Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Counter-terrorism
Statement09 August 2022
Thank you very much, Mr. President, and I also want to thank USG Voronkov and Acting Executive Director Chen, and Mr. Ewi also for your very informative briefings this morning.
Mr. President, in my remarks I will focus on the issue at hand before the meeting.
And I think the Secretary General’s report is unambiguous – the threat to international peace and security posed by ISIL and its affiliates continues to rise.
ISIL’s attack on Al-Sina’a prison earlier this year in Syria provided a stark reminder that the group retains the capacity to mount high-profile attacks both there and in Iraq.
We also share the concerns expressed by the Secretary General, and Mr. Ewi here today, regarding the deteriorating situation on the African continent. The Monitoring Team’s assessment that two of ISIL’s three most active regional networks are now located in Africa is very worrying.
I want to thank Martin for his very informative briefing on the rationale for growth of ISIS affiliates in Africa. It is something that we cannot ignore, and the root causes and drivers must be addressed.
Turning to Afghanistan, the attacks claimed by ISIL-Khorasan continue. There were three attacks in Kabul over the past week. One of those attacks killed and wounded women and children at a Shiite mosque. ISIL-K’s presence in the east and north of the country has also grown, and the geographical spread of its activity has widened.
Ireland condemns all attacks perpetrated by ISIL and its affiliates, including the targeting of women and children and the Hazara community in Afghanistan.
Key to tackling the global terrorist threat is addressing its complex, varied and context-specific drivers.
And in this regard, we share the Secretary General’s concerns that global food insecurity in West Africa, particularly in the Sahel, may exacerbate fragilities and fuel local conflict dynamics that catalyse the spread of violent extremism and terrorism.
Effective responses to countering and preventing terrorism therefore demand comprehensive and whole-of-society approaches, which address underlying grievances that increase vulnerability to radicalization.
Linked to this preventive approach, we also echo Mr Ewi’s remarks regarding the importance of an early warning system for terrorism in Africa.
As the Secretary General points out, respect for human rights and the rule of law are critical components of effective counter-terrorism responses.
Too often however, counter-terrorism measures are misused to crack down on civil society and repress human rights and freedoms, which are protected in international law.
And too often, accountability for ISIL crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence, is lacking. In this regard, victims and survivors are being let down. We commend member state and UN efforts, such as UNITAD, in ensuring that perpetrators of ISIL’s crimes are brought to justice.
Open civic space, the protection of human rights, the safeguarding of humanitarian action and effective, gender-responsive counter-terrorism responses are all mutually reinforcing objectives.
Mr Voronkov, we applaud both UNOCT and Spain for your initiative in organising the recent Malaga conference - the first international conference dedicated to civil society and human rights in counter-terrorism. We look forward to action on the many positive proposals advanced at the conference, including those recommended by civil society.
We also understand that the Secretary General is preparing his report on ways to enhance human rights and gender considerations in the counter-terrorism efforts of the UN system. Ireland encourages broad consultation with UN Member States, with UN Global Compact entities, and with civil society in this regard.
Ireland consistently highlights the importance of a gender-responsive approach across all aspects of this Council’s agenda. This includes the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in counter-terrorism processes as well as recognition of the impact of structural gender inequality.
We want to see more consistent and comprehensive evidence as to how gender considerations inform the UN’s counter-terrorism work. Ireland looks forward to further discussion of this issue at the Counter Terrorism Committee’s first-ever dedicated briefing on gender later this year.
Mr Chen, we also particularly welcome CTED’s work with the International Peace Institute in examining how violent extremist groups exploit notions of violent masculinities, and we encourage greater Council attention to this issue.
In concluding, Mr President, allow me to state once again Ireland’s resolute commitment to work with all around this table to prevent and counter terrorism in full, in respect of our duties and obligations under international law.