|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
120th Meeting (AM)
General Assembly Renews Commitment to Strengthening 2006 Global Counter-terrorism
Strategy, Calls for Stepped Up, Integrated Implementation by Member States
Stresses Need for Solidarity with Victims, as Biennial Review Concludes;
Also, Assembly President Makes Solemn Appeal for Observance of Olympic Truce
Culminating its third biennial review of the 2006 United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the General Assembly today unanimously adopted a resolution renewing its unwavering commitment to strengthening international cooperation to prevent and combat all forms of the scourge, and emphasizing the need to promote worldwide solidarity in support of the victims of terrorist acts.
By the wide-ranging text, the Assembly concluded a two-day debate with a strong condemnation of terrorism and a reaffirmation of the Global Strategy. It called on Member States, the United Nations and other appropriate international, regional and subregional organizations to step up their efforts to implement the framework in an integrated and balanced manner. That language echoed Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, who yesterday told the 193-member body that “only through strong political will, and by implementation and delivery, can we realize our hopes of a world free of terrorism”. (See Press Release GA/11259)
To that end, the Assembly “recognized the importance of redoubling efforts for an even attention and implementation of all pillars of the Strategy”, which are: tackling the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating the scourge; building States’ capacity to that end and to strengthen the role of the United Nations system; and ensuring respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
While reaffirming that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group, the Assembly emphasized that tolerance and dialogue among civilizations and the enhancement of interfaith and intercultural understanding are among the most important elements in promoting cooperation and success in combating terrorism, and welcomed various initiatives to that end.
By other terms of the resolution, the Assembly expressed concern at the increasing use by perpetrators of terrorist acts of new information and communication technologies. It also expressed concern at the increase in incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking with the aim of raising funds or gaining political concessions. To that end, it recognized the need to continue measures aimed at preventing and suppressing the financing of terrorism, and encouraged United Nations entities to cooperate with Member States on providing assistance, in particular to implement respective obligations to prevent such financing.
Recognizing the role that victims of terrorism could play, including in countering the appeal of terrorism, the Assembly emphasized the need to promote international solidarity in support of such victims and to ensure that they were treated with dignity and respect. It also recognized the work of United Nations bodies and other organizations aimed at the support, recognition and protection of the rights of victims and urged those entities to step up their efforts to provide, upon request, technical assistance for building the capacity of Member States to develop and implement programmes of assistance and support for victims of terrorism.
In other action today, Assembly president Al-Nasser read out a solemn appeal on the observance of the Olympic Truce (document A/66/862). He said the ancient Greek tradition of the ekecheira, or “Olympic Truce”, born in the eighth century B.C., served as a hallowed principle of the Olympic Games. In 1992, the International Olympic Committee had renewed that tradition by calling upon all nations to observe the Truce.
He said that in October 1993, the Assembly had urged Member States to observe the truce from the seventh day before and through to the seventh day following the closing of each Olympic games. That call had been reiterated in the landmark Millennium Declaration. In the outcome of the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit, world leaders had emphasized that “sport can foster peace and development” and had encouraged the Assembly to foster a dialogue and agreed on proposals for a plan of action on sport and development. A plenary debate on the topic had shortly followed that call.
He also recalled that on 17 October 2011, the Assembly adopted resolution 66/5, which had urged Member States to observe, within the framework of the Charter, the Olympic Truce, individually and collectively, throughout the period beginning with the start of the Games of the XXX Olympiad, on 27 July, and ending with the close of the XIV Paralympic Games, on 9 September, both to be held in London, United Kingdom. (See Press Release GA/11158)
“As President of the General Assembly at its sixty-sixth session, I solemnly appeal to all Member States to demonstrate their commitment to the Olympic Truce for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Mr. Al-Nasser, urging Member States to undertake concrete actions at the local, national, regional and world levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace and harmony based on the spirit of the Truce.
“Referring to the original tradition of the Olympic Truce practiced in ancient times, as described in resolution 66/5, I also call upon all warring parties of current armed conflicts around the world to boldly agree to true mutual ceasefires for the duration of the Olympic Truce, thus providing an opportunity to settle disputes peacefully,” he declared.
Speaking during the conclusion of the Assembly’s third review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy were representatives of Nigeria, Serbia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, France, Tunisia, Chile, Iraq, Philippines, Algeria, Montenegro, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Benin.
The representatives of the observer delegations of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also spoke.
The General Assembly met this morning to conclude its debate on the 2006 United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism strategy and adopt a related resolution.
EMMANUEL OKAFOR (Nigeria) joined other delegates in supporting international counter-terrorism initiatives, as well as the implementation of all recommendations decided within the overall framework of the United Nations Strategy’s four pillars, but stressed the importance of avoiding duplication whenever new “mechanisms” were deemed necessary. It was also important to ensure that those mechanisms worked together with the United Nations and its Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force to facilitate and promote coordination and coherence, in order to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms. Over the past few months, Nigeria had faced an upsurge of terrorism acts in the northern part of the country, he said. Rather than being intimidated by those terrorists acts, his Government was resolved to develop national strategies and above all collaborate more closely with the international community.
In that regard, Nigeria’s response had been swift and determined, she said. It had developed new national strategies and intensified collaboration with the international community in addressing the threat. Nigeria had also undertaken measures to strengthen its law enforcement capabilities, the legal and regulatory infrastructure and the enhancement of its strategic partnerships. It was pertinent to note that, in January this year, Nigeria and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) launched the Integrated Assistance on Countering Terrorism (I-ACT). The CTITF also facilitated a training workshop on “Suicide Attacks and Preventive Strategies” under the project “Stabilization and Counter-Terrorism Capacity-Building in Nigeria” this month. And Nigeria had indicated an interest in hosting the launch of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the West Africa subregion later this year. At the national level, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan signed into law on 3 June, 2011, a terrorism prevention bill and a money-laundering prohibition bill and the Government was further strengthening those by incorporating global best practices.
ZDRAVKO TUVIĆ (Serbia) aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said that the Secretary-General’s report on implementation of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy had not included much of the progress his country had made in strengthening national capacity, legislation and training local stakeholders to implement standards. The guidelines contained in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy were of paramount importance to the country, especially those sections that referred to strengthening international cooperation.
In fact, he said, the final stage was nearing in preparation for the start of a joint project with the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) aimed at strengthening the counter-terrorism legal regime, tightening inter-agency cooperation and providing an example of good practice that could be used by others. In addition, last year, Serbia co-hosted a workshop on countering terrorist financing and it adopted, in April of this year, a National Action Plan for implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 on weapons of mass destruction. A draft law that would create a mechanism to freeze the assets of persons and entities designated by the Council in relation to terrorism was being considered and was the subject of much public debate.
TALAIBEK KYDYROV ( Kyrgyzstan) said his country was improving legislation aimed at eliminating the conditions and causes that promoted terrorist and extremist organizations, as well as countering the ideology of those groups. Laws on counteracting extremist activities, combating terrorism, and combating terrorism financing had been passed. The criminal code also had been tightened vis-à-vis activities aimed at inciting national, racial, religious or inter-regional strife. Kyrgyzstan had joined 10 of the 12 United Nations conventions to combat international terrorism and was seriously considering joining the rest.
Strengthening the capacity of authorities to combat terrorism was important, he said, noting that, in 2010, Kyrgyzstan had created a State office of financial intelligence to counter terrorist financing and money laundering. In 2011, an anti-terrorist centre under the State Committee of National Security was created. Regional stability and security were crucial and Kyrgyzstan supported enhanced regional cooperation. In that context, it was important to interact with the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia. He also cited the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Programme of Cooperation, approved in June 2012, to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism for the 2013-2015 period.
YURY NIKOLAICHIK ( Belarus) said that terrorism remained a threat to the international community, and it must be addressed through mechanisms, such as the United Nations Global Strategy, in a comprehensive manner. A timely delivery of responses was important. Transnational organized crime required coordinated efforts and interactions among various stakeholders. Strengthening national capacity should receive greater attention in the fight against terrorism, given the ongoing threat. In that regard, securing national borders was crucial. His country’s expenditures in that area was on the rise. It was also important that nations in the region mutually cooperate.
He also called for a speedy conclusion to the negotiation on the Convention on International Terrorism and said his Government would show maximum flexibility to support that conclusion. Stepping up an exchange of experiences among nations was critical in combating terrorism, including chemical and biological terrorism, as well as financing terrorism. In conclusion, he said, “no country has immunity against terrorism”, stressing the importance of mutual cooperation at the bilateral, subregional and regional levels.
ALEXANDRE GARCIA( France) said that the terrorist threat was evolving and it was essential for the international community to take a stronger and more comprehensive stance against the scourge. Stakeholders must strive for consistency of efforts among all entities and States. In addition, capacity-building was key, especially for weaker States, to ensure that all nations could effectively combat terrorism. It was also necessary to carry out all activities in strict compliance with international human rights law and to always take into account the needs and voices of victims of terrorism. The United Nations must ensure that there was no duplication of its work in that area and France hoped the Counter-Terrorism Centre could carry out its work effectively. France also hoped Member States would seriously consider the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a coordinator for the Organization’s counter-terrorism measures.
NEJMEDDINE LAKHAL ( Tunisia) said that his delegation welcomed the Assembly’s review of the Global Strategy and would use the opportunity to reaffirm its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms. Tunisia had adopted a number of laws to strengthen its combat against terrorism, corruption and other organized criminal activity. Understanding that terrorism was transboundary in nature, Tunisia had also acceded to the major anti-terrorism treaties, as well as to regional mechanisms aimed at combating the scourge. The combat against terrorism should include a broad coalition of international agencies, civil society actors and the media.
Those actors must adhere to human rights and must simultaneously do all they could to end economic and political inequality and promote sustainable development. He urged the Assembly to remain aware of ongoing instances of State terrorism, which was a scourge that must be addressed. Indeed, one had only to look at the situation of the Palestinian people who suffered immensely under Israeli occupation. Indeed, those people continued to be repressed and forced off their lands, and their situation was one of the clearest examples of State terrorism.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ ( Chile) said the Global Strategy was the international community’s expression of political will to jointly tackle the scourge of terrorism and to place the United Nations squarely at the centre of efforts to coordinate that fight. Indeed, the role of the United Nations, especially the Assembly, must be strengthened to ensure that the core anti-terrorism treaties were effectively implemented and that the tenets of all four pillars of the Global Strategy were respected. However, the terrorist threat was evolving and there was a need for Member States to address emerging issues to ensure the combat against the scourge remained comprehensive and coherent.
As for the situation in his country, he said the Chilean Government had brought together a host of agencies to work towards a coherent response. The aim was to establish a strategy to anticipate and prevent a terrorist attack, and in that effort, keeping track of the flow of information was vital. At the regional level, Chile participated in the work of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism, through, among others, workshops and seminars on bio-terrorism, and other emerging issues. A report for that particular meeting would be compiled and issued to assist States in the region with national action plans. He went on to say that coordinated action was vital to stopping terrorism, but as the scourge had taken on many diverse forms, there was also a need to address the factors that allowed it to breed, including racial discrimination, political oppression and economic inequality. Finally, he noted the merit of creating a coordinator for the Organization’s counter-terrorism activities and hoped that discussions on the matter would continue until a final decision was taken.
Mr. AL-AWADY (Iraq) said his Government believed in the necessity of fighting terrorism. “Everyone is aware of the suffering of Iraq in 2003,” he said. Iraq made all efforts against it, such as abolishing any institutions that glorified terrorism and prepared such acts. Iraq was committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms and Iraq would not serve as a breeding ground for terrorism. Iraq was seeking to implement United Nations resolutions and participated in counter-terrorism conferences and workshops. It was important to avoid associating terrorism with a particular religion and culture. “Peaceful coexistence cannot be achieved only by law,” he said. It could not be achieved without respect for human rights, democracy and political participation.
Iraq had successfully put together a global counter-terrorism strategy at the national level, which covered various aspects, such as legal, economic, educational, military areas, he said. Iraq’s constitution called for religious freedom. Iraq expressed its willingness to implement all articles of the Security Council resolution 66/24. The Government made it illegal to arrest people without an arrest warrant, in line with respect for human rights. Iraq had also ratified all human rights conventions, including the 1984 convention on torture. It had ratified the international convention on forcible disappearances in 2010 and had joined the Arab League charter on counter-terrorism.
LIBRAN N. CABACTULAN (Philippines) joined other delegates in renewing commitment to fighting terrorism under the 2006 United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and expressed appreciation for the Secretary-General’s report on its implementation. For his Government, one of the most important elements was intercultural dialogue. Establishing an effective criminal justice system was also important. Just recently, in the spirit of good governance, the country’s President signed two new laws, one for combating money laundering and the other for combating terrorism financing. The latter defined what constituted terrorism financing and penalized violators. The Philippines was building national capacity through such measures as training programs and workshops. Manila recently hosted a workshop to provide know-how in the areas of developing training materials and trainers, gathering intelligence and analyzing it, prosecuting and communicating. He also called for the peaceful use of nuclear energy and said that nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction should never be allowed to fall in the hands of terrorists. His Government had cooperated within the framework of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), joining a regional convention on counter-terrorism. Sharing best experiences was also important. “We must remain vigilant,” he said.
KAMEL REZZAG BARA( Algeria) said that terrorism recognized neither countries nor religions and, therefore, could not be linked to any specific culture or civilization. Algeria supported the Global Strategy and hoped that the Assembly’s ongoing biennial reviews continued to ensure that the framework remained up-to-date and comprehensive. At the same time, it was vitally important to promote action on all four pillars of the Strategy and to boost international cooperation to ensure that they were fully implemented. He welcomed the creation of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre and looked forward to ongoing consultations on creating the post of counter-terrorism coordinator, which would be essential to ensuring the smooth implementation of the Organization’s efforts in the area.
Turning to the situation in his country, he said the 2005 National Peace and Reconciliation Charter was the basis for rallying the general populace behind anti-terrorist activities. The Algerian strategy included education and culture programmes based on human rights and the promotion of tolerance. Civil society had played an important role in the overall effort to isolate extremist groups and curb their activities. The policy had also taken on a very important dimension, as it sought to strengthen cooperation with countries in the region. Algeria stressed the need for a coordinated approach with those countries through enhanced security measures, while respecting State sovereignty. There had been an up tic in such activities in the Sahel, driven by the increased availability of illegal weapons there. Algeria believed that the regional effort must tackle all aspects of the scourge, including through cutting off funding for groups that were carrying out kidnapping for ransom. Finally, he hoped that the resolution to be adopted at the end of the meeting would enhance implementation of the Global Strategy.
MILORAD ŠĆEPANOVIĆ ( Montenegro) said much progress had been achieved since the “milestone” adoption of the 2006 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, including the institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, the Task Forces’ work on integrated assistance, as well as establishment of the United Nations Global Centre for Counter-Terrorism and the Global Counterterrorism Forum. Against the backdrop of the remarkable results made so far, much more must be done to ensure the Strategy’s implementation, including collaborating at all levels across the security, rule of law, development and human rights components. The United Nations must be at the forefront of such efforts. Closer coordination within the Organization was needed to maximize its effectiveness.
He said the Strategy and the third biennial resolution underlined that States had the primary duty for implementing the Strategy. Montenegro had taken a number of steps to build an efficient legislative and institutional framework for preventing and combating terrorism. It was dedicated to fulfilling its obligations arising from the universal legal framework against terrorism and attached great importance to working with other countries from the subregion, as well as with relevant subregional, regional and international organizations.
JIM MCLAY ( New Zealand) outlined five specific points regarding the resolution before the General Assembly today. First, he welcomed the call for the Secretary-General to further develop his proposal to appoint a single United Nations counter-terrorism coordinator, and encouraged the Secretariat to present a fully developed proposal as soon as possible, so that “final agreement can be reached in a timely manner”. Second, his Government welcomed the resolution’s acknowledgement of the important complementary work being undertaken by other international and regional organizations and forums in supporting the Strategy’s implementation. Third, the past two years had provided further demonstrations of the persistent link between terrorism and other security threats, including transnational crime, armed conflict and state fragility. New Zealand, therefore , urged that, over the coming biennium, the United Nations and Member States should give greater attention to achieving better and more effective integration of responses to those often interlinked threats.
Fourth, New Zealand echoed the calls from other states for the full, balanced and effective implementation of the Strategy across all of its four pillars. Finally, his Government urged that the United Nations continue its vital work in strengthening national and regional capacities to prevent and combat terrorism. Capacity-building initiatives are integral to the partnership underpinning international counter-terrorism cooperation. “Those who plan and perpetrate terrorism must know that the international community stands resolved to resist and prevent their crimes; that their funding will be intercepted; that their networks will be disrupted and destroyed; and that they will be caught and punished for their attacks on the innocent. Above all, they must know that they will not succeed in their plots and their plans,” he said.
AHMED AL-JARMAN ( United Arab Emirates) said that while his delegation was satisfied with the results achieved thus far in implementing the Strategy at national and regional levels, through the United Nations, it was nevertheless concerned that efforts to put in action all four pillars of the framework remained insufficient. That was due to the continuation of many of the conditions that contributed to terrorist acts, such as aggression and the illegal use of force, which required the international community to revamp its mechanisms and strengthen its efforts to address and contain such conditions. Indeed, he said, terrorist acts continued and were becoming more sophisticated, which made it essential to strengthen cooperation and coordination to, among others, prevent all forms of terrorist financing, such as piracy, drugs and arms smuggling and arms trafficking. Coordination must be stepped up in other areas, including information sharing and strengthening legal frameworks.
He said there was a need to reaffirm the commitment of all Member States to the principles of the Charter and to international human rights law. The United Arab Emirates condemned all forms of terrorism and had taken a variety of measures to implement the Strategy, including enhancing its national legal framework, strengthening measures against money laundering, and enhancing all legal measures for preventing and prosecuting transnational crimes such as arms and drugs smuggling. In addition, the country was completing arrangements to host the headquarters in Abu Dhabi of the International Centre for Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism. That Centre would officially open in October and would be the first global forum where Governments and civil society organizations could coordinate their efforts to tackle extremism
Mr. AL AHMAD(Saudi Arabia) said that combating terrorism was a task for the entire international community and his Government condemned the scourge in all its forms and no matter whom the perpetrators were. Saudi Arabia was committed to addressing all aspects of terrorism and had ratified a number of regional and international conventions and treaties. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, which had been established on Saudi Arabia’s initiative, reflected the country’s commitment to contribute to bolstering the international framework aimed at building a world free from terrorism. He said that combating international terrorism required dealing with its root causes, including oppression and economic and political inequality. More attention must be paid to the situation of the Palestinian people, and he welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians, especially women and children, who were bearing the brunt of the occupation.
MWABA KASESE-BOTA ( Zambia) said his country had made significant strides in addressing the four pillars of the Global Strategy against Terrorism, including the creation of national education, health, agriculture, housing and local government programmes. It also had introduced socio-economic reforms to address social security, gender and youth development. The Government was working to enhance labour and industrial reforms related to land and natural resource development. Zambia was aware that “bad governance could lead to terrorism.” As such, reforms in the media, judicial, constitutional and electoral areas were being promoted.
He said Zambia continued to implement all international conventions it had signed in relation to human rights and the promotion of friendly neighbour relations. As a member of the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group, Zambia was addressing various challenges and would continue to pursue a foreign policy based on common interest in the fight against terrorism. It would continue to enhance its capacity to deal with terrorist threats, especially through the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force. It was also establishing a national anti-terrorism centre and financial intelligence centre. As for the United Nations, he said a counter-terrorism coordinator would ensure that activities were more effectively managed.
AMAN HASSEN BANE ( Ethiopia) said his country was convinced that tolerance and dialogue among civilizations and the enhancement of interfaith and intercultural understanding were among the most important elements in promoting cooperation and success in combating terrorism, and thus welcomed the various initiatives to that end. Ethiopia expressed its concern at the increasing use, in a globalized society, by terrorists of new information and communication technologies. The use of the Internet by terrorist groups for a variety of purposes was not new. Lately, it had been seen that terrorists turned increasingly to the Internet and its supported mediums to raise money, recruit supporters, communicate information and spread propaganda. The international community’s response to that challenge, however, had been inadequate.
Ethiopia had taken a number of measures with regard to the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, including ratification of 10 United Nations anti-terrorism instruments, he said. His State’s Parliament had also passed anti-terrorism legislation and operationalized, with the objectives of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combat terrorism. Ethiopia, with the support of the United Nations CTITF, had hosted a regional workshop on counter-terrorism in Addis Ababa. He recognized that money-laundering and terrorist financing were very serious challenges confronting the international community as a whole. His country’s Financial Intelligent Unit had been established and was actively engaged in exchanging information relating to the flow of suspicious funding, including terrorist financing. His Government had also intensified cooperation in exchanging information about the prevention and combating of terrorism, such as through a Joint Working Group under bilateral agreements.
JOHN NGARUYE NDUNGUTSE (Uganda) said his country had faced terrorism challenges from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Allied Democratic Forces and the Al-Shabaab groups, which all were linked to Al-Qaida. Uganda recognized the United Nations’ key role in counter-terrorism cooperation and strongly supported the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Government supported all relevant United Nations resolutions, conventions and international agreements, and was implementing measures to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism. At the regional level, Uganda was implementing international counter-terrorism protocols. It was also implementing the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) plan of action for the prevention and combating of terrorism. At the national level, Uganda had enacted the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2002, under which the aiding, financing, harbouring or planning of terrorist acts carried a death penalty.
Further, Uganda swiftly brought to justice people or entities in its territory that had participated in cross-border terrorist acts, he said, citing those who had participated in the 11 July 2010 attacks in Kampala, in that regard. The amnesty law, passed in 2000, had motivated terrorists to abandon their cause and surrender. Most defectors to Government from the ADF and LRA had been pardoned and re-integrated into society. Other efforts included collaboration between security forces and immigration and customs authorities, as well as the issuance of national identity cards. He recommended the regular exchange of information between States; improved international cooperation in the prosecution of terrorism-related cases; enhanced national capabilities for intelligence and prosecution of terrorism cases, including extradition of all terrorists without exception; strengthened regional and subregional cooperation, and enhanced cooperation in countering terrorism financing.
PALITHA KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said that, despite the concerted efforts of the international community and Member States to counter terrorism, the menace continued. What was of critical concern was the ongoing phenomenon of an increasing pool of volunteers, ever ready to participate in terrorist activity. In such a context, it was critical, he said, to maintain focus on addressing the conditions conducive to the rise and spread of extremism. Sri Lanka believed that the current predominate focus of security aspects, while necessary, was not sufficient to eliminate terrorism, or its appeal. What was required was a more balanced implementation of all four pillars of the Global Strategy, he said.
Sri Lanka had recently emerged from 27 years of terrorism, he continued, noting that his Government had brought an end to those “dark decades” of endless suicide bombings and civilian deaths in 2009. “Today we have peace,” he declared, adding that the Government had adopted a policy of restorative justice to counter any future societal drift towards terrorism. With the emergence of peace, Sri Lanka’s economy was booming and tourism was growing. The Government had adopted a broad based anti-terrorism policy, which addressed, among others, economic marginalization.
To that end, large scale funding was being directed to former conflict-affected areas to rebuild schools, hospitals and to rehabilitate agricultural sectors and national fisheries, rebuild roads and reconnect electricity, water and other basic services. He said that the Government had also realized that long-term incarceration of ex-combatants was counterproductive. Recognizing that most of the more than 11,000 combatants that had surrendered in 2009 were victims rather than initiators of the conflict, the Government had decided to rehabilitate them and send them home, including some 600 child soldiers. All such persons were being provided the opportunity to continue their education, enter training programmes and carry out other activities that would ease their transition back into society. “Restoration and rehabilitation rather than punishment is our approach,” he said.
AHMED SAREER ( Maldives) said that Maldives did not believe there could be a localized incident of extremism as wherever the scourge reared its ugly head, it had been an international issue of concern. Fighting terrorism required a comprehensive approach, where nations focused on awareness and prevention rather than just prosecution. Throughout its history, the Maldives had been, and remained, constantly vigilant of ideologies that bred extremism, which in turn cultivated hatred and thereby fostered violence. “However, legitimate a grievance may be, the use of violence to support that political, religious or other ideology can be defined as nothing less than terrorism,” he said. His Government had placed the prevention of violence at the forefront of its agenda. Yet, to succeed in that effort, the Government sought to establish a partnership for shearing intelligence.
In 2008, the country had adopted a liberal Constitution, where powers were separated and independent institutions of democratic governance were created, he continued. In order for current and future generations of Maldivians to better understand the inherent rights and responsibility enshrined in the new Constitution, the Government had recently initiated a program incorporating civic education into the country’s school curriculum. In higher secondary education, the Government had also supported an inter-disciplinary study of faith aimed at encouraging unity, progress and hope to dispel any sign of hatred and division. Economic disparity and exclusion must also be taken into account as root causes of terrorism. As a nation with an economy that was small and vulnerable to internal and external shocks, the Maldives was very cognizant of the potential for radicalization among the destitute. The Maldives was determined to maintain its focus on development as a vehicle for combating extremism.
THIERRY ALIA ( Benin), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that terrorism was a serious threat to collective security. Attacks that sowed the seeds of misery and disharmony were clear calls for coordinated international action. Persistence of “this heinous phenomenon” meant that the fight against it must be equally relentless. The international community must spare no means in rooting out terrorists, pulling them from their sanctuaries, prosecuting them and saving mankind from their deadly and dangerous designs. Benin and other African countries were committed to the global combat and, to that end, applauded the international community’s reaffirmation of the importance of the Global Strategy and to implementing all four of its pillars. Efforts must be made to combat the use by terrorists of the Internet and other modern technology to recruit people to their causes and coordinate their activities.
He went on to highlight the worthwhile contributions of the African Group to the overall fight against terrorism and said that his delegation would urge broader commitment to relevant treaties against terrorism and transnational crime, including regarding extradition and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Finally, he reiterated the African Group’s call on Member States to speedily conclude their years-long negotiations on a comprehensive counter-terrorism treaty. Such an instrument would not only provide impetus towards implementing existing counter-terrorism frameworks, but would also coordinate relevant activities under a single document that would be supported by the entire international community.
IVAN KOEDJIKOV, Counter-Terrorism Coordinator for the Council of Europe, said that the Council, founded in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, it adhered to the principles of democracy, human rights and the belief that Europe should never again experience the horror and destruction of war. That same firm belief was the basis for the Council’s fundamental stance against terrorism, and for more than 60 years it had been working to curb the conditions conducive to the spread of the scourge. Still, events had proved that Europe was not immune, and new measures were being taken, striking a fair balance between the protection of individual rights and the protection of society, he said, adding that the Council also paid close attention to strengthening legal action to prevent and combat terrorism.
Continuing, he said that the core body of the Council of Europe’s counter-terrorism activities was its Committee of Experts on Terrorism, which was tasked with identifying gaps in international law and global anti-terrorism mechanisms, and to propose solutions. The Committee was also working on national coordination, as well as on the use of special investigation techniques and on a legislative approached to criminalizing preparatory acts by lone terrorists. “We strongly believe that addressing the conditions conducive to terrorism, strengthening implementation of international instruments and legal action to prevent and combat terrorism while respecting human rights must go hand in hand with capacity-building of national institutions,” he said. He added that the development of specialized training modules, the exchange of good practices and the clearing and mainstreaming of communication channels among partners would help curb the threat and bring terrorists to justice.
THOMAS WUCHTE Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said that regional organizations had a key role to play in coordinating counter-terrorism activities. To that end, he announced that the newly created Transnational Threats Department was set to become a vital partner with the United Nations in the effort to prevent terrorism. That Department would also be helpful in promoting implementation of the Global Strategy. OSCE had also recognized the need for a multidimensional approach and regarded respect for human rights and the rule of law as a fundamental aspect of overall collective and individual security. As such, OSCE members had repeatedly reaffirmed that terrorism was not associated with any particular religion or culture. They had also expressed their solidarity with the victims of terrorist attacks.
In addition, OSCE members monitored information channels, including the Internet, to both ensure such media were not being abused to spread extremist ideologies and to ensure that polices governing them maintained the free flow of information and adhered to laws regarding protection of fundamental freedoms. He said OSCE was employing its multidimensional expertise to bolster the human rights aspects of law enforcement, especially community policing, in the fight against terrorism. A broad cross section of civil society was providing invaluable assistance to such efforts. Finally, he said OSCE had developed a comprehensive document security programme that covered travel procedures and measures to bolster State capacity in border control.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Israel said it was most unfortunate that on the second day of the Assembly’s review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy delegations continued to exploit the debate by using the opportunity to smear her country. Specifically, the words used by the Tunisian delegation to described Israel brought to mind the “blood libels” used against Jews in that Dark Ages. Such despicable language must be repudiated by all. And further, Israel had also been referred to by “that beacon of human rights”, Saudi Arabia. That was a country that discriminated against women in all areas of life and brutally repressed the LBGT community, and where homosexuality was punishable by stoning, death or both.
Responding, the representative of Tunisia said that when his delegation had recalled the terrorist practices by Israel against the Palestinian people, it was not inventing anything; nor was it describing anything new. That truth was well known. Indeed, the occupation violated international law and the very presence of Israelis on Palestinian lands was an act or terrorism. Israel was a State terrorist. If anybody needed any further clarification on the matter they could just go on Google and all the information they would need on Israel’s State terrorism was readily available.
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