Special Meeting of Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee Hears Call for Systematic International, Regional Cooperation
NEW YORK, 6 March (UN Headquarters) -- For the fight against terrorism to be effective, it was essential that everyone worked together to ensure that universal principles prevailed over lawlessness, the Secretary-General told a special meeting of the Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee with over 50 international, regional and subregional organizations.
Today's meeting was so important, he continued, because cooperation among international, regional and subregional organizations was essential in that regard. For international efforts to be effective, cooperation must be made systematic, ensuring a proper division of labour based on comparative advantages.
In addition, he said, it was necessary to develop an international programme of action, founded on an unshakeable commitment to upholding the rule of law. As terrorism involved the calculated use of violence in violation of law, responses to terrorism should aim to ensure the rule of law.
The Committee's Chairman, Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom), said today would be a historic day in the fight against terrorism, as it was the first time such a huge range of experts, professionals and representatives of States had been brought together to establish a more structured framework.
The meeting with international and regional organizations had been organized, he said, to create a common structure and to help Member States to raise their capacity to deal with the scourge, as there would be a need for widespread assistance. Every State must produce the maximum. Regional and subregional organizations could construct that help to help raise States' capacities. He hoped a number of specific actions could be agreed on today in that regard.
Two weeks after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the Council adopted resolution 1373, which called on Member States to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, refrain from providing any support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support and commit such acts. The Council also established the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor the resolution's implementation through, among other things, reports from States on actions they had taken to that end.
Today's meeting seeks to encourage the development of a coordinated approach within the international community on counter-terrorism issues. The programme is divided into three sessions: global standards on counter-terrorism; the role of regional and subregional organizations in strengthening global counter-terrorism capacity; and the role of international and regional organizations on assistance.
It is hoped that the discussion will enable the Committee to examine achievements and best practices, explore obstacles to coordination, discuss the development of codes and standards, and agree on mechanisms to coordinate action.
The meeting was being held pursuant to resolution 1456 (2003), adopted during the ministerial-level meeting of the Council on 20 January on combating terrorism, and followed an open debate held on 20 February. To encourage an interactive and candid dialogue, the meeting itself, following opening remarks, is closed.
Opening Statement by Chairman of Counter-Terrorism Committee
JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom), Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, welcomed all participants and thanked the Secretary-General for his continued support for the Committee. He said today would be a historic day in the fight against terrorism, as it was the first time such a huge range of experts, professionals and representatives of States had been brought together to establish a more structured framework. The Security Council had been working for 18 months since 11 September to establish a second channel in the fight. The first channel was to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism and those who assisted them. The second was to deal with the potential of terrorism "to rule our life" by people whose purposes threatened States and the activities of citizens. That second channel should be at the centre of organizing efforts.
The actions of Member States were at the heart of the fight, he said. Unilateral protection against terrorism, however, was not possible. No region of the world would be safe from terrorism. The direct impact of terrorist acts was horrendous, but the indirect impact was far-reaching and equally negative, as it affected societies, economies, investments, and activities such as tourism. States had to work together towards the goal of dealing with the threat. Resolution 1373 was at the heart of that effort. It was legally binding on all States. Adding on to that foundation would enable the international community to prevent active or passive support for that scourge. He emphasized that obligations could not be met effectively if they were not being met willingly and collectively.
He said the Counter-Terrorism Committee had met weekly and worked through consensus. It was now concentrating on the interactive process. The meeting with international and regional organizations had been organized to create a common structure and to help Member States to raise their capacity to deal with the scourge, as there would be a need for widespread assistance. Every State must produce the maximum. Regional and subregional organizations could construct that help to help raise States' capacities, and he hoped that today there would be agreement on a number of specific actions in that regard.
Statement by Secretary-General
Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said that the Counter-Terrorism Committee was now playing a vital role in the global effort to fight terrorism. By seeking to ensure compliance with resolution 1373, enhancing States' counter-terrorism capacity, and promoting universal adherence to the anti-terrorism Conventions, the Committee had demonstrated the universal nature of that challenge, and the need for a universal response.
The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and those conducted in Bali, Mombassa, and Moscow more recently had shown that that scourge knew no boundaries, he said. Terrorism was clearly a threat to international peace and security, and the Security Council had made a firm commitment to fight it in every instance. The ministerial meeting that took place in the Council on 20 January offered a fine demonstration of international commitment to that effort at the highest levels.
Everyone was aware, however, of how much more damage terrorists could do if they were to acquire weapons of mass destruction, he stated. Although recent terrorist acts had been massive in their scale, future attacks could make them pale in comparison, particularly if terrorists were to acquire lethal chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Never had it been more important to strengthen the multilateral regimes that had been developed to prevent the proliferation of such weapons.
For the fight against terrorism to be effective, he said, it was essential that everyone worked together to ensure that universal principles prevailed over lawlessness. Cooperation among international, regional and subregional organizations was, thus, essential. That was why today's meeting was so important. For international efforts to be effective in countering terrorism, cooperation must be made systematic, ensuring a proper division of labour based on comparative advantages.
In addition, he continued, it was necessary to develop an international programme of action, founded on an unshakeable commitment to upholding the rule of law. As terrorism involved the calculated use of violence in violation of law, responses to terrorism should aim to ensure the rule of law.
Terrorist acts, particularly those involving the loss of life, constituted a grave violation of human rights, he said. Responses to terrorism, as well as efforts to thwart it and prevent it, should uphold the human rights that terrorists aim to destroy. Respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law was an essential tool in the effort to combat terrorism -- those were not privileges to be sacrificed at a time of tension. Finally, everyone must strive to bridge the cultural and religious divides which led to polarization, suspicion and mistrust. "We all have a stake in this struggle, and we must all feel that we are part of it."
In its efforts to address the problem of terrorism, he said, the United Nations and its Members must not lose sight of the broader international agenda. While there was a clear and urgent need to prevent despicable acts of terror, there was also a compelling need to continue striving towards the fulfilment of the goals enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the Millennium Development Goals. To the extent that the Organization succeeded in fighting poverty and injustice, suffering and war, it was also likely to help counter the conditions that served as justification to those who would commit acts of terror.
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