I am pleased at the outset to align our statement with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. While noting the lack of consensus regarding the qualifications of the Chair of this important Committee, especially in view of its mandate regarding legal matters, primarily respect of and promotion of international law, we wish to extend our congratulations to the Bureau and express our hope for a constructive and successful session that contributes to advancing the rule of law and addressing the many challenges being faced by the international community at this critical time.
Our meeting today aims to discuss the item entitled “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism,”. Our unanimous adoption of the fifth review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and the plan of action to prevent violent extremism demonstrates the consensus of the international community regarding the gravity of terrorism, and the importance of unity in facing this global scourge. In this context, my country commends the efforts made by the United Nations and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre in this regard.
Ladies and gentlemen, members of delegations,
Our region and several countries of the world are facing protracted crises and conflicts, which resulted in waves of terrorism that took unprecedented forms and used heinous methods and caused fear and terror in all corners of the world. As a result, our region became a hotbed for extremist and terrorist groups. Additionally, the regional interventions have contributed to the destabilization and divisions in the region.
As we have witnessed recently, terrorist groups developed their financing, recruitment and attack methods which resulted in causing thousands of deaths and wounded civilians, and a worsening migration crises, in addition to the destruction of human and cultural heritage. Extremist and terrorist groups strived to spread hatred and violence among nations, making terrorism no longer associated with a certain state or a region, but a global threat with no borders.
These challenges require us to concert international efforts to combat terrorism, and to work actively and jointly to find the appropriate solutions that address the causes of these crises and uproot terrorism.
Therefore, the UAE placed prevention in the center of its policies and adopted measures to prevent extremism from developing into violent extremism. The UAE also worked on promoting the values of tolerance, peaceful co-existence and the respect for cultural diversity in the community. We have also involved all segments of society, especially youth and women in processes of state-building, and promoted their participation in the national development process.
Protecting our societies requires us to expose the lies of extremist and terrorist groups, and provide a platform for millions of moderate voices who reject the practices of these terrorist groups. In this regard, the UAE is cooperating with the United States of America through Sawab Center on combating the messages spread by “Daesh” terrorist group on social media. The Elders Council of Muslims in Abu Dhabi also works on advocating the true face of Islam, promoting values of peace, and raising awareness.
Moreover, the enactment of counter-terrorism laws, national legislations and accession to international treaties are crucial in our fight against extremism and terrorism. Therefore, the UAE has acceded to more than 15 regional and international conventions combating terrorism. My country has also issued several national laws for fighting terrorism, prosecuting terrorists, combating terrorism financing, and criminalizing acts associated with contempt of religion, and hate speech. Countering terrorist groups is a right and duty of all of us. However, resorting to blindly placed laws that ignore the effective role played by a number of states in countering terrorism after the suffering of others, such as the US Congress JASTA, will lead to further arbitrary policies and destabilize the existing strong relationships between allies.
Ladies and gentlemen, members of the delegations,
The policy adopted by the UAE in its fight against terrorism is based on coordination of international efforts, and exchange of best practices and experiences. For example, my country took part in the international coalition against Daesh, which made many achievements, most importantly is limiting Daesh’s capacity, restricting its mobility and its access to financial support. Through its participation in the Global Counter-terrorism Forum, the UAE along with the United Kingdom, became the co-chairs of the working group on combating violent extremism, which is currently working on the establishment of a new center for “Hedayah” in Washington, DC.
The UAE is also working on coordinating international efforts to protect the cultural and historical heritage of many nations from the terrorist groups seeking to destroy it. In this regard, the UAE in cooperation with France, will host an international conference in December to discuss these challenges and find solutions, in addition to establishing an international fund and an international network of safe centers for keeping and protecting the cultural properties.
The UAE continue to stress the need to develop a comprehensive convention on international terrorism that includes an international definition of terrorism.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the United Arab Emirates’ support for regional and global efforts aiming at achieving development, justice and stability, in accordance with the United Nations’ Charter and international law.