Home News Coronavirus Prompts Fall In Terrorist Activity, But Effect Could Be Shortlived

Coronavirus Prompts Fall In Terrorist Activity, But Effect Could Be Shortlived

Coronavirus Prompts Fall In Terrorist Activity, But Effect Could Be Shortlived

The curfews, closed borders and grounded airline fleets of the coronavirus era have made life difficult for people around the world, but there is a silver lining to the lockdown: terrorists have also found it harder to move around, recruit new foot soldiers and commit atrocities.

Measures taken to limit crowds have also robbed terrorists of many potential targets, although not every attack has been prevented – three were killed in a knife attack in Nice, France in late October.

The overall trend is positive though, as it has been for several years. Deaths from terrorism fell by 15% around the world last year to under 14,000. It is the fifth year in a row the number has fallen and the likelihood is that this year’s pandemic will mean that continues, according to the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP).

“Deaths continue to decrease year after year and for the fifth year in a row,” says Serge Stroobants, director of operations for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa at IEP. “When we look at the numbers for 2020 the first impression that we have is we see a decrease in the impact of terrorism globally. A lot of different forms of violence saw a decrease due to the lockdown.”

Some groups have tried to use the debate around coronavirus as a new rhetorical front. Milo Comerford of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue points out in an essay in the latest edition of the IEP’s Global Terrorism Index that the Taliban has suggested the virus was sent by God in response to the “sins of mankind,” while Islamic State has referred to it as a “soldier of Allah”.

Whether such invective will work remains to be seen. There is though a risk that the economic downturn caused by Covid-19 could increase political instability in some places and that governments under financial pressure may decide to cut back on funding for counter-terrorism initiatives.

“We might see less funding for counter-terrorism activities or activities that would create a better socio-economic environment in which people would have less tendency to be radicalised,” says Stroobants. “Under this socio-economic pressure we might see that more people are going to alienate from society, more people feel discriminated against and more people would be prone to listen to the messages of [terrorist] recruiters. That’s a potential risk for the future.”

Global trends

The countries most at risk of a renewed surge in terrorist violence are generally already war-torn – 96% of all terrorist attacks take place in a country already involved in a violent conflict according to the IEP’s analysis.

According to the Global Terrorism Index, 63 countries recorded at least one death from a terrorist attack in 2019. The country that suffered the most was Afghanistan, followed by Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, India, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Philippines.

Overall, the Middle East and North Africa region recorded the largest improvement in terrorism for the second consecutive year, recording the lowest number of deaths since 2003. For the second year in a row South Asia was the region most impacted by terrorism, but seven of the ten countries with the largest increases in terrorism deaths were in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Taliban remained the world’s deadliest terrorist group in 2019, although deaths attributed to the group declined by 18%. Islamic State’s strength and influence also continued to decline and, for the first time since it became active, it was responsible for less than 1,000 deaths in a year. In North America, Western Europe and Oceania, far-right attacks have increased by 250% since 2014 and are higher now than at any time in the last 50 years.

“We are seeing new threats of terrorism emerge. The rise of the far-right in the West and the deteriorations in the Sahel are prime examples,” said Steve Killelea, chairman of the IEP.


Eskalera, a Startup Led by Goldman Sachs’ Former HR Head Has Launched a Diversity and Inclusion Index

Eskalera, a technology startup led by Goldman Sachs former human resources head Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness,...

HSBC to Remove 35,000 Jobs Amidst Covid-19 Crises

HSBC Holdings Plc has restarted cutting as many as 35,000 jobs, three months after the coronavirus outbreak forced it to pause a long-awaited overhaul...

Genpact Offers Its Internal Skill Training Program Globally for Everyone

Genpact has announced Adapt and Rise, a role-based online learning platform that leverages Genpact's expertise honed from delivering real-world change for hundreds of clients....

San-Francisco Based Learning Platform Degreed Has Raised $32 Million in New Funding

The upskilling platform, Degreed, has announced $32 million in new funding in direct response to overwhelming demand for better skill insights, talent mobility, and...

Research Shows the Implications of Workplace Layouts on Employee Productivity and Overall Performance

As some workplaces prepare for the gradual return of employees and overhaul office layouts and seating plans, research has shown this could also have...

Employee Concierge ‘Back Technologies’ Integrates Automation Into Internal HR and Other Support Tasks

Companies are under increasing pressure to automate workflows and digitally service their employees, particularly in light of trends toward remote work. It takes an...

HR Strategies to Help Your Business Navigate the New ‘Normal’

No business is immune to the massive changes resulting from the health crisis. Organizations have proven themselves to be agile, and employees have demonstrated...

The Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion In HR, Hiring, Talent Management: Thoughts From A Top Expert

Michael C. Hyter is one of today’s best-known experts on inclusion and diversity and the author of The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career and The...

HR Expert Highlights Actionable Steps to ‘Make Real Change’ Against Racism in Your Workplace

Kyra Leigh Sutton, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, where she teaches human resources courses...

Adidas Employees Want Company to Investigate HR Chief for Response to Racial Issues

A group of Adidas employees from around the globe is asking the company to investigate its chief human resources officer, as part of a...