Sixth Committee Concludes Debate on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, with Speakers Calling for New Strategies Tackling Evolving Threat – World

GA/L/3657

SEVENTY-SEVENTH SESSION, 3RD & 4TH MEETINGS (AM & PM)

The Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism today, as delegates offered suggestions and reported successes in combating a phenomenon that is both evolving in complexity and exacerbated by current global crises. (For background, see Press Release GA/L/3656.)

The representative of Indonesia provided an overview of these compounding threats, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic magnified drivers for terrorism amidst such groups’ increasing use of emerging technologies to enhance the lethality of their drone attacks and incite extremist narratives. “Such worrying trends merit our attention, and a business-as-usual approach is not enough,” he stressed.

Uruguay’s representative similarly urged the international community to analyse the impact of new technologies in the struggle against terrorism, suggesting a focus on cybersecurity and the use of media to spread messages of hate. He also emphasized the need to support victims of terrorism, stating that national legislatures can play a key role in this regard by approving relevant laws, allocating budgets and placing this issue on the public agenda.

On that point, the representative of Qatar joined others in noting his country’s participation in the Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism held by the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and highlighting the importance of this issue. Detailing other national efforts to respond to the threat posed by terrorism, he pointed out that Qatar organized the 2022 World Cup and spotlighted the importance of sport in promoting peace and coexistence between peoples, particularly young people.

The representative of the Philippines noted that his country was the first in South-East Asia to adopt a national action plan on preventing and countering violent extremism, stressing the need to holistically address the phenomenon’s root causes through whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approaches. He also spotlighted his country’s success in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where terrorist activity was declining and terrorist capabilities were diminishing.

The representative of Kuwait also outlined national measures to tackle the threat of terrorism, underlining the challenges inherent in repatriating, rehabilitating and reintegrating foreign terrorist fighters and their families. Noting that his country hosted 14 Member States in an event to facilitate the repatriation of those languishing in Syrian prisons, he said that more than 330 persons have been repatriated to date.

Also detailing regional counter-terrorism measures was Togo’s representative, who pointed out that his country, with the support of partners, hosted the first Pan-African cybersecurity summit in March. He also reported that a risk-analysis unit was established as part of the “Accra Initiative”, where experts would combine and analyse information obtained from various countries to enhance decision-making to prevent and minimize the danger of terrorism.

The representative of Ethiopia pointed out that the Organisation of African Unity’s Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism — ratified by 41 African States — is the only consensus-based document with an agreed definition of the phenomenon. Expressing strong support for international and regional cooperation, he also reported that his country has established police-to-police cooperation agreements related to countering terrorism and arms smuggling.

Chad’s representative echoed that support, underlining the importance of strengthening judicial mechanisms for the countries of the Sahel. He also welcomed the appointment of an independent, high-level panel responsible for conducting a joint strategic review of the security situation in the Sahel, expressing hope that the panel’s conclusions would help find solutions for the region.

Other speakers took the opportunity to highlight actions that obstruct — rather than assist — the global fight against terrorism.

Nicaragua’s representative condemned the use of unilateral coercive measures, which can hinder efforts to counter terrorism. He pointed out, however, that his country remained the key stability and safety factor in the region, as it stood up to the scourge of drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism. This was possible in line with the country’s family model, which strengthened the peace factor, he said.

The representative of China observed that some major countries have cut back on their global counter-terrorism strategies and have concocted human-rights issues to interfere with the counter-terrorism efforts of other countries. Against that backdrop, he stressed the need to strengthen the rule of law internationally and refrain from employing double standards or a selective approach to counter-terrorism.

The representative of the United Kingdom, while welcoming the progress in preventing terrorist use of the Internet, also underscored the need to protect freedom of expression. States must not violate human rights in the name of countering terrorism, she stressed, adding that integrating gender and civil-society perspectives was essential for successfully countering terrorism and violent extremism.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Ukraine, Lebanon, Algeria, Eritrea, Armenia, Uganda, Republic of Korea, El Salvador, Oman, Côte d’Ivoire, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, Dominican Republic, Türkiye, Morocco, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Mali, Mozambique, and Angola. The observers for the State of Palestine, Holy See and International Committee of the Red Cross also spoke.

The representatives of the Russian Federation, Armenia and Azerbaijan spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Sixth Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 6 October, to begin consideration of criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission.

Statements

MYKOLA PRYTULA (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union and stressing his country’s commitment to fighting terrorism and violent extremism, recalled that the Security Council adopted resolution 2341 (2017) — the first resolution on protecting critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks — on Ukraine’s initiative. However, some countries have integrated terrorism into State policy. In that regard, he said that the Russian Federation is using terrorism as a tool in its hybrid aggression against Ukraine. Pointing out that one of the Russian Federation’s first acts of terrorism in Ukraine occurred in July 2014 when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down, he underscored that the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion has now “brought the horror of terrorism to the entire territory of Ukraine.” Russian artillery and missile attacks primarily target civilian infrastructure, and the constant shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant threatens nuclear disaster. Stressing that such actions should be considered acts of State terrorism, he called on the international community to officially recognize that the Russian Federation has become a terrorist State.

AMAL MUDALLALI (Lebanon), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), pointed out that her country has long suffered from terrorist attacks. She welcomed the successful holding of the 2022 Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism, noting that it brought together a wide variety of stakeholders and highlighted the importance of a whole-of-society approach in devising relevant policies and strategies. Underlining the importance of addressing the root causes that can lead to violent extremism and terrorist radicalization, she detailed the Government’s National Action Plan. This 2021-2023 plan aimed to give specific attention to youth in preventing violent extremism and to enhance women’s role in maintaining social peace. It also contained programmes for prisoners and vulnerable communities. She also noted that adequate resources were needed to implement these measures, as was support from the United Nations and the international community to assist Lebanon in meeting its international obligations. She also detailed the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which recently completed judicial proceedings relating to 2005 terrorist acts in Beirut.

NADER LOUAFI (Algeria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, OIC and the African Group, urged those present to move forward with drafting a convention on international terrorism and establishing a clear definition for the menace. He welcomed efforts to implement the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy through cooperation at all levels, emphasizing the importance of capacity-building and mutual assistance. Also adding his support for the work of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, he stressed that Member States bear the responsibility to suppress terrorist financing; fight transnational organized crime and terrorist use of information and communications technology; counter the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters; and address attacks against Islam. For its part, Algeria was actively involved in regional and international cooperation and initiatives to counter terrorism. Detailing these, he said that his country recently attended relevant meetings of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Algeria also worked with partners in the Sahel and participated in African entities researching terrorism, he added.

AMANUEL GIORGIO (Eritrea), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, emphasized that fighting terrorism requires sustained efforts at all levels. He therefore supported the full implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as well as the role of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and other United Nations entities in facilitating a unified, coherent global response. For its part, Eritrea enacted national legislation designed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and also cooperated with others in the region towards these ends. Turning to the “precarious situation” in the Horn of Africa, he noted that extremist ideology and organized crime have persisted in the region for decades. Any threat to the security and stability of the region was taken very seriously, he said, calling for strong coordination between regional States and other relevant parties to prevent the Horn of Africa from becoming a breeding ground for terrorism, human trafficking and other organized crime. He also underscored that the countries of the region must be able to set their own priorities, without external interference, to ensure stability in the Horn of Africa.

DAVIT KNYAZYAN (Armenia) said that his country continued to face the consequences of the large-scale aggression by Azerbaijan against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh launched in 2020. The Government of Azerbaijan and its external supporters recruited and relocated thousands of foreign terrorist fighters to the conflict zone. These fighters committed numerous and gross violations of international humanitarian law, such as extrajudicial killings and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-style torture and executions of prisoners of war and civilian hostages. “Employment of foreign terrorist fighters turned Azerbaijan into a ‘safe harbour’ for international terrorism,” he added. Thus, he emphasized the importance of identifying the warning signs of terrorist networks spreading in the region. On the regional level, Armenia was actively implementing the counter-terrorism conventions and their additional protocols, as well as the relevant Security Council resolutions. He further underlined the importance of preventing violent extremism and radicalization, protecting religious and ethnic groups and countering hate speech and reiterated his country’s support for strengthening of the capacities of the United Nations to prevent and respond to the rise of racism, xenophobia, and justification of past crimes.

ALI AHMAD M. A. ALMANSOURI (Qatar), recalling his country’s participation in the Global Congress on Victims of Terrorism, urged that the matter receive strong attention. As well, after a successful visit by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate to Qatar in 2020, his country announced the renewal of its annual contribution to the Office of Counter-Terrorism in the amount of $15 million per year for three additional years. This made the country one of the greatest donors to the Office. In March 2022 his country organized the first annual forum for beneficiaries of technical assistance on countering terrorism, examining programmes supported by this partnership, identifying implementation challenges and providing practical recommendations. He also highlighted the progress achieved by the working group recommendations on financial matters. In addition, Qatar organized the 2022 World Cup, spotlighting the importance of sport to promote peace and coexistence between people, in particular young people. As a part of the country’s fight against terrorism, it renewed its contribution to the Global Fund in the amount of $5 million for the next five years.

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ADONIA AYEBARE (Uganda), associating himself with the African Group, OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, underlined the need for a comprehensive definition for “terrorism”. This would isolate the phenomenon and differentiate it from other legitimate struggles. He expressed his support for the work done so far in drafting a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, calling on all Member States to cooperate in resolving outstanding issues relating to such instrument. Noting that Uganda has been fighting terrorism for a long time, he called for collective efforts to deny terrorists any havens, eradicate sources of terrorist financing, reduce State vulnerabilities and enhance emergency-preparedness-and-response capabilities. He also spotlighted the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the need for the international community to address existing, new and emerging issues of collective concern. These include, he said, the pandemic’s economic impact, along with its disruption of health systems, global supply chains and international travel that threatens to increase the conditions that breed terrorism.

ABD-EL KADER YASMIN TCHALARE (Togo), associating himself with the African Republic, OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the success of the seventhreview of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy. He suggested that the next review emphasize the matters of returned foreign terrorist combatants; use of information and communications technology by terrorist groups; and propagation of hate speech. On a national level, with the support of the Counter-Terrorism Office, Togo put together a national road map on protection of particularly vulnerable targets of terrorism. The Government also created a unit for processing intelligence and information on terrorism and the good practices in combating it. With the support of partners, in March Togo hosted the first Pan-African Cybersecurity Summit, resulting in a declaration that was a true compendium of commitments in favour of tackling cyber menaces. He also reported that, in the face of persistent terrorist threats, a risk-analysis unit was established where experts would combine and analyse the information obtained from various countries to enhance decision-making to prevent and minimize the danger of terrorism. This was an important step as part of the “Accra Initiative”, he said, and he called on the Member States to support the initiative.

ANDUALEM YALELET, (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, said that in the absence of a universally agreed definition of terrorism, the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, ratified by 41 African States, is the only consensus-based document with an agreed definition of the phenomenon. Ethiopia played a crucial role the in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the peace architecture of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which aimed to obliterate Al-Shabab. Moreover, Ethiopia was a party to 9 out of 19 universal international and regional counter-terrorism instruments, having concluded a number of bilateral agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. It ratified several international conventions on combating terrorism and amended its legal system in conformity with applicable international instruments on foreign terrorist combatants, financing of terrorism and money-laundering. The country also achieved success in the area of financial security, updating its laws addressing money-laundering. Expressing strong support for international and regional cooperation, he noted that Ethiopia signed a number of memoranda of understanding with many neighbouring countries and established police-to-police cooperation agreements related to countering terrorism and arms smuggling.

HYUNSOO KIM (Republic of Korea) said that, in response to evolving terrorist threats, the international community needed to adapt to the changes and modify its approach. He noted a decrease in the annual number of lives claimed by terrorist attacks, but also underscored that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Da’esh, and Al-Qaida threats remain high in conflict zones. Thus, there was a need to reinforce the counter-terrorism architecture of the United Nations, with the Office of Counter-Terrorism playing a key coordinating role. He reiterated his Government’s commitment to the full implementation of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and other relevant resolutions at national, regional, and global levels. As a strong supporter of counter-terrorism efforts, his country provided voluntary contributions to the diverse counter-terrorism programmes conducted by the United Nations, including a recent contribution to the Border Security and Management Program under the auspices of the Office of Counter-Terrorism. In addition, the Office of Counter-Terrorism will hold a workshop for the South-East Asia region this month in Seoul to promote good practices in adapting border security management in a time of global crisis.

EGRISELDA ARACELY GONZÁLEZ LÓPEZ (El Salvador), noting that her country was a founding member of the United Nations, reiterated El Salvador’s support for all initiatives designed to promote international peace and security and condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. “Terrorism is a constantly evolving scourge,” she said, noting that the phenomenon may be interrelated with other acts that constitute threats to the international community, such as transnational organized crime, illicit trafficking in cultural goods and use of information and communications technology for illegal ends. Expressing concern over these serious threats to global security, she called on the international community to increase cooperation between States and within the framework of the United Nations. All initiatives aimed at disarmament and conventional-arms control were important contributions to preventing criminal and terrorist structures from having access to those types of weapons. Implementing such measures would reduce armed violence and human suffering, she stressed.

MOHAMMED ALI AHMED AL SHEHHI (Oman), associating himself with OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, commended the critical role of the Office of Counter-Terrorism in its efforts, within the framework of the Counter-Terrorism Strategy, to limit terrorism and its repercussions. His country developed an inclusive and holistic legal system to counter terrorism by joining various regional and international treaties and conventions on countering terrorism and terrorist financing. Oman also endorsed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. He then proudly noted that, by conforming to several international reports, his country became a role-model of countries and societies free of terrorism and extremism in both the region and the world. He expressed hope that the international position would be strengthened with concrete steps in order to suppress terrorism and its repercussions. He also voiced hope that the roots of intolerance and radicalization would be addressed without discrimination.

Ms. ARTLEY (United Kingdom) called on the Russian Federation to end its illegal activities in Ukraine and meet its international legal obligations in full. She went on to say that her country’s efforts were focused on degrading and defeating Da’esh and its affiliates, Al-Qaida senior leadership, and Al-Shabaab, as well as tackling new and emerging threats. She welcomed the progress in preventing terrorist use of the Internet, including through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. However, it was important to protect freedom of expression. While effective counter-terrorism could require the use of hard security measures, there was no justification for States to act beyond the bounds of international law or violate human rights in the name of countering terrorism. In this regard, her country, in close cooperation with international partners, regularly raised related concerns through the United Nations system and the Human Rights Council. Integrating gender and civil society perspectives was essential for successfully countering terrorism and violent extremism. To that end, the United Kingdom engaged civil society to better implement its own domestic and overseas counter-terrorism policies and define the ways the United Nations could better incorporate civil society perspectives in counter-terrorism policymaking.

The representative of Kuwait said that current international circumstances — including war, inflation and climate change — were exacerbating the threat posed by terrorism. Terrorist groups were taking advantage of these factors to propagate their ideologies. Therefore, the international community must raise awareness of these grievances. He also spotlighted the challenge of returning foreign terrorist fighters and their families to their countries of origin, where they could be rehabilitated and reintegrated. To address this issue, the international community must develop comprehensive, effective strategies for judicial prosecution, integrate policies to address the root causes of terrorism and promote legal and judicial cooperation. Noting the humanitarian suffering of the families of foreign terrorist fighters — especially that of minors — languishing in Syrian prisons, he said that his country hosted 14 Member States in an event to facilitate the repatriation of these individuals. To date, more than 330 persons have been repatriated. Kuwait will continue its cooperation with the international community to address concerns related to the presence of foreign terrorist fighters and their families in prison camps located in unstable conflict zones, he said.

HALLEY CHRISTINE YAPI NÉE BAH (Côte d’Ivoire), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Group, said that following the attack of 3 June 2016 at Grand Bassam, three villages in the border regions with Burkina Faso and Mali were subjected to lethal terrorism incursions. Faced with this daily threat on its borders, her country adapted its domestic legal framework to the necessity of fighting terrorism. It also adopted a number of laws on the repression of terrorism, including laundering of assets, financing terrorism and criminalizing any terrorist organizations. In June 2021, Côte d’Ivoire and France established a national counter-terrorism academy with the aim of building the capacities of national and international actors. At the subregional and regional levels, Côte d’Ivoire supported all relevant decisions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, while actively participating in the “Accra Initiative”. In 2021, the country signed a memorandum of understanding with the Office of Counter-Terrorism in the context of implementing the counter-terrorism travel programme to prevent and identify terrorist acts using prior information on travellers and passengers. She called for greater solidarity to finance peace operations initiated by African States.

Mr. ALKTHEERI (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with OIC, said that the best means to countering terrorism was addressing its root causes, while also spreading the culture of peace, coexistence and tolerance. Terrorism and extremism should not be associated with religion, because terrorists used religion to spread their ideology. He underlined the need to proactively anticipate terrorist threats by continuing to modernize respective strategies. He expressed concern regarding the two-track approach, noting that the United Nations solely focused on Da’esh and Al-Qaida, while neglecting other terrorist groups despite those being acknowledged by Security Council resolutions. Furthermore, the international community should strengthen their legal frameworks to address the menace. He also called on the Member States to develop a comprehensive definition of terrorism and modernize their legislation on national and international levels. To that end, his country adopted several laws to prosecute terrorists and the financing of their activities. In addition, the United Arab Emirates acceded to more than 15 conventions on counter-terrorism and participated in co-sponsoring of multiple resolutions. Focusing on capacity-building activities, his country supported the Abu Dhabi Centre that provided capacity-building in the area of rehabilitation and reintegration for returning fighters.

TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and OIC, noted that armed conflicts created conditions that can be exploited by terrorists and other non-State actors, particularly when their operational capacities were supported and strengthened by States. He stressed, therefore, that all States must strictly comply with their international counter-terrorism obligations to ensure that their respective territories were not used for terrorist, separatist and other related activity. Rejecting false information presented by Armenia, he said that Armenia had a longstanding track record of supporting and using terrorism at the State level. He provided an overview of the same, including evidence collected in 2020 demonstrating that Armenia recruited foreign terrorist fighters and mercenaries and that civil aviation was used to transfer them to the conflict zone in violation of international law. He went on to stress that “so-called Nagorno-Karabakh” did not exist as an administrative or territorial unit. This area was an integral part of Azerbaijan — under unlawful Armenian occupation for nearly three decades — and, following its liberation, the President of Azerbaijan established the Karabakh and East Zangazur economic regions in Azerbaijan, he added.

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JUAN JOSÉ PORTORREAL BRANDAO (Dominican Republic), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country had ratified and acceded to the main counter-terrorism conventions on international and regional levels. It also submitted reports on the follow-up to the implementation of relevant measures. In addition, related domestic legislative reforms were adopted implementing processes to avoid financing of terrorism and strengthen national institutional capacity, modernize border and customs check points and ensure the security of travel documents to avoid terrorist travelling and trafficking illicit materials. The country was continuing to build up capacity to prevent and detect transit trafficking and the use of dual-use material for terrorist purposes. For this purpose, it strengthened its maritime and port protection with the support of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism of the Organization of American States and Canada. Moreover, the Dominican Republic initiated certain cooperation programmes to facilitate the implementation of some aspects of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). He noted that, unlike 10 years ago, the country now had specialized centres at the regional, national and global levels responsible for strengthening capacities to prevent and combat terrorism.

ANIL KAYALAR (Türkiye) said that his country was at the forefront of countering terrorist organizations with a broad spectrum of ideologies, including Da’esh, Al-Qaida, PKK/PYD/YPG [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization]. These groups and others were operating across national borders, running training camps, acquiring financial resources and operating media outlets to disseminate their propaganda. In the absence of international cooperation, counter-terrorism efforts would not succeed, he stressed, calling for increased cooperation between States on the basis of the “extradite or prosecute” principle. However, while bilateral and regional and cross-regional efforts and international cooperation mechanisms could not be overestimated, the United Nations was the main platform for promoting a collective and coherent response against terrorism, he said, spotlighting the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Furthermore, the threat of foreign terrorist fighters should not be overlooked. His country, a member of the Global Coalition against Da’esh and the co-Chair of the Working Group on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, deported 9,033 foreign nationals suspected of related activity, among other actions. He also highlighted national actions in implementing Security Council sanction decisions, including freezing assets of 1,173 persons and entities related to terrorist organizations.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) expressed concern over multiplying terrorist activity in Africa, notably in areas marked by porous borders, poverty and insufficient security coordination between countries. Terrorist organizations were particularly active in the North Africa and Sahel regions, where they were linked to criminal gangs and human traffickers, had easy access to weapons and were aligned with other organizations seeking to destabilize countries in the region. For its part, following attacks in Casablanca in 2003, Morocco adopted measures focusing on prevention and respect for human rights and the rule of law. It also took steps to combat terrorist financing by implementing relevant Security Council resolutions. Further, the Government established a central investigation centre in 2015, worked to promote South-South cooperation to strengthen ties between African States and signed and ratified all international conventions relating to the fight against terrorism. He added that Morocco hosted a meeting on countering ISIL/Da’esh in May, and was currently hosting a United Nations counter-terrorism programme centre in Rabat, which assisted with capacity-building.

MOHAMMAD KURNIADI KOBA (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, OIC and ASEAN, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic magnified drivers for terrorism, including economic hardships and social grievances. As the world slowly returned to their normal activities after the pandemic, he urged that vigilance be doubled to prevent and respond to the menace’s resurgence. He also spotlighted the rise of terrorists’ use of emerging technologies, including the use of drones to enhance the lethality of attacks, as well as social media to incite extremist narratives. “Such worrying trends merit our attention, and a business as usual approach is not enough,” he stressed. International cooperation in capacity-building was a key ingredient to fortifying States addressing the threat. To that end, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was a foundation of multilateral cooperation. As well, a comprehensive global legal framework in combating international terrorism was needed. The Committee must be able to resolve outstanding issues in elaborating the draft comprehensive convention. He also underlined that prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration was an integral part of a comprehensive approach in addressing the threat posed by terrorists. Without such comprehensive measures, terrorists could fall into an endless cycle of recidivism.

MARIAM SAO (Mauritania), associating herself with the African Group, OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that the fight against terrorism and extremism required a collective effort. For its part, Mauritania adopted a multidimensional approach to inoculate young people with a spirit of tolerance and respect for others. Furthermore, it established a national counter-terrorism strategy, comprised of four pillars. The first was judicial in nature, and a new legal toolkit was established to counter terrorist financing. The military pillar — the backbone of any national counter-terrorism strategy — prioritized intelligence and worked to prevent terrorist action and the creation of sleeper cells in Mauritania. On the diplomatic front, she reported that her country hosted a summit for the Sahel region. Through the last pillar of the strategy — pertaining to religion and culture — the State called on academics, lawyers, intellectuals and social figures to combat extremism. She added that, to strengthen cooperation, States in the Sahel region established a regional judicial platform to facilitate extradition and mutual legal assistance.

VICTORIA MANGAY SULIMANI (Sierra Leone) said that her country experienced unprecedented acts of domestic terrorism, particularly in August, with a transnational component inciting such acts through the use of the Internet. Continued international cooperation was needed to ensure accountability for the loss of the lives of several civilians and officers of the Sierra Leone Police during the unlawful demonstration in August. Further, such cooperation was crucial to address the use of the Internet to incite acts of terrorism and dissemination of extremism and hate speech. On a national front, the Cybersecurity and Crime Act was just enacted, criminalizing, among other things, the use of racist or xenophobic material which advocated, promoted or incited hatred, discrimination or violence against individuals or groups based on race, national or ethnic origins, to name a few. She also called for the draft convention on terrorism to be finalized. Reiteration of positions was not going to resolve the outstanding issues, she pointed out, urging Member States to look at their respective and common interests in a holistic manner in order to achieve progress.

Mr. ABAKAR (Chad), associating himself with the African Group, OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, said terrorism is not only a question on crime, but also a matter of modern warfare. In this regard, his country adopted military and security provisions, as well as legal and judicial measures at the regional, national and international levels. Within its capacities, Chad participated in the joint multinational force against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin, the G5 Sahel Joint Force and the Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The country strengthened its institutional legal framework for counter-terrorism with a national office for countering drugs and terrorism, a special counter-terrorism unit and a judicial counter-terrorism hub. Underscoring regional and international cooperation, he stressed that strengthening judicial mechanisms for the countries of Sahel was a key element. He further welcomed the appointment of an independent high-level panel responsible for conducting a joint strategic review of the security development situation in the Sahel and expressed hope that the conclusions of this panel would help to find solutions for the Sahel from this devastating crisis.

ISSA KONFOUROU (Mali), associating himself with the African Group, OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his Government adopted a national strategy for countering terrorism and combating violent extremism, as well as an action plan to find appropriate solutions to and root causes of terrorist threats, taking into account local realities. These included support for inter-religious dialogue mechanisms to promote tolerance and mutual respect, training religious leaders and financing quick impact projects for disadvantages population. In addition, the Government took a number of institutional and regulatory measures establishing regulatory and control mechanisms and adopted a number of laws on repression of terrorism that combated asset laundering and financing of terrorism, as well as prevention and repression of illicit enrichment, among other efforts. The Government was continuing to recruit, train, equip and build the operational capacities of its defence and security forces. He also noted that counter-terrorism efforts should also include a regional dimension, spotlighting the National Coordination Centre of ECOWAS. He underscored the need of strengthening institutional capacity, especially in terms of investigation, compiling databases and operational action.

ARIEL RODELAS PEÑARANDA (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that his country was steadily increasing its cooperation with the United Nations and partner States to build its capacity, equip its law enforcement and security personnel and modernize its facilities. Welcoming the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism’s provision of experts and introduction of new programmes and processes, he spotlighted the Office’s organization of the first Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism. He went on to detail national counter-terrorism efforts, including implementing agreements concerning terrorism and transnational crime and updating domestic law designed to counter terrorism and money laundering. Noting that the Philippines was the first country in Southeast Asia to adopt a national action plan on preventing and countering violent extremism, he stressed the need to holistically address the phenomenon’s root causes through whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approaches. He also spotlighted his country’s success in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where terrorist activity was declining and terrorist capabilities were diminishing.

CARLOS AMORÍN (Uruguay) said that, although General Assembly resolutions pertaining to counter-terrorism were only recommendations, his country was implementing them at the domestic level. Welcoming the seventh review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy conducted in 2021, he supported its adaptation to important emerging geopolitical realities such as the spread of terrorism beyond the Middle East. The international community must analyse the impact of new technologies in the struggle against terrorism, focusing on cybersecurity, the use of media to spread messages of hate and protecting critical infrastructure and vulnerable targets. Uruguay’s implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions was reflected in its national counter-terrorism strategy, he said, also pointing out that his country was party to 18 of the 19 international legal instruments to combat terrorism. The remaining instrument — concerning the suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of civil aviation — was currently being reviewed by the national legislature. Adding that the victims of terrorism must be supported, he said that national legislatures could play a key role in this regard by approving relevant laws, allocating budgets and placing this issue on the public agenda.

JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country remained the key stability and safety factor in the region, as it stood up to the scourge of drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism. This was possible in line with the country’s family model, which strengthened the peace factor. He voiced his strong support for a future convention on terrorism and called on all Member States to show flexibility in the process. He reiterated his country’s commitment to the upcoming eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism strategy and called for transparent and inclusive negotiations with respect for the intergovernmental nature of the process. He unequivocally condemned the use of unilateral coercive measures that, in the context of the pandemic, could even be defined as crimes against humanity. He noted that such “illegal” measures could also hinder efforts to counter terrorism and called for their immediate lifting. He reiterated that his country would continue to bring the culture of peace with positive indicators for economic, political and social development, as well as gender equality and citizens’ security.

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INÁCIO VIRGÍLIO CHICO DOMINGOS (Mozambique), associating himself with the African Group, Non-Aligned Movement and OIC, noted that his country was the direct target of international terrorism by foreign combatants who, together with young Mozambicans and children they recruited, terrorized, kidnapped and murdered vulnerable populations, including children, women and the elderly. That terrorism led to the destruction of infrastructure and impacted the development process. Since 2017, over 2,000 people died and more than 807,000 were displaced. “Mere condemnation is not enough,” he stressed. Combating terrorism required both internal readiness and international cooperation of all the players in the international system, including the United Nations, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and all international instruments and mechanisms. Working with partners, his country was implementing programmes promoting development training and job opportunities, including the Resilience and Integrated Development Program for Northern Mozambique. It was also strengthening its institutional capacity and legal framework, narrowing gaps that could be used by terrorist groups. He hailed the deployment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Military Mission to Mozambique and Rwanda, which side by side with the Mozambican Army, were successfully fighting terrorism in Mozambique on a daily basis.

JOÃO IAMBENO GIMOLIECA (Angola), associating himself with the African Group and Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized that States must cooperate at the regional and international levels to share best practices, lessons learned and mutual assistance in investigating cases to combat terrorism effectively. For its part, Angola strengthened the capacity of institutions responsible for combating the phenomenon of terrorism and other related crimes, such as illicit economic and financial activity. It also adopted national legislation to counter terrorism and money laundering, facilitate international judicial cooperation and repatriate financial resources. He went on to say that fighting transnational organized crime was a priority for his Government, and that Angola established fruitful international judicial cooperation with several States both in criminal and civil matters. This mechanism facilitated the exchange of information and judicial requests and involved Angola’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and General Prosecutor’s Office. He added that the fight against terrorism was a joint responsibility to be assumed by the entire international community.

GENG SHUANG (China) pointed out that the persistent security threat posed by terrorism was hindering efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Further, some major countries cut back on their global counter-terrorism strategies and concocted human-rights issues to interfere with the counter-terrorism efforts of other countries. Underscoring the need to achieve true multilateralism, he stated that “humanity is an indivisible security community”. No country can deal with terrorism on their own and, therefore, the United Nations must play a global coordinating role in the counter-terrorism field and Member States must increase information sharing across all levels. He also stressed the need to strengthen the rule of law internationally and refrain from employing double standards or a selective approach to counter-terrorism. Additionally, the international community must make full use of advanced technology to combat terrorism with precision while preventing the abuse of these tools by terrorist groups. It should also work to break the vicious cycle between poverty and terrorism and prevent young people from being poisoned by terrorist ideology. He added that countering the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement was an essential part of the global fight against terrorism.

RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and OIC, said that the gravest threat in the global fight against terrorism was the weaponization of counter-terrorism to deny people their right to self-determination and to deprive them of their fundamental rights, with full impunity. He reiterated a call against Israel’s long-standing policy of criminalizing political activism, civil society, humanitarian work and human rights defenders. He went on to commend the international community for its firm stance against Israel’s unlawful designation of renowned human rights and humanitarian Palestinian non-governmental organizations as terrorist organizations. “The gravest form of terrorism is the one where an entire nation’s rights, people, and land are under indiscriminate, widespread, and systematic attack,” he added, referring to the aggression and terror of Israeli occupation forces and settler organizations. He called on the international community to ensure international protection of the Palestinian people, its children, civil society organizations and human rights defenders. The State of Palestine will continue to advance multilateral efforts and robust international cooperation on countering terrorism, including through cooperation agreements with over 80 States around the world.

GABRIELE CACCIA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said that terrorism’s immediate victims were often those found in the most vulnerable situations —including women and children. “But make no mistake: by its nature, terrorism also compromises the perpetrator’s own dignity, hopes and ideals,” he stressed. The global threat challenged States to find an appropriate response within the framework of the rule of law, he said, adding that failing to respect the rule of law when addressing terrorist threats risked further radicalizing the very elements public authorities were trying to counter. An effective response to terrorism required scrupulous adherence to due process, as well as to international human rights law and international humanitarian law. He also underscored that counter-terrorism measures, including international sanctions, must not inhibit the provision of humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid not only relieved the suffering of terrorism’s victims, but it also sent hope to those who might otherwise fall prey to the terrorists’ radicalization and recruitment efforts. He called for the root causes of terrorism — the economic, political and socioeconomic factors that could foment grievances — to be addressed. Needed was a whole-of-society approach to countering the phenomenon, including educating youth, lessening economic disparity and promoting dialogue.

CHRISTOPHER BRADLEY HARLAND, an observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), noted that it was necessary for States to take action to ensure their security. Nonetheless, he stressed: “We have seen that counter-terrorism measures, however, can negatively impact humanitarian action when they consider the latter as a form of prohibited provision of economic resources to listed individuals and entities.” This could have unintended consequences. When various forms of interaction with listed persons and groups were considered prohibited support to terrorism outright, the ICRC might be prevented from visiting detained persons, facilitating the release of detainees, providing training on international humanitarian law, or reuniting missing persons with their families — all humanitarian activities mandated by the Geneva Conventions. Hindering humanitarian organizations’ mandates could have grave consequences for people in need of protection or for humanitarian personnel. He recalled Security Council resolution 2615 (2021) on Afghanistan that established a humanitarian carve-out for both “humanitarian assistance” and “activities which support basic human needs” in a counter-terrorism-linked sanctions regime. He urged Member States to ensure that this carve-out was reflected in their domestic law, and encouraged Security Council members to continue examining the possibility to do the same in other sanctions regimes, including those with a counter-terrorism link.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, underscored that the special military operation in Ukraine was conducted in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. He also said that the recent referenda reflected the will of the people in those territories as they exercised their right to self-determination. Previous statements regarding the situation in Ukraine had nothing to do with the real situation, he said, noting that Kyiv — for more than eight years — had bombed, kidnapped, beaten and raped the residents of Donbas. Western countries and United Nations leadership turned a blind eye to this, and the Minsk agreements were regularly violated with the connivance of the West. He added that the constant flow of Western weapons to the corrupt Kyiv regime was leading to predictable consequences, and that such weapons were falling into the hands of criminals across Europe and might be used to carry out terrorist attacks around the world.

The representative of Armenia said that the statement of Azerbaijan contained a traditional set of false narratives, many of which were not related to the agenda item under discussion. He stated his rejection of all the fabrications voiced in their entirety. He noted that in the absence of any evidence, Azerbaijan decided to attribute the role of terrorists to non-governmental organizations and the Armenian diaspora. He also addressed the accusations related to “mysterious evidence” of the involvement of foreign terrorist fighters and mercenaries in the hostilities, emphasizing that evidence should be based on official statements, reports or investigation testimonies. Based on official and credible sources, Armenia had such evidence of Azerbaijan recruiting and transferring foreign terrorist fighters, involved in armed conflict, from the Middle East to its territory prior to the start of the armed conflict, he said.

The representative of Azerbaijan said that statements by Armenia’s representative were indicative of that country’s unwillingness and inability to comply with its international obligations and engage faithfully to advance peace in the region. Otherwise, Armenia would not have referred to Azerbaijani aggression against a fictitious entity or attempted to mislead the international community. Stressing that the legality of Azerbaijan’s use of force was indisputable, he said that his country acted to restore its territorial integrity and protect its people in full conformity with international law. Further, there was no credible evidence to support insinuations of Azerbaijan’s alleged involvement in terrorist activity. Noting that Armenia uses fabricated titles to refer to certain localities, he said that country, after unleashing aggression against Azerbaijan in the 1990s, sustained the existence of an illegal entity for 30 years, purely along ethnic lines through the use of force. The illegality of this entity has been repeatedly stated at the international level, he said, adding that Armenia cannot comment on the norms and values that it has consistently disregarded and opposed.

The representative of Armenia, contesting the points raised by the representative of Azerbaijan, said that he would leave the points related to the aggression unanswered, as those have been discussed in other fora. He noted that the “peace agenda” could not be based on impunity and emphasized that Armenia would ensure that all the perpetrators would be held accountable. Touching on the point made regarding the so-called hatred that Armenia had of its citizens, he stated that the accusations were not reinforced by any credible report of any international organization or evidence.

The representative of Azerbaijan, noting that Armenia’s statements represented another striking example of its abuse of the United Nations rostrum, said that country’s attempts to portray itself as an eternal victim whitewashed neither the country’s persistent violations of international law nor its support for terrorism at the State level. As Armenia continues to disseminate falsehoods, the international community must insist on accountability for the war that Armenia unleashed in which it killed tens of thousands of civilians and razed thousands of towns and villages with the sole purpose of fulfilling unlawful territorial claims. He added that interested delegations should familiarize themselves with the information contained in documents circulated by his country’s delegation that provided compelling evidence of Armenia’s use of foreign terrorist fighters and mercenaries against Azerbaijan.

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