31-03-2015

PAM and UNODC unveil program (2015-2019) on Counter Terrorism for the Mediterranean region

PAM and UNODC unveil program (2015-2019) on Counter Terrorism for the Mediterranean region

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched its five-year Initiative on Criminal Justice Responses to Foreign Terrorist Fighters (2015-2019), during an event held in Valletta, Malta, on 23-25 March 2015.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, an institutional partner in the implementation of the programme, represents its parliamentary dimension and networking capacity.

The aim of the initiative is to Strengthen the Legal Regime against Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) that seeks to build upon and to complement UNODC/TPB’s ongoing cooperation with Member States from the Middle East, North African and Balkans Countries for the development of an effective and sustainable legal regime against FTF, embedded in the rule of law, due process and human rights.

PAM was represented by Hon. Justyne Caruara, Head of the Maltese parliamentary delegation and PAM Rapporteur on MENA issues, who addressed the opening session of  the First regional Conference on “Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Threat Assessment and Identification of Key Issues and Challenges in the National Legislative Frameworks”.

Hon. Caruana emphasized that in order to counter the threat of terrorism effectively, there must be strong cooperation between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches on a national level, and among states at the regional and the global level. “We need to work together to ensure that the legal instruments to counter terrorism are clear, effective, up to date with the evolution of technology and terrorist tactics, and, most importantly, that they respect human rights”, Hon. Caruana said. In times of crisis, she added, such as the one being experienced in the Mediterranean region today, all parties must act decisively to combat terrorism, but also to implement oversight mechanisms to ensure that rule of law, and the rights of citizens are never compromised.

Hon. Caruana referred to the commitment of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, throughout its existence, to counter-terrorism as one of its top priorities.

Starting in 2009, the PAM Plenary Sessions, unanimous adopted a definition of terrorism, in 2010 adopted a Report and Resolution on the root causes of terrorism and,  at the 9th PAM Plenary Session in Monaco last month, adopted  a Report and Resolution, on the current resurgence of terrorist threats in the Mediterranean, including the issue of Foreign Terrorist Fighters. PAM is now increasingly proactive on this issue.

Last September, on the occasion of the UN General Assembly in New York, PAM President, H.E. Francesco Amoruso (Italy), met with the UN Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee Chair, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite, and received a request for PAM to assume a more active role in the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2178. As a result, a program of joint UN/PAM/EU meetings on counter-terrorism for regional lawmakers and government officials, addressing various aspects of the issue, has been set.

The first of these meetings, dedicated to MPs from the Maghreb region, was hosted by the Italian Senate last February in Rome. One of the key outcomes of the meeting was a general agreement that, to the extent possible, parliamentarians must be involved in national capacity building activities and regional cooperation. Furthermore, they supported cooperation with UNODC in order to enhance the technical knowledge of effective procedures in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases.

Based on the success of the meeting in Rome, in the coming months PAM will organize a series of coordinated meetings, in cooperation with the UNODC and the EU.    

On 20 April, PAM will also take part in a special meeting called for by the UN Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly of the UN dedicated to fighting terrorism and violent extremism, to be held in New York.

In addition, PAM will dedicate a special session to counter-terrorism at the parliamentary meeting of the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Group in Morocco next May, which will share its conclusions with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs the following day. In October, at the invitation of the Parliament of Romania, PAM and the UN will organise a major parliamentary meeting for the entire Euro-Mediterranean area, to discuss counter-terrorism legislations and oversight activities, dedicated to the Middle East and the Balkan regions. //

 




MEDIA INFORMATION:  14/2015
issued on: 28.03.2015

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