The 687th AU PSC meeting: Briefing by CISSA the ACSRT on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism

The 687th AU PSC meeting: Briefing by the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 687th meeting held in Addis Ababa on 23 May 2017, received a briefing by the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism and adopted the following decision:

Council,
1. Takes note of the presentations made by the AU Special Representative for Counter-Terrorism and Director of the ACRST, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey Esq, and the Executive Secretary of CISSA, Shemelis Semayat. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia and Senegal, in their capacity as African Members of the United Nations Security Council (A3), and by the representatives of the European Union and the United Nations;

2. Recalls all its previous decisions and pronouncements on terrorism and violent extremism, particularly Communique PSC/PR/COMM. (DCL),adopted at its 650th meeting held on 17 January 2017; Communique PSC/PR/ COMM. 1 (DCXXVIII) adopted at its 628th meeting held on 28 September 2016; Press Statement PSC/PR/BR (DXCII) adopted at its 592nd meeting held on 19 April 2016; Communique PSC/ AHG/ COMM.1 (DLXXI) adopted at its meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 29 January 2017; Press Statement PSC/PR/BR.2 (DLX) adopted at its 560th meeting held on 26 November 2016 and Communique PSC/AHG/COMM (CDLV) adopted at its 455th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 2 September 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya;

3. Notes with serious concern that, in spite of the efforts being deployed by Member States and other stakeholders in preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism, the scourges continues to pose serious threats to peace, security and stability in some parts of the continent. Also notes with serious concern the growing capacity of terrorist organizations to finance their activities by engaging in smuggling, piracy, drug trafficking, human trafficking and people smuggling and other types of transnational organized crime;

4. Stresses the importance for Member States to develop national and regional counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism strategies. In this regard, Council commends all Members States which have already developed their national counter-terrorism strategies and urges all those, which have not yet done so, to also do the same. In the same context, Council also commends those Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, which have already developed their own regional counter-terrorism and counter-violent extremism strategies and also urges those, which have not yet done so, to also do the same, including effective regulation of social media to prevent its abuse and criminal misuse by terrorist and violent extremist groups;

5. Emphasizes the imperative need, in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, to uphold the highest standards of human rights and International Humanitarian Law, bearing in mind the provisions of Article 3(1k) of the 2004 Protocol which is supplementary to the 1999 OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combatting of Terrorism ;

6. Underlines the importance for Member States to develop the necessary legal frameworks, with a view to enhance the effectiveness in their efforts in combatting of terrorism and violent extremism. In this context, Council commends those Member States which have already put in place necessary legal frameworks and urges those Member States, which have not yet done so, to adopt a legal framework to this end. In this respect, Council calls on the ACSRT to continue providing technical support to Member States in their efforts towards developing legal framework against terrorism and violent extremism, in particular through the African Model Law on Terrorism adopted by the 17th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union Malabo, 30 June – 1 July 2011;

7. Reaffirms the AU conviction that terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism can only be effectively addressed through the use of a holistic approach that combine security and military action and, in the longer term, economic and social development. In this respect, Council urges once more Member States to deploy necessary efforts and to effectively address the root causes and the underlying conditions that give rise to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, including poverty, marginalization and youth unemployment, as well as economic, social and political exclusion;

8. Emphasizes, once again, the need for more concerted efforts by Member States to dry up the sources of funding for terrorist and criminal groups and to neutralize their modus operandi. Council reiterates its strong condemnation of all form of financing for terrorism and violent extremism, including payment of ransom to terrorist groups. In this regard, Council calls for the early convening, by the AU Commission, of the High-level meeting of Member States Experts on Financing of Terrorism;

9. Underscores the importance for Member States to ensure effective State control over the breath and length of their territories, in order to avoid the creation of ungoverned spaces that are often exploited by terrorist and violent extremist groups;

10. Emphasizes the importance of augmenting the Anti-Terrorism Fund, with a view to addressing the issues relating to resource shortfalls in AU institutions, so as to enable them to more effectively discharge their respective mandates;

11. Underlines the imperative of religious and cultural tolerance. In this regard, Council reaffirms the need for alternative narratives and effective government regulation, as well as control of all education curricula at all levels, namely, from kindergarten to the highest institutions of learning, with a view to preventing infiltration of these learning institutions by terrorist and violent extremist groups;

12. Acknowledges that no country can unilaterally confront and defeat terrorism and violent extremism. In this regard, Council underscores the importance of timely and coordinated responses to early warnings. Council also underscores the importance of intelligence sharing and regional, as well as continental collective security arrangements in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. Council commends efforts deployed by Member States, with a view to put in place regional and trans regional security arrangements, such as the Nouakchott Process and the G5 Sahel in the sahelo-saharan region, the Djibouti Process with IGAD Member States and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in the Lake Chad region;

13. Commends the ACSRT for deploying efforts aimed at building the capacity of Member States to more effectively prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism. Council also commends CISSA for the continued provision of capacity building support to the Member States’ services.

14. Further commends the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali national defence and security forces; the MNJTF against the Boko Haram and the Regional Cooperation Initiative against the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA), for the achievements recorded to date in the fight against the scourges of terrorism and violent extremism;

15. Expresses sincere gratitude to all AU partners, particularly the United Nations and the EU for the continued counter-terrorism capacity building support being provided to Member States;

16. Reiterates the urgent need to fully activate its Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism. Council also reiterates the urgent need to the operationalize the African Union Special Fund on the Prevention and Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa, pursuant to Assembly decision Assembly/AU/Dec.614 (XXVII) adopted during the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly held in Kigali, in July 2016;

17. Requests the ACSRT to work closely with Member States with a view to reconstitute its Focal Points for liaison and coordination, which must be institutions, rather than individual civil servants, that are invested with the required competence and mandate to access information and decision-makers in the relevant intelligence and security services;

18. Also requests the ACSRT, CISSA and the AU Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) to work with partners and other stakeholders towards developing a 5-year strategic roadmap for the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism;

19. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.