UAE's counter-terrorism, extremism initiatives highlighted at International Parliamentary Conference
The Federal National Council (FNC) Parliamentary Division presented the country’s counter-terrorism and extremism initiatives and efforts at the virtual International Parliamentary Conference on the Global Challenges and Threats in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Terrorism and Violent Extremism, organised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM).
During the event, Dherar Humaid Al Falasi, Vice Chairman of the Division, said that the UAE has issued several counter-terrorism and extremism policies, including a federal law on combatting terrorist-related crimes issued in 2014, and a decree federal law criminalising contempt of religions to combat all forms of discrimination and hatred.
The establishment of the Sawab Centre, an online engagement in partnership with the US to counter the online messaging, propaganda and recruitment by the terrorist organisations and promote positive alternatives to extremisms was part of the international efforts to counter Daesh, he added.
He noted that the UAE also established the Hedayah Centre, a premier international organisation dedicated to using its expertise and experiences to Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in all of its forms and manifestations through dialogue, communications, capacity building programs, research and analysis.
The UAE has ratified 14 international counter-terrorism treaties and participated in collective alliances to combat terrorism and extremism, most notably the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition and the Arab and international alliances against Daesh, as well as supported moderate religious institutions, such as Al Azhar.
“The world, especially the Arab region, is facing numerous risks and challenges due to cross-border terrorism affecting many countries and threatening global peace and security. Moreover, the growing use of the internet by terrorist groups has facilitated recruitment, most notably of the youth and children. Because of terrorism, the Middle East has become a fertile ground for terrorist groups that promote extremist ideologies and exploit children from poor communities suffering from conflicts, such as Yemen, Syria and Iraq among others,” Al Falasi said.
The division made several recommendations aimed at reducing the negative effects of the recruitment of children by terrorist groups, including urging parliaments and regional and international organisations to encourage discussions and agree on a comprehensive definition of terrorism while calling on parliaments to help mitigate the negative repercussion of terrorism.
The division also stressed the importance of supporting organisations that rehabilitate children recruited by terrorist groups, such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Delegates exchanged national perspectives on counterterrorism priorities and their respective efforts to prevent violent extremism. There was a consensus that international cooperation is absolutely essential to address the transnational nature of the terrorism threat. The Conference is the third event of a series starting in in 2017. The event represents an expanded platform for interparliamentary dialogue and policy exchange on strategic aspects of the counter-terrorism agenda. The conference gathered hundreds of participants from national and international parliaments, the United Nations, national security services, international organizations, academia, and other key actors in the international community.