Bali, Indonesia

10 August 2016

Secretary-General's message to International Meeting on Countering Cross Border Movement of Terrorism

[Delivered by Mr. Weixiong Chen, Deputy Executive Director, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate]

I am pleased to send greetings to this important meeting, and I am grateful to the Government of Indonesia for inviting the United Nations to participate.


The United Nations condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, regardless of its motivation.  Terrorism recognizes no borders.  It constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, especially the rights of victims of terrorism.  The Security Council emphasizes that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization.  No nation or region is immune to this threat. 


The cross-border movement of terrorists has become more acute, especially when coupled with more sophisticated financing and the use of social media and other modern means of communication for recruitment and for the incitement, planning and commission of terrorist acts.  Foreign terrorist fighters increase the intensity and duration of conflicts, and pose significant threats to States that they transit and to their countries of residence upon return.  Over the past few months, we have witnessed outrageous attacks in which foreign terrorist fighters were involved.  We need to take urgent action against this phenomenon.


To support the efforts of Member States, as mandated by the Security Council, the United Nations has developed a comprehensive Capacity Building Implementation Plan to Stem the Flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters.  I look forward to the active support of Member States for this Plan, which consists of 37 capacity-building projects that address the full spectrum of the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, from radicalization to travel to reintegration.  For example, the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre is currently conducting one such project, on Advance Passenger Information Systems, and recently delivered a regional workshop in Bangkok aimed at strengthening border management in South and South-East Asia.


Counter-terrorism efforts need the coordinated, strategic and comprehensive collaboration of law enforcement and intelligence entities and measures.  States also need to promote active engagement with the relevant sectors of society, including religious leaders, youth, women, academia, the media and educational institutions, to address the factors that drive individuals to join terrorist ranks.


We have to do more than counter violent extremism; we have to prevent it.  This is a top priority.  The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously recommended the implementation of the recommendations included in my Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and the development of national and regional action plans.


It is vital that our responses to counter and prevent terrorism and violent extremism are fully compliant with international human rights law.  The values we are committed to uphold are the foundation of our common efforts to create a world of dignity for all, free from fear and want.  When counter-terrorism measures infringe fundamental rights, they can further fuel the violence they are meant to address.


The United Nations stands ready to support Member States in their efforts to combat terrorism and address the drivers of violent extremism.  Capacity-building measures, the sharing of good practices and measures to strengthen international and regional cooperation are more essential than ever.  The United Nations -- through CTITF, CTED and other relevant UN entities -- will continue to support Member States in assessing counter-terrorism capacities and facilitating and delivering technical assistance.


The consensus adoption by the General Assembly of the 10th Anniversary Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy resolution reaffirms the resolve of the international community to act urgently and in unison to combat terrorism and violent extremism.  I have asked the relevant United Nations entities to step up their efforts to support Member States in implementing all four pillars of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, focusing on both prevention and suppression, and anchoring all efforts in human rights and the rule of law.


I encourage States to adopt national and regional plans of action to combat and prevent terrorism and violent extremism and to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in a balanced and comprehensive manner.

I wish you a productive meeting.