CTED to brief Security Council meeting on Secretary-General’s latest report on threats posed by ISIL/Da’esh

The United Nations Security Council will hold a briefing on 9 August 2022 on the Secretary-General’s latest biannual report on the evolving and global threats posed by ISIL/Da’esh.

Mr. Weixiong Chen, Acting Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), and Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), will brief the 15-member Council about details in the report.

Amid evolving threats, strengthening multilateral and multidimensional counter-terrorism action hinges on strong partnerships, stated observations in the Fifteenth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat (S/2022/576). Efforts include those of the members of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact to support the balanced implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, reflecting responses that are gender-sensitive and firmly anchored in the rule of law and human rights.

The current threat landscape also underscores the need for comprehensive responses to counter and prevent terrorism, and while Member States have the primary responsibility in that regard, international cooperation remains indispensable, the Secretary-General stated in the report.

Recognized challenges during the reporting period include the following highlights:

• One Member State reported that, among the persons held in 11 camps and approximately 20 facilities in north-east Syria, there were 30,000 children under the age of 12 at risk of Da’esh indoctrination.

• Another Member State highlighted that Da’esh continued to focus indoctrination efforts on children through the “Cubs of the Caliphate” programme, aimed at creating a new generation of extremists, many of whom are approaching or have reached adulthood.

• One Member State noted that approximately 10,000 foreign terrorist fighters remained in the custody of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

• Da’esh significantly increased the use of unmanned aerial systems (drones) in the past year, and one Member State highlighted such use in northern Iraq. With the commercial availability of low-cost and high-tech unmanned aerial systems, which are difficult to track, groups like Da’esh can identify and attack targets with a high degree of accuracy. In some cases, it was noted that Da’esh had used such systems to attack freighters.

• Da’esh has also used front companies to acquire such systems in Asia, Canada, and the United States, subsequently converting them to lethal use. One Member State reported that, to evade detection, anti-aircraft weapons and unmanned aerial systems were sourced from spare parts and later assembled.

On a more positive note, the report also pointed to progress made across regions and action areas, from the launch of the Tech Against Terror initiative to workshops with law enforcement and intelligence officers on human rights-compliant counter-terrorism responses, including:

• The joint project Regional Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience Strategy for Areas Affected by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin Region, saw the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), CTED, and UNOCT continue to support Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria in strengthening cross-border cooperation and developing comprehensive and tailored approaches to screening, prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration. A related joint initiative in close collaboration with the Lake Chad Basin Commission hosted a bilateral Niger-Nigeria cooperation workshop, a regional workshop for countries in the region, and a national workshop for Cameroon.

• UNOCT partnered with UNODC, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on a regional workshop on good practices in border security management for law enforcement officers from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, and the Niger.

• The Central Africa regional office of OHCHR, supported by UNOCT, concluded a four-year project aimed at enhancing the capacity of Cameroonian officials with regard to human rights, the rule of law, and counter-terrorism.

• UNODC and CTED continued to partner in providing capacity-building support to Mozambique in collecting and preserving evidence while implementing a national asset-freezing mechanism, supporting inter-agency cooperation, and developing a national counter-terrorism strategy.

• CTED led a pilot consultation process with Uganda to identify technical assistance needs for implementing targeted initiatives.

• CTED and UNOCT supported the Executive Office for Control and Non-Proliferation of the United Arab Emirates with the implementation of targeted financial sanctions.

• UNOCT partnered with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to deliver a series of capacity-building initiatives for Iraqi law enforcement and intelligence officers on human rights-compliant responses to terrorism.

• UNODC, CTED, and UNOCT continued to partner with Indonesia to develop effective practices for the management, rehabilitation, and reintegration of violent extremist prisoners and offenders charged with or convicted of terrorism-related offences.

• CTED contributed to “all-of-United Nations” activities to support Member States in eliminating the supply of small arms and light weapons to terrorists and improving the use of biometrics in border control.

• CTED supported the work of Financial Action Task Force-style regional bodies in their respective plenary meetings and thematic events and ensured consistency between the outcomes of mutual evaluations and the recommendations made in the assessments conducted on behalf of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001) – the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

• UNOCT, in collaboration with the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America and with CTED support, convened a regional conference on implementing targeted financial sanctions and enhancing international cooperation and domestic coordination to counter the financing of terrorism in the region.

• A dedicated initiative of Tech Against Terrorism, the CTED-initiated public-private partnership, featured an expert group meeting on the use of artificial intelligence for social network analysis and an expert round table on counter-terrorism and unmanned aerial systems digital forensics (jointly launched by UNOCT, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and the European Union).

• The Global Programme to Counter Terrorist Attacks against Vulnerable Targets held CTED-led consultations on the level of capacity and preparedness, produced national action plans for Togo and Tunisia, and provided capacity-building support to more than 150 officials from the two countries.

• The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) and CTED continued to implement activities under the initiative on the responsible use and sharing of biometrics in counter-terrorism and the provisions of Security Council resolution 2396 (2017), in particular through the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact. This included regional and national workshops to enhance capacities on the responsible use of biometric data for South-East Asia and Central Asia, including Tajikistan and Thailand.

Source: UN Security Council