1. As Member States will recall, in 2004 the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change recommended in its report (A/59/565) that I promote a comprehensive global strategy against terrorism, one that would strengthen the ability of responsible States to counter terrorism and promote the rule of law, all while protecting human rights. In Madrid in March of the following year, on the one-year anniversary of the train bombings that killed and maimed more than 1,600 innocent people, I took up the challenge and set out elements of such a strategy. These consisted of five pillars: dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it; denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack; deterring States from supporting terrorism; developing State capacity to defeat terrorism; and defending human rights. Later the same month, in my report, entitled "In larger freedom: towards development, security, and human rights for all" (A/59/2005), I urged Member States to adopt a strategy along those lines.
2. In the 2005 World Summit Outcome (General Assembly resolution 60/1), Member States welcomed those elements of a strategy, and agreed to develop them further. They requested that I submit proposals to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations system to assist States in combating terrorism and to enhance the coordination of United Nations activities in this regard. In December 2005, the President of the General Assembly asked me for a report on capacity-building, as well as for additional inputs of relevance for the forthcoming work of the General Assembly on a counter-terrorism strategy.
3. In response to those requests, the present report contains recommendations for a global counter-terrorism strategy, with an emphasis on specific proposals for strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to combat terrorism. In formulating these recommendations, I have been assisted by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, which I created in 2005 to bring together key actors in the United Nations system and its partners dealing with counter-terrorism issues. The Task Force is the first step in ensuring that United Nations departments, funds, programmes, agencies and other related entities contribute fully to counter-terrorism efforts, while maximizing synergies and avoiding duplication of work.
4. A real strategy is more than simply a list of laudable goals or an observation of the obvious. To say that we seek to prevent future acts of terrorism and that we seek better responses in the event of a terrorist attack does not amount to a strategy. Only when it guides us in the accomplishment of our goals is a strategy worthy of its name. In order to unite against terrorism, we need an operational strategy that will enable us to work together to counter terrorism. As laid out here, my recommendations for a strategy seek to both guide and unite us by emphasizing operational elements of dissuasion, denial, deterrence, development of State capacity and defence of human rights. What is common to all of these elements is the indispensability of the rule of law, nationally and internationally, in countering the threat of terrorism.
5. Inherent to the rule of law is the defence of human rights - a core value of the United Nations and a fundamental pillar of our work. Effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are not conflicting goals, but complementary and mutually reinforcing ones. Accordingly, the defence of human rights is essential to the fulfilment of all aspects of a counter-terrorism strategy. The central role of human rights is therefore highlighted in every substantive section of this report, in addition to a section on human rights per se.
6. Victims of terrorist acts are denied their most fundamental human rights. Accordingly, a counter-terrorism strategy must emphasize the victims and promote their rights. In addition, implementing a global strategy that relies in part on dissuasion, is firmly grounded in human rights and the rule of law, and gives focus to victims depends on the active participation and leadership of civil society. Therefore, highlighted throughout this report is the role civil society can play in promoting a truly global strategy against terrorism.