Ambassador Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in a statement delivered at the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy Plenary Meeting at the UN General Assembly on 26 June 2018, said that as a country that once suffered under the yoke of terrorism for nearly thirty years and successfully eradicated the scourge from its shores in 2009, Sri Lanka is acutely aware of the need for sharing information technology, databases, and intelligence in combating terrorism. He stated that Information sharing must take place not only on an international or cross regional level but also between local state institutions, and other counter terrorism mechanisms including the private sector and civil society. Countering terrorism is a not only an all of UN approach it must be an all of country approach.
His full statement can be found below
Sri Lanka Statement
Ambassador Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
Agenda Item: 118
The United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy
UN General Assembly, United Nations, New York
26 June 2018
Check against delivery
Thank you Mr. President,
My delegation thanks the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly for their comprehensive statements and we take note of the Secretary General’s reports.
We take this opportunity to thank the Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) for its work. We are confident the Office will help strengthen the capability of the United Nations system, and enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities, to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
Sri Lanka is committed to cooperate with the UNOCT in its key functions and welcomes the focus on capacity-building assistance to Member States.
Sri Lanka condemns terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations. It is in this context that the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy becomes essential as a rallying call to action. All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.
Though we have made progress in the implementation of the Counter Terrorism Strategy since 2006, we have encountered many challenges as a result of the changing face of terrorism and violent extremism, not least of all due to the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, financing of terrorism, rapid advancement of technology, porous borders and large movements of humanity due to violence.
International networks with linkages to organized crime are a critical lifeline for terrorists and violent extremists groups. It is therefore imperative for all member states to pool their resources and share intelligence, data bases and expertise to counter this issue. Transnational organized crime is increasingly a part of the arsenal of terrorists, and directly related to financing of terrorism.
As a country that once suffered under the yoke of terrorism for nearly thirty years and successfully eradicated the scourge from its shores in 2009, Sri Lanka is acutely aware of the need for sharing information, technology, databases, and intelligence in combating terrorism. Information sharing must take place not only on an international or cross regional level but also between local state institutions, and other counter terrorism mechanisms including the private sector and civil society. Countering terrorism is a not only an all of UN approach it must be an all of country approach.
In two days the UN will hold the first ever High Level Conference of Heads of Counter Terrorism Agencies of Member States. It is our hope that this would be an opportunity for member states to create networks and partnerships and share information and strategies in order to strengthen cooperation as is envisaged in the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
In this regard it is important that media - especially with the rise in social media tools - helps disseminate the values that will foster a culture of peace and a forum for dialogue and understanding rather than a platform for hate and bigotry. We must actively seek to prevent the abuse of social media to promote the culture of racism, hate and intolerance.
We must also give due consideration to the fourth pillar of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, of ensuring human rights and the rule of law is observed in these global efforts to counter terrorism. While terrorists have dehumanized us, the international community should not embrace the lawlessness of the terrorist and must never abandon its common humanity, which is what binds us together and gives us strength in our fight against terror.
At the same time, terrorism and violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, cannot, must not and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. Counter terrorism is as much about military strategy and intelligence as it is about winning hearts and minds.
In many parts of the world, violent extremism targets vulnerable and marginalized communities, children, minorities, women and girls. It is therefore imperative, that we proactively include and engage those entities of the United Nations System that deal with Children, Minorities, Women and Girls.
Indeed the General Assembly unanimously adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, to enhance national, regional and international efforts to counter terrorism. As noble as these objectives are, we must demonstrate a commitment to close ranks, and make a determined and singular effort to overcome this challenge.
In this regard we must recognize that the building blocks for a normative framework in strengthening international cooperation in these areas, are contained in the efforts undertaken by the General Assembly; in particular, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism and the Working Group which have already resulted in a large number of sectorial conventions on the suppression of terrorism being adopted.
Despite the support of most member states, and having been mandated by the General assembly to come up with a comprehensive legal framework, to fill possible gaps in the existing sectoral Conventions on terrorism, it is regrettable that we have not been able to break the current impasse surrounding the draft comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). Much work has been accomplished in the Ad Hoc Committee. What remains is the necessary political will to be harnessed to conclude the Convention.
It is pertinent at this time to recall that the conclusion of a CCIT was one of the key components of the 2006 Plan of Action to combat Terrorism. The detailed elements of a comprehensive package has been before the Ad Hoc Committee and the Working Group since 2007. It is time to conclude the Comprehensive Convention, so that the international community sends out a strong signal of its collective will to combat terrorism and contribute to the effective implementation of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
In conclusion although much more could have been achieved, nevertheless Sri Lanka welcomes and supports the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy. We wish to express our deep appreciation to the co facilitators of the Sixth Review of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, the distinguished ambassadors of Jordan and Finland and to their indefatigable experts for their efforts in this complex task, and we reaffirm Sri Lanka’s commitment to the implementation of the Strategy.