“Repatriation of Foreign Fighters and Their Families from Northern Syria: Meidani’s Participation in UNGA 78” New York

Director of The CVE Center Meidani hosts the Deputy Coordinator of Anti-Terrorism of the US State Department
“Strategies used in prisons to fight extremism must be effective”

“Repatriation of Foreign Fighters and Their Families from Northern Syria: Meidani’s Participation in UNGA 78” New York

“Repatriation of Foreign Fighters and Their Families from Northern Syria: Meidani’s Participation in UNGA 78” New York

Publisher: Cve.gov.al 02/10/2023

From September 19-21, 2023, the “Strong Cities Network” collaborated with prestigious entities such as Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the Mayor of New York, the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes in New York (OPHC), New York University’s Institute of International Relations (NYU), the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (UN CTED), the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), and the Carter Center. Together, they co-organized the fourth edition of the Global Summit in downtown New York, coinciding with the opening of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. This event was generously supported by various sponsors, including the European Union, the U.S. State Department, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and many other donors. Their goal was to bring together city leaders and local governance experts from over 85 cities worldwide. In total, the summit comprised over 240 participants from more than 150 cities and organizations, hailing from over 50 different countries.

At this summit, the Center Against Violent Extremism was represented by its National Director and Coordinator, Mr. Denion Meidani. The event emphasized the importance of coordination and assistance from city leaders, local authorities, and administrations in combatting the rise of hatred, radical violence, and the erosion of democratic values. It also served as a forum to discuss challenges that diverse communities around the world are currently facing.

Within the framework of the summit, Mr. Denion Meidani, upon invitation from the Anti-Terrorism Bureau of the U.S. State Department, participated in a discussion organized by the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. The primary focus of this discussion was the topic: “Repatriation of Foreign Fighters and Their Families from Tension Zones in Northern Syria”.

This specific discussion was attended by key international figures such as Ms. Victoria Nuland, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State; Mr. Fuad Hussein, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq; Ms. Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights; and Mr. Ted Chaiban, Deputy Director of UNICEF.

The main emphasis of this conversation was the humanitarian and security situation in Northern Syria. The goal was to identify solutions to ensure the rights of the affected children, address the legal void, and commit to the repatriation of suspects and their families.

During a press briefing, Ms. Nuland and Mr. Hussein highlighted the strength of international cooperation and the collective engagement to address this situation.

During the summit, the “Resource Hub” was also launched, a platform providing new guidelines for mayors and local governments in both PDF and interactive formats on how both parties can leverage their potential as leaders in prevention. These guidelines are currently available in English, Arabic, and French. These instructions complement the GCTF’s national-local collaboration tool we developed, which was launched during a GCTF side event on September 19.

A key moment was when the Chairman’s Declaration of the City of New York Municipality was approved by the mayors of 108 cities and was signed by the Mayors of New York City and Rabat during the Mayors’ Meeting at the “Gracie Mansion” residence on September 21, 2023.

During the sessions, Mr. Denion Meidani, the Director of the Center Against Violent Extremism, focused on the challenge of coordinating measures against violent extremism. He expressed that this challenge stems from the large number of actors involved, from the national to the local level. Moreover, one of the difficulties is the tendency for different agencies and organizations to follow different strategies, leading to a lack of cohesion and the risk of duplications or conflicting objectives. Other challenges include managing limited resources and funds, aligning priorities among different actors, and evaluating the impact of P/CVE programs. In response to these challenges, Mr. Meidani proposed the creation of clearer governance structures and enhancing collaboration between different stakeholders. He emphasized the importance of building trust, adapting to changes, and strengthening the inclusion of local and community actors in decision-making processes, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to prevent and combat violent extremism.

The meeting concluded with interventions from the participants, as attendees and representatives from various organizations shared their thoughts on the topics discussed during the session.