|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
118th & 119th Meetings (AM & PM)
With Global Strategy, Member States Expressed Strong Resolve to Defeat Terrorism;
Now Action, Results Needed to Free World from Scourge, General Assembly Told
Assembly Begins Third Review of 2006 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy;
Also Adopts Resolution on ‘Day of Happiness’ Introduced by Bhutan’s Representative
Calling for coordinated action and results, the President of the General Assembly today urged Member States to accelerate implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the wide-ranging framework adopted in 2006 to defeat what delegations referred to as a “hydra-headed scourge”.
“Our resolve is strong, but it requires action and results,” Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser said today as he opened the Assembly’s third biennial review of the Strategy, telling the 193-member body that only through strong political will, and by implementation and delivery, “can we realize our hopes of a world free of terrorism”. Hailing the Strategy as a “watershed document”, he hoped that today’s debate, which heard interventions from nearly 40 speakers, would provide the necessary momentum towards its full implementation on the ground.
He recalled that the Assembly had adopted the measure in 2006, and that its “unique framework” was based on four pillars: tackling the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism, and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard; and ensuring respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
The Assembly President underscored the importance of regional cooperation in global counter-terrorism efforts, noting that several regions around the world had demonstrated the advantage that regional cooperation brought to counter-terrorism activities. “We need to learn from those experiences, and see how we can use improved regional collaboration to strengthen counter-terrorism work, both at the national and international levels,” he stated.
Particular attention should be devoted to addressing the conditions that led to the spread of terrorism, and to protecting basic freedoms, he said, and one way to achieve that was to make progress on promoting the rights of victims of terrorism and other forms of political violence. “It is our moral obligation to do so. It is also a pragmatic way of delegitimizing terrorist violence by exposing the horrors that such violence causes,” he added.
Ahead of the debate, John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, whose delegation had facilitated the negotiations on the draft resolution that will be acted on tomorrow and which will serve as the outcome of the third review of the Strategy, said that while fascism and communism had been the great challenges of previous generations, terrorism was the great challenge of the present one. No country was immune from that threat. The most deadly attacks demonstrated that terrorism observed no boundaries, respected no civilians and favoured no reigns.
Canada defined terrorism as intentionally causing serious harm to intimidate the public with respect to its security, or to pressure a person, Government or organization, for a political, religious or ideological purpose. “Political, religious or ideological causes are not terrorism, but using violence to support politics, religion or ideology is,” he said, adding that terrorist acts were never justified, regardless of the cause and no matter how legitimate the grievance.
Member States were primarily responsible for implementing the Strategy and Canada had made significant progress in doing so, both at home and across the globe. This year, he said, Canada had released its formal Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which was based on four reinforcing elements, namely, to prevent, detect, deny and respond. He announced that Canada, through the counter-terrorism capacity-building programme, would contribute up to an additional $8 million in support of projects that aimed to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation globally.
Throughout the debate, Assembly delegations expressed support for the Global Strategy and urged its implementation. Afghanistan’s speaker explained that some of the factors hampering full implementation in many countries were a lack of coherence among relevant United Nations agencies dealing with terrorism and overlaps in their activities. Too often, that situation had resulted in a lack of understanding on the part of the Members States on who to contact when placing requests for technical assistance in areas of need.
Therefore, Afghanistan welcomed the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General, including the proposal to create a United Nations counter-terrorism coordinator. Such an initiative could be beneficial in strengthening inter-agency coordination and could improve the overall ability of the United Nations to help States in the areas of technical assistance and capacity-building, he said.
Most of the speakers voiced concern about the changing nature of the scourge, with Japan’s representative noting that the actors and methods of terrorism were becoming more diverse, as seen, for instance, in the emergence of regional terrorist organizations, the increase of home-grown terrorists, as well as the use of the Internet and other new technology to incite terrorism.
Acknowledging that trend, Sweden’s representative cautioned: “The problem of the Internet being used as a channel for spreading messages advocating violence and extremism must be dealt with by means other than censorship.” He stressed the need for law enforcement agencies to respect fundamental freedoms and human rights in that regard. He was among those who said that addressing the vulnerability of young people was one of the greatest overall challenges. “You find them everywhere; youngsters caught between cultures and value systems, seeking solutions in frustration, becoming easy prey for extremist messages,” he said, urging measures that would give young people the tools for critical thinking.
In other business, the Assembly adopted a resolution submitted by the President unanimously proclaiming 20 March as the International Day of Happiness, recognizing the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promoted sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the happiness and well-being of all people. The resolution invited Member States, United Nations bodies and other international and regional intergovernmental and civil society organizations to observe the International Day through, among others, education and public awareness-raising activities.
Introducing the text, Kunzang C Namgyel, representative of Bhutan, whose delegation had initiated the measure, said it was becoming abundantly clear that the need of the hour was for all nations and peoples to take steps “which will help transcend our differences and unite us”.
Assembly President Al-Nasser welcomed the proclamation and added that the choice of 20 March as the International Day had the general support of all delegations, and, as the annual spring equinox, the day had special planetary and global significance.
Also addressing the Assembly on the Counter-Terrorism Strategy were representatives of Syria (also on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Spain, Russian Federation, South Africa, Cuba, Egypt, Belgium, India, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Qatar, Poland, Mexico, Libya, China, Switzerland, United States, Colombia, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Israel, Norway, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Malaysia and Indonesia. A representative of the European Union also spoke.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Syria, Iran and Israel.
The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. tomorrow to conclude its third biennial review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
The General Assembly met this morning to take up matters related to follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits, as well as to the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. It was expected to adopt resolutions on both items and to hold a debate on the Organization’s counter-terrorism regime. The Assembly also had before it for action a solemn appeal by its President on the observance of the Olympic Truce.
Opening the debate on the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Assembly President Nassir ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER said that Member States had been presented with the relevant report of the Secretary-General on implementing the Strategy (document A/66/762), which contained several recommendations that were relevant to the discussions today. Calling the Strategy a “watershed document” in the international community’s fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, he said that it was comprehensive in scope, preventative in nature and integrated in approach. The Global Strategy was adopted through consensus by all Member States in 2006, and signified universal condemnation of all acts of terrorism.
“The Strategy is a unique policy framework. It is a significant achievement of the international community which shows the goodwill and ability to come together, even when faced with difficult choices,” he continued, adding that its four pillars covered all the issues necessary for an effective, global fight against terrorism. “The time has come for a more effective implementation of the Strategy,” he declared, expressing that hope that this third review would provide the necessary momentum towards its full implementation on the ground.
During the Secretary-General’s Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation held in September last year, the Assembly President had reiterated the resolve of Member States to implement the Strategy, especially through enhanced regional cooperation. In fact, he said, the Secretary-General’s report highlighted the importance of regional strategies against terrorism.
Underscoring the importance of regional cooperation in the United Nations counter-terrorism efforts, he said that several regions around the world had demonstrated the advantage that such cooperation brought those activities. “We need to learn from those experiences, and see how we can use improved regional collaboration to strengthen counter-terrorism work, both at the national and international levels,” he said, adding that in short, that required multinational efforts that went beyond traditional and localized approaches.
Indeed, no nation, acting alone, no matter how powerful it was, could prevent every threat from being carried out. In the Strategy, all four pillars were important for proper implementation, but he stressed that two of them — pillar I (addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism) and pillar IV (measures to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in the fight against terrorism) — must gain equal emphasis in our counter-terrorism activities.
He noted that yesterday, his Office had organized a thematic discussion on the importance of promoting dialogue and understanding and countering the appeal of terrorism. That was an essential element in pillar I of the Strategy. During that thematic discussion, among other initiatives and structures, he had mentioned the critical role that the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations was playing to foster mutual understanding around the world. “With more cohesive, tolerant and resilient societies, we can deny terrorists the space and the profile they need to spread their narrative and campaigns,” he said.
Similarly, he said that protecting human rights and countering terrorism were two complementary issues that remain important responsibilities of all States. In efforts to stamp out terrorism, stakeholders must not abandon principles and values for the protection of the life, property and dignity of all citizens. “We need to take action on the resolve we have made in pillar IV of the Strategy,” he said, noting that one way to achieve that was to make progress on promoting the rights of victims of terrorism and other forms of political violence. “It is our moral obligation to do so,” he said, adding that it was also a pragmatic way of delegitimizing terrorist violence by exposing the horrors that such violence caused.
He went on to express his appreciation to Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, the Permanent Representative of Canada, who had been willing to undertake this important responsibility to serve as the facilitator for consultations with the Member States. By way of conclusion, he invited Member States to express their views on how the Organization could make progress on the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which was the cornerstone of the international counter-terrorism framework. “Our resolve is strong, but it requires action and results. Only through strong political will, and by implementation and delivery, can we realize our hopes of a world free of terrorism,” he declared.
JOHN BAIRD, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada said that while fascism and communism were the great challenges of previous generations, terrorism was the great challenge of the present one. No country was immune from that threat. The most deadly attacks in the world’s history demonstrated that terrorism observed no boundaries, respected no civilians and favoured no reigns. Canada defined terrorism as intentionally causing serious harm to intimidate the public with respect to its security, or to pressure a person, Government or organization, for a political, religious or ideological purpose. Political, religious or ideological causes were not terrorism, but using violence to support politics, religion or ideology was. Terrorist acts were never justified, regardless of the cause and no matter how legitimate the grievance.
Canada had welcomed the adoption of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy in September 2006, he said. He said that he was pleased to renew his country’s commitment to that strategy today. Canada embraced the four pillars of the strategy, specifically, addressing the conditions that spread terrorism, preventing and combating terrorism; capacity-building and respect for human rights and the rule of law. Member States were primarily responsible for implementing the strategy and Canada had made significant progress in doing so, both at home and across the globe. This year, the country had released its formal Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which was based on four reinforcing elements, namely, prevent, detect, deny and respond.
Canada was working to make its communities more resilient against violent extremism and radicalization, he said. It intended to reduce the risk that individuals would succumb to violent extremism and radicalization. The Government was investing significantly in research on terrorism and counter-terrorism, such as how to prevent and counter violent extremism. Canada was also taking concrete steps in preventing and combating terrorism, including adopting domestic laws to implement and give effect to the 12 United Nations conventions and protocols on terrorism. Other steps included an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo on individuals or organizations identified as supporting or being associated with terrorism, as well as a new law that allows victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, including state supporters.
He announced that Canada, through the counter-terrorism capacity-building programme, would contribute up to an additional $8 million in support of capacity-building projects that aimed to enhance counter terrorism cooperation globally. Canada also attached great value to the recent creation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, in order to mobilize commitment and capacity to combat terrorism and strengthen international counter-terrorism cooperation.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria), speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said his delegation strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State terrorism and terrorist acts committed by groups and individuals, by whomever and for whatever purposes. OIC also underscored the need to ensure the respect for international law and human rights in the combat against terrorism. The delegation continued to support the Strategy, which should tackle the root causes of terrorism, including unlawful use of force, foreign occupation, political marginalization and economic injustice. Therefore, OIC believed that fight against that scourge should incorporate security measures, as well as social, political, cultural and economic aspects.
He went on to stress that OIC reaffirmed the Strategy as a “living document”, which should be updated and examined biennially. The delegation unequivocally rejected the association of terrorism with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group and believed that irresponsible statements that perpetuated such associations were in themselves incitement to terrorism. He expressed concern over the payment of ransoms to terrorist groups, which was, in fact, one source of financing their activities. While OIC had joined consensus on the resolution to be adopted later today, it was concerned that some of the group’s proposals had not been taken on board. Including taking note of the changing nature of terrorism and the need to counter acts committed by self-radicalized individuals, as well as the links between international organized crime and terrorist financing.
Speaking next in his national capacity, he said that his country was experiencing terrorist attacks being perpetrated by religious extremists that did not reside in Syria, “but in countries that are well known to all”. Those terrorists used unconventional and brutal methods to sow terror and carry out brutal attacks against civilian and civilian infrastructure. Their aim was to terrorize the population and to promote political objectives. Some of those horrific acts bore the finger prints of Al-Qaida and its associates, including multiple timed bombings. He noted that two such attacks had taken place in Syria earlier today and, at present, the damage and number of victims was not known. With that in mind, he stressed that no terrorists could carry out such activities with out financial backing, political and media cover. His Government had repeatedly expressed its concern about those countries inside and outside the Arab region who had openly pledged to support opposition movements, especially that some of those so-called opposition movements were masking terrorist actors. While the Syrian people could raise their voices for reform, such reform could not be carried out through terrorism.
He said that the media was playing its role by broadcasting extremist ideology and religious sedition. Some Syrian radio and television stations had been banned due to sanctions imposed by the League of Arab States, the European Union and the United States. Those measures had actually promoted attacks by so-called peaceful opposition groups against media organizations, resulting in the assassination of four Syrian journalists. It was a shocking paradox that those calling for an end to terrorism never once spoke out against such acts being carried out in Syria. He said that his Government called on all States to fully implement the United Nations Strategy and to take concerted actions to help stop such acts from being carried out in Syria. He said that what was going on in his country, where terrorist groups were openly carrying out a campaign to destabilize the Government and cause suffering among the people, was no less serious and no less worthy of condemnation than the terrorism that continued to afflict other countries.
MARA MARINAKI, Managing Director at Global and Multilateral Issues, European External Action Service, speaking on behalf of the European Union member States, said the Union fully appreciated that the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy expanded the global counterterrorism framework to include not only law enforcement and other security measures, but also measures to ensure respect for human rights and address underlying conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, such as prolonged unresolved conflict, rule of law problems, violations of human rights and social, economic and political marginalization. The Strategy contained a complete set of measures which must be implemented in its entirety. The review in 2012 of the Strategy’s implementation was an important step forward. The Union fully shared the recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his report on the Strategy and, therefore, endorsed in particular; appointing a United Nations counter-terrorism coordinator; developing national and regional Strategy implementation plans; enhancing capacity-building efforts; promoting international cooperation; and strengthening international solidarity with victims of terrorism.
As highlighted in a September 2011 symposium on international counter-terrorism cooperation, greater efforts were required particularly in the field of the prevention of terrorism, she said. The Union believed in the importance of supporting countries having difficulties in confronting terrorism. That was why European Union member States would enhance their counter-terrorism capacity-building measures. In that regard, the Union encouraged States and regions to adopt counter-terrorism strategies and supported the United Nations efforts in promoting the establishment of regional counter-terrorism strategies in Central Asia. The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) should continue its coordination efforts to promote the implementation of agreed national and regional counter-terrorism strategies. Comprehensive national and regional counter-terrorism strategies were vital to combine all the necessary efforts, external and internal security aspects, law enforcement, criminal justice, rule of law, prevention which includes countering violent extremism, and the protection of human rights together with the involvement of civil society. The increased importance of the civil society and public-private partnership should be reflected in the resolution. Also, measures taken to counter terrorism must be in full compliance with human rights obligations, in accordance with international law, in particular human rights law, refugee law, and international humanitarian law.
In 2009, the Union developed its first comprehensive counter-terrorism programme, which included the implementation of the United Nations standards and in particular the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in priority regions, she said. In its wider assistance programmes, the Union also addressed the nexus between development and security. The Union also welcomed the establishment of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, aimed at promoting the implementation of the Strategy. The Union fully supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to consider the establishment of a United Nations counter-terrorism coordinator and welcomed the fact that the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre was starting its operations and in doing so would deliver a substantive contribution to promoting the implementation of the Strategy, encouraging the Centre to seek synergies with other relevant actors as to maximize the impact of its programmes.
FERNANDO ARIAS (Spain) said that the General Assembly took historic a step in adopting the Counter-Terrorism Strategy six years ago, but now it was vital to promote effective implementation. He believed that the victims of terrorism had a fundamental role to play in any strategy to combat terrorism. In that regard, Spain had developed a system of care, support, assistance and reparation for the victims that was one of the most comprehensive in the world. He welcomed and supported the organization of an international symposium on victims of terrorism. It hoped to see another similar meeting held in the near future and requested that the Secretary-General and his team take the necessary steps to bring about such a symposium. Further, he announced that Spain had ratified the 16 United Nations Conventions and Protocols that provide the international legislative framework on counter-terrorism and planned to continue to work on the efforts expected to lead to a global United Nations convention against terrorism.
The international community needed to redouble efforts at improving prevention tactics in all areas, he went on. It was very important to work with young people, as they were particularly vulnerable. On capacity-building measures to enable states to implement measures to counter terrorism, he said that national, regional and subregional strategies needed to be developed in order to counter terrorism. Also, in developing measures to counter terrorism, it was necessary to ensure the protection of human rights. Spain had promoted an approach in which international human rights law, respect for human rights and all rule of law instruments was the basis for counter-terrorism efforts. It believed that respect for human rights must be the basis of all stages of action to counter terrorism. There must also be cooperation among countries. He supported the proposal for a single coordinator within the United Nations system to oversee counter-terrorism. To achieve the objective of the eradication of terrorism, it was necessary to ensure the cooperation of all.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said that his Government was a proponent of strengthening international coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism and bolstering the role of the United Nations in that regard. Central to all that was the implementation of all decisions and resolutions on the matter, and the consensus adoption of the Strategy had been a major step in the right direction. The Strategy included traditional security-related elements to be carried out in conjunction with other measures and the respect for human rights and the rule of law. He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to create an envoy on the issue, but would stress that such a mechanism must not overlap or undermine the work of existing counter-terrorism bodies and committees.
As for the work of the Russian Federation in the area, he said that his Government was working at home and with other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries to battle terrorism on all fronts, including cyber-terrorism. The Russian Federation’s President had launched a broad strategy that was being led by a national and broad-based counter-terrorism committee. That strategy included education programmes, as well as programmes aimed at tolerance and respect for all cultures and groups. He said that the resolution set to be adopted at the end of today’s meeting was a good basis for furthering implementation of the Global Strategy, and the Russian Federation continued to support the role of the Assembly in reviewing the measure on a regular basis.
Mr. DISEKO (South Africa) said that notwithstanding the gains that had been made at the international level within a relatively short space of time, much more needed to be done in order to fully implement the Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The focus on coordination and cooperation would shift to the regional and national levels, cognizant that the responsibility to implement the Strategy lay with the Member States. At the same time, the United Nations must continue to be seized withy ongoing efforts to refine its institutional framework, so that it could provide effective support to Member States in implementing the Strategy. Further, his country had always maintained that the four pillars of the must be implemented in a balanced and integrated manner, he said.
The Strategy, as affirmed at the 2011 symposium, remained the most credible and relevant international mechanism that enjoyed the widespread political support of all Member States to counter the scourge of terrorism globally, he continued. A balanced approach would mean renewed efforts and commitment to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. It would also imply that the international community remained steadfast in its commitment to ensure timely and full realization of the development gaols and objectives to eradicate poverty, promote sustained economic growth, as well as sustainable development and global prosperity for all. The international community needed to reinforce development and special inclusion agendas, especially on youth employment, as such efforts contributed to the reduction of marginalization and countered the potential appeal of extremism and recruitment by terrorists. Finally, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should continue to play a lead role in examining the question of protecting human rights while countering terrorism, in particular regarding the erosion of respect for due process guarantees, including those related to Security Council’s individual sanctions regimes and other practices that impeded the right to a fair trial in the context of counter-terrorism.
PEDRO NÚÑEZ MOSQUERA (Cuba) said his delegation stood firmly behind the Organization’s counter-terrorism regime, embodied most specifically in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. That watershed document gave the Assembly a primary role in the international efforts to combat the scourge. Cuba’s territory had never, nor would it ever, be used as a base for terrorism. Yet, it had lost thousands of its sons to terrorist acts, some carried out by individuals walking the streets freely in the United States. Meanwhile, that country continued to list Cuba on its unilaterally drawn-up list of terrorist supporters. Cuba rejected that list and the measures being carried out by the United States. The international community should not allow acts of aggression to be carried out by “certain States” who claimed to be fighting against terrorism. To allow torture, the violation of legal and ethical principles and other heinous acts ran counter to the aims of the Strategy.
As for the resolution to be adopted later, Cuba welcomed the inclusion for the first time of language concerning the need to adopt measures regarding the pillars of the Strategy. The Secretary-General’s proposal of adopting a coordinator was noted, but Cuba believed the issue needed to be further discussed by Member States. Cuba continued to believe that all States must comply with their obligations to extradite and prosecute known terrorists. The well-known terrorist Luis Posada Carriles continued to walk freely in the United States, while several young Cubans continued to serve prison sentences in that country, “victims of a rigged trial”. The resolution to be adopted by the Assembly noted the need for dialogue among civilizations to combat terrorism and the need to raise awareness about the role of modern technology in the spread of extremism. Cuba rejected selectivity in the implementation of counter-terrorism measures, and he reaffirmed the resolve of his Government to actively participate in all multilateral efforts to combat the scourge.
TAMOTSU SHINOTSUKA (Japan) said actors and methods of terrorism were becoming more diverse, as seen, for instance, in the emergence of regional terrorist organizations, the use of the Internet, as well as other new information and communication technology to incite terrorism, and in the increase of home-grown terrorists. Since the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in 2006, efforts by the Member States toward its implementation had steadily progressed, and the Strategy had remained an important, holistic and comprehensive instrument for counter-terrorism. That biennial review should examine the progress made by all the Member States and reaffirm their commitment to enhance cooperation under the Strategy.
He recognized the necessity of establishing a United Nations Counter-Terrorism coordinator to promote better coordination among the related United Nations entities. His Government welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre and appreciated the initiative of Saudi Arabia. Since all international efforts in this field should be concerted and integrated to maximize their effectiveness, Japan hoped that those recent initiatives would promote closer coordination and cooperation to avoid duplication of tasks. Japan had been implementing the Strategy and extending cooperation to many countries, focusing on poverty reduction and sustainable growth and addressing global issues and peacebuilding. In that regard, Japan had continuously provided assistance to Afghanistan to ensure its sustainable development and to eliminate the conditions that allowed the spread of terrorism in the country. Japan had made contributions to strengthen the legal regimes and the capacities of law enforcement against terrorism in that country and its neighbouring nations through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
He said his country intended to continue providing appropriate assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces beyond 2014, and would host the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan on 8 July, together with the Government of Afghanistan. Some 70 countries and international organizations had been invited in order to pave the way toward achieving the sustainable development of that country. Japan placed great importance on cooperation in South-East Asia, holding a Japan-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) counter-terrorism dialogue every year and assisting ASEAN countries with counter-terrorism capacity-building programmes.
MOOTAZ AHMADEIN KHALIL (Egypt) said that despite the continued effort of the Secretariat to implement the strategy, there was a need for a more balanced implementation of the four pillars, especially pillars I and IV, which addressed the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and respect for human rights. Egypt, therefore, welcomed the draft resolution on the third reviews regarding the importance of a balanced implementation of all the pillars. Relevant organs and bodies of the United Nations working in the field of counter-terrorism needed to fully take that approach into account.
He stressed that the primary responsibility for implementing the strategy lay with Member States. The United Nations Secretariat should assist the Member States in developing national strategies to counter terrorism through identifying their needs and building their capacities. There should be enhanced engagement of Member States with the work of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and participation in the elaboration of programmes and activities carried out by the Task Force and its working groups. Egypt looked forward to receiving periodic work plans of the activities of the Task Force in accordance with the third review draft resolution. Further, Egypt had repeatedly reiterated that the adoption of a security perspective alone in addressing terrorism would not achieve the desired result. The international community should work actively to address the root causes of terrorism and should adopt objective measures towards the political, economic and social conditions that lead to its spread.
ANDRÉ VANDOREN (Belgium) said his country was determined to contribute, along with its partners in the European Union, to all efforts to galvanize implementation of the Global Strategy, including with the involvement of civil society and the media. He said Belgium was willing to share its experiences and good practices to that end, particularly within the work of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre. He said his Government had established an agency that coordinated all information and intelligence on terrorist activity. Such coordination made it easier to optimize information and available resources, so that Belgium could, among other activities, provide adequate protection, services and information to the many agencies, companies and organizations hosted by the country.
He went on to discuss Belgium’s “Plan-R”, which sought to identify early signs of radicalization, as well as to promote harmonious relations among all elements of society. He said that the national counter-terrorism strategy reflected a legal and institutional framework based on Belgium’s international commitments. It was aimed at preventing terrorism and bringing suspects to justice. Intelligence and security services collated the necessary information, while maintaining a respect for human rights and the rule of law.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI (India) said terrorism was a global scourge that was a pervasive and insidious threat not only to international peace and security, but to the core values of the United Nations. India was convinced that no belief, political cause or argument could justify acts of terrorism, and therefore condemned the scourge in all its forms and manifestations, irrespective of motivations. India supported implementation of the Global Strategy, through all its pillars, in a comprehensive and integrated manner and believed that the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre were important steps towards strengthening the Organization’s efforts to tackle the scourge by providing an umbrella under which its different entities could effectively carry out the Strategy’s aims. In addition, India hoped that those new entities could provide assistance in specific areas identified by individual Member States, since the ultimate task of implementation rested with them.
He went on to say that India had faced the scourge of terrorism and during the general debate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had stressed that the fight against it must be unrelenting across all fronts, with no selectivity regarding terrorist groups. Member States must evince the political will to tackle the threat, ensuring a “zero tolerance” approach, while respecting human rights and other international laws. India supported the Secretary-General’s proposal regarding the appointment of a counter-terrorism coordinator and looked forward to further discussions on the matter. Finally, he urged greater momentum for efforts that would enhance the ability of Member States to confront terrorism through greater regional and international cooperation and capacity-building. India strongly supported all such measures, especially within the purview of the United Nations. He said it was also time to adopt a comprehensive convention on terrorism, which would enhance implementation of the Global Strategy. Such a convention would also plug holes in the international legal framework, and he urged Member States to wrap up the years-long negotiations on that proposed instrument.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said the draft resolution before the Assembly would further strengthen the Counter-Terrorism Strategy when it came to the implementation stage and to the question of balance among the four pillars. For the first time, Member States were able to request programmes for the victims of terrorism. There was also a reference to the use of modern communication technologies by terrorist organizations. The draft resolution provided an opportunity for a review of the Strategy’s progress and a chance for the international community to face up to the hydra-headed terrorist threat. The international community must redouble its efforts to combat terrorism and to deal with its new international, regional and national forms. While acknowledging that it was the responsibility of States to deal with terrorism, the United Nations provided the most appropriate forum for the international response.
Morocco had taken clear principled positions on actions to combat terrorism, he went on. Its national strategy took into account into local and regional factors and reinforced Islam’s principles of respect for human rights in its implementation. The country believed that international action must not stop government action and that counter-terrorism was something in which civil society and citizens could participate. Morocco was concerned at the upsurge in terrorist activities in the Sahel, in West Africa and in the Horn of Africa. The appearance of separatist movements, gun trafficking and other such activities were conditions that required global and resolute approaches based on solidarity, dialogue and awareness. Regional efforts to address them must be coordinated among the countries in the region, in order to provide a collective response.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP (Brazil) said that her country had played an active role during the negotiations for the Counter-Terrorism Strategy. While reaffirming the importance of an integrated, balanced and comprehensive approach for its implementation, her country had emphasized the importance of redoubling efforts for a more even attention to the implementation of pillars I and IV. Addressing the root causes of terrorism was of the essence. Dealing with the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, as stated in pillar I, was the best means to prevent the recurrence of the phenomenon in the long term. Ensuring respect for human rights of all and the rule of law, as stated in pillar IV, was crucial and must be the basis for the fight against terrorism. Also, she favoured the inclusion of a paragraph that highlighted the need to support the victims of terrorism. That paragraph, which was approved as consensual language, was a positive and action-oriented approach to the issue of countering terrorism.
Her country was also pleased that the draft resolution reaffirmed the principal responsibility of Member States to implement the Strategy, while recognizing the role of the United Nations in that context and acknowledging the importance of coordination and coherence with other international, regional and sub-regional organizations at all levels. For example, the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) had established a specialized forum on terrorism and Brazil had played an active role in negotiations on the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism. Finally, she added that the third biennial review was an opportunity to reiterate that there were no excuses for terrorist acts. Brazil had historically condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and was party to all relevant international conventions and protocols against terrorism. Repudiation of terrorism was enshrined in its Constitution as a fundamental principle of its international relations. The review also provided an opportunity to enhance the understanding of the phenomenon of terrorism in all its complexity.
JOSÉ SBATELLA (Argentina) said the fight against terrorism could not be effective without coordinated action and consensus decisions regarding agreed goals As such, the years between now and the fourth review of the Global Strategy would present Member States with the challenge of achieving the framework’s balanced implementation, especially regarding those pillars currently lacking requisite attention: measures to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; and ensuring the respect for human rights and the rule of law. Meanwhile, there was international consensus on States’ obligation to respect human rights and to the principle that fighting terrorism must not diminish the need to stand by long-agreed values. He said that Argentina’s contribution to the international anti-terrorism regime included, among others, its strong backing of the Convention on Forced Disappearances, as well as its strong support for and promotion of the dialogue among civilizations and cultures, as a way to enhance humanitarian ideals and counter inequality.
He said that Argentina had suffered two massive terrorist attacks, and recalling those incidents, the country’s President had recently stressed the need for solidarity and cooperation, including judicial collaboration in terms of extradition and legal assistance, to effectively tackle such threats to international peace and security. Argentina had made great strides in disrupting terrorist financing, including through the adoption last year of a law that sanctioned such financing as an “offense against the financial and economic order”. Regionally, Argentina’s security forces worked with immigration and customs officials, as well as with authorities in neighbouring countries in the fight against organized criminal activity — arms trafficking, smuggling, trafficking of persons — and monitoring data on the activities of international terrorist groups.
TOMAS ROSANDER (Sweden) stressed the fundamental importance of public national counter-terrorism strategies and the important role of the United Nations in supporting countries and regions in developing such strategies, focusing on best practices. Public counter-terrorism initiatives provided not only platforms for action, they served as a basis for evaluation and a point of reference for public scrutiny. It brought counter-terrorism measures out into the open, provided transparency and encouraged public discussion. He said Sweden had recently revised its national strategy and had launched its first ever action plan against violent extremism. That initiative would run for three years and would involve a broad cross section of civil society, including religious groups. It would be focused on the activities of, among others, so-called “white power” groups, and the autonomous left, as well as religiously motivated violence. He said that there would be a clear focus on the younger generation, because one of the greatest overall challenges was addressing the vulnerability of young people.
“You find them everywhere; youngsters caught between cultures and value systems, seeking solutions in frustration, becoming easy prey for extremist messages,” he continued, urging measures that would give young people the tools for critical thinking. “We need deeper insight into the mechanisms behind terrorism and violent extremism. We need to reach out to scholars and researchers,” he said, adding that a fundamental element of such measures would be supporting civil society organizations engaging in counter-terrorism activities. Sweden’s action plan included a study on how young people could be made less vulnerable to anti-democratic messages spread via the Internet, he said, but stressed that dealing with Web-based propaganda required caution. Indeed, the fear of terrorism must not be used as an excuse to regulate the free flow of information on the Internet. “The problem of the Internet being used as a channel for spreading messages advocating violence and extremism must be dealt with by means other than censorship,” he declared, stressing the need for law enforcement agencies to respect fundamental freedoms and human rights in that regard.
PHILIPPA KING (Australia) said the United Nations had the capacity to condemn and confront terrorism in all its forms, while helping to ensure that global efforts were rooted in respect for human rights, the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of conflict. There had been a number of important achievements in the fight against terrorism since the last review of the Strategy. The threat from terrorist groups had, however, not diminished. Rather, it was evolving in new and challenging ways and was showing itself to be innovative, adaptable and, above all, resilient. Terrorists were exploiting instability in some parts of the world to expand their geographic reach. They were also taking advantage of new technologies to coordinate their actions, spread their message and recruit new members.
The challenge for the international community was that international cooperation against terrorism must adapt and innovate at least as quickly as the enduring threat faced by the international community, she said. Australia strongly supported regional approaches to combating terrorism. In South-East Asia and South Asia, it was working closely with partners to strengthen criminal justice systems and law enforcement capabilities, primarily through support for the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation. It had also significantly increased its cooperation with countries in Africa, providing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, training, technical assistance on mutual legal assistance and border management capacity-building.
A.K. ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh) said that terrorism, in both magnitude and diversity, was one of the gravest challenges to international peace and security, as well as human dignity. The Strategy had been adopted to streamline the coordination and coherence of the United Nations work in the area. Bangladesh supported the Strategy and shared the view that all United Nations efforts should be transparent and their implementation should be strengthened. To that end, he called for more frequent briefings on the activities of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED). He welcomed the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Organization’s counter-terrorism measures and noted the recommendations contained therein. Bangladesh also appreciated Saudi Arabia’s initiative in establishing the United Nations Centre for Counter-terrorism.
He said that Bangladesh condemned all forms of terrorism and was party to all the relevant global instruments against the scourge. The Bangladesh Government had adopted in 2009 an anti-terrorism act, along with an anti-money laundering act and had upgraded them over the ensuring three years so that they were both in compliance with the relevant international treaties. Bangladesh had also ratified the Palermo Convention. The Government was confident, but not complacent, that it had erected strong defences against terrorist activity and extremist elements and it was determined to continue its crusade against those criminal actors. The best and most logical way to combat terrorism was through enhanced regional and international cooperation mechanisms, he said, also calling for measures to address the root causes of terrorism, such as economic disparity and political exclusion.
JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO (Venezuela) said that his Government was firmly committed to combating all terrorist acts and all manifestations of the scourge. Venezuela was pleased that the draft resolution before the Assembly urged implementation of all pillars of the Strategy and reaffirmed the role of Member States in that effort. His country was at the forefront of the battle against terrorism and had recently passed a broad-based law on combating corruption and organized crime, with an emphasis on terrorist financing. Venezuela believed that the international community should pay equal attention to terrorism “that takes place in shadowy corners” and that which “takes place in the light of day”, such as State terrorism. The international community must fight prejudice and promote solidarity. It must seriously support the dialogue among cultures and civilizations.
The world continued to watch aghast as deadly remote weaponry, including airborne drones, wreaked havoc in countries such as Yemen and Pakistan, killing countless civilians at the behest of the American President, who personally chose their targets. He said that former United States President Jimmy Carter had decried the use of such weaponry and other illegal measures in the name of the war on terror. Why didn’t the international community call for an investigation into those who were directing attacks with their “murderous drones”, which considered women and children mere collateral damage? The United States also continued to abrogate international law by harbouring the known terrorist Luis Posada Carilles. All countries must abide by international law and all countries must stand by their obligations to implement international agreements and decisions without selectivity.
IBRAHIM MOUSSA AL-HATMI (Qatar) said that because it believed that it faced the danger of terrorism at all levels, his country had paid great attention to the efforts of the United Nations to eradicate terrorism. It had sought the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. With regard to the first pillar of the Strategy, Qatar had adopted an open cultural and educational policy based on dialogue with others. It also recognized and hosted numerous conventions and meetings on interfaith dialogue and of the Alliance of Civilizations. It established the Doha Centre for Interfaith Dialogue in 2007 and a National Committee of the Alliance of Civilizations in 2010.
Under pillar II, Qatar had issued a number of legislations that criminalised terrorism in all its forms, he went on. In addition, in support of pillar III, it had organized workshops on combating terrorism, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as a capacity-building effort. For pillar IV, Qatar’s Constitution and its legislation all ensure human rights and the country had joined all international conventions on human rights.
WITOLD SOBKÓW (Poland) said that since the last review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, his country had taken several steps aimed at further developing and improving the national counter-terrorism system. It had prepared a comprehensive national anti-terrorism strategy and the process to adopt that programme was currently underway. It was focused on the prevention of radicalization and recruitment into terrorist organizations along with protection, pursuit, response to and removal of the effects of terrorist attacks, as well as international cooperation. Its priorities included working out an effective information policy and a platform for communicating with the public.
Poland had been continuing efforts to counteract cyber-terrorism, primarily through the drafting of legislation, he continued. The adoption of a national Cyberspace Security Policy was currently underway. Poland had also been consistently developing its counter-terrorism cooperation with neighbouring countries, in bilateral and regional dimensions. It had worked closely with the Visegrad Group countries and with the Baltic States. In November 2011, it joined the cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. Turning to non-State actors, he said that their attempts to produce or acquire chemical and biological agents to be used as weapons remained a threat to the international community. That threat, fuelled by globalization and worldwide expansions of the chemical and biological industries, highlighted the need for effective controls on dual-use materials and equipment. The terrorist threat remained the key challenge facing the international community. The United Nations, at the same time, remained the unique structure able to deal with that challenge.
YANERIT MORGAN (Mexico) expressed her country’s support for the proposals to have a coordinator in charge of issues of terrorism within the United Nations. That was because it believed that it was important to ensure that the implementation of the Strategy adopted a holistic approach that emphasized information sharing and coherence within the United Nations system, as well as with concerned the regional mechanisms.
She also called for the promotion of exchange of intelligence and information among the different levels of national Governments, as well as at the regional and international levels, in order to promote a multidimensional approach to prevention. That would allow for early action to combat terrorism and should be employed in coordination with an exchange of best practices and respect for the rule of law and protection of the human rights of the victims of terrorism. Such an approach was essential for the identification of new risks and threats to peace and security arising from terrorism.
The challenge before the international community was to put an end to terrorism, including its financing, cyber threats and the relations between terrorism and other organized transnational crime, she said. Mexico attached particular importance to the development of policies targeting terrorism and was committed to combating terrorism. Mexico would continue to support the measures taken at the United Nations to put an end to terrorism. It believed that the scourge should not be linked to or associated with any religion, nationality or civilization.
Mr. ALJADEY (Libya) said the international community had long sought to curb incidents of terrorism and address its root causes. The Assembly’s myriad commendable actions were a testament to the world’s commitment. Yet, all must acknowledge that terrorism had not been beaten and terrorist acts had only increased in number and diversity. The international community must continue to debate the matter, including regarding implementation of the Global Strategy, to assess gaps and share lessons-learned. He said that Libya’s former regime had had a long history of providing arms to armed groups.
Now that that regime had been ousted, some of those very same groups had returned to the country to terrorize the Libyan population, often with the very weapons that had been given to them by former Libyan leader Qadhafi. Those groups were also disrupting peaceful countries in the wider Sahel region. The new Libyan Government would not be deterred from its efforts to build a country that was a bastion of stability in the region. A recent meeting had been held and the Tripoli Plan of Action had been adopted to deal with such matters as illegal weapons and strengthening borders. Libya would take the opportunity of the Assembly’s review to reaffirm its support for the international community’s counter-terrorism framework.
WANG MIN (China) said the Strategy represented the most extensive effort by the United Nations to address the scourge of terrorism. The international community had made a lot of effort to fight terrorism, but that scourge had not been eliminated. China supported the complete implementation of the Strategy. In fighting terrorism, it was necessary to keep both the symptoms and the cure in mind. In that regard, efforts should be directed toward eliminating the gap between the poor and rich and the international community should pay more attention to addressing the root causes of terrorism.
China supported the coordination role being played by the Counter-Terrorism Task Force, he went on. The Security Council could actively support the implementation of the Strategy. In fighting terrorism, it was necessary to uphold the United Nations Charter and to avoid double standards. The international community should clearly oppose and fight terrorism in all its forms. No country should protect terrorists based on political considerations. He stressed the critical importance of international cooperation in fighting terrorism and said that China was opposed to associating terrorism with any particular religion, nationality or religion. China would continue to fight terrorism in all forms and would continue to actively implement the Strategy.
JÜRG LINDENMANN (Switzerland) stressed the need to understand that terrorism “cannot be defeated by security measures alone”. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy clearly stated that addressing the conditions conducive to terrorism, building State capacities and respecting human rights and rule of law were equally important. The Strategy provided for a balanced, integrated and holistic approach, and that should be reflected in the institutional set-up. At the national level, inter-agency coordination had largely become a reality. In Switzerland, some 30 agencies met regularly to discuss issues relevant to countering terrorism. Within the United Nations, a similar trend was discernable, as seen in a growing number of entities joining the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF). As for the language of the new resolution which was to be adopted, it reflected the constructive atmosphere during the negotiations.
The resolution recognized that the principal responsibility for the implementation of the Strategy lay with the States and Switzerland had tried to live up to that task, at home and by supporting a number of projects abroad, he said. In the framework of its support for so-called “Arab Spring” countries, Switzerland had earmarked funds for building rule-of-law structures, for reforming and building the capacity of the security and military sectors, for the protection of human rights and for strengthening pluralistic societies. Switzerland was co-sponsoring a CTITF initiative on the implementation of the Strategy at the regional level in South-East Asia, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, the West/North Africa and South Asia. Four meetings had so far been held, in Indonesia, Ethiopia, Namibia and Bangladesh, with another one to take place soon in West Africa. In 2009, as a forerunner to the just mentioned regional initiatives, Switzerland had organized the first international workshop for national counter-terrorism focal points in Vienna, together with a group of other States and in close cooperation with various United Nations entities, such as the CTITF Office, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS(United States) said that recent terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and elsewhere in the world reminded all that no country was immune and no single country could address terrorism on its own. In that regard, United States’ support for the Strategy and to that document’s broad-based approach to the fight against terrorism remained unwavering. With the United Nations playing a central role, the international community had made significant strides over the past decade in combating the scourge, including in information sharing and tightening maritime frameworks and border controls, among other measures. Despite such progress, the dangers from terrorism remained urgent and undeniable; while the core of Al-Qaida might be on the path to defeat, that group and its offshoots remained deadly and were becoming more widely dispersed.
Indeed, he continued, recent brutal attacks in Mali, Somalia and Yemen were evidence that such groups remained bent on carrying out frequent destabilizing attacks in a host of countries and regions. “This means that we must redouble our efforts and do more to undermine the appeal of the extremist narrative,” he said, stressing that there was much work ahead in that regard and the international community must work together to ensure that all countries had the tools to combat the scourge on all fronts. The United States had redoubled its efforts to promote implementation of the Strategy around the globe, including though increasing support for the Task Force. He was particularly pleased to announce the support provided by the United States to programmes related to human rights training to law enforcement officials in regions around the globe. The United States looked forward to working with other Member States to prevent and combat terrorism wherever and in whatever form it occurred.
ZAHIR TANIN (Afghanistan) said that the widespread implementation of the Strategy had yet to take place and remained a challenge to many countries. Some of the factors contributing to that situation were a lack of coherence among relevant United Nations agencies dealing with terrorism and overlaps in their activities. Too often, that situation had resulted in a lack of understanding on the part of the Members States on who to contact when placing requests for technical assistance in areas of need. In that context, Afghanistan welcomed the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General, including the proposal to create a United Nations Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. Such an initiative could be beneficial in strengthening inter-agency coordination and could improve the United Nations’ overall ability to help States in the areas of technical assistance and capacity building.
Afghanistan had long been the number one victim of terrorism, he went on. Each day, Afghan men, women and children woke up in fear that another brutal act of terror would occur, killing or maiming a family member or a fellow citizen. The regional dynamics of the terrorist threat facing Afghanistan was such that the country would not achieve durable peace and stability if it did not address the presence of terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries within the region. Afghanistan was firmly committed to defeating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Its counter-terrorism policies were a key part of the overall national security strategy. It had further strengthened its counter-terrorism legal framework and was party to 13 international conventions and protocols concerning terrorism. It had also adopted a multitude of national laws to combat terrorism and other forms of organized crime.
NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia) said the strategy, which reflected the views of all Member States, was a good tool for combating terrorism and punishing perpetrators. Colombia believed that all four of the Strategy’s pillars must be fully implemented. The international community must address the scourge in a coordinated way, as it created fear within all societies and undermined development. The United Nations, and especially the Assembly, must be the main forum for outlining and discussing such coordinated efforts. Colombia was working through the Organization of American States and other regional bodies to set out counter-terrorism strategies.
Indeed, one aim of such efforts was to draw on the best practices from the region’s long-term fight against organized criminal networks to thwart terrorists and those that financed terrorist activities. He said that protecting and supporting victims of terrorism was a matter of major concern for Colombia, and he noted the efforts of relevant United Nations bodies in that area. At the same time, he urged those bodies to scale up technical assistance for individual States, so that they could outline adequate victim response strategies. There was a specific need to ensure that victims’ voices were heard during trials and investigations. Finally, he called for strengthened coordination and cooperation among all States — and United Nations agencies — to ensure full implementation of the Strategy and to strengthen the activities of the Task Force, CTED and other related mechanisms.
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE (Iran) said that the Strategy should be implemented in a balanced way under the auspices of the General Assembly, as the only organ of the United Nations with universal membership. In that regard, Iran highly encouraged the Counter-Terrorism Task Force to better interact with the entire Member States on a regular basis, in order to gain more support in the overall implementation of the Strategy and to strengthen the sense of ownership to all members.
His country had been a victim of terrorism for decades and was still suffering from terrorist attacks in different forms and manifestations, including State terrorism, he said. On 11 January, an Iranian scientist had fallen victim to a terrorist attack in Tehran in an incident in which two other innocent people were seriously injured. One of those people died in a hospital later, as a result of his wounds. That was not the first time an Iranian scientist had come under malicious terrorist attack. Such crimes had been committed on several occasions by true sponsors of state terrorism, as a means to serve their political purposes. It was regrettable that such horrible incidents had seen little reaction from those who were to take all possible measures to combat terrorism. That was an example of the main challenge to countering terrorism, which was the existence of double standards and the categorising of terrorism into good and bad based on immediate political interests. Selective or double standard approaches in dealing with terrorism needed to be strictly rejected. Such approaches could undermine international trust and cooperation in countering terrorism.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR (Pakistan), associating himself with the statement made by Syria on behalf of OIC, unequivocally condemned terrorism as well as any other murder of civilians. He rejected any association of terrorism with any religion or ethnic group and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to strengthening international cooperation in the struggle against terror, which required coherence and coordination. He, therefore, supported the Global Strategy and its balanced implementation that addressed the root causes of terrorism including prolonged unresolved conflicts, unlawful use of force, aggression, foreign occupation, political and economic injustice, political marginalization and alienation.
His country had fulfilled its international obligations on counter-terrorism, he said, having ratified 10 of the 13 relevant United Nations conventions. Party to the convention on suppression of terrorist financing, the country had established a financial monitoring unit in the State Bank. Recently, 64 additional accounts and some 750 million Pakistani rupees had been frozen, in cooperation with allies. In addition, some 160,000 troops were deployed on the Afghan border, with 822 border posts to interdict Al-Qaida and Taliban members. Calling for implementation of pillars of the Strategy that addressed prolonged unresolved conflicts, defamation of religion and the promotion of development, he said that the Strategy must also be updated frequently to keep up with new developments, such as the emerging trend of home-grown radicals vulnerable to propaganda found on new communications technologies. He stressed the need for respect for human rights and rule of law and for the prosecution of terrorists through due process, rather than their elimination through extrajudicial means which only fed extremism. He hoped that the process of reform would continue in Security Council Committees to ensure due process and transparency, and urged greater coordination between United Nations bodies in the fight against terrorism, while emphasizing the need to respect their different mandates.
AKAN RAKHMETULLIN(Kazakhstan) outlined the various experiences gained and measures of counter-terrorism undertaken by the State within the country and in the framework of regional structures. The country was guided by the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and 14 international universal instruments, which it had ratified, and its main strategy was directed at eliminating the causes, so as to prevent terrorism, and to detect in a timely manner the threat and incidence of terrorism. As a country that voluntarily renounced the possession of one fourth of the world’s nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan attached great importance to implementing measures to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists. In 2011, the movement of nuclear materials for safe and secure storage, in keeping with international standards, had been carried out with the direct assistance of the United States. That operation had more than amply proved the need for close cooperation at the subregional, regional and international levels to combat terrorism. As an active member of the Anti-Terrorist Centre of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Kazakhstan had signed the SCO Convention against Terrorism, and all the agreements on combating the illicit trafficking of arms, ammunition and explosives.
The adoption in November 2011 of the Joint Action Plan to implement the United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy in Central Asia was an important step, he said. A consultative meeting with regional organizations had been held on 21‑22 June in Almaty to execute the Strategy in Central Asia with the support of Kazakhstan in partnership with various regional entities. Kazakhstan had hosted the Conference on the Prevention of Terrorism, in which the Astana Declaration was adopted. He also welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre and supported the proposed post of a United Nations counter-terrorism coordinator. Kazakhstan joined other States that had expressed concern about merging issues of terrorism and organized crime. While they were undoubtedly interconnected, there was the need for independent focus on eliminating drug trafficking, the source of funding for terrorism, he said.
SHIN DONG-IK (Republic of Korea) said that his country was fully convinced of the need for comprehensive and systematic counter-terrorism efforts and was actively cooperating with other States and strengthening domestic measures. An effective approach should address all aspects of terrorism, including denying weapons access to terrorists, especially weapons of mass destruction, suppressing financing and strengthening law enforcement. As a member of all key international conventions related to non-proliferation, his country had hosted events to prevent nuclear terrorism and address proliferation financing.
The Republic of Korea had also assisted other Member States to enhance their counter-terrorism capacities in a wide range of areas, contributing to the Afghan National Army Trust fund and providing technical training and equipment to Southeast Asian nations to combat terrorism and eradicate drugs. The country reaffirmed its strong commitment to combating terrorism and ensuring a safe and secure world for future generations.
RON PROSOR (Israel) said that while the Assembly had the solemn responsibility to evaluate the status of the Strategy by determining what had been accomplished and where implementation was lagging, it must not substitute words for action; it must not imagine that wishful thinking today could prevent devastating consequences tomorrow. “One thing is clear: if we do not take the next steps in advancing our collective efforts, the terrorists certainly will,” he said, emphasizing his delegation’s support for the Strategy’s comprehensive framework for addressing terrorism in all its aspects. Indeed, the Strategy’s four pillars must be implemented with equal determination. He said that the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a counter-terrorism coordinator must be studied carefully, as every effort must be made not to duplicate the functions of existing structures and mechanisms. “We must not mistake process for progress,” he added.
He said that Israel appreciated the priority the Secretary-General had placed on victims of terrorism, “whose voices should ring louder than the deadly siren song of terrorists”. Victims’ stories could help keep those at risk from joining the ranks of extremists and they could compel communities to move from indifference to action. He said that the international community also had a duty to prevent incitement to terrorism, whether in mosques, schools of the media. Just as States were obligated under the Strategy to bring terrorists to justice, so too must they pursue those who built the foundations of terrorism by teaching children to hate. Further, States that sponsored terrorism should find no refuge, and he said that one nation stood above all others as an active supporter of terrorism — Iran. He said that country was the central banker, primary sponsor and chief trainer of terrorists, “from Bangkok to Baghdad; from the Gaza Strip to the Washington beltway”. He said that Iran’s Vice-President, in a recent meeting with United Nations officials on combating illegal drug trafficking, had said that the teachings of the Talmud were responsible for inciting such trade and addiction in a bid to “annihilate” non-Jewish communities. Such vile anti-Semitic statements were outrageous and all responsible members of the international community should unequivocally condemn them, he said, stressing that history had shown that words could kill and, at times, remaining silent was not an option.
KNUT LANGELAND (Norway) said that preventing terrorism required a comprehensive and long-term approach. The international community must make use of a broad range of measures, including political, economic, legal and military means, and it must maintain a long-term perspective. It was the responsibility of Member States to implement the strategy, but the United Nations had an important role to play in coordinating counter-terrorism efforts at the global, regional and country levels, and in assisting Member States in their implementation of the strategy. There was, however, a need to further strengthen cooperation and coordination among United Nations entities to increase efficiency and to avoid overlap. Norway, therefore, welcomed the proposal to appoint a United Nations Coordinator responsible for strategy coordination, coherence and implementation.
The international community must recognize the important role that victims of terrorism could play, he said. The victims should be listened to and the formulation of counter-terrorism policies should be guided by their experiences. The victims should be treated with dignity and respect. In addition, civil society provided valuable input on many political areas and played an important role in the implementation of the global strategy. Norway, therefore, strongly supported a stronger role for civil society, both internationally and in individuals Member States, on all four pillars of the Strategy.
ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey) said his delegation believed the draft resolution before the Assembly, which would serve as the outcome of the third review of the Strategy, encompassed important points regarding the coherence and coordination of implementation within the United Nations, as well as interaction in that regard between the Organization and its Member States. That text contained several key elements, among others on the hampering of terrorist financing, addressing cyber-terrorism, enhancing tolerance and the dialogue among civilizations, protecting the rights of victims and promoting regional and subregional cooperation.
He went on to say that terrorists were bold enough to challenge each and every nation and, in the face of scaled up international measures to counter their activities, merely altered their methods or exploited loopholes in the international counter-terrorism regime. Therefore, while preserving the delicate balance between security requirements and basic human rights, the international community must continue to strengthen and enhance its counter-measures and tighten the legal mechanisms that denied terrorists access to the means to carry out their attacks. He said that no such measures, no matter how successful on their own merits, could yield tangible results without international cooperation and real support from States. Finally, he drew attention to the lack of expertise and resources that were major obstacles to implementing the Strategy. Indeed, enhancing capacity, especially in law enforcement, required specific attention.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said his Government was pleased that this third review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy had resulted in its reaffirmation, thus underscoring that the international community was united in the fight against terrorism and believed that the General Assembly must continue to play a key role in shaping the work of the United Nations to combat terrorism, along with the Security Council and the Human Rights Council. He was of the view that the highlight of this year’s review was the greater attention being given to the plight of the victims of terrorism. Supporting victims, through such steps as rehabilitation, must be a top priority. And they should be given a stronger voice in counter-terrorism efforts.
While supporting the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a system-wide Counter-Terrorism coordinator, Liechtenstein remained keenly aware of the inherent limits of any effort to coordinate different United Nations entities with different mandates and reporting lines, he noted. In establishing that position, finding the right balance, to the extent possible, between respecting mandates and eliminating the fragmentation was crucial. A key aspect of the Strategy was the balance among its four pillars: addressing the conditions conducive to terrorism, preventing and combating terrorism, capacity-building, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. All four pillars must be implemented evenly by States and by the United Nations. Full respect for human rights while countering terrorism was not only an obligation under international law, but also part of an effective fight against terrorism, as systematic violations of human rights could be exploited by those wishing to promote terrorist movements.
SAIFUL AZAM MARTINUS ABDULLAH (Malaysia), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of OIC, said it was important to deal with terrorism in a balanced way that gave equal attention to all four pillars of the Global Strategy, as Malaysia has striven to do, having ratified nine of the relevant conventions and protocols and currently amending national laws to accede to the remaining treaties. The country was cooperating extensively within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), having established a capacity-building centre for the region, signing on to regional treaties and participating in intelligence-sharing and other relevant activities. Malaysia had been addressing conditions such as extreme poverty that can lead people to turn to terrorism. In that vein, it was critical for the international community to address foreign occupation.
Understanding between peoples was important, but the real clash was between moderates and extremists, he said, and for that reason his Prime Minister had called for the establishment of a global movement of moderates to use reason and respect to drown out the voices of hate that had been raised by a mere handful. International counter-terrorism efforts should also be enhanced by an overall United Nations counter-terrorism coordinator, he said, affirming Malaysia’s firm commitment to see a world free of terrorism.
ANSYAAD MBAI (Indonesia) said terrorism continued to pose extremely serious challenges to the international community as a whole. Examples abounded that it remained a persistent, evolving and long-term threat to the security, stability and socioeconomic development of all regions. The root causes of terrorism were varied and deep-seated. They demanded a comprehensive response that would address all aspects of terrorism. Law enforcement alone would not suffice. The response of the international community needed to address the conditions that were conducive to the spread of terrorism, as well as broad and long-term strategies that made use of a soft-power approach. The only realistic response to the threat of terrorism lay in international cooperation. Thus, it was of the greatest importance that all the pillars of the Strategy be implemented in a comprehensive, consistent and balanced way. Each one was as important as the other and no pillar was less important or came before the other.
Indonesia’s rigorous legislative and law enforcement approach to counter-terrorism had resulted in hundreds of suspected terrorists being brought to justice, he went on. Many had been convicted. In Indonesia’s experience, terrorism could not be addressed by merely using the hard approach. That was why its National Counter-Terrorism Agency also employed soft-approach tactics that included de-radicalization, counter-radicalization and the promotion of programmes for moderates. Equally important was the fact that the country continued to organize and support interfaith dialogues as away of empowering the moderates in the society. The country continued to believe that, while terrorism and terrorist activities could not be excused, it was also important to address the conditions that were capable of contributing to their spread.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Syria said that, unfortunately, the Israeli delegation had mentioned his country. Israel should be the last country to talk about State terrorism, especially since it practiced such terrorism against Arab peoples throughout the Middle East. Yet, everyone knew that Israel had the habit of sending false messages to obfuscate its terrorist activities being carried out all over the world. People living in glass houses should not throw stones, he said, adding that Israel’s ongoing expulsion and displacement of Palestinians should be considered terrorism.
Iran’s delegate said that a representative of the world’s main sponsor of State terrorism, which also happened to be the occupying Power in the Palestinian Territory, had taken the floor earlier. Being accused by such a notorious perpetrator of terrorism did little harm to Iran, because everyone knew the atrocities being carried out by the Zionist regime. Everyone was aware of the terrorist acts committed against Iranian scientists earlier in the month and everyone expected such heinous crimes to continue.
In response, the representative of Israel said that in the topography of terrorism, Syria and Iran remained permanent features on the landscape. When the representatives of those countries spoke, the Assembly was provided with insight to the mindset of State-sponsored terrorism. As for Syria, that country’s Government had murdered thousands of its own citizens in the past year and the Syrian delegation should, therefore, be the last to speak. Further, Damascus was headquarters to some of the most infamous terrorist groups. Syria was an open highway for high-tech weapons headed for Hizbullah. The desperate words of the delegates of both Syria and Iran said nothing about Israel, but everything about the desperate regimes they represented. As for Iran, the primary sponsor and architect of terrorism, that country provided sophisticated weapons to Hamas and a host of other terrorist groups and networks. “Their actions speak for themselves,” she said.
In response, Syria’s representative said he was surprised that the representative of the Zionist regime had taken the floor, and was even more shocked that she had mentioned maps and geography, especially when that regime’s occupation remained a permanent feature on the landscape of the Middle East. The representative of that regime was crying crocodile tears. A full day would be needed to discuss Israel’s criminal history in the region.
* *** *For information media • not an official record