INTENSIFIED EFFORT TO IMPLEMENT UN COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY ‘FUNDAMENTAL DUTY’, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETS TO ASSESS PROGRESS
INTENSIFIED EFFORT TO IMPLEMENT UN COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY ‘FUNDAMENTAL DUTY’, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETS TO ASSESS PROGRESS
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-second General Assembly
117th & 118th Meetings (AM & PM)
INTENSIFIED EFFORT TO IMPLEMENT UN COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY ‘FUNDAMENTAL DUTY’,
SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETS TO ASSESS PROGRESS
Global Action Plan Adopted 8 September 2006;
President Says Review Meeting Chance to Share Best Practices, Build Cooperation
Recalling the courageous step undertaken by the General Assembly two years ago when it had unanimously said “no more” to terrorism and adopted the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged an intensification of efforts to implement the landmark blueprint, stressing “This is not a choice; it is a fundamental duty”.
Mr. Ban said that, when 192 Member States had said “we can, we must and we will do more to protect our citizens, and do it together”, they had transcended geographic, political, cultural and religious divides. Since the Strategy’s adoption, their commitment to counter that “heinous and insidious” scourge had not wavered; it had strengthened and deepened, and much progress had been made.
Terrorism was deeply personal, he said. It killed sons, daughters and mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. But it should not be allowed to destroy families, including the United Nations family –- staff members who were targeted as they fed the poor, protected the weak and empowered the downtrodden.
Pictures of steel contorted by a terrorist bomb, or worse, the mangled body of a child, was a reminder of why political, religious and cultural differences must never drive a wedge between the shared commitment to end terrorism in all its forms, everywhere, he said. As the world was constantly and tragically reminded, the urgent need for which the Strategy had been created had not faded.
The Strategy had not been crafted as an end in itself, however, but as a tool with which to fight an all-too-present plague. “Let us together make its implementation an effort that outlasts our days at the United Nations,” he urged.
Suggesting that Member States were today “looking back in order to move forward”, he said they should build on the gains and do more than vent their frustrations. Multilateral action should be guided by three main principles: being innovative in developing the tools and not shying away from non-traditional approaches to promoting security; undertaking counter-terrorism efforts in partnership with regional and subregional organizations and civil society; and, globally, leveraging comparative strengths. Bilateral actions might not be sufficient to face the immense needs. The United Nations collective approach and the Strategy’s legitimacy gave multilateral efforts a great advantage.
Flagging the resolution to be adopted upon conclusion of the debate, which would strongly condemn terrorism and reaffirm the Strategy, the General Assembly President, Srgjan Kerim of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, opened Member States’ first major assessment of efforts to implement the two-year-old Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy with a call to action to the United Nations and Member States to work together to bolster capacities where needed. Civil society must also be made a valuable partner for Governments to ensure sustainability of those efforts.
He said the current meeting was an opportunity to bring forward national experiences and to share best practices in countering terrorism in an integrated manner. An exchange of experiences would identify priorities and areas where Member States could work together for added value. In addition, finding gaps and identifying areas where further assistance was needed would build closer cooperation between Member States and the United Nations system. The legitimacy and relevancy of the Assembly depended above all on its ability to translate its decisions and commitments into practical actions. “Let us all demonstrate that the Strategy has brought us closer together to counter this scourge,” he said. “Only with a strong resolve can we achieve a safer world for all.”
Delegations, nearly 40 today, in what promised to be a two-day review, agreed on the need for broad-based multilateral action complemented by rigorous domestic vigilance, particularly to integrate the global anti-terrorism scheme into national legislation. Speakers outlined efforts to bolster the emerging international consensus in the fight against terrorism and to consolidate and supplement existing international standards, beginning with those within the United Nations framework.
In that connection, Member States were encouraged to sign and ratify the United Nations 13 conventions and protocols, which, many said, constituted the legal basis for the global counter-terrorism measures, and there were repeated calls to accelerate and conclude negotiations on a comprehensive counter-terrorism convention. There was also widespread agreement that fighting terrorism must not jeopardize the obligations of States to protect human, refugee and international humanitarian rights.
A minute of silence was observed at the start of the meeting in tribute to the late President of Zambia, Levy Patric Mwanawasa. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, extending his profound condolences to President Mwanawasa’s family and to the Zambian people and Government, said Mr. Mwanawasa had been at the forefront of Zambian politics at a time of exceptional challenge and change in his country and in the Southern African region as a whole. He had also been a good friend of the United Nations.
Zambia’s representative expressed gratitude for the tribute to the memory of the Zambian President, as expressed this morning in the Assembly by representatives on behalf of the African States, Asian States, Eastern European States, Latin American and Caribbean States, Western European and other States and the United Nations host country. She said that a distinguished statesman had been lost, who would be fondly remembered for championing good governance, the rule of law and the fight against corruption. He “also went the extra mile” to demand of those in his New Deal Administration honesty, commitment and loyalty to Zambia and the Zambian people.
Additional speakers in today’s review meeting were the representatives of France, on behalf of the European Union, Pakistan, on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Kuwait, on behalf of the Arab Group, Guinea, on behalf of the African Group, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Algeria, Japan, Philippines, Guatemala, Peru and the United Kingdom.
Representatives of the following countries also took part: Belgium, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, United States, Jordan, Canada, Israel, Australia, Cuba, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Monaco, Denmark, Croatia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Madagascar and Mexico. Observers for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and for the Council of Europe, as did the European Union’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator also spoke.
The Assembly will resume its review meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday, 5 September.
The General Assembly met today to consider the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which it had unanimously adopted on 8 September 2006 through its landmark resolution 60/288, by which Member States agreed to take a set of concrete measures to address terrorism in all its aspects. By that action, all Governments conveyed the same critical message: terrorism is never justifiable, whether on political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other grounds.
The Strategy has identified four pillars of action: measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; measures to prevent and combat terrorism; measures to build State’s capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard; and measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism. The Strategy contains more than 50 practical recommendations and provisions.
The Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy: activities of the United Nations system in implementing the Strategy (document A/62/898) that provides highlights of the efforts of the United Nations system to support the Strategy’s implementation both through its individual departments, specialized agencies, funds and programmes and through the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF).
The Task Force was established by the Secretary-General in July 2005 to ensure system-wide coordination and coherence in counter-terrorism efforts and consists of representatives of 24 entities and INTERPOL. It provides a forum for discussing strategic issues and coordinating action and has created some nine working groups that are undertaking joint programmes of work.
According to the report, the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have contributed to the implementation of the work outlined in the first pillar -- measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism -- as have the three Task Force working groups on preventing and resolving conflicts, on supporting and highlighting victims of terrorism, and on addressing radicalization and extremism that lead to terrorism.
As for measures to prevent and combat terrorism, the Office of Legal Affairs, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Bank have been key contributors to the development of legal instruments, standards, recommendations and guidance that can assist in countering terrorism.
Regarding the third pillar -- measures to build State capacity -- the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has provided technical assistance. The Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate has continued to facilitate technical assistance for implementation of Council resolution 1373 (2001) regarding the combat of terrorism. Other entities that have contributed to the efforts in this regard include the IAEA, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction), as well as INTERPOL. The Department of Public Information has played an important role in awareness-raising.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UNODC, UNDP, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms have been particularly active in implementing the measures outlined in the fourth pillar -- ensuring respect for human rights for all and the rule of law. The Task Force has formed a working group that also supports work under that pillar.
In response to Member States’ interest in greater systematization, so as to be able to provide guidance to the Task Force, the Secretary-General welcomes such an agreement should Member States agree on it. He recommends that the contours of systematization should be commensurate with the resources to be made available by the Assembly. Systematization could involve regular briefings by the Task Force to the Assembly.
The Secretary-General notes that in order to operate within existing resources, he has relied on voluntary contributions and temporary staff support. Current arrangements, however, are not sustainable, particularly given the necessary management support to the Task Force and the increasing requests from Member States for more information exchange and interaction. The Secretary-General will continue to seek to address staffing requirements from within existing resources.
The Secretary-General states that global, regional and subregional organizations and civil society provide a resource that has not been tapped by the United Nations system to its greatest advantage. Member States should encourage cross-regional assistance and cooperation in counter-terrorism, so that global, regional and subregional bodies that have developed procedures and expertise in this area can provide assistance to those still developing capacities. The Task Force, if staffed and resourced to do so, could provide a strategic interface with global, regional and subregional bodies and civil society on the Strategy.
President of the General Assembly SRGJAN KERIM, of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said that implementation of the two-year-old Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy had been a priority during the current Assembly session. The resolution to be adopted upon conclusion of the debate would strongly condemn terrorism and reaffirm the Strategy. Regional and subregional organizations, with their special knowledge about regional vulnerabilities and priorities, were important for global cooperation to fight terror. The United Nations and States must work together to bolster capacities where needed. Civil society must also be made a valuable partner for Governments to ensure sustainability of efforts on the ground.
Continuing, he said the resolution would also call on relevant United Nations entities to continue to facilitate the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The draft would remind States of the pivotal role the Assembly played in the adoption of international legal instruments to counter terrorism. Of note, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism had entered into force since the Strategy was adopted. A comprehensive convention on international terrorism now needed to complement those instruments and send a clear message to those wanting to undermine human security and freedom. The Ad Hoc Committee had made progress, but true political will must be exerted to resolve outstanding issues.
The draft would urge the Secretary-General to arrange for institutionalizing the Task Force in accordance with the Strategy, he went on. He commented that Governments had provided resources to the Task Force, but said a stable and sustainable central support was needed. The draft would also provide for regular interaction between the Task Force and the Assembly, with implementation to be considered again at the Assembly’s sixty-fourth session. Implementation of the Strategy was an ongoing effort that needed to respond to changing conditions. In addition, new means of cooperation must be found, based on the Strategy as a reference point for common efforts.
Finally, he said the current meeting was an opportunity to bring forward national experiences and to share best practices in countering terrorism in an integrated manner. An exchange of experiences would identify priorities and areas where Member States could work together for added value. In addition, finding gaps and identifying areas where further assistance was needed would build closer cooperation between Member States and the United Nations system. The legitimacy and relevancy of the Assembly depended above all on its ability to translate its decisions and commitments into practical actions. “Let us all demonstrate that the Strategy has brought us closer together to counter this scourge,” he said. “Only with a strong resolve can we achieve a safer world for all.”
Calling terrorism “heinous and insidious”, United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said it sought to break spirit, tear apart communities and suffocate hope. Terrorism was deeply personal. It killed sons, daughters and mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. But it should not be allowed to destroy families, including the United Nations family -- staff members who were targeted as they fed the poor, protected the weak and empowered the downtrodden.
He said that on 18 December in Algiers he had seen with his own eyes the devastation left by the attack on United Nations offices. He had seen the horror in the eyes of survivors and the families of those killed. And he had witnessed the bravery of those who had gone to the site immediately after the bombing and had dug in the rubble with bare hands, hoping to save their colleagues and friends.
He had been overwhelmed and overcome by emotion, he recalled, adding that he would never forget the tears he had shed with everyone that day. He had brought back with him the many searing impressions and memories. The flag that had flown outside United Nations offices in Algiers, now tattered and torn from the blast, was on display at Headquarters in Geneva. And, of course, the flag from the Canal Hotel in Baghdad hung in the visitors’ lobby in New York. Both served as emblems of the determination to reinvigorate United Nations efforts to counter the scourge of terrorism.
Two years ago, the General Assembly had taken a courageous step and boldly, with a unanimous voice, said “no more”, he said. One hundred and ninety-two Member States said “we can, we must and we will do more to protect our citizens, and do it together”. Transcending geographic, political, cultural and religious divides, Member States had drafted and adopted the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. It was that historic document whose implementation was being reviewed today.
He said that since the Strategy’s adoption, Member States’ commitment had not wavered. Instead, it had strengthened and deepened, and much progress had been made. Two years ago, the effort to improve United Nations system coordination and coherence on counter-terrorism was still new. Today, entities were working together on a regular basis. Moreover, United Nations actors beyond those with explicit counter-terrorism-related mandates had become acutely conscious of the contributions that their efforts could and must bring to the fight.
“We have come a long way, but we cannot stop now. We must intensify our efforts to implement the Strategy across the board. This is not a choice; it is a fundamental duty,” Mr. Ban said.
He added: “We must be strategic, proactive and realistic. We must be guided by, and comply with, our obligations under international law, in particular human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.” By including those imperatives in the Strategy, a comprehensive and forward-looking document had been created.
Indeed, the Strategy embodies a broad call to action, he continued. International, national, regional, subregional and civil society actors all had roles to play, he went on. But Member States must be the key drivers. National-level action was critical. States had proven extremely effective in marshalling the expertise and efforts needed to prevent and respond to terrorism. At the same time, national efforts alone were not sufficient. Not all States had the same capacities. And, of course, terrorism was a global, cross-border challenge. Multilateral cooperation was vital, which was precisely why the United Nations, and more specifically the General Assembly, was so deeply involved.
The Secretary-General urged all Member States to take multilateral counter-terrorism cooperation even further, stressing that that action should be guided by three main principles: being innovative in developing the tools and not shying away from non-traditional approaches to promoting security; undertaking counter-terrorism efforts in partnership with regional and subregional organization and with civil society; and, at the international level, leveraging comparative strengths. On the last point, bilateral actions might be insufficient to face the immensity of the needs and circumstances. Thus, the collective approach of the United Nations and the legitimacy of the Strategy gave multilateral efforts a great advantage that should be maximized.
“We are looking back in order to move forward,” he said, adding that gains should be built upon, and more than venting should be done to address frustrations. “Let us not only review, but also recommit ourselves to implementation.” Counter-terrorism had been among the Secretary-General’s top priorities. He had been striving to institutionalize the Counter-Terrorism Task Force within the Secretariat, and he would convene next week in New York a symposium on supporting victims.
Concluding, he said it was precisely the victims of terrorism that served as a reminder of the need to develop multilateral counter-terrorism cooperation and capacity. Pictures of steel contorted by a terrorist bomb, or worse, the mangled body of a child, was a reminder of why political, religious and cultural differences must never drive a wedge between the shared commitment to end terrorism in all its forms, everywhere. As the world was constantly and tragically reminded, the urgent need for which the Strategy had been created had not faded. The Strategy had not been crafted as an end in itself, however, but as a tool with which to fight an all-too-present plague. “Let us together make its implementation an effort that outlasts our days at the United Nations,” he urged.
FRANCIS DELON (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, as stated in the European Counter-Terrorism Strategy of 16 December 2005, terrorism threatened all States and all peoples. By attacking the innocent, it jeopardized the security and values of democratic societies. It was criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances. That was why the Union was working to bolster the emerging international consensus in the fight against terrorism and to consolidate and supplement existing international standards, beginning with those within the United Nations framework.
In that respect, he said that adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was a major success. All General Assembly Member States had thereby shown their ability to unite and speak with one voice in the fight against terrorism. The international community’s unanimous position within the United Nations multilateral framework was necessary, since both conventional terrorism and terrorism with the use of nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical weapons constituted a global threat that patently disregarded borders.
The Union, therefore, reiterated its call to maintain the Strategy’s authority and to reaffirm its four pillars, he said. It encouraged Member States that had not yet signed and ratified the United Nations 13 conventions and protocols, which constituted the legal basis for the global counter-terrorism measures, to do so. The Union also called for full implementation of all relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and for a conclusion of negotiations of a comprehensive counter-terrorism convention. It had been agreed that fighting terrorism must in no way jeopardize the obligations of States to protect human, refugee and international humanitarian rights.
Noting that the Strategy, as an operational instrument, naturally required an implementation review, he said that States had been making considerable efforts, particularly as a result of technical assistance and international cooperation. Some European Union member States would today present their domestic initiatives and technical assistance projects with third States. The Union had redoubled its efforts to fully implement the four pillars of the Strategy, and it welcomed all such actions by the United Nations. Nevertheless, the General Assembly should be kept better informed of coordination efforts through increased interaction with the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. He commended the work accomplished by the Task Force and efforts to land it the necessary administrative support. The Union was confident that it could receive the institutional status that it deserved and thereby be accorded sufficient budgetary and staff resources to fulfil its mandate. Finally, the Union supported the principle of re-examining the Strategy’s implementation and hoped that a review deadline would be set in the resolution to be adopted at the conclusion of this meeting.
GILLES DE KERCHOVE, European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, explained that, on 20 December 2005, the European Council had defined a strategy organized around four axes: preventing radicalization, taking the perpetrators of terrorist attacks to court, protecting critical borders and infrastructure, and responding in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. The European Union had taken several measures in support of those objectives.
FARUKH AMIL ( Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the Group reaffirmed its strong condemnation of all acts and practices of terrorism and its conviction that terrorism could never be justified. Terrorism must not be associated with any group and a culture of peace and tolerance must be promoted. Terrorism, in fact, was a violation of human rights and a comprehensive strategy to combat it must address all root causes, including injustice and political marginalization or alienation. A distinction between terrorism and the exercise of the legitimate right of people to resist foreign occupation should be agreed upon, as was duly observed in international law, international humanitarian law, Article 51 of the Charter and Assembly resolution 46/51.
The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy was an ongoing effort that should be updated and examined regularly, he continued. Implementation lay, first and foremost, in the hands of Member States, who must be included in decision-making processes to ensure ownership. Reporting and briefings by the Task Force on coordination and coherence of activities would facilitate the achievement of that end. An intergovernmental oversight mechanism should be developed through consensus. The Task Force should also be “untied” from it sources of funding. Its activities should be “demand driven”, rather than donor driven.
In fact, he said, all structures that were established and activities that were organized should be conducted in a consensus-building way. They should also respect mandates and avoid politicizing, while addressing all aspects of the Strategy on equal footing. The Secretary-General’s recent invitation for States to participate in the symposium on victims of terrorism was noted. However, it would have been better if the event had been organized on the basis of transparent and all-inclusive multilateral intergovernmental consultations.
Finally, he said, the General Assembly must play the central role in fighting terrorism, since it was the only United Nations body that enjoyed universal membership. A code of conduct should be developed for the global effort. An international centre for fighting terrorism should be established, as had been proposed by Saudi Arabia during its 2005 summit on terrorism.
ABDULLAH AHMAD AL MURAD (Kuwait), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said Arab countries still suffered most from terrorism, with hundreds of thousands of innocent victims. The League of Arab States had been a pioneer in putting forward the 1997 Arab Strategy to Combat Terrorism and the 1998 Comprehensive Arab Agreement to Combat Terrorism. That important regional mechanism was complementary to the one put forward by the Assembly. Terrorism could not be linked to any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. The Arab Group called, therefore, for strengthening the dialogue and tolerance between civilizations, cultures, peoples and religions and to make disrespect of religions and the defamation of their symbols a crime, since such an incitement for hate could lead to terrorism.
Referring to the lack of any definition of terrorism or State terrorism in the Strategy, he said the Arab Group affirmed the need to conclude discussions on drafting the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that would include a specific definition of international terrorism and State terrorism. It would also distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate right of peoples to resist occupation and aggression, while taking into consideration that killing innocent civilians was not sanctioned by either divine laws or international and regional conventions.
In order to make the review process a success, he said the Arab Group stressed the importance of the follow-up to the Strategy’s implementation in a comprehensive and non-selective manner, with the Assembly playing a central role. The Group also affirmed total adherence to the United Nations resolutions relevant to combating terrorism. Member States, having the primary responsibility for the Strategy’s implementation, should be provided with the ability to monitor the activities of the Task Force. Empowering the Task Force with the necessary resources would provide a favourable basis for an organized, constructive and integrated contribution with the efforts of the Member States. The Arab Group also affirmed its support for Saudi Arabia’s proposal to establish an international centre to combat terrorism, under the United Nations’ umbrella.
Speaking on behalf of the African Group, IBRAHIMA SOW ( Guinea) said that the unanimous adoption of the Strategy had been an important step in conducting coordinated, consistent and integrated counter-terrorism strategies at all levels. International terrorism was a huge threat to international peace, security and stability, and deserved a decisive response by all peoples and Governments. In that context, African leaders had committed themselves, shoulder-to-shoulder, with the international community to achieve several fruitful outcomes. Among those were the Dakar Declaration of 1992, the Algiers Convention to Suppress and Combat Terrorism in 1999, the establishment of an African centre to study terrorism, and enactment in 2004 of a protocol to the 1999 Algiers convention. An international action group against money-laundering had also been established in Africa.
He said it was up to Member States to implement the global Strategy, and to be fully successful, the Strategy called for the mobilization of all stakeholders at all levels, including civil society and the private sector. The African Group, therefore, welcomed, among other things, the coherent contribution of the United Nations towards the Strategy’s implementation. It also welcomed the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate and the other committees of the Security Council engaged in countering terrorism. The entry into force in July 2007 of the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was also welcome. That was an important legal instrument. The Group called for the adoption of a global counter-terrorism convention, and urged Member States to accelerate the negotiating process and not permit divergent views to stand in the way of the commitment to combat the terrorism scourge.
Terrorism today was increasingly difficult to combat, he warned. It was adapting to globalization and becoming increasingly sophisticated and linked to other crimes. It threatened States’ stability, and was often connected to drug trafficking, money-laundering and the illicit arms trade. Success in combating the scourge called for solidarity among all members of the international community, and tolerance and dialogue among civilizations. It also relied on the settlement of disputes and solutions to development problems. Hopefully, today’s review would consolidate the essential measures contained in the Strategy, leading to the elimination of conditions that fuelled terrorism, namely poverty, exclusion and social marginalization. Respect for human rights and rule of law were the crucial foundation for counter-terrorism activity.
MAGED ABDEL FATAH ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said the main factor in the Strategy’s success was the support of Member States for its four pillars. None of the hoped for results, however, had been achieved over the past two years, indicating the existence of some shortcomings. The most significant deficiency was perhaps the limiting of the membership of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force to some entities within and outside the United Nations Secretariat. The Task Force should encompass the Member States in the Assembly, with the assistance of the Secretariat. It should focus on improving the performance of the United Nations by avoiding duplication and ensuring that the focus of cooperation with Security Council committees was confined only to the security aspects, not other matters that fell within the competence of the Assembly.
He said that expanding the establishment of working groups within the Task Force was unnecessary, the more so as some of them dealt with issues using terms such as “radicalism and extremism” that had been rejected by Member States. Further, the Task Force should not focus on certain topics of the four pillars, like radicalization and victims of terrorism, and not others. Although the Task Force should be provided with the necessary resources, and such provisions should be directly linked to the participation of Member States in its work. As for seminars and work shops, the holding of a symposium for victims of terrorism and not for other victims -- such as those of foreign occupation -- raised numerous questions. Moreover, the criteria for selecting victims, in the absence of an agreed legal definition of terrorism, could lead to the politicization of the event. Such seminars should be held only after broad consultation with Member States, not in isolation from them, and must be financed by the United Nations budget. He stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation of the United Nations with regional organizations and civil society to implement the Strategy and underlined the need for the resolution to include a mechanism for periodic review.
MUFLIH ALRASHIDI ( Saudi Arabia) said his country had been the victim of terrorism and had taken measures to fight the scourge. Success at the local level had included the adoption of measures in a strategy that focused on drying up financial resources for terrorists and on implementing programmes to discourage activities leading to terrorism. Such programmes, aimed at young people, had been so successful they had become examples to other countries in the region. His country was among the first to accede to most of the regional international instruments against terrorism, and his country had signed the major United Nations conventions on terrorism.
He said his country had, in fact, made a proposal to establish an international centre to fight terrorism when it had hosted an international conference on terrorism in Riyadh in 2005. The proposal had received the support of regional organization such as the Arab League and the Non-Aligned Movement. The current Assembly debate should lead to the establishment of that centre, in order to link national and regional efforts. The centre would create a unified database to assist in intercepting terror-related actions. The centre would also focus on facilitating the transfer of technologies and would provide an avenue for the exchange of information in crafting legislation. In short, the centre would be an important structure and an acknowledgment that terrorism was no longer limited to any group, but had become an international tool that was a threat to all.
BAKI İLKIN ( Turkey), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said that the overall success of the Strategy would be judged by its concrete results. For that reason, he called on all members of the international community to continue to contribute to its full and effective implementation. Turkey was committed to exerting every effort in that direction. For instance, in parallel to its national endeavours, it had also co-sponsored the so-called International Process, aimed at assessing the overall contributions of the United Nations in the anti-terrorism fight and to provide support for the Strategy’s implementation. Several workshops had been organized within the context of the International Process and their results had already been shared with delegates. As Turkey had highlighted during the workshop held in Antalya, there was a need to raise awareness of the problems impeding implementation of the principle “extradite or prosecute”, which merited greater consideration.
Underlining the nature of the terrorist organization known as “PKK”, he recalled that two months ago, a photographic exhibit at United Nations Headquarters had displayed photos of members of that organization, and he wondered why. The Department of Public Information had refused to take any action on that issue, citing a routine disclaimer denying endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations of the content of exhibits. The Department, on that specific occasion, failed to discharge its responsibility to promote the purposes of the United Nations, which included the fight against terrorism. Inevitably, although surely not intentionally, that had provided a terrorist organization with a unique opportunity to reach out to the United Nations community. “We were unable to explain the gravity of the situation,” he added.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said his country was a strong supporter of the need to implement the Strategy and it was opposed to any form of extremism or incitement to terrorism, especially over the Internet. The work of the Task Force in relation to the matter was welcome. Psychological and social support must be provided to victims.
With regard to implementation of the Strategy at the international level, he said the ultimate goal of reviewing the Strategy was to update activities and coordination of efforts. In that regard, it appeared that particular interest had been given to the second and third pillars, while not enough attention had been devoted to the other two. The Task Force must be provided with the human and material means that it needed to operate, so that it did not have to rely on private funding. Regional efforts must be given support, such as the African research centre in Algiers. However, the commitment of States was the first requirement in implementing the Strategy and, as the situation was at present, implementation was left to the discretion of States. There was a mechanism in the Security Council for following up on decisions and the non-compliance of States. That institutional aspect of the United Nations should now be taken into consideration.
AKIO SUDA ( Japan) said combating terrorism required an enduring engagement and a comprehensive approach. The Strategy provided the fundamental basis for cooperation and reaffirmed the strong will of Member States to combat terrorism. It also provided significant guidance for concrete actions to be taken by Member States, the United Nations and other regional and international bodies. To effectively prevent and combat terrorism, cooperation on all four pillars were crucial; all stakeholders had their respective roles to play, but Member States had the primary responsibility in that regard.
He said that Japan, before and after the Strategy’s adoption, had been actively engaged in combating terrorism, nationally and internationally. It was vital, in the medium- and long-term, to address the conditions conducive to its spread. Those were problems of good governance, the rule of law, education and poverty. In numerous countries, Japan was cooperating in building the capacity of law enforcement, supporting self-help efforts for good governance, and assisting the improvement of the legal system and socio-economic infrastructure. It was also promoting programmes that encouraged dialogue among civilizations and religions, and considering extending support to local areas seriously affected by poverty and vulnerable to violent extremism. Improving education and meeting the needs of communities in such vulnerable areas could restore sound communities, free from the influence of terrorists.
Japan had also been taking a wide range of domestic and international measures, including the introduction last year of the biometric identification system at immigration control, he noted. It was also taking numerous steps in response to the Secure and Facilitated Travel Initiative, which had been agreed at the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit in 2004. His Government had already signed 13 counter-terrorism conventions and protocols. Its cooperation in capacity-building ranged from technical assistance to grants of equipment, and from law enforcement to border control and transport security. Besides bilateral cooperation, Japan had also been actively engaged in cooperation with countries within regional frameworks.
HILARIO G. DAVIDE, JR. ( Philippines) said the United Nations must remain at the forefront of the fight against international terrorism, and United Nations agencies must now decisively facilitate international cooperation and coordination efforts based on the four pillars of the Strategy. Those tasks must create a seamless web of activities aimed at addressing international terrorism and maintaining the rule of law. Member States must also maintain vigilance within their borders to address the elements and conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and hold terrorism in check, before it spreads its “wickedness, violence, iniquity and immorality and imposes a reign of fear, destruction and death”.
He said that, guided by the four pillars, the Philippines had implemented each of them using three main tools: a comprehensive political, social and economic package for peace and security; a comprehensive legal package that brought terrorists to justice, plugged loopholes in the legal system and ensured the protection of human rights; and a broad alliance for technical support, cooperation and preparedness. Poverty spawned terrorism, and the areas where extreme poverty existed served as fertile grounds for terrorist leaders, financiers and agents. Economic development, social justice, human rights protection and political and judicial reforms were powerful instruments against extremism and terrorism, and he went on to describe his Government’s action in dealing with those issues.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said that the vision to counter terrorism should not be focused on the individual risk of a single State, but on the collective response of all States. The Strategy’s value rested on its implementation, and that responsibility fell mainly on Member States. The Task Force had proven its ability to steer the system in a coordinated and efficient manner, despite the budgetary constraints, and he trusted its work. All States, from all regions, were exposed to terrorism and its consequences. Guatemala, owing to its geographic position, was a transit point for drugs and that resulted in such activities as small arms and light weapons trafficking and transnational organized crime. Together with poverty, the country was exposed to a real risk of terrorist activity. Indeed, in 2007, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had stated in a report on crime in Central America that the possible links and interrelations among organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism should not be underestimated.
Presently, he said, Guatemala’s efforts were geared towards integrating multilateral counter-terrorism instruments into national legislation. It currently had a consolidated and unified bill on counter-terrorism, which was being considered in the respective committees of the National Congress. The Foreign Affairs Ministry had established a national task force on security and prevention of cybercrimes. In that connection, Guatemala, along with the counter-terrorism committee of the Organization of American States, had held a regional seminar this year on capacity-building. With the support of the Prosecutor’s Office, the ministries of foreign affairs and the interior had prepared a legislative outline to combat cybercrimes. Among other efforts, the member States of the Central American Integration System and Mexico were working on a security strategy from an integral perspective. It aspired to guide coordinated actions in the area of security, which countries in the region could adopt in accordance with their domestic law. The strategy sought to, among other objectives, harmonize the various efforts of the region in the area of security.
LUIS ENRIQUE CHAVEZ ( Peru) said that combating terrorism should be undertaken at the global level, but also involve States, regional and subregional organizations and civil society. Measures should be broad-ranging and focused on combating all manifestations of terrorism and build on national capacity, including judicial capacity. Further, States should accede to all relevant international instruments. The Strategy’s action plan had urged States to become parties to all counter-terrorism conventions and protocols and to ensure their integration into domestic legislation. Other efforts should also be made. In regional efforts, he highlighted the Inter-American Counter-Terrorism Committee, over which Peru presided this year. It supported application of the global Strategy and encouraged consolidation of national systems for victim support. Other regional mechanisms might wish to replicate that and other positive endeavours.
He said that global actions required effective and efficient national measures. Peru had formulated policy guidelines in order to counter terrorism, and the Government had engaged in the detention of criminals involved in related activities, such as drug trafficking, money-laundering, smuggling and arms trafficking. The country had also held a series of regional meetings intended to enhance coordination of anti-terrorism activity, and it had spearheaded the training of experts. National programmes undertaken in conjunction with international activities were the best way to counter the terrorist scourge. Peru was firmly committed to the Strategy and would do everything possible to ensure its success.
JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said the defining characteristic of the United Nations was joint action and the Global Strategy represented a common approach to tackling the phenomenon of terrorism and its causes. Terrorist organizations were not interested in the peaceful resolution of conflicts or the eradication of poverty. They pursued narrow goals and they often aimed to maximize casualties. The unity represented by the Strategy and the close collaboration in fulfilling its objectives were the answer to those aims, not just between Member States, but also within the United Nations system as a whole.
He said the United Nations had extensive expertise in dealing with the terrorist phenomenon and many resources to back it up. System-wide coherence in tackling terrorism was needed just as much as it was needed on the issues of development or climate change. The Task Force played a crucial role. Among other activities, it had addressed the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism through conferences, including UNESCO-sponsored youth events and United Nations programme and agency events on the rule of law. The International Civil Aviation Organization had been involved in Task Force-related activities, as had INTERPOL. The Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate had carried out actions to help Member States draft legal instruments and guidelines for prevention, and had assisted in promoting capacity-building for implementation of resolutions aimed at countering terrorism.
Measures such as denying funds to terrorists and disrupting their activities were important security responses against terrorism, he said, but they were not enough on their own. In the long run, stopping people from becoming terrorists would require an understanding of the radicalizing influences that drew people in. Those would have to be rigorously tackled. The extreme ideology of Al-Qaida would have to be challenged and those offering positive alternatives would have to be supported. Opportunities for young people would have to be opened up. Lack of access to justice, political disenfranchisement and unemployment could generate the frustration that lured vulnerable individuals into violent extremism.
JAN GRAULS ( Belgium), associating himself with the statement of the European Union, said his country was strongly committed to multilateralism and fully supported the initiatives of the United Nations system. The first pillar posed the greatest challenge. That was why Belgium was committed to the fight against terrorism, in particular through contributing to strengthening the institutional framework in some African countries.
He said protection of human rights was an essential element of the Strategy against terrorism. He underscored, in that regard, the importance of active participation in human rights activities. Civil society could also provide substantial expertise and contributions in that regard, and that was the reason that his country had financed the activities of several non-governmental organizations. Belgium welcomed the Secretary-General’s report and thanked the Task Force for increasing coordination and consistency in the Organization’s actions. He hoped for a broader interaction between the Task Force and the General Assembly.
LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) said he was impressed by the commitment of Member States to the Strategy, along with the measures they and the United Nations had undertaken to implement it. Those measures should be comprehensive, balanced and in compliance with international law, particularly the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States. At the same time, it was important to address the root causes of terrorism. Viet Nam insisted that terrorism could not and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.
He said that, in implementing the global Strategy, Viet Nam recognized the paramount importance of international, regional and subregional cooperation and coordination, as well as the United Nations leading role. It had supported the establishment of the Task Force and looked forward to further interaction with it. As a Security Council member, Viet Nam had, and would, continue to fully support the work of that body’s subsidiary committees in the counter-terrorism field. Viet Nam pursued a foreign policy for peace, stability cooperation and development. The policies and achievements of its 10-year socio-economic development strategy contributed positively to the maintenance of political stability, social and economic equality and the rule of law in Viet Nam; those were important components of a preventive anti-terrorism strategy.
Viet Nam was also determined to strengthen its capacity and develop cooperative ties with others in the region and throughout the world to fight terrorism, he continued. Efforts had been made to enhance the national legal and institutional frameworks against terrorism and terrorist-related crimes. For example, the National Assembly had included in its legislative programme a revision of the Penal Code with regard to the definition of and punishment for terrorism. Among other endeavours, the Prime Minister, in November 2007, had set up a governmental mechanism to coordinate the counter-terrorism policies of all ministries and branches of Government. Also last year, Viet Nam joined efforts with other member States of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in adopting the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism. It provided a legal framework for counter-terrorism cooperation.
ISMAT JAHAN ( Bangladesh) said that terrorism had assumed new and diabolical ways to kill and maim. While there was an urgency to mount an immediate response, a long-term strategy was lacking. An effective response should include sincere attempts to address root causes, such as resolution of long-standing conflicts and peoples’ right to self-determination, political oppression, social and economic marginalization, and victimization. Counter-terrorism and development of an agenda for peace were interrelated. Any attempt to associate terrorism with any particular nation, culture or religion was wrong and unacceptable. The United Nations should work to fulfil the agreed-upon development goals, because economic exclusion would be a fertile bed for breeding extremist elements.
She said the United Nations had a central role in organizing international action against terrorism. Entities established in that regard included Security Council committees, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and CTITF. The multitude of those entities was not the best way to provide a coherent response to terrorism. The Task Force did not have any institutional relationship with any intergovernmental body and was severely under-resourced. Because the Task Force did not have a secretariat, Member States did not receive the needed assistance to implement the Strategy. She stressed the importance of its institutionalization. Also, the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism should be finalized by addressing the issue of State terrorism and the legal definition of terrorism. Further, she described national measures taken on counter-terrorism and promoting a culture of peace.
PETER MAUER ( Switzerland) highlighted the different measures his country had taken and would continue to take for an integrated implementation of the Strategy, asserting that the Strategy offered a comprehensive framework for a coherent international response to terrorism. He also reminded Member States that an effective global counter-terrorism programme should focus on non-military tools and emphasized the need to promote all four pillars of the Strategy. His country wanted to deepen its dialogue with the Task Force and its working group on integrated implementation, as well as to explore how Member States could increase their cooperation with the United Nations system, and among themselves, in order to improve integrated implementation.
In addition to efforts undertaken domestically, he highlighted four examples of his country’s contribution at the international level to an integrated implementation of the Strategy, including financial assistance to the Task Force working group on tackling the financing of terrorism; contributing to UNODC’s project to strengthen the legal regime against terrorism; efforts to establish a panel within the Security Council that would be mandated to issue non-binding recommendations on individual de-listing requests concerning the consolidated list of the 1267 Committee; and the efforts to strengthen capacity-building measures for an effective implementation of the Strategy.
In that regard, he specifically cited Switzerland’s activities in Afghanistan, where the country contributed to a Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, for which the Swiss Agency for International Development and Cooperation partnered with the Afghan Ministry of Interior, UNDP, the Afghan National Police and other international donors. Switzerland had disbursed $2.5 million since 2003 earmarked for the introduction of an electronic payroll system for the Afghan National Police, and a gender mainstreaming programme. Further, his country had launched last year, in cooperation with Costa Rica, Japan, Slovakia and Turkey, an International Process on Global Counter-Terrorism Cooperation. The final document contains 19 proposals for strengthening the implementation of the Strategy and copies had been distributed in the Assembly Hall. It might serve as a source of inspiration for immediate and future action.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) thanked Guatemala’s representative for facilitating negotiations on the draft resolution before the Assembly. The text underlined the historic and integral character of the Strategy, which remained a central guide for all United Nations activities in the fight against terrorism. While much of the discussion leading to adoption of the resolution had been focused on the United Nations role, the primary responsibility for the Strategy’s implementation lay with Member States. Liechtenstein continued to take all necessary measures at the domestic level to implement all international counter-terrorism measures and to facilitate international cooperation in that area. Earlier this year, it ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and two of its protocols. The ratification of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was in preparation, as were legislative reforms regarding the implementation of international sanctions regimes and related measures of international cooperation.
He stressed that every effort was undertaken to ensure that Liechtenstein’s financial centre was not abused for illegal activities, such as the financing of terrorism. The Government was also actively following up on the recent assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and it was pursuing implementation of the third Money Laundering Directive of the European Union. Liechtenstein also supported several international anti-terrorism projects and had made substantial contributions to UNODC Global Programme against Terrorism. A broad range of United Nations actors were also involved in implementing the Strategy, and he commended the Secretariat’s Task Force for its invaluable efforts in bringing coherence and coordination to those activities. Concerning the call in the draft resolution on all United Nations entities to facilitate the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Liechtenstein would contribute to that dialogue, particularly with respect to the Security Council’s efforts to ensure that fair and clear procedures existed for placing individuals and entities on sanctions lists.
ALEJANDRO WOLFF ( United States) said he welcomed the review of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The unanimous adoption of the Strategy marked the first time that all United Nations Member States had agreed to a common strategic approach. He appreciated the hard work that had gone into producing a thoughtful and balanced document and believed the review would enhance the United Nations counter-terrorism programme. He especially appreciated the efforts of Guatemala’s Ambassador in finding unanimous support for the resolution. The United Nations should play the central role in the global fight against terrorism. Its ability to do so needed to be strengthened. The creation of the Strategy and of the Task Force had been key milestones in the international effort to eliminate terrorism.
He said cooperation with the Security Council’s counter-terrorism committees should continue to ensure that obligations under the Charter were fully implemented and that States with the will to fight terror, but without the capacity, were given the help they needed. His country had provided voluntary contributions in the amount of nearly a half-million dollars to support the Task Force’s working groups. Government-wide response had also been provided to the working groups on extremism and Internet use for terrorist purposes. All States should be engaged through updates on activities of the working groups.
He said his country had also contributed to activities related to all four pillars of the Strategy. Cooperative and capacity-building initiatives had been funded to help partner nations to better address terrorism. The United States was also focused on increasing economic development by helping States tackle poverty and related conditions. The effectiveness of United Nations efforts to combat the terrorist threat depended, to a large extent, on improving coordination between the bodies and organs focused on making concrete contributions to the effort. The Strategy should remain focused on identifying concrete ways in which parts of the system could contribute to the global campaign. The Task Force should continue to stress cooperation among United Nations offices that could support counter-terrorism efforts within their mandates.
MOHAMMED AL-ALLAF ( Jordan) said terrorism constituted an insult to humanity, as a whole. The global problem should be addressed collectively. He rejected any attempt to link terrorism to any religion, culture, group or nation. Terrorism should be addressed through addressing root causes.
He said the Jordanian legislature had defined terrorism in the penal law. Strict punishments had been imposed on legally deemed terrorists. The law also criminalized groups engaging in terrorist and criminal acts. In the field of border control, customs had the capacity to investigate smuggling. The Government had adopted numerous measures to confront electronic terrorist attacks. Banks had to audit accounts and freeze any action on the request of the Government. Issuance of identity cards and passports was done in accordance with international criteria. Jordan cooperated with Interpol and had acceded to numerous international counter-terrorism conventions.
MARK GWOZDECKY ( Canada) said the United Nations role in the global effort against terrorism should be strengthened. The adoption of the Strategy had been a milestone and the establishment of the Task Force had been an important step in coordinating parts of the United Nations system towards implementing the Strategy. Canada consistently sought to balance human rights and national security in all counter-terrorism efforts. It engaged civil society in that effort and had enacted measures to engage civil society in a dialogue on counter-terrorism issues. It also collaborated with a broad range of bilateral partners and worked in multilateral fora, such as the Organization of American States and the African Union, to enhance capabilities to fight terror.
He said Canada contributed to capacity-building through the United Nations, including through UNODC and through the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate to better channel its capacity-building assistance. The Implementation Task Force had a special role to play in that regard and funding should be allocated as outlined in the Strategy. The time had also come for greater interaction between Member States and the Task Force, as well as with its working groups.
DANIEL CARMON ( Israel) said his country had been challenged by terrorism from its very beginning. Over decades, Israel had developed legislative and operational tools to support its counter-terrorism activities. The country was now drafting a new comprehensive anti-terrorism law that would provide an updated legal basis for all law enforcement bodies for their anti-terrorist activities. It would be ensured that all domestic legislation conforms to the international instruments.
He said that Israel, as a donor country, shared its knowledge and expertise to build State capacity in other nations. It also supported the Strategy’s emphasis on regional cooperation and had relations regarding counter-terrorism with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union. It was developing a cooperative relationship with the Organization of American States. Israel’s academic think tank, the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, was cooperating with many partners around the world.
He said that, on the technical side, Israel was taking advantage of innovations in identity verification. There was also a need, however, for a political will to address incitement through education and public awareness programmes that encouraged respect of all faiths. One project in Israel brought together leaders from the nation’s major religions –- Jewish, Muslim, Druze and Christian -– in a programme that would lead to a law degree. Also, protection of human rights was an essential component of the Strategy. For Israel, the balance between security needs and human rights was neither simple nor easy. All aspects of its counter-terrorism activities were subject to the rule of law and to judicial review. As the victims of terrorism must not be overlooked, Israel had in place a comprehensive system for support for victims of terrorism and their families.
SUSAN GRACE ( Australia) said multilateral action through the United Nations system was a vital element of the Strategy to address terrorism and violent extremism. Her country’s domestic counter-terrorism arrangements were predicated on a comprehensive approach to emergency management for terrorist attacks. It had fully implemented its obligations to freeze terrorist assets under United Nations Security Council resolutions 1267, 1373 and other resolutions. It had also ratified 13 of the 16 international counter-terrorism instruments of universal application. Welcoming increased cooperation between law enforcement authorities, she called on all Member States to adopt further practical measures to facilitate extradition of terrorist suspects and sharing of information and best practices.
She said Australia had signed 13 counter-terrorism Memoranda of Understanding with countries in the South-East Asian, Pacific, Middle East and South Asian regions, setting out a framework for counter-terrorism cooperation. The regional approach centred on a sustained programme of building mutually beneficial cooperation through counter-terrorism assistance. Australia had assisted a number of countries in the region in developing laws and regulations required to implement United Nations conventions on the protection of nuclear material and improve the security of radiological, nuclear and laboratory biological materials. Australia also recognized that counter-terrorism measures must strike the right balance between the protection of the public from the terrorist threat and protection of civil liberties.
ILEANA NUNEZ MODOCHE ( Cuba) said that, for over 45 years, the Cuban people had been victim of countless terrorist acts conceived out of the hatred and the irrational desires of an international Power. There had been a heavy toll in human lives and economic damages caused by State terrorism by that international Power. Expressing her country’s firm commitment to combating terrorism and defending multilateralism, she said Cuba condemned all acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever, by whomever, against whomsoever committed, regardless their motivations, including those in which States were involved.
Regarding the Strategy review, she said there should be a clear functioning mechanism for the working groups created by the Task Force. The interactions between the Task Force and Member States, as well as the specific mechanism to be used to that end, should be strengthened. She welcomed the institutionalization of the Task Force as reflected in the draft resolution. Her country fully rejected the use of the fight against terrorism as a pretext to justify the interference in the internal affairs of other States. Terrorism was a phenomenon that had to be combated by the entire international community in an environment of close cooperation and with due respect for the Charter of the United Nations and for international law.
ROMAN OYARZUN ( Spain) said he considered the adoption of measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism to be of great importance. That was in line with Spain’s commitment to conflict resolution and to peacekeeping efforts, as a co-sponsor of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative. Spain’s contribution to reaching the Millennium goals included the substantial increase in its official development assistance from 0.2 to 0.5 per cent of the gross domestic product in the past four years. Spain also had a strong commitment to victims of terrorism. Next week’s symposium should result in an exchange of “best practices” among States and to the adoption of practical mechanisms of solidarity by the international community, such as the laying of groundwork for the establishment of a victims assistance fund.
Continuing, he said his country had ratified the 16 United Nations Conventions and Protocols representing the legal foundation for measures in the fight against terrorism. It was also a main promoter of judicial cooperation through EUROJUST, within the European Union. Spain was a first contributor to the Task Force and a financial supporter of the Technical Assistance Programme of the Executive Directorate. In relation to other territorial contexts, Spain would contribute to the development of the European Strategy against terrorism and its plan of action and would foster those initiatives during the next Spanish Presidency of the Council of Europe.
ANWAR OTHMAN BAROUT SALEEM AL BAROUT ( United Arab Emirates) said States needed to strengthen regional and international cooperation to remove obstacles to progress in fighting terrorism. The Strategy was an important development in the global effort, but the Strategy was running into problems because there was no review of the state of the phenomenon and no definition for it. States should analyze the Strategy to identify weaknesses. They should adopt institutional measures to enable them to work with the Task Force in an open and transparent manner. The role of the United Nations should be enhanced and the Task Force institutionalized. Technical capacities should be built to enable States to take part in the global effort.
He said States should also take measures to ensure that they never identified terrorism with any single group in statements and they should institute legislative and other measures against hatred-related activities. Further, the United Nations must intensify its lead in efforts to reverse the conditions that lead to terrorist extremism. The Emirates had introduced legislation and had conducted educational initiatives to ensure that all possible measures were taken against extremism, including through cooperation with INTERPOL.
ISABELLE PICCO ( Monaco) said the cornerstone of the global Strategy, adopted two years ago, must remain capacity-building, including promotion of networking and sharing best practices. Monaco, vigilant in its fight against terrorism, was party to all international instruments related to the fight against it. In 2006, the Government had adopted a law on terrorism that defined new acts of terrorism and strengthened law enforcement. The Government had also enhanced the 1993 law on money laundering and financing of terrorism. The Principality had been the venue for the July 2008 conference on the fight against terrorism, which had highlighted the prevention of terrorism. She regretted that the draft did not take into account the issue of victims of terrorism worldwide.
CARSTEN STAUR ( Denmark), aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said the Strategy had, for the first time, united all Member States in the fight against terrorism. The real challenge rested, however, with turning words into action. The focus of the review was rightly on implementation. There was a need to look at a broad way to address root causes. If international cooperation was to be effective, the hesitation to combine development and security must be overcome. As a donor country, Denmark’s experience had shown that such a combination was possible, in particular in the area of good governance, where the development and security agenda converged.
He said Denmark had commissioned a study to identify good practices of development assistance in support of counter-terrorism capacity-building in developing countries. One conclusion of the study was that ownership by countries of the process was essential for success in counter-terrorism. There was also a need to improve policy coherence at the national level. Because of Denmark’s long commitment to the region of East Africa, an analysis of the implementation of the Strategy had been undertaken, which had revealed that significant capacity gaps in East Africa continued to exist. A strong United Nations presence was needed, as was more coordination of the efforts of the actors involved.
Questions had been raised on the means used to combat terrorism, he said. There was a perception that law enforcement measures had led to human rights violations and suppression of civil society activities. All measures must be in full compliance with human rights instruments. Fighting terrorism and respecting human rights were not conflicting goals, but were mutually reinforcing. He welcomed institutionalization of the Task Force, stressing that resources must be provided commensurate with the tasks foreseen in the future.
NEVEN JURICA (Croatia), aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said his country was involved in a number of regional activities with the aim of preventing and suppressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. It had been active in promoting intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and had contributed to creating an atmosphere of good neighbourly relations. This year, it had become a member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations. His country had ratified several Council of Europe conventions on the prevention and financing of terrorism. It had also become party to all 16 international legal counter-terrorism instruments. The country had intensified its cooperation with Interpol and the European Union in the field of border security and had become the first country to provide police units with direct, secure access to Interpol’s databases via mobile phones and laptops.
He said Croatia supported the activities of the Task Force and welcomed the initiative for its further institutionalization. Capacity-building was a core element of the global counter-terrorism efforts, and countries that were committed to implementing the Strategy, but did not have the necessary resources, had to be assisted. As a member of the Security Council chairing the Counter-Terrorism Committee, Croatia had invested much effort in ensuring the more efficient and transparent work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, with enhanced focus on its role as facilitator of technical assistance. Croatia had also ratified a large number of international treaties to ensure the full respect for human rights, as well as the rule of law. Any measures taken to combat terrorism must fully comply with obligations under international law.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said the main challenge to be overcome in the fight against terrorism, in those who had not suffered from its effect, was lethargy and inaction. It was a misperception that terrorists only hit large, industrialized countries or those who had provoked the terrorist reaction in some way. How would that explain attacks against the United Nations? International approaches had to be the framework for leading national efforts for all States. Multilateral approaches provided important inputs as the basis for States to take actions.
Whatever level the approach, he said the protection of human rights and the rule of law were important components. The protection of human rights and fighting terrorism were not contradictory. It was not necessary to justify torture and illegal detention through legal sleights of hand. The seeming contradiction did not exist. Any measure that was effective did both things. It protected rights, as well as deterred terrorists. The culture of fear must be overcome, so that broad-based approaches can be adopted. Also, the United Nations must not sell out its integrity and credibility by backing measures that were not effective in accomplishing both purposes, nor must it allow itself to be used for such purposes. Finally, the time had come to stop impeding the war on terror by continuing to elude agreement on a definition of terrorism. The political will of States must be exerted and the General Assembly must step up to its responsibility.
KIRSTY GRAHAM ( New Zealand) said New Zealand was determined to take all necessary measures to prevent and combat terrorism, in order to ensure that her country would neither be a target nor a source of terrorist activity. It continued to improve its legislative, policy and operational capabilities and had amended its Terrorism Suppression Act to improve compliance with the evolving international counter-terrorism framework. Internationally, New Zealand was assisting partner countries in developing their counter-terrorism capabilities, in particular in the Pacific Island countries and countries in South-East Asia. It had increasingly pursued regional initiatives aimed at addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.
She said the United Nations-led Alliance of Civilizations had real potential for improving relations and understanding between societies and cultures. Her country had embarked on a series of significant and long-term projects in the region with Governments, educational institutions and civil society. It was also promoting interfaith dialogue in the region through, among other things, sponsorship of the Asia-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue. New Zealand was also contributing to stabilization and reconstruction operations in Afghanistan. It also supported Operation Enduring Freedom through the deployment of vessels to the Maritime Interdiction Operation in the Persian Gulf.
“Terrorism is a global phenomenon and, as such, requires a coordinated global response,” she said. The United Nations was the best place to coordinate that response. She welcomed the efforts of the Task Force to achieve greater coordination across the United Nations system and to promote best practice counter-terrorism approaches to Member States.
FRANK MAJOOR ( Netherlands) said it was imperative to strike the right balance between repressive and preventive measures in fighting terrorism. A counter-terrorism policy that relied solely on repressive action would not halt the radicalization processes that made people susceptible to recruitment by terrorist organizations. From work with partner countries for five to seven years, his country had learned that intervening early in the radicalization process was a key component in successful counter-terrorism.
He said his country’s efforts in fighting terrorism included the promotion of dialogue between international experts and policymakers. For example, a 2007 meeting at The Hague had brought together experts from the world over to discuss strategies for countering radicalization. Another such meeting in 2007 had brought together legal experts from Europe, the United States, the Arab World and Asia to take stock of current statutory restrictions on fighting terrorism and to find new legal solutions to those restrictions. It had been agreed that the legal systems represented there could play a relevant role in the debate on the place of international law in the fight against terrorism. The Netherlands was strongly committed to the conclusions of both meetings and to exploring the options for strengthening the international legal framework, to allow for new legal solutions and for institutionalizing the exchange of best practices related to countering terrorism. All efforts should be made to achieve agreement on a definition of terrorism.
CARL SALICATH ( Norway) said the United Nations had a particular responsibility for coordinating global efforts against terrorism. The adoption of the Strategy had been a milestone in the common endeavour to prevent terrorism. The Task Force had a unique opportunity to further a balanced approach to implementation of the Strategy, with equal attention to all its four pillars. It was important that the Task Force be given the necessary resources and that Member States interact with the Task Force on a regular basis, preferably in informal meetings. Regional organizations had an important role to play in complementing and supporting Member States’ efforts to prevent terrorism and take part in the United Nations global initiatives. In that respect, he highlighted the work done by OSCE and the Council of Europe.
He said Member States had the primary responsibility to implement all four pillars of the Strategy. An effective and holistic response to terrorism should have a firm basis in criminal justice and should be guided by the normative framework provided by the universal legal regime against terrorism and respect for the rule of law and human rights. It was a matter of grave concern that various United Nations bodies still reported serious human rights violations in the fight against terrorism. Demobilization and deradicalization of terrorists had been successful in a number of Member States, and the United Nations should contribute to those efforts and analyse the subject. Norway had organized a meeting in New York on a project called “Leaving Terrorism Behind”.
ZINA ANDRIANARIVELO-RAFAZY ( Madagascar) said the Strategy was a useful instrument that condemned terrorism and contained a plan of action to integrate measures towards that end in a coordinated manner. The Task Force was also important in providing technical and capacity-building assistance to States who were not prepared for the demands of combating terrorism. His country had taken part in conferences to improve its ability to fight terrorism, including in the fourth and fifth Conference of Ministers of French-speaking African countries that had adopted international instruments in their agreement on approaches to fight terrorism. Madagascar would also host the sixth Conference in 2009.
He said the United Nations and other partners must provide assistance to countries and to institutions, such as the African Institute for Research on terrorism, which could assist countries in their capacity-building. All approaches to fighting terrorism must include the component of full respect for human rights. In Madagascar, a national mechanism had been established to implement and follow up on implementation of United Nations resolutions related to fighting terrorism. Its work included areas related to cyber-crime and pillaging of resources. The latter had been discussed in June, when legal experts of small island States had met in Vienna to discuss the growing phenomenon affecting them. Finally, the Task Force should be institutionalized and it should be given the necessary resources to fulfil its mandate.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) fully supported the Strategy agreed upon by Member States. During the two years since its adoption, there had been some progress. The United Nations was now better equipped to provide a consistent response to terrorism, with the Assembly playing the most important role. There was a need to bolster international cooperation as one of the cornerstones in combating terrorism. The United Nations had the responsibility to coordinate efforts internally. In that regard, he emphasized the need for the institutionalization of the Task Force and for establishing closer interaction between the Task Force and the Assembly.
Although major achievements had been made, he was concerned that recent armed violence in different parts of the world might feed terrorism. In order to combat terrorism, regional organizations could provide added value. An example was the cooperation between Mexico and the Inter-American Counter-Terrorism Committee (CICTE). Domestically, his Government was building institutional capacities. Mexico gave priority to a culture of prevention, consistent with the rule of law and human rights. He appealed to Member States to promptly conclude the comprehensive convention against international terrorism. Also, he emphasized the need to develop a more precise system of listing and de-listing pursuant to Security Council resolution 1267.
RAPHAEL PERL, Head of the Action against Terrorism Unit, Office of the Secretary-General of OSCE, said, as the largest regional organization with 56 participating States from North America to Central Asia, his Organization followed a comprehensive approach to security, linking the politico-military, economic and environmental, as well as human dimensions of security. That comprehensive approach had been especially important to OSCE’s counter-terrorism efforts.
He said, because terrorism posed a threat to the whole OSCE region, and had thus become a grave concern to all of its participating States, OSCE had over the years developed a framework for comprehensive counter-terrorism action. OSCE had actively contributed to the global effort to fight terrorism by developing a variety of wide-ranging commitments to adhere to, and implement, the international counter-terrorism regime, and also by helping national authorities to develop their counter-terrorism capacities. Since adoption of the United Nations Strategy, OSCE had looked upon it as providing both a political framework and vital guidance.
Pursuing a comprehensive approach to security, the largest part of what OSCE was doing in the politico-military, economic and environmental and human dimensions, in one way or another, contributed to meeting the goals of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he added, explaining that different structures of the Organization were active in each of the four pillars outlined in the Strategy. Those were: measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; measures to prevent and combat terrorism; measures to build participating States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism; and lastly, measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism. He added that a detailed overview of OSCE action had been distributed to all participants.
MANUAL LEZERTUA, Observer of the Council of Europe, said his organization was committed to facilitating the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), and above all of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. It did so by providing a forum for discussing and adopting regional standards and best practices and by providing assistance to its member States in improving their counter-terrorism capabilities. The Council took a three-pronged approach: strengthening legal action; safeguarding fundamental values; and addressing the causes of terrorism. In 2007, the Council had adopted a road map in implementation of the Strategy that assigned a series of initiatives to various bodies within the organization.
He said the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on Terrorism had been given the task of monitoring implementation of the road map by the relevant entities of the organization. Regarding measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, the Council, through its standard-setting and its technical cooperation activities, carried out actions in the fields of education, youth and the media. It contributed to the protection of minorities and to fighting intolerance, racism and social exclusion, thereby weakening the sources of discontent that might fuel terrorism.
The Council was working towards the creation of a judicial framework that allowed substantial international cooperation among judicial authorities, among other things, and increased the efficiency of the relevant international and European instruments. One of the most prominent instruments was the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism. That Convention was open for accession by non-member States. Describing the organization’s current priorities, he said measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism were perhaps the most vital, as they touched on the reason for the existence of the Council.
In conclusion, he said regional organizations could provide meaningful contributions to support the sustained implementation of the Strategy. With their wealth of standards and expertise, as well as knowledge of the regional threat perception and field presence, the Council of Europe and all the other regional and subregional organizations and bodies could serve as strategic and useful interfaces for the United Nations bodies and Member States.
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