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Statement by Ambassador Flynn at the UNSC Briefing on Terrorism

Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts

Statement by Ambassador Brian Flynn

09 February 2022


Thank you Mr. President, and I want to thank also Under-Secretary-General Voronkov and Acting Executive Director Chen for their informative, if sobering, briefings.


Mr. President,


The Secretary-General’s report is clear that the threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security remains potent, and indeed growing in some regions.


We echo his concerns regarding the expansion of ISIL affiliates in Africa, as well as the growing influence of ISIL-K in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.


Despite the ongoing degradation of ISIL’s leadership, recent attacks in Iraq and Syria also serve as a stark reminder of the enduring threat posed by the group in the core conflict zone.


The prison attack in Al-Hasakeh – reminiscent of the campaign in Iraq which first catapulted ISIL to global attention almost a decade ago – is particularly troubling. We must heed the warnings of the past.


Ireland shares the deep concern about the situation of children expressed by UNICEF and others. This attack – which saw hundreds of boys caught in the crossfire – also highlights the responsibility on us, the international community, to treat children primarily as victims of conflict and provide them with support appropriate to that status.  


Mr. President,


As the Secretary-General has pointed out, counter-terrorism measures must comply with international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law.


Too often, counter-terrorism measures are misused to silence human rights defenders, political opponents, and civil society. If we as Member States are serious about countering the threat of ISIL, we should be serious about protecting human rights too.


We welcome UN Women initiatives detailed in the Secretary General’s report to strengthen gender-responsive counter-terrorism policies. Women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in counter-terrorism processes and mechanisms is essential for sustainable progress and reform. 


However, comprehensive counter-terrorism policy should also include a mainstreamed gender-responsive approach that also considers the impacts of terrorism and counter-terrorism on men, boys, and LGBTQI+ persons, as well as the impacts of gender inequalities and stereotypes.


Mr. President,


Effective counter-terrorism  requires a whole-of-society approach, including meaningful engagement with civil society and affected communities.


The Secretary General’s report draws attention to a range of capacity-building initiatives undertaken by UN entities. These entities should consider Special Rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin’s most recent General Assembly report, which highlights how human rights-compliant capacity-building plays a valuable role in strengthening whole-of-society approaches, and underscores the importance of a “One UN” approach.


Thanks to collective efforts to tackle terrorist financing, we have seen an important reduction in ISIL’s core finances. But more international cooperation is required. Ireland therefore welcomes recent action by the European Banking Authority to enhance cooperation in the European Union through the creation of a central database on countering the financing of terrorism.


Mr. President,


It is essential that those responsible for committing crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, are held accountable. While the pursuit of accountability for crimes committed by ISIL remains challenging, it is not completely elusive. The Secretary-General’s report offers hope, including progress in UNITAD investigations and an update from Germany on the first conviction of an ISIL member for genocide against the Yazidi community.


We must build on this momentum to secure justice for all victims and survivors of ISIL atrocities. This includes closing the accountability gap for sexual and gender-based violence, such as rape, sexual slavery and human trafficking.


To conclude, Mr. President, 2021 marked an important year of commemoration, where this Council reflected on two decades of counter-terrorism action. While much progress has been achieved, we must also acknowledge that shortcomings remain.


As we look forward, we hope that this Council can recommit to a UN counter-terrorism framework that is effective, comprehensive and grounded in international law.


Thank you.


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