United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today unveiled his recommendations for the world’s first comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy to the 191 members of the General Assembly.
Recommendations for a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Mr. Annan highlighted that the report stemmed from a fundamental conviction shared by all that “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, is unacceptable and can never be justified.”
“All States, in every region – large or small, strong or weak – are vulnerable to terrorism and its consequences. They all stand to benefit from a strategy to counter it. They all have a role to play in shaping such a strategy, in implementing it, and in ensuring that it is updated continuously to respond to challenges as they evolve.”
In compiling the report, Mr. Annan was assisted by a multi-agency counter-terrorism task force, and he said that throughout the document he had built on ideas outlined in Spain in 2005 on the one year anniversary of the train bombings that killed and maimed more than 1,600 innocent people.
“In formulating my recommendations, I have built further on the ‘five Ds’ – the fundamental components which I first outlined in Madrid last year. They are:
- Dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it;
- Denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack;
- Deterring States from supporting terrorism;
- Developing State capacity to defeat terrorism, and;
- Defending human rights.”
“I believe all five are interlinked conditions crucial to the success of any strategy
against terrorism. To succeed, we will need to make progress on all these fronts,” Mr. Annan said, adding that the Member States now had an “historic opportunity” in front of them to agree on such a strategy.
“By rising to that challenge, you will demonstrate the resolve of the international community, and lay the foundations of a truly global response to this vicious global scourge. I hope my recommendations will help you in that vital mission.”
Under the five broad headlines, the report lays out certain specific recommendations, including urging Member States to consider a proposal to hold a global forum on biotechnology, as part of the strategy to prevent the use of biological weapons, which is described in the document as the “most important under-addressed threat relating to terrorism.” The report also has specifics relating to “terrorist use of the Internet,” including an offer to help Member States develop legislation and “other possible actions to counter” this.
In his address to the Assembly, Mr. Annan also called for the conclusion “as soon as possible” of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, but said that even if consensus couldn’t be reached on this, it was no reason for a delay in agreeing on a strategy.
The General Assembly is scheduled to hold its first consultations on this strategy and other counter-terrorism issues on May 11.