South Asia: UNODC Supports Efforts to Strengthen Gender Dimensions Justice Responses to Terrorism

Terrorism and violent extremism leading to terrorism present a significant threat to international peace and security. These crimes violate human rights, weaken development and can result in the loss of human life. Specifically, in connection with gender dimensions, the distinct ways in which youth and women are involved in and affected by terrorism is an area of increasing concern for the international community.

United Nations Security Council resolution 2242 (2015) reaffirms that women’s empowerment and gender equality are critical to conflict prevention and broader efforts to maintain international peace and security. It recognizes the need to mainstream gender considerations into United Nations’ bodies activities addressing the prevention of violent extremism and counterterrorism-related issues. Furthermore, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (A/70/674) states that counterterrorism and countering violent extremism strategies should protect and empower women.

In response to some of these challenges, UNODC is delivering a Japanese-funded project that includes a component on preventing women and youth's involvement in violent extremism and terrorism through effective criminal justice approaches for Bangladesh and the Maldives.

To support this project, UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch (UNODC/TPB) delivered an online training on the gender dimensions of criminal justice responses to terrorism for Bangladesh and the Maldives on 24-25 February 2021. The training was conducted in coordination with UNODC's Regional Office for South Asia, the Programme Office in Bangladesh and the Programme Office in the Maldives. It aimed at supporting criminal justice measures and implementing strategies and policies that prevent and respond to the involvement of women in violent extremism leading to terrorism.

The objective of the joint online training was to discuss and present the work on the national editions of UNODC's handbook on the Gender Dimensions of Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism with a focus on Bangladesh and Maldives. The handbook explores gender mainstreaming approaches in counterterrorism responses and gender aspects of terrorism-related offences, including online recruitment and gender dimensions of investigating and prosecuting terrorism-related offences. UNODC’s handbook was also the first-ever UN manual that was developed on the subject matter.

Over 70 participants attended the event, representing relevant agencies and institutions, as well as from academia. The manuals will be an essential tool to strengthen the work on gender dimensions of relevant agencies and institutions.