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The fight against terrorism

25-05-2018

Significant benefits could be achieved by the EU and its Member States by addressing the gaps and barriers in the area of the fight against terrorism, notably by developing an evidence-based EU criminal policy cycle involving the European Parliament and national parliaments. In this context, EU institutions should conduct comprehensive ex-ante assessments and ex-post evaluations of counterterrorism measures, in line with better law-making principles. The effectiveness and fundamental rights compliance ...

Significant benefits could be achieved by the EU and its Member States by addressing the gaps and barriers in the area of the fight against terrorism, notably by developing an evidence-based EU criminal policy cycle involving the European Parliament and national parliaments. In this context, EU institutions should conduct comprehensive ex-ante assessments and ex-post evaluations of counterterrorism measures, in line with better law-making principles. The effectiveness and fundamental rights compliance of counter-radicalisation programmes should continue to be monitored. The framework for countering terrorism requires further refinement. A European law enforcement culture with full respect for fundamental rights needs to be fostered in which relevant information is shared and analysed, judicial cooperation tools are properly utilised and seeking the support of EU agencies becomes a natural reflex. This also requires the allocation of significant resources aimed at training and exchanges. Beyond resulting in more relevant, coherent, effective and efficient action in the fight against terrorism, such measures could increase the wellbeing of the population, reduce the material and immaterial impacts of terrorism, and ensure protection of fundamental rights when impacted by counterterrorism measures.

Renewed chemical attack in Syria

12-04-2018

As the conflict in Syria enters its eighth year, Parliament is due to debate the situation, following a recent escalation. The Assad regime is suspected of having carried out a toxic gas attack on the besieged town of Douma near Damascus on 7 April 2018, killing around 80 people and injuring hundreds. The United Nations Security Council debated the attack during an emergency meeting on 9 April 2018, during which Russia denied Syrian regime responsibility for the attack. The EU has strongly condemned ...

As the conflict in Syria enters its eighth year, Parliament is due to debate the situation, following a recent escalation. The Assad regime is suspected of having carried out a toxic gas attack on the besieged town of Douma near Damascus on 7 April 2018, killing around 80 people and injuring hundreds. The United Nations Security Council debated the attack during an emergency meeting on 9 April 2018, during which Russia denied Syrian regime responsibility for the attack. The EU has strongly condemned the latest use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, and the United States, France and the United Kingdom have signalled their willingness to respond with air-strikes in order to uphold the global ban on the use of chemical weapons.

How can the EU and the Member States better help victims of terrorism?

12-09-2017

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, presents a glimpse into the international and selected national responses to the raising global threat of terrorism and the consequent increase in victimisation. The study is based on the research conducted on legislation and policy responses to the needs of victims of terrorism in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the United Kingdom ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, presents a glimpse into the international and selected national responses to the raising global threat of terrorism and the consequent increase in victimisation. The study is based on the research conducted on legislation and policy responses to the needs of victims of terrorism in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the United Kingdom. The research and findings focus on the two main EU instruments in this field: the Victims’ Rights Directive and the Directive on Combating Terrorism. Based on the findings of adequacy of response to the victims’ needs, the study proposes a set of recommendations for the EU and the Member States legislative and policy response to better ensure the needs of victims of terrorism are well taken care of.

Външен автор

Aleksandra IVANKOVIĆ, Victim Support Europe (VSE), Brussels Belgium ; Levent ALTAN, Victim Support Europe (VSE), Brussels, Belgium ; An VERELST, Victim Support Europe (VSE), Brussels, Belgium ; Under the coordination of the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Luxembourg (Petra JENEY)

Mapping the future of Syria: State of play and options

23-03-2017

Despite the humanitarian and security crisis, progress towards a United Nations (UN) negotiated political settlement of the conflict has been slow, mostly on account of disagreement over President Bashar al-Assad's future. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 – setting out a roadmap for a peace process in Syria with a clear transition timeline – offered new hope but failed to produce results. After several failed attempts at a cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire ...

Despite the humanitarian and security crisis, progress towards a United Nations (UN) negotiated political settlement of the conflict has been slow, mostly on account of disagreement over President Bashar al-Assad's future. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 – setting out a roadmap for a peace process in Syria with a clear transition timeline – offered new hope but failed to produce results. After several failed attempts at a cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey in December 2016, including a monitoring mechanism for violations, opened the way for a new UN Security Council Resolution 2336 which was adopted unanimously on 31 December 2016. The resolution provided an impulse for re-booting the political process during the talks in Astana at the beginning of 2017. At the same time, the discussion about the future of Syria revolves around questions linked to the future of the Assad regime, territorial integrity of Syria, political accountability, the creation of safe zones, and the reconstruction work that will follow a potential peace agreement. In March 2017, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, presented a joint communication providing elements of an EU strategy for Syria. For its part, the European Parliament has focused on addressing the implications of the refugee crisis, strengthening EU humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Syria and aid to vulnerable communities, and improving the EU response to the terrorist threat posed by ISIL/Da'esh.

Regional efforts to fight Boko Haram

13-02-2017

The cross-border dimension of the Boko Haram insurgency – one of the world's deadliest terrorist groups – has compelled the countries in the Lake Chad basin to coordinate their fight against it. Launched in 2014, the Multinational Joint Task Force has weakened the group, without fully defeating it. The acute humanitarian situation calls for an approach that goes beyond military intervention. This 'at a glance' note updates a previous edition from March 2015.

The cross-border dimension of the Boko Haram insurgency – one of the world's deadliest terrorist groups – has compelled the countries in the Lake Chad basin to coordinate their fight against it. Launched in 2014, the Multinational Joint Task Force has weakened the group, without fully defeating it. The acute humanitarian situation calls for an approach that goes beyond military intervention. This 'at a glance' note updates a previous edition from March 2015.

The EU and the fight against terrorism [What Think Tanks are thinking]

16-12-2016

Following the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and in Brussels and Nice this year, the European Union is moving ahead with its Security Union concept to help strengthen internal security cooperation, combat terrorism and prevent youth radicalisation. As part of anti-terrorist efforts, the European Parliament and the Council are finalising work on Directives on Combatting Terrorism and on Firearms. The European Commission is to make final proposals under the terrorist financing Action Plan ...

Following the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and in Brussels and Nice this year, the European Union is moving ahead with its Security Union concept to help strengthen internal security cooperation, combat terrorism and prevent youth radicalisation. As part of anti-terrorist efforts, the European Parliament and the Council are finalising work on Directives on Combatting Terrorism and on Firearms. The European Commission is to make final proposals under the terrorist financing Action Plan, including on the criminalisation of money laundering.  This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks on terrorism in Europe and the EU's response to it. More studies on the topic can be found in a previous edition of 'What think tanks are thinking'.

Syria: Turning commitments into action

13-06-2016

What started as local anti-government protests in the city of Daraa in 2011 quickly evolved into a popular uprising. The conflict has since cost the lives of 470 000 people and resulted in the displacement of almost 11 million. This is no longer a revolution but an internationalised conflict hijacked by big-power politics, and Syrians and their neighbouring countries are paying the price.

What started as local anti-government protests in the city of Daraa in 2011 quickly evolved into a popular uprising. The conflict has since cost the lives of 470 000 people and resulted in the displacement of almost 11 million. This is no longer a revolution but an internationalised conflict hijacked by big-power politics, and Syrians and their neighbouring countries are paying the price.

Protecting civilians in armed conflict: International framework and challenges

13-01-2016

In today's armed conflicts, whether international or intra-state, the vast majority of casualties are now civilians. Increasingly, civilians are victims of deliberate attacks and other serious violations by parties to a conflict – both states and non-state armed groups, despite the existence of strict legal rules intended to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities: the principles of international humanitarian law, of international human rights law and refugee law. The lack of compliance with ...

In today's armed conflicts, whether international or intra-state, the vast majority of casualties are now civilians. Increasingly, civilians are victims of deliberate attacks and other serious violations by parties to a conflict – both states and non-state armed groups, despite the existence of strict legal rules intended to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities: the principles of international humanitarian law, of international human rights law and refugee law. The lack of compliance with these norms, as well as the United Nations Security Council's inability to take action to protect civilians in some specific cases, reflects the key concerns regarding the protection of civilians affected by armed conflicts worldwide. Moreover, specific protection concerns relate to the situation of women, children and displaced persons. Besides this international legal framework, another related concept has garnered significant support internationally in the past decade: the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), meant to apply only in cases of atrocity crimes. However, R2P remains controversial, given the challenge of adequate implementation, particularly with regard to its military intervention aspects. Notwithstanding the many challenges with regard to protecting civilians in armed conflict, the European Union is a strong promoter of international humanitarian principles and of R2P, and other protection-related issues are consistently among its priorities.

Crisis in Central African Republic: the EU response

30-01-2014

Long viewed as a fragile state, the Central African Republic (CAR) is now confronted with a deep political, security and humanitarian crisis, which reached a peak in December 2013. The EU is the main donor to CAR and has stepped up its humanitarian and development aid in response to the crisis.

Long viewed as a fragile state, the Central African Republic (CAR) is now confronted with a deep political, security and humanitarian crisis, which reached a peak in December 2013. The EU is the main donor to CAR and has stepped up its humanitarian and development aid in response to the crisis.

Iraq's Deadly Spiral toward a Civil War

09-10-2013

In recent months sectarian violence in Iraq has escalated worryingly. More than 6 400 people have been killed across the country this year, half of them in the last three months. The Shia-dominated central government has failed to address the grievances of the Sunni minority and has responded to public protests with a heavy hand, leading militant Sunni groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant to gain ground. The situation is compounded by the dangerous spill-over from the civil war ...

In recent months sectarian violence in Iraq has escalated worryingly. More than 6 400 people have been killed across the country this year, half of them in the last three months. The Shia-dominated central government has failed to address the grievances of the Sunni minority and has responded to public protests with a heavy hand, leading militant Sunni groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant to gain ground. The situation is compounded by the dangerous spill-over from the civil war in neighbouring Syria. Iraq matters for the entire Middle East. While the only real solutions to Iraq's problems are domestic, international actors can contribute to the process. The role of the European Union can be significant in consolidating the country's judicial and law enforcement authorities and in organising the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

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