|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM)
General Assembly’s Legal Committee Is Told Global Convention Needed
against Terrorism Since No Country Immune; Final Action Urged
Delegates Note Many Killed and Injured in Mogadishu Bombing
During the concluding discussion in the Sixth Committee (Legal) on the subject of measures to eliminate international terrorism, delegates today repeatedly illustrated that no country or State in the world was immune from terrorism, and that it now was imperative to finalize the draft articles of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
The delegates of both Uganda and of the United Kingdom referred to this morning’s suicide bombing in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, where at least 70 people were killed and scores injured. The United Kingdom delegate also noted that more than 10,000 people had been killed in terrorist attacks in 2010. Colombia’s representative stressed the importance of addressing victims’ rights, calling for mechanisms to be developed enabling victims’ pain to be heard and recognized.
After three decades of terrorism in his country, Sri Lanka’s representative stressed that the Committee had the potential to make a profound difference in combating terrorism. Because no terrorist group could survive without support from international linkages, a finalized convention would ensure worldwide cooperation and coordination in ending terrorist activity.
The events of 11 September 2001 galvanized the international community into a partnership that helped defeat terrorism in his country and establish successful elections and self-determination, the Afghanistan delegate pointed out. However, a rise in violence indicated the persistence of terrorist footholds. A legal framework for international cooperation was needed and he urged increased cooperation to resolve the draft convention’s outstanding issues.
Recalling the hijacking and bombing of an aircraft in the Caribbean Sea more than 35 years ago, the representative of Trinidad and Tobago, speaking for Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said, because no State was immune from international crime, it would take global actions to end terrorism.
When the Committee turned to the request by eight organizations for observer status, four draft resolutions were introduced. However, several delegates expressed reservations about criteria, relating in particular to one group, while others addressed a procedural matter that allowed exceptions to be made in certain circumstances.
In the debate today on measures to eliminate international terrorism, speaking also on behalf of regional groups were Viet Nam for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Kenya for the African Group.
Also speaking were the representatives of Nigeria, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Uganda, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Myanmar, Kenya, Eritrea, Tunisia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Iran, Yemen, Turkey, Oman, Algeria, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Venezuela, Mozambique, Montenegro, Georgia and Mauritania.
The delegates of Israel and Saudi Arabia spoke in right of reply.
The Committee will meet again Wednesday, 5 October, at 10 a.m., to take up the matter of rule of law at the national and international levels.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met today to conclude its consideration of measures to eliminate terrorism and to consider eight requests for observer status in the work of the General Assembly. Committee action was expected on requests from the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States, the Union of South American Nations, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Central European Initiative, the United Cities and Local Governments, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking Countries and the International Conference of Asian Political Parties.
A draft resolution requesting observer status for the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States (document A/C.6/66/L.2) in the work of the Assembly is accompanied by a report to the Committee (document A/66/141) explaining that the international intergovernmental organization aims to promoting comprehensive cooperation among its four founding member States (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey).
Members of the Cooperation Council are said to embrace the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law. Cooperation among Member States is based on solidarity stemming from a common history, culture, identity and culture of Turkic-speaking peoples. The Council serves as a regional instrument for enriching international cooperation in the Central Asian and Caucasian regions.
A draft resolution requesting observer status for the Union of South American Nations (document A/C.6/66/L.3) in the work of the Assembly comes with a report to the Committee (document A/66/144) describing the Union as one that is committed to strengthening the international presence of the South American region.
The Union seeks to achieve cultural, social, economic and political integration among its peoples. Its focus includes eradicating poverty, overcoming inequalities and developing infrastructure for the interconnection of the region.
The Committee was also expected to take action on a draft resolution requesting observer status for the International Renewable Energy Agency (document A/C.6/66/L.4) in the work of the Assembly. A report to the Committee (document A/66/145) contains an explanatory memorandum that describes the 151-member Agency as promoting the widespread, increased adoption and use of all forms of renewable energy.
The Agency monitors and systemizes current renewable energy practices. This includes policy advice, encouraging discussion and interaction on the issue of renewable energy, improving knowledge and technology transfer, capacity-building, and increasing public awareness about the benefits and potential offered by renewable energy.
A draft resolution requests observer status for the Central European Initiative (document A/C.6/66/L.5) in the work of the Assembly. A report to the Committee (document A/66/145) contains an explanatory memorandum that describes the 18-member body as the largest and oldest intergovernmental forum for regional cooperation. Member States are in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.
The Initiative represents a territory of 2.4 million square kilometres and a population of more than 250 million. It has worked to establish cohesion and solidarity among its Member States, transforming from a group focused on policy dialogue to one emphasizing the transfer of know-how and technology and promoting climate and energy sustainability and civil society.
A further draft resolution requests observer status for the United Cities and Local Governments (document A/C.6/66/L.6) in the work of the Assembly. A related report to the Committee (document A/66/192) contains an explanatory memorandum that describes the world organization of local and regional authorities as one that promotes exchange and innovation among its members, fostering solidarity and development cooperation.
In its request for observer status, the organization hopes to provide a direct link between local authorities and elected representatives of the General Assembly. It is a member of the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization, represents local authorities in the Advisory Group of the Development Cooperation Forum led by the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the Secretariat, and is an observer of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), among other activities.
The Committee was also expected to take action today on a draft resolution requesting observer status for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) (document A/C.6/66/L.7) in the work of the General Assembly. A Committee report (document A/66/193) contains an explanatory memorandum describing the six-member Authority as one developed to supersede the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development.
Founded in 1996, its six member States are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. It comprises four hierarchical policy organs, including the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the Council of Ministers, the Committee of Ambassadors and the Secretariat. Its mission is to assist and complement the efforts of the member States in the realms of increased cooperation, food security, environmental protection, promotion and maintenance of peace and security and humanitarian affairs and economic cooperation and integration.
A draft resolution requesting observer status for the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking Countries (document A/C.6/66/L.8) in the work of the General Assembly is accompanied by a report to the Committee (document A/66/196) containing an explanatory memorandum describing the inter-parliamentary organization.
Established in 2009, in accordance with the 2008 Istanbul Agreement signed by the Heads of Parliaments of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, the Parliamentary Assembly is an inter-parliamentary organization established to develop cooperation and promote political dialogue among its members, as well as to support the elaboration and implementation of various initiatives addressing regional and global security.
Finally, the Committee was expected to take action on a draft resolution requesting observer status for the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (document A/C.6/66/L.9) in the work of the Assembly. A report to the Committee (document A/66/198) contains an explanatory memorandum describing the aim of the organization to build bridges of political cooperation and to establish networks among mainstream political parties in Asia.
Launched in Manila in 2000 by 46 political parties in Asia, the Conference encourages exchanges and cooperation between political parties with various ideologies in Asia, promotes regional cooperation and creates an environment for sustained peace and shared prosperity in the region.
Statements on Measures against Terrorism
EDEN CHARLES ( Trinidad and Tobago), speaking on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), noting that the current debate took place almost a decade after two important events: the September 11th attacks and the initiation of discussion on the draft Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism. Although the Committee had not yet reached consensus on the convention’s draft text, he recognized the value of the efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee, and of Maria Telalian of Greece, who led information consultations on the matter. He said he hoped there would be agreement on the draft text during this session, which would define terrorism, making a clear distinction between terrorist acts and the struggle of peoples in the exercise of their right to self-determination.
Noting a hijacking and bombing of an aircraft in the Caribbean Sea that occurred more than 35 years ago, he said no State was immune from international crime; it would take global actions to “stamp out terrorism”. He said CARICOM was a party to global counter-terrorism instruments, worked to curb financing for terrorism and was a member of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Recognizing the value of standardized counter-terrorism measures, CARICOM had worked to harmonize and coordinate regional legislative practices on monitoring systems and administrative processes relating to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). A high-level conference on terrorism could provide a useful opportunity for Member States to interact with representatives of counter-terrorism committees and other actors, thereby enhancing the fight against terrorism.
LE HOAI TRUNG ( Viet Nam), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said that in order to eradicate international terrorism, it was crucial to address its root causes and conditions, such as the political, economic and social inequality and injustice that was prevalent around the world. In this regard, he stressed that any counter-terrorism actions should be conducted in conformity with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and all international law and conventions so that all efforts be “grounded firmly on respect for human rights and the rule of law”.
In the past year, he said, ASEAN counter-terrorism efforts were strengthened through each country’s national programme and through cooperative frameworks, including, among others, the eighteenth ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, in May of this year. The Comprehensive Plan of Action on Counter Terrorism and the development of new initiatives aimed at the root causes and conditions, as well as the promotion of interfaith dialogue, received continued support at the Conference.
ASEAN continued to develop and enhance the framework of the development assistance programme between their Member States and Japan with a focus on counter-terrorism capacity-building programmes in immigration control, airport and seaport security, customs cooperation and law enforcement cooperation.
MACHARIA KAMAU ( Kenya), speaking for the African Group, said the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism should not deny people their right to self-determination. Expressing the Group’s willingness to refine and finalize this text, he felt that a high-level conference on terrorism should be given serious consideration.
He said Africa had long recognized the need for concrete measures to counter terrorism. The African Union adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in 1999, which was followed by a Plan of Action in 2002. In addition, the African Center for Study and Research on Terrorism had been established. Expressing anxiety about increased incidences of kidnapping and hostage-taking, he said the Group was gravely concerned about the financing of terrorism, and the payment of ransoms to terrorist groups.
Speaking with appreciation for the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative and the Madrid Declaration and Plan of Action on combating terrorism in West and Central Africa, he said inter-State cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations needed to be strengthened. Noting that African States were plagued by inadequate resources and weak capacity, he appealed for assistance from the international community to fight terrorism.
VICTORIA UMOREN ( Nigeria) stated that the attacks on the United Nations Headquarters in Abuja reminded the international community that it was imperative to make a concerted effort in the fight against “the scourge of terrorism”. In her country, two bills were signed into law to strengthen counter-terrorism measures. The new Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 outlined measures for the prevention, prohibition and combating of acts of terrorism, and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 reinforced measures to prohibit the financing of terrorism and money-laundering.
Heralding the adopting of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy as a comprehensive framework that had “the United Nations at its heart”, she emphasized the need to continuously improve and build on this significant achievement. She also urged that sufficient resources be made available to the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force as it had been tasked with the overall coordination and coherence of the Organization’s efforts in this matter.
EDUARDO JOSE A. DE VEGA ( Philippines) said it was essential that Member States be aware of international legal frameworks and international, regional and interregional counter-terrorism cooperation while developing and implementing comprehensive national counter-terrorism strategies. Therefore, the development of international legal instruments was of vital importance. It was also essential that counter-terrorism strategies offer multifaceted approaches; the issue was complex and was rooted in conditions that undermined human dignity and, therefore, could not be fought “with guns and military strength alone”.
He said counter-terrorism approaches must be based on the protection and maintenance of human rights, with the rule of law prevailing in all cases. In the Philippines, he said, all measures to combat terrorism were consistent with human rights and international humanitarian laws, and in its counter-terrorism policies, there was strong emphasis, particularly by the police and the military, on international humanitarian laws as overarching principles. Cooperation and collaboration was also vital in tracking down and arresting terrorists; to that end his country had established a web of bilateral and multilateral relationships aimed at strengthening cooperation and building capacity and had spearheaded the creation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Anti-Terrorism Task Force.
FARHAN AL FARHAN (Saudi Arabia), urging completion of the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism, noted the importance of including a clear and comprehensive definition of terrorism, that distinguished between State terrorism and the right of nations to resist aggression according to the United Nations Charter. Observing that terrorism recognized no religion, nationality or race, he said Saudi Arabia supported the objectives of the Global Forum for Counter-Terrorism. Coordination of international efforts under the auspices of the United Nations to fight terrorism would enhance efforts to uproot terrorism completely.
He referred to “State-sponsored terrorism against the Palestinian people”, which had prevented humanitarian aid from reaching people in Gaza. This terrorism, he asserted, deprived a nation of its fundamental rights and “turned the country into a prison”. Israel’s continued attacks on the Palestinian people should be considered State terrorism, he said, since those actions ignored international legitimacy and resolutions.
He requested the inclusion in the Sixth Committee’s agenda of a draft resolution that would establish the United Nations centre for counter-terrorism, and noted that Saudi Arabia had signed a contribution agreement for its creation. The centre, he said, would support the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, foster international cooperation, strengthen capacity-building efforts and help to build a database of best anti-terrorism practices.
LESTER DELGADO SÁNCHEZ ( Cuba) expressed his country’s commitment to combat terrorism of all forms. He said it condemned the recent attacks in Norway and Namibia, and also the bombing of Libyan civilians by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces. He said that the fight against terrorism could not be used to interfere in the internal affairs of States; this policy of “double standards” ran counter to the Charter of the United Nations and undermined the values that the Organization upholds.
He said he refuted the United States Government’s decision to include Cuba on the list of States that sponsored terrorism and terrorist groups. This was a demonstration of the United States’ 50-year policy of “blockading” despite the position of the international community.
Referring to the recent “Wikileaks”, he said the United States State Department had received information that there were no anti-American groups in Cuba, nor did the Cuban Government provide support to any terrorist group. Furthermore, in his recent visit to Cuba, former President Jimmy Carter affirmed this as well.
He called for action to be taken on the case of Luis Posada Carriles who, he said, was responsible for 713 acts of terrorism against Cuba that resulted in 478 deaths and 99 serious injuries. He said the United States Government must comply with international standards.
DUNCAN LAKI MUHUMUZA ( Uganda), said the threat of terrorism in his subregion remained real, because of continued political instability in the Horn of Africa and the activities of various armed groups. The area continued to face significant border control challenges, and the threat of piracy and other crimes committed at sea that depleted the national resources available for countering terrorism. He said perpetrators of terrorism had been arrested in Uganda, and the country’s courts had successfully prosecuted and convicted them for their heinous crimes. Some of the accused had confessed to the terrorism acts and “gave details of their association and recruitment by Al-Shabaab”.
He said that, under the auspices of the hybrid UN-AU African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Uganda continued to fight against “one of the most anarchical terrorist outfits, Al-Shabaab”. Along with the forces of the Transitional National Government of Somalia (TFG), AMISOM had made significant progress against Al-Shabaab. Referring to the reported suicide attack near government buildings in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, today, which was said to have killed at least 70 people and injured many more, he said, “So, you see what we are dealing with in this region.” In that regard, he said, the fight against terrorism needed enhanced cooperation among States, as well as non-State actors alike. He reaffirmed Uganda’s firm commitment to global efforts in fighting terrorism, and other forms of transnational organized crime. Such collective efforts, he added, needed to aim at denying terrorists any safe haven, eradicating sources of terrorist financing and enhancing emergency preparedness and response capabilities.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua) expressed concern that, under the concept of “war against terrorism”, wars were being waged against brotherly peoples. She said she rejected and condemned those acts, and violations of human rights. Those efforts would not help in the struggle against terrorism; the terrorism fight must be aligned with international and humanitarian law.
She condemned those States claiming they were fighting terrorists but were hosting terrorists on their soil, and called for the extradiction of Luis Posada Carriles and five imprisoned Cubans now in jail in Florida. She asked how the United States could keep these men in jail for trying to defend themselves against terrorist acts being carried out by their own Government. She also spoke of Israel’s “violation of United Nations resolutions” and said that Israel “was committing State terrorism”.
Terrorism, she continued, could not be linked with any nationality, civilization, religion or ethnic group. Expressing support for convening a high-level conference on the subject, she said such an event could align positions on counter-terrorism and “salvage the credibility of United Nations”. The comprehensive convention on terrorism should be used as a general legal document containing elements not to be found in other instruments; it should serve as an effective legal document for combating terrorism, condemning belligerent acts conducted under the infamous slogan “war against terror”, and paving the way for an open, coordinated struggle waged within the context of international humanitarian law.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) rejected terrorism and condemned the senseless killings of civilians in all parts of the world. Terrorism could not be associated with any religion, race, ethnicity, faith, value system, culture or society. Terrorists had to be fought comprehensively; the fixation on a one-dimensional approach should be avoided.
He said the international community could continue to remain in denial about the root causes of terrorism only “at our collective detriment”. Poverty, unemployment and long-unresolved disputes needed to be addressed to make the dialogue results-oriented. He called for bringing the “disenchanted” into the political mainstream. While he fully supported the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he said he also favoured reforming the procedures of Security Council committees to ensure due process. The Strategy could be improved by addressing the defamation of certain religions and promoting economic and social development.
Pakistan had aided the victims of terrorist attacks, had deployed 160,000 troops on its border with Afghanistan and had set up 822 border posts to interdict Al-Qaida and Taliban members. He noted that as Pakistan’s Armed Forces protected the rest of the world, it was at the highest cost: 30,000 Pakistanis had been killed. The country was party to 13 counter-terrorism instruments and was making notable efforts to stop the financing of terrorism. He called on all countries to do more to combat this menace.
As the General Assembly had upheld the principles of consensus and cooperation when developing legal instruments on counter-terrorism, he said, the same should apply to the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism. It was unfortunate that the Coordinator’s 2007 proposal for the draft convention had not been largely endorsed. The convention should distinguish between terrorist acts and the right of peoples to self-determination.
A.K. ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) said that as a party to 13 universal anti-terrorism instruments, his country had never shied away from its responsibility as a State to maintain a “zero tolerance” policy towards terrorist ideology, radicalization and religious extremism. Bangladesh, was fully committed to fighting terrorism and had taken regional counter-terrorism initiatives.
He said actions by his Government were tangible testimonies of the steadfast adherence of Bangladesh to the global fight against terrorism. As as a result of those efforts, the country had not suffered a single incidence or fatality as a result of terrorism or extremism. In the past two years, Bangladesh had stepped up its efforts to strengthen and bring its anti-terrorism and anti-money-laundering legislative and institutional regime into line with the four pillars of the Plan of Action of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Government had also enacted the country’s first ever Money Laundering Prevention Act, in 2009, which was updated this year to make it more stringent.
PALITHA T.B. KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said that the events of 9/11 were a “stark reminder” that no country was immune from terrorism, as recent terrorist attacks in Norway, India and Nigeria showed. Sri Lanka experienced three decades of terrorism which “challenged our democracy to the core”. In all its actions to bring about peace, his Government took determined measures to uphold human rights and international humanitarian law, providing — with international assistance — health care and food to people who were being held hostage by the terrorists. Because no terrorist group could survive without support from international linkages, he stressed the need for coordinated and comprehensive approaches by the international community. It was, therefore, vitally important that the comprehensive convention on terrorism be finalized this year.
He noted that terrorist groups were becoming more sophisticated in sustaining their activities, through their connection to organized crime and through financing their groups through human trafficking, credit card fraud and cybercrimes, among others. Because of the complexity of the matter, terrorism could not be addressed solely by military means. To this end, his country was taking steps that encompassed the political, economic and social spheres to ensure terrorist groups would not “find fertile soil in our land”. The current deliberations in the Committee had the potential to have a real and lasting impact on counter-terrorism strategies; the United Nations remained the primary body in this global campaign against terrorism and he endorsed the efforts of Member States to coordinate their counter-terrorism efforts.
LYDIA RANDRIANARIVONY ( Madagascar) said the adoption of the Global Strategy illustrated the determination of Member States to combat terrorism. She also commended the work and efforts taken by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, noting that their on-ground visits allowed them to “see with their own eyes” what was happening within a country, so that a fair assessment could be made.
She observed that Madagascar was a member of the Indian Ocean Commission, which carried out a mandate to combat insecurity, specifically with regard to terrorism, and build cooperation in the region to combat major trafficking, and thwart mercenaries. Madagascar’s participation in the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism was an example of African countries, vulnerable to attack, working together by cooperating and coordinating efforts and information. Concluding, she expressed hope for a swift finalization of the draft convention, observing that the negotiations had gone on for too long, and likewise the pending questions, such as the convening of a high-level conference.
KYAW MYO HTUT ( Myanmar) said modern terrorism had its genesis in the hijacking of aircraft in the 1960s. Subsequently, it moved on to other areas of human endeavour. The world could not afford to ignore terrorism. Terrorism could not be associated with any religion, race, culture or identity, and should not be used as a pretext for any country to interfere in the internal affairs of another country. Myanmar was party to 11 universal counter-terrorism instruments and was a signatory to one. Myanmar also signed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Convention on Counter-Terrorism. Domestically, Myanmar has legal provisions against terrorism, most recently in the realm of money-laundering.
WANJUKI MUCHEMI ( Kenya) said the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy provided a framework for combating terrorism under the auspices of international cooperation. As the international community “procrastinated” on the conclusion of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, the danger posed by terrorism was “bound to mutate into more complex forms”. Kenya was party to the majority of the universal instruments on terrorism and was under review by the Financial Action Task Force.
Recalling that Kenya had been subject to three major terrorist attacks since 1980, he said the country had established an anti-terrorism police unit, the National Counter-Terrorism Centre and the Counter-Terrorism Prosecution Unit. The country had also strengthened border and airport security. Regionally, Kenya belonged to the East and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group and, under the African Union, had been involved in addressing the region’s security challenges. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had built Kenya’s and East Africa’s capacity to fight terrorism, and had fostered international cooperation.
HELENE AWET WOLDEYOHANNES ( Eritrea) said terrorism should be combated through collective efforts in a comprehensive way. The four pillars identified in the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy had to be given equal attention, including the root causes of terrorism and the elimination of conditions conducive to its spread.
Finalization of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism would be crucial to counter-terrorism efforts. The lack of a clear definition of acts of terrorism, and the legitimate struggle of peoples in the exercise of their right to self-determination, posed a continued challenge. The United Nations could play an important role in combating terrorism.
She said the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State under the pretext of combating terrorism was unacceptable. Terrorism could not be combated with military means alone, and any actions against terrorism should be consistent with international law.
ELYES LAKHAL ( Tunisia) said that, despite the progress made, terrorists still threatened the international community and development; they perpetuated traumatic effects on people around the world. Facing an ongoing threat that “knows no border”, the international community was thus called upon to make a concerted response on all levels, addressing root causes and economic and social injustices, among others. Adoption of the comprehensive convention needed to include a clear definition of terrorism, including State terrorism.
He also stressed the need for technical assistance and communication in bringing about the end of small arms and weapons trading, as well as developing through education and awareness a long-term response in the combating of extreme terrorism. He said he welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Centre for Counter-Terrorism, which would bring new strength to the campaign to end terrorism.
PETR VÁLEK ( Czech Republic) said he had no doubt that a multilateral solution to international terrorism could be found. He, therefore, welcomed all of the United Nations counter-terrorism efforts. Turning to the Sixth Committee, he said one of the Committee’s highest priorities should be finalization of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The 2007 compromise proposal submitted by Ms. Telalian should be seriously considered. No further modifications were needed to this proposal.
OLEKSANDR PAVLICHENKO (Ukraine), describing his country’s action at the international, regional and national levels to combat terrorists, said this included the ratification of 20 relevant multilateral conventions and protocols, cooperation with international organizations and the establishment of bilateral and regional links with other countries. The State Committee for Financial Monitoring, for example, had signed 40 arrangements with partners in other countries to combat money-laundering and financing for terrorism. Ukraine’s code of law supported these counter-terrorism measures.
He said the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was an important guidance document for combating terrorism. Member States should remain firmly committed to its full and effective implementation. Recognizing progress made over the last decade, he said much still needed to be done to make all efforts more effective and advanced. In this regard, the 2007 proposal of Ms. Telalian could be a basis for consensus on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism; the conclusion of the convention in the near future would make a high-level conference on the matter even more significant and reasonable.
SAEID SADEGH MOHAMMADI ( Iran) said his country, both as a victim of terrorism and as a country founded on Islamic values, condemned all terrorist acts, including State terrorism. Iran had been a constant target of terrorism, he said; its scientists were victims of terrorism orchestrated from outside of the country that deprived them of their legal and legitimate right to master advanced nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes.
He said more than 70 States, with international and regional experts, took part in the Tehran Conference on Global Fight against Terrorism, held last June. The Conference was a firm indication of Iran’s resolve and determination in promoting international and regional cooperation to eliminate terrorism.
Unlawful use of force and foreign occupation fuelled a vicious cycle of violence and terrorism, he added. Excessive use of military force in the name of eliminating terrorists had taken out more innocent people than terrorists. In Iran’s neighbouring countries, many people had come under direct military attack, a tragic and disturbing situation.
Regrettably, he said, terrorism had been manipulated by some as political leverage against others. While they funded, organized or acted in compliance with terrorist acts, these same entities resorted to extrajudicial killing. It was a sad irony that a State with a long record of State terrorism continued to label other countries as State sponsors of terrorism. This hypocritical approach would only allow terrorist groups to take hold and survive. Harnessing the political will of all States under the auspices of the United Nations, and in conformity with international law and human rights, was the only way to combat terrorism.
ALI ALMAKHADI ( Yemen) called for the conclusion of the draft convention, providing a clear definition of terrorism, include the legitimate rights of people to self-determination, based on the Charter of the United Nations. He said Yemen had ratified many of the instruments of counter-terrorism and was taking measures to implement them nationally. Among others, laws on money-laundering and on amended criminal jurisdiction addressing incitement were being implemented. Bilateral and regional agreements on cooperation were also being instituted.
He said that his country had been able to enforce an effective strike against Al-Qaida, and had had success in pursuing the organization, despite a lack of international support. He called for international strategies that would offer resources to States to effectively combat terrorism, while addressing the root causes as well. He welcomed the establishment of the United Nation Centre for Counter-Terrorism, funded, he said, by the generous donation of the Saudi Arabian Government.
RESUL ŞAHINOL ( Turkey) called attention to the fact that scores of people had been killed or wounded in recent months due to terrorist acts, and said terrorism was still one of the most serious threats to peace, stability and security. Although Security Council resolutions were instrumental in fighting terrorism, a lack of political will or capacity hindered the full implementation of those resolutions. He called for full compliance by all States to the 13 major conventions on terrorism and the conclusion of negotiations on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
He said special emphasis should be placed on terrorist financing and money laundering. In this regard, international judicial cooperation concerning terrorist organizations and organized crime groups should be regarded as important security cooperation. The prerequisite for success in finding, denying safe haven and bringing to justice those who engaged in terrorist activities was “extradite or prosecute”. In the absence of judicial cooperation in this sense, the United Nations should play a more active role. Loopholes in legal systems and deficiencies in law enforcement agencies continued to undermine these efforts, particularly with the need to apply much greater scrutiny in the granting of asylum.
Border controls and improved cooperation among authorities would prevent terrorists from moving to and from their territories and acquiring weapons. Preventing the indiscriminate targeting of any religion or culture could help to stymie polarization and extremism. He said it was only through seamless, integrated cooperation among Member States that terrorism could be countered. In addition, closer and more effective cooperation between the General Assembly and the Security Council would be instrumental.
YOUSEF BIN AL-ALAWI ( Oman) condemned terrorism in all of its forms. Calling attention to the importance of international cooperation under the auspices of the United Nations to combat terrorism, he said Oman had ratified ten international conventions on counter-terrorism, and was considering ratification of the remaining three. He said the phenomenon of terrorism could not be limited to a nation, race or religion. It needed to be combated from its root causes. Adopting effective measures to combat terrorism and defend human rights were not contradictory aims; they were complementary and mutually reinforcing.
Endorsing the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, he said regional and subregional cooperation could have a positive impact. Oman eagerly awaited the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, including a clear definition of terrorism that honoured the right to self determination and endorsed the new United Nations Centre to Combat Terrorism.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said that the recent attack in Nigeria illustrated the ongoing scourge of terrorism. To foster tolerance and aid in the developing “deradicalization” programmes, his country was contributing to media production that sought to convey a message of understanding. He also stated support for the fight against cyberterrorism. It was also crucial to combat the financing of terrorist groups through ransom payments, and he said he welcomed the General Assembly efforts to tackle this.
He commended regional efforts to foster cooperation and collaboration, specifically the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, and he noted that an initiative to draft an African law to combat terrorism was being finalized in the African Union. With the cooperation and coordination between the Sahel countries, members of the “CEMOC” Group ( Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) focused on the principle of ownership, where each country shouldered its responsibility to maintain stability while enhancing cooperation between States and regions.
Right of Reply
The delegate of Israel, exercising her right of reply, stated that certain delegates continued to exploit the debate. She found “surreal” the comments of the representative of Saudi Arabia about human rights, noting that his country denied its own citizens in the “LGBT” community, as well as its women, basic rights. She suggested that “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”.
When the Committee met again this afternoon, HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) stated that for the Global Strategy to be fully implemented, some factors needed to be seriously considered. There needed to be synergy between the Global Strategy and the efforts of national, bilateral and regional parties. Additionally, the complex root causes needed to be addressed, and law enforcement measures needed to be complemented with “soft power” approaches in order to promote tolerance and understanding. Lastly, efforts to counter terrorism needed to be consistent with the rule of law, human rights and democratic principles.
He said there had been several initiatives to promote cooperation and coordination among regional organizations. These included strengthening legal infrastructures, border security, sharing the best practices and the promotion of tolerance amongst diverse communities, among others. In this regard, the ASEAN Counter Terrorism Convention had great potential to support the implementation of the Global Strategy. In Indonesia, at the national level, law enforcement measures, legislative frameworks, interfaith dialogues and de-radicalization programmes, among others, were being developed to combat terrorism on all levels.
ANTOINE SOMDAH ( Burkina Faso) described the horrendous events of 11 September 2001 as “radically changing face of the world”. Terrorism was ongoing, globalized and represented the greatest challenge to international peace and security. He commended the Secretary-General for the meeting held last month, which advanced the international cooperation called for by the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. He said adopting this Strategy, addressing security and development issues, was a departure from military concerns.
He noted that it was important to define terrorism and to conclude the comprehensive convention on international terrorism as soon as possible. Such action to combat terrorism adhered to international law and human rights.
He outlined a number of important steps Africa had taken to combat terrorism, among them the development of the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa under the auspices of the African Union. This included measures to reduce poverty, settle social and political problems and enhance cooperation between African States and international partners.
In conclusion, he said it was through the culture of dialogue and understanding that terrorism would be prevented; it was through tolerance and trust that it would be eliminated.
HASSAN ALI HASSAN ALI ( Sudan) condemned all forms and manifestations of terrorism and expressed regret that on the tenth anniversary of the events of 9/11 terrorism was still operating around the world, most recently in Nigeria, Pakistan, Norway and elsewhere. Through these events, it was evident that terrorism had “no homeland, citizenship or colour”, and that more was required to combat and eliminate the threat. However, progress could be made not through military force but through serious cooperation, understanding and tolerance. The United Nations had a fundamental leadership role in this.
He said that the Global Strategy was an important step to be implemented. On a national level, legislation had been implemented, directed at all acts of terrorism and instigation of such acts. Laws to combat money-laundering and financing of terrorist acts were also being engaged. He stressed that arriving at a clear definition of terrorism was still an important step in the conclusion of the comprehensive convention and that a distinction between active terrorism and legitimate resistance to foreign occupation was crucial.
CAMILO RUIZ ( Colombia) said that, as a victim of terrorist acts, Colombia condemned terrorism. No pretexts or circumstances justified terrorist acts. Terrorism undermined the mechanisms and principles of international law and the shared values of the international community. An agreed-upon international framework would avoid interpretations that could undermine the fight against terrorism. This framework should be supplemented with the finalization of a draft convention. Consensus-based solutions to this threat were needed to ensure that relevant international instruments did not undermine multilateral and regional efforts to fight terrorism.
He said both international and national countermeasures should be strengthened. He viewed the United Nations as the forum for negotiation and development of international instruments to combat terrorism. Close coordination was needed across all United Nations entities addressing terrorism. He noted that the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Task Force ensured coordination and consistency and efforts aligned with international law, human rights and the United Nations Charter.
Victims’ rights were of paramount importance. Mechanisms should be developed to ensure victims could be heard. States could draw upon these instruments in recognition of victims’ pain. Venezuela, on 10 June adopted a national law designating judicial, administrative, social and economic measures that could be applied on an individual or societal basis to allot victims rights to truth, justice and reparation.
Terrorism could only be overcome through the resolute cooperation of the international community. The global goal should be to eliminate the scourge of terrorism and all criminal activities that support it. Colombia worked at the multilateral, regional, and national levels to address terrorism and trusted that tangible results on this matter could be achieved by the Sixth Committee at the culmination of its annual session.
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) said that the events of 9/11 had culminated in a “robust international partnership” with his country to defeat the terrorists and extremists within its borders. Because of that partnership, Afghanistan was now a much different country, with Afghan citizens exercising their right to self-determination and participating in successive democratic elections. It was, with the start of the transition, on its way to ownership and leadership. However, despite these achievements, terrorist acts were still present, notably in recent times with a rise in violence that included the killing and maiming of school children, tribal, religious and political leaders and international partners. The assassination of the Chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council in a suicide attack had been planned and orchestrated from outside Afghanistan.
He stated his country’s commitment to participating on international platforms in the fight against terrorism, including being party to 13 international conventions and protocols dealing with terrorism. He urged the conclusion of the draft convention and called for increased cooperation to resolve the outstanding issues. In this regard, the convening of a high-level conference would be beneficial.
JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) called for an honest, firm and transparent fight against terrorism; although the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was an important tool in this fight, it was ineffective if the causes of terrorism were not addressed. As a strong advocate for the principle of sovereignty, Venezuela would never lend its territory or financial support to those engaged in terrorist acts. Thus, Venezuela had ratified and adhered to the main universal and regional conventions on the matter.
However, he said, counter-terrorism measures would not produce tangible results without mechanisms that allowed for the establishment of sanctions against States that justified or practised terrorist actions. An example of such improper application of relevant Security Council resolutions, under the guise of protecting civilians, was the “humanitarian bombings” that occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan and, more recently, in Libya. Thus it was urgent to achieve a consensus on an international legal framework that included State-sponsored terrorism within its content. The rights of peoples to self-determine and to fight against foreign occupation needed to be recognized by the international community. Concluding, he called for the United States to extradite to Venezuela Luis Posada Carriles, who was responsible for the deaths of 73 people on a Cuban airliner.
ANTÓNIO GUMENDE ( Mozambique) said terrorism was one of the main threats to peace and security, undermining economic development and affecting relations between States and Governments. The international community should search for the best possible way to combat terrorism in all its forms, everywhere. Speaking in support of a multilateral approach to fighting terrorism, he noted that the unique structure of the United Nations allowed the Organization to engage Member States in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
Drawing attention to the importance of both international and regional cooperation to combat terrorism, he noted that a seminar would be held in Namibia in the coming months to facilitate an exchange between the United Nations and regional officers on optimal mechanisms for addressing terrorism. Mozambique was party to 13 conventions and other relevant international instruments against terrorism. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) States, including Mozambique, had established early warning centres to respond to regional terrorist threats and had initiated work on a model African anti-terrorism law. Aware of the pernicious link between terrorism and transnational organized crime, Mozambique was party to a convention against transnational crime and its protocols, and had ratified a convention against nuclear terrorism.
MILORAD ŠĆEPANOVIĆ ( Montenegro) said that his country had adopted a strategy for the prevention and suppression of money-laundering and terrorist financing. Further, a national commission, with representatives from relevant institutions had been established and tasked with organizing, coordinating and monitoring activities of all State bodies in preventing and fighting terrorism.
On a regional level, he said, his country actively cooperated with countries in the region, participating, among others, in joint training and working bodies, such as the “Conference of Heads of General Staffs of the Balkan Countries”, which was held twice a year.
JAMES ROSCOE ( United Kingdom) said there could be no doubt that the scourge of terrorism continued to be felt deeply around the world. Just this morning, in Mogadishu, Somalia, the terrorist group Al-Shabaab had murdered civilians in a terrorist attack that killed scores. This made it clear that we could not afford, for a moment, to be complacent.
Last year, more than 10,000 people were killed by terrorists. The leadership group of Al-Qaida was now weaker than at any time since 11 September 2001. Its ideology had been widely discredited and it had failed in its objective. International pressure would continue to weaken its capabilities.
He described the United Nations as central to global counter-terrorism efforts. Relevant Security Council committees, and action taken by States to implement Council resolutions, had been central to countering the terrorist threat. The more effective the restrictions and impediments imposed on the activities of terrorist groups, the less likely the international community would suffer from terrorist attacks in the future. He welcomed the Security Council’s measures to reinforce due process. He called for conclusion of the comprehensive convention on terrorism and remained ready to consider the 2007 proposal.
Domestically, he said, the United Kingdom had recently refreshed its counter-terrorism strategy, which respected human rights and rule of law. The United Kingdom operated a comprehensive programme of bilateral counter-terrorism assistance to support countries in need. This programme assisted with building capacity to establish effective rule of law, good governance, judicial reform and proper policing.
MERAB MANJGALADZE ( Georgia) said that, despite the international community being better equipped to deal with terrorism than it was 10 years ago, the Committee had not been able to comply with the request of the 2005 World Summit and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy to conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. It was evident that a clear definition of terrorism was of utmost importance, in order to protect the small nations from threats under the “pretext of ‘anti-terrorist operations’”. In convening a high-level conference, the international community would be able to take stock of the efforts taken to combat terrorism and then identify the need and resources available to assist States in implementing the comprehensive convention.
International efforts were important to Georgia, since it was subjected to externally orchestrated terrorist attacks. Between 2009 and 2011 there were 12 known instances of attempted or realized terrorist attacks and acts of sabotage. With Georgia’s plans to deploy 1,000 personnel to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2012, he stressed that terrorism could not be battled with military and security means alone. In that regard, his country had made the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law a priority in its overall approach to counter-terrorism. “We are convinced that democracy, freedom of speech, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are all crucial in preventing the emergence of terrorism,” he said in conclusion.
ABDERRAHIM OULD HADRAMI ( Mauritania) said that terrorism concerned everyone, since it produced political and institutional instability; therefore, it required global solutions. The relevant resolutions of the Security Council guided actions towards consolidated and coordinated efforts, which were “elegant proof of the global commitment” in combating terrorism.
He said that on a national level Mauritania had adopted new laws that included cybercrime, and which also addressed the country’s extensive and “porous” maritime and land borders. Regionally, his country participated with Mali, Niger and Algeria in the Joint Military Staff Committee of the Sahel Region (CEMOC), to adopt and ensure common approaches in the fight against terrorism. Because of his country’s commitment to the peace and stability of its people, Mauritania was currently a candidate for a non-permanent seat in the 2012-2013 Security Council.
Right of Reply
Speaking in right of reply, the delegate of Saudi Arabia spoke of the representative of Israel’s “disrespect” to the international society during this morning’s meeting. His country remained committed more than before to uphold its international commitments and obligations responsibly. He called for Israel to end its occupation and adhere to the various resolutions issued by the United Nations. Concluding, he said that the “dark history” of Israel and its valuation of rights and international laws were well documented in the archives of the United Nations.
Statements on Observer Status Requests
The Sixth Committee then took up the requests for observer status in the work of the General Assembly.
The representative of Turkey introduced the draft resolution requesting observer status for the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States in the Assembly.
The delegate from Guyana introduced the draft requesting observer status for the Union of South American Nations in the Assembly. Speaking in support of this request were the representatives of Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Trinidad and Tobago.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates presented the draft requesting observer status for the International Renewable Energy Agency in the Assembly. Speaking in support of this request was the delegate of Belarus.
The delegate of Serbia introduced the draft requesting observer status for the Central European Initiative in the Assembly.
The representative of Turkey presented the draft requesting observer status for the United Cities and Local Governments in the Assembly. He pointed out that, although this was not an intergovernmental organization, it qualified for observer status as a world organization, having 140 members.
The representatives of Argentina, Venezuela and China expressed serious reservations about granting observer status to the United Cities and Local Governments. Members of the organization were not States, said the representative of Argentina, and its consultative status with the Economic and Social Council meant that it was a non-governmental organization. The representative of China asked that Turkey present consultative documents and rules of procedure for this organization, questioning what contributions the organization could make to the General Assembly.
Canada, Guatemala, Argentina and Venezuela also spoke on procedural matters, addressing the need to consider requests for observer status within the framework of the General Assembly. They concurred that it would be useful for the Committee to know when the organization in consideration met these regulations and when exceptions needed to be made prior to considering these requests.
The Committee will take up the three remaining requests for observer status during another session. The time of this session will be determined at a later date.
* *** *For information media • not an official record