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10/10/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/10/2019 11:49

Sixth Committee (Legal)

Note: Following is a partial summary of statements made to today's meetings of the Sixth Committee (Legal). A complete summary will be available later today as Press Release GA/L/3595.

Statement by General Assembly President

TIJJANI MUHAMMAD‑BANDE (Nigeria), President of the General Assembly, underscored that the promotion of justice and international law has always been of fundamental importance to the work of the Assembly and he expressed appreciation for the flexibility of all delegations to commence the work of the Sixth Committee. During the high‑level week, Heads of State and Government reiterated their support for multilateralism, which is based on the rule of law, he said, noting that this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. This widely ratified Convention symbolizes the universality of international law and remains an essential framework for the rules-based international order.

It is timely that the Committee will discuss rule of law, he continued, encouraging delegates to discuss best practices, ideas to promote the respect of States of international law, mechanisms that promote the effective implementation of international law and ways in which the United Nations can provide best assistance. Calling attention to the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, he highlighted the direct assistance it provides to developing countries through training programmes, audiovisual libraries and the preparation and dissemination of international law publications. International rule of law can hardly be guaranteed without international law education, he said, encouraging Members to continue supporting the Programme.

This past year has seen terrorist attacks all over the world, he noted, calling on delegates to take action to effectively counter the phenomenon of terrorism in all its forms and manifestation. It is necessary to build momentum towards finalizing the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism through the General Assembly's biennale review of the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy and the High-level Conference of Heads of Counter‑Terrorism Agencies of Member States. Commending the International Law Commission for its fruitful work, he added that the international community must recall that 'we are nations united'.

Statements

The representative of Libya, associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, African Group and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said that his country - like others in the region - has experienced attacks resulting from political crisis. Those who have not accepted political agreements have attacked the Capital and its suburbs, aided by foreign intervention. In coordination with its friends, particularly the United States, the Government of National Accord is determined to eliminate terrorism. It has entered into agreements with neighbouring countries to monitor and combat terrorist networks and hopes for international support for these efforts. The world must also focus on the conditions conducive to terrorism and promote human rights and respect for the rule of law. As well, the international community should assist countries in conflict or post‑conflict status in their efforts to anchor domestic stability.

The representative of Niger, associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, African Group and OIC, recalled that his country has confronted terrorist attacks in recent years, chiefly from Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region. Further, Niger's northern border with Libya is also a source of major concern, as the drug traffickers and terrorists destabilizing Libya have a 'knock‑on' effect in the Sahel. For its part, Niger has developed a legal arsenal with which to counter terrorist financing and money‑laundering. Implementation of these measures, however, is complicated by short custody periods, given the complexity of counter‑terrorism investigations. Since 2010, Niger has been pushing back against Boko Haram with help from its neighbours, especially Nigeria. Roughly 8,000 men fight to curb the threat in Lake Chad. Unfortunately, regional initiatives started in 2014 to address attacks across the Sahel region struggle due to a lack of resources. The international community must deliver on what it has pledged so that these States may continue to function as a bulwark against the spread of terrorism in the region.

The representative of Iran, associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and OIC, said that as a past and current victim of terrorism, his country will always remain at the forefront of genuine confrontations with the menace. Outlining various legislative measures undertaken by his Government, including amendments to the Countering Money‑Laundering Act, he said that dishonest approaches in combating terrorism have led to certain challenges in achieving a world free of that threat. The politicization of the fight against terrorism by some countries is a long‑standing issue that has always hindered genuine international efforts. Condemning unilateral coercive measures, he added that illegal economic sanctions against developing nations such as his own are a clear example of 'naked economic terrorism'.

The representative of Democratic Republic of the Congo, associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the proliferation of terrorist fighters pose a growing threat to international security, while also plunging people around the world into misery. Expressing concern about the large number of terrorist groups linked to Al‑Qaida and their burgeoning activities across the African continent, particularly in the Maghreb, East Africa, Central Africa and West Africa, he said his country is facing an unstable environment, especially because of the presence of armed groups working in its eastern parts. The Government is tackling this through institutional structures as well as preventive action, he said, highlighting the work of the Congolese National Police in fighting trafficking in small arms and light weapons.

TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said capacity‑building of law enforcement, intelligence and border management agencies have allowed Bangladesh to ensure its territory is not used for terrorist attacks against any neighbours. The Financial Action Task Force effectively combats the financing of terrorism and weakens the nexus between terrorist groups and transnational organised criminal networks. Bangladesh is constantly enhancing its engagement with the United Nations and its counter‑terrorism‑related bodies, he said, noting its support of and partnership with the United Nations Office of Counter‑Terrorism.

SOLOMON ALPHONSO JUSU JAMIRU (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, the African Group, and OIC, highlighted the collective steps being taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member States to address terrorism in that sub‑region. The recent fifty‑fifth ECOWAS Ordinary Session resolved to convene a summit on terrorism in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso that would address a myriad of challenges including slow adoption and implementation of concrete measures by member States, the limited role played by civil society and inadequate resources. Sierra Leone faces the biggest challenge in the Sahel region and has called for enhanced cooperation with a priority on intelligence‑sharing and coordination to fight terrorism. He added that military and security approaches alone will not effectively address terrorism, as a civil‑society stakeholder component is also critical. States must impress upon those stakeholders that national development depends on security.

The representative of Panama stated that his country fights against terrorism and its financing by prioritizing information exchange, border protection and the prevention, deterrence, detection and elimination of terrorist networks. Panama maintains a national watchlist to monitor those aiding and abetting terrorist activities. Its domestic law is aligned with international standards to combat terrorism and the illicit activities that finance it, including money‑laundering. International counter‑terrorism measures cannot be used as a pretext for violating international or refugee law and must instead uphold peace, security and human rights, he stressed.

The representative of Guinea, associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, African Group and OIC, said that the complex and transnational nature of terrorism means that no country is free from the threat. It is urgent to tackle the root causes of poverty such as exclusion and violations of human rights. Calling for enhanced international cooperation in the implementation of relevant resolutions, the exchange of information and intelligence, freezing the sources of funding for international terrorism and countering hate speech, she voiced concern about the critical situation in West Africa.

DIDAR TEMENOV (Kazakhstan), associating himself with OIC, pointed out that terrorist groups continue to adapt their tactics and methods, including using the Internet and artificial intelligence to recruit, finance, plan and execute attacks against civilians. Foreign terrorist fighters also pose new challenges to their countries of origin. To combat terrorists' use of the Internet, the dark web and encryption, his country is developing a national programme - the Cyber Shield of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has also safely repatriated 595 of its nationals - including over 400 children - from Syria after they were led to that crisis‑hit country under false pretext and became trapped in armed conflict. As one of the few nations that carries out such humanitarian actions, it stands ready to share its experience in this area, he said.