Comprehensive Approaches to Handle Individuals Formerly Associated with Terrorist Groups
Since 2019, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA) conducted several iterations of its flagship Foundational Training Course on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) with a Special Emphasis on Asymmetrical Contexts, both in-person and virtually. This flagship training brings together a diverse group of participants involved in the implementation of DDR processes in their respective contexts, including representatives of national DDR commissions, government officials, regional organizations, the African Union, as well as different UN missions.
Aiming to build lasting African capacities in the field of DDR, the training sheds light on the cross fertilization between the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) and the African Union Operational Guidance Notes (OGN) framework, ensuring the synchronization of international and African DDR standards, as well as advancing operational coherence. The training provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the development of new and updated guidance, and discuss how they apply especially in asymmetrical conflict environments.
While these frameworks provide ample guidance on the strategic and operational levels, questions persist on how to best draw linkages and synergies across them. Seeking to bridge gaps between policy and practice, the last iteration of CCCPA’s training featured a high-level panel titled “Comprehensive Approaches to Handle Individuals Formerly Associated with Terrorist Groups,” to shed light on the challenges and responses in dealing with individuals formerly associated with terrorist groups, while highlighting the existing guidance on this issue.
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The panel discussion featured a number of leading experts from a range of UN and AU agencies, including Department of Peace Operations (DPO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the African Union Commission (AUC), as well as the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC).
This panel provided a platform for a timely exchange between the policymakers on one hand, and the recipients and implementers of such policies on the other, allowing for an engaging and dynamic discussion on the challenges, opportunities and recent developments facing DDR practitioners working in contexts of terrorism.
The panelists put forward a number of policy recommendations that include (i) achieving greater linkages between existing policy frameworks; (ii) emphasizing the mutually-reinforcing relationship between DDR and traditional reconciliation and transitional justice mechanisms; (iii) enhancing partnerships, including achieving better interagency cooperation and ensuring that DDR interventions are designed in a matter that corresponds with national capacities and initiatives; (iv) giving greater attention to social reintegration as a critical component of designing sustainable interventions; and finally, (v) strengthening the role of local communities in the process of reintegration.