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Joint Regional High-level Conference on “Foreign Terrorist Fighters – Addressing Current Challenges”


The Joint Regional High-level Conference is convened by the OSCE, UNOCT and Switzerland, in cooperation with the Albanian OSCE Chairmanship


Given recent developments in the Middle East as well as in other conflict areas, OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation are expecting the return of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) with increasing concern, as some of these returnees may be ready to commit violent acts, incite others to engage in terrorist activities, or take part in recruitment and fundraising efforts for terrorist organizations. In addition, the humanitarian and security situation in the Middle East as well as the issue of repatriation have captured the attention of the international community and require action. In addressing these issues, governments need to be equipped with the appropriate tools to monitor and control the travel of FTFs and to respond in a human rights-compliant way to the threat of terrorism.

To further international discussions on these issues, the OSCE, UNOCT and Switzerland are jointly organizing a High-level Regional Conference on returning FTFs, in co-operation with the Albanian OSCE Chairmanship. The Regional Conference will bring together high-level officials and senior experts from OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation, along with representatives from the UN system, international and regional organizations and civil society, to discuss the complex and evolving challenges posed by FTFs, including:

  1. Responses to incitement, recruitment for and facilitation of FTF activities;
  2. Preventing FTF travel; 
  3. Gathering and sharing of evidence; 
  4. Prosecution of FTFs; and
  5. Repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration.

On the day preceding the conference, UNOCT and the Global Center on Cooperative Security will organize an event for civil society at the Hofburg.

At the UN’s 2018 High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies in New York, the UN Secretary-General announced that a global series of conferences would be held in 2019-2020 to address regional challenges in countering terrorism and violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism. The outcomes of these regional conferences will be presented at the Second UN High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States, to be held in New York from 1 to 2 July 2020.