Press release

UN sanctions for British foreign fighters who join ISIL in Syria

British foreign fighters that have gone to join ISIL in Syria could be subject to UN sanctions for the first time.


The government has proposed that a handful of British citizens should be added to the UN Al Qaeda sanctions regime which would lead to a global asset freeze and travel ban being imposed against them.

The government put forward the proposal earlier this month to the UN Sanctions Committee and the measures were expected to go through in New York yesterday evening (28 September). The move underlines the government’s determination that those who go and fight for ISIL and threaten Britain will face consequences for their actions.

It is the first time since 2006 that the government has sought to subject British nationals to the UN AQ sanctions regime. The individuals are deemed to be associated with “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, listed as Al-Qaida in Iraq.

They include both men and women who are actively seeking to recruit to ISIL and using social media to promote terrorist activity online, including providing guidance on how to make homemade bombs.

The move comes as the Prime Minister attends a counter-ISIL coalition event with President Obama and other world leaders in New York today. Other countries are also stepping up their efforts against foreign fighters.

Notes to editors

  1. UNSCR 2178 requires countries to ensure foreign fighters are brought to justice (defined as any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts).

  2. The AQ monitoring team estimate that 25,000 fighters from more than 100 countries have travelled to fight with extremist groups since 2011.

Published 29 September 2015