Detecting fleeing ISIS fighters, top priority: UN Chief | Daily News

Detecting fleeing ISIS fighters, top priority: UN Chief

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commended India’s support to the counter-terrorism work of the world body and underscored the need to “detect and disrupt” terrorists fleeing the Islamic State before they could carry out more attacks as high priority for the international community.

The UN Chief made these remarks during the launch of the United Nations Counter-Terrorist Travel programme on Tuesday, over two weeks after the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka took place, to which ISIS claimed responsibility.

The programme would help strengthen international counter-terrorism cooperation; expand multilateral networks for sharing information to detect, identify, disrupt, and prosecute terrorists; as well as to ensure that member states most affected by terrorism have the capacity to tackle this evolving threat, he said.

“The United Nations Counter-Terrorist Travel programme we launch today is to help meet all these objectives. I would like to thank the Dutch government for its contribution to this effort,” Guterres said.

“I appreciate the continued support of the governments of India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to the counter-terrorism work of the United Nations,” he added.

The UN Chief said that following ISIS’ territorial defeat, many terrorists were attempting to return home or to relocate to safe havens or other troubled parts of the world.

“Many are well-trained and could carry out future terrorist attacks. Others hope to radicalise and recruit new followers to their cause. They, as well as those they inspire, represent a major transnational threat,” he said.

“Detecting and disrupting these terrorists and other high-risk criminals prior to them carrying out an attack is high priority for the international community,” he said.

The programme will help member states collect, process, and share travel data with other competent national and international authorities, with full respect for privacy and other fundamental freedoms, he said.

“We know that policies that fully respect human rights are essential in tackling violent extremism. This information-sharing will enhance the abilities of member states to effectively detect, prevent, investigate, and prosecute terrorists,” Guterres added.

Highlighting that there has been a dramatic movement of terrorists to and from conflict zones around the world over the past seven years, he said that just two years ago, more than 40,000 people from more than 110 countries may have travelled to join terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq. “The recent attacks in Kenya, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka, among others, are tragic reminders of the global reach of the scourge of terrorism,” he said, adding that such incidents underscore the need to work closely with partners across the United Nations system and beyond.

The General Assembly and the Security Council resolution 2396 have reaffirmed the need to strengthen international cooperation and information sharing to improve national detection capacities and prevent the travel of terrorists, Guterres said.

“The programme will also enable the detection and disruption of human trafficking and other forms of organised crime and to faster identify victims,” he said.



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