National Report on Countering Terrorism 2021

The Egyptian State’s Efforts and Comprehensive Approach to Countering Terrorism and Extremist Ideology Conducive to Terrorism

Introduction

 

This report is the second version of the national report of the Arab Republic of Egypt on countering terrorism for the year 2021, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The preparation and publishing of this report is the result of collaboration among various relevant national agencies. It highlights efforts of these agencies in preventing and countering terrorist threats and thwarting plans to undermine national state institutions. The report presents an overview of facts on the ground, policies and best practices pursued in combating terrorism.

 

Since June 30, 2013 revolution, Egypt has continued to implement a comprehensive and holistic approach to address various aspects of challenges related to terrorism, with a view to undermining the so-called “Islamist” groups, most notably of which is the “Muslim Brotherhood” group. This group utilizes religion as a front to achieve its political objectives in imposing a takfirist model on society. A model that deviates from the true essence of religion and its tolerant principles, as well as undermines national state institutions, with some countries in the region as vivid examples. It became evident that the terrorist “Muslim Brotherhood” group is the main source from which all terrorist groups, regardless of their names, emerged and derived their bloody extremist ideological principles, such as ‘al-Hakimiyyah’ (God’s Sovereignty), ‘al-Jahiliyah’ (a State of ignorance of God’s commands), and ‘Ostaziyat al-a’lam’ (World mastery) established by the terrorists “Sayyid Qutb” and “Hasan al-Banna”. 

 

On the other hand, during the past few years, several terrorist incidents have taken place in different parts of the world. These attacks were perpetrated by criminal individuals, who belong to terrorist groups with diverse backgrounds and agendas. This attests to the relevance of the Egyptian positions vis-a-vis the nature of terrorism as a global cross-border phenomenon, which is characterized by a wide and complex array of drivers, and cannot be attributed to a particular religion, culture, or geographical area. Furthermore, terrorism has become an existential menace that threatens all and affects development gains as well as states capabilities, whether it stems from an extremist ideology, based on false religious interpretations, or a distorted belief system linked to the misperceived superiority of a particular gender or race and racial intolerance. 

 

Against this backdrop, strengthening international cooperation to confront the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and addressing its root causes in a holistic manner is indispensable. In this regard, Egypt reaffirms its commitment to continue its effective engagement   at regional and international levels, with the objective of defeating terrorism everywhere, regardless of its perpetrators or their justifications and motives.

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Chapter One

Egypt’s Comprehensive Approach to Counter Terrorism and Extremist Ideology Conducive to Terrorism

 

Despite intensified international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, and various relevant initiatives and resolutions issued by the Security Council, the international community is still grappling with the spread of terrorism. Therefore, Egypt called upon the international community to enhance the effectiveness of its response to this challenge by adopting a comprehensive approach to confront terrorism.  Addressing terrorism should not be limited only to the security confrontation, but it should also include economic, social, cultural, educational and development measures. Moreover, the intellectual and ideological pillar should be prioritized, as ideology represents in many cases the main driver for committing terrorist acts. Terrorism however can not be linked to any religion, culture or a particular geographic region. 

 

This comprehensive approach is based on the necessity of maintaining the national state and its institutions, and respecting the principle of ‘the Primary Responsibility of the State’ and the central role of its national law-enforcement institutions within the context of counter-terrorism and extremism. It is also consistent with the principle of state sovereignty, and the complementary role of civil society in this regard, supporting the efforts of the state and functioning under its official umbrella. 

 

Egypt believes this approach, which aims at addressing the root causes of terrorism requires the following: 

  • Confronting all terrorist organizations without exception, as they emanate from the same ideological source, namely the terrorist “Brotherhood” organization, which is based on the extremist “takfiri” ideology established by “Sayyid Qutb” and “Hasan al-Banna” and relies on distorted religious interpretations to achieve political objectives. 

  • Reaching an agreement on a specific definition of “Terrorism” and not replacing it with any other description or establishing false terms that unjustifiably distinguish between various terrorist organizations by classifying some of them as “terrorist” and others as “less violent or non-violent,” such as the terms; “Violent Extremism,” or “Violent Extremist Groups”, instead of “Terrorist Groups”. This discriminating approach contributes to mitigating or justifying their crimes, whether these groups have a Takfirist ideology, or white supremacist, that lead to terrorism. Moreover, adopting a selective manner in this regard would undermine regional and international efforts to combat terrorism, in contravention of United Nations resolutions related to countering terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  There is a need to refrain from promoting some other misleading terms such as “Jihad/ Jihadists/ Militants/ Insurgents” when describing terrorists or terrorist acts, as this results in legitimizing and justifying crimes committed by these terrorists. 

  • Ensuring the accountability of states that sponsor terrorism and terrorists, including “foreign terrorist fighters”, providing them with haven, arms and training, facilitating their movement through their territories to other areas to destabilize them, and provide them with financial, logistical and/or political and media support. These acts are stark violations of relevant Security Council resolutions and constitute threat to international peace and security. All UN member states must respect their obligations in this regard under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly Resolution 2462 (2019) on “Preventing and Combating the Financing of Terrorism”, Resolution 2396 (2017) on “Addressing the Phenomenon of Foreign Terrorist Fighters”, which  stipulates that states are required to notify other states in case of the arrival, deportation or arrest of persons suspected of being terrorists, and resolution 2370  (2017) on preventing terrorists from obtaining weapons while preventing terrorist organizations -and their supporters- from exploiting modern technology, including artificial intelligence, for terrorist purposes. 

  • Refraining from distinguishing between material terrorist act and the extremist inciting ideology or discourse that lead to terrorism. 

  • Strengthening international cooperation to undermine the ability of terrorist organizations to recruit new members, including foreign terrorist fighters, particularly youth, through the following: 

  1. Preventing terrorist organizations and their supporters from using modern means of communication and social networks to propagate extremist ideology and hate, whether stemming from the “Takfirist” ideology of terrorist organizations and their supporters, or from racism and xenophobia, as both lead, at the end, to committing terrorist acts and threaten international peace and security. 

Moreover, it is essential to oblige companies that provide social media services to delete inciting extremist content from their sites, and to respond to countries’ requests to provide the required data regarding users of those sites for terrorist purposes to be submitted to law enforcement agencies. In this regard, it is important to distinguish between the right to freedom of expression on one hand, and the abuse of this right for terrorist purposes on the other hand. Egypt calls for ensuring the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2354 (2017) on combating terrorist narratives, which Egypt had previously submitted during its non-permanent membership  of the Security Council, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of international efforts to combat terrorism. 

  1. Strengthening international efforts to disrupt and prevent terrorist groups from raising, moving, and using funds, whether from individuals, transnational organized crime networks, or states and terrorist entities. There is a need also to redouble efforts to address the misuse of some non-governmental organizations, charitable, relief and advocacy institutions as a “front” to collect donations to finance terrorist activities, including the dissemination of extremist discourse that leads to terrorism. Moreover, it is crucial to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2370 (2017), which Egypt submitted during its membership of the Security Council. 

  2. Tackling the nexus between terrorist organizations and cross-border organized criminal networks, engaged in narcotics smuggling, and human and arms trafficking. Such confrontation is considered one of the main elements to enhance the effectiveness of counter-terrorism efforts.  In this regard, strengthening the pillars of the national State and building the capabilities of its institutions is crucial. It is essential to fill the vacuum that organized crime and terrorist organizations exploit for their benefit. Lessons learned based on the experience of some countries in the region during the past few years prove that the collapse of national institutions created a political and social vacuum that some terrorist and sectarian organizations infiltrated to fill. Egypt, thanks to the awareness of its people, succeeded in preventing this negative development. 

  3. Implementing effective measures to address the new methods of financing terrorism to cope with the qualitative development in this regard, in particular the increasing use by terrorist organizations of virtual or encrypted currencies in financial transfers for the purpose of money laundering as well as financing their terrorist activities.

 

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Chapter Two

Efforts exerted at the National Level

 

2.1. The legislative Pillar:

Countering terrorism is a constitutional commitment, as article 237 of the Egyptian constitution stipulates that the state is committed to confronting terrorism in all its forms and tracing its funding sources. The law regulates the provisions and procedures for combating terrorism and provides fair compensation for severe damages caused by and because of it. The state has adopted a vision according to which combating terrorism is not only an obligation to protect its national security, but also an endeavor to protect one of the basic principles of human rights, i.e., the right to life, as a component of its comprehensive approach to combating terrorism. 

Legislators have developed an integrated set of national legislation, in line with the constitutional commitment to combat terrorism, consistent with Egypt’s relevant regional and international obligations, and the United Nations Global Counter – Terrorism Strategy, with a view to combating terrorism in an effective manner. Relevant legislations were also promulgated to address newly emerging methods of financing terrorism.

Law No. 94 of 2015 on Combating Terrorism was promulgated, as a comprehensive law that substantively and procedurally addresses terrorist crimes and its financing. It tackles terrorist crimes with prompt measures and deterrent penalties. The provisions of this law are derived from relevant Security Council resolutions, and international and regional counterterrorism legal instruments.

The law provides specific definitions of the terms: “terrorist group”, “terrorist”, and “terrorist crime”. It also sets the same punishment prescribed for the complete crime to the attempt or incitement to commit a terrorist crime, even if the incitement did not lead to committing a material criminal act. This law also regulates the process of assets freezing, and assigns specific courts to consider misdemeanors, felonies, and appeals in cases of terrorist crimes.

It also addresses the phenomenon of terrorists leaving their home countries to fight alongside terrorist groups and extended the scope of criminalization to include supporting others to join, cooperate, or cross the borders of the country for the purpose of joining terrorist groups, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014). The law also criminalizes the promotion of committing terrorist crimes, ideology and beliefs calling for the use of violence, and explicitly addresses the problem of electronic terrorism in line with recent developments.

It stipulates several complementary penalties that courts can consider along with the original penalties for terrorist crimes, within the framework of taking precautionary measures to address the risk of convicts resuming their criminal activity. These include freezing of          assets, preventing their disposal or management, and precautionary travel bans.

The law guarantees the right of the defendant to a public and fair trial before an impartial, independent, and irremovable judge. It also respects the right of the defendant to communicate with his/her family and his/her lawyer, in accordance with relevant established constitutional provisions, and the obligation to   respect the dignity of the defendant, and refraining from torturing, intimidating, or harming him/ her physically or mentally. Moreover, prisons and places of detention are subjected to judicial supervision. Maintaining the sanctity of private life, the presumption of innocence, and the right to defense in person or by proxy is respected and observed. Moreover, the public prosecution in Egypt is considered, according to the Egyptian constitution, an integral part of the judiciary. The Public Prosecutor enjoys independence and impartiality, and is selected by the Supreme Judicial Council without any interference from the executive branch.

The law complements Law No. 8 of 2015 that regulates listing of terrorist entities and terrorists, with a view to tackling all aspects related to terrorism and its finance. 

The law regulates listing of   individuals, entities and groups that engage in or incite violence or disturb public order, with a view to tracking them down and banning their activities. Criminalization comes in accordance with money laundering and terrorist financing Convention and international standards. The law includes a specific definition of “terrorist entity”, “terrorist individual”, “terrorist financing”, “freezing of assets”, and the competent court. It also establishes the listing criteria for entities and individuals whose businesses are not related to Egypt, as well as publishing procedures, appeal procedures and management of seized funds. Several domestic terrorist groups were listed in accordance with that law, with listings published in the Official Gazette.

Law No. 14 of 2020 was issued to amend some provisions of the Terrorist Entities Law No. 8 of 2015, to ensure that the provisions of that law are consistent with international standards, especially with regard to determining the scope of funds or assets, the definition of terrorist financing, and criminalizing the travel of individuals to take part in terrorist activities. These amendments targeted the following:

  1. Strengthening the state’s ability to implement its international obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions and international treaties to which Egypt has acceded to and ratified, as well as the FATF recommendations related to targeted financial sanctions in the context of combating terrorism and its financing.

  2. Refining the definition of “terrorist entity” and “terrorist funds”, taking into consideration emerging trends. The previous definition of funds has been replaced by a more comprehensive and broader term that includes all financial assets and economic resources regardless of their form or means of obtaining them.

  3. The amendment also included the implications of listing on the terrorists’ lists, such as the forfeiture of membership in any entity to which the state or citizens contribute to, and any entity designated for public benefit, as well as criminalizing the activity of legal persons who contribute to terrorist acts. An additional fine is imposed in case it is not possible to seize or dispose the funds for bona fide persons.

 

Law No.15 of 2020 was issued, taking into consideration lessons learned in relation to the implementation of the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Law promulgated by Law No.94 of 2015, including inter alia the following:

  1. The law replaced the definition of funds or assets contained in Article (1), item (f) to include physical and virtual assets and their revenues, economic resources and all rights related thereto. It also enumerated several legal tools establishing those rights. It included virtual assets, in addition to those included in the definition contained in the existing provisions, so as to conform with the amendments made to the FATF evaluation methodology concerning virtual assets and service providers.

  2. The law also replaced the definition of terrorist financing stated in Article (3) to include funds and assets resulting from any individual, organized or unorganized collective terrorist activity, taking place locally or internationally, directly, or indirectly. The law also added the support given in providing a place for training or a haven for one or more terrorists, or providing them with weapons, documents, or any other means of support or funding, or traveling with the prior knowledge thereof, even if it was not related to the terrorist act, in addition to the elements contained in the existing provisions. Following its amendment, the law conforms with international standards in defining terrorist financing, in a manner that ensures the same consequences whether the terrorist act occurred or not, it also addresses the indirect linkage to the terrorist act itself.

  3. The law also replaced Article (13) on criminalizing the finance of terrorism, to include providing funds with the intent of facilitating the travel of individuals to countries other than their country of residence or nationality to commit, plan,  prepare for a terrorist act , or participating in it, or providing aid in whatever form to its perpetrators. The law equates the crime committed by a terrorist group with that committed by a legal person, as terrorist activities committed by legal persons were also criminalized.

  4. In its second article, the phrase (money and other assets) replaced the word “money’, wherever it was mentioned in Law No. 94 of 2015.

  5. Article 3 amended Article 39 by adding a third paragraph, imposing an additional fine equal to the value of the money and assets mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, which were allocated for use in a terrorist act, in case the funds could not be seized or were disposed of.

Moreover, taking into consideration the importance of combating terrorism financing, Law No. 80 of 2002 on combating money laundering was issued and amended by Decree Law No.36 of 2014, with a view to addressing the rapid developments in financing terrorist operations, as well as the recommendations issued by FATF. Its Executive Regulation No.80 of 2002 was issued on June 9, 2003, by virtue of Prime Minister Decree 951 of 2003.  Moreover, Decree No.457 of 2020 develops detailed and explanatory frameworks for the provisions of the aforementioned law and its amendments, as well as conforming with international standards formulated by FATF.

Within the framework of the periodic review of counter-terrorism legislations to update them in line with the emerging relevant trends, several provisions of Law No.80 of 2002 on combating money laundering were amended in 2020, pursuant to Law No.17 of 2020, most notably are the following:

  1. Replacing the word “money” with the phrase “money or assets” wherever it is set out in the law, in line with amendments made to the FATF evaluation methodology related to virtual assets and service providers, and with amendments made to the definition of “money” in Law No. 8 of 2015 on listing of terrorist entities and terrorists, and Law No. 94 of 2015 on combating terrorism.

  2. “Entities” were specified in Article (1), item(j), where it defines “Entities” as ‘those entities concerned with combating money laundering and its predicate crimes or terrorist financing as determined by the executive regulation of this law’.

  3. Adding Article 14 bis on the established conditions of confiscation and means of disposal in case that the proceeds of crimes are mixed with funds legitimately acquired. The new article stipulates that “If the proceeds are mixed with funds legitimately obtained, the equivalent of the estimated value of them or the means used or prepared to be used in money laundering or predicate offences shall be confiscated. An additional fine equal to the value of funds or assets shall be imposed in case that it is not possible to seize them, or if they are disposed of to a bona fide third party’.

  4. Adding Article 17 bis on precautionary measures that include freezing or seizure.

  5. Amending Article 16 bis on measures that may be taken against violators, including warning, obligation to remove the violation and take corrective measures within a specified period, banning, suspending, restricting or halting carrying on business for a period not exceeding one year.

  6. Adding Article 9 bis, which states that ‘all parties are obligated, in their respective areas of competence, to maintain comprehensive statistics that ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures, in accordance with the executive regulations of this law.’

  7. Adding articles 18 bis, 18 bis (1), 18 bis (2), 18 bis (3) on regulating and strengthening judicial cooperation in money laundering and its predicate crimes or terrorist financing.

 

Amendment of the provisions of Laws No. 396 of 1956 regarding prisons regulation and No.182 of 1960 regarding combating drugs were introduced by virtue of Law No. 19 of 2020, recognizing that the provisions of conditional early release set out in Prisons Regulation Act do not apply to convicts who were indicted for committing any of the crimes stipulated in Law No.80 of 2002 on combating money laundering, and Anti-Terrorism Act No.94 of 2015.

 

This legislation supplemented by Law No.175 of 2018 regarding combating information technology crimes, which criminalizes any act of targeting or cyber-attack on the state’s information infrastructure or any other hostile act using information technology to facilitate the commission of terrorist crimes.

 

Furthermore, Law No. 14 amended by Law No. 95 of 2015 on the comprehensive development of the Sinai Peninsula, regulates land ownership and real estate investment in Sinai.

 

The provisions of Law No. 149 of 2019 regulating the activities of civil society organizations apply to both Egyptian and foreign non-governmental organizations, with a view to providing civil society organizations with a legal framework that facilitates their activities in the social, economic, cultural and environmental fields. The law prohibits any activities that support discrimination, violence or terrorism. The Prime Minister’s Decision No. 104 of 2021 was issued regarding the Executive Regulation of the law, which prohibits non-profit organizations from conducting any activities related to terrorism or money laundering. Most notable articles are Article 41 which refers to the right of associations to receive financial contributions from within Egypt, provided by Egyptian natural or legal persons or foreign non-governmental organizations authorized to operate in Egypt, in accordance with the law and without prejudice to the provisions of the anti-terrorism and money laundering laws. Article 172 obligates the Central Unit of Associations and Civil Society and relevant entities that keep data on civil society organizations to make them available to the relevant authorities for the purposes of combating money laundering and financing terrorism and predicate crimes. It also establishes mechanisms that guarantee the immediate exchange of relevant information or data with the competent authorities. Article 182 stipulates that individual volunteering to work in civil society organizations should not be enlisted on terrorist lists.

Furthermore, new relevant legislative texts are promulgated in a manner that ensures the consolidation of existing counter- terrorism legal instruments. In this regard, articles 12 and 16 of Law No. 18 of 2020 regulating consumer financing activity obligate licensed consumer finance corporations and service providers to take into account rules and standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as the guidelines issued by the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit, in coordination with the relevant authorities.

Article 141 of Law No.194 of 2020 on the Central Bank and Banking System, defines the mechanisms for combating terrorism, its financing and money laundering. This article authorizes the Public Prosecutor or one of the first public attorneys he delegates to directly order access to or obtain any data or information related to the accounts or the deposits, trusts, or safes stipulated in Article (140) of this Law, or related transactions, if required in relation to any of the crimes stipulated in combating money laundering and terrorism financing laws. Article 180 also stipulates that the Banking Institute, affiliated to the Central Bank, shall build capacities of the staff of the Central Bank, and other banks in banking, financial, monetary and legal areas, payment systems and services, information technology, and combating money laundering and terrorist financing, with a view to enabling the staff to cope with emerging trends and developments worldwide.

Moreover, several decisions that support mechanisms in place to combat the financing of terrorism and money laundering were issued. They include the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) Decision No.23 of 2020 on the regulatory controls related to sanctions lists and targeted financial sanctions, with respect to combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction for those entities working in the field of non-banking financial activities. The Financial Supervisory Authority also issued Decision No.2 of 2021 on regulatory controls in combating money laundering and terrorist financing for entities working in the field of non-banking financial activities, as well as the decision of the Minister of Trade and Industry No. 38 of 2020 on the regulatory controls for real estate brokers with regard to combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

 

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2.2. The Preventive/ Awareness Raising and Intellectual Confrontation Pillar:

Egypt has been proactive with regard to raising awareness and sensitizing citizens about refuting the toxic ideology of extremist groups. President/ Abdel Fattah El-Sisi launched a pioneering initiative in 2014 to reform the religious discourse, emanating from a firm conviction that confronting the ideology of extremist groups should be prioritized to enhance society’s resilience, with a focus on the youth, with a view to protecting them from risks of recruitment, as a part of the comprehensive counter-terrorism approach adopted by the State.

Al-Azhar institution, with its renowned historical status, has always been a firewall against numerous deviant ideologies that occasionally emerge on the intellectual scene. Al-Azhar has taken tangible measures in this regard by establishing competent entities entrusted with providing guidance to all Muslims on the true essence of religion and rectifying deviant beliefs. It also established several research and academic centers, most notably Al-Azhar Center for Translation which is tasked with translating books that provide an understanding of the true essence of Islam, and Al-Azhar Center for Electronic Fatwas which is tasked with providing sound fatwas (religious advice) and exposing the falsehood of the radical fatwas.

Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism plays an important role in monitoring and analyzing manifestations of extremism, and serves to dismantle extremist ideology through circulating its publications in twelve different languages. It also organizes sensitization and awareness raising campaigns, to spread the true essence of religion, and refute extremist ideology. Al-Azhar Observatory is one of the institutions that Al-Azhar has devised to reform the religious discourse. Al-Azhar is now able to address the world in different languages and expose all terrorist organizations, and the deviant extremist ideology that they propagate. The following is an overview of some of the efforts of Al-Azhar and its Observatory in this regard:

  1. Al-Azhar Observatory consists of twelve units operating in different languages, namely: Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Turkish, African languages, Italian, Urdu, Persian and Hebrew. Researchers at the Observatory prioritize monitoring what is being propagated by extremist groups, in terms of misrepresentations of religious texts, then researchers translate this material and submit it to specialized committees. These committees prepare religiously sound counter arguments to refute this misinterpretation of religious texts, that are published in Arabic and foreign languages through the Observatory’s media platforms.

  2. The Observatory has developed a strategy focusing on reaching out to young people, introducing them to Al-Azhar’s moderate message, and promoting religious and moral values that call for patriotism, tolerance, consolidation of citizenship, fostering the value of human fraternity and respecting people regardless of their color, race or religion, and using available tools such as social media networks, the electronic portal of Al-Azhar, magazines and newspapers, such as Sawt Al-Azhar and the Observatory’s magazine, among others. The observatory has diversified its publications between readable and visual items, with the readable items including short text messages, editorials, reports, academic studies, and books documented with references and sources. The Observatory has also released dozens of anti-terrorisms recorded videos in Arabic and foreign languages, with a view to refuting the deviant ideology of extremist groups and how they misrepresent Islamic religious concepts.

  3. Throughout 2020, Al-Azhar Observatory published 13 academic studies, with a focus on combating extremism, including, for example, “Al-Qaeda’s Strategy in Recruiting Youth” “The Brotherhood’s Strategy in Recruiting and Influencing Youth,” and “Covid-19 and the Extremist Global Discourse”. The observatory has also published several books, some of which are in Arabic, including “The Activities of Terrorist Groups in Four Years,” which addresses the activities of terrorist groups during the 2017- 2020 period, and “Aspects of Terrorism: Extremist Groups around the World”. Books issued by the Observatory in foreign languages include “Islamische Konzepte (Islamic Concepts)”, a book published in German, which highlights religious concepts that are sometimes misunderstood, and some important topics of relevance. “Sanctity of Blood in Islam” is another book published in English, which sheds light on the concept of jihad according to Islamic jurisprudence, with a view to providing a proper understanding of this religious concept, that has often been misused by terrorist organizations.

  4. The Observatory also releases several monthly publications, most notably of which is a monthly report summarizing the activities of the Observatory’s different units. The report is available on the Al-Azhar electronic portal. It also publishes a statistical brief, which provides statistics on the number of terrorist attacks taking place around the world as well as the numbers of victims over the course of each month. It is available on Al-Azhar’s electronic portal. This statistical brief was commended by followers, as an accurate statistical report on the number of terrorist attacks issued monthly.

  5. During 2020, the Observatory produced 150 articles and reports in Arabic and 464 articles in foreign languages, which focused on a wide array of issues. It also carried out 93 awareness raising campaigns in Arabic and various foreign languages through user- friendly short messages focusing mainly on young people, with a view to educating them about contemporary issues, and rectifying different misconceptions promoted by extremist groups. These campaigns included, most importantly, “Daesh Lies” which was launched at the end of 2020, with the purpose of enhancing the resilience of young people by presenting a detailed account of testimonies of young men and women who joined the organization, and did not find what was promised to them and therefore had to flee and return home.

  6. The Observatory has organized six workshops under the title of “Dialogue on the Document of Human Fraternity” cosigned by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and His Holiness Pope Francis of the Vatican, over the period from November 25 to December 10, 2020. These workshops were attended by 100 young men and women from various Egyptian universities and focused on the importance of the Human Fraternity Document and its constructive role in combating extremism.

 

Al-Azhar Translation Center on its part contributed to combating extremist ideology and fostering peaceful coexistence, in support of Al-Azhar’s mission and objectives, the Center accomplished the following in 2020:

  1. The Center translated the series “Refuting Extremist Thought” into 13 languages, in cooperation with the World Association of Al-Azhar Graduates. It also completed the translation of “The Truth of Islam” series, where the book “Nadharat fi Al-Islam (insights into Islam)” was translated into Swahili and English. The book provides an overview of the pillars of faith, patterns of human behavior, peace, and individual’s dignity.

  2. Al-Azhar Translation Center places special importance on children through translating “Noor” magazine. The magazine presents content that calls for tolerance and fraternity between the religions and strive to educate children about the true essence of Islam doctrines, and the importance of interfaith dialogue and harmony. The Center has already completed the translation of the third issue of the magazine into English and the second issue into French.

The Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) on its part plays a key role in combating extremist ideology and rectifying the religious discourse, through a wide array of measures, as follows:

  1. Adopting the necessary measures to prevent any extremist groups from exploiting mosques. No person is allowed to give the Friday sermon or religious lessons before ascertaining his eligibility to perform this important religious role. The Ministry of Awqaf also prevents the use of mosque pulpits to spread extremist ideology. It irrevocably terminates the service of those found guilty of sabotage, corruption, or terrorism.

  2. The Ministry of Awqaf organizes specialized courses to build the capacities of imams and preachers, to enable them to refute extremist ideology, use cyberspace and develop their overall skills. These training courses are held at the International Academy of the Ministry of Awqaf, and at other training centers affiliated with the Ministry in various governorates. The Ministry of Awqaf has succeeded in carrying out its training and awareness raising programs despite the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, by organizing several training courses virtually through different platforms such as Zoom and Webex Meet.

  3. The Ministry of Awqaf in cooperation with other ministries and other institutions, has signed 21 protocols with 21 Egyptian universities regarding cooperation in the field of training, education, character building and raising awareness about the threats of extremist ideology. Thirteen universities and colleges have started implementing these protocols.

  4. The Ministry is cooperating with different ministries tasked with youth programs. Six new books have been co-published by the Ministries of Awqaf and Culture within the framework of the “Vision” series translated into foreign languages. Moreover, a youth-focused version of “Vision” series has been launched in cooperation between the Ministries of Awqaf and Culture, represented by the Egyptian General Book Authority, to educate young people about the tolerance of Islam and its enlightened moderate ideology. The Ministry also published a book entitled “Values and Respect for the Other” in cooperation with the Ministry of Education during the 2020/2021 academic year.

  5. The Ministry of Awqaf has also uploaded 120 books translated into various foreign languages as well as 60 works authored by the Ministry and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs on the Ministry’s electronic portal.

  6. The Ministry has issued 79 books, the most important of which are “Builders and Destroyers” and “The Danger of Takfir and Fatwas without Knowledge”. It has also printed 106 books translated into foreign languages, including: “Understanding of the Prophetic Sunnah” in three languages and “Cultural Dialogue between East and West” in English, and “Jurisprudence of the State and Jurisprudence of the Community” in three languages.

  7. The Ministry has prioritized electronic preaching, and hence established the Department of Electronic Preaching in May 2020 to oversee communication with the public through cyberspace. The electronic Awqaf portal and the Awqaf Academic platform were launched in January 2020 with a view to reaching out to the public and countering terrorist organizations, that have active presence on social media to recruit new supporters, especially young people. The Ministry has upgraded its website (Awqaf Online) to promote a genuine, enlightened, and moderate message, and to rectify misconceptions promoted by these terrorist organizations, where 76 books and encyclopedias in Arabic, 79 books translated into foreign languages have been uploaded to the website of the Ministry of Awqaf. Moreover, 31 preaching messages titled “Translated Awqaf Messages to the World” are available in various foreign languages on the Awqaf website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

  1. A Facebook page titled Waei (Awareness) has been launched to circulate messages and preaching works on a large scale. It currently has 3,275 followers.

  2. The publication of translated works, totaling 106 translated books so far, has been scaled up. Over 2021, the Ministry of Awqaf seeks to intensify its efforts through sermons, training programs, seminars, lectures, translation, and publication, to confront terrorism and extremism. It plans to provide Islamic centers and universities in various countries with the publications of the Ministry in Arabic and in their respective languages, cooperate with relevant stakeholders in confronting terrorism and extremism, and safeguard mosques from being infiltrated by this malicious ideology.

Numerous cultural and artistic programs have been implemented within the framework of the sustainable development strategy and the government’s action plan to promote positive societal values and confront extremist ideology. These activities focused on different age groups. Several seminars were organized to raise awareness regarding the threats of terrorism, and the need to enhance counter extremism efforts. Furthermore, numerous events were organized by the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture to promote positive values and combat extremism. The General Authority of Culture Palaces also organized several seminars and lectures on combating terrorism and extremism, focusing on the role of literature and art in this regard.

The Egyptian Church also plays an important role in maintaining national cohesion and enhancing society’s resilience. Moreover, relevant national institutions and councils, such as the National Council for Women raises awareness by organizing “Door Knocking Campaigns”, on threats of extremism, and the promotion of civic culture.

Moreover, there is a special significance in the construction of the largest mosque and cathedral in Africa and the Middle East in the New Administrative Capital. The same holds true for the participation of       Al-Azhar in drafting the Human Fraternity Document, that was cosigned by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and His Holiness Pope Francis of the Vatican in February 2019, as part of the historical contributions of Egypt, the cradle of civilizations, in upholding the values of moderation and respect for freedom of belief, citizenship and cultural diversity. The Observatory has translated the Document into 12 languages, to foster the values of tolerance, moderation, acceptance of the other and respect for religious and cultural diversity.

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2.3. Security Confrontation:

The security strategy to combat terrorism includes numerous measures to pursue the terrorist “Muslim Brotherhood” and other terrorist organizations, with a view to degrading their capabilities to commit criminal operations, as follows:

Measures for the detection, confrontation and prosecution of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organization:

  1. Detecting the structure of the armed wing of the terrorist Brotherhood organization, uncovering its plans, and conducing preemptive raids to undermine the movement of its members, disrupt logistical support thereto, and pursue its fugitive members.

  2. Monitoring rumors and allegations propagated by the organization’s members and its media platforms to incite citizens against the state and its institutions, identifying those responsible for these acts, requesting the competent judicial authorities to sanction action against them, and coordinating with relevant government agencies and the media to refute those allegations.

  3. Activating procedures for listing the organization’s members and leaders on the national list of terrorists, and coordinating with the Public Prosecution and relevant government agencies, to implement the listing consequences stipulated in Law No. 8 of 2015 regulating the listing of terrorist entities and individuals.

  4. Providing the relevant committee with the data related to the businesses, commercial entities and economic institutions that support the organization financially, to enable the committee to take appropriate decisions regarding these assets.

  5. Extraditing fugitive Brotherhood members residing abroad through relevent bilateral cooperation instruments, and in coordination with the Public Prosecution to prepare relevant implication files.

Other terrorist organizations are targeted through preventive, security, and international cooperation measures, as follows:

Preventive Measures:

  1. Combating the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters by tightening control over international borders and thwarting any attempts by terrorists to illegally enter the country.

  2. Combating cross-border infiltration, targeting criminal networks smuggling weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials, and preventing supplying terrorist groups therewith.

  3. Taking regulatory and legal measures to combat the illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives, with a view to undermining the capabilities of extremist elements to commit hostile acts.

  4. Implement effective security measures to protect VIPs, sensitive and diplomatic facilities, and places of worship from being targeted by hostile acts.

Security Measures:

  1. Monitoring extremist and terrorist organizations, uncovering their organizational structure, and identifying their leaders and plans.

  2. Undermining the capabilities of terrorist organizations and thwarting their hostile plans.

  3. Identifying the criminal elements that are exploited by terrorist organizations in carrying out acts of violence for money, without affiliation for the purpose of profit only, and taking legal action against them.

  4. Investigating terrorist incidents through modern technologies.

  5. Combating money laundering and organized crime in coordination with the relevant government agencies, taking into consideration the interlinkage between money laundering and financing terrorist activities.

  6. Monitoring of inciting and extremist groups’ websites and identifying those in charge of their management and targeting them in line with relevant laws and regulations.

 

 

Security Cooperation at the International Level:

  1. Coordinating with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), and relevant regional and Arab entities with respect to issuing red notices for fugitive members of terrorist groups at the international level.

  2. Listing most prominent members of terrorist groups who fled the country on terrorist lists, freezing their assets, and degrading their capabilities in implementing their hostile plans targeting national interests.

  3. Concluding security cooperation agreements with more countries to bolster coordination, and enhance security cooperation in various fields, especially with regard to combatting terrorism.

Moreover, efforts of law enforcement forces to combat terrorism in Sinai succeeded in tightening security control, which markedly degraded the capabilities of terrorist groups to carry out terrorist attacks, resulting in a decrease in their numbers compared to previous years. The living conditions of the population of North Sinai has significantly stabilized, where law enforcement forces were able to eliminate the infrastructure of “Ansar Beit al-Maqdis” organization, which is located in a very limited area in North Sinai.

Law enforcement forces continue to pursue the remnants of the terrorist organization’s members, who are local individuals, and are neither linked organizationally, operationally, financially nor in any way to the so-called “Daesh” terrorist organization, nor to any other terrorist organizations based abroad. Rather, they are ideologically linked to the terrorist “Brotherhood” organization, which is the main source of all terrorist organizations.

 “Daesh” does not exist in Egypt, and allegations that “Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is affiliated with Daesh have no basis. They are based on false information disseminated by that terrorist organization, in contrary to facts on the ground, for the sake of self-aggrandizement in light of the losses it incurred, and successful state’s efforts to undermine its support system.

As for the development pillar, law enforcement forces are securing public and vital facilities as well as individuals, in parallel with implementing security measures, as well as providing the necessary financial support and subsidies to the citizens of North Sinai. Relevant government agencies implement development projects in various regions in Sinai (which is explained in the economic section of the report), with a view to improving social and living conditions and providing job opportunities for the people of Sinai.

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2.4. Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Drying Up Its Sources

Egypt criminalizes the financing of terrorism in accordance with the Anti-Terrorism Law No. 94 of 2015 that defines terrorist crime and terrorist act, where article (3) of this law stipulates that “Funding terrorism shall refer to the collection or receipt of funds in order to be used, fully or partially, in the perpetration of any terrorist crime or with the knowledge that such funds will be used  to provide safe haven for one or more terrorists or for those who fund them by any of the methods mentioned above.” Thus, this article emphasizes  that financing terrorism is criminalized if there is even a mere intent to use the funds in the perpetration of a terrorist act, or if there was a prior knowledge that it will be used in a terrorist act, even if that terrorist act does not necessarily take place.

Based on this article as well, terrorism is criminalized merely for providing a haven for a terrorist even if the terrorist crime did not occur, which is consistent with international legal instruments on combating terrorism financing Egypt has acceded to.

The Egyptian Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit operates under law no.80 of 2002, and in accordance with presidential decree no.164 of 2002. The unit is an independent central administrative authority that receives notifications and information by financial institutions and other reporting parties on any operation that is suspected to be or include money laundering or terrorism financing or attempts to carry out such operations.

Moreover, the Unit examines and analyses this information and provides law enforcement agencies and competent investigative authorities with the results of its analysis. In this respect, the unit coordinates with the reporting agencies and law enforcement agencies; an approach that is followed by most financial intelligence units worldwide.

Egypt is committed to implementing Security Council resolutions related to combatting the financing of terrorism and the financing of proliferation, and is committed as well to ensuring that financial institutions, and non-financial businesses and professions comply with targeted financial sanctions without delay, and take the necessary measures to freeze funds and other assets of persons and entities listed on the sanctions lists and refrain from providing any financial or any other services for the benefit of those enlisted persons and entities. In this regard, the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit has updated the targeted financial sanctions system that has been set and approved by the Unit’s Board of Trustees and the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Combating National Coordinating Committee, by creating a section on its website dedicated to sanctions lists, which were previously submitted to financial institutions in writing, including sanctions lists issued by the Security Council in addition to the national lists of terrorists and terrorist entities. These lists are published in the form of Excel files, so that financial institutions, business owners, non-financial professions and other parties concerned with their implementation can search those related lists in a user- friendly way and without the need to use complex automated system.

The Unit has also published detailed instructions on the implementation of Security Council resolutions on targeted financial sanctions related to financing terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which were previously circulated to financial institutions via e-mail. These instructions include how to access sanctions lists and the obligations of financial institutions as well as non-financial businesses and professions, and how to implement the freezing or unfreezing procedures.

The Unit closely cooperates with non-profit organizations, the two parties   cooperated in drafting a guidelines manual on internal policy frameworks for combating the financing of terrorism, targeting high-risk non-profit organizations.

This manual includes detailed information on preventive measures against the exploitation of non-profit organizations in operations that may constitute a threat to the country’s economy and security. Moreover, it defines the criteria that may render a non- profit organization vulnerable to the risks of terrorism financing, in accordance with benchmarks set by the Ministry of Social Solidarity. It also included information on enhanced measures and procedures regarding how to address terrorist threats to which the organization may be exposed to.                                                        

The Unit, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, issued a manual on risks of the misuse of non-profit organizations to finance terrorism. An explanatory video in this regard is being prepared to raise awareness regarding the risks of misutilization of donations submitted by the public to non-profit organizations, and the need to ensure that the recipient organizations are registered and licensed to receive donations. It also highlights the importance of verifying the registration / license number on the donation receipt, and ensuring it is identical to the number listed on the official website of the Ministry of Social Solidarity, and recommends the public to provide their donations through banking channels.

Moreover, the Unit, in cooperation with the Egyptian Banking Institute, held a workshop on combatting financing of terrorism in the context of non-profit organizations activities. This workshop targeted staff of the Ministry of Social Solidarity and non-profit organizations. It addressed several important topics, including raising awareness about the risks of terrorism financing, and relevant measures to combat terrorism financing through non-profit organizations.

In line with international standards in combating money laundering, financing of terrorism as well as the proliferation of arms, the Unit contributed to the legislative amendments for the following: 

  1. The Anti-Money Laundering Law No. 80 of 2002.

  2. The executive regulations of the Anti-Money Laundering Law issued by the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 951 of 2003.

  3. The Counter-Terrorism Law No. 94 of 2015.

  4. Law Regulating Lists of Terrorist Entities and Terrorists No. 8 of 2015

  5. Central Bank and Banking System Law No. 194 of 2020.

  6. Customer due diligence procedures in all banking and non-banking financial institutions and non-financial businesses and professions.

  7. Amending the executive regulations of the commercial registry regarding the real beneficiary, in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force.

  8. Amending the regulatory controls issued by various regulatory authorities on financial institutions and non-financial businesses and professions.

 

The Unit, also, carried out numerous activities related to capacity building, most notably are the following:

  1. Organizing a workshop on “Disrupting the financing of terrorist networks through the enforcement of sanctions stipulated in Security Council Resolution 1267 (1999)” in cooperation with the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with the participation of many representatives of financial intelligence units and law enforcement agencies from different Arab countries.

  2. Participating in the workshop organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on “Strengthening Regional Cooperation in Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Cross-Border Cash Smuggling” in Amman. Participants exchanged experiences on combating terrorism financing through cross-border money transfer and smuggling.

  3. Participating in the introductory session held by the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), in cooperation with the United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team in March 2021 on “Understanding the United Nations Counter-Terrorist Financing Sanctions related to Resolutions 1267 and 2462”. The session addressed the targeted financial sanctions regime in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 2462.

  4. Organizing a workshop in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on parallel financial investigations, in preparation for the mutual evaluation process. The workshop included several topics, such as the methods used by criminals to conceal the sources of their illegal gains, and the importance of parallel financial investigations in detecting predicate crimes, criminal networks, and proceeds.

  5. Participating in the workshop on “Virtual Currencies and Assets” held in Tunisia and organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in cooperation with the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF). The workshop addressed the FATF recommendations on virtual assets and virtual currencies, as well as developments related to the international community’s approach to virtual currencies, including best practices and digital evidence.

Furthermore, the Unit prepared studies on a variety of topics, most notably are the following:

  1. Circulating the paper issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on “Updating information on Da’esh financing” to security and law enforcement agencies. This paper included several topics, such as sources of funding of this terrorist entity, movement of funds, assistance networks, and facilitating the organization’s procurement processes.

  2. Conducting a comprehensive study on the consequences of violating the sanctions regimes on financial institutions. The Unit analyzed the sanctions issued by the Security Council, as well as the FATF recommendations regarding financing of terrorism and arms proliferation. It also addressed sanctions issued by specific countries and laws that govern them, such as those issued by the United States and the related Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

  3. Following up on the outcome of the visit of the United Nations’ Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) delegation to Cairo in July 2018. The visiting delegation was informed of measures adopted by relevant agencies in combatting terrorism, including those taken to combat informal transfer of funds, as well as legislations enacted in line with Security Council Resolution 2178 on foreign terrorist fighters, which contributed to improving Egypt’s evaluation in combating terrorism, especially with regard to the criminalization of terrorism financing and related money laundering operations.

  4. Providing financial institutions operating in Egypt with the general statement issued by FATF regarding the list of countries with major deficiencies in anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) systems, for which FATF developed action plans. This statement was also made available on the Unit’s website.

  5. Conducting a study on the “risks of exploiting non-profit organizations in terrorist financing operations”, which the Unit submitted to the Ministry of Social Solidarity to be circulated to non-profit organizations, associations, and institutions. Moreover, the Unit designed specific indicators elated to money laundering and terrorism financing, with specific responses thereto, based on the level of risk, and in line with international standards designed by FATF contained in its 40 recommendations.

  6. Conducting a study on “Confronting the Financing of Terrorism based on Risk Assessment”, that focused on the importance of modern technology in combatting terrorist financing, as well as the need for an integrated multi-objective approach to deprive terrorists of funding sources, using financial investigations to detect and disrupt terrorist networks, and the importance of building partnerships between counter terrorist financing agencies and the private sector.

  7. The Unit, in coordination with the Central Bank of Egypt and the National Payments Council, prepared a comprehensive study on virtual currencies and their risks. This study analyzed the risks associated with virtual currencies such as their use in financial crimes, money laundering and terrorist financing. In this context, the Central Bank of Egypt has issued directives to banks operating in the country to take necessary measures to suspend payment operations directed to the purchase of all types of encrypted virtual currencies, especially “bitcoin”.

In 2021, the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) assessed the Egyptian anti-money laundering and terrorist financing systems, within the commitment of Egypt to the applicable international standards and conventions in combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation of arms. The evaluation process was carried out in accordance with the compliance assessment methodology issued by FATF, which seeks to set basic standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats.

A detailed report was issued following the conclusion of that assessment that was approved during the 32nd meeting of the MENAFATF members and observers, held virtually on June 7, 2021. The report commended the efforts of the Egyptian authorities to combat terrorist financing in terms of technical compliance with FATF recommendations, and the effectiveness of the mechanisms that are in place to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

 

In this context, the report highlighted several positive points, including the following:

  • Recommendation (5), concerning the criminalization of terrorist financing, underscored that the definition of the crime of financing terrorism in Article (3) of the Anti-Terrorism Law No.94 of 2015 and its amendments includes all acts mentioned in Article (2) of the International Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing.

  • Commending the mechanisms used to implement the standards was mentioned in Recommendation (6) regarding the enforcement of targeted financial sanctions related to terrorism and its financing as stipulated in Security Council Resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1988 (2011), 1373 (2001), as well as other related resolutions.

  • Indicating that Egyptian authorities conduct several categories of counter terrorist financing operations, including the collection, transfer and use of funds, as well as investigating activities involving the financing of terrorism.

  • Underscoring that Egyptian law enforcement agencies have a good understanding of the risks of terrorism and its financing, as well as the risks of financing terrorism associated with non-profit organizations, noting that the number of convictions for financing terrorism is constantly decreasing thanks to the decline in the number of terrorist incidents, due to national efforts to combat terrorism and its financing.

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2.5. Economic and Social Measures:

Current threats to international peace and security, in particular terrorism, can only be tackled by addressing their root causes, as well as undermining terrorist groups’ endeavours to exploit these risks to promote their extremist ideology. Egyptian approach in this regard mirrors that stipulated in several Security Council resolutions, and the first pillar of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy about addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.

Egypt continues its relentless efforts to boost the national economy and its indicators, develop infrastructure and digital transformation projects, in line with the Egyptian comprehensive approach to combat terrorism and extremism. This approach is also based on the premise that sustainable development, economic and social prosperity contribute to creating an environment that eradicates terrorism and extremism and addresses their root causes.

Moreover, the Government has adopted initiatives to improve the social conditions of citizens, especially in sectors like health, education, empowerment of women and youth. It particularly focuses on raising awareness concerning development issues and confronting false allegations promoted by deceptive terrorist groups.

The Egyptian State has intensified its efforts to address different economic and social challenges through comprehensive planning and an ambitious vision for the future. In this respect, the State launched the “Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030” in February 2016, which represents the national program of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The Government ensured that the preparation, formulation, implementation, and ongoing refinement of this vision are carried out in a participatory manner, with the participation of the private sector, civil society and relevant stakeholders, with a special focus on youth and women in achieving development.

Egypt has also prioritized the localization of sustainable development goals in different governorates, with a view to maximizing their comparative advantages, and achieving “inclusive and sustainable growth and balanced regional development” as one of the main pillars of Egypt’s Vision 2030.

Against this backdrop, Egypt implements the “Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support” (MAPS) program to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in cooperation with the United Nations, to promote the concept of sustainable development in different governorates and integrate sustainable development goals into local investment plans.

Moreover, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development continues to focus on designing sustainable economic growth plans to achieve economic and social justice in different governorates, as part of the ongoing efforts to implement a comprehensive concept of human rights, which is one of the most important means of combating terrorism and extremism and undermining extremist groups threats to national security and stability. In this context, by the end of the fiscal year 2019/2020, the following targets were achieved:

  1. During the past two years total public investments amounted to EGP 987.5 billion (government investments represented approximately 33% of which), with a growth rate of 28%, compared to the previous two years (2016/2017 – 2017/2018). This incentivised economic growth despite the repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic, as the Egyptian economy achieved a growth rate of 3.6%, during the fiscal year (2019/2020) at a time when global economy shrank by 3% in the same year. Furthermore, unemployment rate fell to 7.3% in the first quarter of the year (2020/2021), compared to 9.6% in the fourth quarter of (2019/2020), and 7.7% in the third quarter of (2019/2020), while the inflation rate declined to 5.7% in (2019/2020), representing its lowest level in 14 years, after it had recorded 13.9% in (2018/2019).

  2. Public investments during the past years resulted in the completion of 1,770 projects in education and health sectors, at a cost of L.E 16 billion, and 543 projects in the energy sector (petroleum and electricity), at a cost of L.E 497 billion. That the share of Upper Egypt and borders governorates amounted to 36 % of the investments allocated to electricity projects.

Moreover, 689 housing projects were completed, at a cost of L.E 72.6 billion (the share of Upper Egypt and the borders governorates amounted to 31%), and 458 projects in the irrigation sector at a cost of L.E 5.6 billion, and 20 projects at a cost of L.E 4.3 billion in the agricultural sector, including the completion of 11 integrated agricultural clusters in North Sinai and the establishment of two agricultural clusters in South Sinai.

  1. A “financing equation” has been developed within the program of addressing development gaps, to ensure that public investments are directed to the most vulnerable governorates, especially in Upper Egypt and the borders governorates, guided by objective criteria, in line with the government’s focus on ensuring equitable distribution of resources.

  2. More than 2.3 million people have benefited from various employment opportunities through financing small, medium, and micro enterprises within the framework of the government’s programs to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship, with the funding provided to these projects amounting to about LE 28.5 billion.

  3. The Ministry of Planning provided funds of EGP 8.4 billion to establish 13 industrial complexes in different governorates, to promote local industrialization and stimulating private industrial investment.

In line with the focus on integrating the social dimension into sustainable development plans, and the prioritization of accelerating economic and social development, the Government intensified efforts to improve basic services provided to citizens. It also expanded the scope of social protection programs for the most vulnerable families, with a view to improving their standard of living and integrate these families into the social security networks, which constitutes the first building block in developing the citizen’s sense of societal security, and enhances the society’s resilience against extremism. In this regard, the following targets were achieved:

 

  1. Protection and Social Care:

   – The number of “Aman” network branches increased to 1,017 fixed and mobile outlets, providing basic food commodities at reduced prices.

    – Moreover, 130 medical convoys were launched targeting the most vulnerable areas, benefiting 64,500 persons.

    –  Civil status services are provided free of charge to the population of North Sinai.

     – The total financial subsidies allocated to the disbursement of bread amounted to EGP 113 billion.

    –  About 176,000 persons benefited from cash subsidies provided by the Ministry of Endowments amounting to EGP 519 million, in addition to distributing 1.8 thousand tons of ” meat” as in-kind assistance.

 

  1. Rehabilitation of Unplanned Residential Areas:

– 586,000 citizens benefited from the program of rehabilitating unplanned residential areas, where 159 unsafe areas were rehabilitated, 85.5 thousand housing units were constructed benefiting 432,000 people.

–   83.3 thousand household sewage connections were installed for the most vulnerable families in 431 villages all over the country benefiting 908,000 citizens, in addition to the completion of the construction of 172.8 thousand social housing units.

 

  1. Takaful and Karama” Program (Solidarity and Dignity Program):

The number of families benefiting from the conditional cash support programs “Takaful and Karama” increased to 3.81 million families in 2020, with an increase of 523,000 families compared to the previous year, and up from 1.75 million beneficiaries in 2015 to 3.8 million beneficiaries, at a rate of 118%. Moreover, the budget allocated for cash support increased from EGP 6.9 billion in 2015 to EGP 19 billion in 2020 by 175%.

 

  1. Supporting Victims of Terrorist and Sectarian Incidents:

The Ministry of Social Solidarity allocated EGP 130 million this year to cover the cost of compensation for persons affected by sectarian and terrorist incidents.

 

  1. Education:

Within the program of developing the pre-university education system and providing education for all without discrimination, more than 26,000 classrooms were constructed, developed, and expanded to reduce the density of students at classrooms. In addition, 295,000 students in primary education benefited from financial and social assistance.

 

  1. Energy:

       To improve electricity service provided to citizens, 3.7 million smart and prepaid meters were installed, as well as 746.8 km of overhead cables passing through residential blocks were converted to ground cables. Furthermore, insulated conductors with a length of 20.4 thousand km, establishing 42 service centres were installed, connecting 2.3 million housing units to the natural gas grid all over Egypt, replacing 41.4 million cylinders of butane.

 

  1. Drinking Water and Sanitation:

– 9.7 million citizens benefited from sanitation projects, while 8.1 million citizens benefited from drinking water projects. The capacity of drinking water projects reached 1.44 million m3/ day, with a network of 830.2 km, whereas the capacity of sanitation projects reached about 970 thousand m3/day, with a network of 983.7 km.

– Furthermore, 179 sanitation projects were completed in villages with a length of 1.4 thousand km. The total capacity of the developed dual and triple treatment plants that drained into the Nile River amounted to about 1.88 million m3/day, benefiting 18.8 million citizens in 7 governorates; namely: Assiut, Aswan, Fayoum, Minya, Beni Suef, Sohag, and Luxor. While the total capacity of the desalination projects amounted to 256 thousand m3/day in the governorates of North Sinai, Matrouh, and the Red Sea.

 

  1. The “Haya Karima” Initiative (Decent Life):

  – “Decent Life” initiative was expanded to improve the quality of life in rural areas. Funds allocated to 375 villages covered by the initiative amounted to about EGP 15.5 billion, benefiting about 4.5 million citizens.

– The “Quality of Life: Basic Needs” indicator was launched to assess the impact of the initiative on improving the standard of living of citizens. The mid-term report revealed a decrease in the average poverty rate by about 14 percentage points and expected an improvement in the rate of access to basic services by 18 percentage points in villages covered by the first phase, which amount to 143 villages.

 

 

  1. Upper Egypt Development:

  • As part of the Government’s program for the development of Upper Egypt governorates, investments of about EGP 5.8 billion were allocated to the Local Development Program in Upper Egypt (Qena, Sohag) during the past four years (2016/2017 – 2019/2020), of which EGP 4.2 billion were allocated during the past two years (2018/2019 – 2019/2020) including EGP 2 billion for Qena Governorate and EGP 2.2 billion for Sohag governorate.

  • Moreover, 713 projects were completed at a cost of EGP 1.6 billion (223 projects in Qena at a cost of EGP 864 million and 490 projects in Sohag at a cost of EGP 759 million). Investment of EGP 2.9 billion were allocated during the fiscal year (2020/2021), including EGP 1.3 billion for Qena and EGP 1.6 billion for Sohag. Projects funded by these investments contributed to reducing poverty rates in the two governorates at a rate of 5-10 %.

 

       The Government has also allocated EGP 7.6 billion for development projects in Sinai within the investment plan for the fiscal year 2020/2021, as part of its measures to achieve comprehensive development in Sinai. The following are the most prominent implemented and ongoing projects:

 

  1. Housing and Road Construction:

  • Allocating housing units for individuals affected by terrorist incidents in North Sinai.

  • Completing the construction of 17 residential/agricultural complexes, accommodating 10,000 people.

  • Completing the first phase of the new city of Rafah with a total of 216 units, in addition to the service area.

  • Completing the construction of a complex of villages for fishermen with a total of 200 units accommodating about one thousand persons.

  • Completing the development of about 450 km of road network.

 

  1. Drinking Water and Sanitation Projects:

  • Completing the sanitation project for the city of Bir al-Abed.

  • Completing the construction of a seawater desalination plant west of El-Arish, with a capacity of 150,000 m3/day.

  • Completing the construction of a triple treatment plant for Bahr Al-Baqar sewage facility with a capacity of 5.6 million m3/day.

 

  1. Education and Higher Education Projects:

  • Constructing and developing 30 schools.

  • Completing procedures for establishing King Salman University in South Sinai.

  • Issuing decisions to establish the Faculties of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Al-Arish.

 

  1. Health:

  • Completing the second phase of the development of Al-Arish General Hospital.

  • Enhancing the efficiency of Al-Tur Central Hospital and Ras Sidr Hospital.

  • Including the inhabitants of South Sinai governorate in the health insurance program.

 

  1. Agricultural Projects and Land Reclamation:

  • Establishing 38 agricultural development and investment clusters.

  • Establishing two agricultural research stations.

 

  1. Public Services:

  • Developing 6 radio and television transmission stations.

  • Developing the cultural centres of El-Arish and Sharm El-Sheikh.

  • Establishing a wholesale market in the city of Al-Arish and a commercial market in the city of Al-Tur.

 

  1. Supportive Measures to Achieve Development in Sinai:

  • Legalizing seizure cases for 103 requests in North and South Sinai.

  • Approving requests for establishing and amending articles of statute for 106 investment companies operating in the Sinai Peninsula.

  • Approving requests submitted by 76 companies operating in the sectors of quarries, salinas and mines.

  • Approving requests for allocating agricultural lands submitted by 56 citizens in the North Sinai Development Project.

 

Regarding human development, the Ministry of Social Solidarity launched in 2020 several initiatives to integrate societal values, civic, religious and cultural diversity and tolerance culture into the various “economic, environmental and cultural” development programs currently being implemented in the most disadvantaged areas and the most vulnerable to extremism, sectarian incidents and terrorism. This emanates from a strategy that seeks to integrate all citizens from different religious, cultural and social backgrounds into development activities and community service, by sensitizing the public about the culture of citizenship in a practical way. This strategy includes financial and technical support to NGOs to enable them to become partners in implementing these initiatives in local communities; some of them are as follows:

  1. Promoting citizenship values in villages most affected by sectarian incidents in Minya Governorate:

The Ministry of Social Solidarity, has launched “We are all Egyptians… Our diversity is strength” initiative, with a budget of EGP 12 million (provided by the Fund for Supporting Associations and NGOs affiliated to the Ministry) for a period of one year, to support eight local NGOs to implement a project to promote citizenship values in some of the villages of Minya governorate that were most affected by sectarian events. This includes the following:

  • Citizenship Committees: These committees were formed in 44 villages, comprising individuals who have been trained on the promotion of the concepts of citizenship, acceptance of religious and cultural diversity, teamwork skills, volunteering, and the integration of all segments of society into development and cultural initiatives to combat extremism and radicalization. The criteria for selecting these committee members reflect religious and generational diversity and ensure the proper representation of women and persons with disabilities. These committees also include representatives of local NGOs and community leaders in the participating villages.

  • Youth for Citizenship: A team of young volunteers has been formed of 150 young men and women, who have been trained on the values of volunteering and teamwork within the framework of the culture of citizenship. The volunteer team, in cooperation with NGOs and Minya Governorate, organized a “citizenship week” at the end of 2020 in a village that was exposed to some sectarian rumours. This week included cultural and artistic activities for children, environmental activities for cleaning and the gentrification of the village and providing medical services and check-ups.

  • “Know Minya” Program: The program includes visiting the Ancient Egyptian, Christian and Islamic cultural and tourist sites in the Minya governorate in cooperation with the Antiquities Authority in Minya, with a view to sensitizing the youth in the targeted villages about the layers of the rich Egyptian identity, that is religiously and culturally diverse, which contributes to their acceptance of diversity and respect of the other. Seven targeted villages were included, where food commodities, blankets and clothes were distributed to 1,401 families in partnership with Tahya Misr Fund (Long Live Egypt Fund) to launch the largest humanitarian convoy to support the most vulnerable families.

 

  1. Incorporating the aspect of awareness into the “Haya Karima (Decent Life)” initiative:

  • The “Decent Life” initiative promotes social, economic, and environmental development in remote and poor villages, providing basic services, and supporting the most vulnerable groups by contributing to the expanding drinking water and sanitation services to households that lack basic services. The initiative also focuses on improving health, social and veterinary services, as well as organizing medical convoys, providing compensatory and orthodontic devices for persons with disabilities, establishing nurseries for early childhood development, improving environmental indicators, recycling solid and agricultural waste, and linking these indicators to the sustainable development plan 2030.

  • The implementation of the presidential initiative “Decent Life” expanded during 2020 to cover 1,400 villages in 50 localities in 20 governorates. The activities of the initiative are carried out through a partnership between the Ministry of Social Solidarity and 23 NGOs, where NGOs contribute 15% of the total cost. The total cost of “Sakan Karim (Decent Housing)” initiative and the first phase of “Haya Karima (Decent Life)” initiative in 11 governorates amounted to EGP 969 million during the period from 2018 to 2020, and the number of beneficiaries of social, health and economic services provided in the first phase reached 186,525 families, i.e., almost one million citizens.

  • The Ministry of Social Solidarity has also integrated aspect of cultural awareness and the attitude improvement and behaviours of citizens in the villages of the first phase of “Decent Life” initiative through the activities of the “Waai (Awareness)” program for community development, which included 300 cultural, community and service activities, targeting 60,000 families. In implementing these activities, the Ministry relies on partnership with NGOs to enhance community participation and citizenship values.

 

  1. A field study on development needs of North Sinai Governorate, and the economic and social costs of terrorism and extremism:

  • The Ministry of Social Solidarity completed in 2020 a study on “the development needs of North Sinai Governorate and its six localities”, conducted by the National Centre for Social and Criminal Research. This study included a detailed presentation of the living conditions and development needs of North Sinai. The Ministry of Social Solidarity has allocated a budget of about 25 million pounds for the year 2021, to implement a set of social protection interventions and development activities to enhance community participation, culture of citizenship in North Sinai. These interventions include social, economic and health aspects.

  • The Ministry of Social Solidarity prepared in 2020 a research plan on “the economic and social cost of ideological extremism, terrorism and radicalization in Egypt, in comparison with some Islamic countries”. This study will be conducted during 2021, with a view to contributing to the development of national policies and programs to combat terrorism and extremism.

 

  1. The “Waai” (Awareness) programme for Community Development to disseminate positive cultural and societal values and prevent extremism:

  • The Ministry of Social Solidarity launched the “Awareness Program for Community Development” in 2020 and decided to integrate the awareness aspect into social protection and care programs of the Ministry and partnering NGOs. The program promotes positive values ​​and behavioural patterns against negative values and practices, which lead to the perpetuation of poverty and exacerbation of societal problems, foremost of which is extremism and religious fanaticism. The program empowers members of the family and provides reliable scientific, religious, and legal information, to enable citizens to reject negative practices and adopt values and behavioural patterns that support human development and society wellbeing.

  • The “Awareness” program identified 12 basic topics such as the promotion of the values ​​of citizenship, respect for diversity, education and knowledge, healthy lifestyle, and positive parenting. The Ministry of Social Solidarity has also prepared a booklet on citizenship and respect for diversity, to consolidate positive values. It includes simplified messages mainly targeting young people, about the danger of extremist ideology to national security, promoting respect of religious and cultural diversity that has always enriched the Egyptian society throughout history and respect for the constitutional and legal framework that ensures equality among all Egyptians with no discrimination.

Significant progress has been achieved with respect to empowering women politically, economically, and socially in the past few years. Concepts of gender equality and women empowerment have been streamlined into educational curricula at various stages, to eliminate negative practices and to promote positive values associated with the empowerment of women.

In line with the efforts made to strengthen the role of civil society and NGOs working in the field of citizenship programs and respect for religious and cultural diversity, Law No.149 of 2019 was issued to regulate the work of civil society organizations. Its provisions apply to both Egyptian and foreign civil society associations and organizations, providing them with the proper legal framework that facilitates their work in social, economic, cultural, and environmental domains, in support of sustainable development plans.

Law no.149 of 2019, also, obligated the central unit of associations and civil society to study the nature of civil society institutions that could, by virtue of their activities, be more liable to the risk of exploitation in terrorist financing operations, with a view to suppressing sources of terrorist financing and protecting civil society institutions from receiving suspicious funds.

Through this law, the State supports NGOs that promote values of citizenship and respect for religious and cultural diversity through the implementation of development programs that address the root causes for the involvement of young people in terrorist groups, as well as cultural programs that promote values of citizenship, respect for the constitution and the law, and Egyptian religious and cultural diversity against intolerance and extremism. Against this backdrop, NGOs strive to create inclusive civic space for all Egyptians of different religious, social and cultural backgrounds, to promote harmony and sustainable development.

 

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2.6. Rights of Victims of Terrorism

Egypt is strongly commited to the protection of the rights of victims of terrorism, within the framework of its holistic approach to combat terrorism and its repercussions. The National Council for the Care of Families of the Martyrs and the Injured was established by the Prime Ministerial Decree No.1485 of 2011. This Council is affiliated to the Council of Ministers and plays an important role in providing support and care for the families of the martyrs and the injured, including free health services, counselling and psychological rehabilitation services to the families of the martyrs and their children; especially those who have been completely disabled as a result of terrorist attacks and those who have been exposed to post-traumatic stress disorder.

It also supports members of the families of martyrs to obtain suitable job opportunities according to their qualifications, including the setting up of small projects in cooperation with the competent government agencies.

The Government, also provides exceptional benefits and pensions to victims of terrorism, as follows:

  1. Providing compensation to victims of terrorist attacks in the form of EGP 100,000 for each martyr’s family, EGP 100,000 for each person with a total disability, and EGP 5,000 for each injured person without any degree of disability, in addition to the payment of other financial assistance.

  2. Providing pensions to families of martyrs and those with total disability, with families reserving the right to combine this pension with any other pension or income, in accordance with exceptional decisions, including decree No. 915 of 2015 and its amendments.

  3. Issuing special cards to the families of the martyrs and the injured, according to which they receive the following services:

  • Free medical services through 68 hospitals nationwide.

  • Providing medicines free of charge, including the service of home delivery in case of individuals with total disability.

  • Providing prosthetic devices (artificial limbs, electric and ordinary wheelchairs, earphones, crutches, and others) for individuals with total and partial disabilities.

  • Exempting the injured and the families of martyrs from tuition fees in schools, universities, and government institutes of learning, in coordination with the Ministries of Education and Technical Education, and Higher Education and Scientific Research.

  • Exempting the families of the martyrs and the injured from the costs of train tickets and public transport buses, as well as providing them with 50% discount of the subway subscription rate, in coordination with the Ministry of Transport.

  • Organizing literacy courses for the families of the martyrs and the injured.

  • Organizing training workshops on handicrafts in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, which contribute to qualifying them for the labour market and setting up small projects.

  • Organizing entertainment and educational programs for the families of the martyrs and the injured in different Egyptian governorates and providing them with a discount on membership fees in youth centres located in their area of residence.

  • Providing housing units to eligible beneficiaries nationwide.

  • Naming streets, squares, and schools with the names of the martyrs in honour of their memory.

Moreover, the Egyptian State offers social assistance/ aid on exceptional basis to the families of martyrs and injured. It also provides psychological and social support to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, targeting the children of the victims. The Ministry of Social Solidarity also provides soft loans to women, especially those of families of the victims of terrorism, to establish small and micro projects that contribute to improving their standard of living.

The Egyptian Red Crescent Society, through the Psychosocial Support Unit, contributes to the promotion of psychological and social well-being of families of martyrs and the injured. It also enhances awareness about psychological and social reactions and the special needs of those affected.

It provides assistance with regard to educational needs, enabling beneficiaries to enhance their self-confidence, and promote community resilience, spreading a culture of peace and non-violence, and creating an environment conducive to preventing psychological trauma.

Psychosocial support interventions in emergencies have contributed to efforts for recovery and enhancing resilience after exposure to various emergencies over the past years. A set of interventions were designed to address the needs of different groups including women, children, youth, and the elderly through specialized programs such as child and youth resilience program, and life skills program. There was a special focus on the role of youth and women as catalysts of change, in societal change.

Taking into consideration the grave impact of terrorism on the enjoyment of basic human rights, in particular the right to life, personal security and the right to development, Egypt has relentlessly strived to protect the rights of victims of terrorism at the international level, which is an integral component of Egypt’s comprehensive approach to countering terrorism.

Egypt participated in launching the initiative to establish the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism at the United Nations in New York. Egypt was, also, part of the small group that drafted the General Assembly resolution 73/305 on the enhancement of international cooperation to assist victims of terrorism, which was adopted in June 2019.

 

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Chapter Three

Efforts Exerted at the Regional and International Levels

 

Egypt has placed the issue of combating terrorism and extremist ideology as one of its foreign policy priorities. The Egyptian diplomacy has intensified its efforts, whether through its active participation in various regional and international fora, or in the context of its interactions at the bilateral level with international partners, to promote Egypt’s vision as well as its comprehensive approach in combating terrorism and extremism. Egypt emphasizes the need to comprehensively confront all terrorist organizations without exception, as they represent a common threat to international peace and security. In this respect, Egypt also stresses the importance of concerted regional and international efforts to confront this scourge, addressing its root causes, holding to account any state that sponsors terrorism, suppressing the funding and ideological sources of terrorism, and redoubling efforts to reach an internationally agreed definition of terrorism.

 

Regionally:

Egypt continues to play an effective role in supporting African efforts in combating terrorism and extremism. This was one of the main priorities during Egypt’s presidency of the African Union in 2019, which built on efforts exerted over the past years bilaterally and regionally through the provision of technical support to build the capacities of fellow African countries in countering terrorism, to consolidate the principle of “African solutions to African problems”.

In this context, the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD), in cooperation with relevant ministries, held several training courses for African experts in the fields of analyzing terrorist crimes and securing vital facilities, most notably of which are a training course on combating international terrorism and a training course on the prevention of terrorism.

It is expected that both the African Union Center for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development “AUC-​PCRD” and the Counter Terrorism Center of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), hosted by Cairo, will contribute to supporting African efforts in addressing the different dimensions of terrorism and its root causes.

Furthermore, the second edition of the “Aswan Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development was virtually held during the period 1 – 5 March 2021, under the auspice of President/ Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and under the title “Forming a Vision for the New African Reality: Towards a Stronger Recovery and Better Building”. It was characterized by extensive international participation that included several African leaders and senior officials of regional and international organizations. The forum has become a platform for dialogue and interaction between political leaders, intellectuals, peace makers, development partners and experts from both inside and outside the continent to discuss interlinkage between peace and sustainable development, consistent with the Egyptian comprehensive approach for combating terrorism. The Forum supports African countries in implementing the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 and the African Union Agenda 2063.

Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peace building also organized a virtual workshop on “Terrorism in the context of the Corona Pandemic” in July 2020, which focused on evaluating the economic, social, and political and security impacts of the pandemic on terrorism and extremism in Africa. Moreover, the center organized a virtual training course in disarmament, rehabilitation and integration in cooperation with the Swedish Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) in December 2020, with the participation of a number of African and Egyptian counter- terrorism experts.

Egypt also contributes to Arab efforts to combat terrorism through its active participation in relevant events organized by the League of Arab States, such as the regular meetings of the Arab counter-terrorism experts group.

 

Internationally:

At the level of the United Nations, Egypt held the non-permanent membership of the Security Council in 2016 – 2017, representing the African continent. Egypt also concurrently chaired the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee.

During its membership in the council, Egypt contributed to the drafting and adoption of several important Security Council resolutions with respect to counter – terrorism, most notably of which are Resolution 2354 of 2017, which approved the “comprehensive international framework for combating terrorist discourse,” and Resolution 2370 of 2017 on preventing terrorists from obtaining weapons. Egypt continues to call upon the international community to implement these two resolutions through concrete practical measures, in a manner that ensures the effectiveness of international response to combat terrorism.

Egypt also actively participates in high-level international meetings related to combating terrorism, most notably the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week 2021, which was held in June 2021, during which Egypt presented its vision and comprehensive approach on combating terrorism and extremism. Furthermore, Egypt contributed to the review of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy, within the process of the seventh review of the strategy, which was adopted in June 2021.

Egypt attaches great importance to protecting the rights of victims of terrorism, given the impact of terrorism on the enjoyment of basic human rights, especially the right to life, personal security, and development, consistent with the Egyptian comprehensive approach to combat terrorism. In this regard, Minister of Foreign Affairs/ Sameh Shoukry participated in the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism, held in September 2020.

Egypt continues its active role in other multilateral fora such as the “Global Counter-Terrorism Forum” GCTF, where it holds the position of co-chair, along with the European Union, of the GCTF Capacity-building in the East Africa Region Working Group since September 2017.

 This group is one of the Forum’s five working groups, which is a multilateral forum, that focuses on enhancing international cooperation in issues related to combating terrorism, and on identifying the technical needs of the member countries, at their request, and based on their national priorities, respecting the principle of “National Ownership”, and seeking to mobilize financial resources to address those needs.

Within the framework of the Forum, Egypt co-chaired with the European Union the third annual meeting of the Capacity-building in the East Africa Region Working Group in November 2020. Egypt also jointly organized with the European Union, Germany and Algeria (representing the co-chairmanship of the Capacity-building in the West Africa Region Working Group) a joint workshop on “Border Security Management” in December 2020, which addressed challenges related to border management, and means to enhance regional cooperation to secure borders. It was the first joint workshop organized between two working groups of the Forum. The Capacity-building in the East Africa Region Working Group also organized a virtual workshop on enhancing “National and Regional Approaches to Dialogue and Community Resilience in East Africa” in March 2021.

Egypt continues to support international efforts to combat Da’esh in Syria and Iraq, through the active participation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the meetings of the Global Coalition to Defeat Da’esh, at the Ministerial and Political Directors levels, the last of which was the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Coalition held in June 2021. Egypt also participates in meetings of the Coalition’s working groups, namely stabilization, foreign terrorist fighters, countering Daesh financing, and communications working groups.

 

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Chapter Four

International and Regional Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols

 

Egypt has been at the forefront of countries that warned about the dangers of terrorism and its destructive repercussions on international peace and security. It has contributed to the international community’s efforts to combat terrorism by joining many international and regional instruments related to combating terrorism. Egypt signed the Geneva Convention to Prevent and Track Terrorism of 1937, which is considered one of the first serious attempts by the international community to address the challenge of terrorism.

 

Egypt has ratified the following international conventions on combating terrorism:

  1. The Tokyo Convention on offences and certain other acts committed on board aircraft concluded at Tokyo on September 14, 1963. The Presidential Decree No. 51 of 2017 was issued approving Egypt’s accession to the Montreal Protocol amending the above-mentioned Tokyo Convention that was ratified by Egypt in 1975, where this protocol expanded the jurisdiction of States Parties in their fight against crimes that occur on the means of air transport.

  2. The Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft concluded at The Hague on December 16, 1970.

  3. The Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation concluded at Montreal on September 23, 1971.

  4. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Personnel, approved by the United Nations on December 14, 1973.

  5. The International Convention against the Taking of Hostages approved by the United Nations on December 17, 1979.

  6. The Protocol on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports serving international civil aviation, annexed to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation concluded on February 24, 1988.

  7. The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation or SUA Act concluded on March 10, 1988, and the addendum Protocol on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Establishments existing on the continental shelf

  8. The Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the purpose of detection concluded on March 1st, 1991.

  9. The International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted by the United Nations on December 15, 1997.

  10. The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism concluded on December 9, 1999.

 

Furthermore, Egypt has ratified several other international conventions related to combating terrorism and addressing issues related thereto. The most important of these are the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and related maritime piracy, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime concluded in December 2000, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) concluded on December 9, 2003.

 

In addition, the following are the regional conventions related to combating terrorism, which Egypt has also ratified:

  1. The Arab Convention on Combating Terrorism, concluded in Cairo on April 22, 1998, and signed by all Arab countries during the Conference of Arab Interior and Justice Ministers held in Cairo in April 1998. The definition of terrorism in the provisions of the convention mirrors that used in the Egyptian Penal Code.

  2. The Organization of African Unity Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism concluded in Algeria on July 14, 1999, to which Egypt acceded to in 2000.

  3. The Arab Convention for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, concluded in Cairo on December 21, 2010.

  4. The Arab Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, concluded in Cairo on August 19, 2014.

  5. The Arab Convention on Combating Technology Offences, concluded in Cairo on December 12, 2010.

  6. The Convention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on Combating International Terrorism, concluded on June 28, 1992.

  7. Arab Convention for Judicial Cooperation, concluded within the framework of the Arab League on April 4, 1983.

 

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