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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Region’s first UN counter-terrorism office opens in Qatar

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The office will serve as a platform for research, knowledge, and capacity-building for parliaments around the world.

Qatar officially inaugurated the region’s first UN counter-terrorism office on Wednesday, in a move that will aid global efforts to fight terror.

The UNOCT Programme Office on Parliamentary Engagement in Preventing and Countering Terrorism was opened in Doha by the United Nations and Qatar’s Shura Council.

The first-of-its-kind office, and the first in the region, will work on fostering collaboration with multilateral parliamentarians and assemblies to address terrorism around the world.

It will serve as a unique platform for research, knowledge, and joint coordination for parliaments globally to tackle the rising threat of terrorism, while also supporting and implementing the UN’s four pillars strategy for counter-terrorism and extremism.

During the signing ceremony, Qatar’s Shura Council speaker pledged to provide all capabilities to enable the office to achieve its goals.

In the next five years, the country will provide $12.5 million to UNOCT in support of its mission, in addition to providing premises and operational support for the office.

“All parliaments of the world will benefit from the programmes and activities of this office, and it will be an important qualitative leap in the international community’s efforts to prevent and combat terrorism, due to the great role played by parliaments by virtue of their legislative, political and direct influence on all issues of concern to the peoples of the world, especially the issue of combating terrorism,” said the Shura Council’s speaker Ahmed Al Mahmoud during the opening ceremony.

To combat the rise of violent extremism and terrorism, the office will also work on achieving the relevant Security Council resolutions to ensure the safety of people around the world.

This will be done through enacting new legislation globally and helping to formulate model parliament-led counter-terrorism legislation, policies and strategies.

“There is a growing recognition of the important roles that parliaments play in countering and preventive measures to terrorism and violent extremism. There is also a strong demand from parliamentarians for greater understanding of their roles and ways to complement executive branch actions,” said UN Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) Vladimir Voronkov.

“Legislators are integral elements of the whole-of-society approach recognised in various General Assembly and Security Council resolutions as a cornerstone of efficient counter-terrorism efforts,” he added, thanking Qatar and its leadership for its enormous efforts and financial support.

Read also: GCC requests more involvement in Iran nuclear talks.

Research and academic institutions, in addition to regional and international organisations will also coordinate with the office to produce materials, multimedia resources and activities to prevent and combat terrorism.

The office’s opening was based on an agreement signed in November 2020 by Voronkov and Al Mahmoud to establish the UNOCT Programme Office in an effort to achieve a safer world using innovative techniques and extensive research with high-class institutions.


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