Counter-ISIL Finance Group Kidnapping for Ransom Communiqué

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
May 13, 2015

Pursuant to the Action Plan agreed by CIFG members in Rome March 19-20, 2015, the Counter ISIL Finance Group (CIFG) met in Jeddah on May 7, 2015, to discuss ISIL’s sources of financing, including the dangerous and ongoing problem of kidnapping for ransom. The CIFG notes with concern the huge revenues raised by ISIL from kidnapping for ransom reflected in the UN Al-Qaida Sanctions Monitoring Team report on countering ISIL financing and the FATF report on ISIL funding on Feb. 2015. The CIFG condemns the practice of kidnapping for ransom, whether by ISIL or by any other group, and abhors ISIL’s murder of hostages as a wanton, heinous, and cowardly act of terrorism.

The CIFG welcomes the Financial Action Task Force’s report in February 2015 recognising the significant terrorist finance threat presented by kidnapping for ransom by ISIL and other terrorist groups, and committing to further research to identify and analyse emerging terrorist financing risks, as well as what more needs to be done to prevent the abuse of the financial and economic sectors through emerging threats.

The CIFG recalls that the United Nations Security Council – as expressed in Resolution 2133 (2014) and most recently Resolution 2199 (2015) – has reaffirmed that all States shall prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts and refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, and that the requirements of resolution 2161 (2014) apply to the payment of ransoms to individuals, groups, undertakings or entities on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List, including ISIL, regardless of how or by whom the ransom is paid. In line with these obligations and in recognition of the critical importance of denying all forms of funding to terrorist groups, the CIFG rejects the payment or facilitation of ransoms to ISIL and urges states to remain engaged with private sector entities and individuals to prevent the payment of ransom by private parties whether on their territories or in exchange for the release of their nationals.

The CIFG commends all cooperative efforts to prevent kidnappings, deny kidnappers the benefits of their crimes, and bring them to justice, such as those highlighted by the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) in the Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices on Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom by Terrorists. Similarly, it encourages private sector partners to adopt or to follow relevant guidelines and good practices for preventing and responding to ISIL kidnappings without paying ransoms, and resolves to remain engaged with those partners, including aid and media organisations, travel and insurance companies, and other relevant businesses and NGOs to ensure that they are aware of the full range of risks faced by staff operating in high-threat environments.

The CIFG calls upon all states to encourage insurance companies in their jurisdictions to incorporate in kidnap and ransom insurance policies appropriate exclusions regarding direct or indirect payments to sanction persons, in accordance with relevant national legislation and in line with recommendations made by the UN Al-Qaida Sanctions Monitoring Team.

In an effort to promote transparency and maintain momentum, the CIFG calls on all states pursuant to UNSCR 2199 (2015) to report to the UN Al Qaida Sanctions Monitoring Team on actions to counter ISIL’s financing, including to prevent kidnapping for ransom, and for CIFG members to share that information with the CIFG. The CIFG will highlight the areas in which international implementation of those provisions may be at risk, and share any recommended good practices.