We must respond resolutely to terrorism without compromising human rights

Terrorism is an ever-growing threat to world security. Most of the worst attacks in Europe have been carried out by individuals who live, work and have their families in Europe.

The fight against terrorism has long been a priority for the Council of Europe and it has adopted a unique three-pronged approach: strengthening the legal framework, tackling the causes of terrorism and safeguarding fundamental values. Its commitment to the rule of law and human rights is essential in this battle.

One hundred countries, i.e. half of the countries in the world, now have among their nationals individuals who have joined the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The UN has reported that there are to date 25 000 foreign fighters, with a sharp increase in the number of individuals joining IS from European countries (in particular France, the United Kingdom and Russia) and from Asia.

Faced with this phenomenon, and in the context of the implementation in Europe of UN Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014), the Council of Europe has strengthened its legal arsenal by means of an additional Protocol to its Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (2005).

For the first time in international law, this instrument makes the preparation of acts of terrorism – at the initial stage (recruitment, training, and the preparation and financing of travel for the purposes of terrorism) - a criminal offence.

A three-year action plan to counter violent extremism and radicalisation, in particular in schools and prisons and on the Internet, was launched in May 2015. In this context, on 2 March the Committee of Ministers adopted guidelines to help member States prevent radicalisation of prisoners and probationers and rehabilitate individuals who have already been radicalised.

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