– Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Let me begin by thanking the chair of the Sixth Committee and wish him a fruitful chairmanship.
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.
Countering and preventing terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism continue to be high priorities for the European Union and its Member States. The European Union is committed to multilateral cooperation to address the global threat of terrorism in full compliance with the rule of law and international law, including human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law. Further, the EU insists that those responsible for such crimes should be held accountable. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy, as well as relevant UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions, are at the core of these European Union counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism efforts.
The European Union is working on enhancing effective means to tackle both the internal and the international dimension of the threat. In this regard, we attach great importance to a holistic approach to tackle terrorism by empowering multi-agency approaches to prevent radicalization, including in prisons; preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online and promoting credible alternative narratives.
The European Union has continued to strengthen law enforcement, judicial cooperation and information exchange as well as anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing legislation. We stress the importance of sharing experiences to bring to justice foreign terrorist fighters, on preventing and combatting radicalisation in prisons, and integration in society.
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 European Union has also established a network of counter-terrorism/Security experts in European Union Delegations to support capacity building efforts.
When designing and implementing counter-terrorism measures, we should ensure that any measures taken do not limit the space in which humanitarian actors can operate in a principled manner, in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law, in particular in high-risk and fragile contexts where their assistance is greatly needed. We therefore reiterate that all measures to counter terrorism should be in accordance with International Humanitarian Law, and exemptions or protection measures should be introduced, wherever feasible, to mitigate negative impacts on humanitarian activity.
The European Union also emphasises the need to enhance resilience and to provide comprehensive assistance to the victims of terrorism. In this regard, we welcome the recent adoption of resolution 73/305 and urge states to consider the needs and roles of victims when developing counterterrorism measures. We are fully committed to the preparation and successful outcome of the forthcoming first Congress on Victims of Terrorism in June 2020.
The European Union 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, governments can create an enabling environment for local and national authorities and civil society to counter radicalization and violent extremism together. States should ensure that activities by non-profit organisations including those working on gender-related issues, on women’s rights and the protection of children, are not unduly restricted.
The European Union 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 conducive to terrorism. We welcome the work of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) in this respect, as well as the coordination efforts that are being made through the Global Counter-terrorism Compact. The European Union and its Member States continue to support 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 counter-terrorism Strategy.
The deepening of the international cooperation and strengthening of international efforts to counter terrorism remain key objectives for the European Union. In this regard, we will continue to work closely in cooperation with the UN in the priority areas and geographic regions identified in the European Union-UN Framework on Counterterrorism agreed this year.
Moreover, the European Union supports the strengthening of cooperation between the UN and the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
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 commend the work of Daniel Kipfer Fasciati. As the office celebrates its 10th Anniversary, the European Union and its Member States remain fully committed to strengthening due process and fair and clear procedures in all sanctions regimes.
In view of the growing threat, we reiterate our call for all Member States to ratify and implement all UN legal instruments to counter terrorism. We further call upon Member States to make every effort to conclude the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). CCIT as it is drafted is a legal instrument of a universal character concerning establishing jurisdiction and cooperation among States. We remain committed to its successful conclusion.
With regard to 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 work of the General Assembly with regard to the Global Strategy, a review of which will be negotiated during this session.
The European Union and its Member States continue our steadfast support to and collaboration with the United Nations and Member States towards realising full implementation of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy. In this regard, we are ready and fully engaged to work with all our partners for a beneficial review of the Strategy in 2020.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.