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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
"Walk the Talk Against Terrorism"
Let me first congratulate you and the members of your bureau on your election. I am confident that as Chairman, the Sixth Committee will have a productive session, knowing your vast diplomatic skill, more recently as a colleague in the Security Council. It is also heartwarming to see Mr. Vaclav Mikulka who assisted me a lot as Chairman of the 58th session of this Committee in the podium.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement by Ambassador Le Luong Minh of Vietnam made on behalf of the ASEAN member countries on the efforts by ASEAN in combating international terrorism. The Philippines has always been a strong partner of ASEAN-led efforts in this regard.
The most recent attack in Bali, Indonesia, again shows that international efforts at combating terrorism need to be strengthened and reformulated, and these need to be done fast. The global fight against terrorism in its various forms and manifestations is ongoing and has been the subject of numerous international treaties. As terrorism has metamorphosed and the number of terrorist has increased and diversified, so must measures to eliminate this scourge.
Recently, the summit of the Security Council passed Resolution 1624, which condemns the incitement of terrorist acts and calls upon all states to adopt measures to prohibit and prevent such incitement. The various anti terrorism committees of the Security Council: 1267,1373,1540 and 1566 have adapted their procedures and operational activities to meet new forms of terrorism.
The Philippines has not been spared from these violent attacks. But we have fought back with national vigilance and with the tools of interfaith dialogue.
We have also negotiated a web of both bilateral and trilateral cooperative agreements – ranging from information exchange to border security patrols – with ASEAN member countries and their dialogue partners in interdicting terrorists on both land and sea. In her speech before the Security Council Summit last month, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced that the Philippines is joining the Proliferation Security Declaration.
The Philippines likewise advocates that comprehensive measures aimed at eliminating safe havens for terrorists and denying funding for terrorist activities must be taken. Programs aimed at eliminating poverty, reducing disenfranchisement, stimulating development and reducing the differences that divide humanity must be undertaken. We also believe that it is important to win the hearts and minds of peoples in support of any measure designed to combat terrorism. Protecting liberties and safeguarding fundamental human rights will ensure that such measures will not have the unintended consequence of playing into the aims and methods of terrorists.
This Committee should now complete, as a matter of urgency, the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which this committee has been negotiating since 1998. It is a worthy endeavor to establish a broad legal framework on the prevention, repression and elimination of terrorism and highlights the importance of international cooperation in combating international terrorism. That broad legal framework will provide the basis, in significant ways, for various national, subregional and regional efforts aimed at adopting measures against terrorism. It will provide legislative backbone to many countries which are unable or incapable of measures to fight terrorism. During the negotiations in the early part of spring we adopted the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. That Convention, which the Philippines has signed during the Treaty event last September, is more than what it is hailed to be – an instrument that can effectively pre-empt any and all acts of nuclear terrorism through the establishment of a reliable international legal mechanism for cooperation at all stages of combating nuclear terrorism. It is a symbol that the member states of the United Nations can resolve differences and find common ground in the pursuit of a worthy goal. It should be a message also for states to exercise the necessary political will to adopt a comprehensive convention against terrorism. These are extraordinary times and extraordinary times require extraordinary efforts to resolve differences. To curb terrorism, one should be willing to pay to achieve success.
Terrorists aim to divide. They aim to divide peoples, cultures, faiths; they aim to divide nations, governments and ideologies. Terrorists thrive on the chasm of our differences; the wider the divide, the greater the misunderstanding, the easier they can inflict terror and fear. My delegation believes that the United Nations can find common ground, a common cause to defeat the common adversary. Detection of terrorism and of terrorists and implementation of measures against these should be that common ground. We are gratified to note that the Outcome Declaration Document adopted by more than 170 heads of government/states adopted the position that there could never be a justification for an act of terrorism , whether ideological or political.
The United Nations should remain at the forefront in the fight against terror, even as members remain steadfast and united to rid the world of this scourge. Lessen the differences that divide us, and this challenge is not insurmountable.
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