On 1 July 2020, the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) held a virtual consultation with over 15 civil society organizations, representing most regions of the world, to discuss counter-financing of terrorism and its implications for human rights. The event was organized by CTED in partnership with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL). The participation from CTED was led by Executive Director of CTED, Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx and included over 15 staff members representing all parts of the Executive Directorate.
The issue of countering terrorist financing has been one of the priorities of the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1373 in September 2001. More recently, in March 2019, the Security Council deepened this focus with its adoption of the landmark resolution 2462, which recognizes the vital role played by non-profit organizations in national economies and social systems and encourages Member States to work cooperatively with the non-profit sector to prevent the abuse of such organizations by terrorists and their supporters.
CTED’s contributions to the discussions aimed to raise participants’ awareness of its mandate and working methods on the topic of counter-financing, its engagement with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other international and regional bodies, and special CTED projects in this area. Issues raised during the discussions included the implementation of FATF recommendation 8 on non-profits and respect for the right to freedom of association; asset-freezing and listing mechanisms and their impact on the rights to property, a fair hearing, and effective remedies; and financial intelligence work and the right to freedom from arbitrary interference with privacy. CTED emphasized that effectively countering and preventing terrorism and violent extremism is a human rights obligation linked to safeguarding the right to life. At the same time, it stressed the position of the Security Council that all measures to counter terrorism, including the financing of terrorism, must comply with States’ obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law. CTED also highlighted the need to take a gender-sensitive approach to countering terrorist financing.
CTED learned much from the experiences and insights of the civil society organizations that participated in the consultation and is committed to further developing the mutually-beneficial exchange of views with civil society on issues related to countering terrorism and violent extremism, within a human rights-compliant and gender-sensitive framework.