Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC open debate on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC open debate on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

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Statementby the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC open debate on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts

(14 April 2016)

Mr. President,

At the outset, I want to thank you for convening this open debate to discuss one of the most pressing issues on the UN Security Council’s agenda.

[While fully aligning with the statement of the European Union, to be delivered later today, I would like to make the following points on the subject.]

Mr. President,

Ukraine condemns the phenomenon of terrorism unreservedly in all its forms and manifestations.

We support the central role of the United Nations and the UN Security Council, promoting international cooperation in fighting terrorism, including in the framework of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Ensuring its effective implementation requires a closer cooperation among Member States, UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee, Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, as well as other UN family agencies and bodies.

Ukraine is a party to all counter-terrorism treaties and is closely engaged in this endeavor with relevant international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Financial Action Task Force, as well as the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM) and others.

Mr. President,

ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Jabhat al-Nusra and others are not just a regional menace but a global challenge, whose violent ideologies constitute a threat to the entire international community. My country strongly condemns the crimes and acts of mass violence that these terrorist groups are committing against civilians, including the most vulnerable minorities — from Syria and Iraq to France and Belgium. We are fully committed to international coalition’s efforts to combat this global threat.

The escalation of the conflicts nowadays is directly influenced by the influx of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF). Not only they dramatically increase the intensity and duration of conflicts, but also endanger internal security of states of their origin upon their return home, by either spreading extremist ideologies or committing acts of terror and establishing terrorist sleeping cells.

We believe that the primary obligation to prevent the movements of FTF lies primarily with the source countries, which have to spot and stop FTF flows at the earliest stages.

Ukraine is actively contributing to the global and regional efforts aimed at stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, by countering the recruitment and transit of terrorists in line with the relevant UNSC Resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005) and 2178 (2014).

During 2015 alone, eight transit points of ISIL were identified in Ukraine and were shut down by the national security services. 21 ISIL supporter were detained and deported to their source countries. Over the period of 2015–2016 about 600 foreign citizens were denied entry into Ukraine, based on information about their involvement in the ISIL activities.

Mr. President,

International terrorism and violent extremism threaten our core values and principles, including human rights, the rule of law, democracy, equal opportunity and freedom.

It goes without saying that fighting these threats only through military means does not have a long-lasting effect. Eliminating their visible manifestations without removing the root causes, propagates continuous outbreaks of terrorist attacks all over the world.

Only a combination of countering and prevention measures, more nuanced and comprehensive, will help reduce the appeal of and support for terrorist and extremist groups, and enhance resilience against them.

In this regard, Ukraine would like to extend its full support to the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism that has capped international endeavours in this field.

Mr. President,

Combating activities of individual terrorists and terrorist groups is insufficient if the problem of terrorism financing, including of state-sponsored terrorism, is not properly addressed.

We underline the particular importance of effective efforts — both at international and national level — to prevent and counteract the financing of terrorist activities and terrorist organizations as well as to ensure inevitable prosecution and punishment of individuals or organizations that provide such funding in any form and by any methods. These efforts should be based on relevant UN legal instruments as well as those elaborated within the FATF framework.

Ensuring genuine — not declarative — cooperation of States and mutual assistance of their law enforcement agencies in preventing financing terrorism is the key to overcoming this phenomenon, which has become rampant at the regional and global levels. Any linkage to this crime of government agencies or officials must lead to the international responsibility of States for the crime of financing terrorism.

Mr. President,

In this very context, I cannot but mention how much this issue is topical for Ukraine, which has been dealing with the challenge of terrorist activities in Donbas region carried out with direct support of the Russian Federation since 2014. Policy of terror against Ukrainian civilians in the Donbas is one of the dreadful hallmarks of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The terrorist component in the undeclared war against Ukraine is clearly visible and became a fact of life of the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

During the last two years, Ukraine has received irrefutable evidence of the terrorist nature of the organizations “DPR/LPR”, and the direct involvement of the Russian Federation in the financing, support and coordination of these terrorist groups, which perpetrated numerous crimes and carried out terrorist activities against the civilians, in particular in Mariupol, Volnovakha, Kramatorsk, Donetsk. Kharkiv and many other Ukrainian cities.

The shocking reality is that foreign terrorist fighters, primarily from Russia, constitute a significant part of about a 40 thousand-strong illegal armed group fighting against the Government of Ukraine in Donbas.

Weapons and manpower continue to flow from Russia to Ukraine’s east through uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian border. The OSCE Оbsеrvеr Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border has constantly reported on high numbers of persons in military-style clothing crossing the border in both directions. In раrtiсulаr, since the beginning оf the Mission’s operation in July 2014 over 26 500 crossings of this category have been rероrtеd by the Mission from only two border crossing points. The Russian military continue to train terrorists and fighters of illegal armed groups at the military camps set up in the occupied Crimea and parts of Donbas as well as in the Rostov, Belgorod and Tambov oblasts of the Russian Federation.

Having been directly involved in all these terrorist activities, the Russian Federation is clearly violating commitments undertaken in accordance with a set of legally binding international instruments on prevention and combating international terrorism, including the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, as well as the relevant UNSC resolutions.

Apart from that, Russia launched a mass-media campaign aimed at the radicalization of population in the occupied territories of Donbas that creates fertile ground for the spread of terrorist narratives. Moreover, the Russian media and nationalist circles glorify the Russian terrorist fighters, as they depart to Ukraine and return to Russia, instead of being prosecuted by the law-enforcement authorities.

As for Crimea, yesterday the Russian occupational authorities adopted the decision to suspend — all together and with immediate effect — activities of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis (their only legislative body). It is not only yet another crime in the genocidal spree launched by Russia against Crimean Tatars. This outrageous act by the aggressor country has a direct bearing for our today’s debate — for it will but further radicalize already desperate and highly charged fabric of Crimean Tatars — youth in the first place — with consequences hard to predict. In this regard, we call on the Security Council and the Secretary-General to unequivocally condemn this lawless act.

Therefore, we consistently urge the international community to put additional pressure on the Russian Federation to stop war and terrorism in the heart of Europe.

The terrible terrorist acts and all the crimes against humanity must be resolutely condemned and punished. The sanctions imposed on the aggressor-state should be maintained and strengthened.

Mr. President,

During recent decades the international community has made remarkable achievements in adopting legally binding instruments on countering terrorism. However, more should be done to prevent and combat this scourge.

Our major task is to conclude the work on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, which would supplement the existing international legal counter-terrorism framework and provide States with a useful tool in their efforts to combat terrorism.

One of the major obstacles on this course is finding a clear definition for the act of terrorism. Tackling this problem would allow the international community to address more efficiently some outstanding issues of bringing to account not only individual terrorists and organizations but also those States responsible for organizing, financing, encouraging, providing training or otherwise directly or indirectly supporting terrorist activities.

In this context, certain principles of the Geneva Declaration adopted by the International Conference on the Question of Terrorism in 1987, as well as the proposal put forward in 2007 in the UNGA Sixth Committee could be taken as the basis for a new legally binding instrument in this field.

Mr. President,

Another aspect that increasingly warrants our close attention is the protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks, capable of disrupting the functioning of banking and finance, telecommunications, emergency services, air and rail transportation, energy and water supply, as well as causing numerous civilian casualties. Ukraine is of the opinion that the UN Security Council should expeditiously address this problem by mobilizing international efforts aimed at diminishing the mere possibility of such attacks.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, Ukraine strongly believes that one of the most important facets in countering international terrorism is to commemorate the memory of its victims. Without remembering the lessons of the past and educating about them the generations to come, the mankind will be doomed to repeat the dark chapters of its history.

In this vein, I would like to recall the initiative of Ukraine with regard to the establishment of the International Day of Commemoration of Memory of Victims of Terrorist Acts.

Finally, Mr. President, we see great merit in having the Council address the issue of the terrorism scourge on a regular, systematic basis, including this September at the highest possible level.

I thank you for your attention.