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UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme

What is the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme?

1. It is a flagship programme launched to support member states to help prosecute suspected terrorists.

2. The United Office of Counter Terrorism launched the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme.

3. This Programme will be implemented in partnership with the:

       A) Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED),

       B) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),

      C) Office of Information Communication Technology (OICT) and

      D) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

 4. The programme has been funded by India, Japan, the Netherlands, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

How does the programme work?

1. The programme aims to support member states to use travel information to detect, prevent, investigate and prosecute suspected terrorists, while respecting high safeguards for data protection and in compliance with international human rights laws.

2. The UN will provide state-of-the-art software 'Go Travel' capable of analyzing travel data which, based on context-specific risks, will help them to detect and track suspected terrorists and their movements across borders.

3. It will help the member states collect, process and share travel data with other competent national and international authorities, with full respect for privacy and other fundamental freedoms.

4. This will also enable the detection and disruption of human trafficking and other forms of serious organized crime and to identify their victims.

5. The programme represents cooperative, inter-governmental and institutional approach to enhance counter-terrorism coordination and coherence across the system.

Why is the programme relevant to the present circumstances?

1. The recent terror attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka warns about the dramatic movement of terrorists around the world.

2. These attacks underscore the need to work closely with partners across the United Nations system and beyond.

3. Two years ago, over 40,000 foreign fighters from more than 110 countries have travelled to join terrorist groups in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq.

4. After the territorial defeat of ISIS, many terrorists are trying to return home or relocate to safe havens or other troubled parts of the world.

5. Many are well trained and could carry out future terrorist attacks hoping to radicalize and recruit new followers to their cause, representing a major transnational threat.

6. 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.

Where does India figure in Countering Terrorism?

1. UN appreciated India for its continued support to the UN’s counter-terrorism work.

2. India gave a clarion call for strengthening efforts to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism for countering the global scourge.

3. India had proposed a draft document on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN in 1986 but it has not been implemented as there is no unanimity on the definition of terrorism among the member states.