By a Biometrica staffer
On Sept. 8–9, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco met remotely with G7 and EU Security Ministers, along with the Secretary General of INTERPOL, to discuss responding to the rapidly evolving events in Afghanistan, as well as countering racially and ethnically motivated extremism within their respective countries’ borders.
They were joined by Deputy Secretary John Tien of the Department of Homeland Security, who attended the London meeting in person.
The various nations’ ministers agreed to continue to work together on several aspects of law enforcement and in countering terrorism, with the assurances made being termed the London Interior Commitments.
“As we approach the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 and reflect on more recent terrorist attacks, we are reminded of the need for urgent global action to work collectively to counter all forms of violent extremism and terrorism, regardless of ideology, while respecting human rights and the rule of law, including the protection of freedom of expression,” the Ministers said in the aftermath of their meeting.
The ministers said that they strongly supported the cross-border sharing of information and intelligence regarding Afghanistan. They also acknowledged the need to counter “enduring threat posed by ideologically-motivated violent extremism and terrorism, including by self declared Islamist terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates.”
The meeting also reiterated the need for a global approach to tackling the increasing problem of criminals exploiting the internet.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the increase in global use of the internet thereby escalating the threat of online sexual exploitation and abuse of children and gender based violence, which can disproportionately affect women and girls.”
The Commitments noted that “as lockdowns in response to COVID-19 have seen 4 billion people sheltering at home, UN Women has described a shadow pandemic of violence against women (2020). Given the harms of violence against women and girls, the G7 recognise that addressing violence against women and girls – as well as other forms of gender-based violence – needs to form part of COVID-19 recovery.”
The ministers called for the expansion of the use of INTERPOL in in responding to global criminal threats. With more than 4,200 INTERPOL alerts related to subjects with either direct or indirect links to Afghanistan, as well as details of some 60,000 profiles of foreign terrorist fighters, Secretary General Jürgen Stock underlined the need to make this information as widely available as possible.
An example of fingerprint matching was cited in which an irregular migrant was arrested in Schengen borders in September 2020. At the time the fingerprint was matched to an improvised explosive device from Afghanistan years ago.
“We can do more, and with the right support we will do more, because the global threat requires it,” said Secretary General Stock. “Intelligence flows should mirror an increasingly interconnected world, which is why we must avoid creating regional silos or duplication of processes which prevent global information fusion. A fully integrated global security architecture supported by Interpol can help more effectively address crime threats such as terrorists attempting to cross borders, child abusers exploiting their victims, or ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure.”
Ministers also committed to the active promotion and use of the International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database. On average, the ICSE database helps identify seven child abuse victims every day and, in total, has assisted in the identification of more than 26,000 victims worldwide, as well as more than 12,000 offenders.