Written Statement by Pakistan for the Arria formula Meeting on Humanitarian Action: Overcoming Challenges in situations of armed conflict and counter-terrorism operations
(11 August 2021)

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

We would like to thank the Permanent Mission of Kenya for convening this Arria formula meeting.

Countering terrorism while upholding human rights and addressing the humanitarian impact of the counter-terrorism measures are mutually reinforcing.

The menace of terrorism cannot be eradicated without understanding this linkage.

I will make three points in this regard.

First, aggressors, colonizers and occupiers often attempt to justify their suppression of legitimate struggles for self-determination and freedom by portraying them as “terrorism”.

There is an increasing trend to use collective punishment against civilian populations as well as to “criminalize” certain inalienable and fundamental human rights under the pretext of fighting terrorism in stark violation of international humanitarian law.

This has nowhere been more apparent than in the attempt to incrementally displace the right to self-determination through counter terrorism laws.

The relevant UN resolutions clearly stipulate that the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, and is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.

This has been further elaborated by the Human Rights Council, as well as the Committee on the Elimination on Racial Discrimination.

In order to address the root causes of terrorism, it is imperative for the international community, in particular, the UN Security Council, to address situations of prolonged unresolved conflicts, foreign occupation, and denial of the right to self-determination.

History bears testimony to the undeniable reality that the suppression of the right of peoples to self-determination results inevitably in perpetuation of violence and conflict.

Second, there is a need to reform of the current UN Security Council counter-terrorism Sanctions regime by overcoming numerous legal, humanitarian and human rights shortcomings in its working methods.

The UN Special Rapporteur on “The promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism” has consistently drawn attention to human rights deficiencies in the global counter-terrorism architecture and norm building, particularly as a result of the regulatory landscape being developed under the umbrella of the Security Council through adoption of Chapter VII resolutions.

Broad-brush use of countering financing of terrorism (CFT) provisions has created immense difficulties for humanitarian actors and charitable organizations both in respect of their ability to deliver aid in a timely manner and in their efforts to obtain the necessary funds to carry out their activities in developing countries.

Lack of clarity regarding the increasingly wide scope of these measures has made it difficult for banks operating in developing countries to ensure that they will not incur any liability for a particular transaction.

While humanitarian exemptions exist within the counter-terrorism sanctions regime, their application is opaque, arbitrary and often subject to politicization rather than on the basis of humanitarian considerations.

Third, the use of coercive measures, including unilateral coercive measures, against States in the name of countering terrorism with little regard for their impact over the civilian populations, constitutes a serious humanitarian challenge.

Such actions impact the developmental prospects of developing countries and have become an instrument in the hand of a few influential powers to achieve their wider political objectives.

The negative impact of such coercive measures, especially of unilateral coercive measures has been repeatedly affirmed in numerous resolutions of the UN General Assembly as well as by the Human Rights Council.

It is essential to address these issues in order to build on and implement the global counter-terrorism strategy.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan is biggest victim of terrorism. We have sacrificed 80,000 lives and sustained enormous damage to our economy to fight and defeat terrorism in our country and the region.

We will continue to work closely with the international community to address the global threat posed by terrorism and to make the necessary reforms in the existing counter-terrorism regime to enhance its acceptability and effectiveness.

I thank you.