As Sixth Committee Commences Session, Delegates Once Again Call for Clear Definition of Terrorism, Consensus on Draft Comprehensive Convention
As Sixth Committee Commences Session, Delegates Once Again Call for Clear Definition of Terrorism, Consensus on Draft Comprehensive Convention
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
2nd & 3rd Meetings* (AM & PM)
As Sixth Committee Commences Session, Delegates Once Again Call for Clear
Definition of Terrorism, Consensus on Draft Comprehensive Convention
International Collaboration Critical
To Successfully Defeat ‘Hydra-Headed Monster’, Say Speakers
As the Sixth Committee began its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism, delegates once again called for flexibility and political will towards agreeing on a definition of that act, so that consensus could be reached towards a comprehensive convention.
In seeking a definition, many delegates spoke of the need to distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate effort for self-determination by people under foreign domination. Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran’s representative reminded those present that the “brutalization of peoples under foreign occupation should continue to be denounced as the gravest form of terrorism”.
However, numerous delegates repeatedly stated that to successfully combat terrorism, coherence, cooperation and collaboration were essential. A comprehensive convention would clearly further that goal.
“We need a comprehensive approach to stare down this hydra-headed monster, which has national, regional and international tentacles,” said Pakistan’s representative. Emphasizing, as did many others, that the war against terrorism must be waged within the framework of the totality of international law, he pointed out that the use of armed drones in Pakistan’s border areas was a continued violation of his country’s sovereignty, international law and international human rights and humanitarian law.
Chile’s representative, expressing a shared disappointment, said: “It is regrettable that, more than 13 years after the commencement of negotiations on this subject, the Members of the United Nations have not reached an agreement.” He urged all delegations to show more flexibility in order to move forward and conclude their work by adopting the convention as soon as possible.
Echoing that sentiment, the representative of South Africa commented that, “we cannot continue meeting in these various fora, at great expense if the political will to adopt a comprehensive convention on counterterrorism is not there”. Either a convention would be adopted or not.
Still, Ana Cristina Rodríguez-Pineda ( Guatemala), Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, as she introduced that Committee’s report, asked delegations: “Are the issues at stake so insurmountable that it can take us all these years without reaching an agreement?” She urged them to “put disappointments aside, embrace an optimistic outlook and face the challenge”.
Delegates also spoke of new threats, from the use of cyber space to promote extremist ideologies to the use of money-laundering. Russia’s delegate expressed alarm at the flow of arms from Libya into North Africa and the Middle East, the financing of terrorism from narcotics in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area and, in particular, at the weaving of terrorism into regional conflicts.
Similarly, Australia’s representative, speaking also for New Zealand and Canada, voiced concern that, through the internet, people could locate and distribute violent extremist material while remaining largely invisible to law enforcement and intelligence authorities. As well, the rapid growth of ransom demands and hostage-taking, as financing and negotiating strategies by terrorists, was a continued and grave threat.
The meeting took place against the background of recent attacks in Nigeria, Pakistan and Kenya, with numerous delegations repeatedly expressing their condolences to the affected countries and victims.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Egypt (on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Cuba (also for the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (for the Association of South-East Asian Nations), Russian Federation (speaking for the Collective Security Treaty Organization), Tajikistan (for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Pakistan, Mexico, China, Senegal, Belarus, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Japan, Colombia, Sudan, Turkey, Qatar, Norway, United Republic of Tanzania, Malaysia, Maldives, Nicaragua, Libya, Syria, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, United States, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and the Philippines.
A representative of the delegation of the European Union also spoke on the topic.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 8 October, to conclude its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism.
The Committee had before it two reports on the elimination of international terrorism: the report of the Secretary General, Measures to eliminate international terrorism (document A/68/180), and the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 (document A/68/37).
The Committee also would consider two organizational documents, Organization of Work (document A/C.6/68/L.1) and the Allocation of agenda items to the Sixth Committee (document A/C.6/68/1).
The Committee, at its first meeting on 1 October this year, had elected three Vice-Chairpersons: Ibrahim Salem ( Egypt); Nikolas Stuerchler ( Switzerland); and Leandro Vieira Silva ( Brazil). The Committee also had elected Tofig Musayev ( Azerbaijan) as its Rapporteur.
The Committee next took note of the 24 items allocated to it by the General Assembly on 20 September (see Press Release GA/11418). Three working groups were also established for the following agenda items: “Responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts”; “Diplomatic protection”; and “The scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction”. With regard to the last of those working groups, it was decided that Eduardo Ulibarri ( Costa Rica), who had chaired that working group at the last session, would continue to do so. The Committee then approved its programme of work.
Introduction of Report
ANA CRISTINA RODRÍGUEZ-PINEDA (Guatemala), Vice-Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee, introduced the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee (document A/68/37), noting that terrorism remained a persistent problem of global concern, and that such acts, as illustrated by recent events, had become more brazen.
Turning to the report, she said it contained written proposals in relation to the draft comprehensive convention’s outstanding issues, as well as an informal summary, prepared by the Chair, on the exchange of views during the session. In addition, the report included the text of a draft accompanying resolution that had been proposed previously by the Coordinator.
She said that, because more time was required to achieve substantive progress on the outstanding issues, the Ad Hoc Committee recommended that the Sixth Committee establish a working group to finalize the process on the draft comprehensive convention and to discuss the convening of a high-level conference under United Nations auspices, at its sixty-ninth session. Unfortunately, delegations had been unable to make further progress during the sixteenth session.
Even so, there had been some advancement, she continued, in the Committee’s decision to include the Preamble and articles 1, 2 and 4-27 of the draft comprehensive convention in an annex to the report. Thus, the report conveyed in a single comprehensive document the consideration reached on that draft. It was also noteworthy that delegations continued to view the 2007 elements of a possible package as a viable option to reaching consensus, and had repeated their willingness to work on the basis of that proposal.
Citing the Ad Hoc Committee’s Chair, she asked: “Are the issues at stake so insurmountable that it can take us all these years without reaching an agreement?” She urged delegations to “put disappointments aside, embrace an optimistic outlook and face the challenge”. It was imperative to conclude the comprehensive convention, which would strengthen the existing multilateral legal framework for combating international terrorism. “[I]ts future is in our hands,” she stated.
HOSSEIN GHARIBI ( Iran), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement noted that terrorist acts violated international and humanitarian rights law, endangered the territorial integrity and stability of States, as well as national, regional and international security, and had adverse consequences on economic and social development. However, such acts should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation for self-determination and national liberation. The brutalization of peoples under foreign occupation should continue to be denounced as the gravest form of terrorism.
While urging all Member States to fulfil their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law in combating terrorism, he said that he rejected the use or threat of force by any State against any of its Member Countries under the pretext of combating terrorism, including by categorizing them as terrorism-sponsoring States or the unilateral preparation of lists accusing States of allegedly supporting terrorism. That was inconsistent with international law. He encouraged all States that had not done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the thirteen international instruments relating to combating terrorism, and called upon all States to observe and implement the provisions of all international, regional and bilateral instruments on the matter.
He urged the Security Council sanction committees to streamline their listing and delisting procedures to address concerns of due process and transparency. In addition, an International Summit Conference under United Nations auspices was needed to formulate a joint response by the international community to terrorism in all its forms. Stressing the importance of concluding a Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism, he welcomed the reviews of the Organization’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and called for its transparent and comprehensive implementation.
IBRAHIM SALEM (Egypt), speaking for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, emphasized that no religion or religious doctrine encouraged acts of terrorism, and therefore none should be portrayed as such. In an increasingly globalized world that required mutual respect and building of bridges among all cultures and peoples, there must be a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism that addressed the root causes of terrorism, including unlawful use of force, festering international disputes, and political marginalization and alienation, to name a few.
Reiterating the need to make a clear distinction between terrorism and the exercise of the legitimate right of peoples to resist foreign occupation, he stressed that such a distinction was duly observed in international law, international humanitarian law, and United Nations documents, and must be reflected accordingly in the outstanding Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
He also stated that payment of ransoms to terrorist groups constituted one of the main sources of financing of terrorism and he urged member States to work together in banning such payments. Also of grave concern was the intensification of violent provocations, incitement and terrorism against the Palestinian civilian population and their properties.
ANASTASIA CARAYANIDES (Australia), speaking also for New Zealand and Canada, expressed concern that, through the internet, people could locate and distribute violent extremist material while remaining largely invisible to law enforcement and intelligence authorities. Individuals were also travelling to conflict zones in the Middle East and elsewhere to train, fight and gain experience, and then returning to their communities prepared to plan and conduct terrorist attacks. The closely linked issues of violent extremism and foreign fighters required an effective response by the international community.
In regards to the rapid growth of ransom demands and hostage-taking as financing and negotiating strategies, she said her country, New Zealand, and Canada, as a way of deterring kidnapping and impeding such financing, maintained a strict policy of not paying ransoms. Further, they were also committed to working in an integrated and comprehensive manner with the international community that would simultaneously address humanitarian, development and security needs while combating terrorist threats.
Noting the growing relationships between regional organizations and the United Nations system, she encouraged close dialogue and cooperation between the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), and related international entities. Emphasizing the importance of assisting countries to develop programmes that addressed extremist activities, she said Australia, New Zealand and Canada were active in providing capacity building assistance, including in the development of intelligence and law enforcement capabilities.
Oscar León González( Cuba), speaking for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said he rejected the unilateral elaboration of blacklists accusing States of allegedly supporting and sponsoring terrorism, which was inconsistent with international law. He stressed that measures to address the roots of terrorism as well as the need to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism were essential. Member States should seek further judicial cooperation and information among their financial and police intelligence bodies. Similarly, United Nations entities must cooperate with Member States and continue to provide assistance, upon request, to help them to fully implement their respective international obligations to combat terrorism financing.
Expressing his continued commitment to the prompt conclusion on the comprehensive convention against international terrorism, he urged that all efforts be made toward resolving the pending issues that had been an obstacle to its completion. In particular, he acknowledged those related to the legal definition and scope of the acts addressed by the convention, and he called for all Member States’ to cooperate during the Ad Hoc Committee’s next meeting and show flexibility in order to move forward and adopt the convention at the General Assembly’s next session.
SALEUMXAY KOMMASITH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), expressed support for the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and, called upon United Nations bodies dealing with international terrorism to enhance synergies and avoid duplication of work. The Association had undertaken numerous activities and had adopted measures to combat terrorism both within its framework and with its partners. All ASEAN Member States had ratified its Convention on Counter-Terrorism (ACCT) which served as a regional framework to deal with terrorism, enhanced ASEAN’s regional strategic role and complemented the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
He went on to say that during its eleventh Inter-Sessional Meeting on Counterterrorism and Transnational Crime, held in March of this year, participants shared experiences of their national efforts to combat terrorism while recognizing the nexus between terrorism and other transnational crimes. Stressing the importance of further deliberations on the draft comprehensive convention, he called upon all Member States to work together to address the outstanding issues.
IGOR PANIN (Russian Federation), speaking on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, underscored that terrorism was a universal transborder phenomenon that could only be eliminated by coherent and complementary measures on both global and regional platforms. Of great concern, he stated, was an increase of environmentally dangerous sites, arsenals, military stockpiles and explosive materials that were in close proximity to residential areas. Cyber attacks, as well, had become a serious threat.
He pointed out that because terrorism directly affected the security interests of all the organization’s member States, technical military assistance was being provided to Tajikistan’s border troops in securing its border with Afghanistan. In addition, the organization had established a joint regional rapid reaction force and had conducted joint tactical exercises for that entity, as well as for police forces of its members. It had also undertaken joint exercises against drug-trafficking, a challenge connected with terrorism, an experience it would be glad to share with the global community.
SIRODJIDIN M. ASLOV ( Tajikistan), Committee Chair, speaking on behalf of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said that during their thirteenth Summit, held in Bishkek on 13 September this year, the Organization’s leaders committed to actively implement the Program of Fighting Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism for 2013-2015. The Organization would also continuously strive to improve the operation of its specialized entity, the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure, which coordinated work between its member States and maintained the necessary information and analyses exchange and support. He encouraged increased interaction between the Structure and corresponding United Nations agencies.
Strengthening regional security was a priority in Central Asia, where terrorist and narcotic threats emanating from Afghanistan were the major destabilizing factors, he said. Further, the regional risks were becoming even more acute with the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan in 2014. In that regard, he called for the implementation of relevant United Nations decision and the creation of a wide network of partnership of interested States, as well as international and regional organizations in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.
EGLANTINE CUJO, European Union delegation, said implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy remained central to the efforts of the Union and its Member States. The Global Strategy’s fourth biennial review would be a good opportunity to update and strengthen the framework by combining capacity building with the fullest respect of human rights and the rule of law. On the “foreign fighter” phenomenon, there was a need for greater cooperation among Member States and for greater sharing of information and best practices. As terrorists and their supporters constantly modified ways to raise, move and gain access to funds, instruments and measures needed to adapt in response. That included a proactive stance against kidnapping for ransom payments.
She also emphasized the important role played by relevant United Nations resolutions, the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Financing and Terrorism and the Council of Europe instruments. As sanctions were an important tool in the international fight against terrorism, fair and clear procedures and respect for the rule of law were necessary to uphold the legitimacy and efficiency of targeted sanctions regimes. The European Union had started to develop comprehensive counter-terrorism strategies, in particular in the Sahel, Horn of Africa, Yemen, and Pakistan, reflecting its long-term engagement building on national and regional approaches which ensured stakeholders’ ownership and participation.
STEFAN BARRIGA ( Liechtenstein) said that the Sixth Committee had made important contributions to combating terrorism in the past, in particular by drafting numerous international conventions in the field of counterterrorism. However, counterterrorism work at Headquarters was becoming increasingly crowded. Therefore, it was important to reconsider the role of the Committee, especially in areas where it could add value and avoid duplication.
He pointed to the General Assembly plenary which in a few days would also debate the issue of counter-terrorism, and presumably negotiate a draft resolution on the review of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy. That seemed like unnecessary duplication, he said, reiterating a proposal that the Sixth Committee consider the agenda item on a biennial basis, alternating with the General Assembly. It was, he stressed, important to focus on the quality of the work, rather than its quantity.
STUERCHLER GONZENBACH (Switzerland) expressed deep regret that neither the Committee nor the Ad Hoc Committee had been able to ‘heed the call’ of the 2005 World Summit’s final outcome document and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by concluding a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. Such a successful conclusion would have underscored the role of the General Assembly as the principle organ whose legitimacy was universally recognized. Furthermore, it would have also reinforced efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, he added.
Pointing to the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy as a guiding principle, he said that Switzerland supported a holistic approach, or one that combined security, development and respect for human rights. He then mentioned a new initiative launched by his country and Norway towards enhancing the Strategy’s biennial review by developing a set of reporting guidelines and priorities for Member States to consider in advance.
MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan), associating with the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the complex challenge of terrorism defied simplified solutions, and that a piecemeal effort would not eliminate its scourge. Similarly, a uni-dimensional approach focused exclusively on operational or political measures would not produce desired results. “We need a comprehensive approach to stare down this hydra-headed monster which has national, regional and international tentacles,” he said.
Emphasizing that the war against terrorism must be waged within the framework of international law, he said the use of armed drones in Pakistan’s border areas was a continued violation of his country’s sovereignty, international law, and international human rights and humanitarian law. Further, the recognized principles of distinction, proportionality and geographical disjunction between the location of drone strikes and the primary battlefields had not been observed. The use of drones had resulted in casualties of innocent civilians and had hindered efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism, and he urged the United States to cease those strikes in order to prevent further casualties and suffering.
ALEJANDRO SOUSA BRAVO (Mexico), aligning with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said his country, in order to prevent the transit and traffic of materials for terrorist purposes, was enhancing national capacities in a variety of areas, including the completion of a program strengthening protection for its main ports, with the support of the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism of the Organization of American States and the Government of Canada.
Further, in August 2012, he said Mexico had adopted the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, and in September of this year became the seventh country to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). He said his Government was convinced that uncontrolled trade and the proliferation of small and light weapons created an environment conducive to the commission of terrorist acts, as illustrated in recent events in Nairobi.
WANG MIN ( China) said that despite the good results achieved by the Organization’s agencies to combat terrorism, the recent spate of attacks underscored that the fight continued to be arduous and complex. His country supported the work by relevant United Nations bodies to strengthen coordination and cooperation in the field while acting in accordance with their own mandates, and he called for a comprehensive and balanced implementation of the Strategy. Activities must strictly comply with recognized international law, including the Charter. Further, efforts needed to be stepped up in drafting a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
It was important, he said, to avoid “double standard and selectivity”. It was also necessary to address both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism, and to take a long-term view while addressing the immediate concerns, in order to eradicate the breeding grounds. As a victim of terrorism, China had strengthened counter-terrorism legislation and institutions. The “East Turkistan” terrorist force, represented by the “Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement”, constituted the most direct and real terrorist threat to China, which had responded to their attacks as required by law. Lauding the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in furthering regional counter-terrorism cooperation, he said his country would continue to work with the international community in a joint endeavour to fight all forms of terrorism and maintain international peace and security.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal) joined the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and said that because terrorists crossed borders and used technology to perpetrate their evil deeds, international cooperation was essential. The Global Strategy remained the most effective means to do so, but must be applied in an equitable manner. Further, the international convention to combat terrorism would greatly strengthen the international community in that regard. He condemned associating terrorism with any religious or ethnic group, adding that all measures taken against that scourge should be in strict compliance with international law and humanitarian law.
ILYA ADAMOV (Belarus), associating with the Collective Security Treaty Organization and Non-Aligned Movement, noted with regret that despite steps taken by the international community, there continued to be a growing correlation between terrorism and transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering. It was of utmost importance to have a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism. As well, further international cooperation in the fight against international crimes was needed.
He also said that expansion in sharing of legal knowledge and in other thematic areas, continued support from United Nations entities to Member States, including personnel training and supporting victims of terrorism, were essential. He called on member States to be as flexible as possible during work on the draft convention, to reflect therein the cross-cutting branches of international law and to remember that the issues of organization were secondary to the presence of member States’ political will.
Mr. YIDNEKACHEN (Ethiopia), associating with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, spoke of the alarming trend in the horn of Africa that allowed for terrorist groups to expand their activities. Pointing out that Ethiopia had been among the first countries to suffer from that scourge in the 1990s, he said that his country had ratified a number of regional and continental counterterrorism instruments and was party to nine international instruments. It cooperated with the United Nations, in a variety of ways, including through the Security Council sanctions committee. Domestically, the Government protected the right of people to live free from terrorism by setting up prosecution systems and a normative framework to counter and prevent acts of terrorism, among others. It had also established a national anti-terrorism coordinating commission to counter terrorism holistically.
YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine) stressed that nuclear terrorism, as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, continued to be one of the most challenging threats to international security. His country played a leading role in that regard by implementing its pledge to voluntarily get rid of all national stocks of highly enriched uranium - evidence of Ukraine’s role as a consistent and reliable partner in combating nuclear terrorism and strengthening nuclear safety and security.
As Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), he said his country attached paramount importance to enhancing cooperation in the sphere of security and non-proliferation. His Government, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Conflict Prevention Centre of the OSCE, would host the regional workshop on implementation of the Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) in November of this year in Kyiv, Ukraine.
KENGO OTSUKA ( Japan) said it was necessary to appoint a counter-terrorism coordinator, as long as that post’s establishment would help the Organization’s counter-terrorism measures to be more efficient, coherent and integrated. Establishing a legal basis for international efforts to fight terrorism was also important, he said, adding that while he was committed to a successful conclusion of the negotiations on a comprehensive convention, a high-level conference on the convention should come together with its adoption.
He said Japan, in efforts to strengthen international counter-terrorism measures, had decided to provide additional assistance of approximately $16 million to support improving the counter-terrorism capacity of countries facing terrorist threats, including those in North Africa and the Sahel region. Also, at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in June of this year, Prime Minister Abe had announced an allocation of approximately $1 billion in humanitarian and development assistance over the next five years, and human resource development for 2000 people responsible for anti-terrorism measures and security in North Africa and the Sahel region.
THEMBILE JOYINI ( South Africa), aligning with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the recent attacks in Pakistan, Nigeria and Kenya reinforced the need for the international community to act decisively to root out terrorism. While the Ad Hoc Committee had produced a number of international conventions on terrorism, it had been stuck on a comprehensive convention, unable to come to a definition of terrorism, and in particular, on which acts should be excluded. The Committee had chosen to preserve progress made, by packaging a consolidated text including all proposals and recommending a pause to the General Assembly. Explaining that position, he said, “[W]e cannot continue meeting in these various fora, at great expense, if the political will to adopt a comprehensive convention on counter-terrorism is not there.” Either a convention would be adopted or not.
MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ BLANCO (Colombia), aligning with the statement of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said that despite some progress in combating terrorism, the plethora of attacks demonstrated that it was important to build national counterterrorism capacities. Colombia had recently hosted and organized a conference with the United Nations that had looked at how counterterrorism activities at all levels could complement one another. A comprehensive fight against terrorism required eliminating terrorist links with organized crime groups. That meant a fight against money-laundering and the illicit arms trade. The Arms Trade Treaty was an important step forward and, once entered into force, would be an effective tool. All efforts must be made to implement the Global Strategy, as its pillars were mutually reinforcing. He reiterated the need to undertake open multilateral negotiations towards an agreed definition of terrorism, so that a comprehensive convention that filled gaps in existing instruments could be finalized.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ (Chile), aligning with the statement made by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country was a party to 16 international counter-terrorism instruments of both universal and regional scope, and was currently considering becoming a party to the remaining international anti-terrorism instruments. As well, Chile also participated in the South American Financial Action Task Force, which aimed to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
He strongly appealed to all Member States to build on the progress made in the Ad Hoc Committee and to do everything possible to conclude the comprehensive convention. “It is regrettable that, more than 13 years after the commencement of negotiations on this subject, the Members of the United Nations have not reached an agreement.” He urged all delegations to show more flexibility in order to move forward and conclude its work by adopting the convention as soon as possible, with the understanding that the only possible text might not be the best text for each of the delegations.
EVGENY ZAGAYNOV ( Russian Federation) said that events in the Sahel and the Middle East had increased the risk of spreading extremist ideologies and had given impetus to regional affiliates of Al Qaeda. He expressed alarm about the flow of arms from Libya into those regions, the financing from narcotics in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area and, in particular, at the weaving of terrorism into regional conflicts. There must be no double standards in passing off terrorists as fighting for freedom and democracy, as that could encourage extremists around the world.
He called for a broad-based dialogue with civil society, advancing tolerance among ethnic and religious groups, promoting human rights and rejecting ideologies of hostility and violence. Towards that end, his country was proposing an initiative, which would be in concert with the Global Strategy, on public-private partnerships in combating terrorism. While the main responsibility to implement the Global Strategy lay with Member States, the Security Council also had a major role to play. As well, regional organizations’ participation was critical in countering terrorism.
HASSAN ALI HASSAN ALI ( Sudan) said that as the world had become a small village dominated by communications technologies, there had been an acceleration of progress in weaponry that required more cooperation by the international community in its counter-efforts. Expressing support for continued dialogue in order to achieve an international convention, he called for increased partnership that could go further than agreements and information exchange, but also build capacities and transfer technologies.
He said his country complied with all anti-terrorism international agreements, and that those conventions served as the legal framework for Sudan’s national legislation. Owing to its geographic location, Sudan was an important venue for combating international and regional terrorism in the heart of Africa, and cooperated with a number of States in that regard. He cautioned against the use of force in the name of combating terrorism, and condemned unilateral measures undertaken by some States that made lists and imposed sanctions that were groundless and increased people’s suffering. Combating terrorism should not be used as excuse to interfere with the internal affairs of States.
HALIT ÇEVIK ( Turkey) said that in the face of such an imminent threat, any weakness in reaching consensus in the work of the Committee could come off as a negative sign. As a country that continued to be victimized by terrorism, he said Turkey’s longstanding struggle put it at the forefront of global counterterrorism efforts.
He pointed to the close connection between terrorist and other criminal organizations, with revenue generated from organized crime as a primary source. Increasing the financing of effective tools was available to relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. At the same time, full compliance with the provisions of the international conventions, especially the 13 major conventions on terrorism, was crucial for success in undertaking.
KHALED AL KABI ( Qatar) stressed the importance of reaching a comprehensive counterterrorism convention that, while addressing its root causes, would define terrorism without linking it to any religion, race, nationality or ethnicity. His country was party to most of the international instruments on the matter. In March of this year, a workshop on violent extremism was conducted in Qatar. Additional counterterrorism workshops with the United Nations would be held in the future. It had also ratified regional treaties and had entered into bi-lateral agreements, most recently with Spain and Italy. Nationally, it was taking measures to fight money-laundering, among other means, of supporting terrorism.
ANNIKEN ENERSEN ( Norway), emphasizing that respect for human rights and the rule of law were critical to combating terrorism, said that prevention required a comprehensive and long-term approach that engaged a broad range of measures, among them political, legal, economic, and as a last resort, military. Further, Member States were responsible for implementing the Global Strategy, with the United Nations playing an important role in coordinating counter-terrorism efforts at global, regional and country levels.
In that context, she welcomed the proposal to appoint a counter-terrorism coordinator, adding that Norway supported the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force both politically and financially. There was also a need for procedural guarantees for the individuals and organizations listed by the 1267/1989 sanctions committee, and she called on the Security Council to facilitate better sanctions implementation by States. For its part, Norway had requested the consent of its Parliament to ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It also had adopted its first national counter-terrorism strategy.
TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania), aligning with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, said the recent spate of attacks brought to the fore the urgency of concerted and coordinated action against terrorism. Small arms and light weapons remained the most common means of terrorist attacks. Conflicts and instability, especially in the Great Lakes region and Somalia, had given rise to illicit circulation of such weapons, which needed to be curtailed and controlled. The growth of science and technological development, while opening immense opportunities, also posed challenges, as terrorist activities had become more international in character and more diversified in tactics.
The internet, he continued, had become a source of recruitment, training and radicalization, thriving on continuing poverty and illiteracy, among others. Echoing other speakers in calling for the early conclusion of a comprehensive convention, he stressed the need for political commitment among Member States that would open the doors to a global, coordinated and concerted effort in the fight against the scourge and its root causes. “None of us are truly safe until we defeat the spectrum of terrorism that keeps on stalking humanity,” he stated.
HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia), aligning with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Association of South East Asian Nations, said the international community should continue its fight against terrorism through the United Nations, regional or bilateral initiatives. While stepping up work to conclude the comprehensive convention, States should not put on hold their ongoing efforts. States had the sovereign right to cover the grey areas through their domestic legal framework, while adhering to international humanitarian and human rights law to ensure accountability for certain acts of terrorism.
Turning to the comprehensive convention, he said that the text would need to cover terrorist acts committed by States and non-State actors alike, and distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of people under foreign occupation for liberation and self-determination. Reiterating the call for a high-level conference, he said the event should not hinge on the conclusion of the comprehensive convention. Highlighting Malaysia’s domestic initiatives, he urged rational, peace-loving people of all races, cultures and beliefs to make their voices louder and reclaim the centre stage.
AHMED SAREER ( Maldives) called for a renewed focus on the implementation of the universal instruments and the Security Council and General Assembly’s resolutions. Although existing counter-terrorism measures were encouraging, they needed to be more streamlined and defined through a comprehensive convention. His country was working through regional forums on capacity building and technical cooperation, and was formulating new legislation to streamline and update its domestic efforts. Terrorism had to be viewed in the context of radicalization and extremism, social discrimination, economic disparities, restrictions on rights and civil liberties, and power politics. Considering the spillover effects of conflicts, civil wars and threats within the region and around the globe, it was as important to address the root causes of terrorism as it was to address the crime itself.
KARLA RAMIREZ (Nicaragua), associating with the statement made by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Non-Aligned Movement, said a double standard in the fight against terrorism should not be acceptable. Expressing solidarity for the Palestinian people, she said a clear distinction must be made between the act of terrorism and the legitimate right of people to self-determination. State terrorism must be included in the definition of terrorism, and she called on Member States to reach by consensus an immediate resolution.
MALAK SALIM (Libya) aligning with the statements made by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, said a terrorist act needed to be distinguished from the legitimate struggle for self-determination. Her country had acceded to international and regional anti-terrorism instruments, and was keen on participating in all international fora in that regard. The interim Libyan Government was sparing no effort in facing terrorist networks and combating smuggling in the Sahel region. In cooperation with other countries, it had held a workshop in Tripoli recently to promote cooperation amongst Member States in the region together with the African Union, League of Arab States and the European Union.
ARIEL HERNÁNDEZ (Cuba), associating with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said his country categorically rejected the spurious and unfounded decision recently adopted by the United States State Department to include Cuba, once again, on a list of alleged State sponsors of international terrorism. Cuba had an impeccable historical fight against terrorism and had never allowed and never would allow such acts to be conducted on Cuban territory against any country, including the United States of America.
Recalling five Cuban heroes who had been unjustly imprisoned for 15 years and subjected to cruel and degrading acts, he pointed out that Luis Posada Carriles, “the most notorious terrorist in the Western Hemisphere,” continued to walk freely despite having been involved in terrorist acts. He then expressed hope that one day the truth might reach North America and the real terrorists would be judged, and then released to the men who had fought to protect the Cuban and American people, without distinction of any kind.
KOUSSAY ALDAHHAK (Syria), associating with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country was currently facing terrorist acts by groups linked to Al Qaida, and by foreigners who targeted infrastructure and vital institutions. Groups, supported by well-known States, were coming from various parts of the world to destroy Syria. There must be a political solution to the crisis in Syria, born of a dialog among Syrians themselves. Further, terrorists there were using internationally banned weapons. They would go back to their States and eventually be sent to other areas to spread extremism.
Syria had signed and ratified 10 conventions on counterterrorism and was studying the three others, he said. International collective action to combat terrorism would always be less than its objectives as long as a double standard was exercised, and as long as Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan continued to be accepted. He expressed regret that the comprehensive convention had not yet been adopted despite flexibility shown by many delegations and called for, among others, the prevention of internet usage in the commission of terrorist crimes.
SAENG KIM ( Republic of Korea) reiterated his firm condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, and lamented recent attacks as “stark reminders” of the ongoing threat to international peace and security. He called for a comprehensive approach that was in line with international law. Terrorists were becoming more agile and forming a nexus with other criminal operations — piracy and kidnapping among them. The Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), which his country chaired, had been fully engaged with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee, among others. He urged the Assembly to agree on a comprehensive convention, underscoring that a high-level conference must give impetus to negotiations on such a draft.
VARUNI MUTHUKUMARANA (Sri Lanka), emphasizing that countering terrorism should not be viewed primarily as a military challenge, said that while the Ad Hoc Committee had continued to strengthen the international legal framework through a series of “new generation conventions”, the draft comprehensive convention had been on its agenda for more than ten years. She shared the disappointment expressed by other delegates that it had not been possible for the Ad Hoc Committee to make progress when it met in March.
Noting how terrorist groups funded their activities through linkages to international organized crime, including trafficking, money laundering, credit card fraud, and cybercrime, she said that her country had faced a three-decade‑long terror campaign conducted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Though the conflict was now over, that group’s related networks still continued to be active in a range of criminal activities. Reaffirming its commitment to the Global Strategy, she stated that Sri Lanka was an active participant in the global efforts to counter the illegal movement of funds, and would continue to support the United Nations as the primary body to spearhead the global campaign against terror.
STEVEN HILL ( United States) acknowledged the success of the United Nations in developing 18 universal instruments that established a thorough legal framework for combating terrorism. However, those instruments would only be effective if they were widely ratified and implemented. Drawing particular attention to the six instruments concluded over the past decade relating to nuclear terrorism, the protection of nuclear materials, the safety of maritime navigation and of international civil aviation, he said that the United States was advancing its own efforts to ratify those instruments. He further expressed willingness to carefully listen to statements by other Member States on overcoming the impasse on the comprehensive convention.
AHMED HASSAN AL HAMMADI (United Arab Emirates), associating with the statements of the Non-Aligned and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, called upon States to shoulder their responsibility and prevent acts of provocation aimed at manipulating symbols of faith and culture. Eager for a comprehensive international convention, he urged that all necessary flexibility be shown towards achieving such a convention, and that an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations be held to clearly define terrorism and distinguish it from the right of self determination.
He also called on the international community to increase its assistance, technical and otherwise, to developing nations. For its part, his country had continued to develop its counter-terrorism policies and had employed all capacities at the national level to increase cooperation with international and regional mechanisms. Such efforts also included strict inspection of sea, air and land ports to prevent intents of transferring sensitive materials and other measures, so that such materials do not reach terrorists wherever they may be.
NOUR ZARROUK BOUMIZA (Tunisia), associating with the statements of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the many serious problems in the African Sahel, which were exacerbated by the illicit trade of weapons and drugs, the proliferation of terrorism and other forms of transnational crime, went far beyond the scope of the borders of the countries in that region, and thus posed a threat to international peace and security.
She stated that her country’s commitment in the fight against terrorism was evidenced by, among other things, its enactment of legislative measures and reform of legislation on counter-terrorism and money-laundering to ensure compliance with its international obligations. Noting that terrorism existed in many forms, including electronic, she said any strategy to combat terrorism must integrate that new aspect.
LIBRAN CABACTULAN ( Philippines) said that since the Assembly’s adoption of resolution 49/60, information exchange among States and international and regional organizations had been crucial in developing and maintaining cooperation. On a national level, intercultural and interfaith dialogue was among the most important counter-terrorism measures, and he called on all countries to build on such initiatives towards the elimination of terrorism. The 2007 Human Security Act was a “landmark” law, which committed his country to global efforts to stop the financing of terrorism through money laundering.
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