The objective of this online forum was to explore ways to strengthen public-private partnerships on KFR and to find mechanisms for further engagement with civil society, the business community and humanitarian organisations in the prevention and combating of hostage-taking and KFR in compliance with international human rights standards.
Hostage-taking and KFR trend has increased in recent years, especially, among ISIL, Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda affiliated groups in different parts of the world, chiefly in Africa, and Middle Eastern countries. The UN Committee 1267 Monitoring Team, referring to information obtained from Member States reports that a total of 1,283 kidnappings were motivated by terrorism. The same Committee reports that ISIL itself made up to million per year from kidnapping for ransom. People working in high risk areas, inter-alia, staff from regional and international organisations, personnel from civil society, the business community and humanitarian organisations often face the greatest risk from hostage-taking and KFR. The international community is seeking ways and tools to counter this phenomenon. The adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2133 strongly calls upon member states to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments and encourages UN Member States to develop policies to better prevent kidnappings committed by terrorist groups, and encourages private sector partners to adopt or to follow relevant guidelines and good practices for preventing and responding to terrorist kidnappings without paying such ransoms. According to the Resolution, all responses must comply with the rule of law and with all obligations under international law, including international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
First, the OSCE held discussions on this topic during a counter-terrorism conference (28-29 April 2014, Interlaken, Switzerland) and a counter-terrorism expert workshop (16-17 September 2014, Valletta, Malta). The idea of promoting and strengthening PPPs was one of the main recommendations in both activities. The Swiss “Chairmanship Interlaken Recommendations” to the pS, Partners for Co-operation and, the OSCE executive structures, inter-alia TNT/ATU, accentuated the need to strengthen PPPs and facilitate the PPP dialogue and tightly cooperate with States, business communities and civil society organisations working in high risk areas to counter KFR. The involvement of the media in the monitoring process of the anti-terrorism and KFR efforts was highlighted.
The GCTF’s 5th Ministerial Plenary, held September 23, 2014, discussed further efforts to implement the GCTF Algiers Memorandum, including the development of a set of highly interactive training modules. The developed training modules touch upon the outreach of the private sector and the cooperation with media to prevent hostage-taking and KFR using the best practices of some countries. Further, the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (Valletta, Malta) in the period of 14-16 October 2014 conducted a workshop on implementing the Algiers Memorandum.
Following the adoption of the UNSCR 2133, the UN conducted a “Special meeting on kidnapping for ransom and hostage-taking committed by terrorists” (New York, November 24, 2014). Current challenges were explored during the meeting, several national responses were presented, and further cooperation among UN Member States for the prevention and combating of hostage-taking and KFR was discussed.
OSCE’s efforts culminated in the Ministerial Declaration 6/14 On the OSCE Role in Countering Kidnapping and Hostage-taking Committed by Terrorist Groups in the Context of the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2133. This declaration specifically encourages close co-operation, communication, information sharing and networking among all relevant actors, such as through national contact points as appropriate, during hostage-taking and KfR incidents committed by terrorist groups. It also underscores the importance of capacity-building for all practitioners. The same document calls upon pS to strengthen Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) with the business community to respond to kidnapping and hostage-taking. It calls on the OSCE executive structures to encourage public-private dialogue and co-operation relevant to hostage-taking and kidnapping committed by terrorist groups, particularly between State institutions and relevant businesses and civil society organisations working (or active) in high-risk areas.
The objectives of this online forum were:
Civil society, business community and humanitarian organisations experts as well as staff of relevant UN entities and other international and regional organisations that deploy staff in risky areas as well as and experts from relevant departments of OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation.