SC: Counter-Terrorism

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Trine Heimerback in the UN Security Council meeting on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts (particularly the threat posed by ISIL / Da’esh), 9 February 2022.

Norway thanks USG Voronkov and acting Executive Director Chen for their informative briefings today.

The Secretary-General’s report, and recent events in northeast Syria, serve as a stark reminder of ISIL’s resilience. Nearly three years after its territorial collapse, the group retains the ability to conduct sophisticated, high-impact attacks. This is the case not only in the group’s core area of activity in Syria and Iraq, but also – and increasingly – in Afghanistan and across Africa. The international community must sustain its collective efforts against this threat.

It remains a fact that the countries and regions most vulnerable to terrorism are those also characterized by armed conflict, political instability, poverty, climate change and weak governance. The threat that ISIL and its affiliates pose – including in numerous country situations on this Council’s agenda – cannot be effectively addressed without recognizing this context.

As such, we need to employ a comprehensive, whole-of-society approach to counterterrorism: one that forms part of a broader political strategy, addresses underlying drivers of radicalization, and is firmly anchored in human rights and the rule of law.


Let me highlight three points Norway considers crucial in these efforts:

  • First: prevention. The most effective counterterrorism strategy is a preventive one. We must build resilience to radicalization by ensuring social, political, and economic inclusion, providing access to justice and security, and empowering women and youth. Such investment in the social contract pays dividends- saving both lives and resources.
  • Second: protection. Recent ISIL attacks, including in al-Hasakeh, underscore the need to place protection of civilians at the center of counterterrorism. Norway condemns the prison attack and reiterates our deep concern that children were caught in the crossfire. This attack also further draws attention to the dire humanitarian consequences of urban warfare – which Norway highlighted in the Council last month
  • Third: prosecution. We must continue the fight against impunity and hold perpetrators of terrorism accountable. In this regard, Norway welcomes efforts in national jurisdictions, including recently in Germany, to investigate and prosecute ISIL members in line with international law. We also commend the work of international investigative mechanisms such as UNITAD and the “Triple I M” (IIIM). Ensuring accountability is a prerequisite for justice.


The elimination of ISIL leader al-Qurayishi last week represents another significant blow to the group. But while ISIL remains diminished, it is not defeated. To eradicate the group once and for all, we must be clear-eyed about the vulnerabilities it exploits, and the contexts in which it embeds itself. We must recognize that counterterrorism is not only a technical exercise but also a political one; that it is not only intelligence, airstrikes, and arrests, but also good governance, human rights and the rule of law. 

I thank you.