Seventy-seventh Session,
80th & 81st Meetings (AM & PM)

General Assembly Adopts Resolution Urging Unity to Tackle New, Emerging Threats, as Speakers Assess Progress in Advancing Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Unequivocally condemning terrorism, the General Assembly today adopted a resolution on the eighth review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, underscoring the importance of the road map adopted in 2006 in view of emerging new threats and evolving trends, as States detailed their national counter-terrorism measures and highlighted the importance of international cooperation.

Unanimously adopting the text, the Assembly called on Member States to unite against terrorism and violent extremism.  They reaffirmed the Global Strategy’s four pillars — which focus on measures to address the conditions conducive to terrorism’s spread, prevent and combat it, build States’ capacity and strengthen the United Nations system’s role to do so, and to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for fighting against the menace.  The Assembly also encouraged Member States to develop programmes enhancing dialogue among civilizations and interreligious and intercultural understanding and respect as important counter-terrorism cooperation elements.

Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), Assembly President, opening the session, said that terrorism is a destructive wildfire, fuelled by hatred.  Pointing to the transformative potential of the Global Strategy which provides a framework and outlines solutions, he underlined:  “Terrorism is not only a war on people, but a war on our minds.  Let us rise above it.” 

The speaker for Canada — recalling the terrorist attack on Air India flight 182 that took off from Montreal exactly 38 years ago today — said that he agreed to co-facilitate the eighth review of the Global Strategy, being motivated by the victims aboard that flight and to make a contribution to the fight against this global scourge.  Expressing regret that stronger language in the resolution was not agreed, he nevertheless cited the focus that emerged among Member States about dealing with hate speech, Islamophobia and antisemitism, as well as the new reference in the text to the importance of supporting women-led civil society.

Tunisia’s representative, who also co-facilitated the process, said that, while States might have different views on certain aspects of the document, they stand united against terrorism and violent extremism.  “Countering terrorism is a priority we all share, and only together we can face such a global threat,” he underscored.

In the ensuing general debate, many high-level officials outlined their national and regional efforts and specific actions in combating terrorist threats, while some underscored the need to fight all kinds of xenophobia and Islamophobia.  In this regard, several Member States expressed regret over the lack of flexibility in reaching consensus on condemning the recurring racist and right-wing attempts to instigate violence and terrorism against Muslims through desecration of mosques and burning the Qur’an.

Some delegates lamented the failure to include a reference to the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, despite the consensual adoption of the respective General Assembly resolution. The representative of Saudi Arabia, speaking for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), recalled that the group spent endless hours to explain Member States how acts of hatred promote Islamophobic narratives, underscoring that the failure to condemn such acts sends a clear message that incitement of terrorism against Muslims can be tolerated.

Recognizing the real presence of terrorist threats in Europe posed by groups and lone actors, the Head of Delegation of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said the text adopted today is close to a technical roll-over.  He expressed hope that the next review will see the implementation of an ambitious consensus, which corresponds to the challenges the international community faces — among them the misuse of emerging technology for terrorist purposes and new avenues for terrorist financing.

Some Member States underscored the importance of engaging civil society in preventing extremism and countering terrorism, while others spotlighted the need for enhancing such organizations’ geographical representation and integrating a gender and human rights analysis to identify how gender relations influence men’s and women’s decisions to engage in violent extremism.

The representative of Norway pointed out that, in some contexts, counter-terrorism measures have had grave implications on human rights, as certain measures were used to target political opposition and thereby shrink the space for civil society.  Violating human rights in the name of protecting them would be a travesty, Albania’s delegate added, stressing:  “It is the surest way to undermine the trust of people in the fight of terrorism.”

On that point, Venezuela’s representative, speaking for the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, rejected political manipulation of the fight against terrorism, including through the arbitrary and unilateral lists accusing States of allegedly supporting terrorism.  The use of digital platforms to incite and finance terrorist acts to advance regime-change policies or agendas seeking neo-colonial domination is inadmissible, he said.

The General Assembly will meet next at 10 a.m. on Friday, 23 June, to conclude its debate on the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Opening Remarks

CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, opening the session, expressed his condolences to those who lost their loved ones in the recent attack in Uganda that targeted children in the sanctuary of their school.  Such a heinous and insidious act shows the true intention of terrorism, he said, adding:  “Terrorism is a destructive wildfire, fuelled by hatred.”  Underscoring that terrorism — domestic or transnational — thrives off conflict, instability and marginalization, among other things, he noted that the unsustainable way of living will only increase such pressure in the future.

“We must ask ourselves:  Should we continue to bicker over what constitutes terrorism or violent extremism?”, he emphasized, while pointing to the transformative potential of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy that provides a framework and outlines tools for action.  In this regard, he called on Member States to join consensus and expressed hope that “8 billion shareholders can see the purpose of the work we are doing here”. While recognizing that people outside of Turtle Bay might not be interested in “some sophisticated references in long resolutions”, he spotlighted the importance of joint action to reduce the danger of terrorism.  “Terrorism is not only a war on people, but a war on our minds.  Let us rise above it,” he stressed.


The Assembly then took up and unanimously adopted resolution “The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy:  eighth review” (document A/77/L.78).

By its terms, the organ reiterated its strong, unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, while reaffirming the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its four pillars.  Stressing the importance of keeping the Strategy relevant in the light of emerging new threats and evolving trends, the Assembly urged all Member States to unite against terrorism and violent extremism.  Emphasizing that tolerance, pluralism, respect for diversity and dialogue among civilizations and the enhancement of interreligious and intercultural understanding and respect are among the most important counter-terrorism cooperation elements, the Assembly encouraged Member States and other relevant actors to develop programmes to this end, while also institutionalizing a mechanism to involve youth in promoting a culture of peace.  Recognizing with deep concern the rise of discrimination, intolerance and violence against members of religious and other communities, it urged Member States to greatly assist one another in criminal investigations relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts.

Further, the Assembly called upon Member States to prevent refugee status from being abused by the perpetrators of terrorist acts, while also condemning the failure of taking precautions to protect the civilian populations and objects against such attacks.  Expressing concerns over the evolving use of information and communications technology (ICT) — the Internet and other media — by terrorists, the Assembly requested the Office of Counter-Terrorism and other relevant Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact entities to support innovative measures to build Member States’ capacity.  It urged Member States to assess their terrorist financing risk and identify the economic sectors most vulnerable to this end, while addressing the anonymity of transactions and by tracing, detecting, sanctioning and effectively dismantling illegal money transmitters and tackling the risks associated with the use of cash, prepaid credit and debit cards, virtual assets and others.  Deeply deploring the suffering caused by terrorism the Assembly encouraged Member States to develop comprehensive, gender-sensitive assistance plans for victims and their families.

The representative of India, speaking in explanation of position before the action, said his country has been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, as a country that has been the victim of State-sponsored cross-border terrorism for several decades.  Noting that his delegation was the chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee last year, he cited the 2022 Delhi Declaration — a landmark document dealing with the issue of new and emerging technology.  He voiced serious concern with the draft resolution, circulated by the co-facilitators under silence on 19 June.  No consultations were held with Member States and a reference to an unanimously approved document was removed by the co-chairs, which was uncalled-for.  He further noted the proceedings of the High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism demonstrated the wide support for the Delhi Declaration, and to arbitrarily ignore it is equally disturbing.  In view of those concerns, his delegation was constrained to disassociate from the text just adopted.

The representative of Cuba, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, said that his country has never participated in the organization, financing or execution of terrorist acts.  Underscoring that Cuba’s territory has never been and will never be used to this end, he rejected the inclusion of his country to the United States Department of State’s list of countries, that — supposedly — sponsor international terrorism.  Urging the United States to abolish these unjustified qualifications, he also called on the United Nations to speak out against such lists.  Further, he expressed concern over the undue use of information technology to commit, incite, recruit and finance or plan terrorist acts, while emphasizing that terrorism cannot be linked to any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.

AIBEK SHAMENOV, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan, noted that combating terrorism is one of his country’s priorities in ensuring national security and strongly supports the global implementation of the Global Strategy — a unique document.  He also called for efforts to bolster the capacity of Member States to combat terrorist threats.  His country works with a number of bodies and takes active part in the work of the Eurasian Group in fighting terrorist financing.  Measures taken to combat the threat must be in line with all obligations under international law.  He noted Kyrgyzstan has adhered with all relevant Security Council resolutions, insisting it is crucial to focus on completion of the United Nations Conference to Combat Terrorism.  One of the main priorities is to undertake steps together, which is why Central Asian countries including his own, are attempting to return their citizens from conflict areas, citing several initiatives including to return citizens from Syria.

Mr. AL HAJRI (Qatar) said his country continues to develop its legislation and national systems, while enhancing national capacity.  In 2022, the Government adopted a national strategy on counter-terrorism, he said, reporting that Qatar is the largest donor to the United Nations Office on Counter-Terrorism, with the annual donation of $15 million, renewed until 2026.  This donation also covers the fight against terrorists’ movement and automatic remote-operated systems, vulnerable targets, security for sporting events and support for victims. Commending the Office’s field work, he said it benefits the countries Qatar is keen to support.

He recalled that Doha launched the Behavioral Insights Academy and an office for parliamentary participation, aiming at creating draft model legislation to enable Parliaments’ participation in counter-terrorism and protection.  Underscoring the role of behavioral science in understanding the motives that lead to extremism, he said this tool should be used by scientific bodies. He also advocated against creating a link between any religion, nationality and terrorism, as well as equating terrorism with the legitimate right of people to fight against occupation. Underscoring the need for fighting all kinds of xenophobia and Islamophobia, he rejected the rhetoric of hate and all incidents where the holy Qur'an was burnt in a number of countries recently.

Mr. ALZAABI (United Arab Emirates), aligning himself with the statement to come by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), stressed that counter‑terrorism efforts require multilateral approaches capable of responding to the advance means of terrorists and pre-empt them. Therefore, the review of the Strategy every two years represents an opportunity to take stock of progress in implementation and update the strategy corresponding to the development of existing and emerging threats.  Terrorists have received access to modern technology and information and communications technology (ICT) and used them to recruit, mobilize, finance and launch attacks.

He cited the use of unmanned aerial systems, virtual spaces and cryptocurrencies, as well as social networks and digital gaming platforms to spread their destructive ideas and hate speech, destroying social fabrics and increasing the targeting of minorities.  The Global Strategy must reflect the emerging new realities and address intolerance and extremism before they develop into attacks.  He further cited Security Council resolution 2686 (2023), tabled with the United Kingdom’s delegation.

MOHAMED FOUAD, Director of the Counter-Terrorism Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, associating himself with the statement to be delivered by OIC, expressed regret over the lack of flexibility in reaching consensus.  He strongly condemned the incidents of the Qur'an being burnt in some countries by extremist and right-wing groups, calling for criminalization of such acts.  Expressing regret that some delegations insisted on neglecting this challenge, despite the flexibility demonstrated by the Muslim group, he also voiced regret over the text’s inability to address racism-incited and xenophobic terrorism, among other forms of intolerance.  Moreover, he found regretful Member States’ inability to reach consensus on the reference to the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.  Recalling that, since the adoption of the Global Strategy in 2006, consensus has been an approach in adopting the successive reviews, he said:  “This consensus represents unity of the international community in countering terrorism.”

Reporting that Egypt continues to enhance capacity-building of its counter‑terrorism institutions, he said he does not believe it to be a militarization or secularization, as some claim.  Rather, this approach seeks to address the root causes of terrorism, as well as the socioeconomic factors leading to this phenomenon.  In this context, Egypt has continued issuing an annual report on Government agencies’ efforts to counter terrorism, while also promoting capacity-building with some sisterly African States through the Egyptian Agency on Partnership for Development and the Cairo Center for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa. In addition, the Government cooperates with the European Union through the International Forum on Counter-Terrorism and the International Coalition against Da’esh to this end.

MANUCHEHR MAHMUDZODA, Head of the Department of International Legal Cooperation of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan, said terrorist groups have become increasingly innovative and proficient in adapting to changing circumstances.  Due to its geographical location, Central Asia — in particular Tajikistan — remains at the forefront of countering terrorism, extremism, radicalization, illicit drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime, which seriously threaten all countries, he said.  Central Asia adopted a Joint Plan of Action in 2011 — the first regional framework designed to address the threat of terrorism through a common approach, based on the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and strengthened international partnership.

Tajikistan continues to take extra steps to prevent the spread of extremist ideas in correction institutions, and it adopted the law “On Countering Extremism” on January 2020, which defines the rights and obligations of State authorities in this field. As part of the implementation of the National Strategy of the Republic of Tajikistan on Countering Terrorism and Extremism for 2016-2020, the Government has also improved its mechanism for preventing extremism and strengthened the role of education and civil society.  Specific actions undertaken by the Government resulted in returning more than 350 of its citizens, mainly women and children from Syria and Iraq, he said.

NANCY JAMAL, Head of Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, underscoring the need to properly interpret specialized and experience-centric terminology between languages to ensure that international long-term knowledge, commitments and goals remain in parallel — if not similar — she spotlighted the role of academics and strategic communications to this end.  She called on Member States to consider the institutional memory, while recognizing that, over the years, the expertise has been spreading into a variety of — connected or dispersed — fields.  Turning to regional approaches, she outlined the creation of monitoring and evaluation standards, suitable for the country’s modus operandi, and recalled Bahrain’s preference for using a direct counter narrative, that negates criminal extremist ideology, based on religious principles, and derives support from national values.

As the world gradually seeks a sustainable solution for the rehabilitation and reintegration of terrorist fighters, she pointed out that individual country approaches will impact safety and security globally.  In this context, she underscored that the definition, prevention and depletion of terrorism should remain at the heart of the Assembly’s debate, stressing:  “not simply within the context of counter-terrorism but a theme, a term, an objective, an industry in itself”.

DANIEL FRANK, Head of Counter-Terrorism Coordination, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, said the fight against terror must be a fundamental element of multilateralism. That system is under pressure, but is not failing, and today’s resolution is proof of that.  Priority must be given to guaranteeing the full effect of international humanitarian law in any efforts to counter violent extremism and terrorism, including its impact and the role of women in preventing it.  The United Nations must combat impunity, and the resolution is a step in the right direction, but it must go further in assessing the impact of its counter-terrorism activities on the rule of law and gender equality, he said, calling for an effective mechanism towards that end.

Measures taken including United Nations sanctions must not undermine humanitarian efforts, and the rapid, safe and barrier-free provision of assistance must be a priority for the international community, he said.  He called for immediate implementation of the Security Council resolution focusing on terrorism, while the Strategy must account for significant changes on the ground. Clear, transparent approaches based on reliable data must be at the base of any actions by Member States and the United Nations, he stressed. 

ABDULAZIZ M. ALWASIL (Saudi Arabia), speaking for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the group — as the largest negotiating bloc, comprising 57 Member States — has made compromises and demonstrated flexibility during the negotiations.  He expressed regret over the failure of reaching consensus on many proposals, including the proposal of OIC to condemn the recurrent attempts by racist and right-wing elements to instigate violence and terrorism against Muslims through deliberate desecration of their mosques and burning their most sacred texts. “Our group spent endless hours explaining how such acts of hatred promote Islamophobic, anti-minority and anti-immigrant narratives,” he said, voicing his surprise by some delegations’ justification of such acts and the lack of effort in reaching consensus.

“Our failure today to condemn such acts, sends a clear message that incitement of terrorism against Muslims can be tolerated,” he stressed, while also expressing disappointment over a failure to include a reference to the International Day to Combat Islamophobia — proclaimed in a recent General Assembly resolution by consensus — in the text.  Rejecting this failure, he reiterated the group’s unity and collective efforts on international level to combat this phenomenon.

ROBERT KEITH RAE (Canada) noted that, on 22 June 1985, exactly 38 years ago today, Air India Flight 182 took off from Montréal to London, England, heading for India, with a bomb built in Canada by violent extremists.  Shortly after midnight on 23 June 1985, it exploded, killing all 329 aboard, with the bodies being identified by Canadian families who descended on Cork, Ireland.  The same day, two baggage handlers in Narita, Japan, were killed by a bomb that also originated on a separate flight from Vancouver.  That fateful day, which Canadians will commemorate tomorrow, remained the deadliest act of aviation terrorism until the events of 11 September 2001 and its devastating impact on New York.  When the President of the General Assembly asked him and Tarek Ladeb of Tunisia to co-facilitate the eighth Review of the Global Strategy, he was motivated by the victims aboard that flight, and to make a contribution to the fight against this global scourge.

Stressing that the co-facilitating process is about Member States agreeing with others with different points of view and helping to identify the consensus between them, he noted that the speeches this morning indicated they had not made all the progress some delegations and groups would have liked — which is part of the process.  In the effort to make a technical roll-over of the resolution, Member States requested changes — which is also part of the process. He cited the importance that emerged of dealing with hate speech, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.  While regretting that stronger language was not agreed, there is a new reference to the importance of supporting women-led civil society.  Calling it a learning exercise for the globe, he described receiving a photo of a little girl killed on the Air India flight, noting that it remains on his desk — and emphasized that the enduring values of empathy for and listening to others who suffer must guide the process, followed by action.

TAREK LADEB (Tunisia), noting that bringing all Member States on board was not an easy task during the negotiations, said that, while States might have different views on certain aspects of the document, they stand united against terrorism and violent extremism. Underscoring the need for a holistic approach and appropriate measures to address the new and emerging terrorist threats based on xenophobia, racism or other forms of intolerance — including in the name of religion or belief — he highlighted the importance of coordination in countering the use of ICT used to commit, incite, recruit for, fund or plan terrorist acts.  In this context, the United Nations Global Strategy remains the key framework for a collective action to this end, he stressed, adding:  “Countering terrorism is a priority we all share, and only together we can face such a global threat.”

BJORN OLOF SKOOG, Head of Delegation of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said the threat posed by terrorist groups and lone actors is very present, including in Europe, while the misuse of emerging technology for terrorist purposes and new avenues for terrorist financing highlight the need for enhanced multilateral engagement.  He noted that, despite several months of inclusive consultations led by the co-facilitators, the text adopted today is close to a technical roll-over, expressing hope that the next review will see the implementation of an ambitious consensus, which corresponds to the challenges the international community faces. In the face of terrorist attacks, the bloc upholds the common values that underpin its pluralist societies and continues to pursue efforts to defend them with determination.  Counter-terrorism measures must not be misused to suppress perceived dissent and silence human rights defenders — including instances of reprisal for engagement with the United Nations.

Civil society and human rights defenders play an essential role in guiding States in their fight against terrorism and violent extremism, he said.  The new reference to women-led civil society organizations in the Global Strategy is a significant step in the right direction.  He called for tackling the misuse of ICT through a multi-stakeholder approach.  Although voicing regret that consensus escaped delegations for more ambitious language in the Global Strategy, he recognized the significance of exchanges of views during the review process and welcomed that the Strategy calls for future reporting on the implementation of all of its four pillars to rely on a framework.  The bloc supports global efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism, including through the Global Counterterrorism Forum, which it co-chairs with Egypt.  The European Union is also a prime financial contributor to counter-terrorism capacity-building partnerships that underpin implementation of the Global Strategy.

The representative of Hungary, noting that fighting terrorism is a key priority of her Government, reported that, this week, the Hungarian Counter-Terrorism Center arrested a man who was planning a terrorist attack in Hungary.  “His goal was to kill as many people as he can, and he posted videos on social media about his plans,” she stressed.

As Member States spotlighted their national measures to combat this phenomenon, the representative of Indonesia said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has taken steps to enhance regional cooperation in countering terrorism by developing the ASEAN Plan of Action — to prevent and counter the rise of radicalization and violent extremism — as well as the Bali Work Plan 2019-2025, as its implementing framework.

While some States acknowledged the importance of cooperation with civil society and the inclusion of community leaders and women-led civil society organizations, among other actors, the representative of Costa Rica expressed regret over the lack of consensus on her country’s proposal to integrating a gender and human rights analysis, and the impact of structural gender inequalities on women and girls in conflict.  To this end, she underscored the importance of analysing how gender relations influence men and women’s decisions to engage in violent extremist groups and the actions they take within those groups.

Along these lines, Iran’s representative spotlighted his country’s efforts in assisting affected States to combat and dismantle terrorist groups in the region. Recognizing the important role of General Ghasem Soleimani in defeating Da’esh, he said that, otherwise, the group would have expanded its dominance of violence and terror beyond the region. Urging States to refrain from promulgating and applying unilateral coercive measures, he condemned — in the strongest possible terms — acts of terrorism, targeting scientists, Governments officials, and peaceful nuclear facilities.

XXX Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, said that all acts, methods and practices of terrorism are criminal, unjustifiable and represent clear violations of both the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law.  However, he stressed that terrorism shall in no way be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation to self-determination and national liberation, and that terrorism shall not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.  Similarly, he rejected the political manipulation of the fight against terrorism, including through the arbitrary and unilateral lists accusing States of allegedly supporting terrorism; and noted that the use of digital platforms to incite and finance terrorist acts to advance regime-change policies or agendas seeking neo-colonial domination is inadmissible.

He stated that efforts to prevent and combat international terrorism must not be used as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of States or to resort to the use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.  Mindful of the fact that terrorism will not be defeated by military force, law enforcement measures and intelligence operations alone, he emphasized the importance of comprehensively addressing its root causes — in order to effectively overcome the conditions that may provide breeding grounds for criminal agendas based on hatred, intolerance, racism or extremism, including supremacism and neo-Nazism.  The Group of Friends considers it of utmost importance to strengthen and broaden international cooperation and technical assistance, based on the needs and priorities identified by requesting States.  He further called for the removal of unilateral coercive measures, which hinder such cooperation.

Taking up country-specific incidents, the representative of the Philippines noted that, just six years ago, a Da’esh-inspired terrorist organization laid siege to Marawi in southern Philippines.  The Philippines acted swiftly, adopting a national strategy based on the Global Strategy, partnering with communities, countering terrorist financing and enhancing border control, including through joint maritime border patrols.  The Marawi incident, with its transnational elements, demonstrates the need for a Global Strategy.  Similarly, Kazakhstan’s delegate noted his Government has identified 25 organizations, including ISIS and Al-Qaida, as extremist and terrorist, and takes practical steps to counter money-laundering and financing terrorism.  In 2022, it allocated $50,000, and again in 2023, for project activities of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office.

Citing the relevant paragraphs of the resolution corresponding to illicit trafficking and trade of cultural property, the representative of Greece, aligning himself with the European Union, noted that, during the current review of the Global Strategy, those references were not significantly modified.  However, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), this looting contributes substantially to the financing of terrorist groups.  Greece consistently supports the inclusion of trafficking of archaeological objects obtained through looting or illegal excavations into the actions to counter financing of terrorism agenda, he said.

Several speakers pointed out that the resolution was adopted by consensus, underscoring Member States unity in countering terrorism, while many others detailed their national practices in tackling this phenomenon.

The representative of Singapore said his Government has engaged the community, along with commercial and private partners, to this end.  To complement the counter-terrorism strategy, the Government has adopted a national strategy on countering the financing of terrorism, he added, while spotlighting the country’s regional counter-terrorism activities, including under ASEAN.

Similarly, Nigeria’s representative reported on the establishment of the National Counter-Terrorism Center through the Terrorism Act, which also laid out a legal framework for the national sanctions committee and established a special victims trust fund.  The upcoming African Summit on Counter Terrorism — to be held in Abuja in the first quarter of 2024 — will serve as an opportunity to identify challenges and foster collective action to fight terrorism in Africa.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s delegate, spotlighting the Russian Federation’s “purely terrorist methods of warfare” — including shelling of civilian infrastructure, ecocide and nuclear blackmailing — said that the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant’s power units “are actually mined by Russia”.  “This constitutes the real threat of nuclear disaster not only for Ukraine but far beyond,” he stressed.

Addressing the discussion process itself, New Zealand’s delegate stressed that, while robust debate on the issues is healthy, it must not be at the expense of solidarity and shared determination.  “We cannot afford to cede ground to those who would seek to exploit vulnerabilities and cause our citizens harm,” she stated.  As one of many countries to have directly experienced the devastating impacts of terrorism, New Zealand knows first hand that “our work here is not hypothetical”, she said.

Similarly, Mexico’s representative expressed regret that, unfortunately, the lack of flexibility and political will in the process prevented the resolution from reflecting a truly substantive update of the Global Strategy.  Negotiations cannot continue to be a zero-sum exercise.  However, the discussion space also allows Member States to take stock and analyse, with a good dose of self-criticism, the approaches and measures that have been taken in the fight against terrorism.

Agreeing that negotiations were fraught, the representative of the United States nonetheless affirmed that it is critical “that we preserved robust text on the important role of civil society, gender equality and human rights in this resolution”.  He shared disappointment that the resolution was not updated to include a more significant focus on one of the most pressing emerging global challenges — the threat from the use of unmanned aerial systems for terrorist purposes.  “We must be vigilant in countering terrorist use of this technology,” he stressed.

The representative of Israel said that, a few days ago, two Palestinian terrorists opened fire at Israeli diners, murdering four Israelis.  In the last six months alone, 28 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian terrorists and over 150 terrorist attacks have been perpetrated.  Meanwhile, Iran continues to fund and train terrorist armies across the Middle East.  “In Israel, you’re hard pressed to find even one person who does not know someone who was killed or injured in a terrorist attack,” he said.  This year has seen a rise in antisemitic attacks everywhere. Terrorism knows no borders, he said, urging Member States to share expertise, best practices and know-how with one another.  He also expressed concern that not enough is being done to address incitement among children, who are easily influenced.  Moreover, preambular paragraph 43 of the text serves as a vehicle to justify certain terrorist acts, he said, disassociating himself with that paragraph.

Albania’s representative stressed that violating human rights in the name of protecting them would be a travesty.  “It is the surest way to undermine the trust of people in the fight of terrorism,” she said.  “We must uphold the rule of law at all times.”  She expressed support for international counter-terrorism legislation, adding that Albania has also adopted national strategies to fight terrorism. Albania, however, has not experienced terrorist attacks on its soil, but has had to deal with foreign terrorist fighters.  It adopted measures for the dignified return of foreign fighters and has brought to justice those that have committed crimes.

The representative of Pakistan said that his country has been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and has rendered innumerable sacrifices of more than 80,000 lives.  “Spoilers in our neighbourhood continue to target us,” he added.  The United Nations, particularly the Security Council, must address situations of prolonged, unresolved conflicts and foreign occupation. “There is a continued campaign to portray struggles for self-determination and national liberation as terrorism in order to justify the oppression of people under foreign occupation,” he added.  It is critical to clearly define terrorism and distinguish it from legitimate struggles for national liberation and self-determination.  Proposals to include in the text references to Islamophobia and racism were “side-lined”, which raises serious question about the “cherry-picking approach” in finalizing the text.  “Failure to condemn acts of incitement and hatred sends a clear message that terrorism against Muslims will be tolerated,” he added.

The representative of Norway said that, in some contexts, counter-terrorism measures had grave implications on human rights.  In the absence of an internationally agreed definition of terrorism, some Governments have deployed counter-terrorism measures, which violates a broad range of rights, he stressed, pointing out that sometimes such measures are used to target political opposition, while shrinking the space for civil society.

In this context, several Member States underscored the importance of engaging civil society in tackling terrorism and violent extremism, with the representative of Brazil calling for a more enhanced geographical representation of civil society organizations and their increased engagement at the community level.  In addition, he outlined the need for including underrepresented groups — women, youth and terrorist attack survivors — to this end.

The representative of Germany, pointing out that her country advocates for preventing and countering right-wing violent extremism, which is conducive for terrorism, voiced support for a recent study on this phenomenon’s transnational linkages with organized crime. Underlining that the international community faces a more adaptive and lethal set of terrorist threats as ever before, she said that terrorists develop their expertise in using technology.

Syria’s delegate, aligning himself with the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, asked to what extent “some Member States of this Organization respect their counter-terrorism obligations”, given “the chaos and armed conflicts that those very countries had a hand in creating especially in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia” — blatantly interfering in internal affairs of States to destabilize them, promoting extremism and hate speech and military force under the pretext of countering the terrorism they created.  It is ironic, he noted, that when a country fulfilled its duties in counter-terrorism, those other States hurried to accuse it of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.  However, the conflicts they created in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and his country are among the most egregious crimes in modern times.  He called for an end to the United States’ flagrant military intervention in Syria.

The representative of the Russian Federation cited the importance of considering issues that are directly related to greater effectiveness in the fight against terrorism — including unilateral coercive measures and politically motivated restrictions on States’ participation in international and regional counter-terrorism fora.  It is also important to pay closer attention to combating manifestations of neo-Nazism and aggressive nationalism.  However, he noted that “some delegations misused this agenda item to express a range of baseless and simply absurd allegations against us”.  Some Member States want to discuss the Ukrainian issue everywhere, and if the Assembly listened to Kyiv and its supporters, there are no other problems in world.  However, he stated that “the Kyiv regime is using clearly terrorist methods against Russia and its citizens” — including assassination attempts on journalists, an explosives attack on a Crimea bridge and systematic shelling of the Kakhovka Dam.

Türkiye’s delegate, aligning himself with OIC, noted his country has been at the forefront of countering terrorist organizations with a broad spectrum of ideologies, including Da’esh, Al-Qaida and Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation for years. These groups and others have been operating across national borders, running training camps, acquiring financial resources and operating media outlets to disseminate their propaganda and glorify their vicious acts abroad.  Regretfully, some perpetrators of terrorist attacks, their accomplices and financiers have been able to escape justice and travel freely — “yet the success in the global fight against terrorism depends on our collective effort to deny any safe haven to terrorists”.  He further noted that subcontracting a terrorist organization to fight another is a serious mistake as “it is counterproductive and will have a boomerang effect”, he stated.

The representative of China, associating himself with the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, said that the root causes of terrorism have yet to be effectively addressed.  It is urgent to strengthen international counter-terrorism cooperation, coordinate action and take a multi-pronged approach to promote synergy in the fight against terrorism.  The fight cannot remain only in words, but must be translated into political will and concrete action.  “There is no good or bad terrorism,” he said, warning against double standards and selectively.  The response to terrorist threats must also focus on eliminating its root causes. “Military action alone cannot eradicate terrorism,” he said, stressing the need to eliminate poverty, increase employment and enhance social inclusion.  When helping developing countries step up counter-terrorism capacity-building, focus should be given to priority areas identified by recipient countries.  Agendas set by assistance providers must not be imposed. 

Guatemala’s representative said that terrorism undermines democracy and impedes economic and social development.  Existing international legal frameworks are a valuable tool, she said, reaffirming support for the United Nations Convention to Combat Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols.  Given its geographic location in the Central American region, Guatemala has faced several scourges, such as money-laundering, drug trafficking and the trafficking in persons.  “We have difficulties facing these very sophisticated terrorist activities,” she said.

The representative of Iraq said that his country has been fighting the remains of Da’esh and is working to deprive them of financing, but Da’esh still remains a threat as it seeks to bolster its cells in Iraq and Syria.  Iraq is focused on returning combatants to their country of origin, and ensuring that terrorists do not have access to chemical weapons.  He called on the United Nations for greater assistance to organizations dealing with the situation at the Al-Hawl camp in Syria — on the border with Iraq — which is known for extremism and violence.  Iraq has brought home many of the displaced that were staying at the camp, as well as prisoners who were in detention centres in Syria, he said, adding that his Government is in contact with States whose citizens are in Iraq and is working to ensure their return to their home country. Victims of terrorism must see justice, he stressed.

Right of Reply

The representative of Iran, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responding to delegate of Israel, said that regime is the main source of instability in the Middle East — its very existence based on terror, violence and torture.  Stating “the Israeli regime openly supports terrorism in the region and beyond”, she cited attacks against Iranian officials, scientists and civilians, as well as sabotage operations against its peaceful nuclear infrastructure. Categorically rejecting and condemning his statements, she reminded that “this terrorist regime, which abides by no rules or principles, is not in a position to accuse Member States of baseless allegations”.

For information media. Not an official record.