Ministry Statements & Speeches:
I have the honour of speaking today on behalf of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in this general debate on the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
Terrorism remains an urgent threat that can best be addressed through collective action. However, the nature of that threat is changing and it is incumbent on us to adapt. New technologies and our growing online social networks can be exploited for terrorist purposes. Grievances and intolerance continue to drive terrorist threats, motivated by a range of hateful ideologies, including racism, xenophobia, misogyny and religious intolerance.
The COVID-19 pandemic also has further deepened inequalities and isolation, opening new avenues for terrorists to radicalize to violence.
For CANZ we believe that this moment demands a collective response.
However our response to terrorism cannot be isolated from our other priorities, driven only by hard security measures. We believe that the best defence against terrorism is a resilient, inclusive society where individuals feel safe and violent extremist ideologies of any sort cannot take hold. Counter-terrorism measures that fail to protect the fabric of society can also inflict significant damage: in narrowing the scope of human rights protections, in minimizing diversity in our communities, and in failing to balance security with our fundamental freedoms.
All delegations have spent months negotiating the 7th review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy. On behalf of CANZ I would like to express our deepest thanks to the co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Oman and Spain. We would like to particularly thank you for creating space for dialogue with civil society and other UN entities throughout the process. The commitment of the Ambassadors and of their experts to a productive negotiating process was much appreciated by our missions.
Overall CANZ believes that there have been some important updates to the GCTS. These include more nuanced language on the importance of protecting human rights in all counter-terrorism measures while also acknowledging that counter-terrorism measures can also inflict harm.
We are pleased to see the Strategy better reflect the reality that gender-based analysis is an important element of effective counter-terrorism responses. With the multifaceted threats from terrorists today, engagement with all stakeholders as real partners in this effort, including civil society, the private sector and religious groups, remains essential and we believe this is better reflected in the Strategy.
While we have made some good progress, we have some real work ahead of us. What began in 2006 with three operative paragraphs, the strategy has now ballooned to well over 100 operative paragraphs. We are in great danger of losing the coherence of the strategy. The difficulties of the negotiations also reflect the divergent approaches to counter-terrorism efforts. Unfortunately this risks undermining the work of the United Nations to respond to Counter-Terrorism.
We note that some of the greatest debates in the negotiations were over the work of the United Nations on counter-terrorism. As donors to extra-budgetary requests we remain deeply concerned at the resistance to including language to enhance transparency and to improve monitoring and evaluation of the UN’s counter-terrorism efforts.
We strongly encourage all Global Compact entities to prioritize a results framework that integrates human rights and gender considerations into monitoring and evaluation. We also firmly believe that independent human rights oversight of counter-terrorism efforts is essential to ensure that the UN’s efforts are consistent with all UN values.
We encourage the Secretary-General to consider a full range of views and seek independent advice when assessing options for fully integrating cross-cutting elements and for the potential grant-making function of OCT.
Finally, CANZ considers that there is still much to learn to improve our counter-terrorism capacity building measures and will continue to advocate for an improved “one UN” approach to counter-terrorism following the adoption of this Strategy.