UNODC/TPB and UN/CTED Launch the Regional Dimension of the European Union-Funded Action to Strengthen Counter-Terrorism Efforts in the Maghreb Region

The first regional workshop of the four-year joint initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), in partnership with the European Union (EU), was held in Tunis, Tunisia, from 2 to 3 June 2014. This initiative aims at strengthening the capacity of our Member States in investigating and prosecuting counterterrorism cases while respecting human rights and the rule of law.

The workshop is part of this four year programme that includes several other regional and national specialized technical assistance activities. The programme will run from mid-2014 to mid-2017 and has been designed taking into account the needs for technical assistance identified and expressed by the beneficiary countries.

This unique and timely project, financed by the EU under its Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, will focus on countries of the Maghreb region, especially Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Mauritania will also benefit from the regional activities undertaken under the project.

The immediate beneficiaries are criminal justice officials in charge of counter terrorism issues and/or international cooperation in criminal matters, including judges and prosecutors, law enforcement officials, members of specialised parliamentary committees, officials from the ministries of justice, interior and foreign affairs, and civil society representatives.

Forty-one representatives from all beneficiary countries (parliamentarians, senior prosecutors and officials of the ministries of justice, interior and foreign affairs) participated in this first regional workshop, as well as officials from the African Union, Council of Europe, French National School for the Judiciary, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and from all relevant EU institutions (European Commission's Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation, European External Action Service, Eurojust, Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, European Police College, Europol and Office of the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator).

This workshop was an ideal opportunity to set strategic priorities for further implementation of the project and to encourage strong mobilization of all relevant stakeholders at the national and international levels, while ensuring full coordination and complementarity among all.

In the coming months, national workshops will be organized for the benefit officials from Libya and Morocco. Furthermore, a second regional event will be conducted by the end of the year 2014, together with CTED, on parliamentary oversight of law enforcement and security services.