Security Council counter-terrorism committee opens meeting in Nairobi

Security Council counter-terrorism committee opens meeting in Nairobi

Opening session of the CTC
The Security Council's counter-terrorism committee and more than 70 international organizations and United Nations agencies are holding a three-day meeting starting today in Nairobi to examine ways that countries can better secure their borders against terrorists and how the UN can help in those efforts.

The Security Council's counter-terrorism committee and more than 70 international organizations and United Nations agencies are holding a three-day meeting starting today in Nairobi to examine ways that countries can better secure their borders against terrorists and how the UN can help in those efforts.

The meeting of the 15-member Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) is expected to focus on such issues as hindering the movement of terrorists across national boundaries, bolstering the ability of countries to detect illicit arms shipments and preventing the abuse of the refugee and asylum systems.

The talks are also expected to stress the need for stronger national efforts – and greater bilateral and regional cooperation – to deny safe haven to terrorists, improve border and customs controls and enhance information sharing.

Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama, the current CTC chairman, told the meeting's opening that the mobility of terrorists means it is vital for the UN to work closely with international, regional and subregional organizations to combat the scourge.

“Of no lesser importance in combating terrorism is the respect for human rights and international law,” Mr. Arias said. “The United Nations has reiterated that any measures taken to combat terrorism must comply with all relevant obligations under international law, particularly human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.”

Individual sessions during the meeting, which has the theme “Prevention of terrorist movement and effective border security,” will focus on a range of issues, including aviation security, maritime security, cargo security and law enforcement.

The participating organizations at the Nairobi meeting include the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the World Customs Organization (WCO) and INTERPOL, as well as the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the League of Arab States, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The CTC was established by the Security Council in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Its task is to monitor the implementation of a resolution from that year which calls on UN Member States to take steps to strengthen their capacity to counter terrorist activities.