Hedayah, the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, CVE, has taken part in the "Special Meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee with Member States and Relevant International and Regional Organisations on Stemming the Flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Technical Sessions of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate", in Madrid.
The meeting, which was held from 27th to 28th July 2015, brought together representatives from 15 Counter-Terrorism Committee Member States and other United Nations Member States along with representatives from relevant international and regional organisations. The goal of this meeting was to discuss measures in favour of stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters in Madrid, Spain.
Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, the Chairman of Hedayah Steering Board, stressed the crucial need for international cooperation, adding that, 'It is the collective responsibility of all nations now more than ever, particularly in light of the current state and growing concern about foreign terrorist fighters, FTF.
Dr. Al Nuaimi stressed that the success in this area requires working in close strategic partnership not only with Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate but also with all United Nations organs.
During the meeting, Maqsoud Kruse, the Executive Director of Hedayah, moderated the first two technical sessions for Group I entitled "Detection, intervention against, and prevention of incitement, recruitment and facilitation of FTF". The first session, "Intervention against and prevention of incitement, recruitment and facilitation of FTFs", focused on the key areas of Diagnosis of the problem; Discussion on empirical data stating how FTFs are incited, recruited and how their travel is facilitated according to region, age and gender; Evolution and latest trends vis-a-vis interpersonal recruitment and internet-based radicalisation; International, regional and sub-regional initiatives aimed at preventing (a) incitement, (b) recruitment, and (c) facilitation of travel of FTFs; National projects/programmes aimed at preventing (a) incitement, (b) recruitment and (c) facilitation of travel of FTFs.
Kruse also moderated the second session, entitled, "Community engagement and empowerment of local communities", which focused on the key areas of Community-led initiatives aimed at early detection and intervention against incitement, recruitment and facilitation of travel of FTFs; Successful models of cooperation between Governments and communities susceptible to recruitment vis-a-vis prevention of incitement, recruitment and facilitation of FTFs; Governments' roles in preventing the subversion of religious institutions for the purpose of FTFs incitement, recruitment and facilitation of travel; Governments' role in empowering youth, women and victims to preventing incitement, recruitment and facilitation of travel of FTFs; Counter-narratives and the different role to be played by religious leaders, youth, women and victims vis-a-vis Governments; Counter-narratives in the off-line and on-line spaces, and Training/capacity building of community leaders.
Hedayah, the first international "Think-and-Do Tank" focused on Countering Violent Extremism, participated in the meeting in order to share knowledge on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, one of the most significant issues that comes at the top of Hedayah's priorities.
Sarah Zeiger, Senior Research Analyst at the Department of Research and Analysis in Hedayah, shared the outcomes and publications resulting from a weeklong series of activities conducted by Hedayah on Foreign Terrorist Fighters radicalisation and recruitment phenomenon, which took place from 7th-10th June. During the week, Hedayah hosted two events: "Planning Workshop for Foreign Terrorist Fighter Reintegration Training Courses", in collaboration with the International Institute of Justice and Rule of Law based in Malta, and "Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighter Recruitment Workshop: Counter-Messaging and the Role of Disillusioned Former Fighters".
On 28th July, Maqsoud Kruse also attended the high-level meeting about adopting the Madrid Ministerial Declaration on Stemming the Flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The Ministerial summit, which saw the active participation of 48 Ministers from all continents, concluded by endorsing the preliminary conclusions of the Committee, which in turn were based on input from over 400 experts from all over the world. Among the listed recommendations in the Madrid Ministerial declaration is the proposal to better promote universal values and to work closer with Internet service providers as one means to put a stop to the criminal misleading propaganda of terrorist groups, the spread of messages of incitement to violence and recruitment through social media networks, including the glorification of cruel acts which cause tremendous suffering to victims. The Madrid declaration also underscored the need for states to redouble their efforts in stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, including making it considerably more difficult for these individuals to travel to conflict zones.
The declaration further underlined the importance of analysis undertaken by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate of emerging trends and challenges, as well as the identification of good practices in the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions related to the fight against terrorism.
Following the Ministerial Summit, Hedayah attended a Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate Roundtable Discussion among stakeholders to kick-start concrete follow-up action that can facilitate a quicker implementation of Security Council Resolution No. 2178 of 2014 that calls upon all nations to "prevent recruitment, organisation, facilitation of travel of individuals to other countries, other than the country of their residence, for or committing or planning or participating in terrorist acts".