I thank the Permanent Representatives of Spain and Oman for the fine role that they are playing as co-facilitators of the Seventh Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. I also wish to thank the United Nations Under-Secretary-General of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism for the presentation on the comprehensive Report by the UN Secretary-General on the activities of the UN system in implementing the Strategy.
As we gather here today, in this Assembly Hall, and deliberate on this most important subject, I was wondering how many amongst us, would have personally experienced in some form or another the real horrible effects of terrorism. Some of us may have experienced it more than others. For some of our fellow citizens back at home, at one point in time it may have even become a way of life, as it might be the case even today for some of our Member States. The fear of getting on a public transport to get to work, the fear of sending your child to school, anxiously waiting for your loved ones to return home safely, the ability to go about your daily work without fear or anxiety is common in certain parts of our world, even as we speak.
Mr. President, when your fellow citizens are unable to lead their lives without the guarantee of their most fundamental rights, what is a responsible government constitutionally mandated to do? How should it respond? This was the dilemma facing the Government of Sri Lanka. For nearly 30 years we tried a cocktail of mechanisms from peace talks to ceasefires with the aid of our interlocutors, however the high price, to bring the group of non-state actors responsible for their extremely brutal terror tactics to the table, into the democratic fold. Regrettably all these efforts did not work. Innocent men, women and children continued to be terrorized, lost their lives and we witnessed the loss of public assets. Their distorted ideologies continued to incite hatred along ethnic lines even as I speak sitting in the comfort of jurisdictions outside. Finally, the Government had no choice but to carry out the humanitarian operation in 2009 that finally liberated the people of Sri Lanka from the clutches of that group of non-state actors.