“We need to work closely with the other G7 countries to address extremism and terrorism”
10 December 2023
Consultations of the G7 interior ministers in Mito, Japan on the current security situation
Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser travelled to Mito, Japan for the G7 Interior and Security Ministers’ Meeting, which took place from 8 to 10 December 2023. One of the main focuses of the meeting was on combating terrorism and violent extremism – particularly given the impact of the situation in the Middle East.
“All G7 countries are currently experiencing how international crises affect internal security. At the moment, this is particularly true of Hamas terrorism and the war in Gaza, as well as antisemitism and Islamism, which have taken on a new magnitude. We need to work closely with the other G7 countries to address extremism and terrorism,” Federal Minister Nancy Faeser said. In the Joint Declaration of Intent, the partners condemned the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel on 7 October and called on Hamas to immediately release all hostages.
“I am especially grateful for the great certitude with which all G7 countries have responded to the barbaric terror of Hamas against Israel,” Faeser stressed at the end of the conference.
“At the same time, we are deeply concerned about the new waves of hate directed towards both the Jewish and Muslim communities. Especially now, it is of the utmost importance to all of us to eliminate the breeding grounds for hate and to protect people from antisemitism and anti-Muslim sentiment.”
The federal minister added that the fight against terrorist propaganda is also particularly important in this context. All partners are concerned with how to deal with disinformation, not only in the context of Israel. Russia, she said, is also continuing its attempts to weaken support for Ukraine and to divide societies by employing manipulation and influence campaigns.
“In addition to the international coordination of our security authorities, large digital platforms need to take their responsibility more seriously. We expect social media platforms to do more to remove hate speech and terrorist propaganda quickly and to curb the spread of lies and disinformation,” Federal Minister Faeser emphasised in Mito. The G7 partners also discussed this issue with representatives of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). The partners were informed that an international legal framework is needed in order to achieve effective results in fighting disinformation, hate speech and cyber crime. At European level, the Digital Services Act (DSA) is among the legislative tools that provide for a more secure and more responsible online environment.
Support for investigations of war crimes in Ukraine
In addition to the G7 interior ministers, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson; Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock; and Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko attended the meeting. The Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs reported that around 160 suspected Russian war crimes are currently being documented every day. We can only imagine the suffering of the victims, Klymenko said. There was a strong consensus that the partners should continue to provide comprehensive support to Ukraine and its security authorities. All partners pledged extensive assistance in particular for investigating war crimes, for example the abduction of Ukrainian children. Federal Minister Faeser stressed that
“we will continue to drive forward investigations of war crimes, such as the killing of civilians, sexual violence against women and the abduction of children. I therefore assured Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs that we will continue our extensive assistance for Ukraine’s police and law enforcement authorities, primarily in the form of modern forensics and police technology, in order to ensure accountability.” In March 2022, Germany’s Public Prosecutor General initiated a structural investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since then, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has been conducting investigations, interviewing refugees as witnesses and securing evidence in order to identify potential perpetrators.
“Ukraine can continue to count on our unwavering solidarity in the face of Russia’s inhumane war of aggression. The G7 countries stand with Ukraine,” the federal minister said.
Other issues discussed at the two-day conference included:
- The fight against organised crime, with a special focus on combating online and telephone fraud
- The fight against child sexual abuse, building on the past German G7 Presidency
- Protecting the economy and infrastructure from espionage and sabotage
- Cyber security
- The opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence
Regular cooperation of G7 working groups
The meeting of ministers is prepared by two G7 working groups, the Roma-Lyon Group and the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM). These working groups meet for discussions at various levels several times a year and prepare the specific topics. The Roma-Lyon Group covers the core area of public security, while the mandate of the RRM is to identify foreign threats for the G7 democracies and to respond to these threats.
As part of the Roma-Lyon Group, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community works on issues of public security (terrorism, extremism, serious and organised crime, cyber security and combating cyber crime, as well as migration issues). Within the RRM, issues such as warding off hybrid threats and foreign disinformation campaigns are discussed.