On behalf of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, I would like to thank your Excellency for holding this important session and for allowing Member States to participate in this debate which adopted resolution No. 2178 on the flow of foreign fighters from around the world to join armed terrorist organizations. The acts of these terrorist organizations, which have recently seized large areas of cities and villages and directly engaged in fueling conflicts and committing grave violations against innocent people including assaults, kidnappings, displacements and mass murders, confirm our belief that there is a common threat facing all member states that requires a united effort in taking strict and immediate measures against it.
The threat we are facing today has exacerbated lately due to the absence of taking deterrent actions against it in the past. Two decades ago, we faced the threat of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations whose acts spread to the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. Today, we continue to suffer from the same threats and even more serious due to the emergence of various forms of violence which are not limited to committing murders, kidnappings and displacements only, but also include sexual violence against women as a prime target, and that is always overlooked during the talk about the crimes of those organizations. The acts committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant “ISIL” in both Iraq and Syria are the biggest proof of that, and became a source of concern for the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, we appeal to the international community to continue its efforts to eliminate a principal element contributing to terrorism, which is the recruitment of foreign fighters, and to make sure that this effort becomes a part of a comprehensive strategy aiming at eliminating the other elements feeding terrorism.
The United Arab Emirates, which strongly condemns the operations of recruiting foreign fighters and the related financing, considers these operations as one of the most dangerous elements that contributes to international terrorism. We also emphasize that the dangerous proportions of this issue are not limited to the areas of conflict, but also include the safe areas from which those fighters are recruited. The UAE, therefore, welcomes the resolution (adopted – to be adopted) today, and regards it an important and crucial resolution.
Addressing this threat cannot be done through taking security and military measures only, but also requires the international community to pursue a unified comprehensive strategy that prevents recruitment of terrorist elements, through the following:
First: Strengthening international cooperation at all levels, particularly in the area of exchanging information on the recruitment campaigns of young foreign fighters and their movements. It is also important to establish clear and specific criteria for regulating this process.
Second: Tightening control over social networks, which are used in attracting a larger number of deluded youth to achieve vicious goals under religious slogans, which have no connection with any divine faith. The United Arab Emirates is currently conducting a study on the mechanisms of preventing terrorist organizations from using social networks in recruitment.
Third: Tightening national legislations and laws to ensure criminalization, prosecution and punishment of involved people. In this context, I would like to point out that the UAE has recently adopted a strict federal law to punish those found guilty of inciting for terrorism or executed terrorist acts.
Lastly: Taking all necessary measures to combat all acts of violent extremism, including through the promotion of educational and rehabilitation programs among the unemployed youth to protect them from incitement and recruitment terrorist campaigns targeting them. In our part, the UAE is committed to combat violent extremism and its related beliefs and terrorist acts, and coordinates through its membership in the Global Counterterrorism Forum with the other partners to ensure that their territories are not used disseminating terrorist acts and other related crimes. The UAE also, through hosting Hedayah Center, helps the international community in exchanging the best practices in countering violent extremism in all its forms. At the same time, we will work on strengthening preventive policies through establishment of centers for the rehabilitation of people affected by extremism and terrorism ideologies.
Finally, we commend the efforts of the Council in adopting previous resolutions pertaining to this subject within a short period, most recently is resolution 2170, which condemns the recruitment of foreign fighters by ISIL and Al-Nusra Front (Victory Front) in Iraq and Syria, which indicates that there is a clear strategy for the Security Council towards fighting terrorism. We also hope that this serious effort of the Council will include allowing Member States to participate in its discussions in order to ensure that our efforts for combating terrorism are effectively coordinated.