Council of Europe members sign the Riga additional Protocol to fight terrorism 42610152

Defence & Security News - (Council of Europe)
Council of Europe members sign the Riga additional Protocol to fight terrorism
Members of the Council of Europe (COE) and of the European Union gathered at Latvia’s capital, Riga, on the 22 October to sign the Riga Protocol. The document’s aim is to harmonize legislation in Europe and, to prevent and fight terrorist acts, including the prevention of foreign terrorist fighters from travelling to Syria and Iraq.
Council of Europe members sign the Riga additional Protocol to fight terrorism
The country representatives after the signing of the additional protocol.
(Photo: Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Furthermore, it considers as criminal the act of travelling or organizing and facilitating travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism, and the act of receiving training for terrorism.

The representatives of the EU, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, France, Italy, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom, signed the additional protocol, thereby opening the path to the coming into force of this unique international agreement. More members of the European Council will sign the protocol in the near future.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, said that it is the first time that such a document criminalizes the activities that can result in acts of terrorism. He also mentioned that it was one of the few times that a treaty has received a unanimous support from the beginning. It only remains for the treaty to be ratified by national parliaments and only after six members of the COE have done that it will have legal force.

The protocol also organized a network of contact points in every country in Europe, that will be available on a 24-hour basis for the rapid exchange of information. The document was drafter in a record time, that is in a period of seven weeks, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. It was formally adopted by the foreign ministries of the 47 member-states of the COE last May and was recently signed in Riga.

The problem of Europeans being recruited by jihadist networks, in order to fight in Syria and Iraq has been on the biggest security problems. There are many Europeans currently fighting in the Middle East with the Islamic State, arriving there through Turkey or other nearby countries. Social networks have offered the ground for recruitment. The EU authorities have a clear goal of combatting such activities, by protecting human rights. In this framework, the EU intends to fight extremism and hate-speech against any background.

The protocol’s value is further magnified by the recent articles on allegedly IS fighter who revealed that the organization has smuggled a large number of its fighters in Europe, through the thousand of refugees crossing daily EU’s borders.



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