The Algerian proposal that suggests putting an end to the practice of paying ransoms is raising humanitarian, political and practical issues.
Is it permissible to gamble with the lives of hostages for an uncertain win in the long term? Britain had refused to pay a ransom for its national Edwin Dyer, and the kidnappers did not hesitate to cut off his head.
However, continuous submission to negotiations – even if it allowed saving some lives – encourages the kidnappers to continue their practices. Applying the conditions of gangs in order to save one person’s life, leads to a greater number of casualties in terrorist operations carried out by Al-Qaeda, because these organizations finance their terrorist operations with the hostages’ money.
Will all countries abide by this agreement? Countries are subject to unreasonable pressure from their citizens, which is human and understandable. The electoral agenda also plays a role in this pressure, in addition to the operations of Al-Qaeda aimed at people of different nationalities. Last week, the organization of Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb threatened to target Chinese enterprises in the Maghreb countries in retaliation for killing Muslim Uighurs in China. This means that the decision of the Algerian state is not binding for China.
This leads us to the third issue concerning the effectiveness of agreements that do not have a universal aspect.
The answer must be enacting an international resolution binding the international community, and developing an impartial international monitoring mechanism to be solely responsible for the follow-up of abductions.
It will then be clear to the kidnappers that all nations are no longer in a position that allows them to surrender because they would be subject to international sanctions otherwise. These countries will no longer be the only ones politically responsible in the eyes of the people for the kidnapping of victims, since this issue would overcome them to become dependent on the decision of the international community.
However, all of these actions remain a mere fabrication. A radical solution is to put an end to the reasons that drive young people in the region to such practices. We should recall the testimony of the former Algerian fighter, Hasan Hamida, who said: “I know some fighters who repented and then returned to Jihad because they were unable to work and earn their living.”
Therefore, prevention must be political and social, not only legal.
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