The United Nations has long been active in the fight against international terrorism. Reflecting the determination of the international community to eliminate this threat, the Organization and its agencies have developed a wide range of international legal agreements that enable the international community to take action to suppress terrorism and bring those responsible to justice.

Dating back to 1963, these agreements provide the basic legal tools to combat international terrorism in its many forms -- from the seizure of aircraft to hostage taking to the financing of terrorism. Many have been ratified by the majority of countries around the world, and only the most recent one is not yet in force. Such agreements have been developed by the General Assembly, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The instruments are the:

The Legal Committee of the General Assembly is elaborating a convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and a comprehensive convention on the elimination of terrorism.

The Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by the Assembly in 1994, and the Declaration to supplement the 1994 Declaration, adopted in 1996, condemn all acts and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, wherever and by whomever committed, and urge all states to take measures at the national and international level to eliminate international terrorism.

The Security Council -- as the principal international organ dealing with international peace and security -- has also long been involved in the fight against terrorism. Immediately after the attack, in its resolution 1368 (2001), it condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack against the United States and called on all States to work together urgently to bring the perpetrators to justice. By resolution 1333 (2000), it demanded that Afghanistan's Taliban authorities act swiftly to close all camps where terrorists are trained. By resolution 1269 (1999), it unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, and called on Member States to adopt specific measures. By resolution 1267 (1999), it demanded that the Taliban turn over Usama bin Laden to appropriate authorities so that he can be brought to justice.

For its part, the General Assembly the day after the attack strongly condemned the heinous acts of terrorism, and called for urgent action to enhance international cooperation to prevent and eradicate acts of terrorism.

The Vienna-based United Nations Terrorism Prevention Branch researches terrorism trends and assists countries in upgrading their capacities to investigate - but, above all, to prevent -- terrorist acts. The Branch is an arm of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.

(See also - http://untreaty.un.org/English/Terrorism.asp )

  • For further information, please contact by e-mail: bellando@un.org or phone 212-963-8275.