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29 May 2015

INTERPOL Chief says ‘unprecedented’ foreign terrorist fighter threat requires global action

United Nations Security Council calls for increased use of INTERPOL by member states

UNITED NATIONS, New York – Addressing the United Nations Security Council Ministerial briefing on foreign terrorist fighters, INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said countries need to ‘share even more information, and share it even better’.

The INTERPOL Chief told the high-level meeting that more countries are realizing that sharing via INTERPOL represents an opportunity, not a risk, which in turn enables the world police body to more closely monitor the threat as it evolves.

“Increased pressure to restrict foreign terrorist fighter mobility is already producing changes in tactics,” said Secretary General Stock, adding that INTERPOL projects ‘broken travel’ – where individuals move between several countries in non-consecutive legs before reaching their final destination – to become a more frequent feature, with an increase in facilitation networks as opposed to self-organization.

Mr Stock said other emerging patterns include a growing number of recruits with criminal records, especially from Europe, and the active domestic terrorism role played by some suspects who had been prevented from travelling abroad.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said member states have to enhance their cooperation and exchange information, develop effective border controls and strengthen their criminal justice systems, in accordance with the rule of law and human rights standards.

Chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaité of Lithuania, which organized the briefing as part of their Security Council presidency, said priorities identified by the committee included the centralized and coordinated exchange of law enforcement information at the national level.

Underlining INTERPOL’s unique global reach in law enforcement coordination, Secretary General Stock highlighted the ability of each its 190 member countries to choose with whom they share information.

He added where successful interventions by INTERPOL member countries had been achieved, they embodied two elements of success; the secure sharing of information on foreign fighters through INTERPOL, and access to that information at the frontlines.

“The ease, speed and reach of the foreign terrorist fighters converging onto Syria and Iraq showed the threat was unprecedented almost from the outset,” said Mr Stock.

“Withholding information within any region simply puts the rest of the world at risk. Intelligence is crossing borders, but at a much slower pace than foreign terrorist fighters,” added the Secretary General.

Mr Stock said with support from the United Nations Security Council in mobilizing member states’ resources, all major border posts surrounding the conflict zone could achieve systematic screening capacity.

“INTERPOL stands ready to act in order to turn this vision into reality, together with our partners,” concluded Secretary General Stock.

A Security Council Presidential statement issued at the end of the meeting called on member states to increase reporting of information to, and use of INTERPOL’s databases to help identify, monitor or prevent the transit of foreign terrorist fighters.

The Security Council also called on the international community to strengthen INTERPOL’s capabilities and to develop capacity building assistance to facilitate broader use of its secure communications network and increased reporting to the Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.