Amidst sharing lessons learned from counter-terrorism battles on old and new fronts, delegates, while noting that the vacuum created by the lack of a comprehensive convention was an overarching concern, cautioned against double standards and called for whole-society solutions, as the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism. (For background, see Press Release GA/L/3634.)
Against that background, Ethiopia’s representative highlighted the African Convention against Terrorism, which is ratified by 41 States in the region and remains the only consensus document with a definition of the menace. Noting that countries such as hers had been experiencing terrorism long before the 11 September 2001 attack, she said the double standard for international cooperation is a serious challenge.
Turkey, that country’s delegate noted, has been at the forefront of the counter-terrorism battle against terrorist groups of varying ideologies. Cautioning against fighting one terrorist organization while relying on support from another, he called for increased cooperation between States in extradition and denying safe havens to terrorists.
Recalling the two attacks in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, Argentina’s representative highlighted the importance of building societies where diversity is seen as positive and enriching, rather than as a threat.
Along those lines, Malaysia’s delegate pointed out that the war against terrorism is also psychological. Underscoring the importance of winning “hearts and minds”, he drew attention to the deradicalization programme his Government is implementing throughout its prison system and a nationwide initiative focused on community outreach.
“Deradicalization has become our watchword,” Mauritania’s representative stated. Calling it a softer approach to fighting extremism in addition to military methods, she described recent dialogue organized between incarcerated jihadists and moderate religious leaders and welcomed other countries to consider it as a way forward.
The representative of Haiti observed that the fight against terrorism has only started and “will probably be a long one”. Further, that fight must also be a fight against poverty, drug trafficking, smuggling and corruption, he said, comparing the increase in banditry, assassination and kidnapping in his country to the cruelty and destabilization of terrorism.
Indonesia’s representative drew attention to new directions in terrorism, including how cyberspace and new technologies are being exploited by terrorists for propaganda, recruitment and terrorism financing, among other purposes. He also voiced concern about the growing number of women and common-family members emerging as perpetrators.
However, the delegate of Costa Rica observed that, while women may be involved in terrorist attacks, if they are duly empowered, they can be powerful agents for prevention. Emphasizing the need for integrating a gender perspective into national and international measures and noting the abuse of counterterrorism to penalize human rights defenders, she insisted, “We need more focus on human rights.”
Also speaking today were the representatives of Lebanon, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Cameroon, Yemen, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Zambia, the United Kingdom, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Togo, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Republic of Korea, Sudan, Bahrain, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Equatorial Guinea and Kuwait.
The representatives of the Russian Federation, Armenia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Sixth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 October, to continue its discussion on measures to eliminate international terrorism and take up the rule of law at the national and international levels.
AMAL MUDALLALI (Lebanon), noting the consequences of the pandemic on alienation and radicalization, called for a comprehensive approach, as contained in the four pillars of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Welcoming the consensus adoption of the seventh review of that document, she called on the international community to promote inclusive societies and empower women and youth to participate in tackling the root causes of the scourge. Voicing gratitude to the United Nations and various international partners whose assistance has been crucial in mitigating her country’s financial and humanitarian crisis, she pointed out that “too many Lebanese have borne the brunt of terrorism.” The country is party to various international legal instruments to prevent terrorist acts and is committed to ensuring respect of relevant resolutions, she underscored.
Ms. BIRHANU (Ethiopia), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said the 11 September 2011 attack brought to the forefront the perils of terrorism that some countries, including Ethiopia, have been experiencing for too long. Noting the absence of a universally agreed definition, she highlighted the African Convention against Terrorism, which is ratified by 41 States in the region and remains the only consensus document with a definition of the menace. Although it is the primary responsibility of each State to tackle terrorist advances that threatens its security, she pointed out that the double standard for international cooperation is a serious challenge. Her Government is reviewing laws to catch up with the dynamic nature of terrorism, as well as adjust to the human rights requirements that are at stake, she said.
OLEG O. MIKHAYLOV (Russian Federation), pointing out that terrorist organizations continue to receive military equipment from various sponsors, underscored the need for the international community to cut off this supply of goods. Turning to the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, he said that, following its military defeat, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) has become a far-reaching network of underground cells spread all over the world. Such fighters constitute the backbone of these cells, returning to their countries of origin or third countries to exploit the fragmentation in the international community. He spotlighted the threat still posed by Al-Qaida, which still possesses sufficient military, financial and technical capacity. Increased good-faith international cooperation on mutual legal assistance and extradition is warranted in this regard. He also expressed concern over Western States’ prioritization of human rights and gender aspects in counterterrorism policy, in addition to their selective focus on rehabilitation and reintegration to the detriment of the certainty of punishment.
Mr. LAKOMOV (Ukraine) stated that some countries have integrated terrorism into their State policies, which has led to flagrant violations of international law. The Russian Federation has violated most of the fundamental obligations under counter-terrorism-related international conventions and Security Council resolutions. Conventional arms, small arms and light weapons and ammunition are delivered either openly or under the guise of so-called humanitarian convoys to the east of Ukraine. Further, the Russian Federation makes no effort to stop the inflow of fighters into the occupied areas of Ukraine and, instead, encourages manpower recruitment and transfer into the territory of Ukraine through State-controlled channels. Combating activities of individual terrorists and terrorist groups will not be sufficient if the problem of state-sponsored terrorism is not addressed in a robust and comprehensive way, he said.
ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL NYANID (Cameroon) said that, despite divergences between States on a definition for the phenomenon, terrorism is a real threat that exploits discord to sow fear and destruction in regions across the world. The threat is also an evolving one, as terrorists use the dark web to recruit and plan new atrocities. He stressed that multilateral cooperation is essential, as many terrorist activities go beyond borders, including digital ones. He called on the international community to overcome obstacles to the exchange of intelligence information, biometric data and passenger details. Over the last 10 years, the international community has focused on fighting terrorism militarily. While such measures are necessary to protect civilian life, efforts to address the threat in the long run must focus on tackling the root causes that push some people to be “seduced by terrorism”, such as poverty and economic or social marginalization.
ANIL KAYALAR (Turkey) stressed that terrorism is a grave violation of human rights. However, it should not be associated with any religion or ethnic group. His country has been at the forefront of the counter-terrorism battle against terrorist groups of varying ideologies. Pointing out that some perpetrators of terrorist acts have been able to escape justice, he called attention to the need for increased cooperation between States in extradition and denying safe havens to terrorists. He also cautioned against fighting one terrorist organization while relying on support from another. Foreign terrorist fighters have a direct consequence on Turkey’s security, he emphasized, calling on countries to repatriate their nationals.
ABDULRAHMAN HASAN YAHYA AL-BARATI (Yemen) affirmed the need for a comprehensive convention on the phenomenon of distinguishing clearly between terrorism and legitimate struggles for self-determination. His country has battled Al-Qaeda and ISIL/Da’esh, he noted, stressing the importance of exchange of information to prevent attacks. Yemen has adopted a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism by eliminating the financing of terrorism, educating society about its dangers and amending the penal code to criminalize acts of terrorism. Unfortunately, the coup by the Houthi militia has deterred these efforts, he said, adding that this racist and extremist religious group believes in their supremacy over other races and is actively spreading hatred. Reaffirming his country’s commitment to restoring peace, he called on regional and international partners to increase their technical and logistical assistance.
IN CHOL KIM (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) stressed that the issue of counter‑terrorism should not be misused as a tool for pursuing political and economic interests and hegemony of power. Double standards and bloc-forming will bring about only antagonism and confrontation among Member States. The international community must denounce and condemn the double-dealing practices of some States that arbitrarily designate countries disobedient to them as “State sponsors of terrorism”. Further, he called for an end to the stigmatizing of national liberation struggles for independence and territorial integrity as “terrorist act”, as well as measures to prevent terrorism as “human rights violations”. His Government has adopted strong counter-terrorism measures and has acceded to a series of international conventions on counter‑terrorism, demonstrating his country’s commitment to eradicate all forms of the threat.
SACKPASEUTH SISOUK (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said cooperation with the international community was essential to eliminate terrorism using an approach that is in accordance with international law, and with respect to national sovereignty and territorial integrity. For its part, his country has improved its domestic law in compliance with relevant international conventions. All possible acts of terrorism have been incorporated into its penal code and identified as serious criminal offenses, including money‑laundering and financing of terrorism. To further strengthen regional and international cooperation in this area, he stressed that regular exchange of experiences, expertise and best practices is of particular importance.
LAUZA ALI (Maldives) underlined that a fight against terrorism requires a multi-faceted approach which conquers the ideologies which fuel such extreme acts. Noting the negative impact of violent extremism to the tourism-based economy of her country, she pointed to the development of a local anti-money-laundering legislation. She also highlighted the National Strategy on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, which seeks to build a more cohesive society and enhances inclusive dialogue to counter hate speech, xenophobia and other intolerances. As a country where the Islamic faith defines most aspects of life and culture, the Maldives continues to maintain a policy of moderation and openness, she said, noting its Government’s proactive engagement with international partners on counter-terrorism, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and regional counterparts, on the establishment of the South Asia Network on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
WISNIQUE PANIER (Haiti) pointed out that continued discussion on measures to combat international terrorism makes clear that actions taken to date have not yet reached the expected result. Rather, the fight against terrorism has just begun, “and it will probably be a long one”, he observed. In light of the COVID‑19 pandemic, poverty and unemployment must be considered alongside traditional motives as underlying causes of terrorist acts. Therefore, the fight against terrorism must also be a fight against poverty, drug trafficking, smuggling and corruption. Adding that his country currently faces acts of banditry, assassination and kidnapping ‑ with cruelty similar to terrorist action and possessing a comparable goal of weakening State structures – he said that the Government is prioritizing re-establishing order and security.
MARTÍN JUAN MAINERO (Argentina), noting that 20 years have passed since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), said that the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack that prompted the resolution showed the international community that the fight against terrorism can only be effective through concerted global action. Argentina suffered two attacks in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994. National efforts to counter the threat currently focus on the protection of victims’ rights. He also highlighted the alarming increase in hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance around the world, calling for the international community to build societies where diversity is seen as positive and enriching, rather than as a threat.
MUHABI LUNGU (Zambia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, expressed concern over the impact international terrorism has on economies. Although Zambia has been spared from direct terrorist attacks, the Zambian National Assembly passed the National Anti-Terrorism Proliferation Act in 2018 as a preventive measure. Further, his country is pursuing a five-year transformative process in its development programme, aimed at the fight against corruption, money-laundering and terrorism. Zambia stands ready to participate in the proposed high-level conference to formulate a joint response to terrorism in all its manifestations, he said.
JONATHAN HOLLIS (United Kingdom) said terrorism continues to evolve despite the immense progress made in the past 20 years since the 11 September 2001 attack. Recalling an assessment visit to his country by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate two years ago, the report of which he shared with the Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, he said countries must work together to counter the spread and the root causes of terrorism in Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa. Further, the world must be agile in tackling the use of the Internet, including for terrorist recruitment, financing and attack planning. International cooperation is vital in preventing and countering terrorism, as is ensuring fundamental rights and freedoms are protected, he noted.
The representative of Côte d'Ivoire, associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, spotlighted the increasing number of deadly terrorist attacks in the Sahel region. His own country is no exception, he said, drawing attention to the barbaric attack that took place in March on its border with Burkina Faso. His Government has taken measures at national and international levels, including by adopting legislative provisions related to terrorist financing and travel, as well as establishing an international academy for capacity-building in counter-terrorism. He also highlighted the Accra Initiative, which brings together a number of countries in a partnership to exchange information and cooperate in cross-border military operations.
ANA LORENA VILLALOBOS BRENES (Costa Rica), stressing that counter-terrorism must be conducted with respect for international law and refugee rights, highlighted the need for integrating a gender perspective into national and international measures. While women may be involved in terrorist attacks, if they are duly empowered, they can be powerful agents for preventing terrorism. Highlighting the need for inclusive policies at the multilateral level, she echoed the call for a convention on terrorism. While there are as many as 55 individual conventions on specific aspects of terrorism, there is still no widely accepted definition of terrorism. “We need more focus on human rights”, she said, noting that human rights defenders are often punished on the pretext of terrorism.
MOHAMMAD KURNIADI KOBA (Indonesia) noted that the challenge of terrorism continues to evolve and take on new forms. In particular, cyberspace and new technologies are being exploited by terrorists for propaganda, recruitment and terrorism financing, among other purposes. There is also a growing number of women and common-family members emerging as perpetrators. Indonesia has carried out several legal measures, including enacting new regulations in 2020, which aim to provide better protection of victims of terrorism through restitutions and compensation. It also passed the National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism that Leads to Terrorism. Welcoming the consensual adoption of the seventh Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review resolution this year, he reiterated his Government’s objection to any attempt to link terrorism to any specific religion, nationality, people or civilization.
ADONIA AYEBARE (Uganda) associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), noted that the United Nations Program Office for Counter-Terrorism and Training in Africa will make an important contribution in regional efforts. His country fought against terrorist groups for a long time, including the Lord’s Resistance Army; the so-called Allied Democratic Forces; and the Al Shabaab in Somalia. The men and women of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces defeated and routed the Lord’s Resistance Army out of Ugandan territory. However, that armed group is active in Central African Republic and some parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He urged Member States to continue supporting all efforts aimed at eliminating these terrorist groups.
MANZI TCHILABALO KARBOU (Togo), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, noted that his country is part of the West African subregion, where terrorist groups are flourishing in the Sahel and the West African coast and ISIL/Da’esh and its affiliates have broadened the scope of their attacks. He stressed that the fight against terrorism must not be used as a pretext to advance hidden agendas or violate international law. Alongside the countries of West Africa, Togo strives to export its national vision of peace, supports political processes, works towards national reconciliation through mediation and fosters responsible governance aimed at social and political inclusion. He added that human and social development must be prioritized and that economic inclusion makes people more likely to participate in the political process.
SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, OIC, and ASEAN, underscored the importance of winning “hearts and minds” in the psychological war against terrorism. The Southeast Asia Regional Centre on Counter-Terrorism continues to engage with youths through counter-messaging initiatives. As well, deradicalization is a key element of Malaysia’s counter-terrorism and violent extremism strategy. In that regard, 246 terrorist deradicalization programmes have been conducted in the past year with the involvement of the Malaysian Prison Department, and 83 counter-terrorism community outreach programmes had been carried out throughout the country. Malaysia is currently looking into several priority recommendations by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, including information and communications technology and counter-terrorism, as well as the role of women and gender.
RASHED JAMAL IBRAHIM IBRAHIM AZZAM (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC, said that the COVID‑19 pandemic made the global humanitarian situation more complex. This reality is being exploited by terrorist and extremist groups to recruit new members and find new means of financial support. For its part, the Government has contributed to other countries’ pandemic recovery efforts, includes women and young people in governance and development and has provided in excess of $50 million over the last five years to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). He also stressed the need to deal with the root causes of terrorism, and to contain ISIL/Da’esh and prevent its spread to other regions, particularly Africa.
RABII ZENATI (Tunisia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and the OIC, said that terrorism exploits weaknesses in States and society, such as those caused by the pandemic. Noting that his country is strengthening capacity-building efforts to counter terrorism, he said that national policies also adhere to human rights and the rule of law. Tunisia has also adopted a law on money-laundering, which sets out a clear definition and provides recourse to victims. It is currently reviewing laws adopted in 2016 with national and international stakeholders to develop a strategic framework to tackle violent extremism on the national and regional levels. While practical actions are important, it is also important to tackle root causes of terrorism, including fertile breeding grounds such as occupations, he said.
DONGKYU MOON (Republic of Korea) underscored that the recent terrorist attack around Kabul airport in Afghanistan proves that threats posed by terrorists remain. Further, the international community must pay attention to new and emerging technologies, he added, lauding the recent launch of the Office of Counter-Terrorism’s Connect and Learn Platform, an online capacity-building and networking tool. The Platform will advance the Office’s capacity-building efforts and play a role as a hub for various stakeholders in counter-terrorism activities. Highlighting that international coordination is essential, he said that human rights, gender equality and civil society must be core elements in counter‑terrorism endeavours. Therefore, full, equal and meaningful participation and the leadership of women in efforts to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism must be pursued.
AMMAR MOHAMMED MAHMOUD MOHAMMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group, and the OIC, said the pandemic has posed economic challenges that inflame conflicts and have led to the spread of hatred and recruitment to extremist groups. In addition to fighting the pandemic, Governments must also address challenges posed by terrorist activities. Such efforts, however, call for international coordination and solidarity, he said. Sudan has developed a strategy aimed at limiting the operations of extremists and is also geared towards building capacity and protecting human rights, as well as gender equality. He went on to note that counter-terrorism calls for a comprehensive approach, which must go beyond focusing purely on security solutions and address the root causes of extremism, through combating poverty and building infrastructure.
MARIAM SAO (Mauritania), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and OIC, called on Member States to ensure that those responsible for terrorist acts be apprehended and either prosecuted or extradited. Her Government works to encourage a spirit of social tolerance and mutual respect. “Deradicalization has become our watchword,” she said, adding that it is a softer approach to fighting extremism in addition to military methods. Recent dialogue organized between incarcerated jihadists and moderate religious leaders can serve as an example for other countries going forward. The national strategy is a long‑term one, she stated, noting that the fight will last for a while, as evidenced by the influence of terrorism in the Sahel region.
Ms. ALSHEROOQI (Bahrain) detailed several national efforts to counter terrorism, including the adoption of legislation to address the threat that has become updated according to developments in the area of organized crime. Further, the Government actively works to reduce the risk of money‑laundering — and leading in this area on the international stage — and has achieved significant progress in improving compliance with standards developed by the Financial Action Task Force. Bahrain also works to combat terrorist ideologies, she noted, calling on the international community to refrain from justifying any form of terrorism, regardless of its motivation.
YAARB AHMED NASER AL-TEMEMY (Iraq) said terrorists and terror organizations have repeatedly attempted to destabilize his country by targeting its institutions and terrorizing its citizens through acts of horrific torture. Iraq is committed to cooperating with the international community in order to eliminate this menace, in particular ISIL/Da’esh. Accomplishing this will stabilize the region and enhance international security. Recalling Security Council resolution 2379 (2017), on the formation of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD), he said that his country’s actions to adhere to due process in this regard have proved that it continues to cooperate with the international community. He called for greater intelligence sharing and security cooperation with the international community, on a bilateral and multilateral level. In this context, he said Iraq has made efforts to collect evidence in line with Security Council resolution 1526 (2004).
TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said that no amnesty or any other form of early release can be granted for perpetrators of terrorist acts. Equally, the instances of shielding and glorification of terrorists cannot be tolerated. He noted his rejection of the information in paragraphs 8 and 9 submitted by Armenia for the Secretary-General’s report on measures to eliminate international terrorism (document A/76/201). Armenia has a longstanding track record of supporting terrorism at the State level, he said. The evidence collected before and throughout the hostilities from September to November last year testifies to the recruitment by Armenia of foreign terrorist fighters and mercenaries. The 44-day war last fall resulted in the liberation of the territories from nearly 30 years of occupation. Yet, after the cessation of all military activities, Armenia deployed a sabotage group to Azerbaijan. As a result of Azerbaijan’s counter-terrorist operation, the members of that group were brought to justice, he noted.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, underscored that experience shows no country ‑ “no matter how big or powerful” ‑ can eradicate terrorism on its own. Terrorist actions persist through the world, particularly in Africa, where it constitutes “a clear and present danger”. He also expressed concern over the increase in kidnappings and hostage-takings committed to obtain ransoms or political concessions and over piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which he described as seagoing terrorism. International efforts to counter terrorism must respect the sovereignty of the countries concerned, he emphasized, as such States have the primary responsibility to act in this regard.
BASHAR ABDULAH E R S ALMOWAIZRI (Kuwait), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC, condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, observing that it is a crime which cannot be linked to any nationality or ethnicity. The root causes of terrorism must be eradicated, including by eliminating poverty and promoting peaceful coexistence of all people regardless of differences. On the repatriation of foreign fighters, which poses a great challenge to the international community, he said an effective global strategy is required to tackle the issue and to ensure accountability. He touched on measures taken by Kuwait to tackle terrorism, including strengthening cooperation, building capacity, and targeting money-laundering and terror financing.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that Ukraine’s delegate used the Sixth Committee to spread assertions that have no relationship with reality. The Kyiv regime is involved in the murder of its own citizens, he said, adding that the word “terrorism” is used by its officials left and right for their propaganda against his country. “We are embarrassed to see Ukraine’s delegation speaking such rubbish,” he said.
The representative of Armenia said that the statement made by Azerbaijan’s delegate is a textbook example of hate speech. That delegation continues its false narratives regarding the Nagorno—Karabakh conflict in an attempt to hijack the attention of the Committee from Azerbaijan’s State-sponsored terrorism and human rights violations, he said.
The representative of Ukraine said that his country has learned from its tragic experience what it is to have foreign-born terrorism in its territories because the Kremlin puppet masters have set up terrorist forces and recruitment centres in parts of Ukraine. “Like an incurable psychiatric patient”, the Russian Federation continues to deny all this despite irrefutable evidence, he said.
The representative of Azerbaijan said that Armenia’s representative is repeating the usual false narratives, which represents that country’s distorted perception regarding its obligations under international law. While discussing today’s agenda item, the international community should note that Armenia and the Armenian diaspora committed more than 200 terrorist acts in the 1970s and 1980s and, against this background, should be the last country to share counter-terrorism knowledge or experience.
The representative of Armenia said that Azerbaijan’s insinuations have nothing to do with the Sixth Committee or today’s agenda item and will not distract from the clear-cut evidence to which Armenia previously referred. Further, Azerbaijan’s unsuccessful attempts to attribute to Armenia terrorist attacks committed in the 1970s and 1980s fail to account for the fact that Armenia only gained independence in 1991.
The representative of Azerbaijan stressed that the level of fabrication and manipulation on the part of Armenia’s Government has reached the point that even social media networks have had to take down accounts linked to that Government in order to prevent the spread of false news.