– CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.
Let me begin by thanking the chair of the Sixth Committee. We very much appreciate your commitment to its work. The fact that the item of Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism is the first substantial item on the Committee's agenda, stresses the importance of our common fight against terrorism. The EU pursues a comprehensive approach to combating and preventing terrorism, with the respect for international law, including human rights and the rule of law, at its core. Furthermore, the EU condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and believes that those responsible for terrorist acts must be held accountable.
The European Union and its Member States are fully committed to fighting terrorism, both inside and outside the European territory. The terrorist threat has evolved; its nature has changed both inside our own societies and internationally.
In each of our countries, terrorist groups are focusing on our youth for purposes of radicalization and recruitment, on those who do not find a place inside our societies but also on those that are not marginalized at all. This puts questions to all of us on the model of integration in our societies, addressing the needs of our people in a more systematic way. We should strongly engage in the work inside our communities, where radicalization and recruitment take place, and build resilient communities together.
Internationally, the terrorist threat is evolving in its cross-border dimension. The military dynamics in Iraq, Syria and in Libya have generated new movements of foreign terrorist fighters, who return from the battlefield to their home countries or relocate to other regions. The loss of territory by ISIL in Iraq and Syria should not deceive us, the most recent reports on ISIL and Al-Qaida show that both are resilient and that ISIL has transformed into a covert network. There is a concern about the emergence, facilitated by the misuse of the Internet, of new domestic terrorist threats.
The European Union is working on new ways to tackle both the internal and the international dimension of the threat. At home, we are strengthening law enforcement, improving information exchange, preventing the exploitation of the Internet for terrorist purposes and cutting off resources of terrorism financing in full compliance with the rule of law and international law, in particular human rights law, international humanitarian law and international refugee law. We should address the threat posed by returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters through, in particular, efforts on legal and operational measures to prevent FTF travel, to collect and share information about FTF travel and to adopt a balanced approach aimed at prosecution when appropriate and eventual rehabilitation and reintegration. The specific role of women and children returning from conflict zones requires special attention and due care in order to avoid long term security threats. And so does the role of victims of terrorism. Assistance to victims of terrorism and their families is an integral part of EU counter-terrorism efforts.
Outside our borders, we know that the strength of our partners is our own strength. So we are working with countries in the Middle East, North Africa, in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, in the Western Balkans and also increasing our efforts in Central, South, and Southeast Asia to help build capacity, encourage mutual learning and find common areas of cooperation. The EU has also established a network of CT/Security experts in EU Delegations to support capacity building efforts.
We fully support the UN's role in the prevention of violent extremism and in the fight against terrorism. The deepening of the international cooperation and strengthening of international efforts to counter terrorism remain key objectives for the EU.
We welcome the adoption in June of the sixth review resolution of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. It was an opportunity to strengthen consensus and refocus the attention of the international community on emerging and evolving issues. The resolution confirms the consensus that terrorism shall not be tolerated under any circumstances. In this regard, we should address all emerging threats, including those posed by the misuse of ICT technologies and by returning and relocating Foreign Terrorist Fighters.
The EU and its Member States are encouraged by the UN's commitment to strengthen coordination towards an "All-of-UN Approach" in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism. We welcome the work of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) in this respect. A strong coordination and cooperation between CTED and OCT is essential, as they work within their mandates and in their distinct roles to ensure effective alignment of United Nations technical and capacity building assistance with gaps in implementation and capacity as identified by CTED.
The EU and its Member States fully support a "whole-of-society" approach to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism and call on strengthened collaboration and cooperation between governments, the private sector and civil society. By embracing human rights and rule of law, and working to eliminate corruption, governments can create an enabling environment for local and national authorities and civil society to counter radicalization and violent extremism together.
We will fight terrorism within a strengthened multilateral framework. In support of global efforts, we continue to work very closely with our international partners such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
We acknowledge the UN and OCT having embraced effective and efficient coordination within the overall UN system and between the UN and other international organisations and fora. The High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies hosted by the Secretary-General in June offered an opportunity to create linkages and foster a spirit of systematic cooperation. Numerous bilateral meetings also helped to build trust and to exchange expertise. It will be necessary to evaluate and monitor the impact of the UN’s work in the future. The EU and its Member States want a strong and efficient UN that drives the important global agenda on preventing violent extremism and countering terrorism, taking a balanced approach across the four pillars of the UN Global CT Strategy.
As regards the UN sanctions regime against terrorist groups and individuals, we reiterate our full support to the Office of the Ombudsperson of the 1267 Committee and welcome the appointment of Daniel Kipfer Fasciati as Ombudsperson. We wish him a lot of success in his new position. The EU remains committed to strengthening due process and fair and clear procedures in all sanctions regimes.
In view of the continuous terrorist threat, we encourage all Member States to implement the Global CT Strategy and to ratify and implement all UN legal instruments to counter terrorism. We remain committed to the development of the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, as an important endeavour of the international community to strengthen the international legal framework aimed at combatting terrorism. The EU and its Member States remain committed to its successful conclusion.
As regards the resolution of the 6th Committee under the agenda item on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, we yet again raise our concerns on certain duplication with the Plenary work during UNGA sessions where a resolution to review the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is being negotiated.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.