|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
116th & 117thMeetings (AM & PM)
With Consensus Resolution, General Assembly Reiterates Unequivocal Condemnation
of Terrorism, Reaffirms Support for 2006 UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy
Assembly President Opens Debate, Challenges Member States to Back Up Repeated
Condemnation of Terrorist Acts by Taking Coordinated Action to Implement Strategy
Reiterating strong and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, “by whomever […] and for whatever purposes” they were committed, the General Assembly today reaffirmed its support for the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and called on the world body’s Member States and entities, along with other international and regional organizations, to step up implementation of the four-year-old initiative.
With the unanimous adoption of a new resolution, the Assembly capped its second biennial review of the Global Strategy’s implementation by reaffirming support for the initiative’s four pillars: tackling the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system in that regard; and ensuring respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
The resolution also reaffirmed the primary responsibility of Member States in implementing the Strategy, which was adopted in 2006 and remains the strategic framework and practical guidance on joint international efforts to counter terrorism. It also recognized further the need to enhance the important role the United Nations, including the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, played, along with other international and regional organizations, in facilitating and promoting coordination and coherence to that end at national, regional and global levels.
Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki had earlier opened the world body’s debate on the subject with a challenge to Member States to back up their repeated condemnation of terrorist acts by taking concerted and coordinated action to implement the Global Strategy. Decisive steps were crucial, especially since the menace of terrorism continued to spread with its serious destabilizing and disruptive consequences felt around the world. “The impact on our societies, the trauma in our daily lives and the setback to social and economic development caused by acts of terrorism is huge and cannot be quantified,” he said.
Deeming that situation an affront to the entire international community, he said the complex challenge of tackling terrorism required a more holistic, better coordinated and effective response. Such a response must be based on an objective analysis of the entire situation concerning terrorism and also take into account its underlying causes. He also reiterated that any kind of discrimination against or selective treatment of individuals on the basis of their religion, race or nationality in the fight against terrorism was unacceptable, as it contravened State obligations under international law.
“I would like to stress the importance of a cooperative approach and strategy to tackle terrorism comprehensively and effectively,” President Treki said, noting that the resolution contained, among others, provisions for enhanced participation and engagement of Member States in the implementation of the Strategy and better interaction between Member States and the Task Force. The text also called for wider dissemination and awareness of the Strategy and encouraged engagement of civil society in the efforts to implement it.
Those calls were echoed by most of the nearly 45 Government delegations and observers taking part in today’s meeting. While speakers agreed that implementing the Global Strategy should be a key focus of national anti-terrorism policies and measures, representatives from strife torn regions in Africa and the Middle East appealed for support from regional partners and for enhanced technical support for coordinating such efforts from the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.
Moctar Oumane, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali, was among those citing the spillover effects of unrest and criminal activity in neighbouring countries or regions. He said that, while the issue of terrorism was very important for all nations, it was so especially for those bordering the Sahara, which was “a situation of concern” due to the ongoing operations of terrorist groups. That vast region, which already struggled to surmount harsh living conditions, had now become home to terrorist groups bent on using the Magreb to traffic drugs, weapons and persons, and to carry out other crimes.
The Governments of the Magreb were faced with adopting strategies that addressed many aims simultaneously: reducing insecurity in their countries, combating terrorism, and ensuring socio-economic development. Beyond Mali’s robust national efforts, it was clear that no country alone could cope with the multifarious nature of terrorism. Mali had, therefore, always sought to secure broad cooperation and coordination with States and authorities in the Magreb, and in line with the aims of the United Nations global anti-terrorism strategy.
As for the international community’s efforts to fight terrorism, he stressed the need to build capacity, particularly logistics and infrastructure, as well as the need to raise awareness, promote intercultural dialogue and strengthen international treaties targeting drug trade and weapons trafficking. He said that such efforts must be carried out in connection with initiatives to bolster socio-economic development.
In a similar vein, Pakistan’s representative said that, due to “an accident of history”, his country was on the frontlines of the global anti-terrorism campaign. Pakistanis, victims of not only terrorism but also of earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, were determined to rid their nation of the scourge of terrorist activity. Indeed, the Government and people cooperated daily with friends and allies to implement the four pillars of the United Nations Strategy. Pakistan had also deployed some 120,000 security forces along its border with Afghanistan and had set up more than 900 border posts to interdict Al-Qaida and Taliban operatives.
Pakistan supported a broad, cooperative and coordinated fight against terrorism, including efforts to address its root causes, such as prolonged and unresolved conflicts, unlawful use of force, foreign occupation, denial of the right of people living under occupation to self-determination, and political injustice. He said that during the first four years of the Strategy’s existence, the international community had come to realize that it would be of little value unless it was transformed into action by an effective implementation mechanism. The Strategy needed to be implemented in a comprehensive manner and all of its pillars must be treated equally. Pakistan was among the many speakers who considered the Strategy a “living document” that must reflect emerging issues and must be updated and revised regularly.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Syria (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference), Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Viet Nam (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations), Canada (also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand), Norway, Algeria, Egypt, Russian Federation, Madagascar, Israel, Colombia, Japan, United States, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, France, El Salvador, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Denmark, Costa Rica, Senegal, Jordan, Spain, Indonesia, Iran, Croatia, Libya, India, Morocco, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Venezuela, Austria, Cuba, Montenegro and Ethiopia.
Speaking as observers were representatives of the Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The General Assembly will reconvene at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, 9 September, to elect a member of the International Court of Justice.
The General Assembly met today to consider the 2006 United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which aims to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism. The strategy is the first common approach to fighting terrorism in all its forms, outlining practical steps to prevent and combat it, which range from strengthening State capacity to combat threats to better coordinating the United Nations system’s counter-terrorism activities. The adoption of the strategy fulfils the commitment made by world leaders at the 2005 World Summit and builds on many elements proposed in the Secretary-General’s 2 May 2006 report, entitled “Uniting against Terrorism: Recommendations for a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy”.
General Assembly President ALI ABDUSSALAM TREKI, of Libya, said the menace of terrorism continued to spread, with its serious, destabilizing consequences felt around the world. “The impact on our societies, the trauma in our daily lives and the setback to social and economic development caused by acts of terrorism is huge and cannot be quantified,” he said. It was a complex challenge that required a more holistic, coordinated and effective international response, based on an objective analysis of the entire situation. It was important to reiterate that any attempt to associate terrorism with any religion, culture or society was totally unacceptable.
That backdrop underscored the importance of the work delegations had undertaken over the last weeks to review the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he said. The draft resolution contained, among other things, provisions for enhanced participation in the implementation of the Strategy, integrated implementation of the strategy’s four pillars, and engagement of civil society.
Most importantly, the text reiterated the Assembly’s strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, he said. It also recognized that any State measures to prevent or combat terrorism must fully comply with their obligations under international law, particularly human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law. With that, he called on all States to “match their repeated condemnation of terrorism by concerted and coordinated action” to implement the strategy. The text’s adoption by consensus would be a further sign of the commitment and political will to collectively address the problem.
MOCTAR OUMANE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali, said the Assembly’s review provided a useful opportunity for his delegation to assert the Government’s commitment to the global fight against terrorism and the need to ensure broad support for commitments to that end. The issue of terrorism was very important for all nations, especially those that bordered the Sahara. That region was “undergoing a situation of concern” due to the ongoing operations of terrorist groups. That vast region, which was characterized by harsh living conditions, had now become home to terrorist groups bent on using the Magreb to traffic drugs, weapons and persons, and carry out other crimes.
The Governments of the Magreb were now faced with adopting broad strategies to reduce insecurity in their countries and to combat terrorism. Such strategies must also support initiatives to spur socio-economic development. Mali, for its part, had just adopted an emergency programme to reduce insecurity and fight terrorism in the north of that country through 2012. That plan aimed to return State administration to that region and provide security to the people living there by enhancing or establishing customs offices and police stations, among others. The Government would also work to bolster grass-roots-level awareness of terrorism and ensure that civil society worked to help the people of the region. He said the implementation of the programme would include building schools and the rehabilitation of infrastructure, which would specifically enhance the movement of the military into sensitive areas.
He went on to say that, beyond Mali’s robust efforts, it was clear that no country could face the multifarious nature of terrorism on its own. That was why Mali had always sought to ensure broad cooperation and coordination with all States and authorities in the Magreb, and in line with the aims of the United Nations global anti-terrorism strategy. He strongly reasserted that, given the cross-boarder nature of the threats countries in his region were facing, the respective Governments must overcome their differences and disagreements to come up with a long-term strategy.
On that point, he outlined the aims of Mali’s broad strategy, including its work with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to counteract the new threats affecting the Sahara region. He added that Mali was also offering its neighbours the right to pursue criminals inside Mali, and it was actively engaging in patrols along common boarders. As for the international community’s efforts to fight terrorism, he stressed the need to build capacity, particularly logistics and infrastructure, as well as the need to raise awareness, promote intercultural dialogue and strengthen international treaties targeting the drug trade. He said that such efforts must be carried out in connection with initiatives to bolster socio-economic development.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said his delegation had actively participated in negotiations of the draft resolution and showed the utmost flexibility to come up with a consensually agreed outcome. While pleased to have a text that enjoyed the support of the general membership, he regretted that some of the Group’s proposals could not find their place in the text, saying that the Group continued to attach the highest importance to its principled position. Reaffirming the Group’s strong condemnation of all acts of terrorism, he reaffirmed that terrorism could not be associated with any religion, nationality, race, faith or culture. “No religion or religious doctrine encourages or inspires acts of terrorism, and thus, none should be portrayed as such,” he said. In a globalized world, there was a need, as never before, for understanding and harmony.
Reiterating support for a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism, he said such a strategy must address the root causes of terrorism, including the unlawful use of force, aggression, foreign occupation, prolonged conflict and denial of the rights of peoples living under foreign occupation to self-determination. He also reaffirmed the distinction between acts of terrorism and people’s exercise of the lawful right to resist foreign occupation, stressing that such a distinction was observed in international law. The General Assembly had a central role in countering terrorism, as the only United Nations body that enjoyed universal membership. As a living document, the strategy should be updated biennially and all aspects of its four pillars should be implemented in a balanced manner.
While responsibility for implementation was first and foremost with States, he recognized the need to identify the duties of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), which must receive policy guidance from the general membership. Activities of United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes involved in the Task Force should not affect their mandates. Transparency must be strengthened in the work of all United Nations counter-terrorism entities. The establishment of appropriate structures and organization of events related to the strategy should be done in a way that promoted consensus.
JAN GRAULS (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, recalled that two years ago the Union had discussed the broad outlines of the Union’s counter-terrorism strategy adopted in 2005. Today, the Union’s delegation was circulating two documents detailing what the Union has done and is doing in combating terrorism. He urged all Member States and relevant United Nations entities to “promote international solidarity” by advocating and supporting the rights and needs of victims of terrorist acts. Doing so, he pointed out, would highlight the consequences of terrorism and contribute to delegitimizing such acts.
Calling for a conclusion to the negations on the comprehensive convention, he noted that international cooperation was fundamental in addressing the transnational nature of terrorist acts. The Union, due to its own experiences with terrorism, had developed a wide range of cooperation policies, both internally and with third States. The Union was prepared to share with other Member States successful strategies and was already working with several Member States in this regard.
The Union, he stated, fully supported the work of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. The institutionalization of the Task Force, and the development of “on the ground” networks, resources and personnel, he believed, would enhance the coordination of the many bodies both within and without the United Nations system. To this end, he underlined the importance of public-private partnerships in implementing the Strategy.
Turning to the Union’s concerns on protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, he welcomed improvement in the Security Council’s Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee’s listing and delisting procedures and the recent appointment of the Ombudsperson by the Secretary-General. He noted, in conclusion that the key strength of the Strategy was its “holistic approach” and that, although Member States bore the principal responsibility in implementing the Strategy, the United Nations system needed to work in a coherent manner. Through mainstreaming counter-terrorism activities into United Nations policies and operations, from human rights to peacekeeping operations, among others, effective counter-terrorism and the promotion and protection of human rights would be “mutually reinforcing” and “not competing goals”.
LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), condemned terrorism in all its forms, supporting the United Nations Global Strategy on Counter-Terrorism in its entirety. He called for that Strategy’s further effective and integrated implementation and welcomed a strong role in that effort for the inter-agency task force to ensure more effective support by the United Nations system to Member States in their implementation efforts.
All ASEAN Member States, he said, had stepped up their individual and collective efforts to combat terrorism and address the root cause and conditions conducive to its spread, while respecting human rights and the rule of law. He enumerated regional initiatives in that regard, such as the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism and the ASEAN Political Security Community Blueprint. He added that ASEAN Member States stressed the need to empower moderate sectors of society and promote inter-faith dialogue. He voiced confidence that Member States would seize the opportunity of the second review to renew their collective determination to fully implement the Global Strategy.
JOHN MCNEE (Canada), speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said those three countries took terrorist threats very seriously and recognized the unique role played by the United Nations in combating them, as it was the only organization with a truly global mandate and which itself had been the target of terrorist attacks. All counter-terrorism efforts must be rooted in respect for human rights, the rule of law and peaceful conflict resolution. The second review provided an opportunity to reaffirm the unequivocal condemnation of all forms of terrorism and a joint commitment to the strategy.
The strategy covered a range of counter-terrorism issues, expressed in four distinct but mutually reinforcing pillars, he said, noting that the focus should be on the integrated implementation, rather than modification, of the strategy. Welcoming the recent institutionalization of the Task Force, he looked forward to seeing it develop its relationship with States through quarterly briefings and reports. Indeed, the Task Force played a unique coordinating role and held great potential to engender more coherence to the United Nations’ counter-terrorism efforts.
That role should remain the focus of its work, he said, as it would not be appropriate for the Task Force to have a separate programming role. It could achieve the greatest results in promoting implementation by working both in New York and in the field. Supporting the draft text, he reiterated unwavering support for the strategy. His delegation would continue its steadfast efforts to enhance domestic counter-terrorism efforts and those at the regional and international levels, including through better cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the UNODC and the Task Force.
CARL P. SALICATH ( Norway) said that an integrated and long-term approach to the fight against terrorism must strike a balance between preventive and combative measures. “If we fail to take a long-term perspective in our fight against terrorists today, we may face new, stronger terrorist groups with greater popular support tomorrow,” he said, adding that the international community also risked undermining its own goals if it did not acknowledge that the fight against terrorism could only be won by making use of a wide range of methods, including political, humanitarian, economic, legal and military means. That was why the Assembly had adopted the Global Strategy, which aimed at a comprehensive approach. Member States must focus on, among other things, the factors that made individuals choose the path of terrorism.
He said that Norway’s work on peace, democratization and development was an important contribution to the overall struggle against terrorism. Respect for democracy, human rights and international law must be a mainstay in the global effort to combat terrorism. He went on to say that the United Nations had a particular responsibility in that fight and it was important to strengthen the world body’s role so that international efforts were endorsed and followed up by all countries. Strengthening the role of the United Nations would also help ensure that the international community’s near- and long-term efforts were as coordinated and integrated as possible. He expressed his Government’s support for the work of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force – charged with coordinating the relevant activities of United Nations bodies – and said that panel had a unique opportunity to promote a balanced approach with regard to implementation of the Strategy, with equal attention paid to the four pillars.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria), aligning with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, reaffirmed his strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Early on, Algeria had recommended a global approach against that scourge and supported the strategy’s adoption. Emphasizing that the strategy remains relevant, he said that, while it was based on four pillars, it must be open to adaptation for the combat of terrorism. Indeed, it must deal with the growing use of tactics like hostage taking, or the exchange of imprisoned terrorists. Combat would become more effective only by staunching terrorist funding and Algeria had urged the African Union to improve international legal provisions to combat terrorism. In turn, the African Union had requested the United Nations to take necessary actions in the Security Council and General Assembly.
Explaining Algeria’s approach to combating terrorism, he said its strategy was based on three guidelines, the first of which involved enhancing national action. Algeria had taken policy steps based on national peace and reconciliation. The terrorist threat came from the Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat (GSPC), which had tried to link itself to the Al-Qaida network. That seriously threatened Algeria and the region. Refuting such ideology was a task for men of culture and religion, the educational system and cultural programmes imbued with truly spiritual aspects. The second axis involved Algerian measures in the subregion, particularly the Sahel, which had seen the traffic of arms and drugs. There was a need for subregional action to remove it as a sanctuary for terrorists. His Government had supported a centre for the study and research of terrorism, under the aegis of the African Union. In the area of multilateral partnerships, Algeria continued to cooperate in the United Nations and wished to ensure stringent adherence to Security Council resolutions. Algeria had also organized a workshop that examined how to combat money-laundering. Bilaterally, Algeria had maintained contact with its traditional partners and institutions, which allowed it to examine issues like transnational terrorism.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) affirmed his support for the United Nations Global Strategy as the general framework for counter-terrorism activities. United Nations counter-terrorism efforts should not be limited to the Security Council and the CTITF needed to develop mechanisms that would include Member States of the General Assembly in such decision-making processes. To this end, he supported the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia to establish a global centre for countering terrorism, which he believed would create a more balanced implementation of counter-terrorism strategies.
He also stated that the Global Strategy needed to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, such as the elimination of foreign occupation and socio-economic marginalization, among others. Such an approach would, he stressed, be consistent with the Secretary-General’s report and with a comprehensive implementation of the four pillars. All acts of terrorism needed to be held as criminal “without applying a selective approach or double standards”, and he urged for the continued promotion of dialogue, tolerance and understanding between “civilizations, cultures and religions”.
ALEXANDER A. PANKIN ( Russian Federation) said his Government was at the forefront of the global combat against terrorism, as well as at the forefront of efforts aimed at enhancing broad cooperation and the role of the United Nations to that end. It viewed the Global strategy as one of the key instruments to counter international terrorism, especially as that Strategy enjoyed the support of all Member States. During the current review, States must ensure that the Strategy was viewed as an important instrument in outlining and coordinating global initiatives against terrorism. The Russian Federation supported joint, committed and effective work within the international effort to combat terrorism and to promote the work of the United Nations in that area.
He went on to highlight the work of the Security Council’s respective counter-terrorism committees and the Assembly’s Counter-Terrorism Task Force. The work of those bodies would promote the Organizations’ effectiveness and enhance dialogue among United Nations agencies and civil society groups in the fight against terrorism. The Task Force specifically would also help coordinate the Organization’s response to terrorist activity. He noted that his delegation had prepared documents ahead of today’s review on Russia’s efforts to combat and prevent terrorism, prevent radicalization of society and counter the use of the media and the Internet for terrorist ends.
Those documents also detailed his Government’s efforts to partner with businesses and civil society to counter terrorism. The Russian Federation also believed that regional organizations played a role in combating terrorism and it had actively cooperated with agencies within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, among others. He believed that the contribution of such organizations to the regional and global fight against terrorism would ensure broader implementation of the United Nations Global Strategy. He said that since the United Nations Global Strategy had been adopted, the President of his country had signed a document that outlined Russia’s approach to the effective implementation of that initiative. Further, the Russian Federation was prepared to share with foreign partners its experience in combating terrorism.
ZINA ANDRIANARIVELO-RAZAFY ( Madagascar) said combating terrorism required action by all States at all levels. The Organization continued to combat terrorism effectively, and he underscored the importance of adopting the various international conventions to that end. While the 2005 Summit Outcome document included commitments for combating terrorism, the unanimous adoption of the Global Strategy in 2006 marked a milestone, as States expressed their determination to defeat terrorism. Praising the efforts of the Task Force to combat terrorism, he also welcomed Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). He also cited the regional seminar of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), among others, which enhanced machine reading of documents, allowing for electronically readable passports. He also cited meetings with regional organizations like the Arab League.
Welcoming the institutional status of the Task Force to counter terrorism, he said Madagascar had been honoured to receive, in 2008, the head of the Task Force, among others, in the context of facilitating the strategy’s integrated implementation. The team also included representatives of the UNODC. “This was a visit of great importance for Madagascar”, given its vulnerability to terrorist action and trafficking of every sort, he said. Reaffirming Madagascar’s commitment to implementing the strategy, he said its resources were inadequate and he requested technical and financial assistance to enhance its capacity. Among its achievements, Madagascar had reformed a legal text, and bills on extradition were ready to be put to parliament. He expressed unreserved support for the draft resolution and recommended that a dialogue be held among States responsible for counter-terrorism nationally, regionally and internationally, to make the strategy more well-known.
HAIM WAXMAN (Israel) said today’s reality was that terrorists, as well as their sponsors, weapons, know-how and ideology, flowed across borders and required a truly global effort to confront that threat. No cause or grievance justified terrorism and Israel supported both the Strategy and resolution 1373 (2001) as a vital framework in confronting terrorism. He also welcomed the Secretary-General’s latest report on the matter. The United Nations offered States an unprecedented number of resources for information sharing. Turning to specific issues, he supported the Task Force, but said it should promote identification of concrete ways for the United Nations to cooperate with States to ensure that obligations were met and capacities were strengthened. The Strategy’s four pillars should be addressed simultaneously, but just as terrorism changed, so too must the strategy, and its implementation must continue to be dynamic, in order to remain relevant.
Increased partnerships among States, as well as regional groups were essential, he said, noting that Israel was committed to being a dedicated partner and had developed knowledge and capabilities in that field, notably through technical cooperation. It sought to share best practices. He endorsed the 2009 initiative to establish a global network of national counter-terrorism coordinators, in close cooperation with United Nations bodies, but said more attention should be given to confronting weapons transfers by States to terrorist organizations, as well as to the financing of terrorists, particularly in the Middle East. State sponsorship of terrorist groups created an unprecedented threat. The international response must be forthright and make clear that such sponsorship was not a sovereign prerogative. He welcomed the report’s attention to radicalization. “Terrorism begins with words and thoughts of hate,” he said, and the global community was obliged to prevent incitement in schools, houses of worship and the media.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said terrorism was a threat to international peace and security and it undermined efforts by States to promote development, democracy, stability and other work of the United Nations. As such, Colombia supported the aims of the Global Strategy, as well as the aims of the core international counter-terrorism instruments. Colombia was also committed to ensuring the protection of its entire territory against terrorism and to ridding it of all elements that trafficked in drugs, weapons and committed other crimes.
She said that Colombia was committed to democracy and development. The Colombian Government had also actively supported the work of United Nations agencies fighting against terrorism. It had likewise accepted the assistance of the UNODC to help with the implementation of relevant national strategies and policies. Colombia was committed to human rights and worked hard to ensure that its police forces and other agents acting under its authority adhered to international human rights norms. The resolution before the Assembly was indicative of the will of all States to combat the common threat of terrorism. The threat of terrorism was linked to many transnational criminal activities and could only be countered if States enhanced support for agreed strategies.
KATSURO NAGAI (Japan) said that, while the international community’s concerted efforts to combat terrorism had yielded positive results, that scourge continued to pose a serious threat, given the emergence of new trends such as radicalization of ordinary citizens, increase in the number of “home grown” terrorists, cyber-terrorism and the use of the Internet to incite terrorist activity. “A continuing and comprehensive effort is called for to meet these challenges,” he continued, stressing that the Global Strategy continued to be a relevant and useful instrument in the international community’s efforts to mount such an approach. That initiative also stressed involving all stakeholders, including the Member States, the United Nations, regional bodies, the private sector and civil society.
The Assembly should take the opportunity of the current review to examine the counter-terrorism efforts and ensure that such actions were coordinated and in line with the principles and measures set out in the Global Strategy. He said Japan was dedicated to combating terrorism at both national and international levels. It had long held the view that, while all States must stand firm in combating and prosecuting terrorists, they must also promote respect for human rights and diversity, democracy and inclusiveness. For its part, Japan had been promoting a culture of dialogue, as well as providing assistance for education needs and support for moderate communities that had shown resilience as regarded the threat of violent radicalism. Japan was also extending cooperation to many countries in areas such as peacebuilding, poverty reduction, good governance and the rule of law and socio-economic infrastructure development. As an example of such support, he highlighted Japan’s recent $5 billion assistance package to Afghanistan, which targeted vocational training and capacity-building for financial and project management initiatives, among others.
SUSAN RICE (United States), noting her country’s unwavering support for the strategy, said the United States was committed to deepening and broadening its engagement with States. The Strategy’s 2006 adoption was the first time all United Nations Member States agreed on a common, comprehensive framework to guide efforts to prevent and combat terrorism — a sign of what the General Assembly was capable of achieving. The United States would permit Al-Qaida no safe haven and would forge partnerships to share intelligence, coordinate law enforcement and protect its people. Each pillar of the strategy was essential and all were reflected in her Government’s new national security strategy. To implement the first pillar, it was important to examine ideology, a key instrument for terrorists in pushing people down the path of violence. More words and deeds were needed to prevent the vulnerable from following that path. Making progress must involve resolving legitimate grievances peacefully, reducing poverty, and improving education, health and basic services.
Her Government would deepen its cooperation with the United Nations, she said, including by expanding support for a centre for the study and research of terrorism, where Governments were considering developing rehabilitation programmes for former terrorists. The United States was committed to implementing the second pillar, including by putting in place legal frameworks to bring terrorists to justice. It would support a 1 to 3 December seminar sponsored by the CTED to bring together national prosecutors to exchange best practices. On capacity-building, the United States would make counter-terrorism training for judiciary members, among others, more far-reaching. As for the fourth pillar, it was clear that respect for human rights and the rule of law was essential, which was why the United States ended practices like enhanced interrogation techniques. The United States looked to the Task Force to stimulate new national and regional implementation efforts and expressed hope that it would make progress in raising awareness of the strategy.
WITOLD SOBKÓW ( Poland) said the United Nations played a central role in the global response to terrorism, while at the same time influencing and strengthening regional and local counter-terrorism efforts. His delegation believed that the discussions on drafting a common United Nations convention on international terrorism would result in finding a common position soon. He went on to say that the unanimous adoption of the Global Strategy in 2006 had been one of the most important and comprehensive steps in conducting coordinated, consistent and integrated counter-terrorism strategies at all levels. The creation of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force had bolstered coordination on relevant activities throughout the Organization and had also helped promote the Strategy’s implementation.
“The further institutionalization of the Task Force in 2009 gives us additional opportunities for improving the effectiveness of counter-terrorism coherence and cooperation,” he continued, stressing that, for its part, since the Strategy’s adoption, Poland had made significant progress in developing its relevant activities. Among others, it had signed and ratified 13 of the 16 anti-terrorism treaties and protocols, and had become more actively involved in developing intercultural and interreligious dialogue that led to enhanced understanding among nations. To that end, Poland had hosted the Ninth Conference of Muslim Youths in July, and it was now working with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to organize a conference, to be held in October, devoted to the situation of Muslim minorities living in Central and Eastern Europe.
He went on to say that, over the past two years, Poland had also developed its institutional capacity for countering terrorism, including through establishment of the Government Security Centre and the Government Crisis Management Team. While Poland had seized the opportunity to enhance its contribution to international anti-terrorist initiatives, all States must step up their efforts to ensure broad implementation of the Global Strategy, including by addressing important challenges such as safeguarding human rights in the fight against terrorism.
JÜRG LINDENMANN (Switzerland) praised the Secretary-General’s report and the work of the Task Force in enhancing coherence within the United Nations in promoting the four pillars of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, work for which his country had provided support during the last few years. It intended to continue its close cooperation with the Task Force, along with providing necessary resources. Having participated actively on the drafting of the new resolution on the implementation the Strategy, he regretted that new proposals made during the first reading had not been reviewed, but welcomed the inclusion of new tools for enhanced interaction between the Task Force and Member States.
He reaffirmed that the Strategy remains the foundation of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism programme and emphasized the inclusion of the four critical pillars. All four pillars should receive equal attention, which should be reflected in the composition of the Task Force and the themes of its working groups. Switzerland, for its part, had worked intensively to implement the Strategy, in cooperation with many other Member States through focal-points meetings and other link-up initiatives. This summer, the country and its partners were proposing a new such initiative to make the Strategy more relevant to needs at the national, subregional and regional levels. Through such initiatives, his country hoped to promote the comparative advantage of the United Nations system in the fight against terrorism, he said. How could the relationship between the United Nations and the regional organizations be further improved? he asked.
ERTUĞRUL APAKAN ( Turkey), aligning with the European Union, said terrorism was a crime against humanity and should not be justified under any circumstances. The fight against it should be comprehensive and multidimensional, and States must work together in harmony. The United Nations had been at the forefront of efforts in advancing that fight, with the General Assembly, in 2006, taking a historic step by unanimously adopting the Strategy. The draft resolution today encompassed important points regarding coherence and coordination within the Organization. The importance of more cooperation among United Nations entities, and the need to strengthen transparency, were salient points. Dialogue between the United Nations and Member States was critical for a more effective implementation.
He went on to say that Turkey was particularly pleased to have references in the draft to due process and the rule of law while countering terrorism. “It is now time to focus on achieving concrete results,” he said, noting that States were obliged to contribute to the full and effective implementation, in an integrated manner and in all its aspects. Welcoming the initiative by the Task Force and Member States to realize projects that promoted awareness of the strategy at the regional level, he said Turkey found such a regional approach very useful and cited Turkey’s decision to contribute to the workshops planned within that initiative. Counter-terrorism should be a “default priority” of the global community, and the General Assembly and Security Council should continue to play a leading role in that regard.
BÉATRICE LE FRAPER DU HELLEN (France) said that, while her delegation aligned itself with the statement made earlier on behalf of the European Union, it would highlight a few other points. Five years after its adoption, the Global Strategy had become the Organization’s key tool in the fight against terrorism. The institutionalization of the Task Force had been another step towards bolstering international coordination in that fight. Still, the Organization could do much more to coordinate its efforts and strengthen its contacts with local and regional authorities.
She complimented the Assembly on being able to reach consensus on the draft resolution before it today. Indeed, it was important for the international community to show a “united front” on all matters concerning terrorism, including nuclear and biological terrorism. She stressed that it was necessary for Member States to rapidly conclude negotiations on a common United Nations anti-terrorism convention. In the meantime, States must enhance cooperation on implementing all pillars of the Strategy.
ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON ( Pakistan) said the threat of terrorism today was both global and local. Due to “an accident of history,” his country was on the frontlines of the global anti-terrorism campaign. Pakistanis, victims of not only terrorism but also of earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, were determined to rid their nation of the scourge of terrorist activity. Indeed, the Government and people cooperated daily with friends and allies to implement the four pillars of the United Nations Strategy. Pakistan had also deployed some 120,000 security forces along its border with Afghanistan and had set up more than 900 border posts to interdict Al-Qaida and Taliban operatives. Pakistan’s cooperation had pre-empted several terrorist plots, and it had captured hundreds of Al-Qaida, including most of its top leadership.
“We have made sacrifices in blood and treasure in the war against terrorism,” he continued, noting that history, geography and now climate anomalies had “pushed us to the wall”. Pakistan had no option but to win the war and make the Counter-Terrorism Strategy a success for the sake of its own people and the world. Pakistan fulfilled its international obligations under the Global Strategy and it had ratified 10 of the 13 United Nations conventions relating to terrorism. He went on to stress his Government’s strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, and its belief that such acts should not be associated with any particular race, faith or ethnicity. No religious tradition or doctrine could be depicted as encouraging or inspiring acts of terrorism.
Pakistan supported a broad, cooperative and coordinated fight against terrorism, including efforts to address its root causes, such as prolonged and unresolved conflicts, unlawful use of force, aggressions, foreign occupation, denial of the right of people living under occupation to self-determination, and political injustice, marginalization and alienation. He went on to say that, during the first four years of the Strategy’s existence, the international community had come to realize that it would be of little value unless it was transformed into action by an effective implementation mechanism. The Strategy needed to be implemented in a comprehensive manner and all of its pillars must be treated equally. Pakistan considered the Strategy a “living document” that must reflect emerging issues and must be updated and revised regularly. Noting the Secretary-General’s current report on the Strategy, he said that the reference to the role of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in revising textbooks with the aim of “removing misinformation or embedded stereotypes” must be viewed carefully in the context of the debate during the original negotiations on the Strategy in 2006.
CLAUDIA MARÍA VALENZUELA DÍAZ ( El Salvador) reiterated her Government’s full support for all United Nations measures taken to fight terrorism, saying that they should be applied in line with the United Nations Charter and international conventions. It also was important to strengthen action between States to enable cooperation among various bodies. The fight against terrorism must be established within a legal framework. As such, promoting the adoption, ratification and entry into force of international treaties was essential to give relevant bodies the tools needed to do their work. It also was essential to have more cooperation.
Reiterating El Salvador’s condemnation for the expression, financing and execution of terrorism, she said her country was party to 15 counter-terrorism instruments in that region. It also was in compliance with reports under Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1373 (2001). Noting that terrorism could go hand-in-hand with drug trafficking and transnational crime, she concluded by saying her Government would continue to implement steps to fight terrorism in all its forms and reiterated its strengthened commitment to that issue.
PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom), aligning with the European Union, said the adoption of today’s resolution reaffirmed the collective commitment to counter the terrorist threat. “We must harness this new impetus to effectively deliver the strategy on the ground where it matters the most,” he stressed. One key area of focus was on capacity-building and it was crucial to prioritize activities in that regard. He urged actively sharing information between States and to use the CTED and Task Force to full effect. The key gaps to target with capacity-building assistance included border control, terrorist financing, criminal justice sector and cultural dialogue. The Task Force was key to facilitating coherence among its members to counter the appeal of violent extremism.
To implement all four pillars of the Strategy, he urged finding new ways to work with a range of new partners. Strengthening global outreach with civil society, non-governmental organizations and the media was also needed, which would go a long way in reassuring others that the United Nations’ work went beyond hard law enforcement efforts. An example of the evolving terrorist threat was the new trend in kidnapping for ransom among the Al-Qaida affiliates. Ransoms could not be excused as a “necessary evil” or seen as part of a legitimate toolkit used to resolve kidnappings. As implementation of Security Council resolution 1904 (2009) might be challenging to some States, the United Kingdom welcomed plans of the 1267 Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee to examine the implications of the sanctions regime as it applied to ransom payments.
SHIN BOO-NAM (Republic of Korea) said his delegation shared the concern that terrorism was a serious threat to international peace and security and, like other speakers, condemned the scourge in all its forms, manifestations, or alleged motives. Over the past four years, the Global Strategy had provided a solid basis for comprehensive and systematic counter-terrorism activities by the international community. An effective approach should address all aspects of terrorism, including strengthening law enforcement and State capacity-building, denying terrorists access to weapons, suppressing terrorist financing, facilitating public-private cooperation and defending human rights.
Turning to the Republic of Korea’s national and international efforts to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, he said that a range of initiatives was being pursued, including to ease socio-economic marginalization and to promote dialogue among civilizations. As for preventing and combating terrorism at home, he highlighted the national Anti-Terror Action Directive, which was his country’s main legal weapon against terrorism. That directive defined the roles and responsibilities of relevant State authorities, and thus enabled Government bodies to adopt specific measures to respond to various types of terrorist activity. Along with building its capacity to counter terrorism, the Republic of Korea had also taken steps to ensure respect for human rights by ensuring its various measures complied with international law.
CARSTEN STAUR (Denmark) aligning himself fully with the statement made by Belgium on behalf of the European Union, said that the review was an occasion to celebrate the landmark Strategy, which united all Member States in a holistic approach to terrorism. The Strategy remained an adequate framework, but it must be pushed forward to make even more of a difference on the ground to allow celebration in forthcoming reviews as well. For that to happen, the walls between the security community and the development community must be torn down, as they were closely interlinked.
For that to happen it was necessary to include counter-terrorism capacity-building as an aspect of development partnerships, even though that was a delicate undertaking. His country’s experience as a donor country showed that it was possible. In that effort, under the aegis of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Denmark participated in organizing a first meeting of the counter-terrorism focal points in the region, which examined linkages between a range of security and development challenges and stressed the need to address them simultaneously.
He said that, in addition, all relevant development units of the United Nations system needed to be included in counter-terrorism, including such bodies as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNESCO, with their work in the field appropriately reflected in relation to the renewal of the mandate of the CTED later this year. In addition, the importance of the commitment of each individual country and of regional organizations was essential, as was adherence to international human rights standards and close cooperation at the highest levels.
EDUARDO ULIBARRI ( Costa Rica), calling terrorism a heinous action against human rights, deeply rejected it or any argument that would idealize it. Expressing his concern at the growing links between terrorist groups and organized crime, he cited money-laundering, drug trafficking and exploitation of persons. The conclusion was clear: networks of growing complexity and magnitude were evolving and the international community must respond in an organized manner. Along similar lines, States must consider what innovations or doctrines were needed. The Strategy’s four pillars were equally important and mutually complementary. Costa Rica firmly believed in multilateralism and human rights protection. It was important to ensure that counter-terrorism measures and those to promote human rights were mutually supportive.
Underscoring the importance of improving transparency in the listing and delisting of individuals and groups associated with Al-Qaida and Taliban on the Consolidated List, established in resolution 1267 (1999), he outlined various steps Costa Rica had taken at national, regional and international levels. An institutional committee against terrorism under the office of Costa Rica’s President had relations with the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations, while, in 2009, a law enhancing counter-terrorism efforts was passed. At the international level, Costa Rica organized workshop of counter-terrorism coordinators. Regionally, Costa Rica had cooperated with the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States. However, the country’s economic weaknesses had reduced its ability to act and he urged the global community to boost cooperation with those nations that did not have enough resources to fight terrorism.
PAUL BADJI (Senegal) welcomed the Assembly’s second biennial review of the Global Strategy as an excellent opportunity for Member States to reaffirm the commitment to act together to counter the threats posed by international terrorism. The scale of the terrorist threat was such that no State could tackle it alone. With that in mind, he said comprehensive and balanced implementation of the Strategy would be a major step in countering and eradicating the scourge. Currently, the Assembly needed to take stock of the status of the initiative’s implementation by Member States, which had the primary responsibility to that end. Senegal hoped the current meeting would enable Member States to agree on key actions to ensure broader implementation.
He said that the progress that had been made thus far could be attributed to actions taken by States in cooperation with regional organizations and non-governmental organizations. Some of those activities had aimed to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue, which were particularly instrumental in erasing the conditions that led to the spread of terrorism. By singing the praises of the ideals of peace and tolerance, the international community could lay the foundations for a world free of hatred and wanton violence. At the same time, it was necessary for all States to evince true commitment to eradicating poverty and ensuing sustainable development for all. Efforts to that end would surely aid in bolstering measures to counter terrorism.
Turning to Senegal’s efforts, he said his Government was committed to eradicating terror by promoting regional cooperation with dynamic and diverse international participation. Senegal played an active role in the efforts of ECOWAS to that end, and it had been an active partner in the Trans-Saharan Partnership against terrorism.
EHAB AYASHI (Jordan) said his country firmly condemned terrorism in all its forms and believed that the scourge must be eradicated through broad cooperation that encompassed international efforts and promotion of the rule of law and human rights. Jordan stressed that all countries were affected by the scourge and believed that every effort should be made to ensure that terrorist activities were not associated with only certain countries or religions.
Jordan had modified its counter-terrorism laws, including those regarding banking, financing and money-laundering, so that they were consonant with international norms. Jordon cooperated with other countries inside and outside its region to stifle terrorist activity. He said his Government urged the broad implementation of the Global Strategy, especially since national efforts alone could not counter the threat of terrorism.
JUAN ANTONIO YÁÑEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain), aligning with the European Union, said the Assembly had taken an historic step in adopting the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, in whose inception Spain had played a prominent role. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report, he said Spain had contributed, along with Turkey, to the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative presented to the Assembly six years ago. As a result of such efforts, the Assembly adopted last November a consensus resolution on the Alliance of Civilizations. Another effort was the promotion of international solidarity to support the victims of terrorism, and his Government had developed an extensive system to provide reparations. It offered to share its experience with other interested States.
Recalling that the protection of victims was contained in today’s resolution, he trusted that the issue would be taken up in future reviews of the strategy. In other areas, he highlighted that Spain had ratified 16 conventions and protocols that, as a whole, constituted the international normative framework for countering terrorism — which itself should lead to the conclusion of a global Counter-Terrorism Convention. In the area of capacity-building, Spain had made contributions to the Task Force and provided financial support to the technical work of the CTED and the UNODC, among other regional organizations and institutions. Respect for human rights and rule of law should be the basis and limits of the State in counter-terrorism efforts. In closing, he said Spain supported active multilateralism in counter-terrorism and the strategy was a valuable instrument to respond to that threat. Its full implementation was essential.
MOHAMAD HERY SARIPUDIN (Indonesia), commending the report, stated that the implementation of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy should ensure recognition of the United Nations Charter principles, especially in regard to sovereign equality of States, territorial integrity and political independence.
Continuing, he said that the four pillars of the Strategy were integral to Indonesia’s national response and holistic framework that could guarantee success against terrorism. He discussed bilateral and regional cooperation against terrorism and also highlighted the success of the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, which was the result of cooperation between Indonesia and Australia. As a regional training centre for law enforcement officers, it had conducted more than 200 courses for over 6000 participants from 45 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
He concluded by urging for consistent, transparent, balanced and comprehensive implementation of all measures of the Strategy, and called for further technical assistance to Member States needing help in capacity-building. With further dialogue among Member States, “international, regional and subregional cooperation” would assist in the implementation of the Strategy. In particular, he believed the institutionalization of the Task Force was a critical step forward against terrorism, because it provided coordination and coherence.
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE (Iran) said it was imperative for all Member States to understand that terrorism could not be eliminated if the environment that bred hatred, violence and chaos — including unlawful use of force, foreign occupation, injustice and exclusion — was allowed to thrive. A holistic approach to countering terrorism therefore required the collective will of all States to develop a culture of peace and tolerance, as well as a commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes. He said, four years on, one might wonder how effectively the Strategy was being implemented. “The facts of the ground are not so encouraging, despite the many efforts taken at the national, regional and global levels to prevent and combat terrorists,” he said, noting that terrorist acts continued to target civilians, particularly in the Middle East region, and more and more innocent people were being killed or injured and then labelled as “collateral damage” in military strikes by occupying forces.
At the same time, certain Powers persisted in propagating a culture of terror and intimidation in pursuit of their own national interests. By doing so, such Powers offered a “bad model” that could be followed by extremists and terrorist groups. “It is almost impossible to overcome terrorism while a culture of terror and intimidation is expanded by certain powers,” he said. He stressed his Government’s strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and practices, including State terrorism. Iran had been a target of terrorism, encouraged by “certain foreign Powers” that regarded terrorism as one of the tools at their disposal to exert pressure on Iran. He also stressed his Government’s general concern at the increase of terrorist acts in the region, mainly brought about or triggered by ongoing conflicts imposed by non-regional powers.
Iran had spared no effort in combating the scourge and stood ready to cooperate with other countries, especially its neighbours and relevant United Nations bodies. To that end, Iran had benefited from the technical assistance of UNODC in combating terrorism and crime through a number of joint projects and workshops. He went on to note that, for decades, Iran had been at the forefront of a full scale war against transnational drug Mafioso, and he urged the international community to pay more attention to the fact that 89 per cent of the world’s total opium was produced in neighbouring Afghanistan. He stressed that terrorism was a “despicable crime” that should be rejected in all its forms and it was imperative for the international community to step up its efforts to promote dialogue and end double standards to eliminate the scourge.
RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia), welcoming the resolution, said it was a solid basis for the strategy’s implementation. Aligning with the European Union, he said that since the last review, Croatia had adopted a national strategy for the prevention and suppression of terrorism, guided by the values enshrined in its Constitution and the United Nations Charter. Under the strategy’s first pillar, Croatia was involved in regional activities with the aim of preventing and suppressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. In December 2008, the Croatian President chaired the Security Council’s debate on Global Security and International Terrorism. His country was also involved in nine peacekeeping missions and looked forward to the increased role of the Peacebuilding Commission. Under the second pillar, Croatia had ratified 14 key international conventions on the suppression of terrorism, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. Domestic legislation had been adjusted, as well, he said, citing amendments to the criminal code in 2008 as new offences had been introduced.
A new International Restrictive Measures Act, adopted in 2008, enabled more efficient implementation of the sanctions regimes adopted within the framework of the United Nations and the European Union, he said. Under the third pillar, Croatia welcomed progress made in the final stage to institutionalize the Task Force. Also, Croatian authorities had cooperated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) by participating in various counter-terrorism conferences. As for the fourth pillar, Croatia had ratified various international treaties and set up domestic measures to ensure the full respect for a human rights- and rule of law-based national criminal justice system. The national strategy for the prevention and suppression of terrorism emphasized that any measures taken to combat terrorism fully comply with Croatia’s obligations under human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.
ABDELRAZAG E. GOUIDER (Libya), calling the Counter-Terrorism Strategy the cornerstone of international efforts, said it was time to implement its four pillars in a balanced manner. Associating himself with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, he said double standards that linked terrorism to any religion, society or ethnic group should be discarded. The second pillar also must be more effective. Payment of ransoms, for example, should be given particular attention at the national and international levels. Political asylum should respect the aims for which that policy was adopted.
He said more efforts also were needed to build State capacity to prevent and combat terrorism, the third pillar, without forgetting measures to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law as a basis for the fight against terrorism. For its part, Libya had taken various measures to implement the strategy and he called on all States to make progress in that regard, with due respect for the United Nations. Highlighting the role of the Task Force, he emphasized the need to enter all international instruments into force and hold a special session of the General Assembly that would have as its result a clear definition of terrorism, particularly to distinguish it from the practice of fighting against occupation.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI ( India), stressing that no belief, justification, political cause or argument could justify terrorist acts, said his Government condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The 2006 adoption of the strategy was a landmark in the fight against terrorism, while the 2009 institutionalization of the Task Force had strengthened United Nations efforts by providing an umbrella under which entities could implement the strategy in a coordinated manner. As the primary responsibility for implementing the strategy lay with States, he hoped that the process to institutionalize the Task Force would help it engage with Member States. The strategy was intended to guide counter-terrorism efforts that the global, regional, subregional and national levels. It must be implemented in an integrated manner and United Nations specialized agencies must ensure that approaches and measures catered to national, regional and international specificities to facilitate technical assistance needs.
For its part, India had put in place policy, strategic, administrative, operational and legal frameworks to implement the strategy, he said, and was willing to share its experience in that regard. Calling the draft resolution an important step forward, he said he was happy to see that it encouraged States to get involved in the work of the Task Force, not merely for receiving quarterly briefings, but in its policy guidance and feedback. The Task Force’s plans to work with a wider audience through development of a website were significant. India looked forward to actively engaging with the Task Force and effectively contributing to United Nations counter-terrorism efforts. He urged working together to finalize and adopt a comprehensive convention to combat terrorism.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said his Government fully condemned all acts of terrorism and was convinced that nothing could justify terrorist acts. Terrorist activity over the past two years had proved that the international community’s fight against the scourge was not over and it was clear that individual actions could not replace committed and collective efforts aimed at tackling the cross-border scourge. At the same time, his delegation rejected attempts to link terrorism with any religious or ethnic group. The United Nations was the appropriate forum in which collective counter-measures could be drawn up, and the current meeting was an opportunity to take a serious look at what had been achieved during the past two years. To that end, he welcomed the discussions that had been held over the past week that had led to the elaboration of the resolution currently before the Assembly. Morocco believed that those discussions, which had involved many stakeholders, fulfilled one of the original aims of the Strategy.
He went on to say that Morocco had ensured that its national approach to countering terrorism had reflected the aims of the United Nations Global Strategy and its four pillars. Yet, such national action would not be enough and must be carried out in conjunction with regional and international initiatives to tackle transnational criminal activity. To that end, he expressed his Government’s concern with ongoing criminal activity in the Magreb and Sahel region. Efforts to address that activity must be accompanied by strategies to promote socio-economic development in those areas.
ANDREJ SLAPNIČAR, Deputy Head of the Security Policy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, aligning with the European Union, strongly condemned terrorism in any form and expressed solidarity with all the victims and countries that were suffering from that scourge. The United Nations was the main forum for action against terrorism, and while implementation of the strategy had gained pace around the world, much more must be done. A comprehensive, balanced approach among all four pillars and sustained implementation was crucial. He agreed that regular reviews were necessary and a two-year interval seemed a right approach. While the main duty to implement the strategy lay with States, Slovenia fully supported the Task Force to ensure United Nations system-wide coherence of action. The strategy and its implementation should be viewed through the prism of regular reporting to the Security Council counter-terrorism bodies to avoid duplication and so-called “reporting fatigue”.
Noting that Slovenia was party to 14 of 16 United Nations Conventions and Protocols, he said in 2009, Slovenia ratified the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. It also had ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism and, this past spring, the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism.
Discussing the strategy’s first pillar, he urged continued focus on the promotion of and respect for human rights, rule of law and good governance. On the second and third pillars, he said national efforts to combat terrorism should be complemented by international cooperation, a long-term effort that would add value. The Parliament had approved a new national security strategy this past spring, but also needed to enhance cooperation between law enforcement and judicial authorities, which was not always easy to achieve. It was important that all States build their national capacity in the areas of prevention of illicit trafficking and physical protection and control of nuclear and radioactive materials, among others. Under the fourth pillar, he said any measures undertaken must comply with Slovenia’s obligations under international law. Effective action against terrorism and protecting human rights were complementary goals.
A. D. INOKA SIRIWARDANA (Sri Lanka) said that as a country that had only recently emerged from a brutal terrorist conflict, Sri Lanka took considerable interest in the United Nations Global Strategy. During those long, dark years, her country had been encouraged by all measures employed by the international community to combat terrorism. Although Sri Lanka had succeeded in eliminating the threat of domestic terrorism, it remained vigilant about the possibility of the phenomenon rearing its ugly head again via international means. In that context, she welcomed the Strategy’s emphasis of further enhancing the United Nations capabilities to deal with terrorism and of strengthening Member States’ abilities to counter the threat.
She went on to stress that terrorism could only be defeated effectively through international cooperation and pragmatic action. To that end, Sri Lanka endorsed the call on all member States to become party to all existing relevant counter-terrorism international treaties and instruments. Member States should also make every effort to conclude negotiations on a comprehensive international convention against terrorism. She took the opportunity to urge the international community to be wary that some terrorist groups often sought to achieve their gaols surreptitiously, or by attempting to circumvent global legal instruments. Indeed, the group that had been defeated in Sri Lanka was now waging “a massive international media campaign” and had gained some acceptance among important global entities. “We feel that it is incumbent on all of us who object to terrorism to ensure that our acts do not contribute to encouraging terrorism either directly or indirectly,” she said.
HAMIDON ALI (Malaysia), while observing that the successful conclusion of the draft resolution was due to the efforts of the facilitator, the Representative of Bangladesh, expressed his unease on “glaringly factual mistakes” in the report, which did not represent the past efforts of Member States in reviewing the Strategy. He also noted “incorrect” language in the report on the Task Force’s purpose and he reiterated that the purpose of institutionalizing the Task Force was to make it part of the Secretariat, and that Member States not become subservient to the Task Force.
Continuing, he pointed out that, when the Strategy was adopted in 2006 through resolution 60/288, a clause had been added to ensure that Member States have a review process every two years so that the Strategy could respond to changes and be updated accordingly. Noting the success terrorist entities had in utilizing current technology, he called for a timeline for updating the Strategy so that the Strategy’s efforts could adapt to a changing world. “We should not tie ourselves to a dead-letter document merely to avoid difficult discussions,” he stated.
He stated that all possible solutions that cause terrorism needed to be explored and that the Task Force provided a “much-needed” role coordinating the implementation of the Strategy and being the one entity linking all counter-terrorism activities of the Organization and other bodies. However, in order to ensure cost-effectiveness, he cautioned against the Task Force duplicating efforts already being carried out by other entities on the ground. He said, in conclusion, that terrorism was an evolving matter of great resilience and adaptability, and that Member States’ challenge was not just in addressing terrorist activities, but ensuring solutions that kept within the rule of law through a continued commitment to cooperation and dialogue.
JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO (Venezuela) reaffirmed that the fight against terrorism must be conducted through multilateralism on the basis of respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal State affairs. Venezuela had been strictly fulfilling all its obligations as a State party to various international legal instruments. It was party to the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism and the Convention of the Organization of American States on the Prevention and Suppression of Acts of Terrorism, as well as several international instruments. In the context of international efforts to prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups, a draft law was developed to facilitate the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). Venezuela was considering the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, with a view to possible membership.
In Venezuela, the Act approving the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident had been passed. As for international standards, Venezuela was Party to the Financial Action Task Force of the Caribbean, which had agreed to common practical measures to respond to money laundering. The country had complied with applicable provisions concerning mutual legal assistance and extradition of any person involved in the planning, preparation, financing or commission of terrorist acts. It was of concern that confessed terrorists were being protected, including Cuban-Venezuelan Luis Posada Carriles, responsible for the bombing of a “Cubana de Aviación” flight, which killed 73 people near the coast of Barbados. The refusal to extradite or try him for terrorist acts was highly worrisome.
CHRISTIAN EBNER (Austria), aligning with the European Union, strongly supported the strategy, saying its success depended entirely on its implementation by States through concrete measures. Austria had taken several initiatives to advance knowledge about the strategy, including in May 2007, when the Government and the Task Force, among others, organized the Vienna Terrorism Symposium. In 2009, Austria co-organized and hosted the global workshop of National Counter-Terrorism Focal Points in Vienna, which, for the first time, brought together coordinators of more than 100 Member States. Austria strongly supported the Task Force and recalled its mandate to ensure overall coordination in the United Nations counter-terrorism efforts.
In that context, he expressed hope that the Task Force Secretariat would soon become fully operational, and urged it to interact more regularly with States by organizing briefings about its work. Respect for the rule of law was a fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism and any measures taken to combat terrorism must comply with Austria’s obligation under human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law. Strongly supporting the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which helped States develop their capacity to implement the strategy, he said Austria was among the largest contributors to the its Terrorism Prevention Branch. Moreover, Austria had ratified and implemented all 16 universal counter-terrorism instruments. As chair of the Security Council’s Al Qaeda/Taliban Sanctions Committee, Austria had worked to enhance due process and “fair and clear” procedures. Looking ahead, he said: “We must leave all our disputes and distrust behind and unite our strengths”.
PEDRO NÚÑEZ MOSQUERA (Cuba) said that State terrorism was one of the most abhorrent forms of the scourge and measures to eliminate it must be based on the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. In no way should the international community tolerate selectivity, unilateral sanctions or the drawing up of selective lists that served national purposes. Cuba had never, and would never, allow the use of its territory for the planning of terrorist acts against another State. Cuba had been among the first States to support the relevant international treaties and instruments against terrorism. It had, likewise, adopted national measures to combat the scourge and cooperated actively with the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee.
As that was the case, Cuba resolutely rejected the “spurious” and politically motivated list compiled by the United States every year of countries supposedly harbouring terrorists. That country lacked any moral authority to compile such lists, especially since it was providing safe haven in Miami for groups and notorious individuals planning and financing terrorist acts against Cuba. Terrorism must be rejected no matter what the circumstances. Selectivity and “the covetous longing to take over territories to fulfil the insatiable desires of those that had long been more powerful” must come to an end. With that in mind, Cuba soundly rejected selectivity in implementation of international norms and interference in matters of national sovereignty.
MILORAD ŠĆEPANOVIĆ (Montenegro), noting that Montenegro continued to develop and implement national policy to combat terrorism and terrorism financing, stressed that to successfully tackle these issues, international cooperation was necessary. To that end, Montenegro was State party to all relevant multilateral and bilateral conventions and arrangements.
Turning to strategies to prevent terrorism, he pointed out that the Strategy for the Judiciary Reform 2007-2012 included fighting terrorism as one of its primary goals, among others, and that effective legal prosecution and the strengthening of judicial institutions would aid in this process. He urged for the conclusion of negotiations on the comprehensive convention and affirmed his country’s commitment to the efforts of the United Nations and the international community in combating terrorism.
AMAN HASSEN BAME (Ethiopia) said his delegation believed that the adoption in 2006 of the Strategy had signalled a paradigm shift in the international community’s efforts to counter terrorism, especially since it promoted an approach that combined traditional concerns with the need to protect human rights. He said that Africa continued to be the region hit hardest by ongoing terrorist activity, with some 266 recorded acts taking the lives of more than 6,000 people last year alone. Ethiopia’s Government had been on the front lines of the struggle against the scourge for years. The “anarchy” in Somalia, the “belligerent nature of Eritrea”, the changing regional political dynamics and the symbiosis between negative regional and domestic forces had contributed to the expansion of that terrorist network.
Ethiopia had become a target of international and domestic terrorists and had “paid dearly”, as hundreds of its people had been killed, thousands had been maimed, and millions of dollars in property and infrastructure had been destroyed in its struggle. With all that in mind, he said that Ethiopia believed that it was essential to comprehensively implement the Strategy’s four pillars, and it placed special emphasis on promoting tolerance and dialogues between people of different religions. At the national level, Ethiopia’s Parliament had put in place appropriate legislative mechanisms that incorporated procedures to prevent, control and foil terrorism, in line with the aims of the Global Strategy. He also noted that Ethiopia had been cooperating with other Governments in the battle against terrorism, especially those in the Horn of Africa. At the same time, he stressed the important role that must be played by the Task Force in providing technical support to those States wishing to strengthen their implementation of the Strategy. He also noted the ongoing serious situation posed by the activity of Al-Shabaab. That group’s continued attacks on civilians and Government authorities in Somalia was becoming more and more dangerous to regional and international peace and security.
MARTA REQUENA, Head of Public International Law and Anti-Terrorism Division, Council of Europe, gave an overview of the Council’s efforts and contribution to the implementation of the Strategy. In efforts to weaken conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, she spoke of the Council’s involvement in education, youth and the media, which contributed to fighting intolerance and protecting the rights of minorities. A Council’s White Paper on inter-cultural dialogue was currently being implemented, as well as the intercultural Cities project where the Council tested a model of migrant/minority integration at the local level.
The Council, she said, had also prepared recommendations on special investigation techniques and travel identity documents in the fight against terrorism, protection of witnesses, and collaborators with Interpol, among others. Furthermore, she continued, the Committee of Experts on Terrorism of the Council of Europe (CODEXTER), the core of the Council’s counter-terrorism activities, monitored the existing instruments, identified gaps in international law and proposed solutions.
Through all its programmes and initiatives, she stated the Council’s commitment to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis in its fight against terrorism. Concluding her remarks, she said that a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach was necessary to address terrorism. The Council of Europe would, through its expertise and knowledge of regional threat perception and field presence, continue to serve the United Nations in enhancing the impact of the Strategy.
RAPHAEL PERL, Head of Anti-terrorism Issues of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said that his organization, the largest regional security organization in the world, was actively integrating the United Nations Strategy into its work. The OSCE’s comprehensive security strategy, he added, encompassed political/military, economic/environmental and human-centred dimensions. The OSCE carried out its counter-terrorism programme in close co-operation with the United Nations Task Force, with a role that was underscored in recent reports of the Secretary-General.
He stressed that regional organizations were a powerful force multiplier in implementing the United Nations at all levels of partnership. Their advantages include in-depth knowledge of the situation on the ground in specific regions, and field presence, such as that provided by the 18 OSCE field offices in South Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Through its activities, OSCE helps free up the counter-terrorism resources of other international organizations, enabling them to target resources in areas that do not overlap with — but instead extend beyond — the OSCE sphere of responsibility.
Terrorism, unfortunately, had become a self-sustaining process and eradicating it might take decades or even generations. Necessary long-term measures required cooperation and diplomacy, which in turn required multilateral trust. Regional organizations provided a forum for the building for such trust. It was important to weigh “draconian” reactions to terrorism carefully, he commented, since no measures could protect everyone everywhere. What was clear was that the world must coordinate closely together on the scourge. Further reinforcing the mechanisms within the United Nations framework to coordinate the activities of regional organizations and strengthening the Task Force would greatly enhance the effectiveness of joint efforts.
Action on draft
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking in his capacity as Facilitator of the draft resolution, said counter-terrorism was among the most important and difficult of the United Nations activities. He realized the intricacies of the issues at hand and, in his work, was guided by the need for consensus. Without a constructive approach, the gap between national, regional and international views would not have been settled. Indeed, terrorism, in its magnitude and diversity, was among the great global challenges, affecting security, legal structures, intercultural harmony and international travel alike. The strategy envisaged measures aimed at strengthening United Nations efforts, as well as protecting human rights and the rule of law. Only through its effective, integrated implementation would terrorism be defeated. The second review provided an opportunity to identify shortcomings and ways to plug the gaps.
As for the draft resolution, it reflected the original 2006 resolution and the strategy’s first review, in 2008. It also enjoyed cross-regional support. “I can assure you, we left no stone unturned” to achieve consensus, he said. The text recognized that international cooperation and any measures to combat terrorism must fully comply with international law, including the United Nations Charter and relevant conventions and protocols. It welcomed progress towards finalizing the institutionalization of the Task Force, underscored the need to enhance dialogue and called for enhanced engagement in the work of the Task Force. With its focus on implementation, the resolution would lead to a stronger Task Force able to promote counter-terrorism methods in a more coordinated manner. The consensus adoption of the text would cement the process started in 2006.
The General Assembly then adopted by consensus the resolution on The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (document A/64/L.69).
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