Return of terrorist fighters: facing this major challenge [fr]
Adoption - Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts - Explication of vote by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 21 December 2017
France welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2396 (2017), on foreign terrorist fighters. I should like to particularly thank the United States for having taken the initiative of submitting the resolution, which very usefully complements and updates the framework established three years ago by the adoption of resolution 2178 (2014).
Those same fighters who several years ago went to Syria and Iraq are today leaving the conflict zone either to return to their countries of origin or to move to a third State. In the case of France, as I have already mentioned, there are currently some 700 French nationals or residents of France in Syria and Iraq. In addition to those individuals are hundreds of children who were taken to the conflict zone by their parents or were born there. More than half of them are less than 5 years old. With regard to returnees, some 245 adults have returned to French territory since 2013. The diverse range of profiles, such as the notably high number of women and children, the many degrees of radicalization and the ongoing attraction of the barbaric Da’esh ideology — which is still too easily relayed through the Internet — are some of the major challenges that we must confront. The resolution that we have just adopted constitutes a new and major step in our collective mobilization against terrorism. The resolution effectively and importantly complements the normative framework defined by the Security Council for addressing the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters and strengthens the toolbox at our collective disposal.
More specifically, the resolution calls on Member States to undertake supplementary measures in many areas with the support of the United Nations, such as in information-sharing — with a particular need to improve the use of INTERPOL tools — border management, cooperation with the private sector to prevent the use of the Internet by terrorists, the need to bring the foreign terrorist fighters to justice — along with the central issue of gathering evidence — and measures for reintegration into society, with a particular focus on children. The resolution — and this is a point that France has particularly underscored on the basis of its own experiences — emphasizes on the case of
children who should be taken care of in a targeted way with appropriate psychological, sociological and educational support.
In facing a threat of such magnitude, only close international cooperation with the United Nations and the relevant regional organizations and the involvement of civil society will allow us to act effectively. The Council can be assured of the ongoing commitment to and total determination of France in this fight.