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Helping Member States to counter terrorism
Combating terrorism is integral to the entire mandate of the United Nations. The UN Charter sets out the purposes of the Organization, which include the maintenance of international peace and security, to take collective measures to prevent threats to peace and suppress aggression and to promote human rights and economic development.
Universal condemnation of terrorism
In a resolution adopted on 9 September 2010, the General Assembly reiterated its strong and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
The United Nations serves as a unique global forum that provides the highest level of universal legitimacy for Member States to send a unified, clear, principled and immutable message that terrorism is unacceptable no matter who commits it and for whatever reason. Member States through the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as the Secretary-General and other UN officials have been consistent in condemning all acts of terrorism. The United Nations through its members and officials have been sending a clear message that terrorist acts are unacceptable and can never be justified. The United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy reiterates this condemnation and its operational aspects rest on this principle. Through the consistent and systematic condemnation of terrorist acts, the United Nations aims to continuously undercut whatever appeal terrorism as a tactic my have for any group of people and clearly show that it is not an effective tool to address real or perceived grievances.
Creating the global legal foundations
One of the more powerful achievements of the United Nations system has been the establishment of a regime of international treaties and conventions. It is these international treaties that provide the legal framework for the suppression of terrorist acts and the pursuit of perpetrators of terrorism, and set out ways to limit illicit access to the tools terrorists need. UN anti-terrorism treaties that predate 11 September 2001 range from the UN International Civil Aviation Organization 1963 Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, drafted in 1999. Since 11 September 2001, Member States agreed on a new convention dealing with the threat of terrorists using nuclear materials. Most importantly, adherence to the existing 13 international treaties has increased dramatically since 2001. The United Nations is strongly promoting ratification and implementation of the existing conventions. Not only does the United Nations monitor implementation of the treaties by Member States but UN programmes such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provide practical legal assistance for countries on how best to implement the provisions of the treaties into national legislation.
Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism
There is wide agreement among countries that the fight against terrorism must include an approach that also looks at its long-term components. This agreement is reflected in the global counter-terrorism strategy which addresses the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. Its near universal membership and its global mandate make the United Nations a tool for Member States through which to address the complex, longer term aspects of terrorism. The United Nations places its counter-terrorism actions within its broader work framed by its overall efforts to promote peace, security, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law. The multitude of offices, programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations system works to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism including but not limited to prolonged unresolved conflicts, dehumanization of victims of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, lack of the rule of law and violations of human rights, ethnic, national and religious discrimination, political exclusion, socio-economic marginalization and lack of good governance.
Preventing terrorist acts
DENYING TERRORIST ACCESS TO WMDs
Since 2002 the International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA) has helped States to improve nuclear security inter alia through providing training to over 10,000 individuals, securing over 5,700 radioactive sources in nearly 40 States, upgrading the physical protection at over 100 sites in more than 30 States and providing 56 States with approximately 4,000 instruments for radiation detection activities.
Through action taken by the General Assembly and the Security Council, Member States are not only creating and strengthening the legal foundations of the fight against terrorism but also taking practical measures of cooperation to restrict terrorists in their actions by denying them the financial means for their actions, denying them their freedom to move about to commit their acts and denying them the weapons to use in committing terrorist acts. The International Convention for Suppression of Terrorist Financing requests all countries ratifying the convention to deny all financial possibilities to potential terrorists. Security Council resolution 1373 makes it mandatory for all states to eliminate the financing of terrorism, while resolution 1267 along with subsequent related resolutions freeze all the financial assets of Al Qaida and Taliban associates. Both those resolutions call for strict travel bans against potential terrorists. Subsequent Security Council resolutions also place Al Qaida and Taliban members under a strict arms embargo. The recently concluded International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism aims to prevent potential terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons while resolution 1540 of the Security Council creates a mandatory set of measures for countries to implement in order to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
Curbing Terrorist Financing
CURBING TERRORIST FINANCING
The Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee has imposed an asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo with respect to approximately 250 individuals and 90 entities associated with the Al-Qaida organization.
The international conventions and relevant Security Council resolutions create a restrictive environment not only for terrorists but also for states that may intend to support terrorism. All states must prevent terrorist groups from operating on their territory or using it as a training centre to prepare or launch an attack on another country. The Security Council has the means to impose strict punitive measures on states who disregard this obligation. In the past, Sudan, Libya and Afghanistan were targeted by sanctions for harboring and/or assisting terrorist groups.
Developing state capacity to counter terrorism
DEVELOPING STATE CAPACITY