Delegates Call for Critical Financial Support to Combat Terrorist Groups, as Sixth Committee Continues Debate on Eliminating Global Menace

GA/L/3594
9 October 2019
Seventy-fourth Session, 5th & 6th Meetings (AM & PM)

Delegates Call for Critical Financial Support to Combat Terrorist Groups, as Sixth Committee Continues Debate on Eliminating Global Menace

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism, delegates called for more funding for counter-terrorism efforts, as well as increased cooperation in tackling and stopping the legal and illegal financing that supports terrorist groups and activities.

“Money is the nerve of war,” Burundi’s delegate stated.  Between the drug traffickers in the Sahel and the mafia in Europe and Latin America, a spider web is covering all the continents.  States must step up joint actions to stop financing terrorism, whether legal or illegal.  Terrorism also redirects investments from social and economic sectors into military spending.  The international community must provide Governments that are fighting terrorism with the means to do so effectively, he said, adding:  “Leaving Somalia to become a fertile ground for terrorism is not a choice for us.”

The representative of Burkina Faso echoed those words, emphasizing that the security situation in West Africa calls for significant international cooperation.  For nearly four years, his own country has witnessed terrorist attacks.  Noting the reticence of the Security Council in ensuring reliable financing in fighting terrorism in the region, he called on bilateral and multilateral partners to support the Sahel countries to combat violent extremism “while there is still time”.

Pakistan’s representative pointed out that international terrorism is morphing into increasingly brutal and lethal forms as it exploits political and sectarian fault lines.  Stating that the capacity-building structure of the United Nations is a dollar-driven process that is not catering to the needs of Member States, she underscored the need to develop a steady financing mechanism for the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre.  Without a holistic approach, the world is only fighting the symptoms of this deadly phenomenon.

Although Iraq defeated Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) militarily, that country’s representative recalled, concerted international efforts were needed to address the destruction caused by terrorism.  All nations must employ methods to dry up sources of terrorist funding and should cooperate in monitoring suspicious financial transactions, he said, urging Member States to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions that addressed the smuggling of oil, artefacts and illegal trade.

Afghanistan’s delegate underscored that despite having the highest number of victims from terrorism every year, the civilians and security forces of her country have been able to stop many attacks this year.  However, the Taliban and Da’esh are still receiving a robust flow of weapons, funding and manpower from abroad.  Denying support to terrorists by State elements has a base in international law, she said, calling for a greater focus to be given to the link between terrorism and its sources of financing.

Speakers also addressed the recent terror attacks that occurred across the world, while calling attention to other aspects of global counter-terrorism, such as restricting weapons and supporting victims.

Guatemala’s delegate, describing terrorism as an “extreme wickedness”, condemned the terrorist attack that took place in El Paso, Texas, which targeted the city’s migrant Hispanic community.  Also condemning the recent attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, he called on the international community to reflect on the need for a more stringent definition of conventional weapons.

The representative of Mexico, spotlighting the recent attacks in Christchurch and El Paso, also voiced concern about the easy access that followers of extremism have to powerful firearms.  Stressing that victims of terrorism must have prompt access to justice, as well as psychological support services, he said that stronger language concerning support for victims of terrorism should be included in this year’s resolution on the issue.

Several delegates took up the call to finalize a draft comprehensive convention that had been before the Sixth Committee for years and had reached a stalemate over the legal definition of terrorism.

India’s representative stated:  “The inability to agree on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism remains one of the great gaps in the international legislative framework.”  That instrument, if finalized, would strengthen efforts to destroy safe havens of terrorists, their financial flows and their support networks.

The delegate of Sri Lanka expressed regret that despite broad support, a positive conclusion to negotiations has eluded the international community for over a decade.  Recalling the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in her country which were inspired by such extremist organizations as ISIL/Da’esh, she emphasized that attacks on religious sites were particularly debased in their cruelty, “striking when victims have closed their eyes in prayer with their backs to the door”.

Some speakers took up the matter of the legal definition of the threat, with Malaysia’s representative stressing that the draft convention should define terrorism as acts committed by both States and non-State actors.

While El Salvador’s representative expressed her support for the completion of the draft convention, she pointed out that the Committee must remember legislative, judicial and executive practices that States have already implemented.  In her country, terrorist groups did not act domestically; rather, the major security problem was organized crime.

Nonetheless, the representative of Cameroon underscored that, despite differences of opinion among States, certain elements of a definition of terrorism have been established in various legal instruments.  The menace is a transnational threat that cannot be tackled by one Government or organization alone, he stated.  It must be addressed through multilateral action.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Mauritius, Turkey, Cuba, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Dominican Republic, United States, Japan, Armenia, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Viet Nam, Ethiopia, South Africa, Georgia, Costa Rica, Peru, Indonesia, China, Ecuador, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Uganda, Republic of Korea, Togo, Serbia, Algeria, Bahrain, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Nepal, Philippines, Senegal, Ukraine and Timor-Leste.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply was the representative of the Russian Federation.

The Sixth Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 10 October, to continue its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism and take up criminal accountability of experts on mission.

Statements

RISHY BUKOREE (Mauritius), associating himself with the African Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, expressed support for the common strategic and operational framework of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  His country is committed to battling terrorism while upholding the human rights of every individual as enshrined in its Constitution.  He also highlighted the importance of the intelligence community in anticipating, pre-empting and responding to the menace.  Inter-agency coordination and cooperation within that community is therefore crucial, he said, outlining the concrete measures taken by Mauritius to participate in the exchange of information and foster bilateral collaboration.  The staff of the country’s counter-terrorism unit undergo regular training provided by foreign experts, he noted, also stressing that more attention must be given to the reasons that attract individuals to violent extremist groups that propagate twisted ideologies.

MINE OZGUL BILMAN (Turkey) said that because of the conflict in Syria, her country is a frontline country and has developed vast experience and expertise in tackling the issue of terrorists travelling to and from the conflict zones.  Results from Turkey’s relentless efforts to render its cities and societies safer and stronger are evident.  Expressing support for further development of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, she said she believes that the United Nations is the eminent international body to design a universal counter-terrorism framework.  It has the capacity to interlink various aspects when implementing this universal framework through different United Nations organs and agencies.  She also underlined the importance of the global implementation of Security Council resolutions, which oblige Member States to take action against terrorist groups and groups that finance and support them.  Turkey is a major donor country to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), she added.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan), aligning herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), pointed out that international terrorism is morphing into increasingly brutal and lethal forms as it exploits political and sectarian fault lines.  The world must do more to address terrorism’s root causes and to counter the unjust defamation of certain religions and communities that fosters misconceptions between the Muslim world and the West.  Further, the Financial Action Task Force should not be used to accomplish political objectives.  Stating that the capacity-building structure of the United Nations is a dollar-driven process that is not catering to the needs of Member States, she underscored the need to develop a steady financing mechanism for the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre.  Without a holistic approach, the world is only fighting the symptoms of this deadly phenomenon.

JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMIREZ (Mexico), reaffirming that terrorism is unacceptable to the principles of international law, pointed out that the ideologies that fuel racial supremacy and violence are spreading easily, thanks to the misuse of the Internet and social media.  The recent attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas, are tragic proof that terrorism spares no country.  Condemning hate speech against minorities and ethnic groups, he voiced concern about the easy access that followers of such extremism have to powerful firearms.  The victims of terrorism must have prompt access to justice as well as psychological support services, he said, underscoring the importance of building terrorism-resilient communities.  Mexico has endorsed the “Christchurch Call to Action” initiative, he said, adding that stronger language concerning support for victims of terrorism should be included in this year’s resolution on the issue.

HUMBERTO RIVERO ROSARIO (Cuba), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said a comprehensive convention must establish an exact, clear and precise definition of international terrorism that covers all its aspects, including State terrorism.  He called for the convening of an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations that would produce an organized response to the threat in all its forms and manifestations.  The international community cannot accept that certain States, under the banner of a supposed fight against terrorism, carry out acts of aggression and flagrant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.  Condemning the United States Government’s rhetoric of anger and hatred, he said Cuba joins the United Nations in calling for positive measures to eradicate discrimination in that country.  He went on to recall the case of Luis Posada Carriles, saying that 43 years after the mid-air explosion of a Cuban airliner off Barbados, Cubans remain outraged that justice has not been done for the 73 victims of that horrific crime.

MAYSOUN HASSAN SALIM ALDAH ALMATROOSHI (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with OIC, said that maritime security is threatened when commercial vessels are subjected to subversive acts.  Further, the global economy is undermined by attacks like that on the Saudi Aramco facilities.  The international community must act to protect navigation and the global energy supply.  The United Arab Emirates continues to implement the four pillars of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and promotes tolerance and youth empowerment domestically.  His Government also shares information and best-practices to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters and to dry up sources of terrorist funding.  It is strengthening domestic efforts to hold terrorists — particularly Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) — accountable and to provide support to victims of terrorism.  He called on all States to commit to uphold international law and the Charter of the United Nations and to hold violating States — especially those supporting or funding terrorist groups — accountable.

SUSAN WANGECI MWANGI (Kenya), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that her country has ratified several international conventions against transnational crime and is implementing Security Council resolutions on fighting terrorism.  In addition, it is strengthening its anti-terrorism legislative framework and has created targeted agencies to tackle the issue with an aim to prevent terrorist plots and incipient radicalization through better community policing.  On the Horn of Africa, she urged the international community to cut off Al‑Shabaab’s access to funding through sanctions and convictions of those funding the group.  Expressing concern about the group’s continued foothold in Somalia, she stressed that any attempt to normalize the group will “create a monster that will destroy many more lives and probably not just in the Horn of Africa”.  She went on to outline several outcomes of a recent United Nations High-level Conference on Counter-Terrorism held in Nairobi, including the establishing of an inter-agency platform in Kenya to facilitate regional counter-terrorism efforts.

SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID (Malaysia), recalling that in April, his country sponsored United Nations General Assembly resolution 73/285 — “Combating Terrorism and Other Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief” — underscored that the fight against terrorism will not end until root causes are addressed.  Noting that returning foreign terrorist fighters remain a challenge for the country and the region, terrorism is specifically criminalized in Malaysia’s penal code.  Law-enforcement agencies are also reaching out to students and educators in higher learning institutions to help prevent the spread of harmful ideologies.  The draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism needs to be concluded.  Among other positions on the issue, he stressed that the convention should define terrorism as acts committed by both States and non-State actors.

JUAN ÁVILA (Dominican Republic), condemning all terrorist attacks as unjustifiable, said it is vital to uphold human rights principles, refugee law and international humanitarian law in the battle against the phenomenon.  Terrorism undermines social structures within societies and regional stability, he said, highlighting the crucial role of the four pillars of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and the need to counter violent extremism on the Internet.  His country has ratified a large majority of instruments relating to terrorism, including those concerning its financing.  The Government is bolstering its counter-terrorism legislative framework as well as organizing continuous training programs for the armed forces and the staff of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, he noted.

EGRISELDA ARACELY GONZÁLEZ LÓPEZ (El Salvador) expressed her support for the completion of the draft comprehensive convention and called for international cooperation to punish terrorist activities under international law and domestic criminal law.  However, when drafting the comprehensive convention, the Committee must remember legislative, judicial and executive practices that States have already implemented.  In El Salvador, for example, the context is different since terrorist groups do not act domestically; rather, the country’s major security problem is organized crime.  She called for bilateral and regional exchange of information and best-practices aimed at combating terrorism and for arms control and disarmament, as the latter is effective at reducing the violence and human suffering caused by crime and terrorism.  Further, measures to combat international terrorism must utilize strictly legitimate means and respect international humanitarian law, human-rights law and the Charter.

EMILY R. PIERCE (United States) recalled that the intense military pressure from the United States-led “Defeat-ISIS Coalition” — along with the implementation by Member States of Security Council resolutions aimed at countering terrorist travel — made a tremendous impact on all of the territory ISIL once held in Syria and Iraq; 7.7 million people once under ISIL’s brutal rule have been liberated.  Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Morocco and Italy, among others, have acknowledged the repatriation of their citizens, highlighting the efforts towards repatriation, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters who remain in partner-custody in Syria.  She expressed support for United Nations efforts, as well as those of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, in addressing new challenges that arise in combating terrorism, encouraging continued coordination between the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.  Domestically, the United States continues to engage and raise community awareness of violent extremism or radicalization, emphasizing the importance of countering the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.

HOTAKA MACHIDA (Japan) said that at their summit in Osaka in June, leaders of the Group of 20 adopted a statement on preventing the exploitation of the Internet for terrorism and violent extremism.  In that document, they set priorities to prevent the Internet from becoming a haven for terrorists to recruit, incite or prepare terrorist acts.  Affirming Japan’s commitment to the statement, he said it will continue to support public-private partnerships and capacity building through international platforms in line with the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and access to information.

ADELA RAZ (Afghanistan), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, pointed out that despite having the highest number of victims from terrorism every year, Afghani civilians and security forces have been able to stop many attacks by insurgents this year.  Those forces thwarted attempts by the Taliban to capture provincial capitals and provided a secure environment for presidential elections.  However, the Taliban and Da’esh have increased attacks on soft targets across Afghanistan and are still receiving a robust flow of weapons, funding and manpower from abroad.  To address the issue, Afghanistan engaged with Pakistan in various platforms, she noted, stressing the need to implement decisions that were made, including the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity.  Denying support to terrorists by State elements has a base in international law, she said, citing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  Emphasizing the role of religious scholars in countering extremist ideologies, she also called for a greater focus to be given to the link between terrorism and its sources of financing.  The United Nations has an important role in strengthening the global response to terrorism, she said, adding that she looked forward to finalizing the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism.

EDGAR DANIEL LEAL MATTA (Guatemala), describing terrorism as an “extreme wickedness” that breeds an enormous feeling of insecurity, condemned the terrorist attack that took place in El Paso, Texas, which targeted the city’s migrant Hispanic community.  Also condemning the recent attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, he called on the international community to reflect on the need for a more stringent definition of conventional weapons.  Although there are several legal instruments concerning counter-terrorism, “the general perception is that such instruments are insufficient,” he said, stressing the need to harmonize efforts to implement the four pillars of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  Highlighting Guatemala’s efforts to fight the menace, he spotlighted a country-level project that identifies national threats and vulnerabilities, as well as a Presidential committee against money- and other asset-laundering, which leads to financing of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

DAVIT KNYAZYAN (Armenia), stressing that his country continues to advocate enhanced international cooperation to fight terrorism, said he was concerned by the deliberate targeting of entire communities for the mere fact of belonging to a particular ethnic or religious community.  The atrocities perpetrated by ISIL/Da’esh, Al‑Nusra Front, Al-Qaida and other associated groups are a case in point.  The crimes against Yazidis, Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities and groups must not remain unaddressed.  Armenia was among the first Member States to condemn the persecution of civilian populations by terrorist organizations.  The brutal crimes against the Armenian population in the Syrian cities of Kessab and Deir ez‑Zor, as well as the deliberate destruction of cultural and religious monuments carried out by ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Nusra, have demonstrated that terrorism is a manifestation of the fundamental denial of human rights.  Return of foreign terrorist fighters and promotion of their terrorist narratives may have a destabilizing effect, particularly in conflict situations.  Terrorists’ violent ideology finds a breeding ground in State-led and State‑sponsored radicalization of society, aiming at consolidation of power and identity‑building through the scapegoating of certain ethnic and religious groups.  Any attempts to justify inspirers or perpetrators of terrorism or violent extremism, as well as those inciting hate crime and violence, especially in conflict situations, should be decisively and unequivocally condemned, at all levels.

BAGNAME SIMPARA (Mali), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, the African Group and OIC, expressed his concern at the rate at which terrorism is spreading, as it knows no religion, nationality or civilization.  Mali’s national strategy to counter terrorism and violent extremism considers local realities and seeks to address the underlying causes of terrorism through efforts such as promoting inter-religious dialogue, training religious leaders and financing the empowerment of women and young people.  The Government is also working on 40 projects in the areas of defence, security, good governance, infrastructure and human development to respond to the underlying causes of instability.  In addition, it is creating social and economic opportunities for its population, especially the young.  Efforts are also being made to combat money-laundering and terror-financing.  He called on Member States to rapidly reach a consensus-based definition for terrorism to ensure effective international cooperation and coordination to combat the threat.

HAU DO SUAN (Myanmar), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said his Government prioritized the prevention of violent extremism through the promotion of tolerance and interfaith dialogue.  His country is committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Charter to support the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and is a party to 15 out of 19 universal counter-terrorism instruments, he said, touching on measures such as new laws and designated investigative units to curb terrorist financing.  Expressing serious concern about the clear and present terror threat posed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) — which radicalizes and trains local Muslims, organizes attacks through WhatsApp messages and is supported by foreign terrorist groups — he urged all countries to refrain from wittingly or unwittingly providing political, diplomatic, moral or material support to such groups.  “Death threats and intimidation of ARSA against displaced persons in the refugee camps on the Bangladesh side had made the repatriation process impossible to commence,” he pointed out.

SEYDOU SINKA (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that terrorism undermines the efforts of States to achieve rule of law and social development, adding that no political, economic, ideological or other reason can be used to justify such barbarous acts.  For nearly four years, his country has witnessed terrorist attacks in various regions.  The Government’s military operations have confined these attacks to the country’s southern borders.  The security situation in West Africa calls for significant international cooperation, he said, highlighting Burkina Faso’s bilateral cooperation in customs and border security.  Noting the reticence of the Security Council in ensuring reliable financing in fighting terrorism in West Africa, he called on bilateral and multilateral partners to support the Sahel countries to combat violent extremism “while there is still time”.

AHMAD AL‑JARBA (Iraq) said that, although Iraq defeated ISIL/Da’esh militarily, concerted international efforts are needed to address the destruction caused by terrorism.  Those who perpetrate and finance terrorist acts must be held accountable by international legal mechanisms.  In its fight against the phenomenon, all nations must employ such methods as drying up sources of terrorist funding, exchanging information, increasing border control to frustrate foreign terrorist fighters and monitoring suspicious financial transactions.  He called on Member States to implement Security Council resolutions 2170, 2178 and 2199 (2014); 2253 (2015); and 2395 and 2396 (2017) — particularly those provisions relating to stopping foreign terrorist fighters and the smuggling of oil, artefacts and illegal trade.  As some countries refuse to repatriate terrorist nationals, the international community must cooperate to prevent travel to areas where terrorist groups are active.  For its part, Iraq shares information on foreign terrorist fighters belonging to more than 100 countries, he said, offering the international community his country’s best-practices and lessons-learned gained from the experience of fighting terrorism domestically.

SAMSON SUNDAY ITEGBOJE (Nigeria), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, the African Group and OIC, said terrorism continued to present a serious menace to peace and security, destabilizing structures of governance.  He cited his Government’s counter-terrorism strategy against Boko Haram, curtailing the group’s heinous atrocities and keeping its insurgency under constant surveillance.  Those efforts improved troop capability, reclaimed territory and released victims from captivity.  His Government prosecuted over 1,321 cases from October 2017 to July 2018, convicting 366 suspects to terms of 3 to 60 years.  On a regional platform, Nigeria collaborates with neighbours Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin in a joint task force.  He also noted an ongoing programme of de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant Boko Haram members.  Calling on Member States to cooperate in the fight, he affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to working closely with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and its other related entities.

PHAM HAI ANH (Viet Nam), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that at this critical moment it is essential for the international community to step up joint efforts to fight terrorism in all forms and ensure perpetrators are severely punished.  His Government is party to 15 universal treaties on counter-terrorism and transnational crime.  At the regional level, Viet Nam participates in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Counter-Terrorism Working Group, focusing on cyberterrorism and attacks on soft targets.  On a national level, his Government has revised its penal code to criminalize terrorist financing acts committed by legal persons.  Viet Nam also works closely with UNODC and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in capacity-building and experience-sharing, especially on maritime security and emerging threats from the foreign terrorist fighters phenomenon.

LILA DESTA ASGEDOM (Ethiopia), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that terrorism has become more complex in terms of its motivation, financing and support mechanisms, methods of attack and choice of targets.  Calling for frequent revisions of national and international counter-terrorism strategies and instruments, she said the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy provides a good framework.  The fight against terrorism must be primarily focused on its root causes.  The Horn of Africa region faces a variety of serious and complex transnational security threats including terrorism, organized crime, piracy, cybercrime and trafficking.  Her Government has ratified 9 of the 19 international counter‑terrorism conventions and protocols and has also undertaken major reforms to foster socioeconomic development, expand the political space and ensure the rule of law and respect for human rights.  Like many African countries, Ethiopia is constrained by a lack of adequate resources, he pointed out, adding that assistance will be critical to ensure more effective implementation.

THABO MICHAEL MOLEFE (South Africa) said that the African Union has resolved to build a region free from armed conflict, terrorism, extremism and intolerance.  Although much counter-terrorism work is being done at all levels, he welcomed the work of the committee tasked with drafting the comprehensive convention on terrorism.  However, he emphasized that the convention should not conflate terrorism with anti-colonial struggle.  It should also underscore respect for human and civil rights, including the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of freedom and the right not to be detained without trial.  More so, a convention should address the underlying conditions that lead to terrorism and stipulate that measures to counter terrorism be in accordance with international law.

ALBERT SHINGIRO (Burundi), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that a week does not go by without a terrorist attack somewhere in the world taking the lives of innocent people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Pointing to the current trend towards globalization of terrorist attacks and stressing the fragile nature of Africa, he said that post-conflict situations allow terrorism to grow, as is the case with Al-Shabaab in Somalia.  Terrorism also redirects investments from social and economic sectors into military spending.  The international community must provide Governments that are fighting terrorism with the means to do so effectively. “Leaving Somalia to become a fertile ground for terrorism is not a choice for us,” he stressed.  Between the drug traffickers in the Sahel and the mafia in Europe and Latin America, there is a spider-web covering all continents, he pointed out, calling on the international community to step up joint actions to stop financing terrorism, whether legal or illegal.  “Money is the nerve of war,” he underscored.  Without money, terrorist groups would find it difficult to recruit or acquire weapons.

GIORGI MIKELADZE (Georgia), associating himself with the European Union, outlined several measures his country has taken to prevent international terrorism, such as signing, ratifying, and implementing several counter-terrorism instruments, as well as through the formation of a commission to implement relevant Security Council resolutions.  This commission, which was formed in 2011, targets individuals and entities associated with terrorist acts through asset freezing, travel bans and arms embargoes.  In addition, his country has developed a national counter-terrorism strategy and action plan, which focuses on preventive measures including de-radicalization and combating terrorist financing and foreign terrorist fighters.  Recalling the visit of the Executive Directorate of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee to Georgia — which was aimed at monitoring the country’s implementation of relevant resolutions — he highlighted the need for capacity-building and coordinated international efforts to tackle the issue, and called on Member States to intensify their contributions to United Nations counter-terrorism projects.

ANA LORENA VILLALOBOS BRENES (Costa Rica) called on the international community to promote respect for the rule of law by reducing impunity for those committing terrorist acts.  Further, the world must end the marginalization of communities by providing education, health care and security to vulnerable persons — particularly the young — so they do not fall prey to radicalization.  Maritime and land borders need to be strengthened, as porous frontiers lend themselves to illicit activity, terrorism, arms trafficking and the spread of foreign combatants.  On a national platform, Costa Rica combats terrorism by denying it funding and by training judges, prosecutors and judicial police on money-laundering, cybercrime and human-trafficking matters.  Technology transfer was also of great importance.  Computer tools to identify terrorists and foreign combatants should be available to all States, with the common goal of standardizing databases to facilitate information exchange.  More so, Member States should approve the draft comprehensive convention and work to create early warning mechanisms to counter international terrorism and violent extremism.

LUIS UGARELLI (Peru) said that, as a country that experienced terrorism for many years, Peru has made fighting the menace a priority during its work in the Security Council.  Highlighting Council resolution 2482 (2019) on ties between terrorism and organized crime, he underscored the importance of close cooperation with the Office of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.  Despite the military defeat of ISIL/Da’esh, that group seeks to maintain its influence across the globe through its affiliated networks and organizations.  “We need to limit their access to financial flows,” he said, adding that while crimes must not remain unpunished, there should be a process for reintegrating released combatants into society.

MOHAMMAD KURNIADI KOBA (Indonesia), associating with the Non‑Aligned Movement, ASEAN and OIC, said that in light of the misuse of the Internet and social media to spread terrorist ideas, efforts should be directed at strengthening legal measures and the rule of law.  Needed were mechanisms to verify accounts, along with social-media platforms and Internet providers facilitating information about their users and filtering certain content.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations remains a priority, as well as capacity-building efforts.  Hard measures must be accompanied by soft measures focused on dialogue, empowerment and reintegration.  De-radicalization programs can be complemented with counter-radicalization efforts that involve civil agents such as teachers, religious leaders, media partners and family members.

LIU YANG (China), underscoring that parties should put aside their geopolitical self‑interests in order to fight terrorism in all forms, stressed that root causes should be tackled using a multi‑pronged approach.  Universally accepted international counter‑terrorism treaties and other rules of international law punishing terrorist crimes should be implemented.  China has set up bilateral and multilateral consultation mechanisms on counter‑terrorism with more than 20 countries and regional organizations.  Initiatives, such as the China‑United Nations Peace and Development Fund, provide support to capacity‑building efforts by other States.  Pointing out that China has been a victim of terrorism, he noted his country’s efforts to advance preventive counter‑terrorism measures while guaranteeing all ethnic groups’ basic rights to subsistence and development.  In particular, China faces direct and present threats from forces represented by the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, a terrorist organization listed by the Security Council.  The fight against such forces represents a core counter‑terrorism concern for his country, he noted.

LUIS XAVIER OÑA GARCÉS (Ecuador), condemning all acts of terrorism regardless of the purpose or the authors, highlighted the importance of a balanced implementation of the four pillars of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  At the beginning of 2018, his country experienced several violent acts by armed groups linked to organized crime.  Terrorist attacks left people wounded and displaced, along with destroyed infrastructure.  His Government then implemented a defence plan for the northern border and put into place policies to address the transnational threat of terrorism.  Ecuador has also ratified almost all national and regional counter-terrorism instruments, he said, reaffirming the country’s commitment to the communiqué issued by the Hemispheric Ministerial Conference on the Fight Against Terrorism, held earlier this year in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan), recalling his country’s experience with terrorism, stressed that areas of armed conflict often create fertile ground for terrorists, organized criminal groups, along with the States behind them, to benefit from exploitation of natural resources, illicit drug trafficking and other crimes.  In addition, the accumulation of armaments and ammunition in those territories beyond international control — and the risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction — pose a serious threat to international peace and security.  With regards to combating terrorist acts committed in armed conflict, international cooperation in criminal matters, with mutual legal assistance, is the key.  To this end, Azerbaijan supports enhanced counter-terrorism measures, towards combating terrorist acts, he said, reiterating his country’s determination to actively contribute to an agreement on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  He further stressed that the war on terrorism must not be used to target any religion or culture.

YEDLA UMASANKAR (India) said that while collaboration among States is the only way to tackle terrorism, he pointed out that the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy has resulted in little impact on the ground.  He also said the Security Council sanctions committees operated as selective tools due to opaque working methods and politicized decision-making.  However, the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on International Terrorism is especially important in negotiated texts, which resulted in the adoption of three sectoral treaties, including the 1997 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings; the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism; and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.  India is a party to all of them.  Nonetheless, “The inability to agree on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism remains one of the great gaps in the international legislative framework that would strengthen efforts to destroy safe havens of terrorists, their financial flows and their support networks,” he stressed.

MILICA PEJANOVIĆ ĐURIŠIĆ (Montenegro) stressed that States should make further efforts to combat xenophobia and strengthen inclusion, thus removing stereotypes associated with terrorism.  They should also refrain from using the fight against the threat to suppress political opposition or ideological dissent from mainstream values.  In addition to security issues, the fight against terrorism should address problems related to development, good governance, human rights and humanitarian concerns.  Concrete results can only be attained through multi‑stakeholder dialogue, enhanced exchange of information and expertise among States as well as criminal justice cooperation, thus contributing to global peace and security.

DUNCAN LAKI MUHUMUZA (Uganda), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, OIC and the African Group, said a successful fight against terrorism requires hard decisions, including assigning a comprehensive definition to the phenomenon.  Terrorist groups such as ISIL/Da’esh, Al‑Qaida, Al‑Shabaab and Boko Haram continue to inflict death and devastation, manipulating young minds by exploiting real or perceived grievances.  He called on the international community to adapt to that changing landscape.  His Government has long been on the frontlines, including fighting against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Allied Democratic Forces, having defeated the former and driven them from Uganda.  He also noted Uganda is the biggest contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  Within their own borders, the Ugandan people are mobilized to be vigilant, leading to the capture of operatives before they can carry out operations.  He also stressed that the international community must address the issue of toxic waste dumping off the coast of Somalia, as those sites may one day be recycled into terrorist arsenals.

HYUNSEUNG LEE (Republic of Korea) noted that terrorist groups are able to exploit the Internet and social media, as well as utilize drones, artificial intelligence and virtual currency to facilitate their activities.  His Government is sponsoring “Tech Against Terrorism”, a joint initiative between the United Nations Counter‑Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and ICT4Peace.  The initiative aims to help start‑ups combat terrorism and extremism while reinforcing the importance of human rights.  He stressed that protecting those rights makes it imperative for any restrictive counter‑terrorism measures, including indictment and punishment of crimes, to be stipulated in law.  His Government regulates terrorism through multiple legal instruments, including the Specific Financial Information Act which addresses money‑laundering and other illegal financing.

Ms. ZOHOU (Togo), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and OIC, said that measures to counter terrorism must respect international law.  On a national level, the Togo Financial Intelligence Unit pursues its mandate and a domestic law against money-laundering and other sources of terrorist financing was recently passed in the national legislature.  The Government has also established an interministerial committee to reduce violent extremism by providing communities the tools they need to counter the phenomenon.  Recently adopted national-security legislation addresses threatened or actual violation of public order, in particular by terrorism and transnational crime.  However, international collaboration is essential to counter this menace that transcends borders.  For its part, Togo cooperates internationally and regionally to exchange intelligence information, she said, adding she hopes the Committee overcomes the divergences that for years have prevented the finalization of a draft comprehensive convention.

SANDRA PEJIC (Serbia), associating herself with the European Union, asked for continued and widespread cooperation among Member States to fight terrorism.  She pointed at the phenomenon of returning terrorist fighters as a challenge that requires regional collaboration.  To that end, her country is coordinated with its regional neighbours in the Western Balkans and South‑East Europe.  Blocking terrorists from access to financial resources is key to countering terrorism, she added, noting that Serbia has a legal framework, in line with the standards of the European Union, which focuses on combating money‑laundering.  As well, it has implemented Security Council resolutions on arms embargoes, including bans of non‑State actors, terrorist organizations and individuals linked to them.

ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL NYANID (Cameroon), noting that his country has experienced terrorism, stressed that despite differences of opinion among States, certain elements of a definition of the menace have been established in various legal instruments.  Over time terrorism has assumed worrying proportions.  Attacks have become more violent and have ignored borders.  Social media, digital means of communication and the dark web are being used to promote propaganda, radicalize new recruits and plan attacks.  Terrorism is a transnational threat that cannot be tackled by one Government or organization alone.  It must be addressed through multilateral action.  He recalled the recent high‑level United Nations conference, which brought together Member States and heads of anti‑terrorist bodies.  The international community has made progress since the 2006 Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy.  There is now a framework to counter terrorism that has been accomplished as a result of this Strategy.

SONALI SAMARASINGHE (Sri Lanka) said that, but for the events of Easter Sunday, 2019 would have marked a decade of peace in Sri Lanka following a 30‑year civil conflict.  Terrorists, inspired and indoctrinated by such extremist organizations as ISIL/Da’esh, targeted churches and luxury hotels, wreaking havoc on the holiest of days for Christians.  Even though Sri Lanka responded swiftly and effectively to restore normalcy, it was the country’s first experience of international terrorism.  Attacks on religious sites are particularly debased in their cruelty, “striking when victims have closed their eyes in prayer with their backs to the door”, she said.  Thus, she welcomes the United Nations Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites.  In that vein, she also stressed that it is crucial for the United Nations and Member States to draw from the United Nations Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech and the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy.  Despite broad support for the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, it is unfortunate that a positive conclusion to negotiations has eluded the international community for over a decade.

ZAKIA IGHIL (Algeria), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and OIC, called on the international community to fight against xenophobia and Islamophobia, which represent new forms of violent extremism.  She called for global efforts to address emerging threats, such as the spread of terrorist propaganda online; the return and relocation of foreign terrorist fighters; issues with border security and management; and the nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorist financing.  These international measures should be complemented by the finalization of the draft comprehensive convention, including agreeing on an accurate definition of terrorism in accordance with the Charter and international law.  In the Sahel region, radicalization among the young and economically disadvantaged persons is increasing.  As well, foreign terrorist fighters are flocking to areas affected by armed conflict.  These individuals compound the threat that terrorism poses to Africa, she said, underscoring that the world must act.

Mr. ALANSARI (Bahrain) said that because the phenomenon of terrorism has become a challenge to the entire international community, it requires an intensification of effort and cooperation at all levels.  Through its collaboration among all State institutions, Bahrain contributes to that fight.  At the international level, his country participates in combatting terrorism financing, including through the task force on the financing of ISIL, which aims to dry up sources of ISIL’s funding.  One of the most important activities it has conducted is the holding of the eighth Gulf workshop against terrorist financing, in coordination with the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as the United States.

KIM IN CHOL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that international cooperation is largely ineffective in combating terrorism, as demonstrated by attacks in Kenya, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.  Despite intensified bilateral and multilateral counter-terrorism efforts, in the form of agreements, conventions and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, there is little tangible success.  In addition, a certain country stretched “its tentacles deep into the internal conflicts of Syria” under the guise of counter-terrorism and supported a regime change through terrorist forces, he said, pointing to evidence such as a cache of military hardware supplied by that country which was uncovered by recent counter-terrorism operations in southern Syria.  State-sponsored terrorist acts aimed at bringing about regime change in sovereign States are a flagrant violation of the Charter.  Without removing this root cause of terrorism, international counter-terrorism efforts will not put an end to terrorism, he said, adding his solidarity with the struggles of the people and Governments of Syria and Venezuela.

RABII ZENATI (Tunisia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, African Group and OIC, said that his country has suffered from terrorism and has, therefore, strengthened its legal institutions and domestic policy to combat terrorism holistically.  A 2015 law criminalizes a wide variety of activities linked to terrorism, including supporting, inciting, financing, and recruiting for terrorist activity.  In addition, a 2018 governmental decree seeks to freeze terrorist assets.  These domestic measures respect international law in addition to the freedoms of expression and assembly.  The international community must act to address the root causes of terrorism – misery, ignorance, grievance, exclusion, injustice and despair - and cooperate to improve the livelihoods of peoples and communities.  Calling for constructive international relations that spread a culture of solidarity, tolerance and dialogue, he expressed hope that the Sixth Committee will make progress on the draft comprehensive convention.

AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that terrorism cannot be defeated by guns only.  There must be an equal focus on prevention by addressing the underlying causes, conditions, factors that contribute to the radicalization of young people, such as poverty, unemployment and lack of education.  The United Nations system and international partners can work with developing countries in creating jobs and skill training for the youth.  Nepal also supports the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and is committed to incorporating policies and guidelines to its national legal framework.  He added that partnership among countries in sharing information and technology is key in the fight against terrorism, adding that it must come with financial and technical assistance for developing countries.

MARIA ANGELA PONCE (Philippines), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that despite the long-term need to seek the roots of terrorism, it must take a back seat once the phenomenon has “grown and started to bear militant fruit”.  The growth must then be pulled out, with the strictest regard for human rights and no harm to the innocent.  Nonetheless, a State must never err on the side of giving the benefit of the doubt, as “if it talks like it, walks like and is armed like it”, it must be taken out, she stressed.  Like Sri Lanka, the Philippines has suffered terrorist attacks to its places of worship, including a bomb blast in a Catholic cathedral killing 27 and claimed by ISIL, a mosque bombing and the Marawi siege of 2017.  Marawi was liberated by armed forces, police and the support of allies after five months of non-stop fighting, halting the entry of foreign terrorist fighters and the spread of ISIL/Da’esh-inspired groups.  However, military and law enforcement operations are not enough to stamp out terrorist elements.  A complementary soft approach that address underlying conditions which drive individuals into violent extremist groups must also be engaged.  Only States that scorn the use of terrorism to advance foreign policy should join the global fight against it, covering the entire counter-terrorism spectrum.

COUMBA GAYE (Senegal), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, African Group and OIC, said that terrorism is an attack on the conscience of humanity.  In order to counter it, there must be inclusive cooperation involving all States, as well as international and regional organizations.  Only then will the terrorist threat will be overcome, including the phenomenon of foreign terrorist combatants.  Citing Senegalese President Macky Sall, she said terrorism was the absolute negation of humanity.  With that in mind, on 3 October, her country hosted a high-level meeting on the funding of security in the West African monetary union.  The President advocated the raising of resources to counter terrorism in West Africa and the Sahel, where terrorism is becoming endemic.  In terms of domestic policy, Senegal has amended its Penal Code in order to toughen sentences when it comes to recruiting and financing in terrorism, as well as failing to report terrorism or being an accomplice to terrorism.  It has also provided greater support for its judicial police so that they can more effectively conduct investigations against terrorism.

OLENA SYROTA (Ukraine) said that terrorist groups have grown from being regional menaces to global threats to international peace and security.  Resolute actions and responses are needed from the entire international community.  However, the draft convention on international terrorism has yet to be finalized.  Further, State-sponsored terrorism is proliferating.  Ukraine continues to experience war crimes and crimes against humanity while countering the Russian-hybrid aggression.  The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Monitoring Mission and the United Nations Human Rights Mission in Ukraine have confirmed the continuous flow of weapons and military personnel from the Russian Federation into the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.  More than 13,000 people have been killed as a result of the Russian Federation’s aggression and 1.5 million displaced.  It is critical to hold the Russian Federation to account, she said.

LENILDE HENRIQUES MAIA PEREIRA (Timor-Leste) said the radicalization of young people is a determinant factor in the violence that confronts many societies today.  Thus, policies are urgently needed to address inequality and social exclusion based on identity, structures or cultural beliefs.  Governments should ensure full and equal citizenship with political, social and economic rights for all.  She added that preventing violent extremism must extend beyond strict security concerns and include root causes and solutions.  Timor-Leste has a zero-tolerance policy on all forms of terrorism, combating it at home and contributing to efforts at the regional and international levels.  As a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum, Timor-Leste joins Member States in emphasizing a policy of de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration and sharing information.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, underscored the significance of the Secretary-General’s report on measures to eliminate international terrorism and pointed out that other countries have recognized the same over the past two days.  Unfortunately, some countries have used the technical nature of the report as a pretext for addressing irrelevant issues.  He called on Ukraine to stop speculating as these inappropriate statements distract delegations from the actual content of the Sixth Committee’s work.

For information media. Not an official record.