UK: Report on foreign fighters demands better communication between police, schools and parents; increased social media and travel controls

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A new report from the UK Parliament's Home Affairs Committee on the "foreign fighters" phenomenon calls for:

  • a "vast improvement" in "communication between the police, schools and parents";
  • "social media companies" to suspend users' accounts when "they are given evidence that users of their services are seeking to promote violent extremism";
  • "stricter controls" on people travelling to "destinations of concern (DOCs) such as Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Nigeria"; and for
  • no-fly lists to "be strictly adhered to and shared internationally."

    Full report: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Counter-terrorism: foreign fighters (pdf) and Stop international terrorists preying on young British citizens (, link)

    See: Parents struggling with extremism – is the Prevent plan working? (Channel 4 News, link)

    Also relevant is a recent speech by UK Home Secretary Theresa May on a "completely new counter-extremism strategy" that goes far beyond the issue of "foreign fighters": A Stronger Britain, Built On Our Values (pdf):

    "This strategy aims to tackle the whole spectrum of extremism, violent and non-violent, ideological and non-ideological, Islamist and neo-Nazi - hate and fear in all their forms.

    "The strategy is based on the belief that the response to extremism must come from the whole of government and it must be delivered by all agencies. But it also recognises that neither government nor civil society can do this alone - we must form a new and real partnership between individual people, families, local communities, internet companies, government and civil society as a whole to defeat the extremists."

    From outside the UK: Bulgaria deputy PM meets with key US partnership services (Focus Information Agency, link): "The efforts Bulgaria makes in the field of border security and counteracting the phenomenon of "foreign fighters" were paid special attention"; Turkey tracks foreign fighters with a special system (Daily Sabah, link)

    The EU has also for some time been undertaking work on "countering radicalisation" - most recently with the adoption of a Manifesto for Education (pdf). See also the press release: EU education ministers called upon to take action to support teachers preventing radicalisation (pdf)

    Further reading

  • 'UK-USA: Transatlantic discussions on "homeland security" shrouded in secrecy', Statewatch News Online, January 2015
  • 'EU: PNR (Passenger Name Record) + API (Advance Passenger Information): UK pushes for new law to allow the exchange of API on all air travel', Statewatch News Online, December 2014
  • 'Key European terrorism legislation may be revised', Statewatch News Online, December 2014

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