Addressing a meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), Australia stressed the need to develop strong regional and international partnerships in combating terrorism and violent extremism.

Speaking at the Committee’s 27 July 2017 meeting in New York, Mr. Robert Delaney, First Assistant Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department of Australia, briefed members on the terrorist threat to Australia and South-East Asia, as well as on Australia’s recent legislative responses.

In countering terrorism and violent extremism, there was a need for an integrated, global approach that incorporated multilateral approaches, regional cooperation, national strategies, and engagement at the local level, including by civil society, he said. The continued engagement of the United Nations in the region was vital.

States of the region faced a number of challenges, including lengthy, porous borders; the increasing convergence of terrorist groups; lack of intelligence-sharing;  terrorist financing; and online terrorist propaganda. The propaganda spread by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) had resonated with regional extremists, Mr. Delaney said.

There had been an increase in ISIL-inspired attacks in the region since 2016, and at least 600 individuals from the region were currently fighting in the conflict zones of the Middle East.

Australia’s regional engagement includes close cooperation with numerous partner organizations, including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC), and the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT). It also participates in regional counter-terrorism initiatives and has collaborated with the Abu Dhabi-based Hedayah Centre to develop a compendium of regional counter-narratives.

CTC members recalled the importance of all relevant Security Council resolutions and recognised Australia’s efforts in counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism in this regard.