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UNODC Supporting Eastern Africa to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism and Terrorism

CTCoE CT TPP UNON symposium CTCoE EAPCCO 2021Eastern Africa, 4 January 2022 – Human security and sustainable development in Eastern Africa continues to be confronted with serious terrorism threats. Sustained terrorist activity destabilises governments and undermines economic and social development. Strong coordination and cooperation between Member States, international organisations and civil society at regional and international level – in sharing best practices, lessons learned, and assistance in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases – is critical to effectively prevent and counter terrorism in the region.

As part of its regional Terrorism Prevention Programme for Eastern Africa, UNODC is implementing its regional project ”Supporting EAPCCO and its Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre of Excellence to Prevent and Counter Terrorism in Eastern Africa, funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The aim of the project is to support and strengthen the capacity of Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) Member States, EAPCCO Secretariat and EAPCCO Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre of Excellence (CTCoE) to effectively prevent and counter terrorism and links to transnational organized and Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Eastern Africa, including through enhanced international cooperation in criminal matters, with a rule of law and human rights-based approach.

As part of this project, UNODC concluded 2021 with a 3-day Regional Counter-Terrorism Symposium on the Role of Law Enforcement in Building a Whole-of-Society Approach to Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism (7-9 December) at United Nations Office of Nairobi, Kenya. 

The Symposium was jointly organised by UNODC, the EAPPCO Secretariat, and the CTCoE, with 80+ participants, including delegates from all 14 EAPCCO Member Countries, namely Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as law enforcement experts, victim-centred NGOs, and civil society. The objective of the Symposium was to provide a platform for discussion between law enforcement and the community at large on enhancing cooperation and finding sustainable solutions to preventing and countering violent extremism and terrorism in the region through a whole-of-society approach.

Topics under discussion included the role of criminal justice and security officials in preventing and countering violent extremism, including as part of multi-sectoral approaches; the use of the internet for terrorism purposes, including use of social media and incitement; gender dimensions in terrorism and counter-terrorism measures; financing of terrorism in the post-COVID-19 landscape; prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of returning foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and their accompanying family members, human-rights compliant counter-terrorism measures, including model provisions for victims of terrorism; and, new technology as tools for countering terrorism.

Further, the Symposium provided participants the opportunity to learn about EAPCCO resource materials and knowledge products such as its new Issue Papers on Enhancing Cooperation between Law Enforcement and Prisons Entities (Issue Paper 1/2021), Countering Terrorism Financing in Eastern Africa (Issue Paper 2/2021), and Law Enforcement Engagement with Victims of Terrorism (Issue Paper 3/2021). These Issue Papers have been developed for the use of EAPCCO Chiefs of Police and law enforcement practitioners in the Eastern Africa region to inform and support the development of policy and operational responses to current and emerging threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism.

In the margins of the Symposium, UNODC also handed over refurbished office space, two vehicles as well as office equipment, supplies and corporate branding items to the CTCoE to fully operationalize the Centre.

In September, EAPCCO and the CTCOE – supported by UNODC – convened a 2-day Expert Group Meeting (EGM) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with the purpose of developing “Eastern Africa Regional Guidelines for Standardized Human Rights-based Terrorism Prevention Responses”.

The development of standardized human rights-based guidelines for terrorism prevention responses in the region and broader continent is crucial for criminal justice practitioners to develop effective counter-terrorism measures to deter and respond to terrorism threats in a proactive and systematic manner. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that criminal justice practitioners in the region have harmonized directives to guide the effective addressing of transboundary threats as part of an effective and efficient counter-terrorism strategy.

For the EGM in Dar es Salaam, participants included 25 law enforcement experts from Burundi, Comoros, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, including expert facilitators from the EAPCCO Secretariat, EAPCCO CTCoE, INTERPOL and UNODC.

UNODC Counter Terrorism Expert, Dr. Anneli Botha, and UNODC Human Rights Expert, Dr. Sarah Roberts prepared the draft of the guidelines on interactions between law enforcement and the public, especially vulnerable communities, the treatment of family members and friends of individuals suspected to be involved in terrorism-related offences, as well as the victims of terrorism, and human rights-based law enforcement responses to detecting, preventing and investigating terrorism and related activities.

The purpose of the EGM was to provide an opportunity for criminal justice practitioners from the EAPCCO Member Countries as well as independent experts to review and provide feedback on the draft guidelines. Input of national law enforcement experts is an essential part of the process to ensure the final guidelines encompass views from EAPCCO Member Countries.

Mr. Johan Kruger, Head of Transnational Organised Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes, UNODC ROEA, Mr. John Ndungutse, Director of the EAPCCO CTCoE, and Mr. Gedion Kimilu, CEO of the EAPCCO Secretariat, delivered opening remarks, and Mr. Salum Msangi, representative of the Director of Criminal Investigation of the Tanzania Police Force Mr. Camilius Mongoso Wambura, officiated the opening. Dr. Anneli Botha and Dr. Sarah Roberts presented the draft guidelines with moderation by Ms. Tina Mykkanen, Associate Project Support Officer with UNODC ROEA.

The EGM fostered national and regional cooperation and dialogue surrounding the development of Eastern Africa regional guidelines for standardized human rights-based terrorism prevention responses. Furthermore, the EGM promoted opportunity for cross border collaboration and highlighted the necessity of coordinated and standardized human-rights based regional responses to terrorism.

Subsequently to the EGM, UNODC organized a review meeting of the first draft of the Regional Guidelines, in Nairobi, Kenya, for criminal justice experts from 4 EAPCCO Member States, namely Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda.

Moving forward, the EAPCCO Legal Sub-Committee and CT Sub-Committee will convene early this year to review and finalize the guidelines. The finalized guidelines will then be presented to the Directors of CID in all the EAPCCO Member States during the Permanent Coordinating Committee (PCC) in February next year.

The regional project “Supporting and Enhancing the EAPCCO Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre of Excellence for Eastern Africa” is implemented within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme (2016-2021) – Promoting the Rule of Law and Human Security in Eastern Africa.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Johan Kruger –
Head of Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes,
UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa