Threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts- Security Council, 8839th Meeting

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19-Aug-2021 02:24:42
India calls for adoption of convention on terrorism, as Security Council considers fears that fighters will return to Afghanistan, surge in Africa.

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Amid growing fears that terrorists will again nest in Afghanistan and increase attacks in Africa, India’s foreign minister called today for the adoption of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.

“Let us always remember that what is true of COVID is even more true of terrorism — none of us are safe until all of us are safe”, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs and Security Council President for August, told members.

He spoke in his national capacity, outlining an eight-point action plan that he proposed to the Council in January. It calls for measures to discourage exclusivist thinking and guard against new terminologies and false priorities, he said, also emphasizing the need to list and delist terrorists objectively rather than on the basis of political or religious considerations.

Noting the need to recognize the links between terrorism and organized crime, he called for strengthening the Financial Action Task Force and for greater funding for the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT). He also urged the adoption of a treaty on international terrorism, which “India has championed for so long”.

Today’s meeting — one of the highlights under India’s presidency — featured three briefers.

Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism, said the evolving situation in Afghanistan has far-reaching implications for peace and security. Echoing the Secretary-General’s appeal earlier this week to prevent that country from becoming a haven for terrorists, he noted that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) extended its presence there, emphasizing that Afghanistan must never again be used as a launching pad for global terrorism.

Citing the Secretary-General’s latest report on ISIL (document S/2021/682), he described that group’s spread in Africa as the most alarming development over the past six months,  pointing out the spill-over from Mali into Burkina Faso and Niger, incursions from Nigeria into Niger, Chad and Cameroon, and from Mozambique into the United Republic of Tanzania. A global response is urgently needed to support the efforts of African countries and regional organizations to address the interplay of terrorism with conflict, organized crime, governance and development gaps, he stressed.

Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, said terrorist groups around the globe are currently exploring new and alternative methods to move and raise funds amid the pandemic, including by use of social media campaigns. Against that backdrop, the Directorate, alongside the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, has provided strong support to the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group, including on enhanced intelligence collection, she said.

“Da’esh and its affiliates remain a significant concern and a threat to international peace and security,” especially on the African continent, she stressed, reiterating calls for the strengthening of multilateral counter-terrorism efforts grounded, as always, in a foundation of “do no harm”.

Davood Moradian, Director General of the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, said the world has witnessed a collective failure in dealing with terrorism, 20 years after the 11 September terrorist attacks. The Islamic world also failed to own its share of responsibility, remaining a passive observer although the bulk of terrorist perpetrators and victims have been Muslims.

The intellectual and political stagnation of religious, culture, and educational institutions have also contributed immensely to the rise of extremism and the failure of efforts to combat the threat, he said, pointing out the inability of the United Nations to confront Members States that engage in proxy wars and apply terrorism as State policy.

Recalling his own experience at the Kabul airport some 48 hours ago, he told of witnessing the desperation, helplessness and fear of the passengers, and emphasized that the United Nations must initiate urgent deliberations with a view to declaring Kabul a safe zone.

In the ensuing debate, several Council members emphasized the need to cut funding to terrorist groups, with the representative of the United States pointing out that undercutting ISIL’s financing is one of the most effective ways to defeat the group.

Sounding the alarm over ISIL’s expansion in Africa, Kenya’s representative emphasized that the threat posed by that group and its affiliates remains real and potent. Urging the Council to revitalize the global counter-terrorism architecture, he asked that groups like Al-Shabaab be placed under the 1267 sanctions regime. Expressing concern over that group’s financing activities, he said the need to criminalize the funding of terrorism cannot be overemphasized.

Also voicing concern about the spread of Da’esh to Central and Southern Africa, France’s delegate stressed that cutting off the flow of resources to terrorist groups — including by ensuring that measures to combat money laundering apply to virtual as well as non-virtual financial institutions — must be the first pillar of collective action, he said.

Mexico’s representative drew attention to the expanding use of crypto-currencies and other new funding tools by terrorist groups, as well as their growing ties to illicit weapons trafficking networks. He called upon States that have not yet done so to adopt the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Several delegates echoed calls to ensure Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for terrorists, stressing the need to address the root causes of terrorism. The Russian Federation’s representative underlined that Moscow will deal only with Afghan political forces that have no ties to terrorism.

Viet Nam’s delegate said the recent developments in Afghanistan necessitate enhanced vigilance and cooperation in the region, underscoring the need to address its underlying causes, build cohesive, resilient societies, and promote sustainable socioeconomic development, culture of peace and tolerance, national reconciliation and harmony.

Also speaking were representatives of Tunisia, Norway, United Kingdom, China, Ireland, Niger, Estonia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 12:15 p.m.
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