At the outset, we strongly condemn the abominable terrorist attacks in Turkey over the weekend that killed and injured many innocent civilians. We offer our deepest condolences to the Government and people of Turkey and families of victims of this heinous crime.
We are so pleased that the President of Togo, His Excellency Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, has done us the honour of presiding over the Council session today.
We also thank the Secretary-General for his compelling statement for action in Africa to fight terrorism.
We thank Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Hounourable Jean Asselborn, Foreign Minister of Morocco, His Excellency Dr. Saad Dine El Otmani, and Honourable Vice Ministers Kim Kyou-hyun and Eduardo Zuain of Republic of Korea and Argentina for attending this debate.
We thank Togo for the terse and incisive concept note that gives a succinct overview of the rising threat of terrorism in Africa.
Terrorism is a global threat that knows no geographical boundaries. Africa is the new frontier for international terrorism and rightly deserves enhanced attention of the international community.
Pakistan continues to be a major victim of the scourge of terrorism. We, therefore, fully appreciate and share the concerns and pain of our African brothers and sisters over the devastation caused by terrorism in the continent.
You have expressed a genuine apprehension that Africa runs the risk of becoming the epicenter of terrorism.
We also agree with your analysis that outlines six broad trends:
One,terrorist groups are hampering the UN and AU peacekeeping and peace-building missions.
Two,terrorist threat in Africa conflates political, religious and ideological extremism with organized crime.
Three,historical, cultural and political differences and territorial disputes are hampering the efforts to fight terrorism.
Four,counter-terrorist activities take precious resources away from economic development and efforts to consolidate rule of law and democracy.
Five,as a result of terrorist activities, many countries and regions in Africa run the risk of being more destabilized and disintegrated.
Six,Africa may become a ground for terrorist recruitment, training and funding.
Seven,terrorists may gain control of strategic natural resources, such as oil, uranium, and diamonds in Africa.
In Somalia, Al-Shabab, in Nigeria, Boko Haram, in Mali, AQIM, MUJAO, and Ansar Dine, and in the Great Lakes Region, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), have targeted governments and civilians, committed transnational crimes and thwarted national, regional and international efforts to restore peace and stability in these regions. In the Sahel, the toxic mix of these activities is undermining security, governance and rule of law.
Typically, these terrorist groups take over control of a sizable portion of a country to use it as a launching pad for their activities in other countries. They use asymmetric attacks to terrorize populations and destabilize governments. These groups are developing linkages with one another and thus create an arc of instability stretching from the Horn of Africa to Central Africa to the Atlantic Ocean.
The causes of terrorism in various parts of Africa vary. Terrorist groups tend to exploit local grievances. However, there are certain common factors that create conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. These include poverty, long unresolved disputes and conflicts, deprivation, marginalization, exclusion and lack of economic options. Africa’s youth bulge, which constitutes some 60% of the continent's one billion population, has to be harnessed properly by providing them with economic opportunities to prevent the lure of crime.
The United Nations Security Council and the UN as a whole have already done impressive work by developing the legal and normative framework for countering terrorism and by creating mechanisms for implementation. We welcome the increased focus by the Counter Terrorism Committee on the Sahel region.
African countries have demonstrated commitment to combat terrorism by adopting legal instruments, investing in research, and allocating funds out of their scarce resources.
However, these efforts fall far short of the threat posed by terrorism. The capacities of the countries affected by this menace remain woefully inadequate to address it at the structural and the operational levels. It is apparent that terrorism will not be defeated alone by law enforcement measures, or intelligence operations or military and security strategies. What is, therefore, required is a comprehensive approach that addresses all aspects of this crisis.
In our view the strategy to address terrorism in Africa should include the following six elements:
First, it should focus on capacity building of the criminal justice systems at the regional, sub-regional and national levels. Priority has to be accorded to strengthening border controls and sharing of information.
Second,regional and sub-regional cooperation has to be strengthened.
Third,the United Nations and the African Union should develop an early warning mechanism as a preventive measure to counter terrorism. In this regard, distinct competencies can be built into the United Nations field missions.
Fourth,as security and development are interrelated, creating educational and economic opportunities, in particular for the young people, should be part of the broader agenda for the international community’s involvement with Africa.
Fifth,the option for dialogue with those amenable and willing to renounce violence and cut off links with terrorist organizations must remain on the table. This would help to promote reconciliation and bridge differences. Pakistan’s comprehensive approach to terrorism is also based on the Three D’s: deterrence, development and dialogue.
Sixth,emphasis also has to be laid on countering the financing of terrorism. In Africa’s context this would include the proceeds of kidnapping for ransom, illicit drug trafficking and piracy.
As Africa tries to defeat terrorism, there is a need to intensify efforts to resolve long festering conflicts and crises that spawn terrorism. Terrorism and extremism should not be associated with any religion, race, value system, or society. Combatting terrorism requires resolute efforts by the international community in a cooperative framework. Pakistan will continue to contribute to this endeavor.
We endorse the Council's Presidential Statement on combating terrorism in Africa to be adopted today.