General Assembly’s Legal Committee Hears More Calls for Strong Responses to Terrorism, While Taking Account of Sources of Grievance
General Assembly’s Legal Committee Hears More Calls for Strong Responses to Terrorism, While Taking Account of Sources of Grievance
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM)
General Assembly’s Legal Committee Hears More Calls for Strong Responses
to Terrorism, While Taking Account of Sources of Grievance
Praise for Saudi Arabia Proposal to Establish International Study Centre
The Sixth Committee (Legal) today continued its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism, with delegations focusing not just on the outstanding issues to the proposed comprehensive convention, but actions and initiatives taken to challenge the roots of terrorism.
Among the 44 speakers taking part in the day-long debate, several expressed support for the proposal of Saudi Arabia to establish an international centre, under the auspices of the United Nations, which would serve as a centre for action on terrorism, connect national and regional centres to one database, and facilitate the exchange of technologies and training programmes.
The representative of Indonesia also noted some of its regional partnerships with its neighbours. One, with Australia, was the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation, which provided training for law enforcement officers in the Asia-Pacific Region. The representative also spoke of contact with terrorists to try to find peaceful responses to their grievances.
Geographic vulnerability was of concern, said the delegate of the United Republic of Tanzania. His country was bordered by eight others and the Indian Ocean. Huge amounts of resources were needed to defend and ensure its security, especially in light of its growing tourism and foreign investment which made it a target for terrorist acts.
The representative of Guatemala spoke of his country’s national initiatives to combat drug and human trafficking, as well as the financing of international terrorism. Such transnational crimes were factors which, combined with poverty, made her country vulnerable. The conclusion of the draft convention was essential to national and international security.
Israel’s delegate said that State-sponsored terrorism needed to be confronted directly, regardless of whether it was active or passive support. Furthermore, too little attention was paid to the fact that recruiting others to do the act of terrorism was very much in line with the phenomenon of incitement, and the role it played in fostering a culture in which terrorism could flourish.
Several delegates spoke of the definition of “terrorism”. The representative of Bangladesh recalled that his country had achieved its independence in an unconventional manner, just like many others that had fought for their independence. Iraq’s representative noted, however, that most terrorist acts were aimed at destroying the establishment of democracy, the rule of law, and the peaceful transfer of power. The need for a comprehensive convention was clear.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Singapore, Morocco, Afghanistan, Turkey, Tunisia, Cuba, China, Senegal, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Burkina Faso, Belarus, Iran, Serbia and the United States.
Continuing in the afternoon were speakers for Mali, Oman, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bahrain, Malaysia, Côte d’Ivoire, Kuwait, Japan, Qatar, Venezuela, Nigeria, Yemen, Colombia, Congo, Niger, Kazakhstan, Uganda and Botswana.
The representative of Cuba spoke in right of reply.
The Committee will meet again in plenary session on Friday, 9 October, when it will continue its deliberation of measures to eliminate international terrorism, as well as take up the issue of criminal accountability.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to continue its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism. (For background, see Press Release GA/L/3362.)
AHMED ABDULRAHMAN AL-JARMAN ( United Arab Emirates) said there had been a noticeable increase in the number of groups involved in terrorist activities over the past years. Efforts had been taken to counter those groups and their activities, but the root causes had not been addressed. That was of particular concern since many of those involved in armed groups came out of situations resulting from maltreatment.
He said efforts to institutionalize elements of the United Nations system to assist States in addressing such situations were particularly welcome. It was important to recall that countering terrorism was not just a matter of fighting the phenomenon but also of addressing the conditions that led to it. The upcoming review of the Global Strategy should be objective and in line with the latest developments in expanding the scope of partnerships among States and regional organizations, and with the involvement of civil society.
Implementation of measures should be carried out with respect for the rule of law and protection of human rights. Technical aid programmes should be increased to help governments counter terrorism, and to aid victims among their populations. It must be stressed that there was not necessarily a tie between terrorist activities and any particular group.
He called for an international conference to reach agreement on a clear definition of terrorism, including a legislatively clear distinction between terrorism and the struggle for freedom. All stakeholders should take responsibility for resolving the conditions that contributed to the spread of terrorism.
He added that in accordance with the call of Islam for peaceful coexistence with others, his country had adapted its legislation to adhere with developing international standards. It cooperated with Security Council calls for action and submitted reports to relevant bodies. National laws on terrorist-related activities such as money-laundering, smuggling and banking transactions had been strengthened.
HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) said that Indonesia, as a living witness to the results of terrorist actions, was determined to fight such terrorism with “the full arsenal” of Indonesian law. It was also focusing on working with terrorist groups on peaceful ways to address their grievances and to encourage them to re‑enter society. Those steps were essential to establishing remedies, but regional and international efforts were needed to address long-term solutions.
In that vein, he added, Indonesia was spearheading regional cooperation and partnerships with its neighbours. With Australia, it established the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation, which provided training for law enforcement officers in the Asia-Pacific region. It was important, however, to find remedies for the causes, including long-standing, unresolved conflicts that were at the root of terrorist acts. Human rights should not be sacrificed for the sake of fighting terrorism, nor should terrorism be associated with specific nations, regions or religions.
HILARIO G. DAVIDE ( Philippines) said his country condemned all forms of terrorism; no cause or dogma could ever justify its use. It advocated a comprehensive and focused approach in anti-terrorism policy.
The Philippines had enacted 2007 Human Security Act, under which anti‑terrorism efforts had “progressed from reactive to proactive measures”. It outlawed terrorist organizations, associations and groups, and provided the needed legal framework for various anti-terrorism arrangements with other countries. The Government had next focused on international cooperation to build law enforcement capabilities and to secure the safety of Filipino workers overseas. The Philippines had built a web of bilateral and regional agreements to strengthen law enforcement, and as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it was party to the Convention on Counter-Terrorism.
He said the third focus was on the maintenance of timely and effective response mechanisms in the event of terrorist attack, and in that connection the Government had launched an anti-terrorism hotline via text messaging. Finally, tools such as interfaith dialogue were used “to reduce disenfranchisement and to increase understanding of the causes of conflict”. His Government believed that terrorism took root in conditions of poverty, injustice and the depravity of human dignity, so the creation of such jobs and provision of resources to boost delivery of social services was important.
He stressed the crucial role for the United Nations in combating terrorism; dialogue should be enhanced with renewed efforts to implement the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy.
ANA CRISTINA RODRÍGUEZ-PINEDA ( Guatemala) said her country’s efforts to fight terrorism were all concretely set down in national legislation, in line with international instruments. As of this year, Guatemala had joined 12 of the 16 international instruments related to terrorism. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Organization of American States had both assisted in the country’s compliance with international obligations. As a result of all those efforts, a draft law against terrorism had been finalized and would be submitted to Congress shortly. A law to fight terrorism at the financing level was already in effect. Specific measures were in place to address the drug smuggling that led to trafficking, in both drugs and persons, as well as other transnational organized crimes.
She said trafficking and the spread of transnational crime were factors which, combined with poverty, made her country vulnerable. The spread of crime and drug trafficking were linked with terrorism, particularly with regard to their causes. Work on the comprehensive convention against terrorism should be finalized; the time was more than ripe for action. Substantive progress should be made at the current session so as to enable the adoption of an important instrument to strengthen the basis for efforts against terrorism.
ZÉNON MUKONGO NGAY (Democratic Republic of Congo) said the fight against terrorism should not lead to the denying of human rights. He urged that police forces and intelligence divisions within and between States coordinate their actions and efforts, as well as analysis of their work. This cooperation would support the improvement of security forces. In this regard, the recent seminar held in Nigeria on the issue of travel documents and security standards was of great benefit.
He said his country was also incorporating international policy into national law, including legislation on money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. It had established an agency to focus solely on laundering, corruption and fraud. Further innovations in their national policy included definitions of terrorism to included genocide and war crimes. For the first time, military officers had been convicted of acts of terrorism. He reminded the Committee that terrorism was an international crime and called for the convening of a high-level meeting, and the conclusion of the draft convention.
WONG KANG JET (Singapore) said that in addition to the threats posed by terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaida and the Jemaah Islamiyah, the international community had to contend with the growing and dangerous phenomenon of “self-radicalization”, which he described as a situation where individuals came across radical ideologies, especially on the Internet, and having read them, “became enthralled and developed radicalized views”. Such individuals then turned to what some had come to term “Google terror” –- using the Internet for bomb recipes, training and moral support.
He said that unless countries came together and committed to fight terrorism jointly, much of what was discussed in the meeting would simply be rhetorical. The United Nations was in a unique position to play an important role in sending a clear political signal of the international community’s consistent and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In that regard, the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorist Strategy should remain a priority. For its part, Singapore welcomed the visit by the Counter‑Terrorism Executive Directorate in March this year, and it encouraged Member States to work with the Directorate and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force to further strengthen their collective counter-terrorism efforts.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said that terrorist attacks in many parts of the world, including his region, gave tangible proof that, despite all efforts, the fight against terrorism was far from being won. Its magnitude was complex. Individual States, regardless of their resources, would not be able to sustain their commitment to counter what was a transboundary threat. A collective response and common commitment were crucial for the conclusion of the draft comprehensive convention.
Expressing concern about issues of security in the Sahara, Maghreb and Mediterranean areas, he said collective initiatives and actions were needed and Morocco would contribute. The threat of terrorists gaining access to nuclear and biological materials was serious, and there was a need for international cooperation. The goals of international peace and security would be met only if the deep causes of terrorism were addressed. Dialogue and tolerance must be promoted. He said he supported Saudi Arabia’s proposal for a centre to address terrorism, Egypt’s call for a high-level meeting, and Tunisia’s request for a code of conduct.
MOHAMMAD ERFANI AYOOB ( Afghanistan) stated his Government’s strong commitment to fight against all terrorist and extremist acts. With international support, he said it was making significant progress in rebuilding the country after 30 years of war, foreign occupation and terrorist activities, notably led by the Taliban and Al-Qaida, which enjoyed institutional support beyond its borders. He spoke of the deaths of thousands of civilians through roadside bombings and suicide attacks, and said Afghanistan continued to pay a heavy price for being on the front line in the war against terrorism. The Government had adopted measures to counter terrorism and narcotics, notably with the creation of administrative authorities to track terrorist elements, to monitor banking and to freeze suspect accounts, in line with Security Council resolution 1822 (2008).
He said Afghan security forces, alongside international military forces, had taken more responsibility for combating terrorism and the country had joined all international protocols and conventions to address the problem. It was working closely with the 1267 and Counter-Terrorism Committees, and other bodies created to strengthen United Nations sanctions against Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Afghanistan had joined the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and was taking steps to join that body’s regional convention on suppressing of terrorism. It had signed various bilateral agreements and was participating in a trilateral mechanism to combat drugs.
Expressing hope that the comprehensive convention on international terrorism would be an effective tool once it entered into force, he also supported the creation of an international code of conduct until that time. He said the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force also was particularly valuable. In closing, he called on all States to urgently take measures to fulfil their obligations under international law, international humanitarian law and in line with relevant resolutions.
ERTUĞRUL APAKAN ( Turkey ) declared that terrorism could not be justified under any pretext or for any reason; regardless of motivation or origin, all acts, methods and practices of terrorism should be unequivocally condemned. He said that did not mean “turning a blind eye” to the conditions conducive to terrorism. “On the contrary,” he added, “We should try to have a deeper perspective and tackle these conditions. But that should never allow us to tolerate or condone any act of terrorism.”
He said no culture or religion could be associated with violence and terrorism. Initiatives to promote dialogue, tolerance and understanding among different cultures and religions should be part of the fight against it. No country was immune from this scourge, he added, and “if we fail to rise to the challenge in a determined manner, it will sooner or later haunt us all”.
He said the role of the United Nations in combating terrorism was significant, and thus he welcomed the efforts of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. On the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, he noted ongoing discussions during the current session of the Sixth Committee, and expressed concern on some of the draft provisions and the sensitivities involved. However, he added, terrorists should not be able to “question our resolve to conclude this convention”.
GHAZI JOMAA (Tunisia) said the Security Council’s efforts with regard to countering terrorism would be better enforced if they were coordinated with the work of the General Assembly. His country was preparing for a visit by the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee. Among efforts to improve national legislation to specifically counter terrorism, a 2003 law against money-laundering had been strengthened for greater efficacy in enforcing relevant laws by linking law enforcement activities with those in the financial field.
In a time of promoting the dialogue among civilizations, he said, it was unfortunate that libel against others on the basis of religion or culture was on the increase. To promote the values of tolerance, a code of conduct should be elaborated, as his country had repeatedly recommended. An International Conference on the Dialogue of Civilizations had been held in June to bring together parties such as States, the United Nations and the Council of Europe, for an exchange on promoting cultural diversity.
On the proposed comprehensive convention, he said it was possible to overcome the remaining differences of views, keeping in mind that the aim was to produce a convention that would be comprehensive. The goal was to have a clear, unambiguous instrument able to be supported by all nations. A conference should be convened to conduct a rigorous and sustained evaluation of the outstanding issues.
RODOLFO BENÍTEZ VERSÓN ( Cuba) said measures to eliminate international terrorism needed to be based on the United Nations Charter. A clear definition of terrorism was essential to the success of the proposed convention.
He said Cuba had never allowed its national territory to be used for terrorist activities, and had ratified, and was party to, the many instruments addressing terrorism. However, he added, Cuba was still listed by the United States as a sponsor of international terrorism, a claim adamantly refuted.
He told the Committee that in the United States, especially in Miami, bank accounts funding terrorist acts against Cuba existed with impunity. Further, the issue of Luis Posada Carriles, held responsible for the downing of a Cuban airliner which killed 76 civilians, and the bombing of Havana tourist resorts, among other allegations, remained unresolved. The United States refused to extradite Mr. Carriles to Venezuela. Such impunity and double standards, he said, were unacceptable in countering terrorism.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said his Government condemned terrorism in all its forms, opposed its use for political objectives and supported all international efforts to combat it. At the same time, the Chinese Government believed the Charter and relevant principles on international law had to be strictly followed; terrorism should not be linked with any specific civilization, ethnic group or religion. The roots of terrorism had to be tackled by addressing its underlying causes, such as conflicts, social unrest and injustice.
He said China was actively involved in counter-terrorism cooperation within the United Nations system and had joined 11 of the relevant international conventions, he said. At the regional level, China was actively working within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization whose members in 2001 concluded the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism. In June 2009, the Organization’s Heads of States signed the Counter-Terrorism Convention, which “cemented the legal base for counter-terrorism interaction” within the framework of the Organization.
China, he went on, favoured the creation of a comprehensive international convention against terrorism in order to enhance the existing legal framework that had taken shape within the United Nations system. All relevant parties should show political will and reach a solution quickly. China also supported the staging of a high-level meeting on combating terrorism, when conditions were appropriate, under the auspices of the United Nations. It would provide policy guidance for international legal cooperation against terrorism.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said his delegation reaffirmed its total condemnation of terrorism, regardless of who perpetrated the actions. With equal firmness, he rejected any attempt to associate terrorism with any group. Despite the numerous actions undertaken every day to fight terrorism, the fact that it was still a daily occurrence was a measure of how much the scourge offended human dignity. Cooperation on implementing the Strategy must be coordinated for effectiveness and the coordinating role of the Counter-Terrorism Task Force was crucial in that regard. Further activities must also be carried out to promote the dialogue of cultures and religions, to tackle the misunderstandings and stereotypes that formed the basis of hatred. Better dialogue would contribute to greater tolerance and would decrease the spread of terrorism.
The legal framework for countering terrorism would be strengthened by adoption of the draft comprehensive convention, he said. Still, there were pending matters and all delegations must do their best to reach agreement. A high-level conference on international terrorism should be convened as the forum for resolving the outstanding issues. Finally, all nations should ensure that actions taken with regard to fighting terrorism were in line with the principles of respect for human rights and compliance with international standards.
AL-ADHAMI RIADH ( Iraq) said he regretted that the Ad Hoc Committee had been unable to settle outstanding issues, and he stressed the need to arrive at acceptable solutions. He said Iraq’s call for remedies stemmed from the reality that Iraq was a victim of terrorism aimed at destroying the establishment of democracy, the rule of law, and the peaceful transfer of power. This was illustrated in the series of explosions and acts in August, known as “Bloody Wednesday”, where multiple ministries were targeted and many innocent people killed or injured. A request was made to the Secretary-General to appoint a high‑level official to investigate the events and the degree of foreign involvement.
The need for a comprehensive convention was clear, he added, but it needed to remain within the framework of humanitarian law, among other international standards. He also stated that dialogue was essential to ensure that not just one religion, country, or people were seen as the source of terrorist acts. Nor, he continued, could double standards be present in defining terrorist acts. Through enhanced bilateral and regional efforts, the adoption of effective measures could address the movement of terrorists, and then financing could be prevented.
OLEKSIY SHAPOVAL ( Ukraine) said his delegation condemned international terrorism in all its forms and perpetrators of all terrorist acts should be brought to justice. International cooperation to fight terrorism had to be conducted in conformity with international law, including the United Nations Charter, relevant international conventions and protocols and by adopting the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The adoption by consensus of this Strategy three years ago was a landmark event as the first universally agreed strategic framework to counter terrorism, and its success depended on implementation through concrete measures.
The international community should make every effort to wrap up talks on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The remaining unresolved issue was how the activities of parties in a situation of foreign occupation should be dealt with in relation to terrorism under the principle of self-determination. The deliberate targeting and killing of civilians and non‑combatants could not be legitimized by any cause or grievance. A lasting solution had to be pursued on the issue of self-determination, independent of the convention negotiations. However, it was necessary to ensure that no ambiguity was allowed with regard to the scope of the convention.
Ukraine was committed to reach an agreement on the draft as soon as possible. He called on Member States to make additional efforts during the Assembly’s current session to adopt the convention. It was well known that most terrorist acts aimed to achieve specific political goals and were frequently linked with other criminal activities, such as illicit arms trade, drug trafficking and money-laundering.
FESSEHA AsghedomTESSEM, ( Ethiopia), said fighting terrorism was vital to the rapid economic development and good governance of his country. In recent years, terrorists in Ethiopia had targeted hotels, public transport vehicles and civilians in marketplaces. As an international crime, terrorism required an international response, and more commitments and measures were required. Multilateral cooperation was the most effective approach, and Ethiopia had become a party to 9 out of the 13 international agreements on terrorism.
He said the rise in terrorist acts in Africa indicated that the continent was becoming more vulnerable, with enormous costs to infrastructure, investor funding, and tourism. Regional mechanisms constituted a vital platform for the collective action against terrorism. The Ethiopian House of Representatives had adopted an anti-terrorism proclamation aimed at combating crime and money‑laundering that financially supported terrorists; it had covered such issues as: the protection of telecommunication and electric power networks; the prohibition of the development, production and use of chemical weapons; immigration; and aviation safety.
Ethiopia, he said, was threatened both by locally based international terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaida and also by domestic terrorist groups such as the Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front. To combat these activities, Ethiopia was exchanging information with neighbouring countries, through the East Africa police chief committee and through active cooperation with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
YUN YONG IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the international community had long endeavoured to eliminate terrorism, but even at this moment, terrorism continued to gain ground across the world. It was a serious threat to human life, social stability and world peace. At the same time, “erroneous and factitious” attempts to link terrorist acts to religious or ethnic problems aggravated antagonism, added to mistrust and exacerbated confrontation between nations.
He said intervention in the affairs of sovereign States, along with violations of human rights, were being condoned under the pretext of “counter-terrorism”. He referred to “the armed invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine and massacre of civilians”, which he said were typical examples of State terrorism and violation of human rights. He called on all Member States to respect ideology, system, culture and traditions of others, declaring that “the terrorism committed by an army of a State under the pretext of ‘counter-terrorism’ is a matter of serious concern to the international community”. He said it encroached on sovereign rights of nations with the overthrow of legitimate governments. If such State terrorism went unpunished, the international community’s efforts to eliminate terrorism would never achieve results.
In that context, he said he considered that the comprehensive convention on international terrorism currently being drafted should lay down clear-cut codes to stamp out terrorism by the army of a State. Additionally, all anti-terrorism efforts should be conducted in conformity with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and relevant international laws.
SIMPLICE GUIBILA ( Burkina Faso) said UNODC had been instrumental in providing necessary technical assistance to more than 100 countries and helping them to ratify and implement international instruments for fighting terrorism. However, much remained to be done. Support to enable capacity building must be extended to those who needed it to ensure the ability to carry out commitments.
Firmly condemning terrorism in all its forms, he said his country was party to 12 international and regional instruments related to terrorism. It had also honoured its reporting obligations to the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee. The comprehensive convention must be finalized with a view to the principle of non-selective implementation of instruments. Compromise on article 18 should be reached on the condition that the full right of peoples to self‑determination was maintained. There should also be a clear demarcation between the scope of the comprehensive instrument and that of international humanitarian law. A high-level meeting should be convened and the capacities of the related task force should be strengthened. Every effort must be made to achieve an end to associating terrorism with any particular group.
VIKTAR SHAUTSOU ( Belarus) said that because terrorism was transboundary, it could be addressed only through regional and international efforts. Because of the United States initiatives to create a global response after the events of 11 September 2001, the Belarus Ambassador called for “9-11” to be the International Day against Terrorism at the current General Assembly. Although his country cooperated with all three Security Council committees to counter terrorism, he said the General Assembly should play a central role to counter‑terrorism, and he called for consensus in the finalizing of the convention.
He noted that Belarus had also enhanced its national legislation and regulatory structure to address the serious concerns around nuclear materials. It actively cooperated on both regional and international platforms in this regard, as well as on the issues of money-laundering and financing. In addition, the intelligence agencies of Belarus and its regional partners were exchanging information and participating in strategy command exercises. He reaffirmed his country’s full cooperation and support for the success of the initiatives before the Committee and bodies of the United Nations.
TULLY M. MWAIPOPO (United Republic of Tanzania) said her country had taken several measures to implement the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Its National Counter-Terrorism Centre, composed of both military and police personnel, was now in operation and focused on capacity-building and response to attacks. Anti-terrorism units had also been established, and regulations were being prepared for enactment under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. In addition, Tanzania was cooperating with its regional partners to ensure effective security and legal frameworks that complemented international efforts.
However, with borders against eight countries and the Indian Ocean, she noted that Tanzania needed huge amounts of resources to defend itself. Further, its emerging economy, based on foreign investment and tourism, made Tanzania a target for terrorist actions, such as the one in 1998. Acknowledging the international assistance from both INTERPOL and several United Nations agencies, she stressed the need for an international legal framework to ensure a successful global response.
ESMAEIL BAGHAEI HAMANEH ( Iran) said eliminating terrorism called for the political will of all States, manifested by the avoidance of double standards and actions taken within the standards of the United Nations. Measures must be carried out in full conformity with the Charter and within the boundaries of international law, human rights and humanitarian law. The rule of law and respect for rights should be the guiding principles; the sanctity of State sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence must not be violated. Further, the root causes of terrorism must be identified and eradicated.
He said that conflicts, foreign occupation and unlawful use of force by States against others all created chaotic situations where radical elements could thrive and spread violence. The rise in terrorism over the last years has been mainly generated or fuelled by conflicts inflicted on regions from outside. The international community and non-regional countries should shoulder their responsibilities in helping affected countries restore peace and stability.
With regard to the proposed comprehensive convention, he said it should contain a consensual definition of the term “terrorism” to strengthen international cooperation against it and to end ambiguities about it. The definition should be objective and include all forms of terrorist acts. It must make a clear distinction between heinous acts and legitimate struggles of people acting within their fundamental right to self-determination. In finalizing the text and arriving at consensual solutions, there should be no compromise on established norms and principles of international humanitarian law. Acts of terrorism by States should be criminalized under the convention.
Additionally, he said, “ill-intended attempts to tarnish any religion, culture or nature by linking them with terrorism must be rejected”. The question of countering drug traffic was an essential element in the campaign against terrorism, given the fact that drug-trafficking was used as a financial resource by some groups.
FEODOR Starčević ( Serbia) said that it was important to implement and further strengthen the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Serbia strove to fully implement relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, particularly resolution 1373 (2001). He emphasized the importance of regional and sub-regional cooperation. He noted that Serbia had hosted a number of international and regional meetings on the issue, among them a high-level regional conference in cooperation with UNODC, at which the States of south-east Europe had signed a joint statement on cooperation in the fight against organized crime, primarily in the prevention of drug and human smuggling, financing of terrorism and money-laundering.
He said Serbia paid particular attention to the strict and effective implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) on the control of weapons of mass destruction. Regionally, an implementation programme on preventing proliferation and terrorism with such weapons had recently been launched. Last September, Serbia had adopted a national strategy for improving legislative, institutional and operational frameworks against money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. Among new provisions in its criminal code were those on criminal responsibility for violating sanctions imposed by international organizations, to strengthen the enforcement of international obligations. He urged international civilian and military authorities in the Kosovo Province to step up efforts, in accordance with their respective mandates, to combat terrorism and provide security and safety for all citizens living there.
MARY MCCLEOD ( United States), while reiterating her country’s commitment to fight all manifestations of terrorism, expressed concern for clauses within the draft convention that would enable terrorists to claim exclusion from the scope of the convention. She also stated that a comprehensive convention should not reach State military action, and she said that in that vein she supported the coordinator’s 2002 text as reflecting her country’s positions. The United States would continue to consider any new proposal that would further the conclusion of the convention.
On the outstanding issue of Luis Posada Carriles, she said that contrary to what the Committee had heard, the United States had taken a number of actions in respect of his case. In 2005 he had entered the United States illegally and had been detained by immigration authorities. He had been ordered to be removed by the United States at that time. Mr. Posada Carriles continued to be under order for removal and was now facing criminal charges related to certain terrorist bombings in Havana, Cuba. A trial was scheduled for early next year.
When the Sixth Committee met again this afternoon, ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) noted that his country had ratified 13 conventions and was a party to several regional agreements. Further, it had just hosted a regional workshop for police officers where experts from Afghanistan, India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, among others, attended.
He said that any convention on terrorism needed language to address the issue of State terrorism. None were immune from terrorism and he expressed regret that such acts were often attributed to certain groups, religions and countries. Bangladesh sponsored each year the ‘Culture of Peace’ resolution which now enjoyed two-thirds of Member States support. He hoped for universal ratification.
Addressing the issue of the definition of terrorism and that of self‑determination, he reminded the Committee that Bangladesh had achieved its independence in an unconventional manner, just like many countries that had fought for their independence. Such circumstances needed to be considered while making efforts in the drafting of the convention. He concluded with support for the establishment of an international centre on terrorism as proposed by Saudi Arabia, and called also for a high-level conference to be convened on this international concern.
OUMAR DAOU ( Mali) said that in the context of implementing the Global Strategy, his country had ratified nearly all the United Nations and regional instruments related to terrorism. National legislation had been introduced to strengthen the legal arsenal in countering terrorist activities in areas from financial to territorial. The scourge was a serious threat to international peace and security that affected all people and all areas. To counter it, all must participate in the effort. A regional conference had been organized to take up matters such as shared border security. Overall, an operational approach should be adopted with regard to developing countries. They must be given assistance to implement actions to be undertaken at the international level.
ABDULLAH NASSER HUMEED AL-TOUI ( Oman), in offering his continued support for the efforts of the Committee, said that the proposed convention must have an accurate definition of terrorism. Further, there needed to be more understanding and responses to the reasons, root causes and motives of terrorist acts, and he stressed that terrorism differed from a people resisting foreign occupation.
Commending the Global Strategy, he also said that terrorism was not limited to a certain people. It was a danger to everyone, and to tie terrorism to one country created discord between Member States. In that regard, the need for a high-level meeting was clear, as was the establishment of an international centre on terrorism as proposed by Saudi Arabia.
PALITHA KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said his country’s long experience showed that the transnational character of terrorist groups required well-coordinated international measures to support operations meticulously carried out on the battlefield. He pointed to emerging evidence that the remnants of Sri Lanka’s terrorist group, after having been defeated, had begun to focus on the related crimes of people smuggling and drug trafficking. He called for a comprehensive normative framework, within the parameters of international law, to fight all terrorist activities, including those that posed a threat to maritime security.
In that context, he emphasized the urgent need to finalize the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism, adding that the text prepared by the coordinator on the key “exclusions clause” was an excellent basis for reaching consensus. At the regional level, his country had signed onto several counter‑terrorism initiatives of SAARC, and he urged the earliest full implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, within full global cooperation to make it clear to terrorist groups that there would be no space for terrorism to flourish. He stressed that the United Nations should be the venue for such cooperation, and urged that the Task Force include a broader range of Member States.
TUN SHIN ( Myanmar) declared that terrorism not only posed a threat to the sovereignty of States but was also a criminal activity that threatened the international community and mankind itself. As such, he reiterated his country’s unequivocal stand against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, pointing out that Myanmar was against the use of terrorist activities to achieve political purposes.
He said Myanmar, a State party to 11 counter-terrorism universal instruments and a signatory to one, had been cooperating with the United Nations and had submitted reports to the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee. At the regional level, the country had signed the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism at the ASEAN summit in 2007, and had been participating with ASEAN in fighting terrorism. Domestically, the country had passed special laws with provisions against terrorists. In addition to anti-money-laundering measures the country had put in place, a comprehensive terrorist law was being prepared. He said terrorism was a criminal activity that no country could overcome acting by itself, it needed the cooperation and unity of the international community to stop it.
AHMED AL-MUHARRAQI ( Bahrain), while noting that terrorism was one of the major challenges to international peace and security, stated that such acts should not be linked to any one group or religion. It was crucial therefore to encourage dialogue between cultures and countries to achieve common goals. He reaffirmed his country’s support and cooperation with measures taken on national and international levels. As a party to 11 out of 13 counter-terrorist instruments, his country worked closely with its regional partners and neighbours.
He said he supported the full implementation of the Global Strategy, which was the responsibility of each Member State. He urged the Secretary-General to continue the work of coordinating with Member States. He said his country supported the proposal by Saudi Arabia to create an international centre on terrorism and the proposal of Tunisia for an international code of conduct. He called for the convening of a high-level conference to help accelerate finalization of the convention.
HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) noted the significant efforts that continued to be undertaken by Member States to implement measures to eliminate international terrorism. However, he said he viewed with concern the persistence of terrorist acts carried out around the world, not least in the Asia-Pacific region. Those incidents were occurring despite the concerted counter-terrorism measures undertaken at international, regional and national levels.
He said the attacks in Jakarta on 17 July this year, as well as the increasing suicide bombing incidents occurring in conflict areas, did not augur well for international peace and security. Instead, it fortified the saying that terrorism could not be defeated by use of force alone; the panacea was, and always would be, resolution of the root causes of dissatisfaction which had led to violence against civilian population and property. He stated that Malaysia’s commitment against terrorism was reflected in the actions it had taken to strengthen its domestic legal framework to implement the obligations under the international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, as well as its continued cooperation with INTERPOL and foreign law enforcement authorities in their investigations and criminal prosecutions of alleged terrorists.
He also reaffirmed Malaysia’s support for Egypt’s proposal for the convening of a high-level conference under United Nations auspices, explaining that he believed the United Nations-led forum was the best avenue to address the extensive political issues underlying the global terrorism efforts.
ADY SCHONMANN (Israel) said the international response to the network of terrorism must be a resolve to counter and exceed the cooperation that terrorist groups gave each other. Solutions must be practical, and Israel was engaged in bilateral discussions with other States facing threats similar to those faced by Israel. Beyond the advice and support that terrorist groups gave each other, State sponsors of terrorist groups were even more dangerous. They provided weapons, training and funds. They also hosted headquarters for terrorist groups. The mix created a lethal cocktail in which groups that had no respect for humanitarian principles were empowered with military capabilities that formerly had been found only in the arsenals of sovereign States.
The international response must be forthright, she said. States must be told that sponsoring terrorism and permitting terrorist groups to act with impunity were not among the prerogatives of sovereignty. And beyond addressing active support of State for terrorist groups, the fight against terrorism had to address passive support. In the fight against terrorism, she said, “neutrality is simply not an option”. Similarly, recruiting individuals to perpetrate acts of terrorism, particularly suicide terrorism, was integrally bound up with the phenomenon of incitement, and too little attention had been paid to the role played by incitement in fostering a culture in which terrorism could flourish.
She said the fight against terrorism must focus on matters beyond weapons and ammunition and no less real a threat than that posed by cultural sources of hate. Among those were hate-filled school books, television programmes and official indoctrination that demonized and dehumanized, so that a new generation was deprived of the possibility of even contemplating peaceful coexistence. Extremism and rejection-ism must be confronted.
Finally, she said the absence of a consensus definition of what constituted terrorism undermined the legitimacy of the United Nations as well as State practice in dealing with the threat. However, effectiveness and principle should not be sacrificed to a false image of consensus. It was desirable to see the comprehensive convention concluded at the earliest opportunity. It should not come at the price of diluting the principles that stood to make it an effective tool.
GEORGES ABOUA (C ôte d’Ivoire) said the results of informal contacts provided a basis for optimism about rapid completion of the comprehensive convention, even though the concerns of groups would not be easy to reconcile. It should be recalled that the draft was conceived as an instrument essentially to allow perpetrators of terrorist acts to face their individual criminal responsibility. The draft would complete the legal international structure applicable to the matter. It was more important than ever that the text set out precisely the obligations of cooperation between States in preventing and repressing terrorist activities. The high-level conference proposed by Egypt should be linked to the conclusion of a comprehensive convention, since it would be an ideal framework for resolving remaining differences.
Turning to the Secretary-General’s report on the levels of national and international actions to eliminate international terrorism, he said his country was party to 11 international instruments on the matter, nine of which were universal and two regional. His country also implemented relevant resolutions and continually strengthened its legal framework. A counter-terrorism task force had been created within the police department and specialized services had been instituted in the areas of customs and finances. Overall, the country routinely participated in bilateral, regional and multilateral efforts against terrorist threats in the subregion.
MOHAMMAD A. AL-ATEEQI ( Kuwait) said his delegation condemned terrorism in all its forms, as it rejected extremism, fanaticism and violence. It also affirmed the importance of not relating terrorism to religions that simply called for peace, justice, liberty and respect for human rights.
He said Kuwait felt it was important to follow up the contents of the United Nations Global Strategy to combat terrorism in a comprehensive, non-selective manner, and fully implement all of its components. Kuwait had enacted a law to fight money-laundering operations, aimed to ensure compliance with international standards and obligations and to create oversight measures to regulate charity fundraising activities, so that they were not being used for illegal terrorism pursuits.
His Government was keen to reinforce cooperation in this area and to develop methods to exchange security information at the regional and international levels and to follow up all international resolutions. It also affirmed full application of terrorism-related Council resolutions, as it closely followed individuals whose names appeared as terrorists on the United Nations consolidated lists.
YUKIHIRO WADA (Japan), noting that General Assembly resolution 62/272 (2007) called on all States to make a concerted effort to conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, said his country continued to attach importance to the early adoption of the draft convention, with a view to strengthening the common legal framework to combat terrorism. Consultation on the draft convention would provide a clearer legal basis for Member States to enhance cooperation in the global effort.
He called on all States to exercise flexibility for an early conclusion of the negotiation on the draft convention. Regarding the question of convening a high-level conference, Japan was of the view that the issue should be taken up once an agreement had been reached on the convention. While devoting serious efforts to the conclusion of a comprehensive convention, his country was also working diligently to consolidate its existing legal framework, he explained. Japan had already concluded 13 conventions and protocols, including the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
He urged those Member States which had not yet done so to accede to those instruments as soon as possible, noting that Japan had held seminars on the promotion of accession to those instruments, in cooperation with UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch. He pledged his country’s continued efforts to promote international cooperation against terrorism.
YOUSEF SULTAN LARAM ( Qatar) said the definition of terrorism should not be equated with legitimate efforts toward self-determination. Until such differences were clarified between legitimate actions and illegitimate actions, achieving a comprehensive convention would be difficult. To that end, there was a need to promote respect and dialogue between cultures and countries, while upholding international laws. In this regard he underscored the power of the media to promote understanding and tolerance.
As well as being party to international instruments and agreements, he said Qatar had signed several bilateral agreements with its regional partners that addressed security cooperation and the extradition of criminals. National laws and actions tackling the financing of terrorism, oversights with the banking system and money-laundering were also being engaged and his country had organized training courses and workshops, including a recent one in Doha focusing on human rights in the combating of terrorism.
JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) said his country had enacted legislation for efficient control of counter-terrorist activities, including with regard to funding. To be effective, the international campaign against terrorism must allow for the adoption of mechanisms that could bring a response from countries, as in the levelling of sanctions on States that used self-defence as a pretext for activities tied to terrorism. That called for States to cooperate with each other and with organizations.
In that regard, he said, his country had suffered from a terrorist action 33 years before and the perpetrator lived in the United States because the Government that claimed that there was no evidence against him, despite the fact that the press in the United States had published the evidence. He said the incident involved the Cuban national Luis Posada Carriles, an international terrorist who would hopefully be handed over for prosecution under the new United States administration. For all these years, the United States had been in violation of its obligation under a bilateral treaty to cooperate with regard to terrorist actions.
With regard to the proposed comprehensive convention, he said the international community must decide how to achieve a balance between the rights of people to freedom and to security and peace. The principle of State equality was a cornerstone of the principles that must guide the work.
BUKUN-OLU ONEMOLA ( Nigeria) said his country viewed acts of terrorism as threats to international peace and security that required a global and comprehensive response. The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy provided an opportunity to fill gaps in the fight against terrorism by offering a comprehensive framework for an international response. It gave priority attention to addressing the underlying conditions of terrorism, such as poverty, unresolved conflicts, discrimination of all types, and the absence of good governance. The Strategy also emphasized the need to respect human rights and promote the rule of law.
He said Nigeria had ratified nine of the universal instruments against terrorism, including the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, ratified in April 2007. When passed into law, the new terrorism prevention bill now before the National Assembly in Nigeria would address wider issues, such as incitement to commit terrorist acts and the freezing, confiscation and repatriation of terrorist-related funds and assets.
Nigeria, he said, had also implemented the African Union Plan of Action against terrorism and inaugurated the required national focal point in February 2007. This was composed of government agencies and departments responsible for counter-terrorism activities. It had created an internal mechanism for cooperation that improved intelligence sharing and the dissemination of information. The Government also was carrying out programmes to address the radicalization of youth and extremism. Created in 2006, the Nigerian Cyber Working Group worked to protect security and critical infrastructure from cyberterrorism and other cybercrimes.
ADEL HAMOUD AL-SHEIKH ( Yemen) said that terrorism, the most dangerous challenge posed to international peace and security, needed a unified, global effort in order to successfully confront it. It was important that in those efforts terrorism not be connected to any race, religion or culture. Further, it was necessary to note that terrorism emanated from many roots, such as poverty, lack of employment, and lack of access to education, as well as an absence of international justice and the spread of disinformation. Addressing those root causes would eliminate terrorism, he stated.
It was important, he added, to distinguish between terrorism and a people’s right to resist foreign occupations. Yemen was committed to dialogue between countries. On a national level Yemen had established dialogue with fundamental scholars “to return them to their senses,” and had closed schools and religious centres which fell outside of official authorities and promoted extremist beliefs. It also instituted firm confrontation to terrorist actions, referrals to special tribunals and a coast guard to protect its waters. Such efforts drained resources that were targeted for development projects and services, but Yemen reaffirmed its commitment to keep working together with the international community, because it regarded responsibility to combat terrorism as a shared one.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said her country strongly condemned terrorist acts and insisted that they had no justification under any circumstances. Colombia was fully committed to finding effective solutions in that area. The Government had continued its fight against terrorism at the national level, dealing with the consequences stemming from violence generated by illegal armed groups. The Government’s reintegration programme had allowed the demobilization of more than 51,783 ex-combatants since 2005, through the country’s Justice and Peace Law. That action had led to a 52 per cent drop in violence in Colombia.
The international fight against money laundering, arms trafficking and drug trafficking, among other phenomena, would not achieve effective results without a clear response and commitment by Member States. The international community must act consistently in the development and implementation of a global strategy that corresponded to the magnitude of the challenge that it faced. Exchange of information, support for specific programmes for the prevention of terrorism and access to best practices could play an important role in that direction. The training courses on prevention of terrorism held periodically by the United Nations and the symposium for the support of victims of terrorism were examples of progress that could be achieved towards that goal.
Agreeing with the view of several delegations at the thirteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group that existing tools were not enough, Ms. Blum said that the drafting of a global convention against terrorism, led by the United Nations, should be a top priority on the agenda of the international community to strengthen joint action against terrorism; discussion on the subject must be continued and intensified.
She said she welcomed the convening of a high-level conference to discuss the convention and stressed the importance of quickly achieving the necessary consensus. Efforts should be concentrated on those elements where there was already convergence, including the categorical rejection of terrorism in all its ramifications. Such a convention was necessary so that some items that were taken as being understood would be officially codified.
RUBAIN ADOUKI ( Congo) said terrorism was a most serious threat against international peace and security. All efforts at all levels to counter terrorist actions were welcome. In the period before the comprehensive convention was finalized and adopted, his country was developing its capabilities to deal with the phenomenon. Financial and legal mechanisms had been created to eliminate money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Those mechanisms operated within a unit that reported to regionally. Despite all the challenges facing the country, international instruments were signed and implemented.
ABOUBACAR IBRAHIM ABANI ( Niger) said his country’s commitment was visible in concrete actions, including the several reports submitted to the 1373 Security Council Committee. Niger was in the process of reforming its penal code and instituting sections that specifically addressed terrorism, with a goal to include in national legislation all elements of international instruments that Niger was party to, regardless of ratification. This included legislation regarding financing and provisions of arms to terrorist groups.
In the refining of an international initiative to understand and respond to terrorism, a clear definition of terrorism and its root causes was essential. Terrorism was born of desperation, despair and poverty. Thus the underlining issues of terrorism needed to be tackled especially in regions where people were easy prey to terrorist networks. He concluded by urging a legal definition to distinguish between terrorist acts and the rights of a people to self-determination.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said illicit drug trafficking was the financial foundation of terrorism and had to be eliminated first. Kazakhstan always supported greater international and regional cooperation to solve the global drug control problem. It believed the United Nations should continue to play a central role in the war against terrorism and called the signing of the Global Counter-terrorism Strategy on September 2006 an historic event. She said the work of the Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force should be more active and made more transparent for Member States as it was integrated into the Secretariat. Kazakhstan believed the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism would provide added value to existing anti-terrorist conventions by filling in the gaps on unregulated issues. A clear definition of terrorism should be included in the draft.
She said Kazakhstan had been successful in preventing the spread of terrorist acts within the country, and helped neutralize the activity of organizations under the control of Al-Qaida, such as the “Islamic Party of Turkistan” and the extremist religious group “Hisb-ut-Tahrir”, prohibited in Kazakhstan. The Government had signed two international documents during the Shanghai Cooperation Summit last June, and Kazakhstan had signed all 13 international conventions against terrorism.
JOHN MUHUMUZA ( Uganda) said terrorism and proliferation were daily realities and together constituted a threat to international peace and security, faced by States and individuals alike. He said the United Nations and regional and subregional groups were the best option for universal action. Uganda played a role in information-sharing in East African regional organizations. The conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism must be addressed. Measures must be put in place to build State capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard.
In particular, he said, support must be extended to the transitional Government of Somalia, to prevent the country from turning into a safe haven for terrorists. Moreover, a stable and well-functioning Somalia would be good not only for the region but for the entire international community that depended on the Indian Ocean trade route. Of additional concern in that regard was the dumping of toxic waste off the Somali coast. That was obviously an environmental hazard, but it also constituted a readily available arsenal of raw materials for terrorist activities. The matter should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
PHOLOGO JIM GAUMAKEWE ( Botswana) said that because of the recent subregional workshops focused on fighting terrorism and its financing, Botswana had made great progress in reinforcing domestic controls, and in implementing Security Council resolutions through national legislative measures. A future workshop providing special training to national criminal justice officials and the National Anti-Terrorism Committee was scheduled to strengthen prosecution power and reporting capabilities.
However, he said, the efforts of the global strategy had not been fully realized. There should be an “end to the duplicity of mandates”. Full implementation would bring the focus back to the bigger task at hand, that of preventing terrorism. Only through agreeing on a common definition of terrorist acts, and on a comprehensive convention, would the global anti-terrorism efforts be successful.
Statement in Exercise of Right of Reply
Cuba’s representative said the United States had again evaded the main issue of the Posada Carriles matter. He was free in the United States, with supervision only for immigration offences. There was an allegation against him for bomb attacks in Cuba, and the United States had all the evidence to prosecute, in addition to also having probable cause. Just yesterday, records had been published in which the FBI and CIA had identified him as the intellectual author of the flight that had brought down the Cuban airliner which had taken off from Venezuela. He was responsible for that terrorist attack and must be prosecuted for that action.
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