The Global Center is hosting a series of interactive, informal roundtable discussions on substantive issues and new developments relating to violent extremism, terrorism, and counterterrorism with guest speakers representing the United Nations, national governments, civil society, and the private sector. These roundtables are part of the Global Center’s work on promoting and protecting human rights, safeguarding civic space, and advancing rule-of-law based approaches to countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism in line with the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Topics have included national action plans, use of financial investigations in countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) and its implications for human rights, and the development of screening, prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration frameworks.

November 2019: National and Regional Plans of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism
The Global Center launched this roundtable series with an event on plans of action to prevent violent extremism. The discussion highlighted the many efforts undertaken by member states to prepare action plans which now require sustained and rigorous monitoring and evaluation; the important role that resident coordinators play in orienting UN efforts to support governments in implementing these plans; the need for improved engagement at the local level, including through the creation of community-based action plans; and the importance of inviting civil society to participate in the creation of such plans from the outset.

December 2019: Launch of the Global Terrorism Index
The Global Center and the Institute for Economics and Peace co-hosted the New York launch of the Global Terrorism Index 2019. The panelists at the event highlighted key trends in the report, including a 320% rise of violent right wing extremism over the last five years, the increased activity and deadliness of Taliban attacks, and shifts in physical locations by the Islamic State, including in West Africa and the Lake Chad Basin. The discussion centered on the implications of the trends and data found in the index including the ways in which technology has changed the anatomy of violent extremism, the use of widespread disinformation, the role of the private sector in counterterrorism, and the impact of counterterrorism strategies on women’s human rights.

January 2020: The Use of Financial Investigations in CFT and its Implications for Human Rights
To kickoff the new year, the next Global Center roundtable of the series discussed the use of financial investigations in CFT and its implications for human rights. Data protection, privacy, and ensuring human-rights compliant approaches to the collection of financial data were among the major themes of discussion for this roundtable. Panelists raised the key role parallel financial investigations can play in disrupting the flow of terrorism resources and identifying suspects following an attack. Participants also emphasized the importance of legal restrictions on obtaining, using, and sharing financial information and questioning perceptions that the non-profit sector is inherently higher risk for terrorism financing.

February 2020: Blue Sky Work Retreat
The Global Center hosted its fifth ever Blue Sky work retreat, which brought together representatives from member state permanent missions, UN entities, academics, and civil society to discuss the state of implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and the UN’s efforts to prevent violent extremism and counter terrorism, ahead of the next review of the strategy. Throughout the two-day retreat, participants engaged in open and frank debate about the current terrorism and counterterrorism threat landscape, the UN’s comparative advantages in this space, the need to bolster human rights, gender dimensions and civil society engagement, and the opportunities for more effective coordination and delivery of technical assistance.

April 2020: Developing and Implementing Screening, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Strategies
The Global Center hosted the fifth event in its monthly roundtable series and its first virtual iteration, to discuss developing and implementing screening, prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration strategies. More than 80 participants from around the world engaged in the discussion, highlighting the need to develop context-specific approaches that account for the legal, political, sociological, and material (in human resources and infrastructure) constraints. UN representatives emphasized select human rights challenges, including upholding individual criminal responsibility and the presumption of innocence, the collection and handling of data for screening processes, and the adherence to children’s rights, victims’ rights, and protection against gender based violence. Efforts to undertake an all-of-UN approach which account for the Covid-19 pandemic were also raised.

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