Return of foreign terrorist fighters poses "urgent challenge"

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Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). UN Photo/Mark Garten

The return of foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin or residence represents an "urgent challenge" for the international community, according to the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Yury Fedetov was addressing a security conference in St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.

It was held to discuss ways to strengthen collective action against terrorism and violent extremism.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Fedetov described terrorism and violent extremism as "the major challenge the world is facing now."

He cited the group ISIL, or Daesh, as a "formidable threat."

Lots of foreign fighters have joined ISIL, reportedly travelling from North Africa, the Middle East, the North Caucasus and Central Asia, Europe as well as South and South-East Asia.

Mr Fedetov said several countries have reported a rise in the rate of returnees from Iraq and Syria in recent months.

While some left the battleground disillusioned, others remain radicalized and thus capable of carrying out terrorist attacks in their country of origin or residence

"This flow without a doubt represents an urgent challenge to the international community," he stated.

Mr Fedetov informed his audience of UN efforts to counter the problem.

This includes supporting countries with adopting and updating relevant legislation, promoting judicial cooperation and tackling the links between terrorism and transnational organized crime.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06″

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