“Throughout history, terrorists have sought to bolster their ranks by radicalizing others to violence, especially young people. What is different today is the immense speed and range of those radicalization efforts, a process facilitated by the fastest, broadest expansion of mass communications in human history.”
These were the opening remarks of H.E. Mr. Moncef Baati, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations, in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), at an open meeting of the CTC, held at United Nations Headquarters, New York, on 28 January 2020.
“As the Internet and other mass communications have rapidly evolved in the last decade, efforts have expanded beyond simply countering online terrorist propaganda through the removal and filtering of content that violated legislation or online platform guidelines. The importance of this expanded approach became increasingly clear in 2017, particularly at the United Nations and within the Security Council, leading to an increased emphasis on countering terrorist narratives,” Mr. Baati said.
In May 2017, the Security Council adopted its resolution 2354, which was a landmark initiative, in which the Council welcomed the Committee’s “Comprehensive International Framework to Counter Terrorist Narratives” (S/2017/375). It was in accordance with this resolution that the CTC, with the support of its Executive Directorate (CTED), organized the open meeting to review global developments in the area of countering terrorist narratives.
In her remarks, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of CTED, stressed that all measures taken by Member States in this area must comply with their obligations under international law, including human rights law. She stressed the valuable contributions by civil society organizations in this space and underlined the importance of ensuring the protection of their human rights.
The open meeting was divided into three sessions: “Trends and developments in terrorist narratives and possible responses”, “Whole-of-society approaches to countering terrorist narratives and incitement”, and “Regional approaches to countering terrorist narratives”. It was attended by Member States, international and regional organizations, civil society, academia, and the private sector.
The participants noted the need for sustained effort and creative solutions in countering terrorist narratives and preventing the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.
The members of the Committee expressed the need to identify next steps, to be discussed at a further meeting, to be held later in the year.
A concept note for the open meeting can be found here.
The agenda is available here.
The summary of discussions is available here.
Photos from the open meeting are accessible at this link.
The webcast of the proceedings is available here.
Remarks and presentations shared by the participants:
Session I: “Trends and developments in terrorist narratives and possible responses”
• Dr. Kurt Braddock, Expert Consultant for the United Nations
• Mr. Aly Jetha, Co-Founder of Big Bad Boo Studios, a private-sector production company specializing in animated series for multiple platforms to teach children and youth about tolerance. For additional information about Big Bad Boo, please click here
• Mr. Adam Hadley, Project Director, Tech Against Terrorism (pre-recorded presentation)
• Ms. Kendra Clarke, Vice President of Data Science, Sparks & Honey
Session II: “Whole-of-society approaches to countering terrorist narratives and incitement”
• H.E. Mr. Craig John Hawke, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations
• Mr. Sinan Dedeler, Vice Consul, Consulate General of the Republic of Turkey / Diyanet (Presidency of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Turkey)
• Ms. Dina Hussein, Counter-Terrorism and Dangerous Organizations Policy Manager, Facebook / Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT)
• Ms. Sian Hutchinson, Programme Manager, Strategic Communications, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) / Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT)
Session III: “Regional approaches to countering terrorist narratives”
• Dr. Ahmed Abdelaziz, Legal Adviser, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations
• Mr. Otabek Rashidov, Programme Officer, Action Against Terrorism Unit, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
• Ms. Lieke Wouterse, Coordinator for the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Communications and Narratives Working Group, a European Commission initiative