Pakistan called for broadening the range of United Nations Security Council sanctions to include, among other “new and lethal groups”, India’s Hindu nationalist outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) when a review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy began on Friday.
“There is a need also to enlarge the scope of the current UN Security Council sanctions regime (currently limited to ISIL and Al-Qaeda) and their associates,” Ambassador Munir Akram said during the informal consultations in the UN General Assembly on reviewing and updating the 2006 strategy aimed at combating terrorism.
The other terrorist groups the Pakistani envoy named for UNSC’s sanctions were: Proud Boys, Atomwaffen Division (AWD), the Rise Above Movement (R.M.A.), National Action, Blood and Honour as well as Combat18.
The 193-member Assembly reviews the Strategy every two years. Friday’s consultations mark the start of its seventh review.
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram reaffirmed Pakistan’s pledge to continue working with the UN and other international partners to confront and defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
He said the current review should consider creating a special office in the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) to monitor the impact of religious and racial inequality, the prevalence of racism, discrimination and related intolerance and the impact of supremist, neo-Nazis and Hindutva ideologies on the spread of terrorism and violent nationalism.
It should also elaborate the root causes of terrorism including the prolonged unresolved conflicts, foreign occupation, and denial of the right to self-determination, xenophobia and islamophobia.
Additionally, Ambassador Akram said, terrorism cannot be separated from its political context, as all major terrorist outfits, including ISIL and Al-Qaeda, continue to operate with impunity from conflict areas, drawing their deadly narratives from the instances of oppression and injustices.
He also suggested the establishment of a working group within the Global Coordination Compact entities to come up with proposals to address these underlying conditions conducive to terrorism. “One practical step we can take is to establish a clear link between the work of the UN Department of Political and Peace-building Affairs and the Office of Counter Terrorism”.
Voicing deep concern over the new trends in global terrorism marked by the proliferation of violent nationalist ideologies and their acts of racially, ethnically and politically-motivated terrorism, the Pakistani envoy said he looked forward to working with all member states “in a constructive and cooperative spirit” to present specific proposals to address these ignored challenges.
He hoped that the review resolution will identify steps to curb the rise of supremist, neo-Nazis and Hindutva ideologies, by recognizing that these violent nationalist groups, apart from disrupting religious and racial harmony in the world, create conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.
“The review should also call on member states, in accordance with their obligations under international human rights law, to take necessary measures, including the promulgation of civil, criminal and administrative legislation to combat all forms of religious and racial discrimination and hate speech propagated by supremist, neo-Nazi and Hindutva ideologies and organizations,” Ambassador Akram added.
In opening remarks, the UN General Assembly President, Volkan Bozkir, said that terrorism was a scourge that knows no borders and that cooperation thus remains the key to fighting it effectively.
He said that terrorist acts not only kill and injure individuals; they traumatize communities and societies.
The Assembly President noted that the review process was critical to ensuring that the Strategy remained relevant and in line with member states’ priorities and needs.
Bozkir said that the coronavirus pandemic has magnified challenges as many countries have had to shift resources away from counter-terrorism efforts. At the same time, the president said, the conditions that terrorists exploit – to create division and recruit others – have been exacerbated.
He also stressed that efforts to counter terrorism must not compromise human rights.