15 January 2013
Open debate on comprehensive approach to
Statement on behalf of the Nordic countries
H.E. Mr. Geir O. Pedersen
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. I would like to begin by thanking the Pakistani Presidency for taking the initiative for this debate and the Secretary-General for his remarks.
No country is immune to terrorism. Norway experienced it in July 2011. Preventing terrorism requires a comprehensive approach, including political, economic, legal and military means. It is also necessary to take a long-term perspective, while still addressing urgent issues without delay. This is the essence of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, as pointed out in the background document for today’s meeting.
Respect for human rights and the rule of law is the starting point for all our efforts against terrorism, both at domestic and at international level. In this respect, the strengthening of correctional capacities such as the judiciary, police and border control remains important for the ability to combat transnational organized crime and terrorism.
We are pleased to note that the mandate of the Ombudsperson for the Al Qaida sanctions system was extended for 30 months in resolution 2083 (2012). We commend Judge Prost for her impressive work, and encourage all member states to give their full support to her office and provide her with all relevant information.
It is the responsibility of member states to take all necessary steps to counter terrorism. The Nordic countries have provided voluntary contributions through the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), the Counter Executive Directorate (CTED), UNODC and other UN entities to assist member states in their counter-terrorism efforts and in implementing the Strategy. The UN plays a vital coordinating role, and important steps have been taken, by CTITF and CTED in particular, but there is a continued need to increase efficiency and avoid overlap or gaps. It is also important to improve coordination with initiatives such as the Global Initiative to Counter Nuclear Terrorism. Therefore, we welcome the proposal of appointing a UN counter-terrorism coordinator.
A key element in the Strategy is to prevent the financing of terrorism. We support the close and constructive cooperation that has been developed between CTED and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). FATF has developed practical recommendations to prevent the financing of terrorism, and we urge all member states to implement them. The FATF recommendations are also useful in the fight against international organised crime, which again plays a role in funding terrorism. Furthermore, UN organizations must strengthen their financial and other control mechanisms, especially in complex emergencies, in accordance with international standards in order to prevent terrorist financing or other illegal practices.
In certain situations, counter-terrorism measures and strategies constrain humanitarian action and can even criminalise humanitarian activities. As set out in the 2010 Report of the Secretary-General on the Protection of Civilians, and reiterated by OCHA, the restrictions imposed by state and non-state actors on personnel and humanitarian supplies is a major concern. Such restrictions include those imposed by donor governments in relation to certain armed actors in armed conflict. We need to ensure clarity on the part of states regarding the scope and applicability of counter-terrorism laws and measures so that they do not undermine humanitarian commitments and that full and unimpeded humanitarian access is fully ensured.