Koenders opens conference on Foreign Terrorist Fighters

In The Hague on Monday foreign minister Bert Koenders will open a conference on foreign terrorist fighters (individuals who seek to travel abroad to join a terrorist organisation). More than 100 experts from the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which the Netherlands will co-chair this autumn, will be in attendance. The Netherlands has also invited experts from the international anti-ISIS coalition. In total around 40 countries and international organisations will take part in the conference.

‘Foreign terrorist fighters pose an international threat. This is one of the reasons the problem demands an international approach,’ said the minister. ‘It’s good to meet on a regular basis to discuss this complex problem and to do so as a united international community. That’s why I encourage GCTF and the anti-ISIS coalition to share their knowledge with each other.’

In his opening speech Mr Koenders will speak about the Netherlands’ plans for its chairmanship and about specific measures that countries can take to address the issue of foreign terrorist fighters.

Experts at the conference will discuss preventing radicalisation and combating foreign fighters. More specifically, they will talk about early identification, popular travel routes, the number of fighters and the role played by social media. Participants will also share their experiences with strengthening the resilience of communities through training courses and discussion platforms, and with eliminating incentives for young people to join terrorist groups.

The GCTF is a multilateral and action-oriented forum, which brings together a large number of countries, including a number from the Arab world, to address the growing problem of foreign terrorist fighters around the world. The Netherlands has chaired the working group on foreign terrorist fighters since last year.