As Sixth Committee Begins Seventy-Seventh Session, Speakers Call for Clear Definition of Terrorism, Draft Convention on Global Menace to Be Concluded
As the Sixth Committee (Legal) met to approve its work programme for the seventy-seventh session and began its consideration of the Secretary-General report on measures to eliminate international terrorism, delegates called for a draft comprehensive convention to be concluded and the resolving of outstanding issues regarding the definition of terrorism.
The Secretary-General’s report “Measures to eliminate international terrorism” (document A/77/185) contains information on measures taken both on national and international levels, based on the submissions from Government and international organizations.
The representative of Iran, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized that all States must combat terrorism, including by prosecuting or extraditing the perpetrators of terrorist acts. However, he noted that terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation. The brutalization of peoples remaining under foreign occupation should continue to be denounced as the gravest form of terrorism, he stressed.
Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s representative, speaking for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), called for resolving the outstanding issues on the draft convention on terrorism, including the legal definition of terrorism, particularly on the distinction between terrorism and the struggle for the rights of self-determination. Emphasizing that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion, race, faith, culture, ethnicity or society, she said that politicized attempts to link Islam with terrorism served only the interest and aspirations of terrorists and promoted xenophobia.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as an observer, expressed regret over the growing polarization of the multilateral fora on this issue. The European Union Directive on combating terrorism included a clear definition of terrorist offences that that allowed for harmonized criminalization, he said.
Nigeria’s representative, speaking for the African Group, also called for the conclusion of the draft convention. Urging Member States to cooperate to achieve consensus on that draft, he also voiced support for a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations to be convened towards formulating an international response to terrorism in all its forms.
The representative of Brazil underscored that his country incorporated the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism into its domestic legislation along with a national law on the topic, which contains a definition of terrorism. Defining in precise terms what terrorism means, including its objective and subjective elements, was mandatory in light of the essential role the principle of legality played in criminal law.
The representative of Nepal called attention to the drivers and the root causes of terrorism, such as poverty, social inequality, political exclusion, dispossession and lack of good governance. Addressing those issues was crucial. Promotion of dialogue, tolerance and understanding among civilizations, cultures, and religions was also important for tackling terrorism. Universal fraternity, religious tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and the principle of non-violence were integral to Nepali culture and embedded in their Constitution.
Echoing that stance, the representative of Bahrain noted that her country countered terrorism by promoting a culture of tolerance and dialogue between faiths and cultures. Its comprehensive approach in addressing extremism and terrorism emphasized that no development should be achieved without peace.
Canada’s delegate, also speaking for Australia and New Zealand - founding members of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum - highlighted a gender-sensitive component, noting that the countries recently finalized the Gender and Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Policy Toolkit. This would aid in the goals of the Gender and Identities Factors Platform of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.
The delegate of Norway, speaking also for Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden said: “Although the threat from terrorism is global, effective and sustainable solutions can often be found at the local level.” She emphasized the importance of listening to the voices of young people, as they were key to preventing radicalization.
Similarly, the representative of Peru stressed the need to reach young people to prevent the use of social media for recruitment, which is crucial to combat financing for terrorism. In addition, her country has been promoting a social inclusion agenda for the benefit of the most vulnerable, advocating for preventive counter-terrorism activities.
The representative of Honduras, touching upon the role of women in combatting terrorism, said that at a time when unilateralism seemed to be gaining ground at the international level, Member States must change this trend and take the role of women into account in accordance with resolution 1325 (2000) of the Security Council.
Homing in on that point, the delegate of Bangladesh stated that terrorism had a disproportionate impact on women who were often forced to act as recruiters and subjected to sexual violence in captivity by terrorist groups. In this regard, Bangladesh adopted the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which recognized women’s particular role in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism.
In that regard, the delegate of Mexico emphasized the need of incorporating the impact of notions of masculinity within terrorism and radicalization strategies. He underlined that terrorism could be tackled through development, employment, education, improved living conditions, guarantee of human rights and gender equality.
Prior to the debate, Pedro Comissário Afonso (Mozambique), Chair for the seventy-seventh session, highlighted the unique role of the Sixth Committee and the significance of international law for the achievement of the goals of the United Nations. Reminding delegates that the General Assembly has always relied on the diligent work and expertise of the Sixth Committee, he called for a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding. Noting that the Committee has been allotted 31 agenda items for this session, he also introduced the members of the new Bureau: Vice-Chairs Tzvety Romanska (Bulgaria); Edgar Daniel Leal Matta (Guatemala) and Anna Pála Sverrisdóttir (Iceland) and Rapporteur Sarah Zahirah Ruhama (Malaysia.
In addition, the Committee also established working groups for “Measures to eliminate international terrorism”; “Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission”; “Measures to eliminate international terrorism”; “The scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction”; and “Responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts” and elected chairpersons therein.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Cambodia (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Singapore, Jordan, Democratic Republic of Korea, Iran, United States, Israel, Malaysia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Viet Nam, Guatemala, Pakistan, Paraguay, Senegal, Mongolia, Cameroon, Cuba, Tajikistan, Russian Federation, Argentina, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Maldives, India, Iraq, Sudan, Brunei Darussalam, Georgia, South Africa, Ghana, Syria and Yemen.
The Sixth Committee will meet next at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 4 October, to continue its consideration on measures to combat international terrorism.
ZAHRA ERSHADI (Islamic Republic of Iran), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, voiced her firm rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including those in which States are directly or indirectly involved. However, she underscored that terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation. The brutalization of peoples remaining under foreign occupation should continue to be denounced as the gravest form of terrorism. Moreover, the use of State power for violence against peoples struggling for their right of self-determination and against foreign occupation must be condemned.
All States must combat terrorism, including by prosecuting or extraditing the perpetrators of terrorist acts, she continued. States must also refrain from allowing territories being used as sanctuaries and safe havens, as well as refrain from supplying arms or other weapons that could be used for terrorist acts in other States. She also said she rejected the use or threat of use of force imposed by any State against any Non-Aligned Movement member country under the pretext of combating terrorism. Spotlighting the acute and growing threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, she urged States to address this and condemned the misrepresentation of religions to justify terrorism. She reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and highlighted the crucial role of the Office of Counter-Terrorism in bringing more coherence and effectiveness to the Organization’s counter-terrorism activities.
NIDAA HUSSAIN ABU-ALI (Saudi Arabia), speaking for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, regardless of the motivations, identity of the perpetrator and the location where it was committed. Reaffirming that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion, race, faith, culture, ethnicity or society, she stressed that politicized attempts to link Islam with terrorism serve only the interest and aspirations of terrorists and promote xenophobia. Calling for a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, she said the international community must address the root causes of terrorism, including the lack of sustained economic growth, foreign occupation, prolonged international disputes, and political marginalization and alienation.
The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was a living document, which should take into account emerging trends in the context of terrorism, including threats posed by the rise of terrorist attacks based on xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism, she continued. Stressing the importance of enhancing Member States’ capacity-building in order to implement counter-terrorism activities, she acknowledged the central role of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre. Reaffirming her Group’s commitment to negotiating a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, she stressed the need to resolve the outstanding issues, including those related to the legal definition of terrorism, particularly on the distinction between terrorism and the struggle for the rights of self-determination. There is merit in convening a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations, with the purpose of finalizing the outstanding issues, she emphasized.
TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE (Nigeria), speaking for the African Group, urged the United Nations and donor countries to provide the necessary assistance and capacity-building support for States’ implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In addition, it was important to conclude the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, he said, calling for Member States’ cooperation to achieve consensus on that draft. He voiced support for a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations to be convened towards formulating an international response to terrorism in all its forms. He highlighted the establishment of the African Centre for Studies and Research on Terrorism, noting that African countries were committed to developing a comprehensive plan of action on countering terrorism in the continent, premised on existing national and regional strategies
Voicing concern about the increase in the incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking for ransom, he pointed out that the payment of ransoms to terrorism groups was one of the main sources of financing for terrorist activities. He urged Member States to cooperate in addressing this issue. Also urging that States prevent refugee status from being abused by the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, he said that appropriate measures must also be taken to ensure that asylum seekers have not planned, facilitated or perpetrated the commission of terrorist acts. Underscoring the need for strengthened inter-State cooperation, he said Member States should increase assistance in the apprehension of terrorists and the investigation and prevention of terrorist acts.
NICLAS SPÅNG, representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, condemned the illegal “referenda” by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, adding that the bloc would not recognize the illegal annexation of these territories. Turning to counter-terrorism efforts, he noted that most prominent terrorist threats still came from Al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Da’esh, and their affiliates, including al-Shabaab. He expressed particular concern about the territorial expansion of terrorist groups in several regions in Africa, reiterating the Union’s commitment to enhance cooperation with African partners on political and operational levels, including through financial and technical support. He also underscored the importance of maintaining the commitment to combat terrorism and the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and Da’esh in Syria and Iraq, despite those groups’ military setbacks in the region. Recognizing the increasing threat from right-wing violent extremism and terrorism as a serious global challenge, he called for strengthening international engagement in the fight against both right-wing and left-wing violent extremism and terrorism.
Turning to the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, he reiterated his commitment to the development of such an instrument. He also underscored the importance of a clear definition of terrorism and expressed regret over the growing polarization of the multilateral fora on this issue. The European Union Directive on combating terrorism included a clear definition of terrorist offences that allows for harmonized criminalization. The clear definition was important to enhance extradition and mutual legal assistance in combating international terrorism. Spotlighting that extradition of suspected terrorists was refused when there was a risk of torture in the requesting country, he underscored that this could lead to important investigations remaining incompleted and therefore hold perpetrators from accountability. In that regard, he emphasized the need for putting an end to torture and ill treatment and improving international cooperation for the benefit of all.
SOVANN KE (Cambodia), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that spreading information and propaganda through the internet and social media has resulted in new patterns of radicalization. As such, the international community must fully engage in the fight against terrorism, he said, underlining the Association’s support for the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The ASEAN Plan of Action to Prevent and Counter the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism (2018-2025) aims to further strengthen close cooperation among its member States through an integrated evidence-based approaches and collaboration. The ASEAN Comprehensive Plan of Action on Counter-Terrorism, together with the ASEAN Convention on Counter-Terrorism serve as a framework for regional cooperation to prevent and suppress extremism while deepening counter-terrorism coordination.
He went on to say that during the twenty-ninth ASEAN Regional Forum, the ministers commended the region’s continued commitment to addressing the complex challenges posed by terrorism, violent extremism and transnational organized crime against the backdrop of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Terrorism cannot and must not be associated with any race, religion, nationality or ethnicity. The fight against terrorism must be carried out in full compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, while respecting well-established international humanitarian and human rights laws, principles of independence and sovereign equality of States, as well as non-interference in domestic affairs. He said that ASEAN was prepared to work closely with other delegations in improving the global counter-terrorism architecture, including through continued deliberations on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism in the Sixth Committee.
MIRJAM BIERLING (Norway), speaking also for Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, expressed concern about the continued presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan and condemned the recent attacks against the diplomatic community, mosques and civilian targets in that country. Al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Da’esh, were overseeing a growing network of regional affiliates, not least in Africa. The threat was increasingly fragmented, as these groups exploited security, economic, social and governance vacuums, as well as local grievances and conflicts. Also highlighting the threat of violent right-wing extremists, she voiced concern about various mass casualty right-wing terrorist attacks. Spotlighting the work of Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism, co-chaired by her country and Jordan, she noted that the Group raised awareness of the underlying conditions that drive the spread of violent extremism and terrorism.
Although the threat from terrorism is global, effective and sustainable solutions can often be found at the local level, she continued, adding: “We must listen to the voices of young people, as they are key to preventing radicalisation.” Respect for human rights and gender is crucial and should be included as cross-cutting issues in all counter-terrorism activities, she said, pointing out that the Security Council has repeatedly underscored that all counter-terrorism measures taken by Member States must comply with their obligations under international law. Also condemning the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, she stressed that the country’s so-called annexation of four regions in Ukraine allegedly on the basis of the results of “referendums” had no legitimacy.
RICHARD ARBEITER (Canada), speaking also for Australia and New Zealand, called the Russian Federation to end its war of aggression against Ukraine and immediately withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. He went on to report that the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, of which Canada, Australia and New Zealand were founding members, recently finalized the Gender and Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Policy Toolkit, aimed at adding to the Gender and Identities Factors Platform of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism. Violent extremist groups took advantage of the isolation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among vulnerable populations, to increase the dissemination of online misinformation, conspiracy theories and hateful propaganda to recruit individuals. Therefore, national and international cooperation was important in order to address the underlying drivers of violent extremism. Such efforts must be evidence-based, gender-sensitive, and build on local strengths and capacities, as well as include genuine partnerships with independent civil society advocates and organizations.
Online platforms must also step up their efforts to remove or prevent extremist content from appearing on the Internet, he continued. Further, Member States must fully implement all the Council resolutions pertaining to international terrorism and enhance border control coordination and sharing of information. Terrorist fighters, who return home from conflict zones, may sometimes face arrest and criminal prosecution. For those not facing such consequences, sustainable solutions were required to enhance rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Here, civil society played an important role. He emphasized the need for trauma-informed, age and gender appropriate approaches to tackling terrorism, including with regard to children taken to conflict zones or born there. The international community had a responsibility to aid the victims of terrorism and a collective obligation to bring terrorists to justice through coordinated action by Governments, civil society and the private sector.
MARK SEAH (Singapore) stressed that the international community must not allow terrorist groups to exploit vulnerabilities in social structures which may have been exacerbated by other global challenges. Eliminating international terrorism required continuous efforts by all Member States at the national, regional and international levels, he said, highlighting his country’s National Strategy on Countering the Financing of Terrorism, which focuses on risk identification, strong legal frameworks and international partnerships. Furthermore, Singapore was focusing on efforts to identify radicalized individuals and engage them in religious, psychological and social rehabilitation customized to meet their specific needs. Highlighting the recently established Counter-Terrorism Information Facility, he said this multilateral, inter-agency facility brought together the like-minded to combat terrorism through the use of collective intelligence and data-driven methods.
AKAD YASAR MOHAMMAD AL-KASAWNIH (Jordan), associating himself with OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, said States must fulfil their responsibilities with respect to the prosecution of perpetrators of terrorism and must not allow their territories to be used in the planning, financing or supporting of terrorist acts against other States. Member States must also find solutions to address the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, particularly their rehabilitation and reintegration in order to prevent their re-radicalization. His country held the first project of a four-year programme organized by the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and other partners, to build national capacities in Jordan in the areas of readiness and response to terrorist attacks using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear substances. A national response plan was tested, lessons drawn and recommendations adopted at the training, which was attended by 2,500 participants. In addition, his country co-chaired with Norway the Group of Friends for preventing violent extremism, as well as co-chaired with the United States a group addressing foreign terrorist fighters as part of the Counter-Terrorism Forum.
SONG KIM (Democratic people’s Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that terrorist acts destroyed regional and international stability and threatened territorial integrity and security of sovereign States. Priority should be given to putting an end to terrorist acts against sovereign States by eliminating State-sponsored terrorism. Under the pretext of freedom, democracy and counter-terrorism, the United States had attacked and overthrown the legitimate Governments of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, consequently plunging these countries into an unescapable vicious circle of terrorism and retaliation. “The United States has clearly constituted State-sponsored terrorism,” he emphasized. He went on to express support for the draft convention on terrorism, adding that it should provide measures to eliminate State-sponsored terrorism. Rejecting the double-standards in fighting against terrorism, he recalled that the United States designated his country as a State sponsor of terrorism in a 2021 report. Such designation was “illegal”. He highlighted the consistent position of his country to oppose terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, pointing out that it ratified major international conventions on counter-terrorism, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
ALESSANDRA FALCONI (Peru), reaffirming her commitment to a rules-based international order, condemned all acts of terrorism in all its manifestations, wherever they occur and whoever commits them. Terrorism has never been a path to social transformation, she noted, adding that the victims of terrorism are the poorest. Highlighting the need to create more inclusive societies, she said that poverty eradication and promotion of peaceful societies were crucial to sustainable development. Her country has been promoting a social inclusion agenda for the benefit of the most vulnerable, she said, adding that counter-terrorism activities must not only be military but also preventive. Stressing the need to reach young people, she said that it was essential to prevent the use of social media for recruitment. As well, it was crucial to combat financing for terrorism.
Mr. ERSHADI (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and OIC, said that terrorism was being perpetrated not just by terrorist groups, but by certain States against civilians, scientists and Government officials. He recalled several assassinations and attacks, including the assassinations of General Qasem Soleimani, “the hero of combating ISIL in the Middle East”, in Baghdad International Airport by the former United States Administration, Mohsen Fakhrizaeh, the Iranian scientist and Deputy of Minister of Defense, and the terrorist attack by Israel on Natanz, the Iranian nuclear facility. Those attacks and others, including cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in his country, were reprehensible practices of terrorism. Also hypocritical was the labeling of people exercising their right to self-determination as terrorists, and those who support the oppressed peoples as sponsors of terrorism. “It is the woeful tale of the Middle East,” he said, underscoring the destructive role of foreign military forces in the region and the longest protracted occupation of Palestinian territory. Unilateral coercive measures were not only tantamount to terrorism, but also constituted crimes against humanity, impairing appropriate resources required to combat terrorism and for effective cooperation among Member States.
ELIZABETH GROSS (United States) condemned the Russian Federation for its aggression towards Ukraine and voiced her rejection of the illegal referendums. She called that country to cease its aggression and withdraw its military from Ukraine. Regarding terrorism, she pointed out that foreign terrorist fighters in inadequate detention facilities and their family members living in overburdened camps in Syria and Iraq posed a serious security threat and constituted a dire humanitarian crisis. Repatriation of Member State citizens, combined with rehabilitation, reintegration and prosecution, as appropriate, of foreign terrorist fighters, would prevent a resurgence of ISIL in Iraq and Syria. She also noted that last year’s resolution on the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy reflected for the first time a recognition of the threat of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists — one of the most pressing counter-terrorism challenges facing the international community today. On a national front, her Government was implementing its 2021 national strategy on countering domestic terrorism and bringing to justice those who violated United States law in the 6 January 2021 attack on the United States Capitol. Detailing her country’s participation and collaboration on multilateral platforms to prevent and combat terrorism, she said it was critical that the Organization send united unambiguous signals when it comes to terrorism. “Otherwise, we risk some of the progress that we have made,” she said.
YARDEN RUBINSHTEIN (Israel) commended the Office of Counter-Terrorism for recently holding the first congress for the victims of terrorism. Israeli trauma and psychology experts shared their experience regarding methods of treatment for victims of terrorism and of support for communities. She also noted that Israel would be actively participating in the eighth biannual review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. She called on States to embrace a “zero tolerance” and “zero excuses” policy on terrorism and avoid selective application of legal principles in clear instances of terrorism. Turning to the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate’s report on the interrelationship between counter-terrorism frameworks and international humanitarian law, she pointed out that the report omitted the abuse of humanitarian assistance organizations by terrorist groups. Such groups often masked themselves as humanitarian assistance organizations, enabling funds to be raised for their activities while disguising their true purposes. She called on the States to unequivocally reflect and condemn this practice in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and other United Nations resolutions.
SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID (Malaysia), associating himself with OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, welcomed the inaugural United Nations Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism as an important platform for engagement on a victim-centric approach. Condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including acts in which States were directly or indirectly involved, he said that his country was continuing to focus its primary counter-terrorism efforts on preventive and prescriptive measures. In that regard, Malaysia was a party to 11 of the international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols. Also spotlighting the threat of online radicalization and recruitment, he stressed the importance of winning “hearts and minds” in the psychological war against terrorism. He Added that his country remains supportive to convening a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations towards finalizing a draft convention on international terrorism.
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored that combating terrorism is the collective responsibility of the international community. Addressing the drivers and the root causes of terrorism, such as poverty, social inequality, political exclusion, dispossession and lack of good governance, was crucial. Promoting dialogue, tolerance and understanding among civilizations, cultures, and religions was also important. A clear and universal definition of terrorism that encompassed new and emerging threats was crucial to reinforce the foundation of global counter-terrorism architecture. The universal fraternity, religious tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and the principle of non-violence were integral to Nepali culture and embedded in their Constitution. Nepal was a party to seven international legal instruments for the suppression of international terrorism, including the Money Laundering Prevention Act, Mutual Legal Assistance Act, and Extradition Act and provisions were incorporated in the country’s domestic legislation. Moreover, Nepal worked closely with INTERPOL to ensure the prosecution of terrorists and with the Financial Action Task Force to combat financing for terrorism.
AHMED ABDELAZIZ AHMED ELGHARIB (Egypt), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, OIC and African Union, said the third edition of his country’s national report on counter-terrorism for 2022 took into account the four pillars of the United Nations strategy on counter-terrorism and highlighted its national efforts in that regard. The international community must hold accountable all States providing safe havens to terrorists, individuals or groups and promote international efforts to end the funding of terrorism. Moreover, it must prevent hate and extremist speech, while dealing with the root causes of terrorism, including poverty and lack of social and economic development. His country effectively engaged in the seventh review negotiations of the United Nations Strategy, he said, welcoming its outcomes and updates, including the adoption of the appellation Da’esh to refer to that group without linking it to Islam. His country was also developing its national tools and enhancing cooperation with international partners. Together with the European Union, it was co-chairing the international forum to counter terrorism from March 2023 to March 2025, he said, adding that his country would be using its role to highlight the needs of the African continent and those of developing countries.
Ms. MANSOGO (Equatorial Guinea), associating herself with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that her country adopted a new criminal code, which provided and punished terrorist-related crimes for the first time. Two institutions were established to prevent funding of illegal activities through better control of capital flows and through consolidating transparency and accountability mechanisms. She also spotlighted the issue of maritime piracy on the Gulf of Guinea, underscoring a fine line between terrorism and piracy, since both use the same methods of extreme violence, and proposed to hold an international conference on maritime piracy in order to look closely at cooperation strategies. Recognizing the notable progress made by the United Nations in Central Asia and Africa regarding the threat posed by ISIL, she expressed concern over persistent terrorist acts in the five regions of Africa. She also emphasized that to eradicate terrorism, it was important to understand political, social and economic situations in the countries of origin of terrorists as well as the purpose and motivation of perpetrators.
Mr. BOLIO (Mexico), expressing concern that expressions of discrimination and xenophobia were on the rise, called on States to bring an end to proliferation of hate-speech. Terrorism could be tackled through development, employment, education, improved living conditions, guarantee of human rights and gender equality. He also emphasized the need of incorporating the impact of notions of masculinity within terrorism and radicalization strategies. Further, the General Assembly must play a leading role in coordinating counter-terrorism and prevention efforts. However, in reality the Assembly had been displaced by the Security Council, which established itself as a legislative body in terrorism through the use of sanctions and the use of force, failing to address the root causes. He expressed concern over the increase in invocating self-defence and the use of force against non-State actors in a third State under the so-called “unwilling and unable doctrine”. He reiterated that such broad and abusive interpretation of Article 51 of the Charter exceeded the limit of this provision. He also expressed concern over the lack of internationally agreed definitions of terrorism and called on the General Assembly to prioritize its work to negotiate a comprehensive counter-terrorism convention.
DANG HOANG GIANG (Viet Nam), associating himself with ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that terrorism was a global issue. Thus, it needed action on national, regional and global platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed social inequities and structural challenges, which might have been exploited by terrorist groups. Thus, Member States must continue to effectively address such challenges, including political, economic and social inequality and injustice. Local communities’ resilience to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism must be strengthened through poverty eradication, economic development and national reconciliation. At the same time, closer cooperation and stronger assistance from the international communities for countries in need was critical during this post-COVID recovery period. All States should fulfil their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law in combating terrorism, including by prosecuting or, where appropriate, extraditing perpetrators of terrorist acts, and by preventing the financing of terrorist acts against other States from within or outside their territories, among other efforts. Understanding and regulating the use of new technologies to prevent abuse by terrorist and violent extremist groups should be a priority as well, he said.
EDGAR DANIEL LEAL MATTA (Guatemala) said that terrorism should be tackled from its roots. The menace constituted a flagrant violation of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, undermining democracy, the territorial integrity and stability of States and the prevailing constitutional order. He welcomed the second United Nations Counter-Terrorism Conference in 2021, adding that he looked forward to participating in the negotiations around the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in 2023. There was a link between funding and terrorist acts, he pointed out, noting that Guatemala was the target of international networks; their capacities exceeded his country’s capabilities and their sources of funding were inexhaustible. Thus, he added his support for the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, as well as the relevant Security Council resolutions. He also underscored the need to strengthen international, regional and subregional cooperation to eliminate terrorism by strengthening the capacity of States.
Mr. BRADIOS (Brazil) said Brazilian legislation reform in 2019 made Council sanctions directly and immediately enforceable, especially those pertaining to terrorism, its financing and related acts. Counter-terrorism would be more effective if the international community was able to discern its legal meaning and implications and prevent its being confused with distinct phenomena such as organized crime. Furthermore, an internationally agreed upon comprehensive convention on international terrorism would aid in this process, he said, adding that convening a high-level conference could help overcome the stalemate in the negotiating processes. His country incorporated the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism into its domestic legislation and, after extensive debates in society, a national law on the topic, which contains a definition of terrorism. Defining in precise terms what terrorism means, including its objective and subjective elements, was mandatory in light of the essential role the principle of legality played in criminal law. Having clarity on what terrorism means was also critical for the law to have legitimacy in the eyes of its people and avoid the risk of misinterpretation in its application.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), associating himself with OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned “in the strongest terms” terrorism, and in particular State terrorism. Highlighting his country’s role in the fight against the scourge, he said that it was also its victim. More than 80,000 Pakistani civilians and soldiers had been killed or injured in the fight against terrorism and over $150 billion lost in recent years. He also said that the causes of terrorism must be addressed, especially in situations of occupation or denial of the right to self-determination, as is the case in Palestine and occupied Jammu and Kashmir by India. State terrorism was not being addressed, he said, detailing the situation in the illegal occupied Jammu and Kashmir by India. Moreover, despite calls not to link terrorism and religion, “Islam is targeted”, he said, leading to Islamophobia in Western countries, often through the voice of far-right parties. He highlighted the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh right-wing terrorist group, one of the oldest fascist movements responsible for killing thousands of Muslims. He also indicated that his country was in favour of a consensual definition of terrorism, which established a clear distinction between terrorism and the legitimate struggle for self-determination.
DAVID ANTONIO GIRET SOTO (Paraguay) said his country’s commitment to combating terrorism was enshrined in their national legislation and was a driving principle of its foreign policy. He reiterated his support for international cooperation in ensuring the successful dissemination and exchange of information, including best practices. He also acknowledged the importance of capacity-building in the fight against terrorism and extremism and emphasized the need to create spaces of cooperation and coordination between the United Nations offices and relevant national bodies. He went on to highlight the work carried out by his Government together with the Office of Counter-Terrorism, the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the joint efforts initiated with the Government of the Dominican Republic to strengthen capacities of local institutions tackling terrorism. The fight against the menace and its financing was an integral part of national legislation. Moreover, Paraguay was a signatory to a large number of international legal instruments against terrorism, negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations, and applied within the framework of national legislation.
Mr. RACINE LY (Senegal), associating himself with the African Group, Non-Aligned Movement and OIC, noted that the phenomenon of terrorism was gaining ground everywhere, putting international commitment to the test. In this regard, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy must remain the framework of a global and multilateral response to this scourge, with the support of all relevant United Nations organs, he stressed. As well, judicial cooperation must be strengthened. He expressed hope for rapid progress towards the elaboration of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, adding: “Our fight must be holistic and include the consequences of climate change.” He also said that the African continent required special attention, given the seriousness of the terrorist threat there and called for a reinforced commitment from the Security Council on the matter. He also detailed national efforts, among others, the establishment of an anti-terrorist unit; the National Financial Information Processing Unit; and the Inter-ministerial Framework for Coordination of Counter-Terrorist Operations. In addition, the Emerging Senegal Plan continued to develop economic and social programmes aimed at the prevention of terrorism by eliminating conditions conducive to its spread.
YOLANNIE CERRATO (Honduras) said that only solidarity and concerted work between States and regional and international organizations would make it possible to overcome the menace which threatened international peace and security, adding her condemnation of all forms of terrorism regardless of their reasons and ideologies. At a time when unilateralism seemed to be gaining ground at the international level, Member States must change this trend and take into account the role of women in the fight against terrorism, in accordance with resolution 1325 (2000) of the Security Council. She also expressed her support for the convening of a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations in order to reach a draft international convention on terrorism. Furthermore, she added that it was important to establish a link between terrorism and cross-border organized crime.
ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia) highlighted his country’s measures on countering terrorism by enhancing the capacity of its critical national infrastructure against terrorists and other cyberattacks. A national workshop on the protection of critical infrastructure from terrorist cyberattacks was held last year in collaboration with the Counter-Terrorism Office and the National Counter-Terrorism Council. Moreover, the Government participated in a survey under the project “CT TECH”, part of the Global Counter-Terrorism Programme on Cybersecurity and New Technologies, launched by the Counter-Terrorism Office, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the European Union. Consequently, the first capacity-building training on the use of facial recognition for a counter-terrorism investigation was expected to be held in Mongolia in October. He reiterated his Government’s commitment to enhance cooperation with the United Nations and its relevant bodies, regional and subregional organizations in tackling international terrorism and building resilience against the misuse of emerging technologies by terrorists and transnational criminal organizations.
ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL NYANID (Cameroon) reaffirmed that terrorist acts undermined the territorial integrity and stability of States and had adverse consequences for development. Social media, encrypted communication tools and the dark web were being used for terrorist purposes. Only concerted action at the national, regional and global levels could confront terrorism, he stressed, noting the need to transcend borders, including digital ones. He called for prosecuting or extraditing perpetrators of terrorist acts, preventing the organization, financing and participation in terrorist acts, and refraining from providing support to or harbouring terrorist groups. Obtaining essential information on terrorist acts quickly was essential, he added. To that end, obstacles to the exchange of information needed to be removed, as information gaps were being exploited by terrorists. Therefore, he called for the implementation of Security Council resolutions 2396 (2017) and 2178 (2014). He also underscored that measures aimed at suppressing violent and terrorist speech must occupy a prominent place in internal counter-terrorism policies.
FUTOON ABDULRAHMAN HUSAIN AHMED ALAMMADI (Bahrain), aligning herself with OIC, noted that her country actively participated in a number of international fora on counter-terrorism, including as a founding member and host of the regional office of the Task Force on Financial Action in the Middle East. Her country countered terrorism by promoting a culture of tolerance and dialogue between faiths and cultures, she said, detailing different initiatives related to interfaith dialogue and peaceful coexistence conducted with relevant organizations. Legal frameworks to counter terrorism were based on national legislation and aligned with international law, including human rights. Her country adopted a comprehensive approach in addressing extremism and terrorism, with the view that no development should be achieved without peace. The country reinforced its efforts by aligning national laws with international standards. The Counter-Terrorism Commission and Counter-Terrorism Financing Commission in Bahrain attached great importance to addressing money-laundering and related illicit activities. Through regional and global activities, her country was labelled as “number one” in the world in terms of least likely States where the crime of money-laundering could take place. She reiterated a need for international cooperation on countering terrorism under the auspices of the United Nations.
PEDRO LUIS PEDROSO CUESTA (Cuba), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the harmful practice of certain States aimed at destabilizing or bringing about regime change in certain countries, through media campaigns of hatred and the use of new technologies, constituted a violation of international law. “This is what Cuba is experiencing from the United States,” he stressed. The international community should not accept, under the pretext of combating terrorism, that certain States engage in violations of international law and international humanitarian law. Further, his country experienced acts of terrorism, including the attack on its Embassies in Washington, D.C., in May 2020, and in Paris, in July 2021. Pointing to the hate campaigns carried out from the territory of the United States, he added that the United States authorities did not even condemn the shootings directed at the Embassies.
The representative of Tajikistan said that his country was plagued by extremism and radicalization from Afghanistan, especially by youth and due to the instability of that country. He noted that the development of terrorist groups was directly linked to the financial support they received. He called for efforts focused on preventing and combating the financing of terrorism and for innovative measures through modern technologies. Tajikistan, a party to all relevant United Nations conventions and regional instruments, had put in place a new counter-terrorism strategy for the period 2021-2025, which included measures relating to education, tolerance and dialogue between communities, while emphasizing the participation and inclusion of young people, women and the minorities. In addition, Tajikistan was working with other Central Asian countries under a common plan of action and was organizing a high-level conference this October to strengthen border security, cooperation and the fight against terrorism.
MD MONWAR HOSSAIN (Bangladesh), associating himself with OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, detailed national efforts to combat terrorism, including the drafting of its first national counter-terrorism strategy. Since terrorism does not respect borders, he called for progress in developing a comprehensive convention on terrorism. He also said that efforts were needed to eliminate the root causes, including poverty. At the same time, grievances, exclusion and ideological misgivings also needed to be addressed. Capacity and technology gaps were one of the major obstacles faced by many Member States in complying with the provisions set forth in the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Terrorism had a disproportionate impact on women who were often forced to act as recruiters and subjected to sexual violence in captivity by terrorist groups. In this regard, Bangladesh adopted the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which recognized women’s particular role in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism. In addition, the rights and needs of the victims of terrorism were a critical part of the global counter-terrorism efforts, he said, adding that international support for victims of terrorism must receive priority attention.
OLEG O. MIKHAYLOV (Russian Federation) said that the issue of foreign terrorist combatants posed a serious threat. Underscoring the need for more efficient use of mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties, he pointed out that illegal migration from the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan also contributed to the spread of terrorism. Refugee flows were actively used by terrorists for transborder movements and establishing new terrorist cells elsewhere. There was also an increased threat of unjustified interference in the work of computerized control systems in potentially hazardous and critically important infrastructure sites, including transport, fuel and energy systems. He spotlighted the acts of sabotage against the Nord Stream gas pipeline and reiterated his country’s demand for a thorough investigation of all the circumstances surrounding this act of terrorism. Terrorists continued to try to gain access to information to create radioactive and chemical weapons, he said, referring to networks of secret biolaboratories around the world; those labs created preconditions for dangerous viruses if they ended up in the hands of terrorists, extremists or neo-Nazis. Highlighting the issue of weapons flowing to the hands of terrorists through the “dark net”, he called for specific and urgent measures to be implemented by the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
MARTÍN JUAN MAINERO (Argentina) said that terrorism could only be contained effectively through an integrated and cooperative approach and must be addressed on a multilateral level, with the United Nations playing a central role as a pillar through its Office of Counter-Terrorism. He expressed alarm at factors contributing to the threat of terrorism, including the rise of hate speech, protracted conflicts, worsening inequalities and marginalization and the lack of rule of law. Noting that Argentina experienced two serious terrorist attacks, including one in 1992, he welcomed the holding last month of the Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism, which he hoped would foster international solidarity. Pointing out that terrorism and transnational organized crime had different legal frameworks and shared no intrinsic links, he underscored the need for an internationally agreed definition of terrorism and called for the filling of this “crucial unjust legal vacuum”.
The representative of Ecuador said that terrorism was one of the main threats to international peace and security. Underlining the importance of the fight against money laundering and highlighting the new strategies and tactics of terrorist groups, including new technologies, he said it was essential to increase international cooperation. His country adopted measures in the fight against the global threat, including strengthening the Financial Analysis Unit to detect money laundering and terrorist financing. He voiced his support for the Office of Counter-Terrorism and emphasized the links between terrorist groups and transnational organized crime.
PETER MOHAN MAITHRI PIERIS (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that his country experienced terrorism for nearly thirty years. Underscoring the role of technology, particularly information and communications technologies, as a favored tool for terrorist activities, including recruitment, financing, propaganda and training, he called for coordinated global measures to address terrorism’s root causes and for combating terrorism while adhering to the preservation of human rights and of international humanitarian law. He outlined measures taken by his Government to tackle terrorism, including establishing a legal framework to enable law enforcement, through laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Public Security Ordinance, which were currently being examined to ensure they were consistent with global best practices and international law. Sri Lanka also implemented a number of legislative measures, including establishing the Financial Intelligence Unit and enacting the Prevention of Money Laundering Act No. 5 to tackle terrorism financing. He went on to underline the importance of concluding the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism, urging Member States to cooperate in resolving outstanding issues.
LAUZA ALI (Maldives) said that, at an international level, terrorism threatened peace, security and development. At a national level, it also posed a significant threat to Maldives’ vulnerable tourism-based economy. Detailing national legislation to combat terrorism, violent extremism, money laundering and financing, she said that the causes behind terrorism were often complex. Therefore, her country was focusing on preventing violent extremism by building a more cohesive society and strengthening and empowering its communities. Based on a “no one left behind” approach, Maldives made continuous efforts to empower community leaders, especially youth and women, she said, adding that women played a major role in peacebuilding and that gender perspectives were an important part of the preventive process. Underscoring that the Islamic faith defined most aspects of her country’s life and culture, she spotlighted a nation-wide campaign called the “National Moderation Campaign” that addressed the issue of extremist ideologies. With the support of religious scholars, the campaign aimed to educate those who harboured and spread extremist ideologies and committed crimes in the name of religion.
KAJAL BHAT (India) said that her country experienced numerous instances of State-sponsored cross-border terrorism, including those fostered by crime syndicates over the past decades. Recalling the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that claimed more than 250 innocent lives, she said that the the persons responsible for the blasts were under State protection and hospitality in India’s neighbouring country. She went on to cite the findings of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team to the 1267 Sanctions Committee and 1988 Committee in Afghanistan, which pointed to a significant increase in the presence of foreign terrorist organizations in Afghanistan. India’s chairmanship of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council this year would focus on countering the threat posed by the use of new and emerging technologies by terrorist groups. She then upbraided a delegation that openly supported, trained and armed terrorist groups and praised Osama Bin Laden in its Parliament. “It claims to be a victim of terrorism while nurturing terrorists in its backyard in the hope that they’ll harm its neighbours”, she said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir are an inalienable part of India, despite any propaganda stating otherwise.
Mr. ALI (Iraq) called for promoting security and intelligence cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels. His country was cooperating with analytical support and sanctions teams by exchanging information and promoting the effort to assess the threat of Al-Qaeda and Da’esh groups. The Iraqi national strategies were comprehensive and developed in line with the emerging threats, he said, underlining the importance of international sanctions on terrorist groups and entities. There were also security concerns regarding the thousands of foreign fighters and their family members that remained in detention centres in Syria. Recalling a recent terrorist act on the al-Sina prison, he expressed deep concern over the security situation of those camps and the growing activities of remaining Da’esh cells. He expressed hope that the Security Council would call upon Member States to repatriate their citizens from al-Hol and other camps in Syria. His country repatriated 1,950 foreign terrorist fighters detained in Syria, having also reintegrated 463 families and returned them to their areas of origin since May 2021. He therefore called for extradition and repatriation of all the Iraqi terrorist fighters detained and ensuring that they would be held accountable.
AL-HARITH IDRISS AL-HARITH MOHAMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, African Union and OIC, said his country’s national agencies were based on the principles of fighting terrorism’s root causes and encouraging dialogue between cultures and civilizations, among others. National policies were also focused on factors that led to terrorism and were tackling cross-border organized crime. A cultural vision to fight terrorism was being developed by promoting the capacities of competent authorities to fight electronic crimes and ensure border control. In addition, the role of civil society organizations in fighting terrorism and its root causes was being enhanced, along with media programmes. He noted that a comprehensive and balanced approach that focused not only on military and security factors but also on cultural and social dimensions was essential. Fighting poverty and ensuring reconstruction, especially in African countries, ensured balanced solutions. However, he stressed that technical support in building national capacity and strengthening national mechanisms to tackle terrorism was needed.
Mr. KIFRAWI (Brunei Darussalam), associating himself with ASEAN, Non-Aligned Movement and OIC, said that while his country has faced low direct terrorist threats, they were vulnerable to elements of extremism and radicalization, and to potential threats from terrorist financing. His Government supported a whole-of-nation approach to combat terrorism. Bilateral, regional, and international cooperation and coordination were needed. He set out measures taken by his country to enhance its counter-terrorism abilities, including the 2011 Anti-Terrorism Order, which gave effect to his countries’ international obligations under the relevant treaties and conventions relating to terrorism and terrorism financing. Further, Brunei Darussalam ratified 11 United Nations legal instruments aimed at preventing terrorist acts and welcomed participation in meetings aimed at strengthening its capacity-building on the issue, including meetings and workshops organized through ASEAN and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
SOPIO KUPRADZE (Georgia) condemned the Russian Federation’s unjustified and unprovoked full-scale military aggression against Ukraine, as well as its illegal “referenda” in Ukraine's Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, which were temporarily under Russian control. She underscored the urgent need for the international community to redouble collective efforts to address the root causes of terrorism and focus on prevention and went on to outline measures taken by Georgia to counter terrorism, including by establishing a national Counter-Terrorism Strategic Document and forming a public-private dialogue platform to effectively implement its national strategy on terrorism in the context of countering violent extremism. She went on to note that Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions remain occupied by the Russian Federation, thereby creating a fertile ground for all sorts of illicit activities and posing serious threat to regional and international peace and security.
XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa) condemned terrorism and all acts associated with it and emphasized that tackling the menace was a challenge that no country could address on its own. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy enjoyed the support of all States and aided in countering the scourge in a holistic manner. South Africa supports the working group with a view to finalizing the process on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism. He outlined measures taken by his country to strengthen counter-terrorism, including through the updating of national legislation. Following compliance visits from the Office of Counter-Terrorism Financial Action Task Force, South Africa also strengthened measures aimed at combating the financing of terrorism, he said.
KHALILAH HACKMAN (Ghana), associating himself with the African Group and Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concern over the growing prevalence of violent extremism and terrorism activities in the Sahel and the sub-Saharan region. The Accra Initiative, launched in 2017 with Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo, was one of the frameworks for strategic cooperation through information and intelligence sharing, training of personnel and joint cross-border military operations. He also pointed out that terrorist groups were increasingly using social media to extend their reach. Therefore, it was critical that intelligence sharing and early warning systems were not outpaced by the highly-technical and sophisticated operations of terrorist organizations. International cooperation was of utmost importance and must include enhanced engagements with regional bodies. He welcomed the continued engagement of UNODC in providing capacity-building and training programmes. He also urged that international development financing be re-assessed and restructured to better assist struggling economies, especially in Africa, to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. KHADDOUR (Syria), highlighting Security Council resolution 2178 (2014) regarding foreign fighters, said: “We have the right to ask the States who have sent terrorists, what have you done in terms of your international obligations in the area of counter-terrorism?” The mercenaries transported to conflict areas to implement the tasks assigned to them did so without care for the risk to international peace and security. Further, foreign troops of some States were a cover for terrorist activities, allowing them to commit their crimes on the country’s infrastructure, terrorize citizens and loot oil and agricultural crops. These States continued to impose unilateral coercive measures that targeted the Syrian people. In addition, State education facilities were absent because of American and Turkish forces in the north and east of Syria. Any effective strategy to combat Da’eah and other groups would be ineffective if the Syrian State was unable to control its territory and education institutions. He called on all States to support Syria’s efforts to restore peace and stability, ensure respect for its sovereignty and end the illegal presence of troops in his country.
ABDULRAHMAN HASAN YAHYA AL-BARATI (Yemen), associating himself with OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that foreign terrorist fighters posed a serious threat to international regional security, as did cybercrime. He went on to condemn the extremist, racist group in his country, which believed it held sacred rights above all others, was supported by Iran and Hizbullah and had a grave impact on daily life. The Houthis harmed children and older persons, as well as besieged cities, houses, holy sites and places of worship “in its absurd war against our people”, he said. Although a ceasefire held for six months, the group did not respect the proposals of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, he said, calling on the Security Council to implement a mechanism making an arms embargo possible, as well as to better monitor the use of drones by terrorist groups. Yemen was working to implement the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy with full respect to human rights and relevant instruments, and implemented a global strategy to tackle money laundering and terror financing. Yemen also criminalized action taken to plan or incite terror acts and devised specialized counter-terrorism units with international partners, despite the challenges posed by the Houthi coup d’état against its national consensus and constitutional legitimacy.