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Zim must deploy border guards as extremism fears mount — Report



WHILE Zimbabwe currently enjoys relative peace and harmony, the state should immediately deploy border guards at ports of entry and strengthen terrorism laws amid concern that the outbreak of the violent extremism in Mozambique’s natural gas rich Cabo Delgado may have ripple geo-political contagion in the region, a new parliamentary report has advised.

Regional bloc Sadc and allied forces are currently battling to restore calm in Mozambique after the conflict broke out.

As fears of escalating terrorist attacks spreads across the world, the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) Programme Office on Parliamentary Engagement, in cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCEPA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), the African Parliamentary Union (APU) and the Shura Council of the State of Qatar, organised a High-Level Conference on Parliamentary support to victims of terrorism.

The Conference took place at Palazzo Montecitorio – Nuova Aula dei Gruppi Parlamentari in Rome, Italy from7 to 8 June2022.

The Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security, Senator David Parirenyatwa led a Zimbabwean delegation which attended the conference.

The objective of the High-Level Conference was to find ways for Parliamentarians to address the rights and needs of victims of terrorism and to identify tangible and impactful legislative measures that can be implemented to enact positive change and create lasting impact at the national level, as well as within communities.

Terrorism and violent extremism remain an increasing global threat, which cannot be addressed effectively by military operations and security measures alone. They require a collaborative and multi-dimensional approach amongst the entire international community.

“Perceiving that Zimbabwe may currently not be directly experiencing terrorist threats, the Cabo Delgado case is a cause for serious concern,” reads the parliamentary report.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs by 31 August 2022, need to adopt an inclusive, whole-of-government and holistic approach that includes cooperation with various stakeholders such as civil society organizations in countering terrorism and support victims of terrorism. Strong emphasis should therefore be placed on strengthening and implementing counter terrorism legislation and policies that support victims of terrorism.

“The Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage should introduce border guards and strengthen border patrols by 31 August 2022 especially at the Zimbabwe – Mozambique border.”

The Zimbabwean government by 31 August 2022 should according to the report aim to strengthen its relations with other regional and international bodies in fighting terrorism together and supporting victims of terrorism as well as enhancing collaboration on border management.

The High-Level Conference brought together various stakeholders, including Parliamentarians, Representatives of the United Nations (UN) entities, leading experts, members of regional Parliamentary Assemblies, victims of terrorism, victims’ associations, and civil society organisations, to discuss the best way for Parliamentarians to address the rights and needs of victims of terrorism and to find tangible legislative measures that can be implemented.

The 2019 UN Assembly Resolution 73/305 and the seventh review resolution of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted in June 2021, urges Member States to strengthen their efforts to support victims and this support ranges from advocacy and solidarity to more practical measures such as capacity building and technical assistance.-STAFF WRITER

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