UN/EU/PAM Regional Seminar on Counter Terrorism for Parliamentarians of the Maghreb Region – Rome 26-27 February 2015

“The oversight of law enforcement and security services in the fight against terrorism“, will be the topic of the Regional Seminar for Parliamentarians  organized by the European Union (EU), the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM). The Conference will be hosted and inaugurated by H.E. Pietro Grasso, President of the Senate of Italy, in Rome.

The Seminar, resulting from the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution N. 2178, will be held within the framework of the joint initiative of EU, PAM, CTED and UNODC, aimed at promoting the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases in respect for the Rule of Law and Human Rights in the Maghreb Region. The purpose of the Seminar is to provide a forum for exchanging information and good practices among parliamentarians on the role they play and could play in overseeing these agencies use of such powers and to raise their awareness to the importance of this oversight to the protection of human rights and rule of law.

Over 50 participants, including parliamentarians from Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Italy, Portugal and Romania, together with UN, PAM, EU and Europol officials, and diplomats from the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs,  will discuss issues related to: good governance of the security sector in the fight against terrorism; applicable mechanisms for an effective oversight of the security sector in the fight against terrorism; new security challenges and respect of Human Rights.  

Security services and law enforcement must be equipped with considerable technological tools and enjoy powers in order to prevent terrorist acts. They also need to be adequately controlled in order to avoid the development of a “State within the State” mentality. They usually have lawful powers to limit the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. However, individuals must be protected against an abusive use of such powers or illegitimate use of the information collected about them. In this context, one of the important tools to prevent abuse of powers is parliamentary oversight. Parliaments, while entrusted with providing effective legal, administrative and financial frameworks to such agencies, shall as well provide these agencies with the ultimate legitimacy and authority. Indeed, parliamentary accountability could be designed to provide these agencies with the powers they need to conduct effective intelligence work or investigations, and ensure the appropriate use of these powers while avoiding their abuse.

The Seminar in Rome is the first of a series of joint UN, EU, PAM and IIJ initiatives that will be dedicated to the fight against terrorism in the Mediterranean, specifically in those areas affected by the ISIS phenomenon.

To this effect at the 9th PAM Plenary Session in Monaco on 2-3 February 2015, the Assembly unanimously adopted a Report and Resolution pertaining to the role and actions of parliaments in the fight against terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters. //

issued on 25.02.2015

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