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Friday, December 3, 2021

UN opens Counter-terrorism office in Qatar

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The inauguration of the centre is considered “an important occasion that carries a great significance”.

Qatar along with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism [UNOCT] inaugurated the International Hub on Behavioural Insights to Counter Terrorism in Doha on Monday.

Under the name of the UNOCT Programme Office in Doha, the hub is the first of its kind in the region and the world.

The UNOCT office will be open for research, knowledge, and capacity-building to increase support to parliamentarians worldwide. It’s also in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed in February by Qatar to support the UN’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

During the virtual inauguration, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the establishment of the hub shows Qatar’s commitment to “continue its active participation in international counter-terrorism efforts”.

In his opening remarks, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General, Vladimir Voronkov, said that Qatar’s efforts in establishing the hub provides “a reliable coordination mechanism for 43 UN and other entities through the organisation’s Global Counter Terrorism Coordination Compact, that includes INTERPOL and the World Customs Organisation”.

“Our wide-ranging partnership with Qatar is already delivering tangible results and lasting impact. I strongly believe that the International Hub on Behavioural Insights to Counter Terrorism will take our collaboration to the next level,” said Voronkov.

Attendees of the virtual ceremony also included: Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Chairman of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee, Ministry of Interior, Major General Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al Ansari; Administrator, UNDP, Achim Steiner, and other officials and experts.

The centre is set to provide “cutting-edge, innovative and evidence-based solutions” as part of the country’s counter-terrorism efforts. It will also conduct research in the fields of behavioural sciences to better understand the motivations behind radicalisation.

Read also: Qatar steps up counterterrorism efforts with new UN programme office in Doha

The inauguration comes after Qatar’s Shura Council signed an agreement with the UN in November to establish the UNOCT Programme Office.

“Qatar is making every effort to assist parliamentarians worldwide in their noble task to save humanity from the scourge of terrorism,” said Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid Al Mahmoud, speaker of Qatar’s Shura Council who also signed the agreement.

Qatar’s Shura Council has also announced a $12.5 million contribution to UNOCT over five years to enable the office “to manage the work of the program and administer its work and activities”, the UN statement said.

The Shura Council’s contribution is also the first of its kind from a national parliament, which presented Qatar’s efforts in strengthening parliamentary engagement in addressing issues related to terrorism.

Officials in Doha hope that the joint Qatar-UN project agreement will further exhibit the country’s consistent to fight terrorism amid accusations by the quartet of blockading countries that claim the opposite.

In 2017, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a full land, air and sea blockade on Qatar over what they say is Doha’s support of terrorism. Qatar has vehemently rejected the charges. 

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