Fifty-ninth General Assembly
9th & 10th Meetings (AM & PM)
LEGAL COMMITTEE CONCLUDES REVIEW OF MEASURES AGAINST GLOBAL
TERRORISM, CONSIDERS CONVENTION ON SAFETY OF UN PERSONNEL
In Both Cases, Delegates Seen Stronger Adherence
To Existing International Instruments, Propose Expansion of Protections
(Issued on 21 October 2004.)
A discussion of protection for United Nations and associated personnel on United Nations missions followed expressions of views on terrorism as the Sixth Committee (Legal) held two meetings today to conclude its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism and begin its deliberations on the scope of protection under the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and associated personnel.
In both discussions, delegations called for the signing and accession to relevant international instruments already in existence.
On terrorism, those are the 12 core sectoral conventions and protocols on countering terrorism. At inter-sessional meetings, finalization will continue on two more instruments, one a comprehensive convention on terrorism and the other on nuclear terrorism.
Iraq’s representative said the conviction was growing in his country that only international action could address the terrorist problem. Counter-terrorism actions were now coordinated at the ministerial level. Iraq would now be able to accede to the international instruments as had not been possible before.
Singapore’s representative said the creation of norms and laws was one of the proudest achievements in advancing and ensuring the rule of law. The Sixth Committee (Legal) was charged with charting agreed-upon standards and norms so that they would prevail. The Committee had not been responsive to the clear and present danger terrorism posed to the world. Action against it must be swift. The Committee must rise to its obligations and complete the two conventions.
Also speaking on the subject of terrorism were the representatives of Uganda, the Sudan, Peru, Kazakhstan, Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Venezuela, Angola, Oman, Trinidad and Tobago (on behalf of the Caribbean Community: CARICOM), Sierra Leone, Jordan, New Zealand, Mongolia, Syria, Kenya, Yemen, Maldives, Zambia, Mali, Egypt, Ukraine (on behalf of the GUUAM group), Mexico, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Fiji, Nepal, Ethiopia, Lesotho, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Tunisia.
The reports of the Ad Hoc Committee and of the Working Group on the Scope of the Convention for United Nations and associated personnel were introduced by the Chairman of both, Christian Wenaweser of Liechtenstein.
Debate on the Convention centred on how its provisions could be extended to cover United Nations Missions that did not fall under the definition in the 1994 Convention. All agreed that the measure of protection to United Nation personnel should be increased and that rights and obligations of States were respected.
Sri Lanka’s representative said Declarations of risk, as provided for, were not being made, even when operations were risky. There was a lack of agreed-upon criteria for making that Declaration, and the situation became complex when the operation was a hybrid with combatants and United Nations personnel involved. The gaps in the Convention should be closed by broadening the Convention’s scope to adapt it to the current conditions with a new regime that did not disturb the integrity of the existing instrument.
Switzerland’s representative called for an instrument that would go beyond the need for that Declaration, so as to broaden the scope of protection afforded by the Convention.
Also speaking on that topic were the representatives of Netherlands (on behalf of the European Union), Kuwait, Norway, Liechtenstein, Libya, Brazil (on behalf of the Rio Group), Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Cuba, United States, China, the Republic of Korea, Bangladesh and Uganda.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, 21 October, when it is expected to take up the question of an international convention on cloning.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met in morning and afternoon meetings today to conclude debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism and to open debate on the scope of legal protection under the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
For the terrorism debate, the Committee had before it the report of its working group on the subject (document A/C.6/59/L.10) and the report of the Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on it (document A/59/37). It also had the Secretary-General’s report on measures taken by governments and organizations in their fight against terrorism, in addition to correspondence directly from States concerning such measures. (For further background see Press Release GA/L/3254 of 18 October.)
For the Convention debate, the Committee had before it a number of reports. The first was the Secretary-General’s report on the scope of legal protection under the Convention (document A/59/226). In it, the Secretary-General states that the core provision of the 1994 Convention had been introduced into a growing number of recently concluded status-of-forces and status-of-mission agreements, which in effect extended the scope of application of the Convention to United Nations operations, in which no Declaration of exceptional risk had been made in countries not signatories to the Convention.
No Declaration of a “risky operation” had been made, the report continues, not even in Afghanistan where the Secretary-General had recommended it, since the United Nations operation there remained risky. Efforts to expand the scope of the Convention’s application by means of a legal instrument dispensing with the Declaration requirement should continue. Further, no requests for information about the Convention’s application had been received from States. Information had been provided to States that had asked for a list of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on their territory in contractual linkage with the United Nations. In most cases, however, the tripartite agreements between the United Nations agency, the Government and the NGOs provide that information. Finally, local staff remained vulnerable, and additional measures short of evacuation had been taken to strengthen their security.
Also before the Committee was the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the scope of legal protection offered by the Convention (document A/59/52). The report outlines proceedings of the Ad Hoc Committee’s third session (12-16 April, New York) for carrying out its 2003 mandate to expand the scope of legal protection under the Convention, including through a legal instrument.
The report states that the Ad Hoc Committee conducted its session as a Working Group of the Whole. A Red Cross representative spoke on the relationship between the 1994 Convention and international humanitarian law. Discussions on measures to expand the scope had shown deep concern about the increase of attacks against civilian personnel performing services for the United Nations, including in the 19 August 2003 attack against the Baghdad headquarters. It was agreed that the legal protection under the Convention should be strengthened in line with resolutions calling for short-term measures strengthening its scope, and for a Security Council Declaration of exceptional risk as required under the Convention.
While adoption of short-term measures was considered essential, the report continues, there was disagreement over whether they were sufficient in light of the changing nature of United Nations operations under conditions outside the Convention’s legal scope. Some held that the requirement for a Declaration was the main shortcoming in the protective regime the Convention offered. Others held that lack of implementation of the Convention was the limitation, rather than the need for a Declaration mechanism. In that view, the difficulties arose from the Convention for host States, including the criteria for initiating the declaration.
A New Zealand proposal would eliminate the need for a Council Declaration as the way to expand the scope of the Convention’s applicability without compromising the instrument’s integrity by supplementing it and binding only States that agreed. A proposal by Jordan would retain the notion of risk, so as to avoid using arbitrarily established lists of operations to determine the applicability of the Convention. Additional views on expanding the scope called for keeping the intergovernmental mechanism in the Declaration of risk; for ensuring that expansion resulted in greater certainty and clarity in application, with no weakening of the legal regime; for addressing concerns regarding article 8 of the Convention on respective responsibilities, for consideration of whether the expansion was an amendment or an optional protocol.
Ultimately, the Ad Hoc Committee recommended renewal of its mandate to continue work on expanding the scope of legal protection under the Convention, including by means of a legal instrument.
Finally before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report on effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives (document A/59/125). The report outlines the views of 11 States responding to the Secretary-General’s request for communications about diplomatic and consular situations in their countries: Burkina Faso, Germany, Kuwait, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Finland, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon, Slovenia and Mexico. The United Arab Emirates and Mali also submitted views on enhancing the principle of reciprocity among States on diplomatic and consular protection. Included are an outline and chart on the status of participation in international conventions pertaining to diplomatic and consular safeguards. It states that 32 States became participants to those instruments in the two-year period covered by the report.
ROSSETTE NYIRINKINDI KATUNGYE (Uganda) called on the international community to breathe new political will into the stalled negotiations on the two conventions before the Committee for the benefit of future generations, as the world witnessed terrorist attacks increasing in frequency, ferocity and fatality. Legal instruments may not be a panacea, she said, but any tool the international community could collectively wield was indispensable to the war against terrorism. Murders of children and beheadings shown on the Internet were the new face of terror; cold-blooded terrorists must not be allowed to get away with horrific crimes, and the children and villagers of northern Uganda who had suffered
18 years of terror must not be forgotten.
She said her country was a party to 11 of the 12 instruments on terrorism. Its report to the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee detailed the activities taken at the international, regional and national levels to combat terrorism and organized crime through legislation, a joint task force and other institutions. A high-level conference under United Nations auspices should be held to formulate a joint and organized international response to terrorism. Contributions to the technical assistance fund of the Terrorism Prevention Branch within the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice office were appreciated. The Costa Rican initiative toward the establishment of a High Commissioner on terrorism was an example of an innovative and practical step in the war on terror.
YASIR ABDALLA ABDELSALAM (Sudan) said terrorism was an abject crime, representing a threat to international peace and security. The United Nations had the role of coordinating actions to counter it. His country had been first to ratify all 12 anti-terror instruments. It had embraced the spirit of the conventions in its domestic priorities. Despite progress, however, there were concerns. The fight against terror was becoming a political tool for some countries to advance their own agendas. Terrorism was also being confused with the legitimate struggle toward self-determination. The international community must come together on defining terrorism to move forward on fighting it.
YELLA ZANELLI (Peru) said his country condemned international terrorism, no matter its ideology or objectives. He stressed the importance of inter-State cooperation in combating it. Peru had acceded to United Nations and regional anti-terrorism instruments. On the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism and the draft instrument for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, he said Member States must heed the appeal of the Security Council to achieve a consensus in concluding work on the two measures.
He proposed inter-sessional meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee elaborating the two instruments to resolve the differences over provisions of the two draft texts to ensure early finalization of its tasks.
YERZHAN KH.KAZYKHANOV (Kazakhstan) said the war against terrorism should be a coordinated and joint effort of the international community to ensure an effective response. He welcomed the work under way in the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council to assess the requirements of countries in combating terrorism.
In response to Security Council resolutions 1455 (2003) and 1526 (2004), his country had taken measures to prevent any possible attempts by terrorists to carry out their activities in Kazakhstan. It had acceded to 11 of the 12 United Nations sectoral instruments against terrorism, and it was about to complete procedures on the 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
He said the two draft texts being worked on by the Ad Hoc Committee on terrorism would provide added value to the existing anti-terrorist conventions and protocols by filling the gaps in them. His country supported early conclusion of the Ad Hoc Committee’s work. At the national level, measures had been taken to prevent terrorist and extremist activities. A system of cooperation between government agencies was in place, and new technologies were being introduced to ensure better border controls and immigration.
KONE SIFANA IBSEN (Burkina Faso) reiterated his country’s condemnation of terrorism and its commitment to work with the rest of the international community to combat it. Measures had been taken at the national level to deal with the problem. The country had become party to a number of international anti-terrorist conventions.
He urged international consensus to fight against terrorism. States, big or small, must all listen to one another on measures to tackle terrorism, he said. Everything should be done to reduce the breeding grounds for terrorism. A unified international approach was the only way to combat terrorism successfully.
YVONNE OW (Singapore) outlined the global nature of the terrorism threat and said a universal threat must be met with a universal response. The United Nations was the only truly international global organization. It should meet its responsibilities in addressing the challenges before it.
She said the creation or norms and laws was one of the proudest achievements in advancing and ensuring the rule of law. The Sixth Committee (Legal) was charged with charting internationally agreed upon standards and norms, so that they would prevail. Instead, the Security Council had taken the lead on countering terrorism, usurping the Assembly’s role by an organ that was not a universal body. That abnormal state of affairs had come about, she said, because the Assembly had not been responsive to the clear and present danger terrorism posed to the world. Action against terrorism must be swift. The Committee must rise up to its obligations, seize the moment and complete the two conventions before it, so as to take the right turn at a crossroads and not be judged harshly by history as having taken the wrong path.
ROBERTO LAVALLE-VALDES (Guatemala) said terrorism was a phenomenon beyond the merely criminal in its nature. It was global and it produced deep emotion, tension and fear, to play upon deeply-held religious and ethnic convictions. The gravity of the phenomenon was shown by the fact that many of the Council’s resolutions on terrorism invoked Chapter VII of the Charter, concerning resort to force. That was the Chapter also invoked when sanctions were imposed. There was some overlap between the Committees established for counterterrorism and that specifically for Al-Qaida. Perhaps another should be set up, to combine the focus of the two. Whatever other measures were adopted, States should abide by obligations already undertaken, including to sign and accede to the already-established instruments on terrorism. The Costa Rican proposal for a High Commissioner on terrorism should be implemented.
FERMIN TORO-JIMENEZ (Venezuela) said his country condemned all forms of terrorism and was scrupulously complying with United Nations resolutions on the subject. A national authority had been set up to fight terrorism, he said. He trusted that further discussions would continue in the Ad Hoc Committee on efforts to complete work on the two draft texts on terrorism and the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.
The causes of terrorism could be identified if a multi-dimensional approach was taken towards terrorism. As the President of Venezuela had said on many occasions, terrorism could not be fought against with more terrorism. Responsibility in the fight against terrorism began and ended with promotion of human rights. War should give way to a peace offensive. The roots and origins of terrorism should be investigated. The fight against terrorism must be a commitment of all States to resolve the problems of hunger and its aftermath. The United Nations must focus all its efforts on the question of hunger. Venezuela supported the fight against terrorism and respect for human rights.
CARLOS DA CONCEICAO E SILVA (Angola) called for political will to resolve the differences in the Ad Hoc Committee, adding that despite the stalemate, the Committee should continue its work. The fight against terrorism should also include a search for its root causes. Measures to combat terrorism should be based on international cooperation, including a role for the private sector. Angola supported the convening of a high level international conference to find a coordinated international response to terrorism. As vice-chairman of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, Angola had been complying with its requests for reports on the actions of Member States to combat terrorism.
RUA AL-ZADJALI (Oman) called for a definition of terrorism that distinguished between that phenomenon and the legitimate struggle for self-determination. She condemned terrorist acts and said the international community must confront all forms of it, whether State-sponsored or caused by any other individual or group. Her country had acceded to 10 of the 12 international anti-terror instruments. A high-level conference should focus on addressing the various forms of terrorism, both State and other.
RIAHD AL-ADHAMI (Iraq) recalled the ways in which his country had suffered from terrorist acts and said the conviction grew there that only international action could address the terrorist problem, especially in key areas such as border control. A high-level body established to counter terrorism now coordinated the work of his country’s various ministries in the anti-terror effort. Iraq would now also be able to accede to the international instruments; it had not been able to do so before. However, implementing instruments would not get rid of the scourge if the underlying causes were not addressed, since unfavourable life factors such as poverty and inequity created the breeding ground for the terrorist sentiments. Winning individual battles might be possible with legislation but winning the war required more.
GAILE ANN RAMOUTAR (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), reviewed the Security Council and General Assembly actions that had been taken to fight terrorism and called for the completion of the two instruments before the Committee. She also called for a high-level conference to formulate a concerted international response to terrorism.
Further, she said the link between organized crime and terrorism was becoming more and more seamless, particularly in the area of the illicit traffic of drugs and the other crimes associated with that trade. The international community must help small island States do their share, while respecting their vulnerabilities.
ALLIEU I.KANU (Sierra Leone) said that his country had just emerged from a long and unnecessary civil conflict, which had all the hallmarks of international terrorism. It was involved in post-conflict reconstruction and required technical assistance from the international community to meet its obligations under United Nations anti-terrorism resolutions. Sierra Leone was party to nearly all of those instruments and regional instruments.
His country believed that to strengthen the fight against terrorism, the two draft texts before the Ad Hoc Committee were needed. He believed that, with political will and a spirit of compromise, the difficulties hindering conclusion of work on those texts could be overcome. He said terrorism was caused by many factors including social, economic and political conditions, and a way must be found to deal with legitimate grievances. States could not totally ignore respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism. Addressing its root causes should be one strategy in that fight. The rule of law was the best way to provide people with legitimate outlets for their opinions and to express their needs.
MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) said the General Assembly should play a key role in the efforts to combat terrorism. It should be the cornerstone for the conclusion of international legal instruments that provided effective law enforcement tools to fight the phenomenon. Other United Nations bodies should complement the work of the General Assembly, but not replace it. Accordingly, he said it was imperative that the General Assembly reached agreement as soon as possible on the remaining issues in the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and the draft convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism.
He welcomed Security Council resolution 1566, which recognized the need for the root causes of terrorism to be addressed. He noted that the Council’s message had been misunderstood. The job of the Sixth Committee was to preserve the rule of law and to create balance between enforcement tools and the protection of other rights, he said. It was not the lawyers of the Committee, but the illegal policies States sometimes adopted that provided fertile grounds for terrorism.
TIM MCIVOR (New Zealand) said his country had now ratified all 12 United Nations anti-terrorism conventions and was in compliance with Security Council resolutions 1267, 1373 and 1390. It cooperated closely with the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering and counter-terrorist financing. It was addressing new international trade and transport security standards.
New Zealand joined others in encouraging the Ad Hoc Committee on terrorism to intensify its efforts to conclude a draft comprehensive convention text. The adoption of such a convention would add value to the current multilateral counter-terrorism instruments, by filling existing gaps. A particular focus of his country was working with PacificIsland countries to help them meet international counter-terrorism obligations. New Zealand had established a Pacific Security Fund for counter-terrorism and security-related training and technical assistance.
CHOISUREN BAATAR (Mongolia) said his country had consistently underlined the central role of the United Nations for developing a comprehensive strategy to uproot international terrorism. It was committed to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 and was taking the necessary measures to implement its provisions. It supported the efforts of the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee to revitalize its work.
The existing anti-terrorist instruments should be strengthened and the loopholes filled, he said. The speedy conclusion of the draft comprehensive convention against international terrorism and the draft convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism would greatly facilitate the work of the Security Council, he said.
MOHAMMAD HAJ IBRAHIM (Syria) said his country condemned all forms of terrorism and supported recent Security Council resolutions on the subject. State terrorism was the worse form of the scourge. The war against terrorism should take place within international legitimacy and United Nations resolutions. Israel’s State terrorism against the Palestinian people was a crime, and he expressed regrets about the different criteria used in prosecuting the war against terrorism.
Syria believed that the work being done by the Ad Hoc Committee on terrorism was a major step forward. He also referred to the need for a definition of terrorism to draw a distinction between it and the legitimate struggle for freedom from foreign occupation. He reiterated his country’s support for the proposals presented to the Ad Hoc Committee by the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the draft text on suppressing acts of nuclear terrorism. The deadlock in the Ad Hoc Committee should be overcome with the necessary political will.
LAZARUS AMAYO (Kenya) affirmed the central United Nations role in the fight against terror and noted the progress made by the world community against the scourge. Reviewing the steps his own country had taken, he now called for the Committee to find common ground on the two draft resolutions before it.
The outstanding issues were complex and political in nature, he said. However, the need to fill the vacuum in the legal norms to fight terrorism was urgent. Parties to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention on Prevention and Combating of Terrorism held that the struggle waged by peoples in accordance with international law for liberation or self-determination from colonialism, occupation, aggression or domination by foreign forces should not be considered acts of terrorism. Only by acknowledging that reality could the outstanding issues on the two instruments be resolved.
SHAFIQU AL-DHALIE (Yemen) said his country had suffered from terrorism and the national efforts taken to counter it had been reported to the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee. But, terrorism was not confined to any one area of the world. As a global phenomenon, it needed to be confronted in a concerted way on a regional basis. A study should be conducted on why the phenomenon cropped up where it did, so that measures taken to address the problem were directed at that particular aspect.
The matter should be taken up at a high-level conference, he said. That was the forum to establish modalities for a coordinated international response to counter terrorism. Within the Committee and beyond, a uniform viewpoint on terrorism must be formulated to provide a legal basis for moving forward drawing a clear distinction between terrorism and liberation.
MOHAMED LATHEEF (Maldives) said small island States had a limited capability to combat even what were called low intensity threats from terrorist activities, let along the dangers posed by elements engaged in drug-trafficking, money-laundering and gun-running. That made them vulnerable. International action was necessary to help them deal with the challenges. Adoption of the two instruments before the Committee would be a crucial step in helping small island States combat the dreadful scourge.
Further, he said, the discussion on measures to eliminate international terrorism should include the dangers posed by the use of mercenaries to achieve political ends. The international community must come together in strengthening the measures to combat terrorism and address the activities of mercenaries and other transnational organized crime participants. It was regrettable that a decade had passed since the convention on mercenaries had opened for signature and it had still had not entered into force. States should become party to it, so it could do so without further delay.
MWELWA MUSAMBACHIME (Zambia) called for a collective international effort to eradicate terrorism, while human rights and freedoms were ensured and the principles of international humanitarian law upheld. On the two instruments before the Committee, the utmost flexibility and compromise should be exercised. Also, a high-level conference should be convened to achieve consensus on outstanding issues on the instruments and a central body should be established to coordinate the fight against terrorism. Finally, the 12 anti-terror conventions already in existence were crucial in the fight. States should ratify and implement them, as his country was fully committed to doing.
DIALLO ALASSANE (Mali) said international terror was a threat to international peace and security that appeared on all continents. The legal arsenal must be built as the basis for tackling it, including through technical assistance programmes. Also, the root causes, such as poverty and injustice, must be addressed. With regard to the two instruments before the Committee, it must be acknowledged that responsible decisions were called for, and that must override political objectives. He hoped the differences in views could be worked out during the intercessional period, so that nothing stood in the way of finalizing the two instruments. Further delay only gave more oxygen to terrorists.
MOHMOUD SAMY (Egypt) said the best way to deal with terrorism was through international law. A distinction should be drawn between terrorism and self-defence, allowing for collective action to deal with the problem. Egypt supported the convening of a high level meeting to define terrorism. The conference should be preceded by regional ones, to forge common positions.
He underlined the critical role of the United Nations, as well as international cooperation, to advocate a common front against terrorism. The General Assembly should play that central role. There was a need to breathe new life into the General Assembly, to bring about the early conclusion of work on the two draft texts before the Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on terrorism. Egypt had proposed the establishment of a working group to study the ways and means of making the United Nations more capable and efficient in achieving international goals of combating terrorism.
OLEKSANDR KUPCHYSHYN (Ukraine), speaking on behalf of the GUUAM States (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) said the Security Council had set the necessary framework for strengthening the potential of a global anti-terrorism action. Its leading role, and that of its Counter-Terrorism Committee, should be preserved. The Council’s resolution 1566, adopted earlier this month, represented a practical step towards further strengthening the essential coordinating role of the Council in the international campaign against the terrorist threat.
Noting the need to enhance the capacities of regional organizations in the fight against terrorism, he said the GUUAM States welcomed the endeavours of the Counter-Terrorism Committee to facilitate dialogue and information exchange with them. The GUUAM States reaffirmed their determination to develop the political, legal and organizational means to combat terrorism and related illegal activities. He strongly believed that the United Nations constituted the framework for collective efforts in fighting terrorism, and the GUUAM States were ready to participate actively in them.
JOEL HERNANDEZ (Mexico) said his country was a party to the 12 international instruments and to the two regional Organization of American States (OAS) anti-terror instruments. The instruments produced in the Committee must be texts that could be implemented and universally accepted. It was critical that the Committee finished its work on the two conventions so as to build the basis for further work in the Assembly.
CHEIKH TIDIANE THIAM (Senegal) said the international community must continue to explore more efficient avenues for fighting terrorism than has been done so far around the world. The difficulties concerning the complex task of the conventions should not delay work on two instruments that could help to free the world of a deadly, universal phenomenon. The two instruments must be finalized, so no legal vacuum existed in defining the scourge. Criminal justice must be brought in as an element in the global response to terror.
His country had ratified 11 of the 12 instruments, he said, and ratification of the final one was now imminent. That was in addition to having signed on to other relevant international instruments, including the convention on transnational organized crime. All its actions made clear that Senegal and the African continent were serious in their commitment to fighting the scourge, while also cautioning the international community to not overlook human rights. A high-level conference should be held for an exchange of views, taking into account the conclusions reached by the Secretary-General’s panel of eminent persons, who were expected to report in December.
When the Committee met again this afternoon, FAWAZ AL-SHUBAILI (Saudi Arabia) said his country condemned terrorism and had affirmed its support for Security Council resolutions on the subject. It had taken measures at the national level to remedy shortcomings in its laws relating to terrorism. A body had been established to monitor implementation of relevant anti-terrorism instruments. Measures the country had taken to fight terrorism had been welcomed overseas. It was its commitment to fight the scourge. The international community had the responsibility to do so as a collective effort.
Saudi Arabia would host an international conference on terrorism next February, he said. The objectives of the conference include determining the sources of terrorism; terrorist cultures and ideas; and links between terrorist organizations and drug trafficking. He said money laundering would also be discussed, and lessons from terrorism would also be considered. Saudi Arabia hoped the outcome of the Conference would form a sound basis for international efforts to combat terrorism. He said States must now, more than ever, join hands to promote inter-State dialogue and understanding.
G.O. AJONYE (Nigeria) said the two instruments before the Committee were both necessary for protecting the individual and collective rights to life. Continued disagreement and delay in finalizing them could send the wrong message of global indecision to terrorists. There must be greater flexibility and political will for arriving at a consensus to finalize the instruments without prejudice to respect for fundamental human rights, rule of law and other democratic principles.
He said his country had taken steps to implement other anti-terrorist instruments, including in the areas of freezing the funds of those associated with terror and cracking down on money laundering. Nigeria would also continue to deny safe haven to those who financed, planned, supported or committed terrorist acts. While there could be no justification for any such act, the international community had a responsibility to deal with the root causes of the phenomenon. The global effort to fight terrorism should include identification of root causes and a genuine redress of them.
SAINIVALATI NAVOTI (Fiji) said the need to keep moral duty in mind could not be overemphasized when it came to addressing legitimate grievances caused by despair, resentment, ignorance and poverty. To eliminate terrorism at its roots, there needed to be a collective nurture of international relations based on sovereign equality, multilateralism and justice. There should be equal emphasis on eradicating exploitation, oppression and social inequality.
He said the ripple effect of terrorism on a small island State, such as his was devastating. One attack could break the backbone of its single commodity export economy. The Committee must act on the two conventions before it and thereby carry out the duties given it by the Assembly. Terrorists weren’t waiting around for political understandings and solutions.
RAM BABU DHAKAL (Nepal) condemned terrorism and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to fighting it. He said the comprehensive legal framework that included the two conventions now before the Committee would be a formidable tool with which to fight the scourge that had hit his own country. This would also support actions being taken at a time when the Assembly was being revitalized. A summit should be held as a way of allowing an exchange of views on how to approach the fight on terror. Terrorism had posed a serious challenge to Nepal’s development. The assistance of the international community was needed.
BIRHANEMESKEL ABEBE (Ethiopia) said his country would play its part in the fight against terrorism on a national, regional and international level. The two conventions before the Committee would be an important part of a whole regimen for international action against terror.
RUSSEL MEZEME-MBA (Gabon) said he supported actions of the Security Council to combat terrorism and hoped the Council would make use of its Charter prerogatives to that end. Dismantling terrorist networks required action also at regional levels and Gabon had joined African Union efforts in that direction. It was involved in the recently established regional study centre on terror. Provisional legislation had been set up to take part in action groups involved in activities, such as monitoring of money laundering in the central African subregion. An institutional framework had been set up to deal with the problem through the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) for encouraging results.
LINEO MATEKANE (Lesotho) said her Government appreciated the role of the United Nations in the fight against terrorism, and mentioned in particular the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee; the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime with its Terrorism Branch, and the global programme against terrorism. She noted that most acts of terror were committed in the interests of a legitimate grievance, perceived or otherwise. However, any kind of motivation should not take precedence in the greater goal of preserving the dignity of human life and saving succeeding generations from devastation. She said much greater efforts should be made in commitment to combat terrorism.
RI SONG HYON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that counter-terrorism should serve to safeguard the sovereignty of countries and the right to development, to ensure the freedom and safety of people and to promote global peace and security. It should not be misused for unilateral political purposes. He said it was the unilateral and exclusive “counter-terrorism” policy and the unjustifiable “combat against terrorism” that brought about the vicious cycle of terrorism. Recent rampant terrorism was the result of inhumane foreign policies, which oppressed nations, violating State sovereignty and causing social inequality. It was important that the root causes of terrorism were determined and steps taken to effectively cope with it. Member States should not tolerate the imposition of unilateral pressure and sanctions and the use of armed forces against sovereign States behind the screen of ‘counter terrorism’.
MOSTAFA DOLATYAR (Iran) said that his country had always strongly condemned terrorism since it had been a foremost victim of it. It had cooperated with regard to Al-Qaida and was now working toward a global approach to the global challenge terrorism had become. The United Nations had the essential role in codifying rules to make a solid basis for States to fight terrorism effectively. The Assembly had acted slowly, or insufficiently, to address problems on numerous occasions.
SABRI CHAABANI (Tunisia) said terrorism had escalated and its universal nature mandated the United Nations as the only body to lead the global effort on battling it. Each part of the Organization must carry out its role without overlap. As a Security Council member, his country had taken an active role in formulating resolution 1373 on terrorism. It set out a group of actions to be taken by countries alone and in concert with others, such as regulating financial flows suspected of being associated with terrorism. Yet, there were loopholes. The two conventions before the Committee should be finalized. A code of conduct should also be formulated, as his country had put forward.
Statements on Scope of Legal Protection
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) introduced the reports of the Ad Hoc Committee and the working group on the scope of Legal Protection under the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel. He said a constructive approach would allow the two bodies to complete their work. He said United Nations personnel seemed to be vulnerable. Member States had an obligation to provide adequate protection. He looked forward to the conclusion of their work at the next session in 2005.
JURG LAUBER (Switzerland) said measures were required at various levels to improve the protection of United Nations and associated personnel. The Sixth Committee had a duty to put in place a system of legal protection possible. Every possible step must be taken to protect those working often under most difficult conditions. He noted that the consensus existed on the need to widen the scope of legal protection currently provided under the 1994 Convention. Delegations had recognized at the working group’s meeting the need to go beyond a system based on the declaration of risk, in order to put in place an arrangement that would be more clear and objective.
CARL PEERSMAN (Netherlands), for the European Union and its associated States, said they continued to support the preparation of an additional protocol to the 1994 Convention. Its protective regime would then also cover United Nations and associated personnel of certain United Nations operations other than peacekeeping. They emphasized that achieving the broadest possible legal protection could be done without affecting the sovereign rights of host States. The European Union hoped the General Assembly would soon reach a consensus on the issue of protection of United Nations and associated personnel, which was of common interest to all Member States.
SALEM AL-SHEBLI (Kuwait) commended United Nations personnel working on its territory and noted that his country had joined the 1994 Convention. He said Kuwait had concluded agreement with the United Nations about the headquarters of the United Nations operations there. Kuwait believed in the need for a protocol additional to the Convention, which would indicate the category of personnel who would enjoy protection.
ASMUND ERIKSEN (Norway) said he was encouraged by the increased implementation of the short-term measure to expand the scope of application of the Convention by working its key provisions into status agreements. That measure had to be retained as long as the need for a Declaration of exceptional risk was not dispensed with. An additional protocol to the 1994 Convention should be prepared that would eliminate the need for a Declaration as a trigger mechanism for the protocol to apply.
STEFAN BARRIGA (Liechtenstein) said the Working Group report included a number of alternative ways to expand the Convention’s scope of application to afford protection without recourse to the trigger mechanism of making a Declaration of exceptional risk. That expansion was warranted for two reasons: first, it would not burden the host State with inappropriate obligations of protection; second, it would provide more United Nations operations with remedies after an attack. That was the most important and substantial part of the 1994 Convention, which offered an array of measures to fight impunity for attacks on United Nations personnel. It was up to the host State to bring perpetrators to justice in cooperation with other States. The important point was that impunity was not an option.
FETHALLAH ALJEDEY (Libya) said any aggression that might strike a United Nations-associated person was a grave crime that must be punished. Since most United Nations operations had an element of risk, the principle should be maintained. The main intent of the Convention signed in 1994 should be kept in mind and maintained. The balance must be struck so that protection was provided under this convention without infringing on the earlier Convention on Immunities and Privileges. Amending the main Convention to broaden its scope was a procedural matter. The final goal was to provide protection to those working in humanitarian operations.
SIDNEY LEON ROMIERO (Brazil), speaking for the Rio Group, said there were two sides to improving the protection of United Nations and associated personnel: providing legal protection by adopting and applying relevant international instruments; and improving the infrastructure and safety measure regimen at Headquarters and in the field. The 1994 Convention took care of the legal protection. It had deficiencies that impeded implementation. An additional protocol should be developed to extend the scope of the Convention to personnel not now covered by it. The requirement for the “exceptional risk declaration” should be eliminated by it.
HIROSHIMA TAJIMA (Japan) said his delegation hoped the momentum achieved at the last meeting of the Working Group would be maintained. He noted the very substantive discussion on the expansion of the scope of the Convention, as well as the revised text of a proposal submitted by Costa Rica concerning the relationship between the Convention and international humanitarian law. An appropriate definition of the scope of application which took account of the element of risk would be useful, both for host countries and those contributing personnel.
His Government attached great importance to the security of United Nations and associated personnel. It believed in the necessity of expanding the scope of the legal protection through a legal instrument that would cover certain United Nations operations other than peacekeeping.
MAHNOUD HMOUD (Jordan) said that developments in the Working Group were a substantial step forward. It seemed that current framework of a convention was not sufficient, and that there was a need to broaden it. Jordan had presented proposals toward that end. Legal instruments to be agreed should take account of the concerns of host countries. There was a major shortcoming of the Convention, which he hoped would be remedied.
MATTHEW AILEONE (New Zealand) paid tribute to United Nations and associated personnel. He said his country was concerned about the increase in the violence to which they were exposed in the field. Member States had a responsibility to ensure their protection. Attacks on them were an attack on the Organization and its MemberStates. As a critical step in ensuring adequate protection, New Zealand joined the Secretary-General’s call for all States to become party to the 1994 Convention. In addition, it reiterated its commitment to working with all States to conclude a new Optional Protocol to the Convention that would improve and extend the scope of legal protection for United Nations and associated personnel.
JUANA RAMOS RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) condemned attacks on personnel. They were unjustified and must be punished. She said that although it was not a party to the 1994 Conventions, Cuba supported protection for those United Nations and associated personnel. It was appropriate to broaden scope of the Convention. Any expansion should reflect the exceptional risk faced by the personnel. Care must be taken not to disturb the delicate balance in the proposed draft text. The interests of the host countries should also be taken care of.
VIJAYASIRI PADUKKAGE (Sri Lanka) said it was time to study how to broaden the range of protection provided by the 1994 convention to cover evolving types of United Nations operations. Declarations of risk were not being made even when operations were dangerous. There was a lack of agreed-upon criteria for the Council’s consideration in weighing whether to apply the Convention, a situation that became complex when the operation was a hybrid one where combatants and United Nations personnel were engaged. The relationship between the Convention and international humanitarian law should be studied. The emphasis should be on closing the gaps by broadening the convention’s scope to adapt it to the current conditions. There should be a spirit of compromise in discussions, but a new legal regime should not disturb the integrity of the one existing.
ERIC ROSAND (United States) said he supported the Convention and hoped to be in a position to ratify it soon. A stand-alone protocol was the appropriate vehicle for extending the scope of protection afforded by the Convention. More work must be done to increase the number of States parties to it. The concerns of host countries must be identified and assuaged, without eroding the protections offered to United Nations-associated personnel. That was key for making progress on both fronts of advancing the protections offered by the Convention.
GUAN JIAN (China) said the risk element should be the basic condition for the application of the Protocol. Keeping that in mind would speed work on the draft instrument now under consideration and would express the imperative to protect United Nations personnel taking part in United Nations operations. More parties would then find it attractive to become parties to the protocol, which would strike the delicate balance between the rights and obligations of States parties.
AHN-JU AHN (Republic of Korea) noted that the Convention in certain instances was better equipped to protect United Nations and associated personnel from crimes of intentional murder or other attack. It also provided punishment for perpetrators of such crimes. However her delegation understood problems that the Costa Rican proposal was intended to address, and would carefully study it.
She urged that the General Assembly and the Security Council should exert efforts to issue timely declarations about risks where warranted. Using the declaration might do away with expanding the scope of the Convention, she said.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), in a statement read by a member of his mission, stressed the need for obtaining universal acceptance of the Convention in the endeavour to extend its scope of application. His country had been involved in United Nations operations, and its peacekeepers had been deployed all over the world. Member States must act to ensure the security of peacekeepers. Their legal protection should be strengthened, he said, adding that Member States should ratify or accede to the Convention.
NYIRINKINDI ROSETTE KATUNGYE (Uganda) said the two views that additional protections were needed and that more States must be encouraged to sign onto the Convention were not opposed. An additional protocol should be developed and should be voluntary for States to take on. The exceptional risk requirement should be maintained.
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