United Nations: India has demanded in the UN that perpetrators of terror attacks and the nations that sponsor and provide safe havens to terrorists must be made accountable and it called for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
"Of all the threats that are global in nature and should concern us all, terrorism is amongst the most serious. It is one that impacts lives of innocent people across the world," India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said at the fifth review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on Friday.
Akbaruddin voiced India's firm conviction that no belief, justification, political cause or argument can be used to justify the acts of terrorism. "The perpetrators of terrorist attacks as well as the States that support and sponsor or provide safe havens to terrorists or terrorist groups must be made accountable," he said, adding that no single country can address the challenge of terrorism alone.
"No country remains immune to this threat. Victims of such heinous attacks also do not belong only to a single country or ethnicity or faith," he said.
The 193-member General Assembly continued its 5th review of Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and adopted a resolution to redouble efforts to work swiftly, collectively and effectively in rooting out the scourge. Akbaruddin said while India is in broad agreement with most of the resolution adopted, he expressed disappointment over the "unfinished agenda" of the Comprehensive Convention of Terrorism.
"In our opinion this signals that the exponential rise in terrorist activities around the world has left us untouched," he said, urging all delegations to make "sincere efforts" to reach an agreement on concluding the Convention at the earliest and by the 71st session of the UNGA.
"This would show that the international community is determined and pledges to take concrete actions on counter-terrorism by filling in the gaps that are there in the existing regime," he said.
India has been pressing for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), a long-pending legal framework which would make it binding for all countries to deny funds and safe haven to terror groups. With the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combat terrorism, India took the initiative to pilot a draft CCIT in 1996 but the convention has not yet been adopted as nations have "entangled" themselves on the issue of definition of terrorism.
Bangladesh's envoy to the UN Masud Bin Momen said during the UN meeting that "a situation was unfolding" in his country "involving armed assailants". Suspected Islamic State militants stormed a restaurant in Dhaka's high-security Gulshan diplomatic area last night and held many people hostage, including foreigners.
He said institutional gaps in the UN system to address the underlying causes of terrorism must be addressed and corrected. He said Bangladesh's counter-terrorism efforts included working with educators, religious leaders and civil society to reach youth and other groups.
Pointing out that currently there are nearly 40 entities under the UN involved in different ways in the fight against terrorism, Akbaruddin suggested it would be useful to have a senior official or an entity to coordinate the entire range of
activities and bring more focus to such activities.
"We feel that this would be useful to convey a clear signal that counter terrorism has a significant place on the UN agenda. It would show that we recognise the urgent and serious nature of the threat posed by terrorism and that we are ever more determined in our intention to take on this threat collectively," he said.
Though the resolution 'The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Review', the Assembly affirmed the importance of integrated and balanced implementation of all four pillars of the Strategy: addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building the capacity of States and strengthening the role of the United Nations; and ensuring respect for human rights and compliance with the rule of law.
Akbaruddin said it is essential to reflect the "determination of the international political will" through the counter-Terrorism forum at the United Nations to join hands to counter terrorism more effectively. He said while individual nations take measures to counter the threat of terrorism, at the forum of UN’s counter-terrorism strategy the international community has been making efforts to see whether it can demonstrate a collective political will to stand up to the terrorists "whose networks are increasingly global in nature, not restrained by any boundaries."
With the terror threat growing dramatically in the last couple of years, Akbaruddin said it has become ever-more necessary for the international community to show that it will be united in taking up this challenge. Referring to the "heinous attacks" in Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Kenya over the last few days, he said they are stark reminders that the international community must increase its cooperation in tackling the scourge.
The resolution urged all UN member states, as well as the world body, to unite against violent extremism and called upon nations to strengthen international, regional, subregional and bilateral cooperation in countering the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, to engage with domestic financial institutions and share information on terrorist financing risks, and to adopt legal measures for the prohibition of incitement to commit terrorist acts.