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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
DR. ALBERTO G. ROMULO
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
UNITED IN PROTECTING THE WORLD
When terrorists strike, they seek not only to sow fear, mayhem, death and destruction.
They also seek to drive deep divisions, to destroy unity and spread misunderstanding and intolerance.
The launching today of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, by serving as the catalyst for universal, united and collective action, strikes a serious blow against terrorism.
This document unites us in protecting the people of the world.
The strategy contains many elements, which, from my own country’s experience, are crucial in winning the war against terror. This strategy supports, strengthens and complements our own national efforts in fighting terror.
Comprehensive measures aimed at eliminating safe havens for terrorists and denying funding for their activities are key actions that must be undertaken. Programs aimed at eliminating poverty, reducing disenfranchisement, stimulating development and reducing the differences that divide humanity must be implemented.
But in all this, individual liberties and fundamental human rights must be protected. We must ensure that our counter-terrorism measures will not have the unintended consequence of playing into the aims and methods of terrorists.
We agree that the United Nations must remain at the forefront in the fight against the international terrorism.
Even as member states continue to condemn these deplorable acts, even as members remain steadfast to rid the world of this scourge, the spirit of genuine international and multilateral cooperation and unity must permeate our every effort.
Regionally, we must complement international efforts. As the current Chair of ASEAN, the Philippines is putting regional cooperation in counter-terrorism at the forefront of our Chairmanship.
We applaud every effort made by member states in implementing the 13 universal instruments related to the prevention and suppression of international terrorism.
We reiterate our support behind the call of the Secretary General for the conclusion of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
It is a worthy endeavor to establish a broad legal framework on the prevention, repression, and cooperation in the elimination of terrorism. This broad legal framework will provide the basis, in significant ways, for various national, subregional and regional efforts. It will provide legislative backbone to many countries that may have little or less capability to adopt measures to fight terrorism.
And yet we must recognize that even a plethora of legal instruments or bilateral and multilateral arrangements would not be enough to counter terrorism. It is not enough to simply deny terrorists the means to commit their dastardly acts.
The Philippines has recently began to explore a realistic middle ground to counter terrorism. We hope to realize a strategic policy response that is developmental in nature, takes into account sub-regional approaches, and rationalizes capacity-building. This strategy would address peculiar causes and conditions and allow developing countries to strike a balance between receiving counter-terrorism assistance and protecting their cultures and religions.
We believe that a comprehensive counter terrorism strategy must also address the very reason for existence of these terrorists, groups and organizations. Destroying their camps and safe-havens, denying them financial means, confiscating their weapons will merely prevent them, temporarily, from committing future terrorist acts.
But deny them the very reason for their existence and these terrorists will cease to exist. Eliminate discrimination, marginalization, disenfranchisement and foster tolerance, dialogue and understanding, and we would have built for ourselves an even sturdier path.
Civil society and religious leaders have a key role to play in the fight against terrorism. Along with 50 member states of the United Nations, the Philippines has forged a unique tripartite partnership among governments, the United Nations system and Civil Society.
The Forum for Interfaith Cooperation for Peace was formally launched last March 24. Through this forum, we hope to embark on a historic undertaking to promote respect and advance understanding between diverse peoples, their cultures and religions, thus fostering tolerance and friendship among them.
Through this forum, we hope to make a meaningful contribution to the UN’s Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
Today we’ve drawn the line. We stand solidly with all the members of the United Nations behind our Global Counter-terrorism Strategy.
Together, we will make sure that line will hold fast.
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