Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at UNSC Meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security
Statement19 August 2021
Thank you Minister, and thanks to the Indian Presidency, for ensuring a continued focus on the critical issue of counter-terrorism. I also want to thank our three briefers this morning for their presentations.
It may sound like a truism, but it is a fact. The scourge of terrorism remains one of the gravest threats to international peace and security, despite significant progress made by this Council and its Counter Terrorism Committee.
The Secretary General’s report is clear. In the first half of this year, the threat posed by ISIL continued to grow, with ISIL activities expanding in Africa, notwithstanding the restrictions imposed by Covid-19.
The report also highlights the significant threat posed by ISIL-Khorasan to the people of Afghanistan, evidenced most recently by the horrific attack on HALO trust staff in Baghlan Province on 8 June. This Council spoke with one united voice to condemn that heinous attack. While the circumstances in Afghanistan have changed very significantly since then, we cannot forget that aspect of the conflict environment.
The pandemic has accelerated the “digital transition” across so many aspects of our societies. Unfortunately, this is also true for terrorists and terrorism. Ireland supports the Secretary-General’s call for Member States to rise to the challenge of digitally-enabled terrorism through international cooperation and through effective government in line with international law. Civil society and the private sector play a crucial role.
The challenge however, as always, is moving from rhetoric to implementation.
We were particularly interested to learn of the important work carried out by UNDP, Burkina Faso, Kenya and other partners to address the differential impact of the threat of ISIL and its affiliates on women and girls. Specifically, we welcome the development of a toolkit to generate gender-disaggregated data and to inform a gender-sensitive response to these threats. Greater detail in future reports on the outcome of this work would be useful, including on how it could be applied more broadly. Put simply, including gender sensitive data in our analyses will strengthen our capacity to address terrorism.
Ireland is a small, open economy with a thriving financial services industry. We know that both terrorism and organised crime are fuelled by complex systems of money laundering and terrorist financing. We also recognise that countering such financing is a central part of our global counter-terrorism response.
At the domestic level, we have a robust, institutional counter terrorist financing framework. This is kept under review to reflect new and emerging trends, as well as EU requirements and FATF recommendations. We have also recently introduced legislation which extends countering terrorist financing obligations to virtual asset providers.
Just last week, at the Arria meeting organised by Kenya, members of this Council heard of the negative impact of some regulations in countering the financing of terrorism and the resultant de-risking practices on humanitarian actors and provision of humanitarian aid.
The Secretary General has also raised concerns that tightening counter-terrorism measures by some Member States during the pandemic could negatively impact non-profit organisations and emergency humanitarian aid.
We reiterate once more that such measures must not impede the delivery of principled humanitarian assistance nor infringe on the legitimate activities of humanitarian and civil society organisations carrying out vital work, often in fragile or conflict-affected contexts. We will remain vigilant on that issue right across our agenda here in the Security Council.
This Council has a responsibility to ensure that measures to counter terrorist funding are applied based on risk and that they fully comply with international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international refugee law.
Independent oversight of counter-terrorism legislation has been effective in mitigating some of these risks and challenges.
Domestically, Ireland is undertaking an independent review of its main body of counter-terrorism legislation and has recently published proposals for an “Independent Examiner of Security Legislation”. Such an entity will ensure that legislation is necessary, is fit for purpose, and contains appropriate human rights safeguards.
Finally, Mr President, we know that victims and survivors of terrorism continue to struggle to have their voices heard. We consider that their needs should be supported and their rights be upheld. We firmly believe that a holistic approach to transitional justice is essential to upholding those rights. We will work to this end in our role here in the Security Council.
Tomorrow we will mark the fourth International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to Victims of Terrorism. So, let all of us around this table recommit to supporting their gender-specific needs, to upholding their rights, and most importantly, to hearing and heeding their voices.
This is surely the least we owe to the countless victims and survivors of terrorism.