QNA New York
Qatar has underlined the importance of an effective criminal justice system to counter terrorism, provided that the system takes into account gender equality and human rights-based approach.
This came in the address of the Permanent Delegation of Qatar to the United Nations during the high-level meeting on "Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Formerly Involved Women in Terrorist Groups", held in co-operation with the delegations of Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Canada, the United Nations Office for Counter-Terrorism, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York on the sidelines of the sixty-third session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women which began on Monday.
The session, chaired by HE Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani, focused on reviewing the multiple impacts and factors that drive women, men and children to engage and be affected by violent terrorism.
Participants tried to formulate policies and strategies to deal with the phenomenon of women and girls formerly involved in terrorist groups.
HE the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Yousef bin Mohamed al-Othman Fakhro welcomed and described the session as being of great importance.
In his statement, the minister said that current dialogue was a continuation of the discussions that began in 2015 at the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Justice Criminal proceedings held in Qatar.
He referred to the Doha Declaration, which called for a global commitment to combat terrorism and violent extremism, as well as broader programmes and measures for social and economic development, respect for cultural diversity, peace and social integration.
The minister also noted the $50mn financing agreement between Qatar and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to establish the World Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration and said it was "unprecedented."
He also referred to the Education for Justice initiative, through which teachers are supported to enable young people and women to graduate from schools and universities with the appropriate skills to make them responsible citizens who have a significant impact on society.
The minister also stressed the importance of the rehabilitation and integration of young men and women.
"The integration of young people who have been associated with terrorist groups in the past is a widespread issue across geographical regions and must be formulated within the framework of respect for human rights, international law and human dignity and a balance between military responses and law enforcement", he added.
In this context, he referred to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Silatech Foundation with the United Nations Office for Combating Terrorism, explaining that its aim is to combat extremism through youth empowerment initiatives and employability.
The minister said that this co-operation reflects the efforts of Qatar to eradicate terrorism and protect young men and women from deviating towards extremist ideologies by providing jobs, decent living opportunities and financing programmes.
He also noted the partnership agreement signed by Qatar with the United Nations Office for Counter-Terrorism of $75mn, which will be extended for five years.
"The State of Qatar is proud to be one of the founding members of the Global Fund for the participation and adaptation of local communities and to help them stand up against extremism," the minister concluded.
The session was attended by a large number of delegations of States participating in the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, as well as civil society organisations, women's organisations and a number of members of the diplomatic community to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, Nigeria's Minister of Women's Affairs and Social Development Aisha Abubakar stressed the importance of strengthening and enriching the criminal justice system, taking into account not only gender equality, but sensitivity to equality. In her statement, she called for policies that take into account the aspects of women's involvement in terrorism and said it was indeed sad to see women linked to terrorism, and reviewed Nigeria's experience with Boko Haram group.
For her part, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq Hala Shakir Saleem, reviewed the experience of Iraq with ISIS group, focusing on the harshness of the group and especially as it is targeting women and minorities such as Yezidis, Christians and others.
The Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov, highlighted the humanitarian situation of many women and girls held in prisons and camps in Iraq and Syria following the collapse of ISIS group.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations in the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate Michele C, considered the phenomenon of the return of girls and women victims of terrorism or those associated with terrorist groups as a "complex issue" and a new matter facing the international community.
The Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, stressed the importance of conducting investigations and studies on the motives for women's involvement in terrorism, stressing that Pakistan is facing challenges concerning women's rehabilitation returning from conflict areas.
She also pointed to the importance of the role played by the media and clerics to promote diversity and equality in society, calling for the participation of women in the national security forces.
In conclusion, Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Simone Monasebian reviewed the gap between state policy and women victims of terrorism and called on member states to respect the principle of gender equality in order to prevent recruitment of girls to any form of violent extremism.
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