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UNODC Supports East African Countries to Integrate Gender Dimensions in the Fight Against Terrorism

Nairobi, June 2018 : UNODC recently brought together officials from 8 East African Member States to strengthen their criminal justice measures against terrorism by integrating a gender perspective into those efforts. Globally, women are increasingly impacted by and involved in the activities of terrorist groups, including as victims of sexual and gender-based violence through forced marriage, rape and other forms. Women are also perpetrators, serving as messengers, spies, smugglers, recruiters, and providers of funds.

The 3-day workshop, attended by officials from Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Somalia, sought to equip participants with a deeper understanding of the different impact counter-terrorism laws and practices have on women and men, and to ensure that women's rights are respected in the context of countering the terrorism threats in East Africa.

The international community has increasingly recognized that women and men can be vulnerable to terrorism in different ways, and that the measures that government's take against these crimes can also affect each gender differently. In this regard, Ulrich Garms, UNODC expert on terrorism and gender issues, noted that "gender integration means, for example, taking into consideration traditional gender norms and a female suspect's specific circumstances when assessing the charges and conditions of detention, including whether a de-radicalization programme would be appropriate".

During the workshop, national officials considered the various matters related to gender and terrorism prevention, shared experiences from their own jurisdictions and reflected on how their national laws, policies, and practices could be modified to better consider gender considerations. They also focussed on crime related to terrorism and having a strong gender impact in Eastern Africa, including Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants.

During the workshop opening, Johan Kruger, Head of Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes for the UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa, noted that "UNODC is pleased to be supporting the region to address the evolving challenges posed by organized crime and terrorism. To that end, this workshop, which focused on gender dimensions of counter-terrorism, is an important part of this work. Moreover, linked to these efforts, UNODC is also focussing on the links between terrorism and transnational organised crime - especially by providing assistance to Member States focused on enhanced criminal justice responses to women and children affected by Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants".

The workshop was funded by the Government of Norway and jointly presented by the UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa and UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch, within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for Eastern Africa (2016-2021) an its sub-programme on Terrorism Prevention, and in collaboration with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and with input from UN Women.

Download the UNODC Handbook on Children Recruited and Exploited by Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups: The Role of the Justice System ( and UNODC Handbook on Human Rights and Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism (