|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Hails Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation
as Recognition that States ‘Are All in this Fight Together’
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, in New York on 19 September:
Having just observed the anniversary of 9/11, we can say one thing with certainty: the threat of terrorism has not gone away. In the past decade alone, horrific images from around the world have been seared into our memory.
But any litany of attacks tells just one side of the story, the side in which we are perpetually victimized, the side in which we are seen only on defence. Consider instead what we here in this room know to be the full picture.
In recent years especially, we have been writing a different story, a story of collective resolve. In the 2005 World Summit Declaration, world leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms, committed by whomever, wherever, for whatever purposes, the first such high-level consensus.
Another breakthrough came one year later with the unanimous adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Strategy recognizes that terrorism cannot be combated only through security-related or law-enforcement means. Effective counter-terrorism requires a combination of social, educational, economic and political tools that target those factors that make the terrorist option appear attractive.
The Strategy also recognizes that human rights are an intrinsic part of the fight against terror, not an acceptable casualty of war. Security and human rights are not irreconcilable ends of a spectrum, but entirely complementary. The prohibition on torture, fair trials, respect for fundamental freedoms — these are cherished values of human civilization that must not be compromised.
The United Nations system has come together — 31 entities working as a Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force — to give practical meaning to the Strategy in all key areas, including police cooperation, institutional capacity, financing and training. Both the General Assembly and the Security Council have ratcheted up their efforts, with multilateral action of a kind unheard of only 10 years ago.
And while the spotlight on attacks may fade, survivors live on. All too often in an attack’s aftermath, attention is placed mainly on the “what”, “how” and “why”, and not so much on the “who”. That is why we have given victims a platform and initiated a dialogue on how best to support their needs. This effort included the first-ever symposium three years ago that brought many victims together. Their voice is powerful, as can be seen in the riveting documentary, Killing in the Name, which they set in motion and which was nominated for an Academy Award last year.
Today’s meeting, the first with Heads of State and Government as well as ministers, continues the momentum. I am pleased to announce that the United Nations has signed an agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the creation of a United Nations Centre for Counter-Terrorism.
We are placing a growing emphasis on supporting regional and subregional efforts. We welcome the upcoming Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. We must also reinvigorate our efforts to conclude the Comprehensive Convention against Terrorism.
Four months ago, I visited UN House in Abuja, Nigeria. I saw the life-saving work being carried out there. The attack on our presence in Nigeria, like previous assaults on the United Nations, targeted not only our physical premises, but our values and global missions of peace.
What I see here today is a recognition that we are all in this fight together. What I see here today is the start of a new era in counter-terrorism cooperation. States recognize that they cannot go it alone.
Let us, together, explore how to deepen our engagement. Let us chart a course that reflects our determination to defeat terrorism and build a safer, more just and peaceful world for all.
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