Seventy-eighth Session,
1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM)

Describing New, Emerging Threats, Speakers Deliberate over Concluding Convention on International Terrorism, as Legal Committee Begins Seventy-Eighth Session

Convening its first meeting of the seventy-eighth session today, the Sixth Committee (Legal) took up the Secretary-General’s report on measures to eliminate international terrorism, with delegates investigating the scourge’s emerging trends and underscoring both the importance of agreeing on a legal definition and developing a comprehensive convention on combating the menace.

Before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report “Measures to eliminate international terrorism” (document A/78/221), which contains information on measures taken both on national and international levels, based on the submissions from Government and international organizations.

During the day-long meeting, speakers discussed new and emerging terrorist threats, including those posed by the rise of attacks based on xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism. Many also expressed concerns over the use of digital technologies, cyberspace and artificial intelligence for terrorist and arm groups’ purposes.

The representative of Sri Lanka, joining others in spotlighting the widespread reach of social media that terrorist groups use to recruit, stated: “Let’s have no misgivings — the threats we faced 30 years ago aren’t the threats we face today, nor are they the threats we will face in the future.” The non-State actors of today are constantly evolving with the use of technology to identify vulnerabilities, he said, urging the international community to address such vulnerabilities through strategic plans.

Other speakers pointed to terrorist acts motivated by xenophobia, including the United States’ representative, who underscored the need to counter the rising threat posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists or ‘REMVEs’”. Many attacks in this category are inspired by transnational white supremacist movements who target religious and racial minorities, immigrants, women and girls, LGBTQI+ individuals and other perceived enemies, she noted.

For her part, Mexico’s delegate said that, since the majority of individuals joining extremist organizations are young men, measures to combat terrorism and violent extremism must include a real analysis of gender, including the role of structural gender stereotypes and masculinity. 

To that point, the representative of Honduras emphasized that countries must commit to a change of paradigm, underlining that to face international terrorism, women must play a leading role in establishing peace pursuant to Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). 

Many speakers, recognizing that the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is a living document and should be regularly updated to reflect the emerging trends, welcomed the adoption of its eighth review.  Others, however, expressed regret over the impossibility to reach consensus on issues, such as a reference to the International Day to Combat Islamophobia and the condemnation of attacks against Muslims. 

On this point, the representative of Uganda, speaking for the African Group, called for more openness and negotiation, noting that consensus could not be reached on proposals to condemn the actions of racist and right-wing extremist groups, including the desecration of places of worship and the sacred texts of holy books. 

The representative of Costa Rica, observing that that States were unable to integrate human rights and gender perspectives in the review, also spotlighted their inability to learned from the previous review or agree on ambitious goals in terms of transparency. 

On another tack, Jordan’s delegate stressed that terrorism is exacerbated by factors such as erroneous interpretation of religious texts and high unemployment.  The drivers of terrorism and violent extremism need to be addressed, he emphasized, calling for the adoption of a roadmap that focuses not only on military and financial aspects but also on education.

Against this backdrop, many speakers reiterated the importance of concluding a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism and convening a high-level United Nations conference on the matter, while others pointed out that the conditions to adopt a convention are not yet in place, as there is still a need to agree on a global definition of terrorism. 

“Agreeing on a clear definition of terrorism is crucial,” asserted the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as an observer.  He pointed out that a definition of terrorist offences, contained in the European Union Directive on combating terrorism, has allowed for harmonized criminalization across the bloc. 

Adding to that stance, the representative of Brazil underscored that the lack of internationally agreed definition makes it challenging to devise an effective strategy to combat the phenomenon.  Nonetheless, he reported that his country’s corresponding law in 2016 serves as an example that delineating elements of terrorism is possible.

Calling for an integrated and cooperative multilateral approach, with the United Nations playing a central role, Argentina’s delegate highlighted the negative impact — in particular on human rights and due process — resulting from the lack of an international legal definition of terrorism.  “We can no longer postpone the process that would lead to a general convention on international terrorism,” he emphasized.

Prior to the debate, Suriya Chindawongse (Thailand), Chair for the seventy-eighth 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, striving to resolve all issues by consensus.

Noting that the Committee has been allotted 28 agenda items for this session, he also introduced the members of the new Bureau: Vice-Chairs Alis Lungu (Romania); Jhon Guerra Sansonetti (Venezuela) and Enrico Milano (Italy); and Rapporteur Moussa Mohamed Moussa (Djibouti).  In addition, the Committee also established working groups for “Protection of persons in the event of disasters” and “Measures to eliminate international terrorism” and elected chairpersons therein.

The Sixth Committee will meet next at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 3 October, to continue its consideration on measures to combat international terrorism.


ZAHRA ERSHADI (Iran), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, said that terrorism should not be equated with the struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation, for self-determination and national liberation, nor should it be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.  Rejecting the unilateral preparation of lists accusing States of allegedly supporting terrorism, she urged Member States to refrain from extending political, diplomatic, moral or material support for such acts.  States should also ensure that refugee status or other legal statuses not be abused by the perpetrators, organizers or facilitators of terrorist acts and that claims of political motivation by them are not recognized as grounds for refusing requests for their extradition.  Expressing concern over the growing threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters who travel to a State other than their State of residence or nationality to commit or participate in terrorist acts, she underlined the importance of United Nations capacity-building in the most affected regions.

She further voiced concern over the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of religions by terrorist groups to justify terrorism and violent extremism in an effort to instil hatred in young people while glorifying brutality and violence.  More so, she called on the Security Council sanctions committees to further streamline their listing and delisting procedures.  In addition, she called for an international summit conference under the auspices of the United Nations to formulate a joint organized response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including identifying its root causes.  Further, she reiterated the importance of concluding a comprehensive convention for combating international terrorism.  Urging States to cooperate with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre, she also welcomed the eighth review of the 2023 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

MARVIN IKONDERE (Uganda), speaking for the African Group, called for more openness and negotiation to reach consensus on essential points for the ninth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  The Strategy is the reference document for actions to be taken by the Organization and, as such, requires updating to consider the concerns and challenges faced by Member States.  On that point, he deplored the fact that consensus could not be reached to incorporate proposals to condemn the actions of racist and right-wing extremist groups, including the desecration of places of worship and the sacred texts of holy books.  Reiterating the importance of concluding a comprehensive convention on combating international terrorism, he welcomed resumed informal consultations to discuss outstanding issues relating to the draft instrument.  Further, he supported the proposal to convene a high-level conference to formulate an international response to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

While expressing concern over increased incidences of kidnapping and hostage-taking for ransom, he underscored the concerning nature of terrorist financing and pointed out that the payment of ransoms to terrorist groups is a main source of financing for terrorist activities.  He therefore called on Member States to cooperate in addressing such payments.  He also urged Member States to take appropriate measures to prevent the abuse of refugee status by perpetrators, organizers or facilitators of terrorist acts and to ensure – before granting asylum – that the asylum-seeker has not planned, facilitated or participated in terrorist acts.  Additionally, States should expand the range of assistance available for the apprehension of terrorists and the investigation and prevention of terrorist acts.  Detailing regional counter-terrorism initiatives, he added that the UN and its Member States must work with Africa to prevent the threat of terrorism from de-railing the continent’s hard-won gains in unifying, developing and working towards a prosperous, peaceful future.

KHALID MOHAMMED H. H. FELEMBAN (Saudi Arabia), speaking for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), underscored that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion, race, faith, culture, ethnicity or society.  Thus, politicized attempts to link Islam with terrorism serve only the interest and aspirations of terrorists and promote polarization, hatred, discrimination, xenophobia and hostility against Muslims around the world.  In that regard, it is important to enhance international cooperation, promoting dialogue, understanding and cooperation among religions, cultures and civilizations for the sake of peace and harmony.  More so, it is crucial to comprehensively address the root causes of terrorism, including the lack of sustained economic growth, development and opportunities; unlawful use of force; aggression; foreign occupation; prolonged international disputes; and political marginalization and alienation. 

The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is a living document and should be regularly updated to reflect emerging trends in the context of terrorism, including threats posed by the rise of terrorist attacks based on xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism, he continued.  Regretfully, its eighth review failed to reach consensus on issues such as a reference to the International Day to Combat Islamophobia and the condemnation of right-wing attacks against Muslims, namely desecration of mosques and burning of holy books.  He also noted the importance of enhancing States’ capacities to implement international obligations through increasing the resources of relevant United Nations bodies.  Underlining the OIC’s commitment to negotiating a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and resolving outstanding issues, including the legal definition of terrorism and the scope of acts covered by the convention, he said that there is merit in convening a high-level United Nations conference. 

THOMAS RAMOPOULOS, representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, said that despite international efforts, the threat of terrorism and violent extremism has not diminished but continues to evolve.  Politically motivated terrorism, including from the far-right and far-left, and the potential exploitation of new technological developments for terrorist purposes amplify this challenge.  In this regard, he welcomed the adoption of the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and reiterated his commitment towards a comprehensive convention on international terrorism that is being discussed in the Working Group. “Agreeing on a clear definition of terrorism is crucial,” he stressed, emphasizing the importance of the negotiating process in the Council of Europe on a revised pan-European legal definition of “terrorism” for the purposes of the 2005 Warsaw Convention [Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air]. 

Deploring the growing politicization in the fight against terrorism, he pointed out that the European Union Directive on combating terrorism, adopted in 2017, includes a definition of terrorist offences that could serve as inspiration for the Working Group.  This definition has allowed for harmonized criminalization across the bloc and has strengthened cooperation between its member States, he reported, noting that the measures to prevent and counter terrorism must be gender responsive.  In these efforts, the importance of the participation and leadership of women cannot be overstated.  He also spotlighted the need for rehabilitating the victims of terrorism, while also approaching them as agents of prevention of further terrorist acts. In addition, he reiterated his commitment to multilateralism in fighting terrorism through the Global Counterterrorism Forum, which the bloc is co-Chairing with Egypt. 

SOPHEA EAT (Cambodia), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reported that ASEAN’s plan of action to prevent and counter the rise of radicalization and violent extremism emphasizes a comprehensive, evidence-based approach.  Additionally, the region’s efforts to tackle the issues that feed terrorism and violent extremism continue unabated – even amid the COVID-19 pandemic – and involve activities across various sectors such as border control, combating human trafficking and addressing illicit drug smuggling. Noting ASEAN’s support for international efforts to combat terrorism, she called for enhanced international cooperation, information sharing and coordination among Member States.  She also called for relevant international organizations to identify and track terrorist networks, disrupt terrorist financing and bring members of such networks to justice.  Further, to eliminate the breeding grounds of terrorism, it is vital to address the phenomenon’s root causes, including poverty, social exclusion and lack of education.

She went on to reaffirm the importance of respecting human rights and the rule of law in counter-terrorism efforts, underlining the need to ensure that such efforts do not lead to human-rights abuses or the stigmatization of any particular group.  She also encouraged technical assistance and capacity-building programmes to strengthen national counter-terrorism efforts, along with community-based programmes, religious dialogue and educational initiatives to counter extremist ideologies.  Spotlighting the vulnerability of soft targets such as public spaces and critical infrastructure, she called for strengthened cooperation to protect such targets and enhance public safety.  Additionally, she emphasized the importance of strong cybersecurity measures to prevent terrorist organizations from exploiting digital platforms for recruitment and communication.  It is crucial to respect the principles of independence, sovereign equality and non-interference in domestic affairs, she added, stressing that such principles are “essential” for ensuring a robust global response to terrorism.

IAN BIGGS (Australia), also speaking for Canada and New Zealand, noted that acts of terrorism remain a significant threat to communities as well as international peace and security.  The methods and tactics of terrorist groups continue to evolve and present new challenges, including their expanded global reach through exploitation of the Internet, he pointed out, calling for international cooperation to combat this cross-border phenomenon.  These efforts must be anchored in the rule of law, as well as international law, including human rights, refugee and humanitarian law. States should fully implement corresponding Security Council resolutions, such as resolutions 1373 (2001), 2178 (2014) and 2396 (2017), which have underlined cooperation hindering terrorist travel and have supported investigation and prosecution preventing terrorist acts.  In addition, to mitigate the deadly impact of terrorist activities, the work of the Security Council’s 1267 ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions regime remains crucial.

He went on to express commitment to counter terrorism and violent extremism through a whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approach.  This will bolster community resilience to hate speech and discord that can lead to violence.  Here, civil society is vital for gaining insights into local dynamics and elaborate tailored solutions, he emphasized.  Nevertheless, under the pretext of counter-terrorism measures, the civil society space is shrinking.  He also spotlighted the indispensability of gender-responsiveness to address terrorism and violent extremism and welcomed the establishment of the Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit in the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.  Expressing support for the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, he added that for the Sixth Committee to remain relevant and productive, its work on international terrorism should be aligned with the new three-year cycle for the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy reviews.

ELVIRA CUPIKA-MAVRINA (Latvia), also speaking for Estonia and Lithuania and associating herself with the European Union, said that these countries engage in intelligence-sharing and work with international partners to prevent potential threats.  In this context, she encouraged Member States to nurture strong legal and governance frameworks in their fight against terrorism.  Noting that terrorists and violent extremists' ideologies pose a threat to shared values, she emphasized that States need to respond collectively with the rule of law and human rights at the core of their response.  Although the level of terrorism threat is low in the Baltic region, she pointed out that “we are all interconnected” and impacted by multiple shifts and growing instability.

To this end, the Baltic countries have developed a legal base, which enables the application of legal instruments to counter radicalization, extremism and terrorism, she noted.  They also continue to engage the tools and resources to further develop their capabilities and to extend cooperation on counter-terrorism related issues.  Condemning the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine, she emphasized that it undermines European global security and stability.  She further pointed to Moscow’s disinformation campaigns which are undermining vulnerable regions, reporting that the Baltic countries took action against terrorism in their most recent work on strategic documents at the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore) said that in October 2022 his country published a national strategy on countering the financing of terrorism, which forms the blueprint for the national approach to addressing terrorism and serves as a roadmap for future measures to prevent, detect and deter its financing.  It also enhanced coordination of law enforcement agencies, policy makers, regulators, supervisors and the public sector.  Furthermore, Singapore — together with Australia and Thailand — is Co-Chair of the Senior Officials Counter-Terrorism Policy Forum in both 2023 and 2024, he said, noting that this Forum undertakes discussions on shared regional counter-terrorism and security policy issues.  As well, it identifies gaps, develops new initiatives and drives regional connectivity between interior ministries and counter-terrorism agencies.  “Singapore remains committed to the global fight against terrorism,” he stressed, recalling that the country is a party to 15 international counter-terrorism agreements. In that regard, he voiced his support for the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and advocated for a convention on international terrorism.

VICTOR SILVEIRA BRAOIOS (Brazil) underscored that rejection of terrorism is anchored in his country’s Constitution, and that its laws are in line with the Financial Action Task Force standards.  While all Security Council sanctions are enforceable in Brazil, the global process of listing persons and entities should, nevertheless, be more transparent and evidence-based.  Welcoming the consensus on the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he expressed concern over the lack of an internationally agreed upon legal definition of terrorism.  Because of that, it is challenging to devise an effective strategy to combat the phenomenon.  Due to that difficulty in agreeing on a definition, Brazil only adopted a corresponding law in 2016.  This serves as an example that delineating elements of terrorism is possible, he said, calling for negotiating a convention on international terrorism. He also voiced concern over attempts to reinterpret international law regarding the prohibition of the use of force and its self-defence exception in counter-terrorism measures, pointing out that Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations must be interpreted in a restrictive manner.  More so, the International Court of Justice has repeatedly indicated that the right of self-defence referred to in Article 51 of the Charter only applies between States, he added.

DOROTHY PATTON (United States), expressing condolences to the people of Türkiye about the attack in Ankara just yesterday, noted that the human suffering caused by terrorism and violent extremism remains the same — tragic and profound.  Spotlighting the four pillars of the Global Counter-terrorism Strategy, she said the General Assembly resolution adopted this year contains critical guidance for Member States, including on the important role of civil society, gender equality and respect for human rights.  It also calls on States to help build capacity to repatriate, rehabilitate and, where appropriate, prosecute foreign terrorist fighters and associated family members.  Foreign terrorist fighters in inadequate detention facilities and associated family members living in overburdened camps in Syria and Iraq pose a serious security threat, she said, expressing her country’s commitment to assist Member States in their efforts on this front.  Also underscoring the need to counter the rising threat posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists or ‘REMVEs’”, she noted that many attacks in this category are inspired by transnational, white supremacist movements who target religious and racial minorities, immigrants, women and girls, LGBTQI+ individuals and other perceived enemies.  Further, highlighting the speed at which technologies such as generative artificial intelligence are evolving, she expressed support for more research, including on questions such as when and why consuming online content leads to offline physical harm.

CARLA MARIA RODRÍGUEZ MANCIA (Guatemala), spotlighting the link between transnational organized crime and terrorism, said that her country faces several challenges in this area.  These include money-laundering, along with the trafficking of persons and arms.  Despite national efforts, transnational criminal organizations are overwhelming Guatemala’s capacity to address these issues, which has resulted in increased criminality.  She therefore emphasized the importance of an international legal framework to address this link, along with intensified international, regional and subregional cooperation to strengthen States’ capacity to counter terrorism.  For its part, Guatemala is part of the UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme and is working to strengthen its national information system regarding passenger names in the context of fighting terrorism and other serious crimes.  She also underlined the need to further international cooperation – both between States and within the UN – to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

HEIDAR ALI BALOUJI (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC, expressed regret over the politicization and selective approaches of some States to label and accuse other States of allegedly supporting terrorism.  He also condemned the threat of nuclear terrorism.  Noting that Iran has long been a victim of terrorism, he recalled the terrorist attacks against its high-ranking officials, including Qasem Soleimani, Commander of the Quds Force, and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a scientist and Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Defence, among others.  Further, he pointed out that his country has been assisting the affected regional States in diminishing terrorist groups.  Turning to unilateral coercive measures, he emphasized that States should refrain from and terminate imposition of such measures. He also condemned the attempts in certain European countries to instigate violence against Muslims by desecrating mosques and the holy Qur’an.  Recognizing the foreign terrorist fighters’ presence in the occupied territories of Syria as a threat to regional peace and security, he called for their repatriation to their countries of origin.  He also condemned their relocation between conflict zones, urging States to not provide them with a safe haven.

NOAM CAPPON (Israel) underscored that “the history of Israel and the Jewish people is one of resilience in the face of unrelenting acts of terrorism and violence.”  Against this backdrop, he called for a stronger focus on countering terrorist acts driven by anti-Semitic motives.  Stressing that the best defence against this threat lies in sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices, he detailed the contribution of Israeli experts to several United Nations counter-terrorism programmes.  Drawing attention to indoctrination of children on social media, he recalled a side-event hosted by his country in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress during the recent Counter-Terrorism Week.  He went on to express concern that the current practices to address terrorist financing are insufficient.  The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy should be adaptive and responsive to such challenges. While it is important to agreeing on a global definition of terrorism, the conditions to adopt a convention on this matter are not in place yet, he noted.

PABLO AGUSTÍN ESCOBAR ULLAURI (Ecuador), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the importance of international cooperation to address the transnational threat of terrorism.  He welcomed the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which sends a message of unity with regards to preventing and combatting the phenomenon.  Expressing concern over the links between terrorism and transnational organized crime, he called for increased international cooperation to strengthen States’ capacity in criminal justice and in controlling money-laundering, borders and arms trafficking.  One of the most powerful instruments available to the international community in this regard is a coherent legal framework.  Additionally, he cited a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which reported that hope of finding work is the main factor for why people join extremist groups in Africa.  Therefore, combatting terrorism must include a development approach that addresses the socioeconomic conditions prevalent in many countries.

ERIK LAURSEN (Denmark), also speaking for Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, said that the collective efforts to eliminate international terrorism should have prevention strategies as the point of departure and give root causes particular consideration.  Rejecting and condemning all forms of terrorism and violent right-wing extremism, he pointed out that the occurrence of several mass casualty attacks in the Nordic countries underscores the need for vigilance. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), and Al-Qaida continue to pose threats to global peace and security, he observed, noting that the long-term trajectory of ISIL-Khorasan Province is a cause for concern in Afghanistan and the region. These terrorist groups have demonstrated a strategic interest in Africa by expanding their network of affiliates in fragile States and capitalizing on weak governance, he observed, adding that the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel may spill over to West African coastal States.  “Military rule undermines State legitimacy and represents a significant risk to the effectiveness of prevention and counterterrorism interventions,” he added.

Spotlighting the efforts of the bloc in preventing violent extremism, he highlighted the UNDP’s report “Journey to Extremism in Africa”.  He also said that children and youth hold key insights into preventing radicalization, encouraging States to engage them in discussions on how to diminish the influence of violent extremist ideologies and build resilience.  Further, he underscored the importance of the whole-of-society approach, emphasizing that interventions must be designed and implemented with the support of local communities.  Turning to the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy’s review, he stressed:  “We maintained strong language on gender and the rule of law.  This is critical for the strategy to remain credible and effective.”   

TOUFIQ ISLAM SHATIL (Bangladesh), associating himself with the OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, detailed national efforts to combat terrorism, including the drafting of its first national counter-terrorism strategy.  Since development efforts may be in vain if this cross-border phenomenon is not eliminated, he called on the United Nations to ensure progress in developing a comprehensive convention.  Welcoming the emphasis placed on engaging community leaders and women-led civil society organizations to combat terrorism and violent extremism in the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he called for enhanced capacity-building and technical support to States.  Further, he denounced profiling of terrorists based on their religious identity and condemned acts of burning the Qur'an.  Such actions contribute to a discriminatory, hostile and potentially violent environment.  He also expressed concern over terrorist attacks on United Nations peacekeepers and urged all States to invest more in addressing the underlying causes of terrorism, while respecting human rights.

PETER MOHAN MAITHRI PIERIS (Sri Lanka) said that his country — having experienced terrorism first-hand — “remains committed to the principles enriched in the United Nations” for combatting terrorism.  He stressed, however:  “Let’s have no misgivings — the threats we faced 30 years ago aren’t the threats we face today, nor are they the threats we will face in the future.”  The non-State actors of today are constantly evolving with the use of technology to identify vulnerabilities, and it is through strategic plans that the international community can address such vulnerabilities and future threats. Nevertheless, he underscored the importance of tackling the root causes of terrorism, which often include socioeconomic disparities, political instability and extremist ideologies.  A holistic approach is needed — one that not only focuses on security measures, but also includes efforts to promote dialogue, reconciliation and the protection of human rights.  “There is no life to be found in violence,” he said, adding that “in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace”.

ASSANE DIOUM (Senegal), associating himself with the African Group, Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC, said that combatting extremist and terrorist narratives should focus on tackling religiously intolerant speech. In this regard, he welcomed the General Assembly resolution just adopted this year that promotes interreligious and intercultural dialogue.  Underscoring the importance of prevention and the proper handling of victims, he spotlighted the need for combating terrorism financing to nullify its operational capacity. Recalling that the African Union convened the Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa in 2022, he spotlighted the special African Union Peace Fund for preventing and combatting terrorism, among other commitments.  Further, he highlighted the recent establishment of the Rabat and Nairobi offices of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism and welcomed the forthcoming African Counter-Terrorism Summit in Abuja in 2024.  Underscoring the need for adequate and predictable financing for Africa’s peace and security architecture, he added:  “We need to wage this fight standing in solidarity with others.” To this end, Senegal will convene an international forum on peace and security on 27 and 28 November 2023, he said.

MYKOLA PRYTULA (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union and stressing his country’s commitment to fighting terrorism and violent extremism, recalled that the Security Council adopted resolution 2341 (2017) — addressing the protection of critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks — on Ukraine’s initiative.  However, the aggression against Ukraine launched nine years ago by the Russian Federation has led to multiple terrorist acts.  After the full-scale invasion on 24 February 2022, his country faces purely terrorist methods of warfare, including shelling of civilian infrastructure, ecocide and nuclear blackmail.  These should be considered acts of State terrorism, he underscored. Turning to the Wagner Group, which he described as a “State-sponsored terrorist organization”, he stressed that its operations in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa pose a threat to global security. He also noted that the International Court of Justice has examined documentation that confirms serious violations of international law, including of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, by the Russian Federation.

NATALIA JIMÉNEZ ALEGRÍA (Mexico) expressed concern over the lack of an international definition for “terrorism”, stating that — without legal certainty — the international community will continue “languishing in ambiguity”.  Therefore, negotiations must be concluded on a convention, and the General Assembly should play a priority role towards that end.  Efforts to combat terrorism, she went on to say, must include measures to tackle poverty, create job opportunities, provide access to education and promote social justice and gender equality.  On that point, she said the fact that the majority of those who decide to join extremist organizations are young men demonstrates that measures adopted to combat terrorism and violent extremism “must include a real analysis of gender”.  Such an analysis must stress the role played by structural gender stereotypes and masculinity, she added.  She also said that invoking Article 51 of the Charter in the context of combatting terrorism goes beyond the confines of this provision and “sets a dangerous precedent”.

Mr. BOAROMAN (United Kingdom) said that his country’s focus remains on degrading and defeating Da’esh and its affiliates as well as Al-Qaida senior leadership and their affiliates, as well as also tackling the threats of extreme right-wing terrorism.  Welcoming the adoption of the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he said this framework provides the structure and coordination needed.  The United Kingdom has recently refreshed its counter-terrorism strategy – CONTEST – to ensure that its response remains agile in the face of an evolving threat, integrated to reduce risk and aligned to ensure that States continue to deliver together against a common threat.  Pointing out that terrorist groups exploit weak States as sanctuaries, he also noted that some States seek to utilize these groups to advance their interests.  While terrorists also engage in organized crime for funding and networks, nations must unite to combat this threat.  Emphasizing that counter-terrorism efforts must be conducted with respect to human rights, he said in doing so States deny extremists a propaganda tool to recruit and radicalize.   

MARTÍN JUAN MAINERO (Argentina) said that terrorism could only be contained effectively through an integrated and cooperative multilateral approach, with the United Nations playing a central role.  As the world witnesses an alarming increase in xenophobia and other forms of intolerance, it is necessary to address the root causes, which, however, cannot be used to justify terrorist acts. Recalling that Argentina experienced two serious terrorist attacks in 1992 and 1994, he stressed that counter-terrorism measures need to be anchored in rule of law.  More so, the rights of victims must be protected and promoted.  Turning to terrorism and organized crime, he pointed out that while there is an interrelationship, they share no intrinsic links and are regulated by different legal frameworks.  He went on to highlight the negative impact – in particular on human rights and due process – of the lack of an international legal definition of terrorism.  “We can no longer postpone the process that would lead to a general convention on international terrorism,” he noted.

HAYLEY-ANN MARK (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), stressed the need to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including unresolved conflicts, discrimination, the dehumanization of victims, weakening of the rule of law and violations of human rights. Emphasizing the importance of promoting a culture of peace, she condemned all forms of discrimination and promoting respect for cultural, religious and political diversity as tools to prevent terrorism in the region.  Also expressing concern over the fact that terrorist groups have been attracting more recruits, she reiterated the importance of promoting inclusion; dispelling stereotypes that associate terrorism with specific cultures, religions or ethnic groups; and rejecting xenophobia and prejudice.  Further, the full inclusion of migrants and refugees in host communities often reduces the risks associated with violent extremism that leads to terrorism.

The right to privacy must be protected to safeguard individuals against the abuse of power, she continued, expressing concern over the negative impact that State surveillance – including surveillance conducted extraterritorially – may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights. A national criminal justice system, based on respect for human rights, the rule of law, due process and fair-trial guarantees, is one of the best means for effectively countering terrorism and ensuring accountability.  Among other points, she noted that, over past years, the words “terrorism”, “extremism”, “radicalization” and “foreign fighters” have been used.  Yet, their contours remain legally unclear, she said, expressing concern over the negative impact that the lack of a definition for terrorism may have on human rights and due process.  Achieving an international legal definition is a necessary precondition for strengthening the rule of law, she said, adding that “we can no longer afford to indefinitely postpone” the process leading to a comprehensive convention against international terrorism.

JOAQUÍN ALBERTO PEREZ AYESTARAN (Venezuela), speaking for the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, voiced his rejection of all acts, methods and practices of terrorism and condemned any type of support – active or passive – to organizations or individuals to participate in or commission terrorist acts. However, he stressed that terrorism must not be equated with the legitimate struggle of people under foreign occupation.  He further rejected political manipulation by publishing arbitrary lists that accuse States of allegedly supporting terrorism, emphasizing that the use of digital platforms to promote regime-change policies or demonstrate neo-colonial domination is not admissible.  Welcoming the recent adoption of the resolution to renew the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he reaffirmed the central role of States and national institutions to that end.

“We still have a long road to follow to have a terrorist-free world,” he noted, pointing out that there cannot be “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists”.  Since terrorism cannot be tackled militarily, he spotlighted the need for addressing its root causes, including poverty, social and economic inequality and foreign occupation.  Expressing the resolve of the Group to adopt quick and effective measures to eliminate international terrorism, he underscored the need for enhancing international cooperation and technical assistance conforming to the needs of States. Furthermore, he called for the elimination of unilateral coercive measures that prevent nations from achieving the world free from terrorism.  To this end, he underlined the importance of renewing negotiations on a convention on international terrorism and urged States to cast aside their differences and commit to working together to eliminate this scourge “once and for all”. 

AHMAD SAMIR FAHIM HABASHNEH (Jordan) emphasized the need to address the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by adopting a roadmap that focuses not only on military and financial aspects but also on education.  Stressing that terrorism is exacerbated by factors such as erroneous interpretation of religious texts and high unemployment, he called for joint international efforts to confront economic, political and social challenges by empowering youth.  It is also crucial to uphold international law and prevent the use of a State’s territory for planning, organizing or committing terrorist acts against other States. Nevertheless, terrorism must be distinguished from the legitimate right of people to self-determination living under occupation or colonial rule.  He went on to detail Jordan’s global and regional initiatives, announcing that it will host a symposium on addressing the challenge of returning foreign terrorist fighters and their family members.  More so, in November, his country and the United States will co-organize a regional meeting on weapons of mass destruction, he said.

ISABELLA REGINA RIVERA REYES (Honduras) recalled that peace was the reason the United Nations was founded in 1945 — “as necessary then as now” — and that States sought to build a new order, a free world without prejudice and discrimination.  However, she noted that “it seems we have forgotten the lessons of history”, as unilateralism seeks to impose itself on the world order.  There must be a renewed system to face global problems — including terrorism — in which the Organization must play a leading role.  Further, countries must commit to a change of paradigm and, rather than seeking to be protagonists, opt for solidarity, dialogue and consultation.  She also said that, to face international terrorism, women must play a leading role in establishing peace pursuant to Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).  She added that the international community “must not forget” the existing link between transnational organized crime and terrorism, urging that this link continue to be analysed holistically in line with the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

GUSTAVO ADOLFO RAMÍREZ BACA (Costa Rica), associating himself with CELAC, spotlighted the need for agreeing on a universal legal definition of terrorism.  He expressed regret that States were unable to integrate a human rights and gender perspective in the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  “We remain unable to include the lessons learned from the previous review, […] let alone agree on new and more ambitious goals in terms of transparency,” he said.  Welcoming the comprehensive approach to terrorism contained in the New Agenda for Peace, he also said it is imperative that States focus their efforts on human security approaches and the role of masculinity.  Noting that no State can insulate itself from the threat of terrorism, he called for a joint and coordinated response grounded in human rights. Further, he voiced concern over the use of emerging technologies for terrorist purposes, while pointing out that digital technologies, cyberspace and artificial intelligence can help development.  However, in the wrong hands that have malicious intent, their effects can be catastrophic, he said.

Mr. ALI EL-HOMOSANY (Egypt), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, African Union and the OIC, underscored his country’s continuous efforts to counter and eliminate terrorism, including its financing of an inter-agency law enforcement national strategy, in line with national law and international obligations, aimed at preventing the spread of the scrouge.  Pointing out that the primary responsibility to tackle this threat lies with national authorities, he underlined their key role in holding terrorists accountable. As several terrorist groups operate in the Middle East, it is also crucial to maintain State institutions to prevent a vacuum that terrorists could fill.  He called for holding those sponsoring terrorists and providing them with a safe haven accountable.  Egypt will continue its counter-terrorism efforts at the regional and international level — through the United Nations system as well as the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, which offers capacity-building assistance.  States should also settle their differences and agree on a convention on international terrorism, he stressed.

ARIEL RODELAS PEÑARANDA (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, underscored that the threat from international and local terrorist groups remains a significant challenge to global security.  Nevertheless, in his country, the situation has significantly improved as a result of measures to counter and prevent terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism as well as address their root causes and ensure justice for victims and their families.  To that end, the Government has strengthened its legal framework, tackled terrorism financing, enhanced law enforcement and border control and secured cyberspace. Recalling the terrorist siege of Marawi in 2017, he noted that it demonstrated the need to address the underlying conditions that drive people to join violent extremist groups.  He also detailed the post-siege compensation, rehabilitation and reintegration efforts, including addressing the victim’s welfare, bringing former rebels and violent extremists back into society and empowering communities.  The Philippines also continues to implement, with the Office of Counter-Terrorism, a programme to counter terrorist travel, he added.

VATHAYUDH VICHANKAIYAKIJ (Thailand), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that terrorism “knows no borders and respects no boundaries”.  Easier access to the Internet now facilitates propagating ideologies, exploiting grievances to gain followers and sympathy and sourcing funding. Therefore, a comprehensive approach to countering terrorism — including in the digital domain — while respecting human rights and the rule of law is needed.  On that point, he welcomed the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which serves as a testament that international cooperation is imperative for sustainable solutions to terrorism.  For its part, Thailand works closely with its partners to share intelligence and best practices, along with participating in relevant regional and international forums.  It also works to build capacity, organizing various counter-terrorism programmes in partnership with UN entities, and he spotlighted his country’s workshops on strategic communication to counter violent extremism with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and on commodity identification with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC, said that over the past two decades his country has played a key role in fighting against terrorism, pointing out that Al-Qaida was decimated largely due to Pakistan’s efforts.  However, he said that his country is also a principled victim of terrorism, recalling that over the last 20 years it has suffered over 80,000 civilian and military casualties in terrorist attacks, while its economy and development have been severely damaged.  Pakistan continues to suffer from State-sponsored terrorism, he noted, reporting that on 29 September – on Prophet Muhammad’s birthday – it had suffered two terrorist attacks, which killed 60 and injured over 100 civilians.  A new convention must clearly distinguish between acts of terrorism and a legitimate struggle of peoples under foreign and colonial occupation to the right to self-determination and national liberation.  It should also reflect the new and emerging threats, including violent acts by white supremacists and far right-wing and nationalists.  To this end, he suggested that the General Assembly should establish a commission to promote the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

AMMAR MOHAMMED MAHMOUD MOHAMMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, African Union and the OIC, underscored that his country attaches great importance to fight against terrorism and violent extremism. In that regard, he called for increased international cooperation and stressed the importance of inter-civilizational dialogue and co-existence of cultures and religions.  Sudan has created the National Authority for Counter-Terrorism and Financial Information Unit to deal with terrorism, he reported. Further, its national counter-terrorism strategy is underpinned by a smart partnership between the Government and various societal sectors.  This partnership, involving local communities and empowering women and youth, stretches across areas such as dialogue, conflict prevention, good governance, human rights and the rule of law.  More so, to address the root causes, Sudan has upheld the rule of law, strengthened State authority, fought organized crime, guaranteed social justice and security, sought to eradicate poverty, raised awareness on media coverage and attempted to guarantee harmony in society, he said. 

ALI AHMAD M. A. ALMANSOURI (Qatar) underlined the need to conclude a convention on international terrorism, along with the need to combat extremism and terrorism in a non-selective manner.  Terrorism and extremism cannot be aligned to any ideology, country or culture, nor does terrorism represent the legitimate struggle of oppressed peoples.  Spotlighting emerging forms of terrorism that utilize information and communications technologies, cyberattacks, bioterrorism and the dark web, he called for developing modernized international efforts to counter these threats.  He also urged focus on behavioural insights that allow for a better understanding of what leads to terrorism and extremism. Further, the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy must be applied in a well-balanced manner, taking into account challenges and emerging threats.  Welcoming efforts by the Office of Counter-Terrorism – in cooperation with Member States and other UN entities – to strengthen regional counter-terrorism presence, he detailed Qatar’s hosting of relevant forums to this end.

HONG NHAT NGUYEN (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that to eliminate terrorism, measures should address political, economic and social inequalities.  Enhancing community resilience is crucial and can be done through alleviating poverty, fostering economic development and promoting national unity.  Recognizing that combatting terrorism requires unified action at national, regional and global levels, she expressed gratitude to those who condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Dak Lak province.  Further, she expressed support for finalizing the draft convention on international terrorism, also reporting that Viet Nam has collaborated with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the Office of Counter-Terrorism and other stakeholders to build capacity and share experience on border management and prevention of the use of emerging technologies and digital space for terrorism-related activities.  More so, the country has prioritized capacity-building for law enforcement and has established the National Counter-Terrorism Training Center and the Air Security Department to ensure flight security and prevent terrorism, she said. 

OLEG O. MIKHAYLOV (Russian Federation) underscored that there are ample opportunities for the international community to enhance cooperation in countering terrorism.  To that end, States could harness the potential of the Office of Counter-Terrorism, he said, noting that the Russian Federation is a donor of its numerous projects for the benefit of developing countries.  Calling for strengthening the coordinating role of the United Nations, he emphasized that his country will continue to fight against the replacement of the Organization’s counter-terrorism mechanisms, including by delegating such functions to non-governmental organizations. The pivotal role in planning and implementing counter-terrorism measures must be done by States and their competent authorities, while the involvement of civil society, academia, religious actors and the media can be complementary.  He went on to note that accusations against his country regarding the situation in Ukraine politicize the work of the Sixth Committee.  Nevertheless, the Russian Federation will exercise its right to self-defence, he stated. 

ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL NYANID (Cameroon), aligning himself with the African Group, welcomed the proliferation of agreements on counter-terrorism cooperation, particularly those relating to judicial cooperation and the pooling of State efforts to prevent and combat the financing of terrorism and of weapons of mass destruction.  While welcoming the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, he called for the legitimate concerns of African delegations to be taken into consideration in the next review.  “Selective amnesia,” he warned, “could lead to disappointment”.  He also welcomed efforts by African States, the African Union and regional organizations to combat terrorism, noting that this demonstrates the principle of African solutions for African problems, even though terrorism is not just an African problem.  Urging the international community to express greater solidarity to African countries facing this scourge, he recalled the saying that one “cannot paint white over white, black over black — we need one another to rise up and make progress”.

KHALILAH HACKMAN (Ghana), associating herself with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that despite the global terrorism architecture, advancement in technology and access to financing continue to provide a lifeline for more complex, lethal and wide-region terrorist activities.  In this regard, she called for enhanced international cooperation and coordination involving regional actors, the private sector and civil society, adding that counter-terrorism measures must consider the changing dynamic of the threat.  While the elimination of terrorism remains a priority for Ghana, national efforts have been backed by the strong political will of the succeeding Government.  Given the fluid nature of terrorist activities, the country continues to work in close cooperation with neighbouring States to combat terrorist groups operating in the region.  To this end, prevention must remain an important component of present and future anti-terrorism measures, she stressed, also underlining the importance of creating conditions for stability and building resilient societies. Creating jobs and enhancing opportunities for youth across the African continent is important to reduce vulnerability to radical ideologies and terrorism, she asserted.

GERARDO PEÑALVER PORTAL (Cuba), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and CELAC, said that his country has suffered from the consequences of terrorist acts for decades.  Most of those actions have been organized, financed or committed from the territory of the United States.  More than 45 years after the explosion of a Cuban flight at the coast of Barbados, victims are still awaiting justice.  Also condemning two attacks on the Cuban Embassy to the United States in 2023 and 2020, he pointed out that the perpetrator of the latter has yet to be put on trial.  Further, the United States Government has refused to qualify it as a terrorist act. In this regard, he spotlighted the obligations of States under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and voiced his rejection of unilateral measures and the manipulation of international terrorism as a political instrument against any country.

EGRISELDA ARACELY GONZÁLEZ LÓPEZ (El Salvador) recalled that the Sixth Committee has debated — for many years — the possibility of convening a high-level conference to prepare a general convention to combat terrorism.  Noting that there has yet to be universal agreement on “what an act of terrorism is”, she expressed concern over the rapid evolution of the scourge, including the use of new technologies for terrorist purposes.  This creates “a situation of serious asymmetry” — especially for developing countries — in countering these tendencies effectively.  She therefore underlined the importance of joint efforts to build Member States’ capacities, particularly in developing countries, to identify, prevent and counter terrorism.  She also reported that in El Salvador, acts of terrorism are closely related to some forms of transnational organized crime.  As a result, the Government has strengthened legal frameworks and public policies to address this, including a Territorial Control Plan and measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

HARI PRABOWO (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC, said that a multilateral approach and national policies must go hand in hand to counter terrorism.  This is reflected in Indonesia’s national action plan to prevent and counter violent extremism, which aligns with the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the ASEAN Plan of Action to Prevent and Counter the Rise of Radicalization and Violent Extremism (2018-2025).  His country has implemented a whole-of-Government and a whole-of-society approach that underscores the importance of synergies and support between the Government and society, while also combining hard and soft approaches for multistakeholder engagement.  More so, in 2023, Indonesia — along with the Office of Counter-Terrorism and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate — devised a road map against terrorist threats to strengthen its national action plan.  Underscoring the need for an updated Strategy that promotes tolerance, peace and respect for diverse religions and beliefs, he said that States should continue the discussion on drafting a convention on international terrorism that will provide legitimacy for global counter-terrorism efforts and will provide a standardized set of guidelines and measures, including gender-specific measures.

Ms. MOTSEPE (South Africa), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and African Union, expressed condolences to the Governments and people of Pakistan and Türkiye regarding their recent terrorist attacks.  Strengthened cooperation among countries, regions and international organizations remains crucial in tackling this scourge and the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy remains the most credible and relevant international counter-terrorism mechanism.  She also urged Member States to finalize the comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  At the national level, following a compliance visit by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, South Africa has updated relevant legislation in light of the body’s recommendations on the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.  In addition, the Financial Action Task Force also made recommendations on strengthening legal measures to combat the financing of terrorism.  South Africa is working on incorporating them and will report on developments in this regard, she said. 

GLORIA L. DAKWAK (Nigeria), associating herself with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, pointed out that “Nigeria is no stranger to the activities of terrorists”.  Boko Haram – operating in Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad – has become the deadliest group in the region.  In addition, terrorist access to funding, recruits and weapons remains a major obstacle to progress in the fight against terrorism there.  Increasing mass kidnappings pose a significant threat to the security of lives and properties and requires collective, decisive measures as the flow of funds from such activities enhances terrorists’ capability to carry out attacks.  She also stressed the need to collectively confront the emerging alliance between bandits and terrorists.  Detailing regional and national efforts to combat this scourge, she spotlighted measures, including a national legal framework that criminalizes acts of terrorism, the establishment of a trust fund for victims of terrorist attacks and efforts by the Nigerian Armed Forces to secure national waters in the face of multi-dimensional maritime threats.

LOK BAHADUR THAPA (Nepal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the importance of addressing underlying causes of terrorism, such as poverty, inequalities and discrimination.  Calling for mutual respect and peaceful coexistence among all civilizations and cultures, he stressed the need for a universal definition of terrorism and an early conclusion of a convention.  Peace, compassion, non-violence and peaceful coexistence are not only integrated in his country’s culture but are enshrined in its Constitution, he noted, adding that although Nepal, as such, does not have any identified terrorist group in its territory, it is a State party to seven international counter-terrorism instruments and has strong domestic legal instruments.  Working in close coordination with INTERPOL, it also collaborates with the Financial Action Task Force to prevent terrorism financing.  In this regard, he stressed the importance of continued financial and technological assistance to developing countries to bolster their capacities and institutional resilience in the fight against terrorism.  The contributions of academia, civil society, and the private sector should not be underestimated, he added.

AMINATA OUATTARA CISSE (Burkina Faso), associating herself with the African Group, the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC, underscored that, for a decade, her country and other States in the Sahel have been hit by recurrent terrorist attacks.  The armed groups perpetrating those attacks imitate the uniforms of the National Armed Forces, sowing confusion and eroding trust between citizens and the Armed Forces.  Terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso led to approximately 2 million internally displaced persons and the closure of 6,000 schools and 300 health facilities.  Nevertheless, the defence and security forces, with the support of volunteers, have managed to return 192,000 of those displaced.  The liberated areas are seeing a progressive resumption of social services and the Government is bolstering efforts to claim back territories. More so, institutional and judicial reforms to enhance capacities to prevent and combat terrorism were undertaken and a plan of action for stabilization and development for 2023-2025 has been adopted in line with the country’s national counter-terrorism strategy, she reported. 

AMINATH GURAISHA (Maldives) pointed out that extremist violence poses a significant threat to countries like the Maldives, with a vulnerable economy predominantly sustained by international tourism.  Globally, there exists a distressing reality of young people falling prey to individuals who exploit their vulnerability by distorting religious tenets and manipulating impressionable minds.  The rapid advancement of digital technologies and the widespread reach of social media have exacerbated this exploitation and collective efforts are needed to protect young people from such harmful influences. Her country continues to build a resilient, peaceful society by empowering community leaders, nurturing youth potential, recognizing women’s pivotal role in the preventative process, adopting inclusivity and ensuring that no one is left behind.  Condemning terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam – a religion of peace that promotes love, kindness and peaceful co-existence – she stressed that concerted global action is needed to address escalating Islamophobia and hate speech.

Mr. HITTI (Lebanon), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC and expressing solidarity with Türkiye and Pakistan following recent attacks, said that his country has faced first-hand the devastating impact of terrorism.  Nevertheless, he pointed out that the fight against the scourge is sometimes abused to shut down civil society organizations or supress the legitimate right of people to resist foreign occupation.  This is a reminder that a clear legal definition of terrorism is required.  He also reported that a Da’esh terrorist was recently sentenced for plotting terrorist attacks against civilian infrastructure and power stations in his country.  The Lebanese Government has also developed — often in partnership with the civil society and the United Nations — national counter-terrorism strategies and actions plans. Recalling the Special Tribunal for Lebanon established to try the perpetrators of the 2005 Beirut bombing, he underscored that accountability is a crucial component in preventing terrorism.

MOHAMMED ALI AHMED AL SHEHHI (Oman), associating himself with the OIC and the Non-Aligned Movement, reported that his country has implemented a national counter-terrorism strategy, established legal frameworks and has laid the methodological foundation for combatting terrorism and its financing.  It has also adopted a preventative approach to immunize society against the radicalization that leads to terrorism and violence.  To this end, the Government works to promote tolerance, harmony and greater rapprochement between members of society, he said, also spotlighting Oman’s policy of “positive neutrality” regarding sectarian and civilian conflicts underway in some countries in the region.  Stating that the fight against terrorism starts with addressing feelings of injustice, he urged the international community to end wars and political conflicts that only “fuel the fires of extremist ideology”.  The best way to address this scourge, he added, is to resolve crises and disputes “without selectivity” and to uphold the values of tolerance and co-existence.

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea), associating himself with the African Group, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, expressed concern that almost 70 per cent of deaths from terrorism in 2022 took place in sub-Saharan Africa.  To address such complex threats, concrete measures and actions must be taken to punish perpetrators and to weaken, prevent and eliminate financing mechanisms. In this manner, Equatorial Guinea approved a new criminal code that prevents and punishes terrorism and related acts.  It also established a national agency for financial investigations and a court of auditors to prevent financing of illegal activities through a better control of capital flows.  Turning to the role of the United Nations, he welcomed the capacity-building programmes of the Office of Counter-Terrorism implemented in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, and expressed support for a high-level United Nations conference to promote negotiations on the comprehensive convention on international terrorism.

ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia) observed that, while the international community has made significant strides in dismantling terrorist networks, disrupting terrorist attacks and combating terrorist financing, the threat of terrorism has become more ideologically diffuse and geographically widespread.  As the nexus between new technologies and serious criminal activity has rapidly grown, the Government has focused on enhancing capacity to increase the resilience of critical national infrastructure against terrorist or other cyberattacks.  It has also worked to enhance capacity to detect and interdict the travel of terrorists and other criminals.  Further, the Government is committed to strengthening cooperation with the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations.  As well, the international community must work together to collectively overcome the negative impacts of COVID-19.  He added that, in an era of “deep dependency on digital technology”, the international community must build resilience against the misuse of emerging technology by terrorists and transnational criminals.

Right of Reply

The representative of India, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, emphasized that her country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are non-negotiable.  The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of India, she underscored, adding that the world has not forgotten that Osama bin Laden was found in the country whose statement of which she was responding. 

For information media. Not an official record.