On the participation of the Executive Committee, RATS SCO delegation in the United Nations Virtual counter terrorism week

From 6 to 10 July 2020, a delegation of the Executive Committee of the RATS SCO headed by Deputy Director Barchuk V. V. participated in the Virtual counter-terrorism week organized by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office (UNOCT) in the format of a videoconference on the theme "Strategic and practical problems of countering terrorism in the context of a global pandemic".

The conference was attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov,  Senior  representative of European Union for foreign Affairs and security policy Josep Borrel, President of the Council on foreign relations (USA) Richard Haas, Executive Director of the UN Office on drugs and crime Gada Wali, Special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on preparations for the 75th anniversary of the UN Fabrizio Hochschild, heads of permanent missions to the UN and other high-ranking diplomats.

Barchuk V. V., Deputy Director of the Executive Committee of the RATS SCO, made a presentation during the interactive discussion on “Global programs to combat terrorist travel and the return of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), including their prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration”.

The participants of the discussion included Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, head of the UNOCT V. I. Voronkov, Commissioner for the rights of the child under the President of the Russian Federation A. U. Kuznetsova, Permanent representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to The United Nations K.Umarov and other representatives of UN member States, as well as heads of UN structural divisions. The discussion was moderated by Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of the International Criminal Police organization(Interpol).

At the beginning of the discussion, the Under Secretary-General V. I. Voronkov noted that the issues of countering FTFs is a universal problem, about 43 thousand people had left to participate in armed conflicts in Syria and Iraq. In these conditions, the threat of movement of militants and their return to the countries of origin becomes urgent. In this context, a travel tracking program is being implemented by the UNOCT for counter-terrorism purposes.

In his speech, the Secretary General of the International Criminal Police organization (Interpol), Jürgen Stock, presented information about the activities of Interpol, the importance of information exchange, and the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014), 2396 (2017).  He also stressed upon the need to study new challenges and threats, trends in the activities of terrorist organizations.

 Deputy Director Barchuk V. V. during his statement emphasized the importance of consolidating multilateral efforts, further consistent development of international cooperation, and creating a broad anti-terrorist front with the Central coordinating role of the UN in countering FTFs.

At the same time, he noted that the competent authorities of the SCO member States, under the coordinating role of the Executive Committee, RATS SCO are implementing a set of measures aimed at increasing the exchange of information on FTFs, persons wanted for committing terrorist crimes, terrorist, separatist and extremist organizations whose activities are prohibited on the territories of the SCO member States, improving technical and practical aspects of interaction, activating joint measures to identify and block the channels of movement of FTFs, the implementation of measures for border cooperation and continuation of humanitarian operations.

He stressed that countering FTFs is one of the priority tasks of the RATS SCO and promoting the experience gained in the SCO member States and on international platforms will contribute to the effective implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2178 (2014).

Thus, during the Virtual counter-terrorism week for five days, participants exchanged information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the situation in the fight against terrorism. The speakers presented their experience, practices and results of humanitarian operations, opinions on the protection of human rights and victims of terrorism. At the same time, in their speeches, they drew attention to the fact that terrorist activity in the world is not decreasing, and in a number of countries, especially in Africa, there is an increase in the number of terrorist attacks.

As noted by the coordinator of the European Union on the fight against terrorism, Gilles de Kerchove, the terrorists, has been interested in using biological weapons. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the vulnerability of society to infections and the threat of criminal use of toxins and pathogens.

In addition, the severe economic consequences of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic may lead to the radicalization of the population's views. They also discussed ways to counter the spread of extremist ideology on the Internet.

At the end of the event, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, head of the UNOCT V. I. Voronkov stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the international community with one of the greatest challenges since the creation of the United Nations 75 years ago, as well as a test of national stability, international solidarity and multilateral cooperation.

According to V. I. Voronkov, the Virtual counter-terrorism week in the video conference format is the first of its kind in the UN, including the first event in the framework of the 75th anniversary of the UN. It brought together more than 1,000 participants, representatives of 134 different member States, more than 150 representatives of international and regional organizations, more than 200 representatives from UN organizations, and more than 80 representatives of civil society and the private sector.

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