UN Security Council: Open Debate: Threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 12 December 2016.

I thank the Spanish presidency for convening this briefing. I also wish to thank our briefers today.

Promoting cooperation has long been an objective of the Security Council’s counter-terrorism efforts. Today’s resolution 2322 (2016), on international judicial cooperation on counter-terrorism, advances those efforts, and we commend Spain for its leadership.

I, too, wish to place on record my delegation’s condolences to Egypt and Turkey for yesterday’s terrorist attacks.

While terrorism is not a new phenomenon, the rise of extensive global networks and their sophisticated use of modern communications technologies have considerably extended its reach. No country can consider itself safe from the threat. Groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)/Da’esh and Al-Qaida propagate and carry out indiscriminate attacks across borders and use the Internet to recruit for, finance and incite acts of terror. They find refuge in fragile States and vulnerable communities and among the disenfranchised.

As the Council has recognized, the emergence of foreign terrorist fighters and the susceptibility to recruitment of young people from all parts of the world are particularly concerning developments. Foreign terrorist fighters prolong the conflicts in which they participate and carry extremism from one conflict zone to another. Without effective strategies for deradicalization and reintegration, the knowledge and skills they have gained also have the potential to pose a threat to their countries of origin, should they return.

We all know there are no quick or simple solutions Effective solutions will require time, resources and commitment across a broad spectrum of activities to combat terrorism, prevent and limit its spread, bring terrorists to justice and rebuild the communities that have suffered the effects of terrorist violence and oppression. Effective prosecution and enforcement are key parts of that effort. International cooperation is also essential to make those parts work, just as it is to all of our efforts to keep our communities as safe as they can be.

The transnational nature of many terrorist operations makes it much harder both to prevent terrorist attacks and apprehend terrorists. As our briefers have emphasized today, the transnational dimension also poses major challenges to the successful prosecution of terrorists, once apprehended. In many cases, the information, evidence and witnesses necessary to conduct a prosecution successfully are located in a number of different countries, which raises both practical and legal challenges.

As today’s resolution stresses, international cooperation among law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities is essential. Mechanisms such as mutual legal assistance and extradition have long existed, but their role in responding to terrorism remains underutilized. Given the extensive use of the Internet by terrorist groups, mutual legal assistance in relation to digital data will become increasingly significant. Just as our approaches to counter-terrorism must respond and evolve to meet the threat, so must the ways in which States cooperate on prosecution and enforcement issues. We must be as efficient and effective as possible to combat impunity, while ensuring respect for human rights, and in particular ensuring respect for due process in criminal and associated proceedings.

In that regard, we must recognize and deal with the fact that many States do not have the systems or the resources to make or respond adequately to requests for evidence or extradition in a terrorism case. We are therefore going to have to do more to strengthen their capacities in those areas. Otherwise, some States may become unwitting havens for terrorists seeing to evade justice or hide assets. To that end, New Zealand recently hosted a joint United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Pacific Islands Forum workshop in Auckland, focused on ensuring legislative compliance with international counter-terrorism instruments.

New Zealand strongly supports the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. We will never achieve our common goal of dealing effectively with terrorism if we do not put a sharp focus on addressing the conditions that drive individuals to commit acts of terrorism in the first place. While security responses are essential, they will only ever be a partial fix to the much broader problem. New Zealand also values the work of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum in developing guidelines of best practices, including on judicial cooperation in counter-terrorism.

The special meeting on terrorist financing to be convened by the Chairs of ISIL/Al-Qaida and Counter-Terrorism Committees today and tomorrow will provide a useful opportunity to discuss one of the key challenges that we face, that is, how to deprive terrorist groups from accessing, raising and moving the funds they need to finance their activities. I encourage my successor as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) to continue that useful practice of joint meetings between that Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee on the many issues of common interest.

In conclusion, I must stress the key role that the Council plays in encouraging States to work together at the bilateral, regional and international levels to identify and address the drivers of violent extremism.

Today’s meeting helpfully builds on high-level Council meetings on counter-terrorism involving Ministers of the Interior and Finance last year, and reinforces the message that all the relevant agencies within Governments need to be involved in implementing Council counter-terrorism resolutions.


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