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UNODC visits new head of Indonesia counter-terrorism

Jakarta (Indonesia), 20 November 2014
- A vast Southeast Asia and Pacific nation made up of thousands of islands and home to nearly a quarter billion people from dozens of distinct ethnic and linguistic groups, Indonesia faces unique challenges in preventing and fighting terrorism.

As part of a longstanding cooperation between UNODC and the Government of Indonesia on terrorism prevention that has seen Indonesia make sustained efforts to strengthen its counter-terrorism capacities at both the legal and operational level, Mr. Hernan Longo, Programme Coordinator of UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and The Pacific (ROSEAP) Counter Terrorism Sub-Programme, recently paid a courtesy visit to Insp. Gen. Saud Usman, the new head of the Indonesian National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT).

During the meeting they discussed traditional and emerging terrorist threats in Southeast Asia, with a special focus on foreign terrorist fighters travelling to conflict zones in the Middle East and the need to strengthen legal frameworks and criminal justice institutions to more effectively deal with the threat that these foreign fighters represent, in full compliance with human rights principles and the rule of law.

Both officials coincided in the importance of achieving criminal justice preparedness against terrorism by tackling the acts that usually lead to the commission of terrorist activity, such as recruitment, the provision and receipt of training and terrorist financing. They also underscored the importance of addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, among other measures, by promoting a counter-narrative to violent extremist discourses that may lead to terrorism.

Terrorism is a complex, ever-changing transnational threat to international peace and security. To effectively fight it, countries must promote international cooperation and develop national criminal justice systems that can, in accordance with human rights and the rule of law, take terrorism prevention measures, investigate and prosecute terrorism-related cases, and administer fair and effective justice for perpetrators of terrorist crimes.

UNODC's Regional Programme for Southeast Asia assists member states like Indonesia as they work to strengthen and develop legislative frameworks, policies and strategies against terrorism. UNODC's Indonesia Country Programme 2012-2015, within the framework of a joint European Union-UNODC initiative to support Southeast Asian countries to counter terrorism, supports Indonesia's efforts to enhance collaboration in investigating and prosecuting terrorism-related cases.

According to the Indonesian Counter-Terrorism Coordination Agency (BNPT), in the past two years at least 121 terrorism-related investigations were brought to justice by Indonesian law enforcement agencies, with convictions arising in at least 83 cases. In addition, a special bill was passed in February 2013 to tackle the financing of terrorism.

In line with the mandate conferred by the UN General Assembly, UNODC has provided technical assistance to Southeast Asian countries on counter terrorism matters since 2003. In 2012, UNODC and the EU initiated the EU-UNODC Joint Initiative for Supporting Southeast Asian Countries to Counter Terrorism.

Under this framework, five SEA countries - Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, The Philippines and Vietnam- have benefited from direct technical assistance from UNODC on a wide array of matters such as countering terrorist financing, addressing violent extremism and promoting international cooperation in criminal matters related to terrorism.

UNODC also works to fight terrorism in close coordination with key international and regional stakeholders such as UN Security Council counter-terrorism committees, the ASEAN Secretariat, the South East Asia Regional Center on Counter Terrorism (SEARCCT), the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) and Interpol.