‘Foreign fighters’ targetted as states sign up to new Council of Europe anti-terror strategy

Seventeen states have strengthened the fight against terrorism, by signing-up to a new Council of Europe agreement.

Representatives of Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom, plus the European Union, signed the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, at a 22 October ceremony in Riga, Latvia.

It is focussed on tackling the problem of ‘foreign terrorist fighters’ and criminalises intentionally participating in a terrorist group, receiving training for terrorism, travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism and the funding or organising of such travel.

Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland said: “For the first time in international law, we have an instrument that criminalises early preparations for acts of terror. The Additional Protocol to the Convention of Terrorism sets out how we can jointly take on foreign terrorist fighters within the rule of law and human rights. It is the vital, missing piece of the jigsaw.”

Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, added: “Europe is the first region in the world to set up a regional legal instrument to implement the provisions of the UNSC Resolution No.2178 on foreign terrorist fighters. The contribution of Latvia to the elaboration of the Additional Protocol to the Convention of Terrorism, as well as hosting its opening for signature ceremony affirms Latvia’s commitment to the global fight against terrorism.”

Igor Crnadak, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, declared: “The Council of Europe is uniquely positioned to help find the right response to the major challenge posed by terrorism. This new Protocol on Foreign Terrorist Fighters is an additional powerful tool that can help States in their efforts to prevent extremism and radicalisation, particularly among young people.”

The protocol is will enter into force when it is ratified by six states.

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