2 February 2017 - The current terrorist threat to peace and security has become more diffuse and pervasive. It does affect an increasing number of individuals that are radicalized to terrorism, often through social media or through distorted religious propaganda. This threat requires that Member States enhance their preventative legal and criminal justice approaches to terrorism and extremism leading to terrorism.
In this context, a major regional conference for parliamentarians of the Middle East and Northern African countries (MENA) on the Challenges Posed by Extremism Leading to Terrorism and Preventative Criminal Justice Responses is being held in Aswan, Egypt, from 31 January to 2 February 2017.
The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy (2006) and the Secretary-General Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (2015), and several other relevant resolutions, have been calling for a balanced approach between security measures and preventive ones. Thus, the role of Parliaments is crucial in setting-up solid legislative foundations to terrorism prevention measures, establish and implement national plans of action aimed at the prevention of violent extremism leading to terrorism, through a comprehensive whole-of -society approach that addresses the conditions conducive to terrorism and the drivers of terrorism.
The conference is part of the UNODC technical assistance programme on Strengthening Rule-of- Law compliant Criminal Justice Responses on the Prevention of Violent Extremism for MENA countries and is being held by UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) and the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (ROMENA), in partnership with the Egyptian Parliament, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM).
The opening ceremony of the Conference included the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Egypt, Ali Abdel Aal, Martin Chungong, Secretary General of IPU, Lhou Lmarbouh, President of the PAM and Kaoru Magosaki, the Head of Economic Section representing Japan. Speakers from UNODC included Mauro Miedico, Chief of the Terrorism Prevention Branch and Cherine Rahmy, Regional Representative, from the Regional Office for Middle East and North Africa.
With the support of the Government of Japan, the conference builds on an ongoing UNODC global initiative, carried out in close cooperation with IPU and PAM, which aims at strengthening the role of Parliaments in preventing and countering terrorism.