What's In Blue

Arria-formula Meeting: The Challenges of Radicalisation in Prisons

Tomorrow (12 November) Security Council members will hold an open Arria-formula meeting focused on how to address the risk of terrorist radicalisation in prison and promote the rehabilitation of prisoners and their reintegration into society. It will be held in the ECOSOC chamber from 3-6 pm and will be broadcast on UN WEB TV.

The meeting is co-hosted by Belgium and Indonesia, with the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), while the Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism is sponsoring the meeting. Opening remarks will be delivered by Ambassador Mark Pecsteen (Belgium); Sri Puguh Budi Utami, Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Corrections in the Ministry of Law and Human Rights; and Simone Monasebian, Director of UNODC.

Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) will moderate the ensuing panel discussion, which will include the participation of: General Bashir Mohamed Jama “Gobe”, the Commissioner General of the Somalia Custodial Corps; a representative of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED); Thomas Renard, Senior Research Fellow at the Egmont Institute in Belgium; and Agnès Coutou, ICRC Protection Adviser. After the panelists’ presentations, the co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism (Jordan and Norway) and Council members will make statements, followed by other member states.

The Council has recognised the terrorist threat posed by radicalised prisoners and the need to address this threat. In resolution 2396 (2017) on foreign terrorist fighters, it acknowledged that prisons “can serve as potential incubators for radicalization to terrorism and terrorist recruitment and that proper assessment and monitoring of imprisoned foreign terrorist fighters is critical to mitigate opportunities for terrorists to attract new recruits”. The resolution went on to note that rehabilitation of terrorist fighters can occur in prisons as well. It further encouraged member states to “develop tailored and gender-sensitive strategies to address and counter terrorist narratives within the prison system”. Resolution 2482 (2019), which focused on the nexus between terrorism and organised crime, reiterated language from resolution 2396 recognising that prisons can be settings in which both radicalisation and rehabilitation can occur.

The co-hosts of the meeting have produced a concept note to help guide the discussion.  The meeting, as stated in the concept note, will provide an opportunity to discuss how to better assess and manage the risk posed by radicalised prisoners, to share best practices to rehabilitate and reintegrate prisoners that have committed terrorist offences, and to discuss how to support them following their release to avoid recidivism.

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