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PH to Security Council: We have the legal framework to address counter-terrorism measures and humanitarian action

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - 12:00

Deputy Permanent Representative Ariel R. Peñaranda of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations (upper left) speaks before the Security Council meeting, with briefers from the International Committee of the Red Cross Geneva, Dr. Helen Durham (upper right), UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Reena Ghelani (lower left), and United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, Deputy Under-Secretary-General Raffi Gregorian (lower right).


UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, 11 August 2021– At a Security Council meeting today, the Philippines emphasized that the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 provided the country with the legal framework to navigate tensions related to counter-terrorism measures and humanitarian action. This law gave authorities the muchneeded legal backbone to support the criminal justice system in preventing terrorism and prosecuting individuals who commit acts of terrorism.

This was stated by Deputy Permanent Representative Ariel R. Peñaranda of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations, who also stressed that “the law sets the framework to exact accountability, liability, and responsibility on law enforcement agents who must, in the performance of their functions, observe human rights and civil liberties.”

“The law ensures that humanitarian aid, including medical support, will not be affected inappropriately due to the introduction of an offense of material support, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2462,” DPR Peñaranda added.

Section 13 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 prevents the criminalization of activities of impartial humanitarian organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) whose mandate under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict.

DPR Peñaranda noted that as the government addresses “the root causes of violent extremism and radicalization, our efforts have always been consistent with our obligations and commitments under international law, relevant Council resolutions, and instruments, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.”

Ambassador Martin Kimani, Permanent Representative of Kenya, the President of the Security Council for the month of August 2021, reaffirmed Kenya’s support for “consultations within and outside the Security Council for solutions that strike the right balance in the fight against terrorism and the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need” noting “that balance is still not in place and a continuation of the status quo is unsustainable for both counter terrorism and humanitarian actors.”

The briefers for the meeting cited the Philippines as one of the countries that recently adopted domestic legislation that protect humanitarian activities carried out by impartial humanitarian actors. The said briefers include Mr. Raffi Gregorian, Deputy Under-Secretary-General and Director of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, Dr. Helen Durham, Director of International Law and Policy of the International Committee of the Red Cross Geneva, and Ms. Reena Ghelani, Director of Operations and Advocacy Division of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The informal virtual meeting, held in the format of a UN Security Council Arria Formula, discussed tensions between counter-terrorism measures and humanitarian action, which need to be addressed in the context of the protracted and escalating nature of conflicts, the impacts of insurgent and terrorist operations, destructive climate events, and the widespread economic slumps emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic. The statements of the participants will be compiled and circulated after the event.

Video of the event may be viewed at: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1p/k1pikud42f. END