South and South-East Asia experts discuss practical implementation of terrorist asset-freezing mechanisms
CTED and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) held a regional workshop in Bangkok on implementing the asset-freezing provisions of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001).
Resolution 1373 (2001) requires Member States to freeze without delay funds and other financial assets or economic resources of persons or entities who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts. APG countries have recently taken significant steps to amend their legal frameworks in this area, but those frameworks have not yet been tested in practice.
The workshop, sponsored by Germany, was part of a global CTED initiative on freezing terrorist assets. It was the fifth to be held, following those held in Senegal, for French-speaking West African States; Tanzania, for East African States; Turkmenistan, for the Eurasia region; and the Bahamas, for Commonwealth States of the Caribbean.
"Asset-freezing has proven to be one of the most successful ways to disrupt terrorist activities, and that is why Germany has always been very supportive of CTED's work in this area", said Arend Wulff, Political Counsellor at the German Embassy in Bangkok.
Delegates from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand presented their respective asset-freezing mechanisms and discussed effective measures to make them operational. "The workshop brought together regional experts to discuss in a very practical way how to meet these important international obligations" recalled Eliot Kennedy, APG Assistant Secretary.
Experts from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States shared their national practices in building operational mechanisms that are consistent with the relevant international standards and human rights obligations. Ensuring due process in all aspects of asset-freezing systems was discussed in depth.
Freezing without delay pertaining to Resolution 1373 also calls for the examination of third party requests for freezing. "To enable the better conduct of the designating and freezing procedures domestically and internationally, the authorities need to understand the relevant law enforced at home and abroad. CTED and APG have provided a Forum to hold such discussions"said Seehanat Prayoonrat, Secretary-General of Thailand's Anti-Money-Laundering Office.