Context-Specific Approaches to Remedy Socioeconomic Divide in Terrorism-Plagued Countries Key for Ending Scourge, Delegates Say
Despite international efforts to defeat Da’esh, the group still poses a considerable threat in many parts of the world, senior United Nations officials told the Security Council today, as members stressed the need to complement the relatively blunt instrument of force with more nuanced, context-specific approaches to remedy socioeconomic inequalities in countries awash with terrorism.
Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, briefed the Council that, despite leadership losses and diminishing cash reserves, Da’esh’s threat to international peace and security remains high. That threat has increased in and around conflict zones where the group and its affiliates are active, and their expansion is particularly worrying in Central and Southern Africa, as well as in the Sahel region. Against that backdrop, he urged those present to rethink and revise efforts to counter the group — especially those that rely disproportionately on the use of force.
He went on to highlight specific challenges, including Da’esh’s use of new and emerging technology and the anaemic repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters and their families, particularly those languishing in camps in north-east Syria. He then offered several observations for the Council’s consideration, including the need to complement security-centred responses with preventive measures and to better understand the complex relationship between conflict and terrorism. Adding that the threat posed by Da’esh is a symptom of the convergence of the risks and threats outlined in Our Common Agenda, he stressed that countering the same will require collective, decisive effort.
Weixiong Chen, Acting Executive Director of the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, also expressed concern over Da’esh’s increased use of technology, including its exploitation of social-media platforms, unmanned aircraft systems and information and communications technologies. He also echoed concerns over the slow pace of repatriation of foreign nationals with links to Da’esh who remain in camps and prisons in north-east Syria. “These conditions provide Da’esh with ongoing opportunities to recruit from camps and prisons and facilitate radicalization to violence and the spread of terrorism,” he warned.
Franziska Praxl-Tabuchi, Director of Multilateral Relations for the Global Center on Cooperative Security, urged the Council to recognize the gendered nature of power relations within societies and terrorist groups, stating that most rehabilitation and reintegration interventions have been designed for male perpetrators. Assumptions and stereotypes about women’s agency and their status as victims before perpetrators further complicate the process of designing effective rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. Peace and security interventions that fail to account for gendered roles, needs and power relations have a substantially higher risk of doing harm and reinforcing the norms that enable gender-based injustice, she added.
In the ensuing debate, Council members expressed concern over the increasing terrorist threat in Africa and Central Asia, with many spotlighting the challenges in the Sahel region and Afghanistan specifically. Many echoed the alarm expressed by the briefers concerning Da’esh’s increasing use of emerging technology and lagging efforts to repatriate, rehabilitate and reintegrate foreign terrorist fighters and their families. Members also highlighted Da’esh’s continued exploitation of conflict and socioeconomic inequity, underscoring that security responses alone will be insufficient should the international community wish to definitively defeat the scourge of terrorism.
On that point, the representative of Switzerland stressed that the global counter-terrorism response cannot be the “blind use of force”. Each terrorist threat has its own root causes and, therefore, each must be examined in context. As Da’esh remains a global threat, she called on the international community to adopt a differentiated approach to address it — one that accounts for age and gender to prevent radicalization and violent extremism of all forms. She also urged those present to consider the advantages new technology can offer the fight against terrorism, instead of only seeking to counter terrorist use of the same.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates also stressed the importance of gender mainstreaming and the need to prevent terrorists from exploiting local grievances, pointing out that terrorist groups in Afghanistan are publishing nihilistic propaganda in local and regional languages. She also observed that more than 20 non-State armed groups possess drones, calling for stronger international cooperation, transparent regulatory standards and collaboration with the private sector to further the peaceful uses of drone technology.
The representative of Mozambique, similarly, welcomed United Nations efforts to explore ways to leverage technology to enhance counter-terrorism measures, including to combat financial networks believed to support Da’esh. He went on to recall that Africa has increasingly served as a fertile ground for terrorist groups, which have dramatically expanded their operations on the continent to sow unprecedented destruction, death and humanitarian crises. He also cited an influx of terrorist fighters to the continent, emphasizing the need to urgently reverse the “Africanization” of terrorism.
Offering a tangible example was Ghana’s representative, who reported that violent extremists and criminal networks have resulted in the closure of more than 10,000 schools in the Sahel region, impacting millions of children. “We should not allow a few disgruntled elements in our societies to put the lives of the many in danger,” he stressed, noting that no country is immune from the threat posed by terrorism. He underlined, therefore, the need to adopt a whole-of-society approach and prioritize prevention, among other measures.
The representative of China, meanwhile, said that African efforts to conduct joint counter-terrorism operations are commendable, calling on international partners to increase support for the same in terms of financing, equipment, intelligence and logistics. Underlining the shortcomings of responses purely centred on security, however, he spotlighted the role of poverty in breeding terrorism. Pointing out that the weakest link in the global counter-terrorism response has been the promotion of socioeconomic development, he stressed that, after using military measures to weaken terrorist groups, economic and development initiatives must follow lest hard-won gains be lost.
Also speaking were representatives of the United States, France, Ecuador, United Kingdom, Gabon, Japan, Albania, Brazil, Russian Federation and Malta.
The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 5:02 p.m.
VLADIMIR VORONKOV, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the threat posed by Da’esh (document S/2023/76).The report asserts that, despite leadership losses and expenses that are diminishing its cash reserves, the threat posed by Da’esh to international peace and security remains high and, further, has increased in and around conflict zones where the group and its affiliates are active.The expansion of Da’esh and its affiliates is particularly worrying in Central and Southern Africa, as well as in the Sahel and, against that backdrop, he urged those present to rethink and revise efforts to counter the group — especially those that rely disproportionately on the use of force.He also noted that the level of terrorist activity other than attacks continues to be alarming, reporting that Da’esh continues to use the Internet, social media, video games and gaming-adjacent platforms to extend the reach of its propaganda to radicalize and recruit new supporters.
He went on to express concern over Da’esh’s use of new and emerging technologies, noting that the group continues to use unmanned aerial systems for surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as virtual assets for fundraising.Despite the Secretary-General’s repeated calls for urgent action, the dire situation in camps and detention facilities in north-east Syria persists.The humanitarian, human rights, legal and security risks associated with this status quo have potentially far-reaching consequences in the mid- to long-term, he stressed, stating that the pace of repatriation remains too slow and that children continue to “bear the brunt of this catastrophe”.Turning to the global challenge of foreign terrorist fighters, he said that such fighters move between different theatres of conflict and relocate to their homes or third countries with battlefield experience.Terrorist attacks committed by such individuals have proven to be particularly lethal compared to those committed by “purely homegrown” terrorists, he reported, also spotlighting instances of radicalized women associated with Da’esh who reinvent themselves as recruiters.
Noting that the report offers three key observations for the Council’s consideration, he said the first is that the high level of threat posed by Da’esh and its affiliates — including their sustained expansion in parts of Africa — underscores the need for multidimensional approaches beyond security-centred responses.More complementarity is needed between such responses and preventive measures, and the framework for ensuring such complementarity is provided by relevant Council resolutions and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.Second, such multidimensional approaches must be gender-sensitive and anchored in international law, as well as reflective of a broad range of views from various segments in societies affected by terrorism.Underlining the increased threat from terrorism in conflict zones, he said that, third, further efforts are needed to address and prevent these conflicts.Better understanding the complex relationship between conflict and terrorism is a necessary step for devising more-effective responses to these recurring challenges.Adding that the threat posed by Da’esh is a symptom of the convergence of the risks and threats outlined in Our Common Agenda, he stressed that countering the same will require collective, decisive effort.
WEIXIONG CHEN, Acting Executive Director of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, said the threat posed by Da’esh and its affiliates globally has not diminished.Instead, it presents a complex, evolving and enduring threat in both conflict and non-conflict zones.The Secretary-General’s report makes clear that Da’esh continues to exploit local fragilities and intercommunal tensions — particularly in Iraq, Syria and parts of the African continent — including through terrorist recruitment.“Da’esh, years after suffering its losses, has sustained its ability to carry out operations across diverse regions and expand its base of affiliated entities, notably in parts of Central, Southern and Western Africa,” he said, affirming that a visit by his office to Nigeria in October confirmed that assessment.
Noting that revenue generation and fundraising have become critical for Da’esh, he listed a range of avenues, such as extortion, looting, smuggling, taxation, soliciting donations and kidnapping-for-ransom.He also voiced concern over the increased use of social media platforms to raise funds, including through gaming platforms, and the continued use of unregistered, informal cash transfer networks and mobile money services.Meanwhile, the group’s access to conventional and improvised weapons — including components of unmanned aircraft systems and information and communications technologies (ICTs) — continues to contribute to the terrorist menace.“Using improvised, stolen or illegally trafficked weapons, Da’esh has launched lethal attacks against a range of targets,” he said.
He went on to note the slow pace of repatriation for foreign nationals — women and men, children and the elderly — with alleged links to Da’esh, who remain in camps and prisons of north-east Syria.“These conditions provide Da’esh with ongoing opportunities to recruit from camps and prisons and facilitate radicalization to violence and the spread of terrorism,” he warned.Listing some of the Directorate’s activities, he said it works to build Member States’ understanding of the evolving terrorist threat and support their implementation of relevant resolutions.It works closely with partners to support a range of capacity-building activities, such as helping Lake Chad Basin countries strengthen their collective approaches to screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration. In addition, the Directorate has bolstered efforts to address terrorists’ use of new and emerging technologies, in line with the October 2022 Delhi Declaration to that effect.
FRANZISKA PRAXL-TABUCHI, Director of Multilateral Relations, Global Center on Cooperative Security, said the perspectives of local civil society must inform the Council’s decisions, especially when those decisions affect those most affected by terrorism and counter-terrorism. “We hope to see our local partners sitting in this seat next time”, she said, calling upon Council members to support their participation. Mainstreaming gender is not just a matter of realizing the participation of women, she pointed out, underscoring that it is about ensuring inclusive, equitable participation and leadership of people of diverse gender identities. Noting some tentative progress, particularly in the promulgation of normative frameworks, resources and guidance documents, she said there are greater opportunities to move beyond the status quo by better addressing how gender identities intersect with other identity factors, including ethnicity, age, religion, and geographic origin.
Underscoring the need to operationalize existing guidance in partnership with local and regional stakeholders, she said the “do-no-harm principle” and gender and conflict sensitivity must underpin all aspects of countering violent extremism and counter-terrorism. Highlighting the complexity of drivers of insecurity beyond those posed by terrorism, she said policies must avoid creating or exacerbating drivers of violence and instead contribute to peace and the protection of human rights. The maintenance of strong, independent institutions of oversight and accountability and the prevention of abuse and corruption are crucial prerequisites for equitable community engagement. Peace and security interventions that fail to account for gendered roles, needs, and power relations have a substantially higher risk of doing harm and of reinforcing the norms that enable gender-based injustice, she added.
Gender-responsive stakeholder engagement, she continued, should be inclusive and participatory. Interventions should be co-led by stakeholders, partners, and programme participants of diverse gender and intersecting identities, prioritizing women’s civil society organizations and marginalized groups who are most impacted by a policy or programme. These stakeholders are best equipped to define what success looks like and the means to measure it, as well as to identify the nature and terms of their engagement, she stressed. “Inclusivity means more than ‘casting a wide net’”, she said, adding that it means actively seeking to remove barriers to participation, including participants’ physical and mental safety and the risk of reprisals, access to transportation, and need for childcare and associated costs. Finally, civil society experts should be compensated for their engagement. Women’s labour and expertise are undervalued across the board, including in government, civil society, and academia, she said, adding that this encourages an environment where women, far more so than men, are expected to speak and write without compensation.
Urging the Council to recognize the gendered nature of power relations within societies and within terrorist groups, she added that most rehabilitation and reintegration interventions have been designed for male perpetrators.Assumptions and stereotypes about women’s agency, their status as victims before perpetrators, further complicate the process of designing effective rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. Other stereotypes include the demonization of women who are suspected of having committed crimes, which can be particularly challenging when these women are in the process of reintegrating into a community. Highlighting examples from West Africa where her organization’s local partners facilitate dialogues and workshops using peacebuilding education and restorative justice methods, she said that in the wake of the violent Boko Haram insurgency, trauma consciousness and resilience support has risen to the forefront of these efforts. Mobile listening and counselling clinics are used to allow for flexible, safe, and private spaces for women to process their trauma, she noted.
RICHARD M. MILLS JR. (United States), noting that the report highlights Da’esh’s continued exploitation of conflict, corruption and inequality to attract followers and organize terrorist attacks, emphasized that security responses alone are insufficient.The international community must strengthen the capacity of vulnerable populations to counter misguided ideologies and reject violent extremism.In this vein, The Global Coalition Against Daesh’s annual pledge drive provides an important pathway for the international community to fund stabilization programmes that can build resilient communities in the liberated areas of Iraq and Syria.Noting that tens of thousands of foreign nationals — mostly women and children — still reside in camps for displaced persons, he said that repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration, as appropriate, of foreign terrorist fighters and their family members is a top priority for the United States.This is the most durable solution to ensure that Da’esh does not re-emerge in north-east Syria, and the United States stands ready to help Member States bring their nationals home.He went on to express particular concern over the increasing terrorist threat across Africa, reporting that his country provides its African partners with critical counter-terrorism assistance to disrupt and degrade Da’esh and its affiliates.Capable law enforcement and broader security-service responses are essential to counter and prevent terrorism, he added.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said the terrorist threat is not diminishing, which requires unwavering vigilance on the part of the international community.The work of the International Coalition against Da’esh remains indispensable, as does the fight against impunity for those responsible for terrorist crimes.In Africa, the terrorist threat is spreading from the Sahel region towards the Gulf of Guinea and is growing in the central and southern parts of the continent.In Afghanistan, fears that terrorist groups might once again be able to take root there have recently been confirmed.“Our efforts must therefore continue, and be adapted to the threat,” he stressed, noting that efforts under Council resolution 2462 (2019) must continue.All sources of terrorist funding — including alternative and innovative sources — must be addressed, he said, also calling for more action to tackle the root causes of terrorism in full respect for international law.Groups such as the Wagner Group — which violate human rights in the name of countering terrorism — are counterproductive, he stressed, pledging that France will continue to provide support to all counter-terrorism efforts carried out under the auspices of the United Nations.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador), noting that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and its affiliates pose a grave threat to international peace and security, expressed concern about the geographical spread of the groups’ operations and the spike in attacks in Africa and Central Asia. Da’esh exploits conflict zones as well as socioeconomic problems such as unemployment, discrimination, the absence of the rule of law and inequality, he said, noting this modus operandi explains their heightened presence in States in which such vulnerabilities are more acute. The Secretary-General’s report underscores the worrying situation of foreign terrorist fighters and their family members in detention camps, he said, voicing support for the efforts to meet the humanitarian and security needs of these people, particularly those of women and children. It is also vital to establish mechanisms to ensure that those responsible for terrorist acts do not continue to enjoy impunity, he said, commending the work of the Financial Action Task Force.
RICCARDA CHRISTIANA CHANDA (Switzerland), stressing that the global counter-terrorism response cannot be the “blind use of force”, pointed out that — as each terrorist threat has its own root causes and evolution of radicalization — each must be examined in context.She expressed concern over recent developments in Africa and Central Asia, particularly in conflict zones and neighbouring regions, emphasizing that complex situations have become more opaque with the emergence of new extremist groups.However, Da’esh remains a global threat, and the international community must adopt a differentiated approach to address it, accounting for age and gender to prevent radicalization and violent extremism of all forms.Further, she stressed that civil society and human-rights defenders — crucial partners in this task — must be able to operate in a safe, respectful environment.Turning to Da’esh’s increasing use of new technology, she spotlighted the Delhi Declaration and urged the international community to consider — aside from the potential threats posed by new technology — the significant economic, social and cultural prospects it offers that could benefit the fight against terrorism.She added that dialogue with the private sector, civil society and academia should continue along these lines.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) expressed regret that the Secretary-General’s report confirms fears about the increasing threat posed by Da’esh and its affiliates, as well as the convergence of armed conflict, terrorist attacks and transnational organized crime.Voicing particular concern about attacks by Da’esh and its affiliates across the African continent, with devastating consequences, he said that in West Africa and the Sahel, Da’esh and Al-Qaida affiliates have intensified their violent activities since the appointment of their new leader, Abba al Saharawi, in May 2022.In some Sahel countries, terrorists are fighting State forces, as well as one another for territorial control and resources. Violent extremists and criminal networks resulted in the closure of more than 10,000 schools in the region, impacting millions of children, and thousands were forced to flee Burkina Faso in recent weeks following brutality perpetrated by terrorist groups.
“We should not allow a few disgruntled elements in our societies to put the lives of the many in danger,” he stressed, noting that no country is immune from the threat.Calling for enhanced global mobilization and a more multidimensional approach and outlining some of Ghana’s own efforts, he underlined the need to agree on a universal definition of terrorism; respect the principle of national ownership; adopt a whole-of-society approach; and prioritize prevention.“This Council has not stepped up fully to its responsibility in the same manner that it has responded to traditional threats to international peace and security,” he added, welcoming plans to hold a global counter-terrorism summit in Abuja in October 2023.
FERGUS JOHN ECKERSLEY (United Kingdom), calling on the international community to maintain its resolve to counter ISIL (Da’esh), highlighted the collective responsibility of the United Nations to use “all the legal tools and levers at its disposal” to counter this threat. The Council must continue to demand of the Taliban that the Afghan territory does not provide shelter for terrorist groups, he stressed. Expressing concern about the threat of affiliates, he said that vulnerable conditions are being exploited by terrorist groups. Calling for a comprehensive approach that tackles the drivers of insecurity, he added that the Organization’s sanctions regimes must be used rigorously to choke off terrorist access to finance and weapons. He also drew attention to the activities of the Wagner Group and stressed that the presence of non-State armed groups is a destabilizing factor.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) expressed concern over Da’esh’s capacity to mobilize vast resources and acquire small arms and light weapons, which fuel instability and violence in Africa — particularly in the Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, Great Lakes region and southern Africa.He called for efforts to strengthen the capacity of fragile States, especially in mastering new information and communications technology, as Da’esh uses the same with “formidable prowess” to spread its criminal activity.Pointing out that terrorist groups continue to take root in regions where State authority and capacity is insufficient, he urged those present to reaffirm the commitments made in the Delhi Declaration.Terrorist networks are constantly evolving and are proving resilient despite the mobilization of the international community, while Governments face increasing pressure from a citizenry infuriated by growing insecurity.Underlining the gravity of this transnational threat, he highlighted the need for action on the national, regional and global levels.On that point, he recalled that the Heads of State and Government of members of the African Union adopted a decision to counter terrorism and violent extremism across the continent, seeking to build on several regional counter-terrorism initiatives such as the Accra Initiative.He added a call to ensure that the currently polarized state of the world does not weaken multilateralism, as terrorist groups could harness such a development to dangerous effect.
DOMINGOS ESTÊVÃO FERNANDES (Mozambique), voicing deep concern about the findings of the Secretary-General’s latest report, welcomed new efforts by the United Nations to bolster its response to the continued threat posed by Da’esh.Among other things, it is actively exploring ways to leverage digital technologies to enhance counter-terrorism measures, including to combat financial networks believed to have supported the group.“Combating terrorism is the collective responsibility of all peace-loving nations,” he said, describing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy as a comprehensive tool to combat the threat posed by Da’esh, its affiliates and other terrorist groups and calling for its implementation in an integrated and balanced manner.In recent years, Africa has increasingly served as fertile ground for groups from Da’esh to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and Boko Haram to Al-Shabaab, which have dramatically expanded their operations and are bringing a wave of unprecedented destruction, death and humanitarian crises.He also cited an influx of terrorist fighters to the continent from other parts of the world, emphasizing the need to urgently reverse the current trend of “Africanization” of terrorism.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH(United Arab Emirates), recalling the 10 terrorist attacks in January that killed 50 people around the world, said it is a stark illustration of the international community’s inability to find an effective framework for combating terrorism. Highlighting the need for sustainable partnerships with local stakeholders, she said it is essential to prevent terrorists from exploiting local grievances. In Afghanistan, the nihilistic propaganda of terrorist groups is being published in local and regional languages, she said, adding that the international community must send alternative messages that address local concerns. The danger of religious extremism is undermining peace everywhere, she said, stressing that access to education and economic inclusion must be at the heart of any approach to counter that. This applies equally to men, women, boys and girls, she said, stressing the importance of gender mainstreaming. Noting that more than 20 non-State armed groups possess drones, she pointed to discrepancies in data collection on this matter and called for stronger international cooperation, transparent regulatory standards and collaboration with the private sector to further the peaceful uses of drone technology.
SHINO MITSUKO (Japan) expressed concern over the continued activities of Da’esh and its affiliates, in particular those of the ISIL-Khorasan group in Afghanistan. It is also of vital importance to take steps on counter-terrorism in Africa, she said, calling for additional efforts to address the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism.Noting that the phenomenon will not be eliminated until society is “free from want” and the right to live in dignity is ensured, she called on States to tackle poverty and inequality, while also building up the capacity of their law enforcement officials.Japan has provided capacity-building assistance to partners through United Nations agencies in areas including border control, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration and maritime security.Regarding the use of new and emerging technologies,she praised the 2022 adoption of the Delhi Declaration and said broader, multi-stakeholder cooperation is needed to effectively address that threat.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) observed that terrorist groups continue to proliferate and harm civilians across Africa — especially in the Sahel — and that “groups like Wagner are not the solution”.Groups including Da’esh, Al-Qaida, Al-Shabaab and ISIL-K exploit modern technology to spread death and destruction, and the international community must do more to prevent this.Terrorism must be fought at its source, which requires investment in education, health, sustainable development, the rule of law and just societies.While stressing that the best defence against terrorism is the creation of conditions for life and dignity, she said that, in the meantime, the international community must fight the plague of terrorism with all its might without violating the norms and values “we cherish and seek to protect from terrorism”.The collective fight must be a just one, in full compliance with international law, and she supported the listing of more individuals pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999), which can cut terrorist groups’ financial lifelines.She also urged all Member States to repatriate their citizens from camps in Syria and Iraq, noting that Albania has designed comprehensive reintegration programmes towards this end “to give these people a second chance in life”.This is the right policy for everyone to follow, she added.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) echoed concerns over the continued threat posed by Da’esh and its affiliates, particularly its regional spillover and the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.Poverty, inequality and social exclusion — particularly in countries already affected by armed conflict or civil unrest — are some of the key drivers of Da’esh’s recruitment and pledges of association.“A deep sentiment of injustice felt by marginalized populations certainly does not justify terrorism-related violence […] but it does contribute to the appeal radical ideologies can have on peoples disenchanted with the prevailing socioeconomic conditions,” he said, also noting that expressions of xenophobia, discrimination and prejudice can help to fuel extremist narratives.Calling for efforts to build more just and equal societies, he said peacebuilding and development financing must be an integral part of a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy under the auspices of the United Nations.The Council should reflect upon the standards applied when adding entities or individuals to its Da’esh sanctions regime, which must always be evidence-based and should avoid any politicization of the subject, he added.
GENNADY V. KUZMIN (Russian Federation), stressing that the fight against terrorism should remain depoliticized, said the evil of international terrorism can only be vanquished if the international community works together. Cautioning against the erosion of the Organization’s legal architecture for counter-terrorism, he stressed that views based on false theories and rules should not be imposed. His country prioritizes the primary role of States and their competent authorities in the fight against terrorism, he said, adding that no form of terrorism can be justified. The Middle East and Africa are epicenters for the spread of terrorism, he said, noting that the Secretary-General’s reports on ISIL (Da’esh) indicate the increasing scale of terrorist activities. African States have insufficient resources for implementing counter-terrorism resolutions, he said, noting the rise of pseudo-Islamic ideologies as well as the consequences of Western colonialism and neocolonialism. Such plunder is happening not only in Africa but also in parts of Syria. Regarding the references to the Wagner Group, he said the French delegation seems disappointed with the decision of Sahel countries to not cooperate with France. “But can we really blame Africa for taking matters into their own hands?” he asked. The military interference of the United States has destabilized Afghanistan and the region, he said, adding that the colossal supplies of arms and weapons left behind have long been used by terrorist groups in the region.
ZHANG JUN (China), noting that Da’esh is making a comeback in Afghanistan and the region, expressed concern over cooperation between the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement and ISIL-K, which includes the joint publication of propaganda posters, the exchange of personnel and joint military operations.He called on the international community to combat all forms of terrorism with zero-tolerance and urged the Taliban to take resolute measures to prevent the convergence of terrorist forces in Afghanistan.Turning to increasing terrorism in Africa, he welcomed efforts by countries such as Mozambique, Nigeria, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to actively enhance their counter-terrorism measures.African efforts to conduct joint counter-terrorism operations are commendable and international partners should increase support for the same in terms of financing, equipment, intelligence and logistics.However, security responses alone are not sufficient and must be complemented by efforts to prevent new recruits from joining the ranks of terrorist groups.While poverty cannot be considered the only root cause of terrorism, poverty and associated economic deprivation are important factors that breed terrorism.However, the weakest link in the entire international counter-terrorism cooperation network is the promotion of socioeconomic development.He therefore stressed that, after using military measures to curb the strength of terrorist groups, economic and development measures must immediately follow lest hard-won gains be lost.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta), Council President for February, spoke in her national capacity, echoing concerns about the persistent threat posed by terrorist groups — including in North Africa, the Sahel and Somalia — and about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.In addition, Da’esh maintains the ability to carry out high-profile attacks in Syria and Iraq, she said, citing the 2022 Da’esh attack on Al-Hasakah prison in Syria as a stark reminder.Echoing concerns that Da’esh is misusing the Internet and social media in increasingly sophisticated ways, she stressed the importance of digital literacy skills, media literacy and critical-thinking skills more broadly, adding that a comprehensive approach to social, humanitarian and development challenges is required to prevent recruitment among vulnerable populations.She also noted the importance of civil society engagement in those efforts and the need to protect human rights and safeguard principled humanitarian action, stating:“Too often, counter-terrorism measures are misused to silence human rights defenders and to deny populations vital humanitarian aid.” As Chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, she also voiced concern about the continued recruitment and exploitation of children by terrorist groups, practices that remain unacceptable.
For information media. Not an official record.