SC: Counter-terrorism

Statement by Permanent Representative Ambassador Mona Juul in the Security Council meeting on counter-terrorism, 15 December 2022.

Let me first extend my condolences to Ireland for the peacekeeper killed and those injured in yesterday's tragic attack in Lebanon. I would also like to thank the briefers today for their insightful and thought-provoking remarks and testimony.

Two decades ago, during Norway’s previous term on this Council, the September 11 attacks shocked the world and triggered a profound shift in global security policy – one that recognised international terrorism as a global threat.

Since then, the multilateral counter-terrorism architecture has grown at a rapid pace, and now forms a key part of the broader peace and security agenda. This therefore, is an opportune moment to take stock of these efforts, and consider both their strengths and deficiencies, as we reflect on the way forward.

There is no doubt that notable success has been achieved:

Al-Qaida is severely degraded and no longer capable of conducting complex attacks on the scale of 9/11.

ISIL has been territorially defeated in its core area.

And, according to the latest Global Terrorism Index, global deaths from terrorism are nearly 60% below their peak in 2014.

Yet, we have also witnessed more troubling trends emerging. Africa is now the continent most affected by terrorism. ISIL and al-Qaida affiliates have strategically exploited armed conflict, weak governance, and local grievances to radicalise and recruit.

In many other parts of the world, right-wing extremism is on the rise. And new and emerging technologies are increasingly susceptible to misuse for terrorist purposes.

Moreover, in some contexts, counter-terrorism measures have had grave implications for human rights. Over the past two decades- in the absence of an internationally agreed definition of terrorism- some governments have deployed counter-terrorism measures which violate a broad range of rights. And sometimes, they are used to target political opposition, thereby shrinking civic space.

Some counter-terrorism measures have also had unintended negative consequences for humanitarian action. Affecting vulnerable people’s access to much needed humanitarian assistance and protection. The newly adopted resolution 2664 however, can be an important tool to address this issue.

In sum, we must acknowledge that the international community is up against: a threat it cannot define; which has no clear success criteria; and which-
in some contexts- is exploited to justify repressive measures. This is counterproductive to national and international efforts to combat terrorism. These challenges must be addressed.

Allow me to underscore three points Norway considers crucial in guiding our collective efforts moving forward:

First: Our counter-terrorism approach must be holistic, and form part of a broader political strategy. One that is preventative, conflict-sensitive,
gender-responsive, and regionally integrated. Addressing root causes through the promotion of the rule of law, sustainable development, and human rights is essential.

Second: These efforts should be rooted in a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. Which marshals cross-sectoral public resources, recognises the importance of women’s participation, and institutionalises strategic engagement with civil society in the development and implementation of counter-terrorism measures.

Third: Human rights must be respected at all times including in the context of counter-terrorism. On the multilateral level, all UN counter-terrorism bodies should continue to mainstream human rights considerations across their work. For instance, CTED should further integrate human rights in its assessment activities, and use the resulting data to inform its analytical products.

Norway believes these principles are key to strengthening future counterterrorism efforts. If adhered to, it is our hope that in another 20 years the issue will no longer be on our agenda.