Addressing the Challenge of Returning Families of Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Workshop Held in Madrid, Spain

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC, United States
May 29, 2018


The United States and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, under the auspices of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), held the third and final regionally-focused workshop of the Initiative on Addressing the Challenge of Returning Families of Foreign Terrorist Fighters in Madrid, Spain on May 28-29, 2018.

The yearlong Initiative brought together national and local governments, international organizations, health and social community support entities, and family support organizations over a series of three regional workshops. The first workshop was held in Tunis, Tunisia on February 8-9, 2018 and the second took place in Bali, Indonesia on May 7-8. Each workshop solicited input from regional organizations, national governments, and expert practitioners to ensure the resulting good practices document is as universally applicable as possible.

Participants in the Madrid workshop discussed the threat of returning families of FTFs in Europe and shared case studies and best practices through a roundtable discussion series. The sessions in Madrid were dedicated to reviewing the draft good practices document.

The Families Initiative is one of the many efforts the GCTF is working on to address the problems posed by returning foreign terrorist fighters and the family members who accompany them. Addressing the challenge can be difficult, as some may have engaged in terrorism in Syria and Iraq, while some may themselves be victims of ISIS. The good practices document will be put forward for endorsement at the 2018 GCTF Ministerial Meeting in September 2018. It is intended to provide a basis for international engagement, assistance, and training to address this challenge.