29-11-2019

PAM holds first annual Coordination Meeting of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Counterterrorism

PAM holds first annual Coordination Meeting of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Counterterrorism

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) organized in Rome, on 29 November 2019, the first annual Coordination Meeting of the PAM Special Parliamentary Committee on Counterterrorism.

The meeting, generously hosted by the Italian Parliament, gathered over 110 delegates from its member states. It included representatives from both national and international parliaments, security executives from the USA and the Russian Federation, diplomats, experts from partner organizations, such as OSCE PA, the United Nations, NATO, Interpol, as well as top Italian government officials, and representatives from the Academia and civil society.   

The event was opened by Hon. Ettore Rosato, Vice President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Sen. Alia Bouran, PAM President, Hon. Yana Chiara Ehm, PAM Vice-President, and Hon. Gennaro Migliore, Chair of the PAM Special Parliamentary Committee on counter-terrorism. 

Discussions took stock of the recent work conducted by PAM on counter-terrorism, including prosecution and repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters, preventing terrorist movements through enhanced border security measures and information sharing, promoting solidarity with victims of terrorism and recognizing the role they can play in countering the spread of radicalization and extremism, and addressing the cyber aspect of terrorism.

Presentations and debates were divided in four sessions. The first assessed the current threat of foreign terrorist fighters and the fate of their families detained in Syria and Iraq. This included repatriation, prosecution and rehabilitation. The session underscored that the status quo concerning ISIS survivors is dangerous and unsustainable. Short and medium threats lie in fighters escaping from the camps or coming back to their countries of origin for committing terrorist attacks. While the long-term threat lies in the future of the women and children, the nationality of many remains unidentified, and who continue to be exposed to radicalization in the detention camps.

The second session explored innovative ways to counter terrorist movements, such as the Advance passenger information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR). These, as mandated by UNSC resolution 2396, are to be acquired by every State so that a single government entity would gather data from airline companies, analyse them, and alert law enforcement as appropriate, while adhering to international data protection standards.

Moreover, the third session discussed ways of addressing root causes of radicalization, and on how to address them. Debates highlighted the role of victims of terrorism, and reinforcing the role of civil authorities and religious leaders by addressing societal exclusion, xenophobia and racism, and the lack of economic opportunities. Particular attention must be paid to prevent the spread of radicalization in prisons, where many returnees are being held. 

The last session addressed the cyber aspects of terrorism, a necessary step in light of the constant evolution of new technologies, notably the use of Internet for spreading propaganda and providing incitement and instructions to commit terrorist acts. Agreement was expressed on the need to build strong international cooperation on the use of electronic evidence, given the widespread use of electronic communication and digital evidence in terrorism cases. The lack of harmonized legislations, the difficulty for law enforcement agencies in accessing encrypted communication and to intercept movements of crypto currencies by terrorists, as well as the reluctance by some social media networks to facilitate the work of prosecutors were also noted with concern. 

The outcome of this meeting will contribute to the ongoing work of PAM on counterterrorism and concrete recommendations will be included in the resolution to be presented at the next PAM Plenary Session, set to take place in Athens in February 2020. A tailored work plan for PAM counter terrorism activities in biennium of 2020-21, including a number of joint activities with its key partners and the signature of a bilateral agreement with the UN, represents an additional result of the Rome conference. //

MEDIA INFORMATION: 45/2019

issued on 17/12/2019

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