Managing foreign terrorist fighters and associated travellers

Context

With the territorial decline of Daesh, there is increasing concern about the threats posed by foreign terrorist fighters and associated travellers who may seek to return home or relocate to other countries. These are individuals from our and other countries who have travelled abroad to conflict zones, such as Syria and Iraq, to actively engage in terrorist activities, i.e., foreign terrorist fighters or to provide support to terrorist groups.

Some of these individuals have brought families to conflict zones or established them in theatre, and there is a prospect that these families could also return or relocate. Their return or relocation, including women and children, many of whom may have participated in or been exposed to traumatic violence and extremist ideologies, will be an important challenge our societies will have to face in the coming years. This necessitates a commitment to supporting evidence-based, multi-agency interventions that respect human rights, and are age-sensitive, trauma- and gender-informed.

We commit to working together to manage the threats posed by these individuals and their families, through a range of enforcement, disruption and prosecution measures, and in cases where applicable, disengagement, deradicalization and reintegration. Measures will respect human rights and the rule of law, and should be gender-sensitive. To this end we will:

Commitments

  • Address information-sharing challenges related to these threats, in accordance with domestic and international laws and regulations, and enhance cooperation among relevant border, security and judicial authorities, including cooperation with Interpol. Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that critical information is shared in a timely manner.
  • Bolster global aviation security to better detect and address these threats by working together and with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to elevate global security standards and deliver full implementation of the new Global Aviation Security Plan.
  • Recognize the importance of using advance passenger information (API) and passenger name record (PNR) data for traveller screening, and for identifying and combatting threats, in accordance with applicable domestic and international laws and regulations. In line with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2396, commit to working with ICAO to establish a standard for the collection, use, processing and protection of PNR data, with full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Particular attention will be given to ensuring that screening measures are not gender biased, where appropriate.
  • Implement the following UNSCRs ourselves and support others to implement:
    • UNSCR 2178 (2014) and 2396 (2017) on foreign terrorist fighters, with particular reference to passenger data, biometric border systems implementation, prevention of violent extremist and terrorist use of the Internet, and recognition of the importance of whole-of-government counterterrorism approaches and working with civil society.
    • UNSCR 2242 (2015), particularly with regards to applying the women, peace and security agenda to counterterrorism efforts.
    • UNSCR 2250 (2015), with regards to the role of youth in preventing and countering violent extremism.
  • Support and coordinate technical assistance to third-party countries toward implementing UNSCR 2396, with regard to sharing information on returning foreign terrorist fighters within the limits of UNSCR 2396.
  • Look forward to the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) review and the first UN High Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism as a unique opportunity to strengthen the global counter-terrorism agenda, offering a comprehensive response to terrorism through balanced implementation of the GCTS.
  • Enhance information sharing among competent authorities at the national level and through international frameworks to improve the collection, sharing and admissibility of battlefield information, in accordance with domestic and international laws and regulations, for both prevention (detection, border security, risk assessment) and prosecution (criminal justice) purposes.
  • Strengthen collaboration between practitioners and policy makers on challenges related to intervention strategies and encourage the Roma-Lyon Group on Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism to integrate approaches and practical initiatives, including disengagement, deradicalization and reintegration strategies, that respect human rights and the rule of law, and include gender-informed and age-sensitive considerations.
  • Forge strong relationships between government and civil society organizations to deliver multi-agency interventions focused on disengagement and deradicalization, while looking at enhanced screening and detection of foreign terrorist fighters and associated travellers, and continue to support the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
  • Expand relationships between G7-led research initiatives and networks, including by sharing best practices and expertise with other international actors—most notably the UN, the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the EU, and with other affected countries.
  • Step up and coordinate support to partner countries in detecting and managing foreign terrorist fighters and associated travellers. Such support could cover technical and legal assistance and sharing knowledge and best practices.