UN Security Council Passes Resolution on Foreign Terrorist Fighters

September 24, 2014

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution today requiring member states to counter the recruiting and movement of terrorists throughout their territories in a session chaired by US President Barack Obama focusing on the recent surge in foreign terrorist fighters. 

In UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's opening remarks, he said that the UN Al-Qaeda-Taliban Monitoring Team had estimated that more than 13,000 foreign terrorist fighters from over 80 member states had joined the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and the Al Nusra Front as a consequence of the conflict in Syria and emphasized the need for a "creative and comprehensive political strategy," while avoiding further radicalization and civilian deaths. 

Security Council Resolution 2178 calls for member states to "prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, and the financing of their travel and of their activities," in accordance with international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.

The resolution requires member states to deny entry or transit through their territories of any individual believed to be seeking entry or transit for the purpose of "perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts, or the providing or receiving of terrorist training," based on credible information possessed by the state that supplies "reasonable belief." 

The legally binding resolution also requests that member states improve cooperation to prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters through suggested measures including increased sharing of information, sharing and adoption of best practices, and improved understanding of foreign terrorist fighters' travel patterns, with a special emphasis on the need to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology. 

The Security Council "welcomes and encourages" bilateral assistance by member states for states neighboring zones of armed conflict, which are especially vulnerable to foreign terrorist fighters, in order to build national capacity to address this threat. 

Resolution 2718 is a step toward an increased multilateral effort to address the threat of foreign terrorist fighters, but in the words of US President Obama, passing resolutions is not enough, "words spoken today must be matched and translated into action, into deeds." 


Photo courtesy of scrolleditorial.