UNITED NATIONS: The General Assembly wrapped up its fourth Review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Friday, with the adoption of a consensus resolution, which, among other elements, called on States using drone strikes as a counter-terrorism measure to comply with international law.
It is the first time that 193-member body pronounced itself on the use of armed drones, a key but controversial component of the war against terrorism, as it dealt with terrorism-related issues. Earlier, the Assembly did so in the context of human rights, approving a resolution, entitled “Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.”
Under the terms of the new resolution, the General Assembly urged “Member States to ensure that any measures taken or means employed to counter terrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft, comply with their obligations under international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality.”
The Pakistan delegation, led by Ambassador Masood Khan, lobbied hard for the inclusion of the paragrah about armed drones in the text of the resolution. “We are glad that the important element of armed drones has been, for the first time, reflected in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy,” the Pakistani envoy told the General Assembly.
The strategy, which was adopted in 2006, consists of four pillars: measures to address conditions conducive to terrorism?s spread; measures to prevent and combat terrorism; measures to build States? capacity to prevent and combat terrorism and to strengthen the role of the UN system; measures to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
In his remarks, Ambassador Masood Khan condemned the latest U.S. drone strikes in North Wazisitan, while affirming Pakistan’s commitment to stamp out terrorism.
“These strikes have an adverse impact on the Government?s efforts to bring peace and stability to Pakistan and the region.” he said, emphasizing that the remotely piloted aircraft must comply with the United Nations Charter and international law.
The Pakistani envoy also thanked member states here Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the condemnation of the “dastardly” terrorist attacks in Karachi and Balochistan. “The foreign hand that masterminds and guides such attacks must also be exposed in order to disrupt, degrade and dismantle the terrorist networks targeting Pakistani civilians and installations.”
“Terrorism has no appeal,” he said. “It has been condemned and denounced by the UN, world parliaments and governments and citizens of the world. There is no organization and entity that has endorsed the distorted and twisted philosophy of terrorists, and their murderous acts and tactics. Killing innocent civilians is not a doctrine. It is a crime plain and simple. That is why, it should not be sublimated by associating it with religion, nationality, race or ethnicity…”
“To devalue the criminal narratives of terrorists, we should make our own narrative ? the narrative of our global civilization, with its rich and diverse mosaic ? the central narrative. The terrorists? narrative should be counter-narrative; not ours.”
In this context, Masood Khan said there should be no impunity for terrorist acts; highlight on the criminality of terrorist acts; debunk the theories of violent extremism in any part of the world to deny space to the proponents and conspirators behind them; use education and the media as powerful tool to banish the darkness in which terrorism and violent extremism grow, and highlight heart-rending stories of the victims and survivors to expose the atrocities of the terrorists.
The two-day review heard more than 60 speakers take the floor to describe their experience with the implementation of national strategies, especially to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism as set forth in the Strategy.
By Friday’s resolution, the Assembly reiterated its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes. It reaffirmed the principal responsibility of States to implement the Strategy, recognizing the need to enhance the role of the United Nations, including the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, in coordination with other international, regional and subregional organizations.
In such work, it called on States and United Nations entities to facilitate the promotion and protection of human rights, due process and the rule of law.
By other provisions, the Assembly urged all States to respect the right to privacy, including in the context of digital communication.
It deplored the suffering caused by terrorism to victims and their families, expressing its concern at the increased use by terrorists of information and communications technology to commit, incite, recruit for, fund or plan terrorist acts. Further, it expressed concern at the increase in kidnapping and hostage-taking, calling on States to prevent terrorists from benefiting from ransom payments and political concessions.
During the debate, delegates from around the world stressed that terrorism could not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. They outlined measures taken at national, regional and international levels to foster diversity, stressing that confronting violent extremism required concerted action across a broad front. Several urged widespread and proactive implementation of the Strategy, as well as enhanced international cooperation.