Mehr News Agency – Iran – Iran’s Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Es’hagh Al Habib said Wed. that the struggle of peoples under colonial or foreign occupation for self-determination should not be considered terrorism. Es’hagh Al Habib made the remarks before the UN General Assembly on Agenda item 118 dubbed “the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy” in New York on June 26, 2018.
The following is the full text of his speech:
In the name of Allah
I would like to warmly thank the Permanent Representatives of Finland and Jordan and their teams for their hard work in facilitating the negotiations on the text of the sixth biennial review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We commend the co-facilitators for restructuring the resolution in a way that appears more accessible, understandable and visible to the actors outside the UN system.
Also, I would like to congratulate the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Guterres, and the Under-Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Voronkov, for initiating the reform of the OCT. In our view, reform is a constant and ongoing process, and we look forward to Mr. Voronkov bringing forth more professionalism, efficiency, impartiality, transparency, predictability and accountability to the OCT’s activities.
We also welcome the finalization of the Global Counter Terrorism Coordination Compact, a framework which aims to strengthen a common action approach to coordination and coherence in the work of the United Nations system to prevent and counter terrorism while at the same time strengthening support to Member States.
We acknowledge the progress made in this resolution, in particular its provisions on Foreign Terrorist Fighters and countering financing of terrorism. It also addresses the conditions conducive to terrorism and violent extremism, including but not limited to prolonged unresolved conflicts, lack of the rule of law, foreign occupation, oppression, poverty, ethnic, national and religious discrimination, political exclusion, socioeconomic marginalization and lack of good governance.
The resolution also stresses that when counter-terrorism efforts neglect the rule of law, at the national and international levels, and violate international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law and refugee law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, they not only betray the values they seek to uphold, they may also further fuel violent extremism that can be conducive to terrorism. It is unfortunate that manifest violations of international law and neglect of the rule of law at the international level can be witnessed in many cases in the world.
Moreover, the resolution recalls the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace, adopted by consensus in the 53th session of the GA, which encompasses important principles, inter alia, realization of the right of all peoples, including those living under colonial or foreign occupation for self-determination and liberation. This principle has also been recognized in the first additional protocol of the Geneva conventions. Therefore, Iran opposes any attempt to equate the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or foreign occupation for self-determination with terrorism. Such equation is aimed at prolonging the occupation of the territories and oppression of their people.
The Resolution also calls on the international community to take the necessary steps to enhance cooperation to prevent and combat terrorism in a decisive, unified, coordinated, inclusive and transparent manner. It implies that selectivity or double standards and simply categorizing terrorism into good and bad, based on – short-term political interests, or unilateral preparation of lists accusing other States of so-called “sponsoring terrorism”, would not help international community to uproot terrorism. By contrast, these unjustifiable, illegal and unilateral actions would only undermine international trust and cooperation in countering terrorism and therefore would be contrary to the GCTS provisions and its spirit.
However, we regret that the resolution does not address some important issues. An example is the ‘corporate responsibility of private companies’ in countering terrorist narratives. It is crystal clear that the self-regulatory regime offered by private companies to remove terrorist contents has proved to be ineffective. There is an urgent need to develop a UN convention to regulate the activities of private companies in the field of information technology, including a focus on the broad spectrum of crimes committed with the use of ICTs. This important notion does not appear in the resolution, and we regret it.
For decades, a number of root causes and factors have led or contributed to the spread of terrorism. Unlawful use of force against other States, foreign aggression and occupation as well as foreign interference in internal affairs of other States, are among such causes and factors, to name a few. Moreover, violating IHL along with the excessive and disproportionate use of military force in the name of countering terrorists, in most cases without the consent of the country concerned, have created fertile ground for vicious cycles of violence and terrorism. None of these conditions were reflected in the resolution.
The other important issue which unfortunately is not addressed in the resolution is the urgent need to improve the efficiency of the UNCCT and bring the Center to the level of the other UN entities by adopting its terms of reference in the GA.
Bearing in mind that mainstreaming transparency, inclusiveness and accountability in all UN entities is an important prerequisite for their efficiency, and while the Secretary-General in his reform agenda continuously calls for the renewed spaces for Member States to guide system-wide actions and bring greater transparency and accountability, the UNCCT Advisory Board members continue to be appointed in an non-transparent manner; the Advisory Board meetings continue to be held behind closed doors.
In an effort to improve transparency and accountability of the UNCCT, the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the course of negotiations on the GCTS review resolution, proposed that the members of the Advisory Board of the center would be elected by the General Assembly and that all Member States who are not members of the Advisory Board would be invited to participate in all of its meetings as observers. The ultimate goal of this proposal was to enhance the level of engagement of Member States in the work of the UNCCT and improve its efficiency through bringing new ideas and thoughts to the advisory board as well as mobilization for more resources. It is unfortunate that the resolution could not address such an important issue. However, this proposal will remain on the table for the consideration of the General Assembly. We consider this proposal to be an integral element of the systemic reform in the OCT. It is the only option to preserve the legitimacy, impartiality and sustainability of the UNCCT.
We would also like to request the Secretary-General to include in his report under paragraph 83 of the resolution on the implementation of the GCTS by the UN entities existing, the flaws in the OCT architecture and, particularly, the UNCCT.
Let me conclude by reiterating that the Islamic Republic of Iran remains committed to the implementation of the General Assembly’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We stand ready to help Mr. Voronkov and his team in discharging their important functions in pursuing the goal of ridding the world of terrorism and call on all peace-loving Member States to fulfil their commitments in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
I thank you, Mr. President.