West Africa: Fight Terrorism While Respecting Human Rights - High-Level Sahelian Workshop Identifies Best Practices in Niamey

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Representatives of the Sahel states, supported by international partners, discussed specific best practices and standards in the lawful transfer of alleged terrorists.

"Terrorism causes human suffering and crosses state borders. Besides the human imperative to support partners, it is worth noticing that the EU cannot isolate itself, "reminded Jean-Marc Pisani, head of the Operations Division at the headquarters of the civilian crisis-management missions of the EU."Thus EU security experts support Niger and other countries of the Sahel in countering terrorism. A cornerstone herein is the respect for human rights and the law when transferring terrorist suspects after arrest to competent judicial authorities."

Representatives of the Sahel states, supported by international partners, gathered recently for a workshop in Niamey, the capital of Niger, to discuss specific best practices and standards in the lawful transfer of alleged terrorists. The ambition was to achieve the operationalisation and harmonisation of this process called "judicialisation".

This workshop brought together high level representatives from the regional cooperation forum the G5 Sahel as well as national authorities that on a daily basis counter terrorism: battalion commanders, provost units' commanders, heads of investigation units, magistrates and penitentiary officials from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

This forum enabled sharing of best practices amongst local actors, as well as identification of recommendations on national and regional levels to fully operationalise the judicialisation process in Sahel. These recommendations once endorsed by G5 Sahel countries and institutions will be implemented with the support of the EU and international partners.

The EU's Regional Advisory and Coordination Cell in the Sahel (RACC) facilitated the event with contributions by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as well as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Other international partners such as MINUSMA, Barkhane, EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Niger and representatives of the EU Special Representative for the Sahel, FPI and DEVCO contributed with expertise to the successful organisation of the workshop which gathered over 120 experts.

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