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Global Counterterrorism Forum
The Global Counterterrorism Forum strengthens and supplements the already existing international activities relating to counterterrorism. Switzerland is, also within this framework, promoting the respect for human rights while countering terrorism and advocating for the Forum to become closely affiliated to the UN.
The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) was established in New York in September 2011. It supersedes political blocs and comprises 29 member states from all continents, plus the EU. Its main goals are to identify national and international needs in terms of combating terrorism, to develop suitable solutions and to coordinate and facilitate capacity-building activities in partnership with interested countries.
In addition to a coordination committee under the co-leadership of the USA and Turkey, the Forum comprises five working groups focusing on the following spheres of activity:
- Criminal justice and the rule of law in counterterrorism
- Prevention of violent extremism
- Sahel region
- Horn of Africa
- South-East Asia
Participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum offers Switzerland a major platform for safeguarding its interests and values in the area of counterterrorism. Within the framework of the Forum, Switzerland also promotes the respect of human rights and campaigns for the Forum to become closely affiliated to the activities of the UN
This means that the Forum has to pay equal attention to all four pillars of the UN's global strategy for combating terrorism:
- Fighting root causes
- Prevention and repression
- Building up state capacities
- Protection of human rights and rule of law
With a view to optimising the coordination of counterterrorism activities between the Forum, the UN and other international and regional organisations, Switzerland organised an international conference in Interlaken on 23 and 24 February 2012. At this meeting, the Members of the GCTF endorsed the central role of the UN in the global fight against terrorism.
Switzerland set out its priorities for combating terrorism at the 4th ministerial meeting of the GCTF in New York. Firstly, Switzerland is supporting an initiative to improve the biennial review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in order to strengthen the comprehensive approach to counterterrorism. This further involves projects concerning respect for human rights in criminal proceedings concerning terrorism cases and measures to prevent the financing of terrorism. Secondly, Switzerland is supporting a new initiative to establish a global fund to strengthen local efforts to prevent violent extremism. Thirdly, Switzerland announced its priorities for its OSCE chairmanship, in particular an OSCE-wide conference on counterterrorism to take place in Switzerland at the end of April. During the ministerial meeting, the participants also adopted the following three GCTF framework documents:
- Good Practices on Community Engagement and Community-Oriented Policing as Tools to Counter Violent Extremism
- Ankara Memorandum on Good Practices for a Multi-Sectoral Approach to Countering Violent Extremism
- Madrid Memorandum on Good Practices for Assistance to Victims of Terrorism Immediately after the Attack and in Criminal Proceedings
The Counterterrorism Coordination Office, which is attached to the FDFA, secures Switzerland’s contacts with the Forum.