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UN Week – 1/21/2013

February 19, 2013

This blog entry is written by members of our blogging community and expresses those experts’ views alone.

John and Douglas Carey, Editors

In this Issue:  General Assembly on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); Security Council, Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions procedures refined.

In this issue: Terrorism condemned in Security  Council

On January 15th the Security Council issued a Presidential Statement, S/PRST/2013/1, which included some unusual language.  For example, the statement “recognizes that terrorists sometimes abuse the non-profit status of organizations, including facilitating terrorist practices.

Some little-known documents are referred to when the Council “notes the publication of ‘the Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counter terrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector’; ‘Rome Memorandum on Good Practices for Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders’; and ‘Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices on Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom by Terrorists’.”

Sharing of best practices is emphasized when the Council “recognizes the challenges faced by Member States in the management of terrorists in custody, and encourages Member States to collaborate and share best practices regarding the management, rehabilitation and reintegration of terrorists in a secure, well-managed and regulated custodial environment in which human rights are respected. 

“The Security Council takes note of the opening of the international center of excellence on countering violent extremism, in Abu Dhabi on 14 December 2012. The Security Council expresses concern at the increased use, in a globalized society, by terrorists of new information and communication technologies, and the Internet, for the purposes of the recruitment and incitement as well as for the financing, planning and preparation of their activities and underlines the need for Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite support for terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with other obligations under international law. 

“The Security Council considers sanctions an important tool in countering terrorism, and underlines the importance of prompt and effective implementation of relevant sanctions measures. The Security Council reiterates its continued commitment to ensure that fair and clear procedures exist for placing individuals and entities on sanctions lists and for removing them, as well as for granting humanitarian exemptions. The Security Council recalls the appointment of the Ombudsperson in the Al-Qaeda sanctions regime and procedural improvements in the Al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions regimes.”

United States views on terrorism were restated on the same occasion and published on January 15th in a State Department press release, quoted in part below. Curiously, no speaker is named, although it may very well have been Ambassador Susan Rice, still our number one representative to the world, ahead of the Secretary of State, despite her battering by some in the Senate.

“Madame President, we cannot grow complacent. Even as Al-Qaeda has experienced major setbacks, it survives and continues to threaten us all. While we have made progress together, terrorist groups continue to adapt, evolving into criminal entrepreneurs, engaging in trafficking and other illicit activities to finance their operations. AQIM, for example, has increasingly used kidnapping for ransom to support its organization and finance terrorist attacks. 

“The United States recognizes that force, while necessary, is not nearly sufficient to counter the threat effectively over the long term. We must also prioritize building state capacity, strengthening good governance and civilian institutions, promoting economic development and job creation, countering extremism, and reducing the appeal of violence and the pipeline of terrorist recruits so that Member States and their citizens are better equipped to tackle threats within their borders and regions. 

“We have trained more than 9,800 law enforcement officials from over fifty countries in the last year alone. U.S. Legal Advisory are working with host country governments worldwide to build justice sector capacity to deal with terrorism. Our Trans-Sahara Counter terrorism Partnership has provided several countries in the Sahel and the Maghreb with training and support to tighten border security, promote economic assistance, disrupt terrorist networks, and prevent attacks. By assembling civilian, criminal justice, and military experts, this program pursues a comprehensive approach to counter terrorism. In addition, we established the Center for Strategic Counter Terrorism Communications to confront and rebut Al-Qaeda and extremist propaganda online. 

“. . . since effective prison management and good correctional practices can reduce the risk of radicalization, the United States has worked with the United Nations’ Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute to develop cooperation between the United Nations and the new Hedayah Center of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism in Abu Dhabi that will assist experts to develop tools for countering extremist ideology and blunting the spread of radicalism.”

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