Analysis of Resolution 2396 (2017) on Terrorism (December 2017)

By Savini Ganhewa
Overview

In this resolution, the Council addresses the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), acknowledging that returning and relocating FTFs have organized attacks in their countries of origin, or third countries, and have carried attacks against “soft” targets and civilians in public spaces. [1]S/RES/2396 PP 13 & 14 The Council specifically expresses concern regarding FTFs associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), the Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), Al Qaida, and other terrorist groups. [2]S/RES/2396 PP 15 Additionally, it encourages information sharing and international cooperation to address and counterterrorism, violent extremism, including in combating the threat posed by FTFs, between Member States, UN agencies, including ICAO and the CTED [3]S/RES/2396 PP 14, and national agencies. [4]S/RES/2396 PP 17 It also encourages collaboration and sharing of best practices between domestic law enforcement, intelligence, counterterrorism, and military entities, customs and border securities, and other entities and the cooperation between Member States on obtaining evidence for criminal investigations or proceedings involving foreign terrorist fighters. [5]S/RES/2396 OP 23

Women, Peace, and Security

In comparison to multiple 2016 Security Council resolutions that address the thematic issue of terrorism and counterterrorism, this resolution exhibits notable improvements in providing multiple women, peace, and security references. For example, in its first preambular paragraph, the Council references three women, peace, and security resolutions including 1325 (2000), 2106 (2013), and 2242 (2015). [6]S/RES/2396 PP 1 Although the rest of the preambular paragraphs contain very few WPS references, positively, the Council does reaffirm commitments made in Resolution 2379 (2017) and 2388 (2017) calling on the Secretary-General to ensure that evidence collected on trafficking conducted by ISIL is, “gender-sensitive, victim-centered, trauma-informed, rights-based and not prejudicial to the safety and security of victims.” [7]S/RES/2396 PP 32

In the operative paragraphs, the Council improves its references to women and gender when discussing violent extremism and counter-terrorism strategies. In discussing prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration strategies, the Council recognizes that women and children associated with FTFs may have been, “supporters, facilitators, or perpetrators of terrorist acts” and identifies and stresses the need for tailored strategies, which are gender and age sensitive. [8]S/RES/2396, OP 31 Additionally, the Council calls on Member States to undertake a “gender perspective” when implementing risk assessment tools and intervention programs to address the issue of individuals that show signs of radicalization to violence. [9]S/RES/2396, OP 38 Additionally, the Council calls for the “participation and leadership of women in the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation,” of strategies developed to address the issue of returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters and their families, [10]S/RES/2396, OP 39 reflecting commitments made in women, peace, and security Resolution 2242 (2015). [11]S/RES/2242, OP 13

Although the Council does not call for the participation and leadership of women and women’s organizations in, “creating counter-narratives and other appropriate interventions,” to counter violent extremism as committed to in WPS Resolution 2242, it does call for the development of, “tailored and gender-sensitive strategies to address and counter terrorist narratives within the prison system,” [12]S/RES/2396, OP 40 reflecting the Council’s commitment to incorporating a gender lens into certain activities. Despite this, in discussing United Nations efforts on returning and relocating FTFs, the Council does not make any WPS references and fails to integrate gender as a cross-cutting issue throughout its activities.

Missed Opportunities

Border Security and Information Sharing

In discussing border security and information sharing when addressing the threat posed by terrorists and FTFs, the Council misses key opportunities to discuss the gender dimensions of counterterrorism efforts. The Council fails to call for the leadership and participation of women to this regard, thereby failing commitments made in the women, peace, and security Resolution 2242 (2015) to call on Member States and UN to integrate, “agendas on women, peace and security, counter-terrorism and countering-violent extremism which can be conducive to terrorism.” [13]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 11 For example, in its provisions on national border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents intended to prevent the movement of terrorists and FTFs, the Council does not discuss the impact of increased border controls on women’s lives, [14]S/RES/2396 OP 2, 22 failing to note the significant impact that counter-terrorism strategies can have on women’s human rights and women’s groups. [15]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 12 Further, the resolution does not consider how men and women are differently impacted by border control security measures, including the varying impacts these measures may have on their livelihoods, education, health, and access to resources.

While positively, the resolution advocates for evidence-based investigation of suspected terrorists or FTFs “without resorting to profiling based on any discriminatory ground prohibited by international law,” the Council fails to include methods to operationalize ways to conduct investigations “in accordance with domestic and international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.” [16]S/RES/2396 OP 4 Additionally, in WPS Resolution 2242 (2015), the Council urges Member States and relevant UN entities, including the CTED in collaboration with UN Women to gather gender-sensitive research and data collection on the “the impacts of counter-terrorism strategies on women’s human rights.” [17]S/RES/2242 (2015) OP 12 However, in this resolution, the Council fails these commitments by failing to call for gender-sensitive research on the counter-terrorism strategies it puts forth. Overall, the Council misses multiple opportunities to integrate a gender lens into its approaches to countering violent extremism, including by FTFs.

Judicial Measures and International Cooperation

In the resolution’s discussion on judicial measures and international cooperation to address the threat posed by terrorists, including FTFs, the Council fails to incorporate gender as a cross-cutting issue and misses key opportunities to consider the gender dimensions of counterterrorism measures. While the resolution resolves that investigative and prosecutorial strategies by Member States are “in accordance with domestic and applicable international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” [18]S/RES/2396 OP 18 the Council does not call on Member States to ensure that such strategies to address violent extremism are developed with the “necessary gender expertise” articulated in WPS Resolution 2242 (2015). [19]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 12 Further, the Council misses the opportunity to consider the impacts of counter-terrorism strategies on women’s human rights, as advocated in WPS Resolution 2242 (2015). [20]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 12 Additionally, in calling for domestic information sharing and national, regional, and international partnerships with stakeholders against terrorist attacks, [21]S/RES/2396, OP 26 & 27 the Council misses a key opportunity to incorporate commitments made in women, peace, and, security Resolution 2242 (2015) to ensure the participation and leadership of women and women’s groups in developing counterterrorism interventions. [22]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 13

Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Strategies

While in the operative paragraphs,  the Council includes multiple references to women, gender, and civil society when discussing the prosecution, reintegration, and rehabilitation of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters, it misses multiple, key opportunities to call for the participation and leadership of women’s organizations in interventions and does not consider the gender dimensions of counter-terrorism efforts. For example, despite the Council identifying the role of women associated with foreign terrorist fighters as potential, “supporters, facilitators, or perpetrators of terrorist acts,” [23]S/RES/2396 OP 31 it does not call on Member States, “to conduct and gather gender-sensitive research and data collection on the drivers of radicalization for women,” as committed to by WPS Resolution 2242 (2015). [24]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 12 Despite encouraging Member States to utilize gender-sensitive strategies to counter terrorist narratives in prison systems, [25]S/RES/2396, OP 40 the Council again fails to include the participation of women in its general discussion on the role of civil society actors in creating counter-narratives to counter violent extremism and terrorism, [26]S/RES/2396, OP 33, 34, 35 thereby failing to reflect commitments made in WPS Resolution 2242 (2015) to, “ensure the participation and leadership of women and women’s organizations in developing strategies to counter terrorism and violent extremism which can be conducive to terrorism, including through countering incitement to commit terrorist acts, creating counter narratives and other appropriate interventions.” [27]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP 13

References

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