UN launches new framework to combat international terrorism

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on December 6, 2018 launched a new framework titled ‘UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact’ to combat international terrorism and coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors.                                                                                                                  The framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 organisational entities, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organisation to better serve the needs of member states when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.

UN Framework: Key Highlights

  • The Coordination Committee of the United Nations will oversee the implementation of the framework and monitor its implementation. The committee is chaired by UN Under-Secretary-General for counter-terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov.
  • During the first meeting of the framework’s Coordination Committee, the committee also discussed strategic priorities for the next two years, based on the sixth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant Security Council resolutions and UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) assessments as well as the requests from member states for technical help.
  • The committee also looked into the organisation of work and ways to improve the delivery of an ‘All-of-UN’ capacity-building support to the member states.
  • The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact Task Force will replace the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, which was established in 2005 to strengthen UN system-wide coordination and coherence of counter-terrorism efforts.

Why do we need the framework?

The new framework has been introduced keeping in mind the need to ensure full respect for international human rights standards and rule of law in countering terrorism.

Speaking on the same, the UN Chief stated that the policies that limit human rights only end up alienating the very communities they aim to protect, which normally have every interest in fighting extremism and as a result, such policies can effectively drive people into the hands of terrorists and undermine prevention efforts.

Global terrorism threat

According to the UN Chief, despite recent successes against the ISIS and its affiliates, the threat posed by returning and relocating fighters, as well as from individuals inspired by them, remains high and has a global reach.

The 2018 Global Terrorism Index released by the Institute for Economic and Peace, indicates that despite a 27 per cent fall in the number of deaths from acts of terrorism worldwide, the impact of terrorism remains widespread, with 67 countries experiencing deadly attacks, which is the second highest recorded number of countries in the past twenty years.

While terrorist organisations like Da’esh and Al Qaida continue their terror threats and activities, neo-Nazi and far-right groups have begun using the Internet as a platform to mobilise support across borders through hate speech and exploit economic anxieties, radicalise, recruit and carry out attacks against nations.

Misuse of Emerging Technologies

At a time when terror is on a new high, the UN Chief has urged greater vigilance against the misuse of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, drones and 3D (three-dimensional) printing, as well as against the use of hate-speech and distortion of religious beliefs by extremist and terrorist groups.

Please follow and like us:

Initiative to stop terrorist travel launched on UNGA sidelines

The United States and Morocco launched the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum’s (GCTF) Terrorist Travel Initiative, which brings together stakeholders to share expertise on how to develop and implement effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools.

Launched on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the initiative will hold four regional workshops in 2018 and 2019 to develop a document that shall be endorsed at the 2019 GCTF ministerial meeting.

GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative:

The initiative brings together stakeholders to share expertise in developing and implementing effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools.

The new initiative will strengthen UNSC Resolution 2396 aiming to stop terrorist travel altogether. It will improve capabilities for detecting and interdicting terrorist travel through enhanced terrorist screening and information sharing.

It will bring together national and local governments, law enforcement and border screening practitioners and international organizations to share expertise to develop and implement effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools.

Under this initiative, a series of four regional workshops in 2018 and 2019 will be convened to develop a set of good practices that will be endorsed at 2019 GCTF Ministerial. The resulting document will reinforce countries and organizations to use border security tools prescribed in UNSC Resolution 2396 to stop terrorist travel.

Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF):

GCTF’s is international apolitical, multilateral counter-terrorism (CT) platform of 29 countries and European Union (EU) with overarching mission of reducing the vulnerability of people worldwide to terrorism by preventing, combating, and prosecuting terrorist acts and countering incitement and recruitment to terrorism. It was launched officially in New York on 22 September 2011.

GCTF’s goal is to strengthen capabilities to develop a strategic, long-term approach to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremist ideologies that underpin it. Its mission is to diminish terrorist recruitment and increase countries’ civilian capabilities for dealing with terrorist threats within their borders and regions.

Please follow and like us:

Pak. duplicity key hurdle in fight against terror: Sushma

Pakistan’s duplicity is a key obstacle in the global fight against terrorism and India is an immediate and continuing target of terrorism originating from there, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Saturday.

As a country affected by terrorism, long before the more powerful countries of the developed world began to take cognizance of the threat it poses to international peace and security, India has always condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; stressed that tackling such behaviour required a holistic approach and collective action; and recommended that the scope of legal instruments must be expanded to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice.

India, therefore, has a vital stake in the formulation of counter-terrorism measures at the international level, including a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). It is in this context that India had proposed a draft of a CCIT as far back as 1996.

The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens. It is a draft proposed by India in 1996 that is yet to be adopted by the UNGA.

The universal definition of terrorism: no good terrorist or bad terrorist.

Ban on all groups regardless of country of operation, cut off access to funds and safe havens.

Prosecution of all groups including cross-border groups.

Amending domestic laws to make cross-border terror an extraditable offense.

It also addresses, among other things, the issue of Pakistan’s alleged support for cross-border terrorism in South Asia.

Concerns expressed by various countries:

US + allies: concerns over the definition of terrorism, including acts by US soldiers in international interventions without UN mandate.

Latin American countries: concerns over international humanitarian laws being ignored.

There are also concerns that convention will be used to target Pakistan and restrict the rights of self-determination groups in Palestine, Kashmir etc.

Please follow and like us:

Initiative to stop terrorist travel launched on UNGA sidelines

The United States and Morocco, under the auspices of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF),  launched the GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly. Formally named the “Initiative on Improving Capabilities for Detecting and Interdicting Terrorist Travel through Enhanced Terrorist Screening and Information Sharing,” the Terrorist Travel Initiative will bring together national and local governments, law enforcement and border screening practitioners, and international organizations to share expertise on how to develop and implement effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools.

One of the most effective ways to counter terrorist travel is through traveler data such as Advanced Passenger Information (API), Passenger Name Record (PNR), and biometrics. In December 2017, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2396 (UNSCR 2396), requiring all member states to use these tools, including by implementing systems to collect traveler data and develop watchlists of known and suspected terrorists.

The GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative will convene a series of four regional workshops in 2018 and 2019 to develop a set of good practices that will be endorsed at the 2019 GCTF Ministerial. The resulting document will reinforce how countries and organizations can use the border security tools prescribed in UNSCR 2396 to stop terrorist travel.

Please follow and like us:

Pakistan action against terror funding not satisfactory: FATF body

Almost three months after Pakistan was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list for failing to curb terror funding, Pakistan’s recent action against terror financing, particularly on the “legal” front, was found to be “unsatisfactory”, according to a review by the Asia Pacific Policy Group (APPG).

The APPG examines cases of all countries on the grey and blacklists and reports to the FATF.

Reasons for the poor performance:

Not much has been achieved by Pakistan, especially on the legal side (like freezing of assets, attachment of funds, militant groups infrastructures etc).

Another review for Pakistan will be held in December this year following which a final evaluation report will be prepared. For Pakistan, the first deadline is January 2019 failing which they may face more heat. By then, Pakistan will have to publish updated lists of persons and entities prescribed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the UN-designated entities.

It is the FATF-style regional body for the Asia-Pacific region. It is an inter-governmental organization founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The APG consists of 41 member jurisdictions and a number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organizations.

Under the APG’s Terms of Reference (updated 2012) membership is available for jurisdictions with a presence in the Asia-Pacific region who commit to the policy objectives of the organisation including undergoing a mutual evaluation (peer review) to determine the level of compliance of the member with the international standards against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Observer status is available to any jurisdiction in the Asia-Pacific region interested in becoming a member or any other jurisdiction which supports the goals and work of the APG.

International organizations which support the work of the APG may also join as supporting observers.

Jurisdictions that join the APG, either as members or as observers, must commit to implementing the international standards against money laundering, the financing of terrorism and proliferation financing (WMD), in particular, the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). These standards were substantially updated in 2012 and are supplemented by a complex assessment methodology in 2013 which forms the benchmark for mutual evaluations.

The APG has five primary functions:

The APG assesses the levels of compliance by its member jurisdictions with the global AML/CFT standards through a mutual evaluation (peer review) programme;

The APG Secretariat coordinates bi-lateral and donor-agency technical assistance and training in the Asia/Pacific region for its member jurisdictions in order to improve compliance with the global standards;

Research and analysis into money laundering and terrorist financing methods and trends is a key function of the APG to assist policy and lawmakers as well as law enforcement agencies and the general public to identify and respond to new and emerging trends, methods, risks, and vulnerabilities;

The APG contributes to international AML/CFT policy development and actively engages with the global network of FSRBs. The APG also participates in a number of FATF working groups and in its plenary meetings; and

Private sector engagement is critical to the APG’s overall objectives. The APG actively engages with financial and non-financial institutions, NPOs, training centers, and universities in the Asia-Pacific to better inform the general public and specialists about global issues relating to money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing.

Please follow and like us: