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Statement at UNSC Briefing on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

Thank you very much Mr President. I want to also thank our two briefers this morning, Under Secretary-General Voronkov and Assistant Secretary-General Coninsx, for their excellent briefings.


Mr President,


Acts of terrorism preoccupy and horrify all of us. We absolutely believe that it is critical that this Council addresses threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. What should unite all of us here is our determination to counter terrorism.


For Ireland, human rights must remain at the core of that response.  Human rights violations can drive radicalization and contribute to the growth of terrorism and violent extremism. 


We believe all measures taken to combat terrorism should comply with international law including international humanitarian law; international human rights law; international refugee law and the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.


We are vigilant that the introduction of emergency measures by states to reduce the spread of Covid-19 not compromise human rights, and we would welcome further elaboration on this specific issue in the next report from the Secretary General. 


Mr President,


We welcome initiatives outlined in the report to support and protect the rights of victims of ISIL terrorism, including ensuring justice. However, prosecuting terrorists for gender-based crimes, especially crimes of sexual and gender-based violence, clearly remains particularly challenging. This is an area where we simply, clearly, must do better.


Likewise, the trends we see regarding female perpetrators of terrorist acts underline the need to incorporate a gender perspective into counter-terrorism law. Importantly, we also need to ensure full, equal and meaningfulparticipation of women in counter-terrorism processes. 


I would also like to acknowledge the positive, and indeed important, role that youth can play as agents of change. They can play a role in countering terrorism and violent extremism.


We fully recognise the need to target the sources of terrorist funding.  However, there is also a responsibility on all Member States to ensure that measures adopted do not have a negative impact on the work of humanitarian and civil society actors as they do their work on the ground to support and assist the most vulnerable. 


We remain very concerned at the continued high numbers of attacks against civilians by ISIL and affiliated groups including across West Africa and the Sahel. We would welcome further reporting and further analysis of these differing and challenging environments, looking at the factors which underpin the growing relationships and linkages between ISIL and affiliated groups.


Mr President,


The surge in online propaganda during the pandemic represents a very worrying development. Terrorists, including ISIL, clearly and blatantly abuse the internet and social media platforms to radicalize and to recruit. They use them to promote hate, to incite violence, and to finance their activities. A multi-stakeholder approach, that includes government, industry and civil society partners, is instrumental to combatting this abuse.


For its part, the European Union has made progress in the area of illegal content, including with legislation to address the dissemination of terrorist content online, which is now in the final stages of adoption. In December 2020, the European Commission proposed a Digital Services Act, which constitutes a comprehensive reform of the treatment of illegal content online. It includes measures setting out a clear and uniform set of due diligence obligations for online service providers, which will ensure the safety of users online. In addition to supporting European Union initiatives, Ireland intends to legislate for a robust regulatory framework to tackle the spread of illegal and harmful online content through a new Online Safety Commissioner.


Mr President,


The Secretary General’s comprehensive report, and the briefings we have received this morning, signal the challenges we face. Conflict zones across Africa and the Middle East have seen a concerning resurgence of terrorist activity, and as our societies reopen after the pandemic, we will need greater vigilance to counter terrorism.


As we mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1373, and the establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, we believe the most effective way to commemorate the anniversary, is for this Council to ensure a UN counter-terrorism framework that is effective and grounded in human rights and international law.


Thank you, Mr President.


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