Cairo, Egypt – Today’s conflicts are complex, deadly and intractable. While the majority are intrastate, the impact of most is regionalized or internationalized, and involve a wide array of non-state armed groups--both traditional and new.
In dealing with this new typology of armed conflicts and groups, two developments are of particular concern, namely (i) the growing nexus between armed conflict and terrorism, and (ii) the emergence of terrorist-governed local (dis)orders, with some non-state armed actors (including terrorist organizations) controlling territory, exercising governance functions and providing services that are normally the remit of state institutions.
Acting in its capacity as the Secretariat of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development (to be held in December 2019 under the auspices of Egypt’s Chairmanship of the African Union, its Championship of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development as well as Peacebuilding in Africa, and its Co-Chairmanship of the UN Group of Friends of DDR), CCCPA--in cooperation with the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners--organized an expert workshop, titled: Towards a Comprehensive, Integrated and Coherent Approach in Dealing with a New Typology of Armed Conflicts and Groups
The workshop aimed to highlight the strategic, operational and legal implications of the evolving nature of conflict, and its growing nexus with terrorism, and organized crime. It examined the drivers, incentives and tipping points for defection from terrorist groups; assessed the adequacy of existing normative frameworks and responses in dealing with individuals formerly associated with terrorist groups; and shed light on the complexity of peacebuilding and statebuilding interventions following the defeat of terrorist groups. It also aimed to identify pillars of community resilience and factors of fragility, and addressed the specific needs of vulnerable groups, including women, children, youth, refugees and internally displaced persons.
The workshop brought together a select group of experts and practitioners from a wide spectrum of professional backgrounds, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR); peacekeeping; peacebuilding; counterterrorism; corrections and rule of law, development, and transitional justice; as well as legal experts for an informed, forward-looking and action-oriented discussion.
In his opening remarks, Amin Mohsen, Senior Officer, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, OROLSI, stated that “OROLSI serves the short term of prevention and long term goal of sustaining peace,” and highlighted that the link between sustainable peace and development is indispensable.
This is in line with the UN counterterrorism framework, most notably the Global Counterterrorism Strategy and multiple Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, including UNSCR 2396 (2017). The resolution calls upon Member States to “assess and investigate suspected individuals whom they have reasonable grounds to believe are terrorists, including suspected foreign terrorist fighters and their accompanying family members, including spouses and children, entering those Member States’ territories, to develop and implement comprehensive risk assessments for those individuals, and to take appropriate action, including by considering appropriate prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration measures in compliance with domestic and international law.” The nexus between terrorism and domestic and transnational organized crime was then further emphasized by UNSCR 2482 (2019), in which the Security Council encouraged Member States to, inter alia, explore ways to prevent, within their prison systems, radicalization to violence, and to promote rehabilitation and reintegration of convicted terrorists.
The AU has developed what is essentially the first-of-its-kind operational guidance on the link between DDR and countering extremism conducive to terrorism--one that provides guidance on screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration.
CCCPA Director General Ashraf Swelam emphasized the need to develop an integrated and coherent response that addresses the transnational nature of the terrorist threat, the growing terrorism-crime nexus, and the unamenability of ideologically-framed conflicts and terrorism to political solutions.
The workshop produced actionable policy recommendations to explore the outline of a systemic, comprehensive, integrated, and coherent approach to programmatic interventions aimed at incentivizing and managing journeys out of extremism conducive to terrorism.
This event was made possible in part by the generous support of the governments of Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden as well as UNDP.