Against the backdrop of recent deadly terrorist attacks around the world, and ahead of a key General Assembly special session on the issue in June, the Security Council heard calls today for action to combat the threat posed by terrorism to global peace and security.
“Terrorism and violent extremism are global threats, transcending cultures and geographical boundaries,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the outset of the Council’s open debate on the matter. They should not be associated with any religion, nationality or ethnic group, he said, emphasizing the need to engage communities, focus on preventing conflict and resolve long-standing conflicts.
Noting that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) had exploited the Internet and social media to attract more than 30,000 recruits from around the world, he emphasized the importance of implementing the relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, in order to stop the group’s ability to raise funds by smuggling oil and gas and by trafficking in cultural artefacts.
He stressed, however, that the values enshrined in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights and humanitarian law must be respected in combating violent extremism and countering terrorism. All too often, that basic premise had been broken or ignored, with heavy-handed strategies turning out to be counterproductive. Looking ahead to the General Assembly’s review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in June, he expressed hope that Member States would agree on a strong outcome resolution that would reinforce international unity in the face of the divisions that terrorist groups and violent extremists sought to create.
Several dozen speakers in the ensuing open debate discussed ways to cut off sources of terrorist financing, halt the cross-border flow of foreign terrorist fighters and prevent terrorists from using the Internet and social media to stir up support and enlist fresh recruits. They also discussed ways to enhance the role of the United Nations in coordinating global counter-terrorism efforts, with the Security Council playing a leading role.
Many delegates focused on the struggle against ISIL, with the Russian Federation’s representative stating that the recent liberation of Syria’s historic city of Palmyra symbolized the hard blow that his country’s recent air operations had dealt the group’s fighters.
The representative of the United States, citing recent terrorist attacks in Lahore, Brussels, Istanbul and Mogadishu, stressed that terrorism was not limited to any one country, region or faith. At the same time, she cautioned against using terrorism as a reason to clamp down on freedom of expression and opinion on the Internet.
Syria’s representative noted that foreign Governments, including Council members, continued to politicize terrorism while terrorists continued to target Syria, exacting a terrible toll. Some attempted to justify their military interference in Syria by claiming to be combating Da’esh, but Syria was the main stakeholder fighting terrorism in the region, he said, calling for full and robust implementation of the relevant Council resolutions.
Jordan’s representative stressed the need for Arab and other Muslims to defend Islam and the Middle East against terrorism by improving the ability of local actors to understand its root causes. It was regrettable that people and countries feared Islam, while it was Arabs and Muslims who endured greater suffering from terrorism’s effects than anyone else.
Israel’s representative called for moral clarity, saying the Council had not condemned recent attacks in his country. He stressed that the lives of the people killed in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, were no less precious than those who had died in Paris and Brussels.
Senegal’s representative said the international community must urgently provide support to West Africa and the Sahel region for the implementation of national action plans and subregional counter-terrorism initiatives. All counter-terrorism initiatives should address ignorance, marginalization, discrimination, bad governance, lack of socioeconomic prospects and misinterpretation of religion, he emphasized, noting that the military approach was not enough.
Mexico and Ukraine were among delegations that called for the elaboration of an international convention on terrorism. India’s representative favoured a legal framework to criminalize foreign terrorist fighters, but voiced regret over the lack of transparency in the current United Nations sanctions regimes. Italy’s representative said that implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development could address terrorism’s root causes.
Pakistan’s representative underlined the growing complexity of the problem, as seen in the emergence of small terrorist cells and the perpetuation of “lone wolf” attacks. Brazil’s representative cited his country’s security preparations in the run-up to the 2016 Olympic Games, to be held in Rio de Janeiro.
Iran’s representative, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized that terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle for self-determination and national liberation on the part of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation.
Some speakers condemned double-standards, with Nicaragua’s representative noting that some countries claimed to favour the eradication of terrorism, while sheltering, financing and sending terrorists to effect regime change and oppress people in other States. War-mongering under the banner of the war on terror had left once-prosperous nations in ruins, she said.
Sweden’s representative, speaking also for Denmark, Finland and Norway, stated: “Dialogue is the best long-term method for neutralizing the divisive forces of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.”
Also speaking today were representatives of Egypt, New Zealand, Angola, Malaysia, Spain, United Kingdom, France, Uruguay, Japan, Venezuela, China, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Colombia, Switzerland, Philippines, Australia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Germany, Iraq, Indonesia, Algeria, Netherlands, Morocco, South Africa, Singapore, Qatar, Cambodia, Maldives, Kenya, Cuba, Estonia, Georgia, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Romania, Belgium, Turkey, Canada, Sri Lanka, Argentina and Ethiopia, as well as speakers representing the African Union, European Union, Holy See and the League of Arab States.
Taking the floor a second time were representatives of Israel and Iran.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m., suspended at 1:15 p.m., resumed at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 7:53 p.m.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, noted that recent attacks around the world had destroyed lives, heightened fear and defied all norms of international law and common humanity. “Terrorism and violent extremism are global threats, transcending cultures and geographical boundaries,” he said. “They should not be associated with any one religion, nationality or ethnic group.” Emphasizing the need to address the drivers of violent extremism, he said that his Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism called upon States to engage key communities, focus on conflict prevention and resolve long-standing conflicts.
On Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), he noted that the group raised funds through nefarious activities while using the Internet and social media to radicalize and recruit disaffected youth. More than 30,000 people from around the world had joined its campaigns in Iraq and Syria, representing a significant security threat to their own or third countries upon their return. There was need to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as additional concrete steps to stop fundraising through the smuggling of oil and gas, the illicit trade in cultural artefacts, kidnapping for ransom and donations from abroad, he stressed.
Global and regional solutions — involving Governments, private enterprise and civil society — would curtail the ability of terrorist groups to exploit the Internet in order to radicalize and recruit young people, he continued. However, in preventing violent extremism and countering terrorism, shared values reflected in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights and humanitarian law must be respected, he emphasized, adding that all too often, that basic understanding had been broken or ignored. Courage would be needed to address difficult situations, such as the support that violent extremists and terrorists might receive from Governments, whether directly, indirectly and perhaps even unintentionally.
He went on to point out that all too often, counter-terrorism strategies were so heavy-handed and discriminatory that they ended up being counterproductive, generating further alienation among targeted communities and even more terrorists than there had been beforehand. Through the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and the Capacity Building Implementation Plan, the United Nations system had produced an “all-of-UN” approach to help Member States in their struggle, he said. Looking ahead to the General Assembly’s review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on its tenth anniversary, he said that he hoped for consensus among Member States on a strong outcome resolution that would reinforce international unity in the face of the divisions that terrorist groups and violent extremists sought to create, with the Security Council playing a key role.
AMR ABDELATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt), emphasizing his Government’s broad experience in fighting terrorism, said a global approach was vital and must address all its causes, including Islamophobia and policies that exacerbated marginalization and perpetuated occupation, which affected the dignity of people whose lands were occupied. Terrorist groups used violence to reach their aims and it was important to stymie the development tools they used, which worked very swiftly, giving the groups an unprecedented ability to manoeuvre. United Nations resolutions and recommendations should be reflected in concrete steps on the ground, he stressed. It was essential to strengthen national capacity, fight terrorist messaging, and fully implement Council resolutions on financing terrorism. Describing the presence of foreign terrorist fighters was one of world’s most serious threats facing the world today, he recalled that the Counter-Terrorism Committee had adopted guidelines to counter them in July 2015. A firm position was needed against foreign terrorist flows and other parties carrying out terrorist actions, and the international community could not remain indifferent. It must reach a common understanding to tackle terrorism without undermining the principles of free expression, he said.
GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand) said the past two years had been the bloodiest on record. No country was safe from terrorism, and greater efforts were needed to ensure the effective implementation of counter-terrorism measures such as the designation of terrorists and terrorist organizations, as well as steps to suppress the financing of terrorism. Emphasizing that security cooperation was essential, he said New Zealand was doing its part by supporting efforts by the Government of Iraq to combat ISIL/Da’esh. However, a comprehensive approach was crucial to addressing terrorism’s underlying causes. To close critical gaps in international counter-terrorism efforts, strategies were needed to address the social challenges and security risks posed by foreign fighters returning to home and travelling to third countries. As important as security and law enforcement were rehabilitation and reintegration, information-sharing and judicial cooperation. The Council must take forward the relevant recommendations from the Secretary-General’s recent report on preventing violent extremism, he said, underlining the need for national responses tailored to the circumstances of specific countries and communities.
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said terrorism was spreading widely and dangerously in Africa, threatening peace, stability and security throughout the continent. Resolving the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Mali would have a direct impact on the forces driving ISIL terrorism. Initiatives undertaken by the Government of Angola included the establishment of the National Anti-Terrorism Observatory which brought together experts from various departments. Legislation was in place to impose heavy prison terms on anyone collaborating with terrorist groups, and to combat the financing of terrorism, he said.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that despite efforts at the United Nations and at the regional level, terrorist attacks and violent extremism had been on the rise, reflecting greater complexity and sophistication. “Terror has become a horrifying enterprise,” he said, underlining the need for an international response that would ensure respect for human rights. Islam had been misrepresented by heretics, but it was gratifying that the world had not been persuaded by misrepresentations of the faith, he said, emphasizing that it was important for moderate and peace-loving Muslims to present the correct narrative. The path to salvation went through righteous deeds, not self-annihilation, he said. Recalling his own country’s experience with terrorism, he said peace had been won through security, development and a place for everyone under the Malaysian sun.
JUAN MANUEL GONZÁLEZ DE LINARES PALOU (Spain) emphasized the vital importance of tackling the 2016 global strategic review with the same determination as efforts at striking and defeating terrorism. The world could not let down its guard. On cybersecurity, he stressed the need to develop new instruments in order to cut off oxygen for terrorism. Spain would examine opportunities to increase international judicial cooperation, he said, adding that the Secretary-General’s Action Plan must be carried out comprehensively. Strategies must involve all social sectors and lead to the development of effective narratives to counter terrorism. Spain had established a terrorism coordination and information centre, launched a “stop radicalization” site, as well as a confidential phone line to report suspected terrorism and an “Alert Cops” phone app, he said, noting that 45 per cent of calls had proven worthy of police investigation. During its Presidency in October 2015, Spain had brought the voices of terrorism victims to the Council, he recalled, urging the creation of the post of high-level representative of the Secretary-General against violent extremism.
MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said that Da’esh, with its warped ideology and false claims, was a challenge to the core values that bound the world. The United Nations was playing its part by adopting ground-breaking resolutions to tackle the group, which had lost 40 per cent of the territory it had once held in Iraq. Its hold had also diminished significantly in Syria, a trend that must continue. It was essential to stop the flow of money to Da’esh and silence its message of hate, he emphasized, noting that United Nations efforts to that end were working. Everyone had a role to play in sustaining that trend, he said, calling on partners in the region to cut off border resources and further bolster the already strong coalition against kidnap-for-ransom payments. But to truly shut down the finances of Da’esh, all States must work together. Such groups must be targeted resolutely and consistently, and it was vital to silence their messages of hate. The United Kingdom was working with the police to end extremism and terrorism online, and provided civil society groups with effective online counter-narratives, he said. Requests to remove online extremist and terrorist propaganda averaged 1,000 per week, and most were Da’esh-related, he said. That was a good example of how Governments could work with industry to end the group’s online appeal without curbing rights and freedoms on the Internet.
SAMANTHA POWER (United States), citing the recent terrorist attacks in Lahore, Brussels, Istanbul and Mogadishu, said the threat of terrorism was not limited to one country or region, or to members of one faith, nor limited to any one battlefield. It was important to redouble efforts to counter recruitment, radicalization and propaganda. Emphasizing the need to strengthen information sharing and international cooperation, she said that a shared commitment to addressing the threat of chemical weapons in terrorist hands should not diminish determination to identify State actors involved in the use of such weapons. On efforts to combat use of the Internet by terrorists, she said they could not be conflated with censoring or shutting down parts of the web, cautioning that imposing wide-ranging limits would mean abandoning the commitment to freedom of expression and opinion. It was ISIL and Al-Qaida who were most afraid of the truth, she noted, adding that while terrorists posed a clear threat, overreacting to the danger they posed could put core freedoms at risk.
PHILIPPE BERTOUX (France), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union, said the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters had reached worrisome proportions for his country. Outlining measures taken by the Government of France, he said it would co-host a meeting with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on countering terrorism through education. Noting that financing for Da’esh had been significantly undermined by coalition air strikes that had forced the group to reduce pay for its fighters, he said that besides a three-point plan to combat terrorist financing, France had brought to the attention of antiques dealers the trafficking of art works from Iraq and Syria that could finance Da’esh. Any initiative to combat online terrorist propaganda should ensure respect for freedom of expression, he said, adding that in the long term, shared responsibility to combat terrorism must go hand in hand with upholding human rights.
FODÉ SECK (Senegal) said the international community must urgently provide support to West Africa and the Sahel region for the implementation of national action plans and subregional counter-terrorism initiatives. Support was also needed for the African Union strategy and G5 Sahel decisions to combat terrorism. All counter-terrorism initiatives should address ignorance, marginalization, discrimination, bad governance, lack of socioeconomic prospects and misinterpretation of religion, he emphasized, noting that the military approach was not enough. There must be support for initiatives that prioritized dialogue, tolerance and understanding, he said, adding that intolerance could never be associated with a religion, nationality or ethnic group. Recalling that Senegal had adopted a law to combat terrorism financing, in 2009, he stressed the importance of making the international financial system more secure, and called upon Member States to partnerships with the private sector and civil society. Steps to counter terrorism financing should not prejudice migrants and refugees. Recalling the importance of a recent West Africa regional border-control workshop, he said it was important to draw upon the June review of the United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy so as to ensure it remained relevant.
ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), firmly condemning all forms of terrorism, urged support for national strategies, the sharing of best practices, and partnerships with civil society in countering the menace. Uruguay was committed to strengthening the global counter-terrorism strategy, he said, emphasizing that prevention was essential. States must work to prevent the training of terrorist groups and complicity with them. Legal frameworks, as well as stable operational and institutional structures, were needed to fight terrorism, and Uruguay was carrying out efforts to address weaknesses in its institutional capabilities, he said, recalling that the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism had entered into force in the country on 3 April.
VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said that primary responsibility for halting the movement of foreign terrorist fighters rested with source countries. In 2015, he recalled, Ukraine had identified and shut down eight ISIL transit points and deported 21 of the group’s supporters. Voicing full support for the Secretary-General’s Action Plan, he cautioned that fighting terrorism exclusively by military means would have no lasting effect. Terrorism was topical for Ukraine had been dealing with the challenge of terrorist activities in its Donbas region, carried out with direct support from the Russian Federation since 2014, he said, calling for additional international pressure on that country “to stop war and terrorism in the heart of Europe”. A comprehensive convention on international terrorism would supplement the existing international framework and give States a useful tool for combating terrorism. One major obstacle, however, was determining a clear definition of an act of terrorism, he said, noting that tackling that problem would enable the international community to address outstanding issues more efficiently.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said the struggle against terrorism had been far from ideal, as seen from its spread in the Middle East, where readiness to use extremist measures to pressure Governments had led to the emergence of such groups as ISIL. The bulk of the group’s oil and artefact exports continued to go through Turkey, aided by that country’s complacency and inaction, he said, proposing the closure of the Syria-Turkey border, with international monitors confirming whether the latter was doing all in its power to curtail cross-border flows. Noting that terrorist fighters had demonstrated the capacity to use chemical weapons over the past year, he said Russian air operations in Syria had dealt a hard blow to them, as symbolized by the liberation of Palmyra. Regarding the statement by Ukraine’s representative, he said today’s agenda did not include the situation in that country.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan), strongly condemning all forms of terrorism, noted that an estimated 30,000 foreign terrorist fighters were involved with ISIL/Da’esh and associated groups. To stem their flow, it was important to ensure implementation of all relevant Council resolutions, particularly 2178 (2014), which called upon Member States to enhance security by providing advance passenger information and passenger record name systems. To track down foreign fighters who travelled through third countries to avoid detection — known as “broken travel” — it was essential to obtain passengers’ passport and booking information, including the names of travel companions and payment methods, he emphasized. However, only one quarter of Member States had introduced the advance passenger system, and even fewer had the passenger record system, which made it difficult to detect broken travel. Calling upon all Member States to introduce the systems as soon as possible, he said Japan was on high alert for terrorist attacks targeting important upcoming events and was committed to enhancing counter-terrorism steps to make visitors feel safe.
RAFAEL DARIO RAMIREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said that the military interventions in Iraq in 2003 and in Libya in 2011 had created the conditions for Da’esh and Al-Qaida, among other terrorist groups, to develop in the Middle East. It was important to consider their effect on those two countries, where more than 30,000 individuals had joined those groups. Their reprehensible practices had led to unprecedented humanitarian violence rooted in violent extremism and sectarianism, he said, emphasizing that those responsible must be brought to justice. Noting that terrorist groups were fuelled by despair and the lack of fundamental freedoms, he said the situations in Syria, Libya, Iraq and the State of Palestine required a political solution. The Council must work to stop the flow of terrorism financing, he said, asking how the international financial system had allowed such funding flows. The Council must also adopt a resolution prohibiting the trafficking of small arms and light weapons, he added, voicing support for an inclusive United Nations counter-terrorism strategy that involved the constructive participation of all members.
LIU JIEYI (China), Council President for April, spoke in his national capacity, describing terrorism as the common enemy of humankind. The international community should use political, economic and cultural means in an integrated manner to address terrorism’s symptoms and root causes, with the United Nations and the Security Council playing a leading role. China called for action on the cross-border flow of terrorists, use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, the elimination of funding sources and the trafficking in weapons, oil and artefacts. There was need for robust legislation against incitement to terrorism, and for an international environment that would discourage its spread. In China, the East Turkestan terrorist movement seriously threatened national and regional stability, he said, quoting the country’s President as having said that the Government would fight terrorists on the domestic and international fronts at the same time.
JUAN JOSÉ GÓMEZ CAMACHO (Mexico) underlined the need to act in strict compliance with international law, and for terrorism not to be associated with any religion, nationality or ethnic group. Civil society and humanitarian organizations were adept in formulating anti-terrorism measures, he said, emphasizing the importance of greater coherence and coordination among different United Nations bodies involved in combating terrorism. There was also a need for a preventative approach involving State capacity-building, and for strengthening development. In preventing violent extremism, it was crucial to consider the implications since there was a risk of punishing actions that did not constitute terrorism, he warned.
ABDALLAH AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia) cited violent hate crimes that terrorized Muslims worldwide, saying they were unjust and only served to fuel discrimination. Emphasizing the essential importance of fully implementing Council resolutions 1624 (2005), 2178 (2014) and all other Council texts relevant to fighting terrorism, he said Saudi Arabia’s efforts focused on halting terrorist cells. It had given $10 million for a specialized nuclear counter-terrorism centre within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and €500 million to modernize labs that would address cyber threats. He said the failure to denounce Israel’s official terrorism and Judaization policies, which perpetuated impunity for terrorism, were crimes against humanity, as well as war crimes. Saudi Arabia had adopted a firm position against interference in Iran, which sought to create conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violence by supporting such militias as Hizbullah in Lebanon and financing terrorist groups in Bahrain. In view of the worsening threat of terrorism in Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia had established the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism, he said.
KATALIN ANNAMARÍA BOGYAY (Hungary) said her country fully supported the inclusive approach set forth in the Secretary-General’s recent Action Plan, as well as all international and regional efforts aimed at cutting off funding sources for terrorism. Hungary’s Criminal Code criminalized terrorism financing and money-laundering for such purposes, and efforts by the relevant national financial intelligence units must be harmonized on the basis of shared information and joint investigations to more effectively hamper the capacity of terrorist organizations to function and survive. The recent tragedies in Brussels were a painful reminder of the importance of stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. More effective border control was needed to manage security threats, she said, calling for interoperable databases and real-time information sharing. It was essential to support all efforts to confront distorted terrorist propaganda, including steps by Muslim communities and imams, as well as other opinion leaders, to differentiate between Islam as a religion and Da’esh propaganda, she emphasized.
TÉTE ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer for the African Union, reiterated that regional organization’s strong and unequivocal rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, saying recent attacks had shocked the international community’s conscience. Terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization, nor should it be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under foreign occupation to achieve their inalienable right to self-determination, he emphasized.
Elaborating on the ways in which the African Union was responding to the problem, he cited the January Summit of the body’s Peace and Security Council, which had agreed to step up efforts to establish regional cooperation mechanisms to address specific transnational threats. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) had made progress against Al-Shabaab, and any reduction in resources would have a tremendous impact on the gains realized so far, he said. Expressing deep concern over financial flows from outside Africa in support of terrorist and extremist groups, he underscored the need to have them fully investigated.
CARLOS ARTURO MORALES LÓPEZ (Colombia) noted that citizens were seen every day fighting in conflicts that were alien to them and far from their places of origin. Joint efforts were needed to fight terrorism, violent extremism and hate speech, he said, while emphasizing the need to respect international standards and the rule of law, as the only way to stop the threat from growing stronger. Strong ties between terrorism and transnational organized crime had enabled terrorism to grow in size and scope, he said, pointing out that terrorism evolved daily. Only through concerted efforts could it be addressed, but the fight would not be successful without a general convention on terrorism. Decisions must be taken, difficult as that might be, he stated.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said his country supported the creation of a legal framework to criminalize foreign terrorist fighters, he said. Emphasizing that the Council’s sanctions committees must be more responsive to requests by Member States for preventive listings to counter terrorists, he said they must more vigorously follow up on complaints about violations by listed individuals and entities. Procedures on anonymity and unanimity in relation to the Al-Qaida, Taliban and ISIL sanctions committees must be revisited because they lacked accountability, he said, pointing out that each of their members now enjoyed veto power and nobody else was told who had wielded a veto in any specific instance. Counter-terrorism mechanisms such as sanctions committees, which acted on behalf of the international community, must build trust, not engender impunity by using the “hidden veto”, he stressed.
OLOF SKOOG (Sweden), speaking also on behalf of Denmark, Finland and Norway, recalled that in March, terrorists had attacked eight cities in Africa, Asia and Europe, targeting the foundation of peaceful, democratic and open societies. Sweden supported a balanced implementation of the Global Counter-terrorism Strategy, he said, adding that security measures must be strengthened and Council resolutions implemented fully to halt funds flowing to terrorist groups. States must also tackle the root causes of violent extremism and terrorism, and ensure that tailor-made approaches to implementation of the strategy produced on-the-ground results. A coordinated United Nations approach was essential, as was maximizing results with scarce resources. “Dialogue is the best long-term method for neutralizing the divisive forces of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia,” he said. “The strongest counter-narrative against polarization is inclusive societies.”
OLIVIER MARC ZEHNDER (Switzerland), emphasizing that national security was inextricably linked to human security and human rights, said his country had developed a foreign policy action plan for preventing violent extremism. On 7 and 8 April, Switzerland and the United Nations had organized a conference on preventing violent terrorism, in which 135 Member States had participated. They had presented their views on the Secretary-General’s Action Plan and highlighted the need for a more comprehensive, balanced approach to tackling terrorism, including systematic steps to prevent violent extremism. Those and other conclusions of the conference could make a useful contribution to strategies moving forward, he said.
LOURDES ORTIZ YPARRAGUIRRE (Philippines) said that preventing and countering terrorism entailed engaging non-traditional Government agencies, as well as academia and the private sector, in implementing awareness campaigns. For its part, the Philippines had passed laws to combat terrorism financing, collaborated with partners on joint efforts and shared information with regional groups to address issues of grave concern, such as foreign fighters. Prevention efforts included attempts to detect and halt threats from violent extremists, and deradicalization programmes were being bolstered through partnerships with local religious leaders and schools, she said. Going forward, it was to be hoped that the June review of the Global Strategy would infuse new and effective ideas into the collective approach so as to ensure long-term success.
CAITLIN WILSON (Australia) noted that the United Nations had a unique role in preventing and fighting terrorism through its conventions, resolutions and sanctions regimes. For its part, Australia had established partnerships and worked bilaterally to help in building capacities to combat terrorism. Going forward, Governments must work together and engage the private sector in contesting the social media space used by such groups as Da’esh. Expressing support for the Council resolution addressing the threat of foreign terrorist fighters and the Secretary-General’s Action Plan, she said the June review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy would be a key opportunity to ensure that international efforts were making progress.
CARLOS DUARTE (Brazil) said his country had redoubled its efforts to counter terrorism as it prepared to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It had created platforms for exchanging information and good practices, as well as for sharing intelligence. The absence of a universally agreed definition of terrorism was detrimental to the shared goal of eliminating it, he said, emphasizing the need to properly establish the relationship between such concepts as “terrorism” and “violent extremism”. Prevention was always the best policy and due attention should be given to terrorism’s underlying causes, including those associated with social, political, cultural and economic exclusion. He called upon States to take a critical look at certain responses to the current refugee crisis, which could be increasing rather than decreasing the risks associated with the violent extremism that was conducive to terrorism, he warned. He urged the Council not to lose sight of the protracted conflicts that directly or indirectly fuelled terrorist agendas, including the Israel-Palestine conflict.
MARGARETA KASSANGANA-JAKUBOWSKA (Poland) said counter-terrorism efforts should target root causes and examine the radicalization of youth, which was triggered by such issues as unemployment and lack of education. Effective efforts should begin with an adequate national legal mechanism and close international cooperation between security forces to address the problem of foreign fighters and to promote greater social inclusiveness. Ensuring access to education, and working with local communities and media to raise awareness among youth through the Internet and social media were critical steps in combating violent extremism and its messages. Welcoming Council actions to halt the financing of terrorist groups, she called upon the international community to implement all relevant Council resolutions.
DANNY DANON (Israel) recalled that his country had endured more than 300 attacks in the last six months alone, adding that 34 people had been killed and hundreds injured. Moral clarity was needed to defeat such terrorism, he said, emphasizing that there could be no double standards. Since the beginning of that wave of terrorism, the Council had not condemned a single attack against Israel, he said, stressing: “The lives of Israelis killed in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are no less precious than Europeans murdered in Paris and Brussels.” The Council must condemn attacks on Israelis and speak out against all terrorist groups, including Hizbullah, which it had yet to label a terrorist organization, he said, stressing that Council resolution 1701 (2006) must be enforced and Hizbullah disarmed. Noting that Iran had recently tested ballistic missiles with the words “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” written in Hebrew on them, he said that such a threat by one Member State against another was outrageous and unacceptable. The Council’s voice must be heard and Iran must be condemned.
JOÃO VALE DE ALMEIDA of the European Union delegation said that cutting off the sources of terrorist financing was imperative, yet increasingly challenging. While tracking systems such as the Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme were key tools in detecting the movement of funds, there was need also to focus on “low-cost” terrorist operations that could still have devastating effects. Following the adoption of Security Council resolution 2199 (2015), the European Union had begun a review of its legislative framework in order to meet enhanced requirements for the criminalization of financing terrorism. The European Commission had proposed a draft directive on combating terrorism, the adoption of which was expected by the end of 2016, he said.
Stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and dealing with their return was another complex challenge for which international cooperation was needed, he continued. It was increasingly important to ensure that such fighters were not replaced by new, younger and more technically sophisticated recruits. The European Union was undertaking efforts to support the sharing of knowledge through the Radicalization Awareness Network and its Centre of Excellence. Externally, the regional bloc was an active member of such initiatives as the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum and its working groups. Calling for education, youth participation, interfaith and intercultural dialogue and employment possibilities, he said the European Union was developing a series of concrete actions under the Strategic Framework for European Cooperation on Education and Training, among other frameworks.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan) warned that, given the current landscape, it was only a matter of time before nuclear weapons fell into the hands of terrorist groups. President Nursultan Nazerbayev had made a number of recommendations to counter that threat, including a proposal at the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., whereby the United Nations would guide a global coalition committed to peace, stability, trust and security. Current United Nations mechanisms, including the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, should also be made into legally binding instruments through Security Council resolutions, he said, calling upon all delegations to support that approach and speedily adopt a comprehensive document on international terrorism. For its part, Kazakhstan had acceded to relevant instruments and had hosted conferences with a view to consolidating counter-terrorism efforts, he said.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said the terrorist threat had become more pervasive, and had evolved in complex and unpredictable directions. A multitude of small cells comprising terrorists and violent extremists, perpetuating guerrilla-style or “lone wolf” attacks, had emerged. Stressing the need to recognize the interplay between local and international factors to prevent violent extremism that led to terrorism, she said the focus on prevention should not be at the expense of counter-terrorism measures. Describing her country’s National Action Plan, she said Operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched in June 2014, was the largest anti-terror campaign anywhere in the world, and it had produced remarkable results. A focused campaign was also under way against terrorist sleeper cells, their supporters, sympathizers and financiers, she added.
THOMAS SCHIEB (Germany) said that, alongside like-minded Member States, his country strongly supported strengthening the Office of the Ombudsperson with in relation to the ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions regime set forth in Council resolution 2252 (2015). Where required, the fight against terrorism must be conducted militarily, as illustrated by the international alliance against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, he said, noting that Germany provided material and personnel support for the alliance and was leading efforts to train and equip Kurdish forces in northern Iraq. Germany was also working with service providers to increase awareness about the use of social media platforms by terrorist organizations to gain new recruits. Emphasizing the need to demystify the romantic image of the jihadist struggle, he said it was also necessary to refute the West’s alleged opposition to Islam by pointing out that Muslim citizens were an integral part of Western societies.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, underscored the importance of prevention, emphasizing that long-term counter-terrorism solutions should be based on an understanding of the forces that alienated individuals and young people in particular. Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would play a pivotal role in that regard, as would women’s empowerment and engagement with youth. Calling for full implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions, he stressed the importance of balancing national ownership with international cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism. There was no “one-size-fits-all” solution, he said, calling for a “whole-Government” and “whole-society” approach that engaged community leaders, women and youth associations, the private sector and the media. It was imperative to cut off terrorism’s financing sources by implementing the relevant Security Council resolutions, he said, recalling that Italy had served as Co-Chair of the Counter-ISIL Finance Group which had met in Rome last week.
MOHAMED ALI ALHAKIM (Iraq), underlining the need to cut off funding to ISIL/Da’esh and to end the cross-border smuggling of oil, expressed hope that the Council would not let up in its efforts to end the illicit trafficking of oil, weapons and cultural relics. Commercial links with terrorists were a threat in and of themselves, he said, emphasizing that those who deliberately overlooked Council resolutions must be stopped from doing so. Individuals, societies and States who worked with ISIL/Da’esh must be placed on sanctions lists and held to account, he said, pointing out that the group exploited areas of Iraq and Syria under its control and depended on a network of middlemen in neighbouring countries who facilitated the cross-border smuggling of commodities. He called upon the Council to consider creating an international, legally binding legal mechanism to prosecute foreign terrorist fighters and to ensure that responsibility for such trials lay with their home countries.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said that security measures must be accompanied by hard work on the Council’s part to manage and resolve conflicts because terrorist groups often used conflict-affected areas as safe havens. The Council should also work to increase the capacity of States to implement counter-terrorism action plans. Prevention must lead all actions in terms of building networks of civil society organizations around the world to share information on local dynamics and best practices. Action plans must include soft measures, such as education and strengthening the roles of family, women and youth. Above all, unity was critical when combating terrorist groups, he said, cautioning against associating terrorism with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic community.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) urged swift joint action to end violent extremism and terrorism, a goal that must include fighting Islamophobia. Acts of terrorism should not be confused with the legitimate struggles of peoples under occupation to exercise their right to self–determination. Algeria would host two workshops in late April and in May, on the roles of the Internet and democracy in counter-terrorism. At the regional level, the Government had appointed a special representative for counter-terrorism cooperation and established a subcommittee on the matter within the African Union, he said, adding that the regional body was deploying new tactics in the fight against terrorism. Algeria was also working to bolster border security controls and intelligence sharing in the Maghreb and Sahel regions.
MOUNZER MOUNZER (Syria) said that foreign Governments, including Council members, continued to politicize matters of terrorism, while terrorists continued to target Syria, leaving a terrible toll. The Syrian Army had made significant gains against them, liberating the historic city of Palmyra and freeing many villages from the control of Da’esh and the Al-Nusra Front. Some nations attempted to justify their military interference in Syria without its Government’s consent by claiming to be combating Da’esh, but Syria was the main stakeholder fighting terrorism in the region, he said, calling for full and robust implementation of the relevant Council resolutions and the global United Nations strategy. There was a need for more border controls, he said, adding that networks of foreign terrorist fighters must be dismantled. Illicit trafficking in Syrian oil and its derivatives must also be stopped.
KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands) said that while multilateral and bilateral cooperation were of key importance in combating terrorist threats, efforts must move beyond sharing information. Security Council resolutions must be implemented and actions must replace words, he emphasized. While reflecting on available mechanisms, States should consider whether they were being put to appropriate use. “We should remember that these tools were devised to defend, not to violate, our freedom and our human rights,” he said, adding that efforts to address the entire life cycle of radicalization must be addressed by implementing the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Netherlands was active both in mobilizing critical resources, as in supporting the resilience of communities and their combined courage to defend common values, and in partnering internationally to help implement the Global Strategy, he said.
BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said the globalization of terrorism could only be countered by a collective response that also addressed its root causes. Young people travelling abroad to join the ranks of terrorist organizations had typically been disillusioned by what they had experienced in a situation of exclusion and by the lack of integration and values in certain societies, he said, calling on Governments to engage with civil society to address the problems of communities most at risk of radicalization and recruitment. Stressing that the access of terrorist groups to cyberspace must be denied and their funding cut off, he said no company or individual could be permitted to “do business” with terror groups, particularly in arms and ammunitions. Similarly, Member States that abetted violent extremism or sheltered terrorist groups must be rigorously challenged by the Council, he concluded.
ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL (Morocco) expressed regret that the arrival of Da’esh in the Middle East had exacerbated the region’s security situation, and strengthening international cooperation was, therefore, of key importance to curbing the group’s regional network. Voicing support for Security Council resolution 2199 (2015), he underscored the need to cut off terrorist groups from their funding sources. Noting that advanced information and communications technology tools had enabled Da’esh to recruit foreign terrorists, he emphasized that it was crucial that countries enact the relevant laws at the national level.
AMJAD MOHAMMAD SALEH AL-MOUMANI (Jordan) stressed the need for Arabs and other Muslims to defend Islam and the Middle East against terrorism by improving the ability of local actors to understand its root causes, noting that failed States, chaos, sectarian divides, marginalization and exclusion had in fact created an environment suitable for terrorism. Individual efforts were not enough to eliminate it, he said, emphasizing the importance of cooperation among all relevant stakeholders. He expressed regret that people and countries feared Islam, pointing out that Arabs and Muslims were suffering terrorism’s effects more than anyone else.
MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa) said efforts to combat terrorism should be focused on countering the radicalization and recruitment of individuals, hampering the movement of terrorists and the flow of funds and contradicting and disputing the terrorist narrative, notably on the Internet. Terrorism could not be defeated militarily and could not be dealt with solely through the use of force or coercive measures; instead, its root causes must be addressed. In that vein, it was important to resolve conflicts around the world, including in the Middle East. Efforts should also include a joint commitment to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment. The Global Strategy and Plan of Action provided a holistic and multifaceted response to the many challenges of terrorism, premised on respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, he said, providing examples of regional and national efforts.
KAREN TAN (Singapore), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said an effective approach to countering violent extremism and terrorism began with building national resilience, which included inclusive economic development and good governance, as well as political and social stability. As such, national efforts emphasized rehabilitation and reintegration. Equally important was cutting off terrorist groups from their funding sources, which Singapore had taken steps to address by establishing a strict legal and regulatory framework for its financial system, among other measures. International cooperation and shared best practices were also critical measures because working together only amplified individual efforts. A successful counter-terrorism framework must take a holistic approach, addressing key drivers of terrorism and the role of social media in spreading extremist ideologies, she said, adding that such an approach must also consider domestic factors and place national plans at the heart of collective efforts.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said terrorism did not emerge from a vacuum, but developed in fragile environments as a result of policies that had failed to address the root causes of popular grievances. Combatting terrorism required a comprehensive approach that took up economic, social and political causes. Qatar was committed to working at the United Nations and regional levels on the issue, in addition to strengthening its own domestic legislation and setting up specialized institutions to uproot terror and dry up sources of funding. Emphasizing the need to choose words carefully, she warned against generalized and erroneous nomenclature that linked acts of terrorism to a particular religion.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, called for strengthened international counter-terrorism cooperation that included effective measures. He urged all States, consistent with the United Nations Charter, to prosecute and extradite perpetrators, prevent the organization and financing of terrorist acts and refrain from supplying weapons that could be used for such acts in other States. Terrorism could not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. However, terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle for self-determination and national liberation of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation.
The Movement invited Member States to prevent terrorists from benefitting from hostage-taking by way of ransom payments and political concessions, he said. Stressing the importance of concluding a comprehensive convention for combatting international terrorism, he called for an international conference, under United Nations auspices, that would formulate a joint international response to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including identifying its root causes.
RY TUY (Cambodia) said the scourge of terrorism could be defeated by using a sustained, comprehensive approach. The unpredictability, frequency and potency of attacks underscored the need for increased international solidarity and cooperation, with the United Nations taking the central role. With regard to counter-terrorism, he stressed that the global community must focus on combating radicalization and terrorist recruitment by stopping terrorists’ exploitation of information and communications technology. Furthermore, in order to fight terrorism successfully, the root causes must be eradicated, he underlined, adding that poverty, discrimination, lack of education, social exclusion and inequality only perpetuated the cycle of violence.
AHMED SAREER (Maldives) said failing to disassociate terrorism from any particular religion, nationality or ethnic group would only isolate and unjustifiably condemn a large number of people. While terrorist attacks were a global issue, the preventive solution lay in domestic action. In that vein, his country had adopted the revised and comprehensive Anti-Terrorism Act in 2015 and had commenced a number of initiatives to prevent the propagation of terrorism and the threat of falling victim to terrorist attacks. Describing recent legislation to cut off terrorist financing, he said it was important to ensure that preventive measures and responses to attacks were dynamic. International and regional networking for sharing information and best practices would be beneficial for dealing with postmodern terrorism and the kind of technology that was being used to commit acts of terrorism, he concluded.
MACHARIA KAMAU (Kenya), drawing attention to the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action, expressed that it focused on and called upon Member States to work together to address terrorism. “The international community must fully unite in order to succeed,” he said, adding that the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, had an important role to play to advance the war against terror. However, the Council had not fully brought its immense convening power to bear on that matter, he continued, expressing surprise at the lack of a legally agreed definition of terrorism at a time when all Member States knew what it meant to them. Turning to national efforts, he noted that Kenya had established the National Counter Terrorism Centre. Through increased public engagement at all levels, the war against terrorism was being prosecuted by the law enforcement agencies and local communities, he said.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned the double-standard of countries that claimed to favour the eradication of terrorism while sheltering, financing and sending terrorists to effect regime change and oppress people in other States. Condemning war-mongering under the banner of the war on terror, she said once-prosperous nations now lay in ruins, with millions seeking refuge as they fled situations being addressed through the same old methods. Nicaragua strongly supported an international convention on terrorism and called upon all Member States to show flexibility in that regard, she said.
RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said it was impossible to eliminate terrorism by condemning some action while ignoring others, emphasizing that double standards and impunity were unacceptable. Recalling that for decades, his country had suffered terrible acts of terrorism, financed and supported from abroad, he said that besides having incorporated an anti-terrorist law in its Penal Code, Cuba was a signatory to 18 international conventions dealing with terrorism. It would never allow its territory to be used to plan, finance or perpetrate any kind of terrorist act, he stressed, adding that the rights of victims of terrorism, including State terrorism, must be upheld.
MINNA-LIINA LIND (Estonia), associating herself with the European Union, called for closer cooperation and exchanges of information both inside that bloc and with other countries and organizations. Underscoring the need to focus on prevention, she said radicalization was a social phenomenon before it was a law enforcement issue. Means of education, integration, employment, deradicalization and rehabilitation had to be provided to prevent violent extremism. Ultimately, the solution remained in addressing challenges facing fragile States where violent extremism bred. However, it was important not to forget that terrorism and violent extremism was not limited to radical Islam and specific regions, she concluded.
GIORGI KVELASHVILI (Georgia), associating himself with the European Union, said influential religious and youth leaders should play a key role in efforts to combat terrorism. Stressing the need to address the root causes of violent extremism, he said Georgia had taken steps towards the fuller integration into society of certain vulnerable communities, with the participation of civil society and advocacy groups. Criminal prosecution without a proper resocialization strategy would only further aggravate radicalization, he cautioned, adding that weapons of mass destruction must be kept out of the hands of terrorists. The risks posed by the military occupation of 20 per cent of Georgia’s sovereign territory by the Russian Federation was a serious problem, he said, noting that the situation had created a fertile ground for criminal activities, including contraband and terrorism.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said that, while “going into firefighting mode” over some immediate challenges, it was critical to address the larger, accumulated grievances that terrorists tended to use as staples for increasing their ranks. “We lose focus when we try to find scapegoats” instead of being self-reflective. Noting that his country had a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism and violent extremism, he said Bangladesh remained vigilant so as to obviate the possibility of its nationals being recruited as foreign terrorist fighters. The Council must remained seized of efforts to address the fundamental root causes of international terrorism, he said, adding that it should periodically take stock of its efforts and provide guidance to the concerned counter-terrorism committees and expert panels. Additionally, the Council must take an informed and cautious approach when mandating peacekeeping missions to take on counter-terrorism operations for which its troops were generally not equipped.
MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia) said despite a new Constitution, the holding of transparent elections in 2014 and winning the Nobel peace prize, national challenges remained. Tunisia was working to end terrorism using a long-term global approach. With a commitment to human rights and basic liberties, Tunisia had preserved its Arab identity and ensured that its democracy had produced socioeconomic benefits for all. Passing a law in 2015 centred on fighting terrorism and money-laundering, the Government had also developed a national strategy to counter that scourge and violent extremism through prevention, protection, monitoring and response approaches involving educational initiatives, the promotion of a culture of dialogue, peace and tolerance, the prevention of radicalization in prisons and socioeconomic development efforts in marginalized areas. In 2016, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had launched the “tomorrow will be better” campaign aimed at youth to promote moderate Islam through art, culture and communications.
HAHN CHOONGHEE (Republic of Korea) pointed to recent national steps that had been taken to strengthen national counter-terrorism legislation. They included a law on preventing terrorism and strong preventive measures, including information gathering and financial steps to stamp out terrorism. The Government envisaged the creation of a counter-terrorism centre to act as a hub for all anti-terrorist activities. It was also taking action through its presidency in the Financial Action Task Force against money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. Based on past efforts to combat terrorism, he said, it was increasingly evident that security measures alone could not end the scourge.
VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand) said terrorism was not associated with any one religion, nationality or civilization. Robust legislation at the national level was required to prevent and prosecute terrorism and to effectively implement relevant Security Council resolutions. Thailand had incorporated terrorism offenses into its Penal Code and had promulgated in 2013 the Transnational Organized Crime Act to implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. While ensuring freedom of expression, States must establish regulations for the Internet and electronic media to prevent abuses. Stressing the need for closer regional cooperation to counter terrorism, he said the international community must also work together to gain momentum and support for the Global Strategy and the work of relevant United Nations agencies. The world needed a comprehensive international legally binding instrument to fight terrorism, he stressed, advocating for the finalization of the pending draft convention and calling on countries to overcome the current deadlock.
AHMED FATHALLA, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, said terrorism had been spreading like a cancer across continents and borders. Calling for an international agreement on terrorism, he said the scourge should not be confused with the legitimate right to self-determination of people living under occupation. Fighting terrorism was at the heart of the League’s priorities, but it was unfortunate that the international community, with various mechanisms and resources, could not do away with non-State actors who had perpetrated terrorist acts and destroyed communities. The non-implementation of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, including the inability to end or limit conflict in the Middle East, was one reason behind the proliferation of terrorist operations. Within the framework of cooperation with the United Nations, the League sought to maintain peace and security by following up on regional and global developments and their impact on the Arab world.
ION JINGA (Romania) said network analyses, cutting off financing, deradicalization and special operations strikes were needed to counter terrorism. Equally essential was addressing its root causes. Going forward, broader action was needed, including humanitarian aid, with action plans containing steps to counter ISIL Internet propaganda, illegal weapons trafficking and the financing of terrorism and violent extremism. The latter should include controlling online virtual currency trade platforms and ensuring cooperation among financial intelligence units. Fighting ISIL must also include targeting its affiliates, he said, adding that a legal definition of terrorist acts was a matter of concern.
PASCAL BUFFIN (Belgium) said the recent terrorist acts in his country had shown the need to continue to prioritize fighting terrorism through legal, judicial, police, military and intelligence channels. The Belgian Penal Code restricted travel for training to conflict zones abroad. Aware of the radicalization trend, the Government had adopted in 2013 a national programme to prevent the phenomenon from escalating by strengthening the resilience of vulnerable groups and raising awareness locally and regionally. Defending the common values and resilience of a society were vital, he said.
Emphasizing that terrorists must not be allowed to control territories where they could train, he said the international community must stay united to peacefully resolve conflicts that created disorder. The fight against the Islamic State and Al-Qaida must continue, he said, voicing Belgium’s commitment to strengthening cooperation with partners, particularly to deal with terrorist fighters returning to countries of origin, many of whom were linked to organized crime.
HALIT ÇEVIK (Turkey) said Da’esh and other terrorist groups posed a direct threat to national security and international cooperation was the key to defeating them. Turkey had implemented measures such as risk analysis units at transportation hubs and sharing information about foreign terrorist fighters, who should be stopped at their countries of departure. Along the border with Syria, new security measures were being set up and efforts were being reinforced to halt smuggling. Dismayed by speculation about the veracity of Turkey’s determination to stop smuggling, he said the Government rejected the Russian Federation’s allegations as baseless. Groups like Da’esh could not be eradicated without addressing the factors that led to its emergence, he said, regretting that the Syrian regime’s representative had used today’s debate to distort facts about what was currently happening on the ground.
MARC-ANDRÉ BLANCHARD (Canada) outlined the values that informed national counter-terrorism policies, including the importance of critical thinking and education, the empowerment of women, peaceful pluralism and a respect for diversity and human rights. Collective efforts were needed to stop terrorist organizations, he said, endorsing the work of the Security Council to create a unified approach to countering terrorism and the “All of United Nations” approach outlined in the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action. The Government had, in recent years, enacted legislation that provided new tools to allow law enforcement and national security agencies to take appropriate measures. It also strongly supported efforts to cut off terrorists’ access to funds.
SABARULLA KHAN (Sri Lanka) said foreign fighters remained a serious concern, noting that international networks with links to organized crime represented a critical lifeline for terrorist groups. States must work together in a concerted global manner, pooling resources and intelligence, he said. Despite broad support for a draft convention on international terrorism, there was a lack of political will to break the current impasse, he noted, urging Member States to cooperate fully in order to resolve outstanding issues and conclude a comprehensive instrument that would form a key component of the Global Counter-terrorism Strategy.
MARTIN GARCIA MORITÁN (Argentina) said terrorism must be fought with full respect for the rule of law and human rights. The response to terrorist acts must be based on a comprehensive approach as reflected in the Global Strategy. Stressing the need to address the root causes of terrorism, he said education was a crucial tool for combatting discrimination, xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance. Turning to the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, he said their emergence was based on underlying issues such as social exclusion and religious or ethnic intolerance. The terrorist phenomenon had mutated in recent years, particularly in the stages of propaganda and recruitment. It was necessary to work closely with social network providers to address that problem, he said, including by neutralizing the massive propaganda campaign that glorified terrorist crimes.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said the Government was deeply committed to combating terrorism and forging effective regional and international cooperation in that regard. Ethiopia was in one of the most volatile regions in Africa, facing increasing levels of terrorism and radicalization. The impact of the conflict in Yemen and some Al-Shabaab elements pledging allegiance to ISIL had further compounded the situation. As such, effective mechanisms for joint security cooperation were needed. In that vein, he said members nations of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development had agreed to set up a regional security cooperation framework and a platform for regular security dialogue and coordination to address common security threats and challenges.
The representative of Israel, taking the floor a second time, said that States had revealed their true intentions. Some speakers regarded the Council as a platform for singling out Israel, which was at the forefront of fighting terror. Some States had much to say about Israel, but they should look at their own actions instead of making baseless accusations, he said. Responding to the statement by the representative of Iran, he said that country sponsored terrorism and exported it worldwide. Responding to the statement by the representative of Saudi Arabia, he said it was odd that its delegation was so confident in its rebukes to others when thousands had been killed by its bombs. Its campaign in Yemen had killed more than 80 civilians at a wedding party, he said, adding that the delegate’s remarks demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of what terrorism was.
The representative of Iran also took the floor again, saying that the occupying Power in Palestine had made fake, unacceptable remarks. The representative of a well-known terror regime had made such claims to a nation that had witnessed the loss of more than 75,000 civilians, many of whom had been victims of terrorist attacks by that terrorist regime, including an Iranian nuclear scientist. That regime was responsible for the occupation, the crime of genocide, war crimes and other acts, including turning millions of Palestinian inhabitants into refugees. Responding to the statement by the representative of Saudi Arabia, he described his allegations as unfounded, categorically rejecting them. Saudi Arabia’s rhetoric against Iran could only serve perpetrators of violent extremism, he said, adding that its attempts to marginalize some groups had led to sectarianism. Saudi Arabia should end its sectarian policies and work towards establishing stability and security in the region, he said.