UN Security Council: Brief: Briefings by Chairs of subsidiary bodies of the Security Council
Statement delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 16 June 2015.
At our joint Council briefing in May 2014 (see S/PV.7184), Ambassador Gary Quinlan — the then Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities — raised the issue of the evolving nature of the threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates, including the group’s localization and globalization and its new generation of leadership. Since then we have seen that threat develop dramatically through the rapid territorial gains and brutal tactics of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Daesh, as well as, to a lesser extent, of the Al-Nusra Front. That has been further intensified by the presence of foreign terrorist fighters and the growing influence of Al-Qaida associates in Libya. In today’s briefing I will outline how the threat from Al-Qaida and its affiliates has evolved over the past year, as well as describing the Committee’s response, the ways in which Member States can engage with it, and its upcoming work.
Over the past year we have witnessed a marked increase in ISIL’s use of digital media to promote its messages, in order both to shock and intimidate and to recruit others to its cause. Despite the role that digital media has played, direct social contact has also remained a key factor in recruitment. The human cost 15-18020 5/23 16/06/2015 Briefings by Chairs of subsidiary bodies of the Security Council S/PV.7463 of Al-Qaida and ISIL-related attacks is immense and tragic, not only in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, but also in parts of Nigeria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia and further afield. Many attacks are on innocent civilians and even on places of religious worship, such as those that resulted recently in the deaths of 25 people at Friday prayers in a mosque in Saudi Arabia. While the peoples of Syria and Iraq are most at risk, no State is immune to the threat of terrorism.
In response to the evolving threat from Al-Qaida and its affiliates, the Council has adopted various resolutions expanding the work of the Committee and its Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, for example, in relation to oil and financing. In addition to its regular reporting, the Monitoring Team has submitted reports to the Committee on ISIL and the Al-Nusra Front (S/2014/815) and on foreign terrorist fighters (S/2015/358). It is also due to submit a report to the Committee by 12 July on the implementation of resolution 2199 (2015), regarding ISIL and oil interdictions, and to report on the threat in Libya by 27 September. The Monitoring Team’s workload continues to increase, presenting challenges for its resources, and we want to commend it for its dedication and the quality of its work.
The growing terror threat has led to an increase in designations of individuals and entities associated with Al-Qaida. Between June 2013 and May 2014, six individuals and entities were designated, while between June 2014 and May 2015, that number rose to 41. More than half of the listings were related to the issue of foreign terrorist fighters. There has also been an increase in Member States’ use of the assets freeze exemptions, with five granted between June 2014 and May 2015, as opposed to one in the previous period. We welcome further designations by Member States. I would like to emphasize that listings should be strategic, targeted and implementable. We want the sanctions to have a practical effect, and to focus on targeting individuals and entities that can be disrupted. The Monitoring Team can assist Member States in preparing listing and exemption requests.
The sanctions list is a living document that must be kept up-to-date, relevant, fair and transparent. There are three ways the Committee does that. The first is through its triennial review, which considers whether listings, especially those that have not been reviewed for three years, are still relevant and implementable. The Committee is in the process of finalizing the 2014 triennial review, and I would like to thank the Member States that have provided information for the review, since obtaining responses from all the Member States that have designated individuals and entities has been a challenge. We urge all Member States to engage with the Committee on the 2015 triennial review, which we will be undertaking shortly.
The second way is through the delisting requests submitted to the independent Office of the Ombudsperson by designated individuals and entities. The Ombudsperson plays an integral role in ensuring that the Committee’s procedures are fair and transparent and that the list dynamically reflects the threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates. The Ombudsperson continues to have a significant caseload and role. Since the Committee’s last briefing to the Council, six individuals and entities have been delisted and three retained, following the Committee’s consideration of reports submitted by the Ombudsperson. There are currently 10 petitions received through the Ombudsperson that are under various stages of consideration. Thirdly, the Monitoring Team regularly updates the list based on information provided by Member States, and we encourage them to keep the Monitoring Team informed.
For sanctions to be effective they must be clear, targeted and implementable. Several initiatives have been taken in that regard. Earlier this year, the Chair produced a procedural note clarifying the reporting requirements of resolution 2199 (2015), adopted in February with the aim of stemming the financing of terrorists through the illicit oil trade. While the resolution has made a major contribution to consolidating international efforts to counter the threat posed by ISIL and the Al-Nusra Front, the level of reporting has so far been insufficient. The Committee therefore urges Member States to submit their reports required under paragraph 29 of the resolution as soon as possible, and to continuously submit those reports required under paragraph 12. We also look forward to the Monitoring Team’s assessment, in cooperation with other United Nations counter-terrorism bodies, of the impact of the measures, and to proposals for improving their implementation. In February, the Monitoring Team also produced three explanation-of-terms papers on the sanctions measures, which are available on the Committee’s website.
Work is also being done to standardize the format of all United Nations sanctions lists and to update the Committee’s website to make it more user-friendly. The Committee is mandated, with the Monitoring Team’s assistance, to consider issues of possible non-compliance with sanctions measures, and has received complaints from Member States. On 24 April, the Chair held an open briefing for interested Member States that included discussion of the implementation issues. I encourage Member States to share any queries and concerns with the Committee and the Monitoring Team. We stand ready to assist.
As for the Committee’s future activities, the Monitoring Team will be presenting reports on Libya and the impact of resolution 2199 (2015). The Committee is currently discussing the recommendations of the Monitoring Team’s seventeenth report, and we hope to have those agreed on shortly. I also plan to continue to hold regular open briefings on the work of the Committee for all interested Member States.
I would like to take this opportunity today to note there will be a changing of the guard in the roles of the Ombudsperson and Monitoring Team, and especially the Coordinator. Both are crucial to the Committee’s work and the ability of the regime to respond effectively, fairly and transparently to the evolving threat posed by Al-Qaida and its affiliates. I would like to thank the Ombudsperson, Kimberly Prost, and the Monitoring Team, including its Coordinator, Alexander Evans, for their tireless efforts, and to wish them the very best in their future endeavours.
To conclude, I want to re-emphasize that the 1267 Sanctions Committee relies on cooperation from Member States so that Al-Qaida and its affiliates are designated, sanctions are implemented and the tragic toll of terrorism is prevented.