Ad Hoc Committee Negotiating Comprehensive Anti-terrorism Convention Opens One Week Headquarters Session
Ad Hoc Committee Negotiating Comprehensive Anti-terrorism Convention Opens One Week Headquarters Session
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Ad Hoc Committee on Assembly
49th Meeting (AM)
Ad Hoc Committee Negotiating Comprehensive Anti-terrorism Convention
Opens One Week Headquarters Session
The time was “propitious” for the General Assembly committee charged with negotiating a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention to take the necessary decisions, especially on the outstanding issues that had — for years — hampered substantive progress on such an instrument, said its long-time Chairman, as he opened the sixteenth session today.
“The current session is very crucial,” said Rohan Perera, of Sri Lanka, Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee established by the Assembly in 1996 under its resolution 51/21, which is mandated to elaborate a draft convention on terrorism and discuss the holding of a high-level conference under United Nations auspices. The Committee had not met last year, in part to allow more time to reflect on the outstanding issues. The Assembly had decided to convene the sixteenth session — which runs until 12 April — on the understanding that the Committee’s future meetings would be decided based upon substantive progress made in its work.
“The outstanding issues surrounding the draft comprehensive convention have commanded our attention for many years now,” Mr. Perera stressed, noting that 2013 marked the thirteenth year. At the same time, delegates had agreed on the bulk of the text and it was important to preserve the integrity of what had been accomplished. There had been some useful exchanges of views in the Working Group of the Sixth Committee (Legal) last fall. Also, the Working Group’s 2010 report (document A/C.6/65/L.10) contained a draft convention on international terrorism “with some blank spaces”, signalling that outstanding issues remained.
Over the years, delegates had expressed the importance of concluding the draft convention. “I am most optimistic that, in the course of this week, we shall exert all our concerted efforts towards achieving this goal,” he said, urging them to use the time for “engaged” consultations.
Throughout the morning meeting, delegates underlined the value of the draft convention as a criminal law-enforcement instrument and threw their support behind a package of proposals put forward by the Coordinator — Maria Telalian (Greece) — in 2007, which aimed to bridge differences and offer a basis for further negotiations. They resoundingly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as well as any association drawn between such violence and any religion, race, community or ethnic group. Only a coordinated approach would yield success, several said, reaffirming their commitment to negotiations and underscoring the urgent need to make progress.
Towards that goal, several speakers rejected the double standards of States that publicly condemned terrorism, on the one hand, but sponsored it on the other. “There is an elephant in the room in this debate,” declared Israel’s representative, stressing that some were content to condemn terrorism that took place in their backyards, yet condone — or even support — attacks carried out elsewhere. Such duplicity could not be reconciled with a genuine intent to counter terrorism.
Nicaragua’s delegate rejected double standards in the context of State terrorism — “abominable” behaviour which enjoyed impunity.
For many, a truly comprehensive anti-terrorism convention must address root causes, including festering international disputes, and political and economic injustices. It also must contain a consensual legal definition of terrorism that clearly distinguished terrorist acts from the legitimate exercise of the right to self-determination.
On that point, Egypt’s representative, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said his delegation would make every effort to reach a consensus agreement by resolving issues related to the legal definition and the scope of acts covered by the draft convention. He reiterated calls — including by Iran, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement — to hold a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations.
The representative of the Russian Federation, however, questioned the purpose of holding such a summit in the absence of agreement on the convention. But, he stood ready for further constructive dialogue on convening the committee in 2014.
The United States representative added that, if no consensus was reached during the time allotted, it was worth considering a pause in the Committee’s work.
In other business, the Committee decided that all three vice-Chairpersons — Maria Telalian (Greece), Ana Cristina Rodríguez Pineda (Guatemala) and Dire Tladi (South Africa) — would continue to serve in their roles for the present session, as would Petr Válek (Czech Republic), as Rapporteur. Ms. Telalian also would continue to serve as Coordinator of the contacts with delegations on outstanding issues.
Before moving immediately into the first round of informal consultations, the Chairman sketched out the Committee’s daily work plan, and members approved the provisional agenda for the sixteenth session.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Cuba, China, Guatemala, India, Chile, Iran (in national capacity), Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan, Brazil, Algeria, Syria, Iraq, Republic of Korea and Belarus.
A representative of the European Union also spoke.
The Ad Hoc Committee will reconvene in plenary on 12 Friday to conclude its work.
The Ad Hoc Committee established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 51/210 and charged with elaborating a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention opened its sixteenth session today. The Committee, which operates in plenary and informal sessions, will conclude 15 April. In addition to continuing its debate on the convention, the Committee will also continue to discuss the item included in its agenda by the General Assembly in resolution 54/110 concerning the question of convening a high-level conference on the issue under the auspices of the United Nations.
IBRAHIM SALEM (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), remained convinced that terrorism, irrespective of its motivation, objectives, forms and manifestation, committed by whomsoever and wherever, could never be justified. The group reaffirmed that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, race, faith, theology, values, culture, society or group. “No religion or religious doctrine encourages or inspires acts of terrorism, and thus, none should be portrayed as such,” he said. In the increasingly globalized world, more than ever before, there was a need for understanding, harmony, mutual respect, and the building of bridges among cultures and peoples.
Only through a coordinated approach could the international community’s fight against terrorism yield effective results, he said, adding that the Group supported a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism that addressed the root causes of terrorism, including unlawful use of force, foreign occupation, denial of the right of people living under foreign occupation to self-determination, political and economic injustices, and political marginalization. He reiterated the need to make a distinction between terrorism, and the exercise of the legitimate right of peoples to resist foreign occupation. Financing of terrorism was a matter of grave concern for the international community, he said, recognizing that the payment of ransom to terrorist groups constituted one of the main sources of financing of terrorism. In that regard, he urged Member States to cooperate in order to ban the payment of ransoms claimed by terrorist groups.
In regard to the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, the group reaffirmed its commitment to the process of negotiations and underscored the need for progress. The group was determined to make every effort to reach a consensus agreement on the draft convention, by resolving the outstanding issues, including those related to the legal definition of terrorism, particularly on the distinction between terrorism, and the struggle for the right of self-determination by people living under foreign occupation, as well as on the scope of the acts covered by the draft convention. He reiterated calls to hold a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations to formulate the joint response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms.
GILLES MARHIC, speaking on behalf of the European Union delegation, said that terrorism was one of the most serious threats to the international community. He condemned all terrorist acts as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of motivations, committed whenever, wherever, by whomsoever. There was no justification for terrorism in any form, he said. The Union stressed that all measures taken to combat terrorism must be in compliance with international law, in particular international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law. All measures against terrorism must respect the rule of law, he stressed.
Further, he called on States to ratify and implement without delay all existing international conventions and protocols on terrorism. The development of an international legal instrument, such as the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, was an important endeavour of the international community in its attempt to strengthen the international legal framework aimed at combating terrorist acts. He recalled that the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 14 December 2012 on measures to eliminate international terrorism, in its paragraph 26, provided that the future meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee “shall be decided upon subject to substantive progress in its work”. In the absence of such progress, a pause in the negotiations might be considered.
RODOLFO REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba) reiterated his Government’s will to fight terrorism and deep condemnation of all terrorist acts, methods and practices in all their forms, regardless of motivation, including in cases that directly or indirectly involved States. Violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the promotion of xenophobia were breeding grounds of extremist ideologies. States must not accept acts of State aggression under the banner of anti-terrorism efforts, which was why a comprehensive convention was needed. Cuba was opposed to the interference into States’ internal affairs, which promoted internal conflict and must immediately cease. Double standards and unilateral acts contravened the Charter and ultimately promoted violence. He urged strengthening the United Nations functions in preparing a legal framework to combat terrorism.
He went on to stress that Cuba supported the adoption of a comprehensive convention that would allow for bridging legal gaps and compel States to condemn terrorist acts. Such an instrument must include the activities of armed forces and distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination. He favoured holding an international conference to provide an organized response to terrorism, rejecting in that context, the United States unfounded decision to include Cuba on an annual list of alleged States that sponsored terrorism. On numerous occasions, the General Assembly had reiterated its rejection of the blockade against Cuba by that country. Cuba would never allow its territory to be used for conducting, planning or financing terrorism.
By way of example, he cited a 27 February 2009 leaked United States cable, recognizing that there were no anti-United States terrorism groups in Cuba, and the fact that Cuba would not allow any such group to act for such purposes. The United States also had hidden the fact that Cuba had provided truthful information to the United Nations in support of combating terrorism. Indeed, the United States had used State terrorism in its policies against Cuba, bringing about over 3,000 deaths. He strongly rejected the use of terrorism for political purposes against Cuba, saying that United States authorities understood that Luis Posada Carriles was responsible for terrorist acts, yet continued to guarantee his impunity. Five Cuban heroes also had served more than 15 years of unjust imprisonment in the United States and he hoped they would soon be freed. In sum, a comprehensive instrument was needed to sanction terrorist acts and encourage States to work together towards those goals.
GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, reaffirming support for General Assembly resolution 46/51 (1992). Terrorism was a flagrant violation of international law, in particular the right to life. Such acts endangered States’ territorial integrity, destabilized legitimate Governments, and undermined the very basis of societies. It should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination for self-determination and national liberation. The use of State power to suppress peoples who were struggling against foreign occupation in exercise of their right to self-determination should continue to be condemned.
Further, he said terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality or ethnic group, and those attributions should not be used to justify terrorism, including the profiling of terror suspects and intrusion on privacy. He urged all States to fulfil their international legal obligations to combat terrorism, including by prosecuting or extraditing the perpetrators of terrorist acts and preventing the financing of such acts against other States from within or outside their territories, or by organizations based in their territories.
Rejecting the use or threat of use of force imposed by any State against any Non-Aligned Movement member country under the pretext of combating terrorism, he called on all States to refrain from extending political, diplomatic, moral or material support for terrorism, and urged States to ensure that refugee status was not abused by terrorists. He also encouraged States that had not done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the thirteen international instruments relating to combating terrorism, calling also for respecting all human rights and freedoms in countering terrorism. In sum, he reiterated the call for an international United Nations conference to formulate a joint organized response to terrorism, including identifying root causes. He also reiterated the importance of concluding a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism.
DORIS TIJERINO (Nicaragua), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that every year terrorist acts were becoming increasingly sophisticated. She rejected the double standards of some Member States, who, she said, condemned terrorist attacks in public, but continued to sponsor acts of terrorism. Terrorism could not and should not be associated with a particular religion or faith, she said. Furthermore, it was essential for Member States to make a clear distinction between acts of terrorism and the legitimate right of people living under foreign occupation to self-defence. State terrorism was “abominable”, yet it continued to enjoy impunity, she said, adding that her country was a victim of State terrorism. She reiterated her rejection of the double standards on terrorism and called for the universal struggle against terrorism to be open and coordinated in line with international humanitarian law.
WANG MIN (China) said that despite international efforts to combat the “phenomena of terrorism”, it was far from being eliminated. He also expressed concern over the increasing number of cyberspace attacks. China rejected terrorism in all its forms and advocated the rule of law in the fight against terrorism. National sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected in that struggle. In the same vein, he said there should be no double standards. Both the symptoms and the root causes of terrorism had to be addressed, as well as the gaps between the rich and the poor and the specificity of regional conflict. In the spirit of cooperation, China had hosted several rounds of bilateral consultations on terrorism, and promoted and participated in the regional fight against terrorism.
On a national level, the Government focused efforts on the prevention of terrorism by promoting economic development and improving education. In such a way, China believed it could eliminate the “breeding ground of terrorism”. He also believed that an international convention on terrorism would be a useful supplement for the international terrorism legal framework. Moreover, he said China was in favour of the idea to have a high-level conference, which it believed would offer policy guidelines to the international fight against terrorism.
ANA CRISTINA RODRÍGUEZ PINEDA (Guatemala) said that despite progress, the Committee’s stepped up efforts were needed, as was compliance with its mandate. A comprehensive convention would contribute to avoiding impunity for terrorists, which was among the greatest threats to international peace and security. It would facilitate cooperation to bring perpetrators to justice. In addition, it would provide a definition of terrorism, which in turn would help bridge gaps in the Security Council’s work and measures applied by its sanctions committees. Her Government was prepared to move forward.
She went on to say that the Committee had agreed last year to work to conclude its mandate, urging that efforts focus on outstanding issues, including article 18, and preserve agreements vis-à-vis other articles. Negotiations must be conducted in good faith. Indeed, there were many ways objectives could be achieved; consensus was not the only way. It was time for action and Guatemala was prepared to adopt the text. She had not heard any reason to delay its adoption. The Coordinator’s proposal was the right basis on which to achieve compromise. If any delegation presented a better option “we will be equally flexible”, she said, supporting the efforts of the Working Group Chair to overcome differences and conclude the convention as soon as possible.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI (India) said developed and developing, rich and poor countries alike had been brutally targeted by terrorists, underlining the importance of operational paragraph 2 of resolution 51/210 (1996), which outlined that criminal acts intended to provoke a state of terror in the general public were unjustifiable. India condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Tackling such behaviour required a holistic approach and collective action. The scope of legal instruments must be expanded to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice.
He went on to say that the Assembly had elaborated an International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and taken an incremental approach towards a framework for addressing terrorism. “In this task we have already reached an advanced state,” he said, citing the draft text. Indeed, the 2007 package presented a “viable and delicately balanced” text that had been proposed by the Coordinator. He cautioned against revisiting the articles of the draft comprehensive convention. A convention would strengthen the legal framework and India supported the Chair’s leadership in guiding the Committee towards a final text. As for a high-level conference, he said any such conference would be ideal after the adoption of a comprehensive convention, to allow for a stocktaking and identification of resources.
JOSÉ ANTONIO GONZALEZ (Chile) condemned all acts of terrorism as “criminal and unjustifiable” and called for efforts to combat terrorism to be in line with international law and standards, as well as international humanitarian law. He called for all Member States to condemn “firmly and unequivocally” all terrorist acts and bring its perpetrators to justice. Prolonged unresolved conflicts, violation of human rights, political exclusion, and socioeconomic marginalization were some of the root causes of terrorism; however, none of those causes could excuse or justify terrorism, he said.
Terrorism shook the very economic and social structure of society, spread fear and panic, and caused ample destruction and suffering. Reiterating the appeal of cooperation, he emphasised the work of the Organization of American States (OAS), in which his country was an active participant. Furthermore, he supported the conclusion of a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism, which he hoped would complement existing texts. Although Member States had not achieved agreement and differences were maintained on article 3, he said the “time has come” to adopt the comprehensive convention on terrorism. He called for flexibility and cooperation and said that Member States might have to accept the fact that “the only text possible might not be the best one for all delegations”.
IGOR A. PANIN (Russian Federation) said that when logic and mutual compromise prevailed, the international community could achieve genuine progress. “Such a compromise is needed here today,” he said. The conclusion of a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism would be a “historic step” for the United Nations, he said, adding that it should complement, rather than damage, existing regimes, including international humanitarian law. While the Ad Hoc Committee was in the process of analyzing whether there was an alternative to the 2007 proposed package, he believed it was premature to convene a high-level conference. He questioned the effectiveness of such a summit in the absence of an agreement on the convention. At the same time, he stood ready for further constructive dialogue for the convening of the Committee in 2014.
HOSSEIN GHARIBI (Iran), aligning with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as indiscriminate terrorist acts were criminal acts that could never be justified. Iran had long been the target of terrorism and understood its untold consequences for victims and society at large. “We are far from uprooting this menace,” he said, noting that many factors had contributed to terrorism, namely the unlawful use of force, foreign aggression and meddling in States’ internal affairs. Unlawful use of force and occupation prepared the ground for a vicious cycle of terrorism, he said, adding that the excessive use of military force in the name of eliminating terrorism had contributed to a sense of desperation in the target populations.
Indeed, terrorism had long been manipulated by some as political leverage against others, he said, noting that some worked with terrorists when it benefitted narrowly defined political interests. In that context, he cited some countries’ decision to delist a terrorist group that had killed thousands of Iranians from the list of terrorist groups. Terrorism could not be overcome without addressing State terrorism, which had been seen in the systematic killing of those living under occupation. State terrorism had assassinated elite human resources in developing countries, including a scientist in Iran. A unified approach was needed to fight that scourge.
He went on to say that attempts to tarnish any religion or culture by linking them with terrorism must be condemned, supporting efforts to promote dialogue and tolerance among all religions and civilizations. The Committee had drafted a number of international instruments to criminalize terrorist acts, but it had yet to finalize a comprehensive convention and he attached high importance to ongoing negotiations, recognizing all initiatives aimed at achieving consensus. Stressing that the convention should criminalize terrorist acts committed by States’ military forces, he said it also should provide a consensual definition of terrorism that distinguished between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples under foreign occupation for restoring their right to self-determination.
MOHAMMED A. S. AL-ATEEQI (Kuwait), aligning with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, underlining that no religion was at the heart of terrorism. He urged tackling the deep-rooted causes of such behaviour and promoting respect for religion and tolerance. The Committee’s important burden was to elaborate a terrorism convention. “The time has come to work seriously to achieve a solution accepted by all parties,” he said, including an accepted definition of terrorism that would cover all its manifestations, and adhere to both United Nations norms and international law. There was a need to unite efforts to bring the convention to a conclusion, which would provide a legal basis to fight terrorism and promote peace. In sum, Kuwait favoured a United Nations summit to devise a response to the terrorist threat.
HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia), aligning himself with the OIC, said that the occurrences of terrorist acts were showing no signs of abating. “It is becoming a norm to the point of many readily accepting it as an everyday occurrence,” he said. Condemning terrorism in all forms and manifestations, he said it could not be justified by any group irrespective of motivations and objectives. He believed that the conclusion of a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism would fill gaps in the existing sectoral conventions and enhance efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. Further, it would serve as a useful tool in the prevention and suppression of international terrorism and provide a practical framework for cooperation and coordination among States.
He called for the definition of terrorism to be all encompassing, in that it must include terrorist acts committed by States and non-State actors alike. It was equally important to distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of people under foreign occupation for liberation and self-determination. By the same token, terrorism should not be associated with any religion, race, culture, ethnic group or nationality. He reiterated the importance of convening a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations, which he believed would serve as an important way forward in addressing the challenge of global counter-terrorism efforts. The convening of the conference should not be made to hinge on the conclusion of the comprehensive convention.
ABDUL HAMEED (Pakistan), aligning himself with the OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country was one of the biggest victims of terrorist acts. He condemned terrorism in all its forms and reiterated that terrorism could not and should not be associated with any religion, race, culture or faith. Terrorism had a direct bearing on all regions and countries, as well as civilizations.
The “hydra-headed terrorist monster” would only be defeated by a globalized effort and comprehensive approach. The causes of terrorism also needed to be examined and overcome, he said, adding that any single solution, such a military intervention, would fail. He called for the conclusion by consensus of a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism. The General Assembly played an important role in bringing consensus against the “scourge of terrorism”. It was, however, unfortunate that not all groups had achieved agreement on the definition of terrorism in the convention. The current impasse was indicative of the challenges, but in no way should that discourage the efforts aimed at finding a solution. He supported the OIC position to hold a high-level conference, which should not be linked to the conclusion of the draft convention.
LEANDRO VIEIRA SILVA ( Brazil) reiterated his condemnation of terrorism, whatever its form or manifestation, as behaviour that could not be accepted under any circumstance. Noting that Brazil was committed to fighting terrorism and party to the 18 universal anti-terrorism instruments, he said terrorism must be addressed through a multidimensional approach that included recognition of its root causes. The United Nations must be at the forefront of such efforts.
Indeed, violence and intolerance took root amid political, economic and other injustices, he said, stressing: “We must guard against the dangerous rhetoric that fosters intolerance and prejudice.” The fight against terrorism must be guided by adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law. Supporting the conclusion of a comprehensive Convention and consensus on a “well-balanced” text, he said the 2007 package deal provided a good basis in that regard. Brazil supported a transparent negotiation process and welcomed the holding of a high-level conference under United Nations auspices.
FARID DAHMANE (Algeria), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, saying that international legislation adopted by Algeria in the field of counter-terrorism continued to grow. His country was party to all anti-terrorism conventions and supported a comprehensive global approach to combating that scourge, which should focus on legislative, cultural and other efforts. Algeria had contributed in the Review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Mediator of the Security Council’s 1267 Committee had improved the quality and quantity of that group’s work, he added.
At a subregional and African level, the African Centre for the Study of Counter-Terrorism was based in Algiers, he said. In the context of the African Union, Algeria had played a role in addressing hostage-taking and the payment of ransoms, activities that had allowed terrorists to expand their activities. Algeria attached a special importance to finalizing the draft international convention and urged pursuit of a compromise on an instrument that would lend “renewed momentum” to the fight against terrorism.
He also stressed the importance of the transparent and exclusive nature of negotiations, adding that the convention must be in line with established international legal practices and standards and include a consensus definition. A high-level conference on that topic was more relevant today than ever. Mindful of paragraph 27 — which stated that the Committee’s next meeting would depend on substantive progress made — he asked whether the current format was the most conducive for concluding discussions and urged moving to one that would allow for “taking advantage of time” to make tangible progress. He concluded by saying that the legal debate was more topical than ever and suggesting the holding of an international conference.
STEVEN HILL (United States) said he was committed to strengthening multilateral counter-terrorism efforts, in particular the counter-terrorism legal framework. Supporting the conclusion of a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism, he said it would strengthen the principle that all acts of terrorism were criminal, inhumane and unjustifiable, regardless of motives and objectives. He was willing to consider the adoption of the 2007 proposal if it meant reaching a consensus and ending the impasse. He was concerned that the current stalemate continued to undermine the solidarity of counter-terrorism. He said if no consensus was reached in the days in which the Committee meets, it was worth considering various proposals, such as a pause in the Committee’s work.
KOUSSAY ABDULJABBAR ALDAHHAK (Syria) condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as unjustified acts of violence. At the moment, his country was subject to violence by terrorist groups that had come to Syria under the pretext of “holy war”. Those terrorist groups were destroying the country’s social fabric and infrastructure, as well as public and private assets, he said. That had resulted in the killing and displacement of thousands of people. Just today, he said, the city of Damascus was attacked by terrorists, resulting in the death of dozens of Syrians.
Despite international recognition that terrorist activities were being committed in Syria, some continued to support those terrorist groups by providing them with arms, supplies and shelter. He asked: “How can a terrorist group such as the Al-Nasser Group, which is responsible for more than 600 terrorist acts in Syria, continue its acts if it were not for external support?” He condemned terrorism conducted by States and extremist terrorist groups, which issued fatwa under the guise of religion, and questioned the role of social media in inciting jihad in Syria and other Arab countries.
He reaffirmed the need to fight against hostage takings and ransom. He called on all States to abide by their obligations to combat terrorist activities and to do so in good faith, and to fight against intolerance and xenophobia. It was essential to arrive at a clear definition of terrorism and to distinguish between terrorism and the fight against foreign occupation. It was also necessary to address the threat caused by States that sponsored and carried out terrorist acts in their self-interest. He condemned Israel’s terrorist acts in the occupied Palestinian territories and hoped that the Ad Hoc Committee’s consultations would be successful in ensuring the elimination of terrorism.
ADY SCHONMANN (Israel) said terrorism — rooted in intolerance, instability and hatred — was all too often cultivated by State support. It was fertilized by incitement, especially through the internet, which was easily exploited to recruit, train and fund violence. It thrived in a climate of impunity and fed a cycle of hatred that spawned generations of extremism. “There is an elephant in the room in this debate,” she declared, stressing that some were content to condemn terrorism that took place in their backyards, yet condone — or even support — attacks carried out elsewhere. Such duplicity could not be reconciled with a genuine intent to counter terrorism.
Whether carried out under the veil of martyrdom or liberation, “terrorism cannot be tolerated”, she said, reiterating support for a comprehensive convention that would make clear that no cause or grievance justified terrorism, in any form or manifestation, without exception or exclusion. At the same time, effectiveness and principle could not be sacrificed on the altar of consensus. It was essential not to forfeit an effective definition of terrorism for the sake of expediency by diluting its very purpose. Nor should a convention extend to State military action, which was governed by entirely different international legal regimes.
Mr. AL-MAJEED (Iraq) recalled that a terrorist act in Iraq had killed former United Nations Special Envoy Sergio de Mello, and since that time, Iraq had been the target of terrorism. In the context of the United Nations framework to fight such abuse, Iraq had taken measures inspired by the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. At the international level, Iraq adhered to most international instruments to combat terrorism and was working to adhere to the rest. In that context, his Government created a national committee to comply with international obligations and follow up on Security Council resolutions.
Regionally, he said Iraq adhered to a number of conventions in the framework of the League of Arab States and was working to bring perpetrators to justice. Having adopted a counter-terrorism law and one to compensate victims, Iraq supported international efforts to implement the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as that struggle should lead to cooperation within the framework of international law. In sum, he reaffirmed the need to combat terrorism, compensate victims, uphold States’ rights and not criminalize peoples’ exercise of their right to self-determination.
KIM SAENG (Republic of Korea) said that terrorist acts served as grim reminders of the threats to international peace and security. Expressing solidarity with the victims of terrorism, he said there was no excuse or justification for such heinous acts. In that regard, countering and combating terrorism should be in line with international humanitarian law and standards. He welcomed the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy as a “robust anchor” in the “holistic” approach to combating terrorism.
He noted the ongoing efforts of the Secretary-General in advancing global solidarity on counter-terrorism. Member States must seize the opportunity and redouble efforts to achieve the conclusion of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism. On the matter of the high-level conference proposed by Egypt, he said he shared the view of some delegations that it would be more appropriate to hold such a summit following the conclusion of the convention, when more resources would be available.
Mr. MACKAY (Belarus) said he would spare no effort in ensuring that deliberations were successful. Backing the proposed draft of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, he expressed concern about the current lack of consensus, which he believed was essential to conclude the process. The process of combating terrorism should respect each country’s sovereignty and right to self-determination. Further, it was essential to include in the convention a clear definition of terrorism, one which would include the distinction between terrorism and the right of people to defend themselves against occupation and achieve self-determination.
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