The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy urged Member States to increase national efforts and bilateral and multilateral cooperation to enhance effective border controls to prevent and detect the movement of terrorists. That reflects the increasing recognition of the threat of individuals who transit through or travel to a State other than that of their residence or nationality for the purpose of perpetration, planning or preparation of, or participation in terrorist acts. The Security Council has repeatedly emphasized the significance of border controls, calling on Member States to increase border security measures. These measures could include traveller risk assessments and screening procedures to identify individuals of concern. At the same time, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant Security Council resolutions all emphasize the importance of compliance with international human rights law and international refugee law in implementing measures for border security and management.
The Security Council has repeatedly stressed that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law. The Security Council has also underscored that respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are complementary and mutually reinforcing with effective counter-terrorism measures, and are an essential part of a successful counter-terrorism effort.
Towards a Solution
Following consultations held in South-East Asia, Southern Africa, G5 Sahel, and North Africa collecting comments and technical inputs from stakeholders, comprising legal and migration experts, officials of Member States, and international organisations, the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) developed a draft training manual for border authorities. A gender consultant had supported the integration of gender perspectives during the consultations and in the development of the training manual.
In 2019, UNCCT and OHCHR reviewed and finalised the training manual in preparation for publication and translation (into French, Arabic, Spanish and Russian). In April 2019, a training of trainers workshop mainly for OHCHR staff was delivered in Geneva to expand the pool of potential trainers. The training was provided in cooperation with the UNCCT.
The second phase of the project is now completed, and it was comprised of targeted national-level trainings and regional policy dialogues, using the training manual and other tools and guidance already developed, including the screening Handbook and Pocket Book for border officials.
The strong interest demonstrated by Member States, international organisations, migration experts, and a broad range of other stakeholders who participated in the regional consultations and expert group meetings indicates that they highly value the practical guidance the training manual (trainer’s guide) offers to Member States on human rights-compliant and gender-responsive measures in border security and management within the context of counter-terrorism. The final version of the manual contains specific learning objectives and sections to address gender dimensions of border security and management.