs should take place along with other measures through a global exchange of information among law-enforcement agencies of various countries via secure communication networks, databases and alert systems and tracing procedures for stolen and false ID and travel documents. Parliaments should adopt adequate policies to ensure effectiveness of investigation and criminal persecution, as well as screening at the ports of entry to the countries of their origin or citizenship, or third countries.
The participants of the Conference unanimously affirmed their determination to jointly counter transnational terrorist activities and the spread of violent extremism ideas in line with international legal instruments and UN resolutions, acknowledging the central coordinating role of the UN in preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism, while fully respecting fundamental human rights. They also expressed their commitment to developing international mechanisms for ensuring prosecution and punishment of individuals involved in financing, planning, perpetration, justification of terrorist acts and incitement to commit those acts. In the outcome document of the Conference, participants announced their intention to expand and enhance inter-parliamentary cooperation, as well as interaction with universal, regional and sub-regional international institutions, in particular, with the UN specialized agencies for the best prevention and countering the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. They stressed the need to continue holding similar forums and conferences in the future.
On 19 April 2019, CTED also took part in the bi-annual plenary meeting of the IPA-CIS, which addressed a variety of issues related to model CIS legislation. In his keynote remarks to the IPA-CIS Plenary, Mr Kovalenko suggested concrete areas for cooperation between IPA-CIS and CTED, including the development of counter-terrorism strategies and legislation (including CIS model legislation on countering terrorism and extremism), improving the normative framework for operational measures and international cooperation, etc.
The Conference on Countering International Terrorism was co-organized by the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO PA), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).