Security Council Open Debate “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: International cooperation in combating terrorism 20 years after the adoption of resolution 1373 (2001)”
12 January 2021
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Allow me first to congratulate you and your delegation for Tunisia’s steady leadership during this busy and productive start of the year. I also welcome the new non-Permanent Members of the Security Council and wish them success in fulfilling their mandates. I would like to also thank UNOCT Under-Secretary-General, Vladimir Voronkov, and CTED Executive Director, Michèle Coninsx, for their informative and thorough briefings, as well as Ms. Fatimu Akilu, Director of the Neem Foundation, for sharing her incisive perspective.
The 20th Anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) and the establishment of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee provides us with an opportunity for reflection on past achievements and the many challenges ahead. We started this journey together at a very difficult time in Afghanistan’s history when the forces of terror that had threatened our country for years launched an attack on September 11, 2001. This heinous act of terror urged all of us to work together to fight for the safety and protection of people everywhere.
During the past 20 years, a lot of important steps have been taken, including through the building of a more robust and responsive counter-terrorism architecture, and the mobilization of resources to defeat terrorism. In Afghanistan, we have seen a complete transformation in the establishment of a Government committed to the fight against international terrorism and to the protection and promotion of the rights of all its citizens. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan makes no distinctions between terrorist groups and sees them exclusively for what they are – a direct threat to the livelihood and freedom that our people have fought to attain.
Despite our best efforts, these last 20 years have also shown us how complex and ever-changing terrorism can be. We have seen the emergence of new terrorist groups that consistently employ new tactics to inhumanely attack the most vulnerable populations. This new reality and the challenges posed by modern terrorism reiterate the need for the international community to adapt and to take decisive action through more cohesive, collaborative, and joint efforts, at the regional and multilateral levels, that truly embody the spirit of Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001).
Today, it remains even more evident that terrorism will never be defeated unless we efficiently target its root causes. We must be able to counter extremist narratives while also identifying and neutralizing elements that allow for their continued operations, including sources of financial support and safe havens. Doing this will allow us to shift focus from fighting terrorism to actually defeating it in its entirety.
The great thing about today’s meeting is that it gives us a platform to share best practices and lessons learned while acknowledging our challenges and what needs to change to reinvigorate our efforts in the future. The Afghan Defense and Security Forces are valiantly fighting at the frontlines of the war against international terrorism that continues to claim countless innocent lives. These are lives of students working hard for a better future, mothers experiencing the miracle of birth, and their loss really emphasizes the urgency of firmly addressing this threat.
While we continue to release statements and express our condemnation for these heinous actions, our international strategy to fight this menace has not even been able to define what terrorism is. It is time to take the next step and build on the progress of the last 20 years and design an outcome-oriented strategy that can help the UN and Member States better work towards ensuring the right of all people to live without fear. The upcoming review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy provides a timely opportunity to achieve this and we must rise to the urgency of the situation.
Throughout the review, we must also acknowledge the important voice of victims of terrorism as stakeholders in designing effective counter-terrorism strategies. We cannot speak about defeating terrorism without ensuring that the needs of those affected by it are addressed and that victims can return to society and live the rest of their lives without the fear of a second attack. We welcome efforts by the UN to further the cause of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism and reiterate the importance that victims occupy a central role in our counter-terrorism agenda.
Despite our achievements in our fight against terrorism, we cannot in any way let our guards down and let the enemy evolve into deadlier and more inhumane forces. Now is the time for boldness, leadership, and vision that ensures the framework we have built is translated into firm international and regional actions that address the root causes of terrorism and defeats this threat once and for all. It is what our people demand and what we, as representatives of the United Nations, should deliver.
I thank you,