The United Nations has launched a software solution aimed at catching foreign terrorist fighters as they cross international borders.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the countering terrorist travel programme, announced on Tuesday, should help nations share information to tackle the ‘major transnational threat’ of fighters returning home or relocating following the territorial defeat of Islamic State.
An estimated 40,000 people from more than 110 countries have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups, according to the UN.
‘Many are well trained and could carry out future terrorist attacks. Others hope to radicalize and recruit new followers to their cause,’ Guterres said at the programme's launch in New York.
‘Detecting and disrupting these terrorists and other high-risk criminals prior to them carrying out an attack is a high priority for the international community,’ Guterres said.
The software, based on a programme donated by the Netherlands, should help countries detect, prevent, investigate and prosecute terrorist offences, the UN chief added.
The goTravel software is primarily aimed at helping countries currently lacking the technical means to track terror suspects to sift through passenger data quickly to identify threats and pass on that information to the relevant country or authority - the international police organization Interpol, for example.
EU countries and the ‘Five Eyes’ group - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and the United States - already have advanced information-sharing networks.
UN member states are already legally obligated by a UN Security Council resolution to have transport companies provide advance passenger information and a passenger name record to the appropriate national authorities to detect the movements of terror suspects.
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