Action against Threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters Must Be Ramped Up, Security Council Urges in High-Level Meeting

Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Foreign Terrorist FightersThe Security Council this morning welcomed what it called “extraordinary efforts” by States to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and from conflict zones, while urging stepped-up work on the issue due to growing recruitment by extremist groups, from more than 100 countries.

The 15-member body expressed its grave concern at the increase of foreign fighters joining the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS or Da’esh), Al-Qaida and other groups to over 25,000, through a statement presented by Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius of Lithuania, May Council President, during a high-level meeting that followed up resolution 2178 (2014), adopted at a Council summit in September.

Today’s meeting, the first to which Ministers of the Interior and related officials were specifically invited, discussed the first report of the Counter-Terrorism Committee on actions taken by all States, including those identified as most affected by the growing global threat (document S/2015/338).  The meeting heard from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as briefings by the Chair of the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, Gerard van Bohemen (New Zealand); Chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee, Raimonda Murmokaitė (Lithuania); and the Secretary General of INTERPOL, Jürgen Stock.

Through the presidential statement (S/PRST/2015/11), the Council reiterated the dangers posed by foreign fighters, both in zones of combat and their country of origin.  It said that the report showed that Member States needed to improve prevention, interdiction and enforcement efforts through intensified national activities and international cooperation, particularly information-sharing, undertaking priority actions with assistance from others where needed, as expeditiously as possible.

Laws that criminalized recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping foreign terrorist fighters were particularly needed in many States, the Council said through its text.  In addition, the Council noted with concern that only 51 Member States were reportedly using advance passenger information to address the scourge, and it urged all to support “evidence-based traveller risk assessment and screen procedures” without resorting to “profiling based on stereotypes founded on grounds of discrimination prohibited by international law”.  The Council also underscored a critical need for Member States to strengthen border management.

In addition, noting terrorist recruitment efforts that targeted youths, increasingly young women as well as men, it stressed the need for Member States to more effectively identify and work with relevant local community leaders to address radicalization.  In that regard, it said much more work must be done to prevent terrorists from exploiting communications technology to incite support for violence.  Expressing concern over the continued operation of “facilitation networks”, it reaffirmed its decisions that Member States must prosecute those who financed and enabled terrorist acts.

The Council called for strengthened international, regional and public-private cooperation for all those purposes, with due respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.  It also urged greater cooperation with INTERPOL, calling on States to increase exchange of information and use of the agency’s foreign terrorist fighter database.

The Council requested that the counter-terrorism and sanctions committees continue to pay close attention to the steps taken by Member States to implement resolution 2178 (2014).  It strongly recommended that the Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force Office, in close consultations with the Counterterrorism Directorate and other United Nations units, develop a priority plan for capacity-building and technical-assistance needs of most-affected States, and it strongly urged Member States with the ability to deliver such assistance to do so.

“The United Nations will continue to work actively with Member States to forge more comprehensive and creative approaches to address this multidimensional threat, emphasizing the importance that we should attach to ensuring that they are fully anchored in the rule of law and human rights,” Secretary-General Ban said as he opened the meeting.  He outlined the Organization’s efforts, announcing his intention to present an action plan on preventing violent extremism.  He also had requested the establishment of an inter-agency working group on foreign terrorist fighters to coordinate the work of relevant units.

Mr. Van Bohemen introduced the report of the Monitoring Team on the issue (S/2015/358), outlining progress in fulfilling the provision of resolution 2178 (2014), which called for Member States to identify foreign fighters and those who enabled them for designation on the Al-Qaida sanctions list.  Ms. Murmokaitė introduced the report of Counterterrorism Committee, drawing attention to actions taken by 21 at-risk countries to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and close the many remaining gaps, particularly in the area of necessary legislation.

Mr. Stock surveyed INTERPOL’s assistance and services to Member States to facilitate information-sharing.  He said that recent attacks as well as interdictions of those who were planning violence showed the importance of such sharing through his agency’s databases and analysis.  Information must be made available to personnel on the front lines, he stressed, particularly border screeners.  “We must share even more information and share it better,” he said.

Following those presentations, Council members, many at the ministerial level, welcomed the report and underlined various priorities discussed in the presidential statement, affirming the dangers posed by foreign terrorist fighters.  Most speakers outlined their own efforts to implement resolution 2178 (2014).

In addition to security, legal and intelligence measures, most also stressed the need to provide a counter-narrative to radicalization, addressing root causes and working with communities in that regard.  Most important was firm, united commitment by the international community to meet the challenge, some said.  “We will not tolerate your intolerance and we will not compromise our values.  We will contain you, challenge you, disrupt you.  We will stand united and united we will defeat you,” stated the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office of the United Kingdom.

Also addressing the Council were Mr. Linkevičius in his national capacity, the United States Secretary for Homeland Security, the Minister for Home Affairs of Malaysia, the Attorney General of New Zealand, the Minister for Public Administration and Public Security of Chad, the Deputy Minister for Homeland Security of Spain, and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Interior of Nigeria.

The representatives of China, Angola, Jordan, Chile, Russian Federation, Venezuela and France also spoke.

The meeting began at 10:45 a.m. and adjourned at 1:39 p.m.

Statement by Secretary-General

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that the 70 per cent increase in foreign terrorist combatants between the middle of 2014 and March 2015 meant more fighters on the front lines in Syria and Iraq, as well as in Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya.  He emphasized the need for international cooperation to stop the flow, while stressing it must be under full compliance with international law.  When counter-terrorism efforts ignored the rule of law and violated fundamental rights, they “not only betray the values they seek to uphold, but can also end up fuelling violent extremism”, he stated.

He said that effective, accountable and inclusive governance was an important element of preventive efforts, as was addressing the growing emphasis on the underlying drivers of radicalization, particularly concerning young men and women.

The United Nations would continue to work actively with Member States to forge more comprehensive and creative approaches to address that multidimensional threat, he said, emphasizing the importance that it should attach to ensuring that they were fully anchored in the rule of law and human rights.  He outlined the Organization’s efforts and announced his intention to present a plan of action on preventing violent extremism.  He had also requested the establishment of an inter-agency working group on foreign terrorist fighters to coordinate with the work being done by relevant United Nations entities.


GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities, said that the targeted sanctions overseen by his Committee were an important part of the toolbox to counter the danger of foreign terrorist fighters.

The Committee, he said, had approved several designations this year aimed at that threat.  Listing the names of ISIL-related individuals so designated, he said that INTERPOL-United Nations Special Notices had been issued on their cases, and he emphasized the key role of INTERPOL in the endeavour.

Outlining the Monitoring Team’s report, he said that the essential elements in the international response included sharing of actionable information, capacity-building at the national level to disrupt networks, and countering violent extremism at every stage of an individual’s involvement.

He said that some progress had been made in the implementation of resolution 2178 (2014), which called on Member States to propose foreign terrorist fighters and those who facilitate their activities for designation on the Al-Qaida sanctions list.  The Monitoring Team could advise any Member State considering such proposals; it regularly took part in outreach and training.  He encouraged any State considering designations to make early contact with the Team.

To encourage proposals for listings, the previous Committee Chair had organized an open briefing for all Member States on its work, he said, noting his intention to continue such briefings periodically throughout his Chairmanship.

RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania), Chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee, said the body had identified 67 States most affected by the threat of foreign terrorist fighters, which represented a wide range of countries in terms of size and capacity, drawn from all regions of the world.  They included all four categories of States:  origin, transit, destination and neighbouring.  Using tools developed by the Committee to facilitate its dialogue with States on implementation of resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), as well as new ones dedicated to analysing measures specific to resolution 2178 (2014), the Committee’s Executive Directorate had analyzed an initial batch of 21 States, looking at how they implemented those resolutions, gaps that they might individually or collectively need to address and the good practices they already deployed.  The report was submitted to the Council on 13 May.  Those evidence-based and risk-based conclusions would be further used to develop detailed, concrete recommendations for the facilitation of technical assistance in the coming months.

According to the first report, she said, only 5 of the 21 States reviewed had introduced legislation to criminalize preparatory or accessory acts conducted in a State with the aim of committing terrorist acts outside its territory.  Many of the 21 States had not yet introduced criminal laws to allow the prosecution of individuals who travelled or attempted to do so to a State other than their State of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning or preparation of or participation in terrorist actions.

Many of the affected States were already implementing good practices, she said, stressing that nearly all had taken steps to prohibit by law incitement to commit a terrorist act under their criminal laws, as called for by resolution 1624 (2005).  Those measures could contribute significantly to stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, who were often spurred to action by calls to terrorist violence made by others, whether in person or through the Internet or other social media.  The Committee had undertaken activities to reinforce its direct support to States threatened by terrorism and, over the coming months, would continue to fulfil mandates conferred by the Council.

JURGEN STOCK, Secretary-General of INTERPOL, said that recent attacks by individuals who had travelled around the world and interdictions of those who were planning participation in violence showed the importance of sharing information on foreign fighters through INTERPOL, as well as the importance of the availability of such information to those on the front line.  He described INTERPOL’s meetings with national security personnel for that purpose and stated that much progress had been made.  Now some 4,000 individuals were in INTERPOL’s databases.

He also described control that countries had over the kind of information they wished to exchange and said that countries increasingly trusted the agency.  All data received was analysed to establish links and disseminated according to the instructions of those who gave it.  Among current patterns detected were the use of “broken travel” and the increase of foreign fighters with criminal weapons.  In addition, it was seeing more fighters shifting their allegiances to ISIL from other groups.

“We must share even more information and share it better,” across regional borders and within domestic systems, he said, proposing that a single global platform be established for many functions and overseen by INTERPOL.  Making the agency’s information directly available at border posts would be ideal, and for that reason, INTERPOL was looking at ways to provide such services.

He said that systematic checks at borders were still taking place in some Member States, with many infrastructure gaps, particularly in at-risk countries.  Strengthening border security in general was critical, but with the right application of resources, all relevant border posts could have adequate screening capability.  He pledged to continue cooperation with United Nations counterterrorism entities in all those areas.


LINAS LINKEVIČIUS, Foreign Minister of Lithuania, said countering foreign terrorist fighters was only a part of broader counter-terrorism efforts, but a significant one.  The threat was increasingly global, complex, mutating and shifting, putting existing counter-terrorism measures to unprecedented test.  Responses must be constantly adjusted and modified, if not to outpace then at least to match the level of adaptability and dynamics of the foreign terrorist fighters.

In that context, he said, national criminal laws should be updated in light of resolution 2178 (2014), and border protection and security should be strengthened.  Collection, analysis and sharing of travel information should be increased, along with greater regional international cooperation.  More robust use of tools and services provided by Interpol, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Final Action Task Force and other relevant bodies was required.

Calling for more effective inter-agency cooperation and coordination among all relevant national authorities, he stressed the need for a more coherent and comprehensive response by the United Nations system in support of national and regional efforts.  As no country could consider itself immune to the threat, Lithuania relied on well-established measures to prevent and disrupt the travel of terrorists across its borders.  In the fight against terrorism, it was crucial to address not only the consequences but also the underlying factors of radicalization, for which a comprehensive cross-sectoral approach was needed.

JEH JOHNSON, Secretary for Homeland Security of the United States, said the gathering was important and timely to review the issue and stressed the importance of working across borders.  He lauded the new legal and policy framework provided by resolution 2178 (2014) to confront the threat at a time when terrorist groups were using new technologies and were becoming more adaptable and brutal.  Travel by foreign terrorist fighters should be criminalized, while more effective border controls were required, he said, emphasizing the need for greater cooperation among the United Nations and other agencies.

It was also important to address early on those people who were susceptible to the disillusionment that drew them towards terrorism, he said, detailing recent efforts taken by the Obama Administration in that regard.  It was encouraging to see many countries making progress to counter foreign terrorist fighters, as the threat was truly global.  The United States was promoting security and stability with other countries and was engaged in greater international cooperation, including with INTERPOL, which had a vital role to play in interdiction and sharing information in real time.  The world community must update efforts to counter international terrorism, he said, pledging his country’s ongoing support.

AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI, Minister for Home Affairs of Malaysia, said his country had taken a number of concrete measures aimed at addressing the terrorist threat within and outside its borders and in ensuring the safety and security of the people.  Legislation on the prevention of terrorism, awaiting royal assent, had taken great care of the need to respect the country’s obligations under relevant human rights instruments to which it was party.  One key feature concerned provisions on rehabilitation and de-radicalization, rooted in the belief that fight against terrorism could not be won through force or punitive measures alone.

A total of 107 people with suspected connections to or involvement in Da’esh had been arrested, he said, while the activities of 63 Malaysian known to have travelled to Syria and Iraq were being actively monitored.  The international community must address the incentives and motivations that led people to leave their homes and loved ones to fight in far-flung regions of the world.  The international community must remain fully seized and committed to combatting the twin scourges of terrorism and violent extremism, as their primary targets were youth, who held infinite promise and potential for a brighter future.

CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON, Attorney-General of New Zealand, describing the challenge as complex and multifaceted, stressed the Council’s essential role in providing strategic direction, marshalling United Nations resources, coordination, and outlining concrete measures.  Agreeing that the most effective policy against foreign terrorist fighters was to prevent their radicalization, recruitment and travel, he stressed the importance of recognizing that there could be no “one-size-fits-all” response.  States would need a diverse range of approaches to ensure the appropriate balance, depending on the context, whether they were source, transit or destination countries.

New Zealand had strengthened its national framework in response to resolution 2178 (2014), he said, noting that preventing radicalization, education and countering extremist messages were essential.  The most effective outcomes came from working closely with and alongside communities and the key was to be inclusive.  The Council should bear in mind the very real and understandable constraints facing small developing States in implementing foreign terrorist fighter frameworks.

ABDERAHIM BIREME HAMID, Minister for Territorial Administration and Public Security of Chad, expressed deep concern at the spreading danger of foreign fighters around the world, including into countries neighbouring Chad.  His country had pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and had taken measures for border and interior security and information gathering.  Such measures had so far kept the country safe except for scattered incidents.  There had also been legislative action and an awareness-raising drive for a culture of peace.

He said that his country was also cooperating with neighbours on border issues.  Special measures had been taken on the border with Libya, which was of particular concern, as the south of that country was a no-man’s land awash in arms.  Chad was also taking part in regional military operations to prevent terrorist operations in Mali, for example, and campaigns against Boko Haram.  While welcoming the international community’s support to assist Chad in such operations, he noted, however, that the cost of such operations still far outstripped domestic resources.  He called for all partners to continue assistance in financing, training, equipment and technology.

FRANCISCO MARTINEZ VAZQUEZ, Deputy Minister for Homeland Security of Spain, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to combat terrorism and the flow of foreign fighters.  Spain’s experience showed that with the right focus it was possible to defeat terrorism through a comprehensive response at all levels within the legitimacy of law.  Repression of terrorism was not enough; developing a counter-narrative was critical.  Hundreds of arrests had been made and scores of operations conducted by Spanish security forces, but that was also not adequate.

Cooperation, information sharing, and international solidarity were all important, he added.  His Government had decided to merge all intelligence capabilities into a single national centre, which was now finding connections between international terrorism and organized crime.  Social and educational efforts were also urgently needed; Spain had extensive programmes in that context, including in prisons.  He finally described the legislative regime that targeted foreign fighters and those who enabled them, and bolstered border-security measures.  He underlined the importance of political commitment to all such efforts.

MARK SEDWILL, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office of the United Kingdom, stressed the “mortal threat” of ISIL and its recruitment of foreign fighters, as well as its efforts to radicalize individuals around the world.  For that reason, his country was committed to implementing resolution 2178 (2014).  He described the strengthened border security regimes that it had put in place, as well as information sharing and other measures, asserting that the efforts must extend to the Internet and social media.  The United Kingdom worked with media companies extensively in that regard and he urged other States to develop related capabilities.

It was just as important to counter the narrative of the terrorists; extremism of all kinds must be addressed in that regard, he said.  He also stressed that any measures to fight terrorism must comply with international law.  The international community must address the drivers of terrorism and remain united on the issue, recognizing that terrorism was not the province of any religion or group.  “We will not tolerate your intolerance and we will not compromise our values.  We will contain you, challenge you, disrupt you.  We will stand united and united we will defeat you,” he said of terrorists.

ABUBAKAR G. MAGAJI, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Interior of Nigeria, said the demographics of foreign terrorist fighters suggested that they broadly came from middle-class homes, were graduates, and were recruited through social media.  While much of the focus had fallen on the Middle East, Africa had not been spared from the scourge.  Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIL earlier this year, which the Government considered both a sign of weakness and an invitation to foreign terrorist fighters.  Growing radicalism in the sub-Saharan region was aggravating local conflicts, which required greater vigilance from the international community.  There was a need to shrink the space in which foreign terrorist fighters were operating through the full deployment of international instruments.  Member States should address local social and economic grievances through appropriate policies instilling a sense of “belongingness” to discourage radicalization.  Nigeria was ready to cooperate with all major stakeholders.

LIU JIEYI (China) said the international counter-terrorism situation remained grave, as terrorist organizations became more lethal and decentralized and adopted new technologies.  In combatting the scourge, the international community must uphold the United Nations principles and respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.  Universal standards must be upheld and terrorism should not be linked to specific group or religion.  Information exchange should be strengthened in order for an appropriate and timely response to be adopted.  He stressed the need for strengthening international and bilateral mechanisms, sharing knowledge, and promoting regional cooperation in border security, law enforcement and financial regulation.  Calling for a resolute fight against the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, he stressed the need for high vigilance of “back flow” of terrorists.

ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) called for a well-structured ideological struggle against terrorists and the nightmare they peddled.  Those groups posed a threat to destination, origin and transit countries alike and the international community needed to identify both the causes of the phenomenon and ways of combatting it.  Eight months after the adoption of resolution 2178 (2014), the challenge remained as grave as ever; today’s debate provided an opportunity to review efforts under way and gaps therein.  Angola had opened a national terrorism observatory, comprising a multisectoral expert group, with the objective of identifying potential terrorist threats.  It had strong laws against foreign terrorist fighters and was involved in regional initiatives as well.

EIHAB OMAISH (Jordan) said that, although resolution 2178 (2014) had provided the road map for combating the phenomenon, the number of foreign terrorist fighters continued to grow, which required the international community to review the gaps and weaknesses in its existing approach.  Jordan had adopted a package of national laws aimed at decisively confronting the scourge, he said, stressing the need for stronger regional and international cooperation.  While intelligence services in the most-affected nations needed to exchange information with INTERPOL, it was critical to carefully study root causes such as violent extremist ideology, foreign occupation, lack of social awareness, social and economic deprivation, and exploitation of information technology.  As youth remained the most targeted segment for recruitment, collective efforts aimed at that group were required.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said collective action on the problem of foreign terrorist fighters was critical giving the growing dangers, and his country was committed to the full implementation of resolution 2178 (2014).  Among other priorities, he underlined the importance of regional action, enumerating the many regional and international arrangements in which his country participated.  He also described Chile’s border controls and readiness to share information.  Stressing the need to prevent radicalization and to address the factors that encouraged it, he underlined the need to work for tolerance and international understanding and solidarity.

EVGENY T. ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) said that a long-standing laissez-faire attitude to extremist groups had led to their increasing activity in such countries as Syria and Iraq.  Pre-emptive action must be taken against traveling fighters, through a systemic, comprehensive approach.  Use of international databases, bilateral cooperation, attention to financing and stopping radicalization were important components of such an approach.  Also essential was countering the use of communication technologies for radicalization.  He urged States to be flexible in putting in place a legal regime to ensure criminalization of activities related to foreign terrorist fighters.  Describing the work of his country in that regard, he cited regional and international initiatives in which it was participating.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), reiterating his country’s condemnation of all terrorist activity, stressed there were no moderate terrorists.  External financing and resourcing of armed groups in order to defeat sovereign Governments had exacerbated the problem of foreign terrorist fighters, he maintained.  Both law-enforcement and preventative approaches were needed simultaneously, along with addressing root causes of radicalization.  Political solutions to conflicts were also important.  Given the large quantity of persons travelling internationally to join extremist groups, he questioned the commitment of some transit countries to put an end to the phenomenon.  Other crucial elements were preventing the provision of small arms to non-State actors, ensuring compliance with international law and mobilizing resources for capacity-building in at-risk countries.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said that the adoption of resolution 2178 (2014) provided a strong framework for countering the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, but the phenomenon continued to grow.  Many French citizens, including women, were part of the problem.  In past years, France had mobilized to act as pre-emptively as possible to counter radicalization and recruitment.  It had also acquired new legal tools, including travel restrictions and a targeted blocking of Internet sites that spread terrorist propaganda.  Dismantling terrorist networks and properly handling returning fighters were other active concerns.  As international cooperation was crucial, France was also part of regional and global initiatives.  It was important for relevant United Nations bodies to ensure that States were upholding their obligations in the area and also that they facilitated capacity-building assistance where needed.  In all such efforts, it was critical to comply with human rights and other international law, he stressed.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2015/11 reads as follows:

“The Security Council reaffirms that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

“The Security Council reaffirms its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all States in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

“The Security Council emphasizes that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization.

“The Security Council reaffirms Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict and to deny terrorist groups the ability to put down roots and establish safe havens to address better the growing threat posed by terrorism.

“The Security Council reiterates its grave concern over the continuing threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, namely individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, including in connection with armed conflict, and resolving to address this threat.

“The Security Council expresses great concern that foreign terrorist fighters continue to be recruited in significant numbers by, and are joining, entities such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), and other cells, affiliates, splinter groups or derivatives of Al-Qaida, as designated by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), and groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL.

“The Security Council expresses its grave concern that there are now over 25,000 foreign terrorist fighters from over 100 countries who have travelled to join or fight for terrorist entities associated with Al-Qaida, including ISIL and ANF, and notes that the flow is mainly focused on, but not limited to, movement into the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq, according to the report (S/2015/358) provided by the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team (“Monitoring Team”).

“The Security Council reiterates its concern that foreign terrorist fighters increase the intensity, duration and intractability of conflicts, and also may pose a serious threat to their States of origin, the States they transit and the States to which they travel, as well as States neighbouring zones of armed conflict in which foreign terrorist fighters are active and that are affected by serious security burdens, notes that the threat of foreign terrorist fighters may affect all regions and Member States, even those far from conflict zones, and expresses grave concern that foreign terrorist fighters are using their extremist ideology to promote terrorism.

“The Security Council recognizes that addressing the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters requires comprehensively addressing underlying factors, including by preventing radicalization to terrorism, stemming recruitment, inhibiting foreign terrorist fighter travel, disrupting financial support to foreign terrorist fighters, countering violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, countering incitement to terrorist acts motivated by extremism or intolerance, promoting political and religious tolerance, economic development and social cohesion and inclusiveness, ending and resolving armed conflicts, and facilitating reintegration and rehabilitation.

“The Security Council reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law, underscores that respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are complementary and mutually reinforcing with effective counter-terrorism measures, and are an essential part of a successful counter-terrorism effort and notes the importance of respect for the rule of law so as to effectively prevent and combat terrorism, and notes that failure to comply with these and other international obligations, including under the Charter of the United Nations, is one of the factors contributing to increased radicalization and fosters a sense of impunity.

“The Security Council welcomes the extraordinary efforts undertaken to date to implement resolution 2178 (2014) on foreign terrorist fighters since its adoption on September 24, 2014, and the presidential statement (S/PRST/2014/23) adopted on November 19, 2014 as well as other relevant resolutions including 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005).  The Security Council expresses concern that large numbers of individuals continue to become radicalized to terrorism and travel as foreign terrorist fighters to conflict zones and pose a dire threat and that Member States need to improve prevention, interdiction and enforcement efforts through greater international information sharing and timely coordination to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  The Security Council underscores the need for Member States to intensify these efforts and to identify and undertake priority actions, particularly those mentioned in this Statement, with assistance from others where needed, as expeditiously as possible.  The Security Council further underscores the need to implement all aspects of resolution 2178 (2014) including countering violent extremism and managing foreign terrorist fighter returnees.

“The Security Council underscores the critical importance of Member States implementing fully their international obligations including those relevant to counter-terrorism and described in paragraph 6 of resolution 2178 (2014) to ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses sufficient to provide the ability to prosecute and to penalize in a matter duly reflecting the seriousness of the offenses.  To this effect, the Security Council commends the many Member States that have reviewed and, if needed, revised their domestic legislation in the recent past to address foreign terrorist fighters but notes that many other Member States have not yet done so sufficiently and calls on Member States to fully implement their obligations found in paragraph 6 of resolution 2178 (2014) as expeditiously as possible.  Recalling the international obligation in paragraph 5 of resolution 2178 (2014) to prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of foreign terrorist fighters, the Security Council calls on Member States to implement these obligations through enforcement of relevant laws, including by prosecuting and penalizing foreign terrorist fighters to suppress and deter their flow.

“The Security Council expresses great concern that many Member States still have not required airlines operating in their territories to provide to appropriate national authorities advanced passenger information of travelers in order to detect the departure from their territories, or attempted entry into or transit through their territories, by means of civil aircraft, of individuals designated by the Committee established pursuant to resolution  1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), as is called for in paragraph 9 of resolution 2178 (2014).

“The Security Council notes that only 51 Member States to date are reported to be using advanced passenger information to support evidence-based traveler risk assessment and screening procedures, according to the report (S/2015/377) provided by the Counterterrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), and strongly encourages Member States to urgently begin using advance passenger information to support evidence-based traveler risk assessment and screening procedures including collection and analysis of travel data without resorting to profiling based on stereotypes founded on grounds of discrimination prohibited by international law, as is encouraged in paragraph 2 of resolution 2178 (2014), and further encourages Member States to consider utilizing passenger name record data to enhance traveler screening.  The Security Council notes that such actions can be particularly effective at reducing the ability of foreign terrorist fighters to evade detection at their borders.

“The Security Council underscores the critical need for Member States to significantly increase their border management efforts in order to implement resolution 2178 (2014), including through strengthened border control measures and greater law enforcement cooperation as well as greater collection and sharing of terrorist identities for screening purposes among relevant national, regional, and local authorities.  The Security Council underscores in this regard, particularly for air and land travel, the importance of international collaboration amongst States’ border security and customs officials and providing them the necessary tools and authorities to effectively monitor and prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters.

“The Security Council reiterates its call on Member States to improve international, regional, and subregional cooperation to prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters from or through their territories.  Recognizing that transit countries face enormous difficulties in terms of disrupting access to conflict zones in the absence of reliable intelligence, the Security Council calls on Member States to increase and improve intra and inter regional information sharing between origin and transit States in a timely manner.  The Security Council also encourages greater coordination between Member States and with private sector stakeholders such as airlines and travel agents to more effectively counter the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  The Security Council further notes the important contributions that public-private partnerships and civil society actors can make in efforts to prevent and combat terrorism.

“The Security Council notes with continuing appreciation the efforts of INTERPOL to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters.  The Security Council expresses concern, however, that INTERPOL’s foreign terrorist fighter database still only contains a portion of basic identifying information of known foreign terrorist fighters, notes that global utilization could be significantly increased, and calls on Member States to increase exchanging information with, and use of, INTERPOL’s foreign terrorist fighter database to help identify, monitor or prevent the transit of foreign terrorist fighters, to enhance and complement bilateral, regional, and other international information sharing arrangements and databases for countering foreign terrorist fighters.  Such reporting may include providing additional basic identifying information on known foreign terrorist fighters contained in the database, as well as systematic reporting of Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) to Interpol and broad use of INTERPOL’s I-24/7 network at ports of entry.  The Security Council encourages INTERPOL to continue intensifying its efforts with respect to the foreign terrorist fighter threat, and calls on the international community to strengthen INTERPOL’s capabilities to support Member States’ efforts in this regard, and develop capacity-building assistance for Member States to facilitate broader use of INTERPOL’s I-24/7 network and reporting to INTERPOL’s SLTD database.

“The Security Council notes with concern that terrorist recruitment efforts, in particular by ISIL, appear to be increasingly targeting women and youth and stresses the need for Member States to more effectively identify and work with relevant local communities and civil society leaders to develop comprehensive solutions to the threat of recruitment and radicalization to violence, notably through programmes at schools and in prisons and recognizing the role that victims of terrorism can play in countering radicalization, and develop robust social-media campaigns and counter-messaging efforts to blunt terrorist narratives and online recruitment attempts.

“The Security Council expresses concern over the increased use by terrorists and their supporters of communications technology for the purpose of radicalizing to terrorism, recruiting and inciting others to commit terrorist acts, including through the internet, and financing and facilitating the travel and subsequent activities of foreign terrorist fighters, and underlines again the need for Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite support for terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with other obligations under international law.

“The Security Council further expresses its concern that facilitation networks continue to operate and enable the regular flow of foreign terrorist fighters coming from many parts of the world into Syria and Iraq, which must be shut down as soon as possible. The Security Council reaffirms that Member States shall prevent and suppress the financing of the travel and of the activities of foreign terrorist fighters in accordance with paragraph 6 of resolution 2178 (2014), recalls its decision in resolution 1373 (2001) that all Member States shall ensure that any person who participates in the financing of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice, and stresses the need to disrupt and dismantle facilitation networks, consistent with international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.

“The Security Council recognizes the need to assess global progress in the implementation of international obligations under resolution 2178 (2014) that can enable the international community to target its attention and resources on one of the most significant challenges and obstacles faced by Member States today, especially those in the most affected regions.  The Security Council therefore requests the Monitoring Team and the CTED to provide a joint presentation to a joint meeting of the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee an impact assessment of Member States’ implementation-related actions for resolution 2178 (2014) to date that includes quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the foreign terrorist fighter threat, its trends and metrics, Member States’ actions to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters that could include interdictions and prosecutions, and other relevant outcome-related information on Member States’ recent actions gathered through the use of the Monitoring Team and CTED’s regular assessment tools and country visits conducted for the most affected countries.  The Security Council requests the two committees, in continuation of the request found in paragraph 26 of resolution 2178 (2014), to hold such a meeting in preparation for a Security Council meeting after the one-year anniversary of the adoption of resolution 2178 (2104).

“The Security Council further requests that the 1267/1989 Al Qaida Sanctions Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee continue to pay due attention to concrete steps taken by Member States to implement resolution 2178 (2014), including the creation of new or enhancement of existing laws, law enforcement authorities and tools, national and multilateral information collection and sharing initiatives, border management programs and capabilities, and capacity building assistance to those Member States most affected by the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon while properly balancing the need to fulfill other tasks within their mandates.

“The Security Council welcomes the report (S/2015/358) provided by the Monitoring Team through the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, and the reports (S/2015/338 and S/2015/377) provided by the CTED through the Counter-Terrorism Committee on foreign terrorist fighters.  The Security Council strongly recommends the Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Office, in close consultation with CTED and based on its Counter-Terrorism Committee-approved analyses and reports and taking into account the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee-approved analytical reports produced by the Monitoring Team, to develop a United Nations capacity-building implementation plan for countering the flow of foreign terrorist fighters through the CTITF FTF Working Group.  The Security Council also strongly recommends that the CTITF Office include in this plan its priority recommendations for capacity-building assistance needs of the most affected Member States and set out a prioritized list of capacity-building and technical assistance programs to be implemented by CTITF entities and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) over the next 24 months.

“The Security Council underscores the importance of the CTITF undertaking such delivery of capacity-building programs in consultation and cooperation with CTED, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Interpol, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Customs Organization, the International Organization for Migration, and other relevant and appropriate institutions capable of providing the needed technical advice, including the International Air Transport Association, Global Counterterrorism Forum and the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, and encourages Member States to provide needed financial and other assistance to CTITF and UNCCT.

“The Security Council strongly urges Member States, if they are able, to assist in the delivery of impactful capacity-building and other technical assistance needed by the most affected States, especially those burdened with the need to commit extraordinary resources to counter the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon including States neighbouring zones of armed conflict in which foreign terrorist fighters are active, including by promoting the sharing of lessons learned and adopting best practices, on the range of measures required by resolutions 2178 (2014) and 1373 (2001) to counter the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  The Security Council encourages Member States to coordinate with CTITF, when appropriate, in order to ensure more efficient and effective delivery of technical assistance.”