On 28 June 2021, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with the co-sponsorship of Niger and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, co-hosted a side event, on the margins of the 2021 Counter-Terrorism Week at the United Nations, entitled “Towards sustainable peace: implementing screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration strategies in the Lake Chad Basin, a regional and national challenge”.
The objectives of the side event were to consider progress made in developing and implementing strategies for the screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration (SPRR) of Boko Haram-associated persons in the Lake Chad Basin; take stock of current efforts and challenges; and consider next steps. The event also provided an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned and consider ways in which those lessons might be adapted to other regions of the world.
H.E. Mr. Tarek Ladeb, Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, noted that SPRR strategies were key to addressing the challenges posed by terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin region, which had “gained a foothold over the past decade and expanded significantly in scope in the region”.
Ms. Miwa Kato, Director, UNODC Division for Operations, drew attention to the key technical assistance provided by UNODC and other UN agencies for the development of SPRR strategies, including the provision of support to Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria to strengthen their counter-terrorism legislation.
Dr. Jehangir Khan, Director of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) at UNOCT, highlighted the gender dimensions of SPRR for persons associated with Boko Haram, presenting a set of recommendations to mainstream gender perspectives throughout the implementation of the regional SPRR Strategy adopted during a regional expert consultation convened by UNOCT/UNCCT, UNODC, CTED and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, constituting one example of the support that the United Nations can offer to Member States to support the response to the challenges posed by terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin region.
The first panel focused on recent progress achieved in the implementation of SPRR as part of the Regional Stabilization Strategy for Boko-Haram affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin, at both the regional and national levels. Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, welcomed the collaborative work undertaken with multiple entities, such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to develop strategic partnerships and define joint priorities.
“The Commission takes note of the challenges the members are facing in the management of Boko Haram-associated persons in the region, with specific reference to balancing the issues of security and human rights and the need for coherent and comprehensive policy guidance”, stated Ms. Lina Imran Abdullahi, speaking on behalf of Mr. Christopher Kayoshe, Acting Head of the DDR/SSR Division of the African Union Commission Peace and Security Department, stressing the need to provide continued support to the region.
Commissioner Abdoulaye Maman Mijinyawa, Director of the Central Service against Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime of Niger, offered a detailed presentation of the work of his Service in the screening stage of SPRR strategies, using quantitative data to help the audience better visualize it.
The second panel focused on key challenges in the Lake Chad Basin context. H.E. Ms. Ammo Aziza Baroud, Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations, drew attention to the specific hardships with which communities of the Lake Chad Basin must live and how terrorist groups exploited communities’ vulnerabilities.
“There is a need for increased cross-border exchanges that promote lessons learned to be shared”, stressed Dr. Fonteh Akum, Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies.
Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, President of the Medical Women’s International Association, highlighted the importance of tailoring SPRR strategies to gender and age sensitivities.
In her concluding remarks, Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of CTED, stressed the important role played by local and national authorities and stakeholders in implementing SPRR strategies and underlined that international actors could and should support them, but could never replace them.
The webcast is available here.
The remarks of Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx is available here.
The concept note and agenda for the virtual side event is available here.
For more information about the additional events organized and co-organized by CTED during the 2021 United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week, please click here.