UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC/TPB) organized the second regional coordination workshop of the Multi-Agency Task Force (MATF) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, which took place in Amman on 25-27 April 2018.
The project, launched in Casablanca in November 2017 and funded by the Government of Canada, aims to strengthen law enforcement and judicial cooperation against foreign terrorist fighters in the MENA region, including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.
The project focuses on supporting the establishment of a MATF mechanism by providing advice and technical support to the beneficiary countries, guiding them to the operational stage through a series of regional coordination and technical meetings. It also aims to develop useful and relevant tools such as a practical guide to prepare effective cooperation requests in terrorist cases and an online programme to maintain contact between MATF focal points, strengthen the network, build trust and provide further training.
The meeting brought together designated MATF focal points as well as regional and international experts representing the Security Council Committee Pursuant to Resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) Concerning ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and Associated Individuals Groups Undertakings and Entities, the European Court of Human Rights, the G5 Sahel, INTERPOL, the Quadripartite Mechanism Belgium-France-Morocco-Spain, the Sahel Judicial Platform and Morocco.
International experts presented an overview of the recent developments concerning the international framework as well as shared an assessment of the evolving threat posed by FTFs in the region. In addition, they also discussed the current trends, gaps and shortcomings in international, regional and inter-institutional law enforcement and judicial cooperation in terrorist cases, including FTF cases.
Representatives of existing platforms and networks of focal points presented the technical and practical challenges they encountered in the setting up and use of regional cooperation mechanisms, and shared good practices developed to improve their functioning, effectiveness to make them fully operational in their role of facilitators.
Furthermore, thematic sessions addressed the challenges and provided recommendations on the respect for human rights in international law enforcement and judicial cooperation and on strengthening cooperation with INTERPOL National Central Bureaus.
Moreover, during working group sessions, MATF Focal Points were given the opportunity to discuss legal and operational difficulties encountered in the region as well as the practices developed to address them through the analysis of concrete FTF cases. Each working group issued relevant and targeted recommendations very useful to the effectiveness of the MATF as a proactive task force.
Throughout the meeting, the focal points reiterated their wish to strengthen cooperation in the region and beyond, and to build a strong working team endowed with a worldwide dimension and influence.
All participants praised the work of UNODC in the development of this initiative, thanked the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for hosting the event and UNODC for organizing the MATF meetings and called for further activities and meetings.