Foreign terrorist Fighters: an increasing threat

Bern, Press releases, 25.11.2014

A conference on challenges related to the phenomenon of Foreign Terrorist Fighters is taking place from 25-27 November in Brussels. The event is jointly organised by the Swiss Confederation and the European Commission, in close consultation with the United Nations Counterterrorism Executive Directorate (UNCTED).

The international community has become increasingly aware of the implications of the Foreign Terrorist Fighter phenomenon, in particular given the current situation in Syria and Iraq and the risks of threats resulting thereof in other regions in the world. The need for international cooperation in order to counter the phenomenon has been recalled by international organisations, including the United Nations Security Council.

This conference aims at contributing to a common understanding of the travel-related stages of the Foreign Terrorist Fighter phenomenon. Identifying travel patterns of potential fighters, for instance, would not only be a crucial element in attempts to prevent people from joining terrorist forces in conflict zones but also in identifying returnees. Another key objective is to identify common approaches to related border management and law enforcement issues, including the timely use and exchange of information.

Ahead of the event, Swiss Ambassador to the EU, Roberto Balzaretti, added that “preventing and mitigating threats through joint efforts in the fields of border management and law enforcement is at the core of this issue, while we must ensure respect for international law, in particular human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law”.

Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation, Klaus Rudischhauser, pointed out that "Foreign Terrorists Fighters are a shared and global threat we must all address: Their presence exacerbates current conflicts and contributes to the spread of instability and insecurity."

Over 160 participants, both experts and policymakers from more than 40 countries and International Organizations from all over Europe, the Middle East and North Africa are expected to take part. They will share their experience and expertise in tackling these challenges in order to enhance the impact of the international response to the phenomenon.

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs