UNITED STATES TELLS ASSEMBLY’S LEGAL COMMITTEE ANTI-TERRORISM EFFORTS MUST STRESS PREVENTION OF GLOBAL EXPANSION, ADDRESS LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCES
UNITED STATES TELLS ASSEMBLY’S LEGAL COMMITTEE ANTI-TERRORISM EFFORTS MUST STRESS PREVENTION OF GLOBAL EXPANSION, ADDRESS LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCES
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-second General Assembly
4th & 5th Meetings (AM & PM)
UNITED STATES TELLS ASSEMBLY’S LEGAL COMMITTEE ANTI-TERRORISM EFFORTS MUST
STRESS PREVENTION OF GLOBAL EXPANSION, ADDRESS LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCES
Renewing Call for Progress towards Comprehensive Convention,
Delegates say Bridge-Building among Different Cultures Still Crucial
The elimination of terrorism would have to go beyond the mere destruction of terrorist leadership, networks and safe havens, and focus on eroding terrorist recruitment and preventing the global expansion of terrorist groups, the United States representative said today as the Sixth Committee (Legal) –- in two meetings -- continued an extensive debate on the possibility of adopting a draft comprehensive convention on terrorism during the current session.
The United States delegate said trusted networks of governments, private citizens, private organizations, multilateral institutions and business groups should work collaboratively to wean at-risk populations away from subversive manipulation by terrorists. Mechanisms would have to be created to address grievances and galvanize public opinion to reject violence as a means of expressing any type of grievance. Pathways must be built for alienated groups to redress legitimate grievances without joining a terrorist network.
The representative of Singapore said it was impossible to shut down all websites that distorted religious concepts and purveyed pro-terrorist ideas. What could be done, however, was to recognize and reject radical ideologies that attempted to legitimize their violent ways. One such public initiative in his country was a counselling programme conducted by religious scholars and leaders.
Morocco’s representative noted that the success of efforts to combat terrorism depended largely on international cooperation, and urged dialogue among civilizations, pointing out the need for encouraging bridge-building among different cultures and religions.
Several delegations urged the Ad Hoc Committee elaborating the draft comprehensive convention to finish its work early, by agreeing on the text as an essential component of completing the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy that was the outcome of the 2005 Summit.
Ghana’s delegate said conclusion of that convention should form an indispensable part of the implementation strategy of the Global Strategy. Sri Lanka’s representative said the convention would provide a comprehensive legal regime for effectively combating the scourge, while preserving the integrity of international humanitarian law and further energizing the 2006 Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
The representative of Syria said he was reaffirming Arabic traditions, in both Islam and Christianity, by refuting fundamentalism and condemning terrorism. The concept of the right of peoples under occupation to self-determination should not be mixed into the fight against terrorism.
While he said he supported holding the long-debated high-level conference on terrorism, the representative of Sierra Leone said “declaring a war on terrorism” was mistaken because terrorism was a phenomenon and could not be a target of war. His country would not have emerged from civil war without engaging in dialogue with rebel groups. Engaging perpetrators did not justify terrorism, but was a means to gain more understanding about it.
The representative of Israel said that, much as his country wished to see a comprehensive convention concluded as soon as possible, it should not come at the expense of diluting the principles that would make it an effective tool in the fight against terrorism. In the quest for a working definition of international terrorism, Israel said there was a need for legal precision and for moral clarity.
The representative of Maldives pointed out that small States with limited resources and technological know-how were often unable to address the threats that endangered them. With terrorism perpetrated in one country often crossing into another, it was imperative for the international community to take up the obligation to help protect their security. His country, in the past two weeks, had suffered its first terrorist attack when 12 people were injured by the detonation of a device in a recreational park. Earlier in May, a foreign terrorist organization had used a hijacked “third country” fishing trawler to smuggle weapons and explosives in Maldivian waters.
Also speaking in the morning meeting were the representatives of Guatemala, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malaysia, Sudan, Algeria, Tanzania, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Nigeria, El Salvador, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Indonesia, Qatar, Botswana, Cambodia, Cuba and India.
Others speaking this afternoon were the representatives of China, Cameroon, Mexico, Mongolia, Venezuela, Moldova, Iran, Mozambique, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Yemen, Japan, Iraq, South Africa, Uganda, Angola, Philippines, Palau and Niger.
Cuba’s representative also spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The observer of Interpol also addressed the meeting.
The Committee meets again at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, 15 October, when it will take up the question of criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to continue its debate on “measures to eliminate international terrorism”, which it began yesterday.
It had before it three documents, including a report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism (A/62/37) on the work of its eleventh session (New York, 5-6 and 15 February 2007). The Ad Hoc Committee, established under General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, has since 2001 been elaborating a comprehensive convention against international terrorism.
At its sixty-first session last year, the General Assembly requested the Ad Hoc Committee to expedite its work on the convention. The Ad Hoc Committee is also considering a proposal on the convening of a high-level conference under United Nations auspices to examine international response to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Other documents before the Committee include a report of the Secretary-General (A/62/160) containing information from Governments and international organizations on measures taken to eliminate international terrorism, recent developments on the subject, and information on workshops and training courses on combating crimes connected with international terrorism.
A letter from Sudan (A/62/291) contains the final communiqué and recommendations of a Conference on Terrorism and Extremism that took place in Khartoum on 24 and 25 July 2007.
ANA CRISTINA RODRIGUEZ-PINEDA ( Guatemala) said the United Nations was the appropriate forum to address terrorism. The Secretary-General’s report contained a good analysis of the juridical tools for countering the phenomenon. Her country had conducted a review of its legislation and had found areas to be updated in line with the conventions on the matter to which it was party. A definition of terrorism should be included in the comprehensive convention that must be finalized as quickly as possible. Regional drug trafficking and related crimes made the situation of vulnerability to terrorism even more difficult. International cooperation should be stepped up to help vulnerable countries. Last week’s workshop by Liechtenstein on the subject of terrorism and human rights had been most helpful.
MUHAMMAD ALI SORCAR ( Bangladesh) said the comprehensive convention must address the issue of State terrorism. The definition of terrorism should be crafted in such a way that no terrorist activities were spared, whether State-sponsored or committed by non-State actors. There should, however, be a clear distinction between terrorism and the legitimate struggle against colonial domination and foreign occupation, and for self-determination and independence. All wars of liberation were conducted unconventionally, and any attempts to make political use of anti-terrorism sentiments to suppress genuine popular movements for freedom and self-determination were bound to backfire. Those factors must be considered and weighed as a definition of terrorism was constructed.
HABIB MANSOUR ( Tunisia) said his country associated itself with the statements on behalf of the member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement. The number of terrorist attacks and victims in the past year were assuming alarming proportions. Combating terrorism could be fruitful only when the causes were taken into account. Political and economic inequalities were some of the factors which contributed to the radicalism of those perpetrated terrorist attacks. There must be international cooperation in tackling the phenomenon, taking into account the symptoms as well. Tunisia believed the United Nations should be the proper forum for international efforts to combat the scourge. Tunisia stressed the importance of the implementation of the goals of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
He said the consultations on the comprehensive convention should continue in a constructive spirit to resolve all the outstanding issues. Dialogue among civilizations and cultures was the right way to solve differences in the approach to combating international terrorism.
ZENON MUKONGO NGAY ( Democratic Republic of the Congo) said his country associated itself with the statements made on behalf of the African Group and the Movement of Non-Aligned countries. He said human rights should not be denied in efforts to combat terrorism. Peaceful settlement of disputes and conflict resolution must be promoted, with United Nations mechanisms being employed. He urged cooperation among the agencies of States engaged in counter-terrorism activities. He said his country had acceded to the counter-terrorism legal instruments of the United Nations and had set up agencies to fight the scourge at home.
He urged Member States to work towards the early conclusion of the draft comprehensive convention against terrorism. The Democratic Republic of the Congo supported the convening of an international conference on terrorism to discuss all its forms and manifestations.
KAMAL BAHARIN OMAR ( Malaysia) said his country had strengthened its legal framework to implement the counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, and to cooperate with foreign law enforcement authorities in their investigations and criminal prosecutions of alleged terrorists and their activities. Malaysia was now party to eight of the international instruments on terrorism, and had in January signed the convention on counter-terrorism of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Efforts were ongoing to enhance the available mechanisms for international cooperation, such as the Counter-Terrorism Committee, which had conducted a site visit to Malaysia in July 2006 and reported that Malaysia had generally fulfilled its obligations under Security Council resolution 1373.
He said a high-level conference should be convened to work towards solutions to the broad political issues underlying the United Nations efforts to combat terrorism, including the identification of root causes. A parallel discussion on related issues would not compromise discussions on the substantive provisions of the comprehensive convention. In fact, it could well provide insight and possible solutions.
ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan) said he supported the condemnation of terrorist acts, including those that were State-sponsored. His country had ratified 12 of the conventions on terrorism and had hosted a seminar in July last year on terrorism and extremism. However, Sudan was concerned that the anti-terrorism effort had lost its way and had taken on a political cast. The confusion between terrorism and the right of people to fight against colonialism, along with the association of terrorism with a specific religion, were both headed in the wrong direction, and only served the interests of “powerful extremists who were terrorists themselves”.
He said it was “like a holy war”, and the remedy lay in correcting the course in defining terrorism. Dialogue must be encouraged and tolerance promoted, in order to “derail the campaigns against Islam”. A conference on countering terrorism was premature, he said, because it would be lame without a definition of terrorism.
YOUCEF YOUSFI ( Algeria) said there was no subject on which there should be stronger consensus than on terrorism. All States opposed such acts. The universal and trans-boundary nature of terrorism called for international action. However, the United Nations response was disjointed when it came to addressing the complex causes of terrorism, such as the humiliation suffered by occupied people -- a phenomenon that accounted for the eagerness of youth to join terrorist cells. For greater coherence, United Nations counter-terrorism bodies should become unified in a way similar to the peacebuilding mechanism. The comprehensive convention must be adopted. Stubbornness on a definition of terrorism should not stand in the way of such an important juridical instrument.
ABDULLA HAMEED ( Maldives) said that 12 days ago the spectre of terrorism visited his country. An improvised explosive device was detonated in a recreational park in the capital city of Male. Twelve innocent bystanders were injured. Naturally, the people were in shock and dismay by the first occurrence of that kind in the country’s history. His nation was now firm in its resolve never to allow such cowardly acts of aggression to undermine the peace and tranquillity that characterized its society. The unprovoked incident provided a stark reminder that no State was free from the scourge of terrorism.
Terrorism perpetrated in one country often crossed into another, he said. He noted an incident last May, when a foreign terrorist organization used a hijacked “third country” fishing trawler for smuggling weapons and explosives using Maldivian waters.
He recalled that 19 years ago, foreign mercenaries were involved in an armed aggression that threatened his country’s national sovereignty. Their aim was to secure a safe haven, training grounds and a platform for launching attacks in their home nations. Their actions resulted in the loss of many innocent Maldivian lives. Such incidents, and many others elsewhere, clearly depicted the fate of small States. With limited resources and technological know-how, such States were often unable to address those threats that endangered them. It was imperative that the international community take up the obligation of helping to protect their security as stipulated by General Assembly resolutions 44/512, 46/43 and 49/31.
TULLY MWAIPOPO (United Republic of Tanzania) said it was through international cooperation that States would be able to combat the formidable challenge posed by terrorism. She said multilateralism and the constructive involvement of all stakeholders in the fight against terrorism was imperative, and she commended the United Nations for keeping the issues of international terrorism on the global agenda. In particular, she said, the technical assistance provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in countering terrorism was to be praised. She said she welcomed the ratification and implementation of universal legal instruments against terrorism.
Tanzania, she went on, had been on the alert since the 1998 terrorist attack against its capital, Dar es Salaam, and security at its ports and airports had been strengthened. Its law enforcement agencies had been working closely with their counterparts in other African countries in the fight against illegal migration, drug trafficking, money laundering, and the proliferation of small arms, light weapons and hazardous materials. Her Government had enacted a money-laundering Act in 2006, which established a financial intelligence unit, and also the Prevention and Corruption Act of 2007, to ensure that money gained through corrupt practices and embezzlement was not used to finance terrorism.
BORG TSIEN THAM ( Singapore) said the international response to terrorism should be multifaceted. Singapore welcomed the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The country had not been spared from the terrorist threat. In 2001 and 2002, its authorities had arrested members of the Jemaah Islamiyah who were plotting bomb attacks at embassies and other terrorist-related activities in Singapore. The cell in the country was part of a larger regional network that was affiliated to Al-Qaida. While the network had been severely disrupted, he said the threat of terror persisted.
He said that law enforcement was just part of broader efforts to combat the scourge of terror. It was not possible to shut down all websites that distorted religious concepts and purveyed pro-terrorist ideas; neither was it possible to always locate people who were misled by such websites. What could be done, however, was to recognize and reject radical ideologies that attempted to legitimize their violent ways. In Singapore, one such public initiative was a counselling programme conducted by religious scholars and leaders, which tried to correct the distorted interpretations of religion held by extremists who had been arrested. The Government had also launched a national community engagement programme that fostered interfaith understanding, dialogue and trust among the different communities in Singapore.
HAMID CHABAR ( Morocco) said his country associated itself with the statements made on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African Group. He said the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy showed the importance of the role of the General Assembly as a forum for international action in combating terrorism, and Morocco urged its implementation by all States.
He said Morocco favoured the early conclusion of the draft comprehensive convention against international terrorism. It also supported various initiatives being taken to combat the scourge, including Egypt’s proposal for an international conference under United Nations auspices to consider all aspects of the problem, as well as the proposal of Saudi Arabia for the establishment of an international counter-terrorism centre in that country.
He noted that the success of efforts to combat terrorism depended largely on international cooperation, and urged dialogue among civilizations, pointing out the need for encouraging bridge-building among different cultures and religions. Morocco had itself suffered terrorism and strongly condemned it in all its forms and by whomever committed.
OKSANA PASHENIUK ( Ukraine) said the comprehensive convention with a general definition of terrorism was desirable and possible to achieve during the current Assembly session, even if the definition of terrorist acts was still emerging in specific international instruments. At present, crimes prescribed in treaties were broader than what was generally accepted, and sometimes not all forms of terrorism were covered. A wider accepted international definition of terrorism would eliminate the situation of States being in a position to apply national definitions to terrorism, which opened the door to fragmentation.
ROBERT TACHIE-MENSON ( Ghana) said the conclusion of a comprehensive convention on terrorism should form an indispensable part of the implementation of the Global Strategy. The four points in the Global Strategy action plan -- dealing with the causes of terrorism; combating it; capacity building and ensuring human rights -- were all undermined and their impact weakened without that comprehensive instrument.
He said the work on the convention should be guided by the wording of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document and the Global Strategy, both of which condemned terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes”. The formulation could lead the way to unlocking the stalemate on the outstanding issues. Also, the convention should create mechanisms to give comfort, solace and reparation to victims of terrorist acts.
PRASAD KARIYAWASAM ( Sri Lanka) said it was imperative that the Ad Hoc Committee conclude its work early by adopting the long overdue comprehensive convention, which would provide a comprehensive legal regime for effectively combating the scourge while preserving the integrity of international humanitarian law and further energizing the 2006 Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Since its adoption, Sri Lanka had joined other like-minded countries in campaigning for an international platform of action and strategy while formulating an evolving comprehensive legal regime to eliminate terrorism. Sri Lanka would be hosting an international conference on combating terrorism in Colombo later this month. The comprehensive convention must be adopted so that the international community had the comprehensive legal regime to stem the tide of terrorism.
BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria) said his country reaffirmed Arabic traditions in both Islam and Christianity in refuting fundamentalism. It condemned terrorism and supported the convening of an international conference, as proposed by Egypt, to define terrorism as well as distinguishing it from the right of peoples struggling for freedom and self-determination.
He recalled that the United Nations had been established in response to calls for peace and justice among peoples of the world, and said he would reiterate the importance of respect for its Charter principles. No State should be allowed to exploit the Organization to redraft those principles.
The focus should be on the right of peoples under occupation to self-determination. There should be no mixing of that concept with the fight against terrorism. He said that was what some countries were trying to do in their region, in support of Israeli State terrorism since 1967 with the occupation of the Golan Heights.
He called for the early completion of work on the comprehensive convention against international terrorism.
SERGEI RACHKOV ( Belarus) said efforts to stem the flow of immigrants into Western Europe were exacerbating terrorism-related problems in his country. The combating of terror was an international effort. Measures and initiatives taken by one group or region should not create difficulties for others. The terms of anti—crime and anti-terrorist agreements made between parties should not be closed. Regional arrangements should also be open.
IFEYINWA ANGELA NWORGU ( Nigeria) said her country had ratified the 1999 convention for the suppression of financing terrorism in 2003. Legislation had been implemented to provide for freezing of accounts and funds, and the provisions were vigorously enforced. Four anti-terror centres had been established, along with integrity units within each law enforcement agency to prevent and investigate corruption. For international cooperation, Nigeria relied on bilateral agreements for mutual legal assistance in denying safe haven to terrorists.
She said the international community had set itself high and lofty goals by adopting the counter-terrorism strategy. The implementation task force was welcome in its coordinating role, but care must be taken to avoid duplication of functions and working at cross-purposes. Also, members of the task force must be drawn from nations large and small.
MS. VALENZUELA ( El Salvador) said it was extremely important to strengthen international cooperation in combating international terrorism; her country was engaged in a number of initiatives at the hemispheric level. Terrorist threats were a menace to humanity the world over. Agreement should be reached on the comprehensive convention. Her country would make all efforts to implement it.
SIFANA IBSEN KONE ( Burkina Faso) said international terrorism was one of the oldest topics on the United Nations agenda, first appearing in 1972. Much had changed since that time, particularly the ratification of international instruments. The news should be good, and yet terrorism had not abated. Greater cooperation had to be dedicated to the effort, particularly in the area of capacity building. The reputation of the Legal Committee was at stake. The comprehensive convention had to be adopted with the right to self-determination being assured.
ANGELINE MOHAJY ( Madagascar) said there was need for international cooperation to combat terrorism. Madagascar hoped that the outstanding issues in the negotiations on the draft comprehensive convention against terrorism would be resolved and the text finalized. The instrument should include a clear definition of terrorism, she said, adding that it would be an appropriate framework for the fight against terrorism. Her country supported the convening of an international conference on terrorism.
She said Madagascar had acceded to 12 United Nations counter-terrorism instruments, and at the national level it had put in place an action plan to deal with terrorism. It had reinforced controls at its ports and borders. Madagascar was cooperating in efforts at the regional level, and welcomed the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy which reflected the willingness of the international community to combat the scourge.
ADIYATWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY ( Indonesia) said he associated himself with the positions of ASEAN, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). He said Indonesia, a victim of terrorism, had positioned itself at the heart of comprehensive efforts to overcome the threat. At the bilateral level, it had recently signed a counter-terrorism cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka, and it had organized, with Australia, the Conference on Counter-Terrorism in Jakarta.
Regionally, he continued, his Government had adopted the ASEAN counter-terrorism convention, and initiated counter-terrorism cooperation with other countries including China, the Russian Federation, the United States and the European Union. On a global level, Indonesia had become party to six counter-terrorism conventions and maintained constant cooperation with the various counter-terrorism committees established by Security Council resolutions. He said it was essential to avoid stereotyping terrorism in terms of religion, nationality or ethnic group. In that context, Indonesia had partnered with the United Kingdom to form the Islamic Advisory Group, to provide advice on countering radicalism and promoting tolerance. It was important to conclude the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, as such an instrument would improve the legal framework for efforts against it. At the same time, it was important to identify the fundamental causes of terrorism; and Indonesia looked forward to broadminded approaches for resolving outstanding issues on article 18 of the draft text.
SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN HAMAD AL-THANI ( Qatar) said individual and combined efforts were needed to combat terrorism in vulnerable States. Hopefully, the Ad Hoc Committee would conclude its work soon, and would make a distinction between terrorism and liberation movements. All States should fight terrorism. Qatar had formulated legislation to implement the provisions of international instruments to combat terrorism. Economic and social reforms could be one way of fighting terrorism.
PHOLOGO JIM GAUMAKWE ( Botswana) said terrorism was one of the single most serious threats to international peace, security and development; Member States must work in a concerted and coordinated manner to “prevent and defeat this menace”. Dialogue on interreligious and intercultural cooperation for peace was valuable but not enough; action was needed too. National and regional institutions should be empowered to consistently work towards establishing mechanisms for building a more peaceful, tolerant and just world.
He said the timely implementation of global agreements such as the Millennium Development Goals and the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy would also be beneficial. On a regional level, strong cooperation among Member States had already advanced the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions on terrorism, and had enhanced capacity building of national law enforcement agencies. The international community should agree on a comprehensive convention, based on a common definition and understanding of what constitutes a terrorist act.
KOSAL SEA ( Cambodia) called terrorism one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and pledged his support for the United Nations Global Counter-terrorism Strategy. Combating terrorism, he said, meant addressing its root causes. More attention and financial resources should be spent on poverty-reduction programmes, especially in societies where citizens, such as unemployed youth, remained vulnerable to recruitment into terrorist networks. It was also important to promote cultures of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding, through constructive dialogue and effective communications.
He said Cambodia had recently adopted two anti-terrorism laws, one providing a comprehensive legal basis for counter-terrorism efforts and the other to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. In that connection, the National Bank of Cambodia had also circulated the Security Council lists of individuals and entities involved in global terrorism. The Bank has instructed financial and banking institutions to freeze assets and stop transactions with anyone appearing on the lists.
Since 1999, Cambodia had destroyed more than 200,000 small arms, 233 anti-aircraft missiles and 36 Pictora missiles. The country had acceded to 12 key international counter-terrorism instruments, and had participated in the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism.
ILEANA NUNEZ MORDOCHE ( Cuba) said Member States needed to conclude the general convention on international terrorism, but in order for it to be “general” it must provide a clear definition of terrorism, and a distinction between it and “people’s struggle for their independence.” Furthermore, Cuba considered it important for the States to look to the world strategy to combat terrorism as a major instrument to guide the actions against it.
She said Cuba had never allowed, nor would it ever allow, its territory to be used to carry out, mastermind or finance terrorist acts. Yet, the United States Government unilaterally included Cuba on its annual list of States that supposedly sponsored terrorism, despite the fact that funds were granted and collected in Miami and other cities of the United States to carry out terrorist acts. She said the United States also provided a safe haven for terrorists against Cuba. These included Luis Posada Carriles, the mastermind behind the 1997 bombings of Havana tourist resorts, and Orlando Bosch, a terrorist responsible for the downing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, which claimed the lives of 76 innocent civilians. Cuba believed a sincere path in the fight against terrorism should avoid impunity and double standards.
NIRUPAM SEN ( India) said the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was welcome, and would hopefully provide the impetus to unite the international community in its fight against terrorism through practical measures that facilitated cooperation in areas of extradition, prosecution, information exchange and capacity building. Even so, there was a great deal to be done to combat the menace that international terrorism had become; without the early adoption of a comprehensive convention, the global struggle against it would remain incomplete.
Agreement was attainable, he asserted. Serious attempts were being made to resolve the issues and that was encouraging. Delegations should look at all proposals, reach agreement and then finalize and adopt the convention so as to provide a solid legal basis for the fight against terrorism.
When the Committee met again this afternoon, LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said international terrorist activities had continued unabated in recent years. He quoted relevant reports indicating that there were 14,338 terrorist attacks throughout the world in 2006, a 29 per cent increase from the year before. The situation presented the international community with a daunting challenge. The international legal system in the field of counter-terrorism must be improved and effectively implemented. Attention should also be paid to the root causes of the scourge, and States must commit themselves to addressing them.
In pursuing those tasks, he said, strict attention should be paid to the principles of the United Nations Charter, and with double standards being avoided. At the national level, he said China had amended its criminal code by adding provisions punishing terrorist financing, and with the enactment of laws against money laundering. He hoped all States would show confidence and good faith, and work towards the conclusion of the comprehensive convention against international terrorism.
SAMUEL MVONDO AYOLO ( Cameroon) said his country associated itself to the statements made by the representatives of Benin (on behalf of African Group), Cuba (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement) and Pakistan (on behalf of the OIC). He noted that the question of the elimination of international terrorism had been on the agenda of the General Assembly in 1972, and regretted that since then the problem had not been resolved. Terrorism undermined the structures of societies, and the only way to deal with the scourge was to suppress it.
He said Cameroon had taken, at the national level, a number of measures to deal with terrorism, including the adoption of a comprehensive legal framework to punish links to terrorism, terrorist financing, and attacks against civil aviation. A national agency had been established to investigate money laundering. Cameroon supported the codification of the comprehensive convention against international terrorism. He called for flexibility and political will for the conclusion of convention, and said his country had been trying to implement Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions.
ALEJANDRO ALDAY GONZALEZ ( Mexico) said there were responsibilities associated with the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. To ensure that Mexico availed itself of all avenues for cooperating with others at both the international and regional levels, a high-level specialized committee had been established by his Government. It coordinated with the United Nations machinery, and ensured that Mexico’s legislation and policies complied with agreed upon regional mechanisms. It was an important tool for strengthening coordination in implementing the Strategy.
ENKHTSETSEG OCHIR ( Mongolia) urged all States that had not yet ratified the existing 13 international anti-terrorism instruments to do so without delay. He said there should be concerted and redoubled efforts to reach an agreement on outstanding issues, so that a comprehensive convention could be concluded sooner.
Mongolia had already ratified all of the international anti-terrorism conventions. It adopted a law in 2004 on combating terrorism, and last year enacted a law against money laundering. An evaluation of some of Mongolia’s efforts had been carried out in July during the Asia Pacific Group Meeting in Australia. The results, along with those of five other countries, allowed financial experts and other stakeholders to gain a better understanding of what was needed to effectively combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
AURA MAHUAMPI RODRIGUEZ DE ORTIZ ( Venezuela) said the root causes of terrorism should be addressed, including by working to eradicate poverty and promoting respect for cultural and religious diversity. In addition, her country had implemented measures at both the national and international levels to directly combat terrorism. For example, three supervisory tribunals and two appeals panels had been established to deal with cases involving terrorism. At the international level, the family of nations needed the comprehensive convention, which must not ignore the right of people to self-determination. A balanced definition of terrorism should be achieved, keeping in mind the right of people to be free of subjugation.
The international community must come together on fighting terrorism, but political motives must not enter into the matter. For example, her country was still awaiting a response from the United States concerning extradition of a terrorist named Luis Posada Carriles, who was responsible for the death of 73 innocent civilians in October 1976. The commitment to fight terrorism implied that States must refrain from giving aid or safety to terrorists. International commitments should be translated into action.
ANA RADU ( Moldova) reaffirmed her Government’s strong commitment to fighting terrorism through both national and international efforts. She said most terrorist acts were intended to achieve specific political goals; more attention should be given to terrorism motivated by separatist tendencies affecting sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy legitimized United Nations counter-terrorism efforts. Full implementation of that Strategy and its Plan of Action should be an absolute priority for Member States, although the absence of a clear definition of terrorism was an impediment to uniform implementation.
She said a binding definition of what constituted a terrorist act would establish “universal rules of engagement” and help define law enforcement efforts. Collective action was necessary, not just to define terrorism but also to overcome the existing backlog in adopting the comprehensive convention. Those were just initial steps, however. It was crucial not to waste time now, but instead begin taking concrete action.
ESMAEIL BAGHAEI HAMANEH ( Iran) said a consensually agreed legal definition of terrorism was essential, and since the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy failed to come up with such a definition, Iran proposed convening an international high-level conference under the aegis of the United Nations.
For its part, Iran and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held a workshop in January 2007 that aimed at discussing the implementation of international anti-terrorism treaties in Iranian domestic law. Iran had also joined a number of bilateral and regional initiatives to promote cooperation against terrorism and transnational organized crime. He said Iran had signed in 2006 the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, and accession to the remaining international anti-terrorism documents was under way.
CRISTIANO DOS SANTOS ( Mozambique) said his country had become party to 12 universal anti-terrorism instruments, as well as the Organization of African Unity Convention for the Prevention and Combating Terrorism; the process of ratification of the International Convention against Nuclear Terrorism was well advanced. Mozambique was also party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, and it welcomed the expansion of the activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in providing technical assistance and capacity-building to developing countries in implementing universal treaties and other relevant international legal instruments related to terrorism.
He said it was his country’s hope that the work of the Ad Hoc Committee in elaborating the comprehensive convention on international terrorism during the inter-sessional period would bear fruit. It would be an important measure in consolidating the existing counter-terrorism legal framework.
ALLIEU IBRAHIM KANU ( Sierra Leone) noted that although the Security Council had adopted a number of resolutions which helped to reduce terrorist acts, attacks that had taken place since adoption of those resolutions had become more deadly. Thus far, he said, resolutions and declarations that proscribe and prohibit terrorism and provide for the prosecution of terrorist acts had been largely ineffective and lacking enforcement mechanisms.
He noted that there was still a stalemate on the legal definition of terrorism; politicizing the discussions on adopting a definition was the main reason why it was not included in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. He said terrorists should be prosecuted as perpetrators of crimes against humanity, under Article 7 of the Rome Statute.
He said he supported the call for a high-level conference on terrorism, but talk of “declaring a war on terrorism” was mistaken, because terrorism was a phenomenon, and, therefore could not be a target of war. He said Sierra Leone could not have emerged from its civil war without engaging in dialogue with rebel groups; engaging perpetrators was not intended to justify terrorism, but was instead meant to gain a more complete understanding of the root causes, to further the pursuit of its prevention and eradication.
EIHAB OMAISH ( Jordan) welcomed the initiative by Saudi Arabia for the creation of a task force to study the establishment of an international centre to counter terrorism, as well as Egypt’s call to convene a high-level conference on counter-terrorism under the auspices of the United Nations.
Jordan, for its part, had taken concrete steps on the national level that included enacting a new anti-terrorism law and introducing stricter border controls. In addition, he said, all banks operating in Jordan were instructed to comply with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. “Security measures are not enough to uproot international terrorism,” he said. “Political, economic and social factors, and other causes for this abhorrent phenomenon, need to be addressed in order to fully eradicate it.”
MAJED ALMANSOURI ( United Arab Emirates) reiterated his country’s strong support for the Egyptian proposal for the convening of a high-level United Nations conference on international terrorism. Such a conference should not be contingent on the finalization of the draft comprehensive convention, currently being elaborated. He said there should be a distinction between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples under foreign occupation for self-determination. International efforts to combat terrorism must be based on United Nations Charter principles and other relevant international legal instruments. Double standards must be avoided, and there must be respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. Terrorism should not be linked to any particular religion, he said. There was a need for the promotion of dialogue among cultures and religions.
He reiterated his Government’s condemnation of State terrorism practised by Israel against Palestinians. At the national level, he said his Government had enacted important legislation to combat terrorism, money laundering and drug and arms smuggling.
JOHN B. SANDAGE ( United States) said terrorism was one of greatest collective challenges of the world today, and no geographic region was immune from its threat. The success of the international community’s efforts to confront extremists should be measured in the broadest perspective. Destroying terrorist leadership, networks, and safe havens was not enough. To eliminate terrorism, the international community would need to erode terrorist recruitment and prevent the expansion of the global reach of terrorist groups. Trusted networks of governments, private citizens, private organizations, multilateral institutions and business groups should work collaboratively to wean at-risk populations away from subversive manipulation by terrorists, and create mechanisms to address people’s needs and grievances, thereby marginalizing the terrorists.
He said the United States strategy to defeat terrorists was at once global and regional. Globally, all countries should do more to galvanize public opinion to reject violence as an unacceptable means of expressing any type of grievance. Effectively countering violent extremism meant creating pathways for alienated groups to redress their legitimate grievances without joining a terrorist network. To that end, his Government pledged nearly a half-million dollars to the Counterterrorism Strategy Implementation Task Force and called on Member States to contribute as well. In closing, he stressed the need for full and effective implementation of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy and cooperation between Member States and the Security Council’s three counterterrorism committees.
WANJUKI MUCHEMI ( Kenya) urged States to take measures at the national level to combat terrorism. For its part, Kenya had ratified twelve international conventions. In 2003, it had passed a suppression of terrorism bill, and in 2004, established a Counter Terrorism Centre and an Anti-Terrorism Police Unit. The country was also preparing draft legislation on money laundering, and it had established a specialized unit in the Attorney General’s office to prosecute terrorism and money-laundering cases, and to deal with forfeiture of assets emanating from terrorist activities.
He said Kenya called on States to move towards the ratification of the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, adding that the international legal framework for the suppression and combating of terrorism would not be fully effective until the international community’s desire for a comprehensive convention on international terrorism was fully realized. It was disheartening, he said, that the elaboration of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism has not been completed because of a few outstanding issues, including the definition of terrorism.
ADEL HAMOUD AL-SHEIKH ( Yemen) said his country totally condemned terrorism in all its forms, no matter its origins or the perpetrators. He commended members of the Ad Hoc Committee for their work on the elaboration of the comprehensive convention. The phenomenon of terrorism should not be linked to any particular religion, culture or region. Yemen supported the promotion of dialogue and cooperation among all States and civilizations; it also supported the convening of a high-level conference to define terrorism as well as its distinction from the legitimate struggle of people from foreign occupations and for self-determination.
He said Yemen had acceded to 13 United Nations counter-terrorism instruments. He emphasized the need for follow-up of the various provisions of those legal instruments, and called for regular review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, to correct deficiencies.
TOMOHIRO MIKANAGI ( Japan) welcomed the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and attached importance to the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. He said the Convention would strengthen the international legal framework capable of bringing justice to those responsible for terrorist acts. In addition, the Convention would enable the United Nations to send a clear and serious message about its commitment to combating terrorism. He called on Member States to be flexible when discussing their positions on terrorism, in order to reach consensus on the issue. He noted that Japan had ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which made Japan a State Party to the 13 legal instruments fighting global terrorism. He encouraged other States to enter into those same instruments.
RIADH AL-ADHAMI ( Iraq) said the people of his country dealt with terrorism every day, whether in the marketplace or at work. Terrorist activity in his country had led to destruction of the country’s infrastructure. In the war on terror, certain guidelines must be met. Respect for human rights must not be sacrificed. International, regional and national efforts must be so coordinated as to ensure that terrorists had no place to run and take cover. And finally, inequalities in the international marketplace and society must be addressed because terrorism arose from those injustices.
SABELO SIVUYILE MAQUNGO ( South Africa) said the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted at the General Assembly’s sixty-first session was a step in the right direction, but not enough. The midterm review of the Strategy, planned for later this year, should be used as an opportunity not only to look back, but also to identify milestones for the coming year. Terrorism could not be addressed militarily, and therefore addressing factors conducive to the spread of terrorism was particularly important as part of a holistic strategy. “It is important that we delve deeper and address the definition of terrorism and its causes,” he said.
ADY SCHONMANN ( Israel) said the absence of a consensus definition of what constituted terrorism undermined the legitimacy of the United Nations and State practice as a whole in dealing with this threat. As much as Israel wished to see a comprehensive convention concluded as soon as possible, it should not come at the expense of diluting the principles that would make it an effective tool in the fight against terrorism. In the quest for a working definition of international terrorism, Israel said there was a need for legal precision and for moral clarity. Israel looked forward to the follow-up process regarding the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and hoped that substantial elements, which were suggested in the Secretary-General’s report and omitted from the strategy so far, would be reconsidered.
Israel, for its part, had worked over the past year in an inter-ministerial committee on a comprehensive anti-terrorism bill. The new legislation aimed to address the dilemma of struggling against terrorism while safeguarding human rights, including those of suspected terrorists.
DUNCAN MUHUMUZA LAKI ( Uganda) said he condemned terrorism as a “cancer which if left unattended posed the risk of spreading to the whole body”. To fight terrorism effectively, he said, it was necessary to identify its root causes and to work towards assigning to it a comprehensive definition. This definition, he said, would expose terrorists and prevent them from hiding under the cover of legitimate struggles.
He said he supported the International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism and the Security Council’s creation of the 1540 Committee. However, the positive intentions of the Committee were seriously undermined by the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean. He said the dumping could very easily constitute an arsenal for terrorists in their quest for weapons of mass destruction.
TEODOLINDA COELHO ( Angola) said that, over the past decade, international terrorism had constituted a serious threat to global peace, security and development. As terrorists escalated their methods with progressively more lethal acts, it was essential for the international community to be unified and expeditious in approaching the problem. International financial institutions, the private sector, and regional and subregional organizations were all vital to the effective fight against terrorism and to the creation of capacity building in some States.
The international community’s efforts had led to some positive results, she said, but work remained to be done. Following the adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the finalization of the draft comprehensive convention was the most important counter-terrorism initiative outstanding from the 2005 World Summit.
She describes Angola’s participation in various regional initiatives aimed at facilitating cooperation in the field of law enforcement in the area, especially on transnational crime and border control. Angola had ratified the African Convention on Terrorism, and was taking all pertinent measures to ratify the existing convention on terrorism.
EMMA SARNE ( Philippines) said her country had created a web of regional and international cooperative initiatives to fight terrorism, the regional effort being in context of ASEAN. Legislation made terrorism a crime against the Philippine people and against humanity. The fight against terrorism had to go beyond eradicating terrorist cells. Interfaith dialogue was not just a nicety but a powerful tool, as it had turned out to be in her country. The combination of interfaith dialogue, economic aid and social justice was a mighty forceful weapon against terrorism when it went along with other measures to build State capacity and promote the rule of law. Yet, even as the present discussion went on, thousands were dying from terrorist acts. Her country would do all it could to ensure the speedy adoption of the comprehensive convention.
ALEXIS BLANE ( Palau) said his country, as a demonstration of its commitment to the global fight against terrorism, had signed 12 of the 13 international conventions against it, and completed its reports pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1267, 1373 and 1624, while nearing the finalization of its report pursuant to resolution 1540. Additionally, the legislature of Palau recently passed detailed and comprehensive legislation to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
However, she continued, legislation meant little without the ability to enforce it. As a small, developing country, Palau lacked the resources to ensure that counter-terrorism violations were systematically prosecuted. Therefore, Palau urged that international assistance focus on the needs of individual countries struggling to combat terrorism, especially in the area of enforcement rather than legislation. Capacity building in the fight against terrorism should remain at the forefront of United Nations efforts.
ABDOU ADAMOU ( Niger) said that his country had always contributed to the elimination of terrorism, although its priority was social and economic development. Nothing could justify cruel acts of terrorism against States and individuals. His country had ratified the main legal instruments related to terrorism, and had created a national committee against the scourge. But to implement those legal instruments, he said, the African States needed the technical assistance of the international community.
Niger pleaded for a coordinated global approach to the fight against terrorism. He also invited the international community to analyze the root causes of intolerance and despair, instead of linking the phenomenon of terrorism to one religion. It was unfair to associate it with Islam. He said terrorists also attacked Muslim countries without distinction. The international media should show responsibility in their reports on terrorist incidents.
MICHAELA RAGG, Assistant Director to the Special Representative of Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) to the United Nations, said the Organization had 186 Member States and supported law enforcement agencies in their efforts to combat transnational crimes, among which counter-terrorism efforts were now one of the priorities. It was an active participant in United Nations counter-terrorism efforts and was a leading entity in the working group on “Protecting Vulnerable Targets”. It also supported the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate and had participated in almost all of the country evaluation visits.
She said Interpol was actively engaged in the United Nations Security Council “Special Notice 10”, which was created in 2005 in close cooperation with the Committee to inform Interpol members about individuals subject to United Nations sanctions. She encouraged Member States to consider recognizing Interpol, along with other regional and international organizations, in the resolution on the elimination of international terrorism currently being negotiated in the Sixth Committee.
Right of reply
The representative of Cuba, in a right of reply to the representative of the United States, said the United States knew that Luis Posada Carriles was prosecuted for fraud and for lies to United States Immigration authorities rather than for being an international terrorist. The United States Government also knew that Posada had not been prosecuted for the accusation against him in a 1997 incident; nevertheless the United States Government continued to protect Posada. It was shameful that the United States continued to protect known international terrorists. As long as Posada’s crimes went unpunished, Cuba would continue to raise the issue.
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