Albania: identifying foreign terrorist fighters at borders

South Eastern Europe remains exposed to the threat of returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs). In response to this challenge, UNODC's Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC/TPB), jointly with the OSCE Presence in Albania, delivered the second national workshop for Albania on challenges related to returning FTFs. The workshop also aimed to enhance national capacities in identifying FTFs at borders in compliance with international human rights standards.

Upon the request of the Government of Albania, the event was held in Shkodër on 20-21 November 2018, given its proximity to a border crossing point. The event was opened by the national coordinator for countering violent extremism (CVE) in Albania, the head of the Department for Migration from the Albanian State Police, the Prefect of Shkodër, the head of the Security Cooperation Department of the OSCE Presence in Albania, and UNODC. In addition, the event brought together representatives from the Prosecution Office as well as from border and migration agencies. National coordinators for CVE from Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shared their experience related to the detection of FTFs at border crossing points. Other topics addressed during the workshop included an update on the international legal framework applicable to the phenomenon of FTFs and the relevant challenges related to the implementation of the advance passenger information system. Representatives from the OSCE Secretariat and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program of the United States Department of Justice also shared their analysis and tools to improve procedures for front-line border police officers in profiling, identifying and pre-screening of FTFs.

The workshop was delivered under UNODC/TPB's "Initiative on Strengthening the Legal Regime against FTFs in the Middle East, North Africa and South Eastern Europe", and was co-financed by the European Union, under which UNODC's contribution was funded.

Under the project, four national workshops for the beneficiary jurisdictions are scheduled to take place annually until 2020. The first national workshop for Albania was held in Tirana in November 2017, and focused on the normative and administrative challenges related to the FTF threat.