12 June 2014

Africa: General Assembly Urged to 'Make UN More Relevant' in Global Combat Against Terrorism

As the United Nations General Assembly today began its review of its overall counter-terrorism strategy, a senior official urged Member States to take advantage of the opportunity "to make the UN more relevant" in the international effort to fight what he called "a destructive and deplorable malady."

"This review ... provides an opportunity to take stock of emerging issues and challenges that have grown in relevance over the recent years and to identify the areas where we need to do things differently, or adopt different lines of action," said Acting Assembly President Michel Tommo Monthe, of Cameroon, opening the Fourth Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The Strategy, adopted by consensus in 2006, is a comprehensive policy framework to combat terrorism, signifying, said Mr. Monthe, universal condemnation of terrorist violence and providing guidance to Member States.

The strategy consists of four pillars: measures to address conditions conducive to terrorism's spread; measures to prevent and combat terrorism; measures to build States' capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the UN system; measures to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.

He said delegations had before them Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's latest report on the Organization's activities to implement the Strategy, which documents "worrying trends" in how terrorists operate and how terrorism can spread including through the exploitation of political turbulence and weak governance; the abuse of the Internet; and the evolution of terrorist groups from centrally controlled outfits to a diverse set of loose networks.

"It further observes that longer-term success in the global counter-terrorism strategy will depend on fuller implementation of Pillars 1 and 4," said Mr. Monthe, referring to measures to address conditions conducive to terrorism and measures to ensure respect for human rights as a basis for the fights against the scourge.

To that end, he recalled that Assembly President John Ashe had convened yesterday an interactive dialogue on "addressing conditions conducive to terrorism including through countering the appeal of terrorism."

During the dialogue, participants exchanged information on counter-radicalization, de-radicalization and rehabilitation initiatives, many of which draw on partnerships comprised of multiple actors including civil society.

"Support for victims of terrorism must also be a key aspect of our collective efforts. Victims continue to re-live the horrors of terrorism every day, long after the media attention has dissipated and the attack itself has become a mere memory," said Mr. Monthe, urging the international community must come together to delegitimize terrorism by providing necessary support to its victims.

He went on to highlight in this regard the launch yesterday of the UN Victims of Terrorism Support Portal as "an excellent example of concrete and meaningful assistance to victims of terrorism," and applauding the efforts of the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) in bringing the Portal to fruition.

Along with the CTITF, which he deemed vital to coordinating the Organization's counter-terrorism efforts, Mr. Monthe also highlighted the work of the UN Counter-terrorism Centre (UNCCT), which "offers unique opportunities to seek synergies and leverage resources for the UN's counter-terrorism work around the world and make a significant contribution to national and regional efforts."

Stressing that the Fourth Review is given new impetus and urgency by the recent growth of terrorism in several parts of the world, "the evidence of which is fresh in all of our minds," he said, he expressed the hope that the exercise would lead to comprehensive and balanced implementation on the ground, which remains the primary responsibility of Member States, with assistance and support from the United Nations.

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