5 Thematic guides on Protecting Vulnerable Targets Against Terrorist Attacks

The increase of attacks against religious institution highlights the urgency of the need to protect these vulnerable targets. The United Nations is working towards providing support and resources to protect vulnerable targets against terrorist attacks. Following the Christchurch attacks in 2019, the UN Secretary-General requested from the High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos, a plan of actions to Safeguard religious sites. The Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT)’s Global Programme on Countering Terrorist Threats against Vulnerable Targets developed and published five new thematic guides on Protecting Vulnerable Targets Against Terrorist Attacks.

The guides were launched on 6th of September 2022. The launch event was opened by a number of UN officials such as the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), Mr. Vladimir Voronkov; the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani;  Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), Mr. Weixiong Chen; Director of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Institute (UNICRI) Ms. Antonia Marie De Meo; and Chief of Cabinet of the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Ms. Nihal Saad.

The thematic guide nr.4 addresses the protection of religious sites against terrorist acts. The guide presents a set of good practice examples which are sector specific. Accordingly, the SOAR project has been featured in the UNOCT’s Good Practice Guide on Protecting religious sites from terrorist attacks. The guide explores the role and aims of the SOAR Project and highlight the role of UNAOC within the project.

The SOAR project is a European Commission (EU) funded project that stands for ‘Strengthening the security and resilience of at-risk religious sites and communities’ programme. The programme is looking to advance the protection and safeguarding of places of worship in 7 countries across the EU (France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands, and Denmark) by providing free Safety and Security Training for leaders, managers, and caretakers of Places of Worship (including Churches, Mosques, Temples, Gurdwaras, Synagogues, and more). The project operates on a community based approach and is applying the Security by Design concept.